Lightbulb Moment – Mike

Oh, Michael.

I like you.

But, you are inconsistent at best. You’re great when we are together but I can’t be left wondering what’s going on in between.

You’re a nice guy. I believe you want to see me again, but you haven’t continued as you started and that’s always been an issue for me. An issue I couldn’t manage in the past.

But I think I’m ready to tackle someone like you now.

Maybe.

You check all my boxes x2. You are so fucking hot I can’t stand it. You have that freaking cute and silly factor that so many just don’t. Your Daddy style is off the charts. You’ve got it allllll in my book. We laugh and laugh and laugh and I’m so happy when I’m with you.

And, I know, you love it when I’m around you. You can’t fake it.

But…now I see you don’t really ask me a whole lot of questions. Nothing important. My life, my emotions, they don’t resonate for you. One thing I learned from Tony was that he cared about me deeply. He knew everything about me and he paid a lot of attention. He was my friend. If you were ever going to work, you would need to show me some of that, and you haven’t in this past month.

I equate that to disinterest.

That used to mean I would have to try to pull it from you. Thinking I could actually get it! 🙄. I now understand I shouldn’t bother. If you like me enough, you will come back again and again. I had to sine this light into my own dark corner of needy and anxious attachment and realize you are, more than likely, not ready to give me what I need. I knew that the moment I heard you were only separated, yet I tried to quiet the voice and shut the lights so I can ignore the truth.

Sorry, can’t do it to myself anymore.

Maybe you stick around for great sex, if some of the things you said are true, like you don’t like multiple partners and prefer just one.

Maybe you never give the emotional connection I crave.

I don’t need to force it. I realize how precious the laughter between us is now. It’s good enough to leave it be what it is. Maybe something. Maybe nothing.

Chances lean toward nothing, so with that, I’ve squarely put you into the “whatever will be will be” category and my job is to keep you there. I would love to see if there’s anything there. If there’s not, then there’s not and I am going to be ok with that.

KDaddys comments have literally been like he’s in my mind this week regarding you and how I want to approach this with you.

If you ask me out again, great but when/if you don’t, based on some mysteriously made-up timeline my anxiety comes up with, it ISN’T the end of the world. I can’t let my anxiety decide to let this relationship go off the rails before it’s even out of the station.

I cannot be an architect and build an imaginary relationship with you.

I cannot be a detective and uncover clues about where you are, who you are with and why you are not with me.

I cannot create a problem just to insist on a solution.

I cannot. I am going to find an additional mantra for my meditation because you get to close to unlocking anxiety’s door and I need to keep that shit on lock down.

This isn’t easy for me because, well, you check too god damn many boxes, without even realizing. I wish we could just have a conversation to clarify “what are we doing here?” I wish you could be honest.

I wish, take a deep breath and then, I reframe and remind myself “does it really matter?”

Just yesterday you told me you bought me a bottle of my favorite wine – which surprised me. You’re thinking of me? Don’t you buy a girls favorite wine when you plan to see her again?

My friend said don’t read into it, maybe you’re even lying. But I’m not built to be quite so cynical. I would like to think you saw it, thought of me, and figured I would be with you again, at some point. That’s good enough for me and I don’t think I’m reading too much into it.

You’re a test for me, Michael. A test I hope I don’t fail because it means I get hurt fooling myself.

So here’s to you being a better man than some of the others and being honest with yourself as well as me.

Let’s enjoy each other.

Let me learn what casual dating with no expectations feels like.

Cause laughter and sex with you is something I just want more of.

The trick is to remember I don’t need it.

Meet Charles

Lightbulb moments to the side for a second, let’s tell the Charles story.

Charles is really handsome and has a rock solid beautiful physique.

He knows it. He’s not exactly cocky about it, but he’s called himself fit and handsome enough times that I know what he thinks of himself and how important it is to him that he is proud of those attributes. That turns me off when anyone does that. When you’re good looking it’s obvious enough to anyone, it’s not a hidden talent, so what’s up that you feel the need to reinforce it? Maybe he’s got skeletons in his closet too.

We matched and started texting immediately. As with most men this age, he calls me quickly too. We hit it off easily.

I realized almost immediately, because this was on the heels of Tom, he was more interested in talking about himself than he was in getting to know me. This repeated the entire week we spoke and when I met him in person. I can’t believe how I’ve disregarded this behavior before. It makes it so much easier to see past the “check boxes” and move on. I don’t want a man like this and I know it. I am more emotionally needy, I want someone to be invested in learning about me, not how I check their boxes.

Who am I? 😂. Can’t believe how crystal clear this has become.

Charles lives about 90 plus minutes from me and I was clear there would be little opportunity for me to come to him. He didn’t care and insisted he would always come to me. He wanted to meet me soon, but I had plans I didn’t think would work around the distance.

I was away for the Labor Day weekend with my cousins and when I arrived to the beach house on Thursday, I was told we were going out to a local bar. The girls wanted updated on dating stories, so I obliged as we were getting ready. Showed my cousins photos of Mike, Tom and Charles and everyone thought Charles was the most handsome. My one cousin wanted to invite him down to join us that evening.

Once we start drinking and having fun, my cousin started texting (on my phone) with Charles and challenged him about his really wanting to drive almost 2 hours to date me. He accepted the challenge. Could I have stopped it? Sure. Did I care? I was sort of curious who would want to drive late at night just to spend an hour with me and turn around and go home. I know that’s crappy behavior but I didn’t really care because, like Tom, I had already acknowledged this wasn’t going to have legs. I could have fun with Charles.

Charles arrived to the bar just before midnight. He was strikingly handsome as soon as he entered and I was immediately physically attracted. He was as equally attracted to me. For the first time that I can recall, I wanted to kiss someone more than I wanted to talk to them. I literally just wanted to be physically close to this man and could care less what came out of his mouth! 😂. I was also pretty drunk by this point in the night.

He came back to the house with me and we sat on the deck making out like teenagers. Eventually it turned into sex on the deck. For one of the few times in my life, a man picked me up and carried me (while still being inside me) to a different location for sex. I forget there’s not much to lift for a strong, tall man and he was clearly experienced at it. His cock felt amazing. His kisses were luscious and I was soaked. This was pure bliss, not a thought was going through my head except getting fucked. I had no other real connection to Charles. I’m pretty sure I don’t desire one.

He was really, really good with his cock and body. Had I not been drinking I’m pretty sure he would be able to make me come while he’s on top, which is a rarity. He really knew what he was doing.

As the sex continued I began to feel something I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time – control. His control. He was moving my legs and hips into unnatural positions. Almost uncomfortable. The sex went from feeling super easy and natural to me paying way to much attention to how he was holding my body in certain positions. I didn’t realize I could move naturally any longer until I tried to lift my hips to meet his thrust and he kept my hips pinned down. At the same time, I realized this is why it felt so damn good – it was a very particular angle. But I wasn’t sure if I liked I how this felt any longer, not in a terrible stop having sex kind of way, I just felt non-participatory and too hyper aware of the position. He came and I was grateful it was over. It was a little confusing the way I felt, to be honest.

We went upstairs to bed. I didn’t intend for him to stay but it was too late to expect him to drive close to two hours home. We had sex again a time or two before falling asleep. I have no idea if he came or not. I was too tired and too close to passing out by this point. His mouth was amazing on me, but I had been drinking too much to orgasm. We fell asleep entangled in each other’s arms. A very specific entanglement which he moved my hips, legs and body to be molded a certain way into his. I fell fast asleep.

In the early morning he once again began manipulating my body in a very specific way. It felt amazing but I couldn’t relax because it felt unnatural. I can’t quite describe the dichotomy. I wanted to relax and I couldn’t. By the time we started fucking, and now I wasn’t drunk or over-excited, I couldn’t find a rhythm with him. He wanted my legs and hips in a very specific location and I couldn’t keep them there. In addition, now that I am running regularly, my hip flexors are very tight and I am less flexible in certain positions. I just don’t bend the same way unless I’ve stretched first. I began to get frustrated which is the strangest feeling when I can feel the potential in sex but can’t seem to find the common ground.

The other strange thing was he was never rock solid hard. I think this is why he kept trying to keep me still.

I had to stop him and let him know it wasn’t working for me. I told him I felt as though I was being instructed in the Kama sutra and had to follow textbook instructions to the letter. I said we are on different pages sexually and that he needed too much control. His reply to me surprised me “you need to be In control more even more.”

Hmmm. Do I?

Not sure I perceive myself that way sexually. I am generally a very loose and accommodating lover according to every lover I’ve even been with, particularly the good ones. I’m happy to do whatever feels good and I’ve never had any complaints. But this didn’t feel good to me, it didn’t feel natural. He needed me to be in positions I couldn’t maintain or couldn’t reciprocate. I couldn’t rise to meet his thrusts and found Myself lying still. The fact that I want to participate and feel that we are moving together doesn’t strike me as controlling, but he said it more than once to me. He admitted he wanted me to be still so he could concentrate on his orgasm, and that my moving was controlling his ability to orgasm. He gave a little speech about “men his age” not being able to maintain erections or have multiple orgasms. Mike immediately came to mind, no issue there. Haven’t had sex with Tom but he’s rock hard around me. John too.

No, Charles, while it’s not uncommon for men your age, at least admit you’re struggling instead of telling me I need to control the sex. Don’t try and turn this around on me.

Just like the sex, this conversation didn’t feel right to me. Does he not realize how he has me pinned down and how many times he told me to “relax” over and over? Relax? I am so uninhibited during sex I’ve never heard someone say relax to me! He would push my hips or legs into such specific positions that if they slid out naturally from movement he would always move them back. All of these, in his mind (I guess) small adjustments totally pulled me out of the moment. Doesn’t he realize how much he kept adjusting me every few seconds? No wonder he can’t orgasm – he has to have things so perfect that it must distract him when they are not just so.

As we were lying there having this weird discussion, somehow my figure / beauty came into play. He was describing his x girlfriend and her weight went from 150-160-180 over the course of the conversation, all while saying he was “still” attracted to her. The insult was rising in my throat and I found a little objectivity I didn’t know I had.

I said to him that he was awfully caught up in looks. His reply was that “how couldn’t I be with someone like you? You stop traffic!” I asked what was so impressive about me that he couldn’t catch his breathe and he touched and described each of my physics traits he was attracted to. I then asked “what if everything you see here isn’t the whole story? How Would you feel if my body was far from this perfection you’re describing?” He laughed a bit and said that’s impossible since we already had sex. I reminded him my shirt never came off. Then I told him I had multiple surgeries last year that left massive wounds on my stomach, some of which are not fully healed and are not pretty.

I threw in some bravado I don’t actually have “and I don’t much care what anyone thinks because I can’t do anything about it, but I wonder how well you would actually tolerate all my imperfections.” He compared me to his short friend, who couldn’t overcome his height but had to live with it and eventually found someone to love him, short and all.

Yup.

Right.

That’s the same.

After this I let him know it was time to go. I thanked him for driving so far and we had a lovely kiss goodbye. He felt like a different lover when he kissed me.

I heard from him when he arrived home safely and he asked me if I got my run in. I replied and haven’t heard from him since.

Which is fine.

I’m sure, in hindsight, he must be thinking the same thing I am – the sex just isn’t right and we will probably never get on the same page. I’m not putting much more thought into it except this post, but I find it fascinating. He probably also gave more thought to the fact he didn’t see my stomach and now he knows there are scars. At least, this is what I think he thinks.

Charles also gave me a lot of clarity I haven’t had before. Men having an issue with my wounds is their problem, not mine, and I don’t need to apologize for it. Nichts helped me get this thought started and I was happy to put it into action. Now I know I’m not sharing my history with anyone who doesn’t have an investment in me. None of their business and I’m no longer going to apologize for my body. The rejection, if it’s going to happen, is going to happen regardless of any explanation I give.

If a man is so hung up on me being skinny, and my history with weight is upsetting to them, too bad. I imagined being Charles x girlfriend and he would say to his next girlfriend “I loved her even though she had these awful ugly wounds.” No thanks. You need to be the type of man who loves me BECAUSE I am imperfect.

Certainly this is a strange place for me to be as I begin to accept what I’ve done to my body and the future I need to live with. I don’t love my body and never will, but this vessel is strong and has been through so much that I have to start being kinder to myself and not allowing anyone else’s perception of beauty make me feel ugly. I beat myself up enough.

Thanks for a great night, Charles. It was fun.

I believe, should he write, which I don’t think he will but I could be wrong, I will give him the honesty so many neglect to give to me, and politely decline any further meeting.

So Much on my Mind

Right now I feel like a could write a book. I’m no good at short versions of anything and so much has been churning inside of my head lately I wish there was a way to get it out as the thoughts happened and into the blog. It all seems so logical when I’m thinking of it, but when I go back to write it, so much seems to slip away and I end up not knowing where to start.

I felt like light bulbs have been turning on all over the place lately. I know it’s all tied up with my current situation in dating. I’m having a moment like I haven’t had in a very long time. My libido is back in full blast and it absolutely wreaks havoc on my good intentions to have better behaviors while dating.

The difference is – now I know it. And I realized I can do something about it. Maybe not the something some might prefer me to do (not drink, not have sex, not date kind of thing). I now realize if I decide to do the things I do, all I need to do is accept responsibility for what they are at face value and stop putting so much more time and wasted effort into wanting them to be more than they are

I’ve simply got to learn to accept that I can have sex, drink, be ridiculous and WALK AWAY once it’s over.

I’m going to stop feeling bad about myself after I make questionable decisions. Berating myself and becoming more anxious is serving no purpose. I need to own it.

The pressure my attachment anxiety puts on me in these dating situations has to stop. I’ve started having conversations with my anxiety similar to the way I would speak to Trixie if she ever materialized (god help us all).

Sound silly? Maybe. But if talking to myself is what it takes to own my behavior and course correct then so be it.

My dating cup is running over and I’m letting it. I feel like I’ve uncovered something big and want to see if I can put thought into practice.

My whole life has been spent looking for male approval. I didn’t get it from my father. I didn’t get it from husband. The first time I felt really and truly solid about myself the “approval” came from the wrong place (married men). In hindsight, I don’t know if that matters to what I have learned. I don’t think the man himself or the situations make any difference to what I took from them. In hindsight, I learned so much about myself and what I needed to feel good in relationship. If I had been more capable of controlling my emotions, these could have been all positive experiences. Maggie and Nichts recently have me thinking about how to reframe what I’ve been through and how I see my past. In all my recent writing about dating, and digging through my past, I finally realize I can stop needing a man to make me feel worthy.

I actually do feel worthy now. I feel alive and powerful more than ever in some ways (and weaker in others). Maybe I didn’t arrive at this place from the traditional “self-love” approach. Maybe I just filter things through my male-approval lens to understand them because that’s how I’ve always seen the world. I think I needed a solid round of decent dates, some quick turnover, some great sex as well as some rejection to realize I’m actually ok. It’s a normal cycle to be rejected one way or the other in dating. I never learned to accept it and still find myself worthy.

I realize I can. I can own the rejection and move past it. I can own the sex on first dates because I wanted it. I am doing my best balls-to-the-wall to push away the anxiety.

I don’t even know if I am making any sense. Like I said, it all sounded so solid and so crystal clear in my head and getting these thoughts into words has proven difficult.

I know I’m going to be fine. It doesn’t mean I won’t struggle with learning how to slow down, not push for more at the wrong time or with the wrong person. It doesn’t mean I won’t obsess a little or overthink situations. Those are just things I do. I just don’t need to overdo them.

Each man / situation gave me a light bulb moment this week so they will each get a post: Mike, Thomas and Charles (yup a new one!).

I can honestly say I’ve never had this kind of clarity around dating before. I feel like I’m seeing myself for the first time. Somehow I think I’m on the edge of something bigger that’s yet unidentified and in front of me. I feel in control in a way I have never experienced before.

It’s good to be on the edge. It’s liberating. It feels like Trixie level excitement without the crazy. Is that a thing?

I guess we are going to find out if it is or not. And hope I’m not feeding myself lip service.

Big Words: Desperation, Communication, Attachment (part 1)

Morning my friends!

Many thanks to all of you who take time to give me insight and advice. I always love the feedback, I never construe it as negative and, in general, unless you are consistently poking at me, I don’t take any offense.

In particular, Jana’s comment from last week resonated with me and I had vacillated between replying directly to Jana’s comment and writing a post reply.

Obviously the post reply won.

First and foremost Jana, thank you. I always appreciate everyone (my whole tribe of faithfuls: KDaddy, Sassy, Morava, Gone, Nich, Maggie, Ann, NBrat) who takes their own time to thoughtfully comment on my blog. It means a lot to me.

So here goes – not everything is in direct response to Jana’s post, but it’s where the seeds were planted for this post.

Quite some time ago, someone on my blog identified anxious attachment syndrome. The first time I heard that on my blog I didn’t know what it was, so I did some research. There is no question I have anxious attachment. Much later, when I went to my therapist, it was one of the first things she identified and wanted me to work on getting back to my inner child so I could determine why and where the anxious attachment syndrome started. I didn’t want to do that work with her at the time. My focus with her then was all about healing, letting go of Tony, learning to be a better parent and building back my confidence. We didn’t ignore the fact that my inner child was crying for help, we did talk about root cause often, but I struggled – and still do – with therapy that makes you go back to childhood to view situations you can not change. Especially when it involves my dead Mother. I do not want to change my perception of my mother because I can no longer discuss any of it with my mother.

I know I am not willing and not ready to take this backwards view. I may never be.

My therapist and I spoke about that. Would I forever be damaged if I didn’t find the roots and forgive myself and the people around me for why I developed anxious attachment? Would I be able to forgive a depressed and anxious birth mother for being miserable her entire pregnancy and affecting my gestational period? Would I be able to forgive my father for loving my mother So obsessively he accepted the fact she wanted children or she would leave him, so he conceded but had no desire to actually raise a family? Would I forgive my mother for the fact that she gave up her life to deal with a depressed and mentally unstable and demanding mother as well as a hyperactive child (who in the 70s was undiagnosed and considered “bad”). Can I forgive them?

Yes. I have already forgiven all of them.

Do I want to think about and try to better understand how those forces built an anxious attachment in me that was created in childhood and then cultivated over 22 more adult years in marriage?

No. I don’t.

I know I have anxious attachment syndrome. But I also believe, as did my therapist, I don’t have to go back to move forward.

I do have to learn my triggers, understand the signals my body gives me and stop neglecting the small voice that says “you are not enough and you deserve less”. Or, more often, “you’ve done something wrong.”

I think, if nothing else has ever come across clearly on my blog – the one thing that has always cut through is my direct and transparent honest about myself.

With that said, this blog is an actual real time blog. I blog entirely top of mind and you all get to look first hand at my craziness, happiness, depression, anger, joy, elation, confusion and frustration. I put it ALL right here in the best words I can find to share with you. I don’t edit myself. I write what I think and how I feel.

Does it come across as desperate many times? Yes.

I am not exactly desperate anymore. I’m sure of this. Do my words sound that way? Sure, I can see that.

But you get a birds eye view of how my mind is churning through every available path and avenue. The choices I can make. The roads I should and definitely should not travel. You’ve seen where Trixie (and her friend Tricia) live. You watch me fold and unfold and refold the same towel a thousand times – fueled by my nervous anxiety.

I felt I needed to be clear about where I am today. I am in a better place than I’ve ever been in my life. My life has taken the best path since February 11th, 200 days ago. I am a drug addict, I have to count the days my head stays straight on my shoulders and I continue to make better choices for myself. I know this.

Right now, I do not believe any man is going to derail me. Do I get sad and frustrated and angry and write about it in the moment? Yes, I do. Because you help me suss out things I didn’t want to see when I wrote the post. Coming back to the comments is like revisiting the crime scene. I have to go through the action again (in my head) in order to reply to thoughtful comments. When I do especially “bad” things – I write about it because it’s the last way I have to hold myself accountable. It reminds me I wasn’t listening to my better senses.

I loved my therapist. I think she did an amazing job in the time we had. I was a big fucking nut to crack in under 4 months. She cut across and gave me tools to manage my family, Tony, getting back to work and developing new relationships. I wish I had more time with her but – as life is – I don’t have the time or money to see a therapist. In place of that, I’ve been educating myself and consuming self-help books by the handfuls, like MMs. It would be ideal to have the resources I needed to stay in therapy for a good long while. It’s just not going to happen right now in my life. I have time for one dedicated “activity” outside of work – my choice is fitness over mental health (assuming there was a therapist who worked in the evening or weekends). This is my choice in life. I’ve learned not to swallow a whale right now. Trying to fit any more in (structure) is going to be too stressful for me. Therapy shouldn’t be stressful. But trying to find the time and money right now would cause even more anxiety. I am fully comfortable with my choice.

There are two very divided schools of thought about how to manage anxious attachment. I always thought this to be be super interesting because the tactics are so opposite one another. And you all definitely reflected the two schools of thought in the comments!

One thought is figure out how to love yourself first.

But the other is – practice. Date as many people as you can and practice identifying and managing the anxious attachment.

Do I love myself? I’m trying. I’m absolutely in the best place I’ve ever been. I consciously work on positive self talk and creating good habits. I will probably always struggle with some form of “I’m wrong, I’m not good enough or please love me and don’t leave me” but I am working on my three worst fears that create my anxiety. Am I desperate? No. I’m not. I experience desperation and rejection within the dating scene, but I am not desperate. I can be alone. I have filled my life with healthy and happy people and habits.

So, along with the agreement of my therapist, we discussed allowing me to practice managing the anxiety through dating. If it became overwhelming I was to stop. And I did – for short periods – if it wasn’t serving me. And now, twice in 200 days I had two back to back events I wrote about that got my goat and I became frustrated. I experienced the anxious attachment in its full form and for the first time in my life I RECOGNIZED my behavior and subsequently controlled it.

That’s a win in my book.

Should it be controlled from the start? Yes! I hope to make that happen. But in the meantime, I’m super proud I had maybe 2 24 hour periods where I worked through it and acknowledged what I felt. I sat with it.

post script: somehow, half this post was cut off and lost. I will try and re-create the second half tomorrow so I can address what I’ve discovered about communication.

A Second Date!

I did hear from Mike the next day, with an offer to come to his house in the later afternoon because he couldn’t get me out of his mind. I declined because I had to get my workout in and do my Sunday night thing before the week started.

I didn’t reach out, But he had by noon, and I was pleased to see the text I wasn’t really expecting. It was a nice change. Maybe it’s also because when he left, I didn’t have any negative gut check. I was going to be ok either way in any case and I already knew that. It’s a first for me in a very long time when I like someone as much as I liked him out of the gate.

He’s perfectly chatty in person, well-spoken, gregarious and funny. But very, very dry and direct in text. No subtext, insinuation or flirting. This could be another reason I’m not so immediately drawn in. The men I get engaged with tend to be very well engaged in text, I feel like it’s a real conversation. With Mike it’s a bit perfunctory.

And I think it’s ok.

Each night there’s been a goodnight and most mornings a good morning. Maybe an exchange of one text and then I hear from him around lunch every day, checking in. Very simply something like “hey” or “how is your day?” I will answer, ask him how he is and then I don’t hear much back if anything. I am not tied to the message on the phone or the alert chime, but I’m happy when I look down and there’s a message.

I moved from being uncertain about his continued interest to certain. I don’t have to do anything and I will hear from him to check in. Even when he is with his younger daughter or his friends.

He was clear about his plans for the week and weekend while we were together Saturday so I wasn’t really expecting anything from him this week but on Tuesday he asked me over for Thursday. To his apartment. To cook for me.

Knock me down with a feather! This is another first. I forget I never really had many “dating” relationships. Very few. He lives close, we both know we want to have sex again, and after tonight he is with his daughter at her college until Monday night. Of course I accepted. I was due to head to my cousins at the beach this evening but I can always go in the morning.

The strangest thing is, I’m not excited. I mean, a little, of course. But there are two specific reasons I think my little heart hasn’t beat out of my chest yet:

1. I am freaking nervous about having to discuss the wound. I have decided to be proactive by saying: I had major abdominal surgery last year and I’m very sensitive about some deep scarring. I keep a bandage over the worst part of it. I debated if I also include the massive weight loss and why my belly looks like it does and figured I can just write it off the horrible surgeries. What do you think?

2. Here’s the kicker fam, he’s separated and not divorced.

Ugh. A big old ugly ugh.

He is in his own apartment, she works and he works, they are dividing everything in half so there is (seemingly) very little to argue over, she is keeping the house free and clear. They are at the very beginning of mediation.

I’m pretty sure I’m so scarred from Tony that it’s the reason my heart and head won’t engage fully with Mike. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, I could like him so much more, he’s simply at the beginning of his journey and no one has a crystal ball. But history has taught us that most long marriages (he’s married 22 years, separated physically for 6 months) need space after the marriage ends. We need to learn about ourselves before we enter into another commitment.

We could go along happily for months and he could even get divorced in that period and there’s still little Chance his first out of marriage relationship could last. I know this.

Which sucks. Just sucks.

My friends think it’s fine to date him and keep him at arms length IF I can keep my feelings out of it. But, can I? Am I capable? My track record sucks.

I also don’t want to talk to him about it, which I normally want to do. Even when John rejected me I had a desire to “know” why? Just why? I wanted to talk about it. With Mike, I don’t want to take the chance I will hear words that I fall for like “who knows what will happen, I really like you” or “I only want to be with one person and I already know what I need.” Tony fed all of that to me and I believed past the point of belief. I don’t actually want to engage in any serious conversation with Mike. Or any silly and intensely flirty conversation that leads to actually liking him too much. None of this “do you miss me?” Or “did you dream of me?” Nonsense. I don’t want to fall for him so I can hit my head on the pavement some more.

So if I can keep him at arms length….can I remain detached enough to enjoy some company and dates and relax for a bit? Or am I doomed to run head first into another disaster?

This is, admittedly, the very first time I feel cautious. I have never felt a sense of (almost) fear of allowing myself to feel anything other than what I’m getting in the moment. I really don’t know. I just don’t know if I’m capable of it and built to have all or nothing.

For the moment, I will see him and enjoy the evening. I will bare my belly and may end up where I ended up with John (I have convinced myself that was the reason, it’s sunk in and stayed as self-blame). He may think it’s horrid and become turned off. Or not. If that’s the case, I will wait til he asks me out again. I feel like I have a better handle on Mike than I did on John.

We shall see.

Oh – and there it is – a text from him checking on my commute and my arrival time to him. And a little Maroon 5 clip. He can be a little cute I suppose.

I will keep you posted.

Something Happened on the way to that Date

I got aggro enough with the John situation that I opened up a bunch of dating apps and swiped for about 24 hours – relatively recklessly. Not really paying much attention to anything except if I thought they were attractive.

I supposed I started on Saturday evening when I knew things were going sideways and stopped on Sunday evening. Mostly out of frustration. I knew senseless swiping had no merit. It was just a reaction to the rejection.

I agree that too much talking before a date has been the kiss of death for me in (I think) every case (except Tony). After I got over the swiping frenzy and calmed the fuck down, I stayed off the apps a few days while normal life took over.

I went back to the apps midweek, maybe on the commute home, and couldn’t believe the multiple matches and text I have received in the short time I was off. I guess there were a few worthwhile swipes in there after all! I was a bit worried there were too many conversations to start, so I chose 4/5 to write back to so I could see if they led anywhere. I also noticed that John had removed me from his Bumble matches. It irked me but what else would I expect?

There were some really good choices of men and conversation started well with 3. One asked for my phone number quickly so we moved to text. This was fine because I was traveling to my sisters for several days to help with wedding things.

That’s how things started with Mike. Very small conversation, not overly engaged because I was distracted, and we both seem relatively interested. He was handsome and hit 8/10 of my top criteria. I will tell you the two he didn’t hit a bit later.

We had a phone conversation and he got me laughing almost immediately. He was chatty, educated and often poked a bit of fun at himself. He was a nice guy. We agreed to make a date when I returned home Saturday. I was a bit worried I would be rushed and then over-tired, but it would be fun to go out and laugh. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have any preconceived notions or expectations. We didn’t over communicate. Things felt balanced and at ease. He was definitely interested.

More importantly, something else was happening. The strangest feelings have been coming up since the date with John and I love it.

I feel like I’m ready to play again. It felt so good to flirt, make-out and have complete and uninhibited sex again. Good sex.

Damn, how I missed it

I definitely didn’t feel this immediately following him dumping me right quick, but this week it’s eeked back in and suddenly I just feel sexy.

Not like outward sexy looking – like sexy inside and I need to get it out. However, we know I’ve never been really good at casual sex so I don’t know how I’m going to go about getting back in the saddle again without my dance of rejection and depression.

I notice the feeling yesterday so when it came back today I paid a little more attention. I can feel my body craving touch and release. I have to get used to being naked and scarred. I felt awesome when I dressed for the date with John and now I was feeling it again getting ready for Mike.

It felt so good to at least feel sexy again.

I was looking forward to the date and had fun getting ready. He communicated he was a bit excited which I thought was cute.

I knew things were going my way when he arrived before me, secured a bar table and asked me what to order for my drink. This is exactly the type of date behavior I love. I saw him catch his breath as I walked towards him and was a little surprised that I caught him off guard – but he was, and he admitted later that he felt I was more beautiful in person. He wasn’t all googly eyed like Tony, or sexual like John, it was just a lovely kiss on the lips, hand slid to the small of my back and a hug that lasted maybe just a second too long. He had a great smile and bright eyes and no lack of topics to discuss.

We did get into ordering food quickly and he loved that I wanted to share (and you know how I love that!). We really asked a lot of menu questions, had a fabulous waiter and some great advice and decide on what to share. Our meal was perfect, the wine flowed and we chatted endlessly.

At one point when he stood for the bathroom, he came close and I asked him to kiss me. He was unsure about the PDA but I could tell he wanted to kiss so we had a short but lovely first kiss. The kiss on the way back lasted just a little longer. 😉

Soon the restaurant was empty, I was feeling pretty good and neither of us wanted the night to end. I don’t really recall all we spoke about, but it wasn’t heavy talk or history talk, it was just about life in general, a bit like old friends catching up. This was a nice feeling. But…Like talking too much before a date, this is something else I tend to do: let dates go on too long.

He was just so much fun and I guess I was feeling like he was a great way to get over the rejection from John. I wasn’t actually thinking about that at all, just in hindsight evaluating why I chose to invite him back to my home. So, yup, that’s what I did, brought him home to sit on the back deck with drinks – which is really one of my most favorite summer things to do.

We got settled on the deck and as I came out with the wine glasses he asked me what type of music I liked and started to play “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. Then he stood up and pretended he was singing it to me, extended his hand to offer me a dance, and we just danced and sang around my deck – an absolute first for me and so much fun!

All of this time I was drinking and I knew by now if I continued I was going to want to have sex. What caught me off guard was how baldy I wanted to have sex after being so worried with John. I didn’t feel that way with Mike, or I didn’t care. I don’t know which. I just know this had been a slow burn all evening. Something in my mind had clicked – I was going to have sex regardless of the outcome. My brain had already processed the risk of not hearing from him again and somehow pushed it off. I was more than willing to take the chance.

The sex was sooooo good. Way, way better than John because I felt like we were in perfect harmony and it never felt rushed or too heavy. It was just damn good sex. Like 5 or 6 times good sex. Once again I had a dress on so my dress Never even had to come off. I was able to mount him and ride him more than once, be taken from behind as well as lying on my back. The dress covered me. I have no idea if he saw or not. The alcohol pushed any inhibition to the back.

Sex and drinking. Drinking and sex. For hours on end. So much laughter. More singing and dancing. So much fun. Then we both realized he couldn’t drive home so I asked him to stay. My boys were in the house so this was delicate. It was 4:30am by this point and all their lights were off…:so we risked it.

I changed in the bathroom into a long T-shirt. I was pretty drunk by this point. More sex. The vibrator came out. His mouth was on my nipples…and not once did the thought of my belly cross my mind. I have no idea what he saw. My shirt had to be up, but the room was dark. I don’t know.

We slept a few hours and he crept out quietly before the boys woke. He had already said he wanted to see me again. He also repeated throughout the night “Best first date ever!” He left, I was hungover and happy, and fell back to sleep for a while.

When I woke a few hours later, with a very unhappy head, I wasn’t disappointed there was no text from him. I smiled, drink some water, took Advil and went to make coffee.

No sex hangover. No emotional hangover. I had a great night and I was fine with it.

I Realized I’m Just Super Frustrated

It took a day for my head to clear, but I realize I am just plain old angry and frustrated because of John.

Not at John.

There’s a huge difference there from my past behavior.

He was perfect on paper, we had a super fun night and it’s the best sex I’ve had since Tony. So what he wasn’t ready for more, he was just a jerk for not saying so sooner because he got caught up with the fun. I’m over it. It’s too bad and move on because there is nothing to dwell on.

But dwell I did. I wanted to figure out why was I obsessing. It occured to me that it wasn’t about him at all – it was about the idea of finally finding a good man for a relationship. My brain placed him squarely in the “absolute potential mate” bucket. The previous guys have been “let me test this out to see if he can be a potential mate, so far so good”. That’s what went wrong – I made a decision long before a decision was warranted.

Why? Because I know I want a partner now. I’m tired of being alone. I’m tired of being with married men. I haven’t had the experience post divorce of having a boyfriend. I realized I never had to do that walk of shame – I always knew where I stood the next morning when I was with a man. I want someone to talk to, someone I can confide in that loves me and wants to be there to support me. Friends are fine, but they are not a partner.

I want to feel the way Tony made me feel about myself with someone who is free to do what he pleases when he pleases. Overnights, weekends, road trips, family affairs and just watching a movie together. I just want a boyfriend already and it makes me nuts that I can’t find one. (Although let me say – even at this level of frustration I won’t date someone short, period).

This situation with John just brought my level of frustration to the top. I realized it when I was swiping like mad in the dating sites today – hoping “he” would pop up. My perfect man. Any man, that I found attractive, really. I felt the desperation. I caught myself. I got into a project at work that distracted me. Then I thought about why I was going through this cycle.

I’m glad my brain is more clear than it used to be and I known my meds are doing their job with reducing my emotional outbursts as well as clearing the cobwebs. When I thought about John, really thought it through, it didn’t matter anymore. Sex was really good, but not anything I would write home about. I enjoyed the actual date more than the sex – he was just fun to be around. I just wanted that feeling of being desired, feeling good about myself, and laughing out loud with a man – to continue. I was angry that it ended. But that has zero to do with John.

I did something yesterday that I’ve never done. I deleted him from every possible form of contact so I wouldn’t have that phone number handy for text or calls. He’s not blocked, but I doubt I ever hear from him again and that’s ok. I’m glad I removed any opportunity to reach out to him in the future.

I had a headache all afternoon from my frustration. So I plan to get home, relax and have a glass of wine. I have fallen into the pattern that Thursday is my off night for working out. I will meditate before bed, but that’s about it for Thursday. I’m going to sit on my deck and have my wine and maybe some Advil until it’s bedtime.

I may even swipe a little more slowly and keep making good choices.

Walk of Shame

I heard from John every minute he had WiFi in the air and as soon as he landed. He landed at 3pm after a 25 hour flight and we were due to meet at 7pm. I was feeling more nervous than anything because I wasn’t certain about him. I mean, there was nothing that rang alarm bells for me but it was the absence of red flags that caught me.

I kept thinking “could someone be so practiced at the chase that they would engage that way?” Generally speaking, after years of practice, I can tell when they are after sex. It’s always obvious. Nothing about John seemed obvious to me.

I got ready. I looked hot, probably the best hot date outfit I’ve ever worn! The good thing about it was that no one but me could get it off. Normally I wouldn’t wear panties either, but I knew I needed to practice a bit of moderation if there was any hope of a second date.

I arrived first and he was soon behind. The strange thing, for me, was that I wanted to kiss him immediately! I wanted to touch him and make sure he was real and there in front of me. He looked just like his photos, and he has a boyish charm. He is very educated, well spoken and an amazing conversationalist. We quickly agreed to eat at the bar rather than a table and he soon pulled me in for a delicious kiss. We shared our dinner, though he may have done that for me rather than what he prefers. I don’t eat much so I think once he realized that he was less concerned about sharing. Our conversation was exactly as it had been on the phone – easy, casual, engaging and charged with attraction. Mid-way through the date he couldn’t take his hands from me. His erection was obvious after each deep kiss. We both like PDA so this went well and nothing was uncomfortable.

The only thing I noticed, and believe me I was looking for what I kept thinking I missed, was he wasn’t overly engaged in my stories to hear then through the to end. He often had a comment or a similar situation to offer up. Even my adoption story – which is completely unique – had a John story to counter it. Seriously, there were no other missteps or obvious red flags.

And, by the way, I caught him adjusting himself as he turned and tried to do it discreetly. Proof that the Dick Adjustor date was just a used douche in disguise.

Anyway, dinner was lovely and he asked to take me to ice cream. The line was long and he was debating if he wanted to wait. In the meantime we found a dark corner and made out like crazy. It wasn’t frenzied on my behalf, I think more so on his, but it was lovely. I hadn’t kissed with this level of passion in a long time. It felt so good to be ignited again. His hands roamed under my dress and he moaned with appreciation. I suggested we get the ice cream and he agreed he needed a distraction to calm down.

The ice cream was fine, he even shared his (mine was just ok) and we had a little stroll. He then offered me a drink at the bar we were standing in front of or to go back to his apartment. I chose the apartment. I knew it was too late to drive home and I had two or three glasses of wine earlier. I really believed we could make the night without sex.

He had a nice, almost brand new apartment that was definitely a bachelor pad. He lives two hours away from his family and friends and had moved out of his marital house and to this location for a new job just about a year ago. You could tell he only hung his hat here and this wasn’t home. He took the new job for the title and I believe he has every intention to moving back to his home-town after a few years. There was a great outdoor patio that we could enjoy and he poured us some wine.

The talking and kissing continued and the wine flowed. The kissing turned into my panties coming down and his mouth on me, which in turn led to me unzipping his pants. I started to give him a blow job and then, ultimately, sat on his cock. The position was so good, and I’ve become so strong, that I was able to climax which surprised me! John is the smallest of any man I’ve ever been with. I wasn’t sure how this would go over for me. I feel bad for saying it, but he was smaller than what I considered average. He seemed to make up for lack of size with his motions. He was an excellent lover. The sex was fabulous. He picked me up and turned me around and took me from behind. His low, guttural sounds were so sexy.

I had managed to have sex with my clothes on. I thought I escaped the worst of it. But when he went back in more wine and came back out to me, he said “you know sex is supposed to be fully reciprocal and that’s how I like it – I want you to be pleased in every way, so why won’t you get undressed for me?” I said I was uncomfortable. Then he said “I saw the bandage so why don’t you just tell me?”

Cue the tears. Not loud messy ones but great big alligator tears just escaped and rolled down my face. Truly, I don’t recall what happened or what I said in enough detail. I know I said I was embarrassed of my scars from surgery (he had open heart surgery and pointed at his scar, which is a straight line and totally skin colored, not nearly the same as a hole in your belly). I believe I also said I thought if we didn’t have sex right away then it would give me a little time to adjust and I wouldn’t be worried it was because of the wounds that I wouldn’t see him again. He shook his head at this and said “did you really think I wouldn’t call again or see you on Sunday?” I don’t recall the rest. I had drank too much and was too upset. It wasn’t a long conversation and I ultimately popped up and offered him a solution “I will put on a big T-shirt”.

I went into the bathroom and came out in my long nightshirt. No panties. He liked this better but it still didn’t give his mouth access to my breasts. I was really stressed about my belly and breasts. My breasts have lost all their shape and just hang there like empty, deflated balloons and the scars are deep and still ugly and create two pouches of flesh on either side of them. I couldn’t get over this. Yes, I had been naked 3 times before with men, and drunk each time, but I didn’t care what those men thought since I didn’t see long term potential the same way I saw with John. I was really scared that a man who does CrossFit and mentions how important a thin and sexy body is to him, would find fault in my belly. It is ugly, I have to admit. And if I was in top facing him, I would be so far out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t ready for that on date one.

But he was. We had sex two more times that evening with my T-shirt on. I’m sure it rose but I had a skin colored big bandage on to cover the worst of it. He never did get to my breasts because I stopped him a few times.

We slept nicely together l, he held me a long time and we separated when it was too hot. I always felt him touching me and he was a great morning lover, all cuddles and then great sexy to follow. I did get on top of him and was surprised I came with a bit of effort, but he said he loved it and would come for me while I was in top – which he said is rare for him.

Now for the awkward part. I had to text my friend to ask how to do the walk of shame properly! I had never actually done it and didn’t even realize it! There was very little sex where I didn’t know what the morning would bring because I was generally with the man for more time. This was clearly a “get your stuff and get out moment”. Until he asked if I wanted coffee, which I accepted.

I sat to drink my coffee while he puttered around cleaning up. It was fascinating. I had never seen a man do this before either! Well, Tony did, but it was at my house. I started to feel like I really needed to get out of there so I changed, brushed my teeth and left. He asked me to let him know when I got home. Something felt off but I can’t quite describe it.

Dating

As the months have passed sitting in my own space (9 months now!) I have had some of my most self-aware moments. I’m not claiming sudden enlightenment, but I do have a new sense of self and can feel my strength and belief in myself coming back to life. I admit, this was a long time coming and it feels great.

As I’ve said before, there was no great epiphany, no secret sauce, no magic pill. I just did it. One step, one day, one molecule at a time. I practiced, failed, tried again and kept going. I paid attention to details I had let pass me by before. Small life details I didn’t have time to notice. I learned to take a deeper breath and hold it before exhaling. As this started to happen, as I took better care of my mind and body – I finally started to heal.

I am much more tentative than I have ever been in my life, I carry some fear around now. I am terrified of losing the tenuous grip I have on my new found sense of self. I am terrified of failing again. Believe it or not, I am hesitant to fall in love again. Maybe a little fear is good and will calm me down and perhaps make me a bit more kind and patient (two things that are not exactly strengths for me). Maybe I can label the fear as learning to be humble and demonstrating gratitude. I think this is something I need to work on.

As I’m sitting here thinking about where I am in my journey and where I’m heading, it occurred to me that dating has fallen off my priority list. It was never a “need to do,” but it’s always been “want to do.” Now it’s “I don’t actually care at the moment if I do or don’t, it will happen in its own time.”

I think I put it out into the universe after that last bad date. I was chastising myself for choosing to go out with someone who had red flags because it just showed me I was more interested in the going out part than the person themselves. I have plenty to keep me busy that I don’t have to waste dates. So a few weeks or about a month has passed where I didn’t engage in any relevant way on the dating sites. Sure, I looked and swiped right a couple times, but never really found what I was looking for. It became background chatter.

I still want a partner and I still believe I will be even better to myself if I have partner – I am certain I am made to be in relationship rather than on my own.

The difference is now I feel a sense of calm that my future partner will come to me when it’s meant to be. Knowing that is frustrating because I wish it was sooner rather than later, but I do believe once I’m healed I will be putting out the right vibes to attract the right partner.

I know what I want, I had it with Tony. I know I can’t recreate that, but I can certainly look for some of his hallmark characteristics. He definitely was a bit of magic sauce, the way he loved me and made me feel about myself. I may never get over the lingering heartbreak and sadness of losing him, but I can put it firmly behind me and look forward to what’s right for me. I now know I can do this.

I’ve met a couple men over the past months that ignited a little spark in me one way or the other. Rather than get depressed that those men didn’t work out, I’m taking the lessons and bringing them forward. I know natural banter is really important, as are decent social/dating skills. I know they have to really be into me and demonstrate it. I know they need to be tall (enough) and handsome (enough) to rev my engine. When these gears click, I slide easily into the next gear without thought. I can feel the difference between a natural and easy conversational cadence and one that requires me to make too much effort to sustain over time. I know I need the man to have children because parenting is supremely important to me. I know he needs to be invested in his job. I can find out all these things pretty quickly – and when they are missing, I don’t try and go looking for them anymore. I simply exit and move to the next, or as I’ve done more recently, just take a little break for a bit.

I had neglected to realize how important physical activity was to many men but I’ve rectified that in my own life and now even look for someone that is more active.

I still have my long, long list of requirements but I’m trying not to use it as my shopping list and instead stick to the above initial cues. If we can have a date where I feel good about our banter and intellectual and physical connection, then I’m all good. It’s been slow going, but I’m now ok with that.

Relationship Requirements – Refresh

*Note my original list was published in 2016 (I even included original comments) and I adjusted it today with some comments as I have been mulling over “Tony’s Magic”

I spent a lot of time compiling a list of all the “requirements” I had for the perfect mate.

Needless to say, my list was long. I realize this list is ridiculously long, but I truly can’t find an edit option.

1. A man who can think for himself
2. Strong shoulders (not in the physical sense though this is my favorite physical attribute)
3. Trust
4. Honesty
5. Respect
6. Calm communicator/great listener/sound advice giver (challenges me)
7. Not a complainer
8. Handsome and tall, generally I don’t like bald
9. Sexy and sexual
10. Intelligent and well-educated
11. Above 44 and under 55
12. Interested in me, responsive, caring
13. Witty sense of humour, can elicit belly laughs from me including in bed; gentle teasing and banter in both directions
14. Dominant
15. Gracious
16. Emotional generosity
17. Kind
18. Solid career/ambition/white-collar/makes money

19. Wants to spend his money, doesn’t worry about it all the time – definitely NOT cheap
20. Has traveled and has a desire to see the world, even better if they are more well-traveled than me.

21.  Puts me on a pedestal and is the wind beneath my wings – I know he loves and adores me

In addition to my own criteria, there is an article out there called “18 qualities every alpha female needs in a boyfriend” and you can see √ where most of these cross over to my list above:

  1. He someone you can tease and can tease you
  2. He challenges you
  3. He doesn’t get jealous
  4. He isn’t waiting on you but has his own plans
  5. He doesn’t air your dirty laundry
  6. He knows how to deal with your bad moods
  7. When he apologizes he really means it
  8. He’s moving at the same speed as you
  9. He doesn’t belittle you but he doesn’t put you on a pedestal either (don’t agree with the way this is worded, I want someone to hold up my pedestal!)
  10. He is someone who teaches but never lectures
  11. He makes you laugh
  12. He will call you out when you need to be called out
  13. He wants to be the wind beneath your wings (I call this holding my pedal steady)
  14. He isn’t the life of the party but is always there is you need to be carried home (don’t agree with this, I like the life of a party)
  15. His opinions aren’t irrational they are backed up
  16. He has dreams as big as yours (this isn’t hard as I don’t really have specific dreams)
  17. He knows when to drop it and when to address it
  18. He is a great listener but also expects to be heard

So when I looked at these two long lists again, I didn’t find anything that needed to be removed that was originally part of what I deemed important in a relationship, but I did adjust a few very minutely.  I could add more after Tony, but the goal isn’t to recreate Tony.

I think I have to add ONE I can’t seem to get right:

Must be single

So, why do I now say “Tonys Magic?”  Because, other than not being married, that bastard managed to hit every one of those things plus others I didn’t even know I cared so deeply about (like his ability to be such a good father that I learned from him and trusted in his parenting skills).

The hard truth is – I am deathly afraid I can never have that magic again.

What I need to reconcile is – maybe I DON’T ever – maybe he was THE ONE.  That sucks, but perhaps its the truth.  Either way, if its true or not, I can’t have him, he doesn’t want me and I must move on.  Period.