Breaking Quarantine Virginity

I think it was a big deal to decide to have the first post-quarantine kiss with Darren, but I felt pretty confident he was safe. We had spent quite a bit of time talking about where we had been, what we had done and what we were doing to remain safe.

I was probably less cautious the second time with Rich. I certainly didn’t pay enough attention to small alarm bells going off because I was too focused on the “what’s next” instead of the “right now”. That is the first time I thought forward in an effort to remove some of the things I didn’t like about Rich immediately. I allowed myself to ignore some warning signals in favor of moving forward.

It was a mistake that left me baffled to be honest.

Rich lived about 2.5 hours north of me. His profile was equal parts interesting, funny and appealing. One photo (which is always the photo that is MOST accurate) wasn’t particularly attractive to me, but all the others showed a handsome, fit and active man who was 52 years old.

Rather than tell every detail I thought I would split the post into three parts: what happened, what I ignored, and what I was thinking along the way that caused me to ignore the things I ignored!

We met on Bumble in early July and text, talk and video chat until meeting in person about the 3rd week of July. Conversation started easily and at a steady but not overdone pace but really heated up to much more protracted and intense conversation the week leading up to our meeting. He made no qualms about driving down to see me and knowing he was turning around to head home the same day. Initially we planned lunch but it was a 100° day and stormy so the humidity was deadly. I invited him to my home. We enjoyed conversation and moved to kissing. It really heated up and we ended up having sex a few times. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either. He didn’t spend the night and we made immediate plans to see one another again. He would drive back down and spend the night. This entire time, Rich made it immensely clear how he was attracted to me and why. He seemed very excited and hopeful about our connection. He felt very open and genuine to me. I never doubted he was really, really into me. I told him about it surgery before sex and he wasn’t fussed with my new scars. The second time he came we went it to a really lovely and fun dinner and then continued the fun at home. The sex wasn’t much better than the first time, but again, ok. In the morning, we shared coffee on the deck before he left. Conversation remained normal for a few days and then turned to intermittent text with no discussion of a phone call or when we would see one another. He continued to indicate his interest in text but the comments seemed to be contrived now. There were no more phone calls. There were no requests to see me again. After a couple days of this, assuming he was just busy with work, I asked when I would see him again and made a proposal. We had one phone call which didn’t go very well, he just wasn’t engaged and called at a bad time for me. Eventually his text became less and less over the next few days. By Sunday Aug 2, one month after we started speaking and 2 weeks since we first met, he sent one strange text in the morning which I didn’t reply to and I’ve not heard from him since.

That’s the summary of what happened. Ghosted in only one months time for no apparent reason.

Here’s what I ignored – and when I told my friends all of this they looked at me like I had two heads for ignoring so much:

He looked older than 52 in his profile: he was 58. How I figured it out: I couldn’t reconcile his timeline of marriage, kids ages and subsequent relationships. So I asked him directly. Ok, everyone lies about age but 6 years is A LOT. The lie: “is my age wrong?” he claims he didn’t know his age was incorrect on his profile. Oh, come on.

He said he was married once. He wasn’t, he was married twice. How I found out: a friend found an article about him and within the article it indicated he was married with 4 kids while I knew he only had 3 (haven’t met anyone yet who lies about the # of kids they have!). When I asked about how the reporter got it wrong, he then told me he was married for a short time and she had a daughter. The lie: “I was only married for a year or so and it doesn’t really count. No one wants to know a man is married twice.”

He realized we were no longer connected on Bumble. In all honesty, I meant to pause the app. I got distracted by a new feature and deleted all my matches and conversations, including his. How I found out: he asked, supposedly days after he saw I wasn’t there. The lie: “I went into the app for your photos while I was driving down to see you for our second date”. You go into the app for one reason after 3 weeks of constant communication, to check your messages from your matches. He had received plenty of photos of me by that point.

One night he disappeared the entire evening until the morning. We had been chatting normally until 4pm. I sent 3 text after that which went green (iMessages are blue) and I knew he wasn’t out of range. I called and it went to VM. The lie: “I got a new phone and it took all night to transfer the data and phone # over.” How many of you have gotten new phones where it took a whole afternoon/night to transfer over? Never. I need to add why this is so suspicious, it was the day before he was due to come down and not hearing from him for 20+hours (because he didn’t text first thing in the am, it was after noon) made me assume he ghosted me. The funny thing here is he said “I would never ghost you, you must know that’s not my style!” Funny that.

Then there are the things that really didn’t sit well with me:

On his first trip down I realized too late I never have him my address and sent it over. He said he had already googled me and found it. This sort of bothered me but I know we all google each other. It just felt weird that he never asked.

Every significant relationship (he had 3 other than his two marriages) he ended because the woman couldn’t make the decision to move it forward to more (or marriage) after living with them. He claimed he tried everything he could so it wasn’t his fault. At first I felt he had a lot of healthy relationship experience but I began to look at this differently as time went on. One was a narcissist, one just didn’t want to leave her town and hour away and he didn’t want to move to that town, another one was hyper focused on work and wouldn’t talk about the future, and another got pregnant without his consent. Then I found out some doozies: his daughter was the product of the woman who wanted more and he didn’t yet he kept having unprotected sex with her and eventually she got pregnant. She was also extremely volatile and always threatening him and taking away his child. His first divorce was so contentious that he was arrested multiple times. The layers of complexity were brushed away as unimportant details of past relationships.

The first 2/3 weeks we spoke and video chat it was green text (indicating android phone) and Bumble video chat. One time he said let’s face time and I laughed and said he couldn’t do that with an android phone. He then admitted he was using a burner number the entire time and gave me his real phone #. He claimed he had a few women just keep trying to contact him so this felt better to protect his information. The lie: you can google him and his real phone # comes up. I just didn’t catch this until after this happened. He has a very public company in real estate. This is the first and only time in 6 years I’ve met a man using a burner number.

He said he dated 175 women before he found his last relationship that last 4 years. 175 in a year! I looked back and in my best year I dated 35 men. He was looking for his formula. This is why he was still checking his Bumble matches and why he disappeared at the same time every day.

The morning we woke he was very, very ready to have sex and made no moves to do so. Eventually I asked and he declined. I made a silly comment about rejection and got out of bed to start the coffee. Later he told me he didn’t reject me and it had nothing to do with me. That he was trying to change the way he approached dating and not get so hung up on the sex because it made him fall faster and he was already falling for me. I wanted to believe this but it didn’t feel right. Rejection is rejection and we had already had sex multiple times the day before. The way he said the words sounded like a script from a book if that makes sense. Don’t let her think you’re gaslighting her.

He had already gone on multiple first dates during Covid. This should have given me more pause than it did but he claimed there was no connection and therefore no kissing or sex.

He claimed every relationship he ever started had began with first date sex. He spoke about his sex drive often once we addressed the conversation yet he had a little trouble in the beginning. He said he hadn’t had sex in a year after the last breakup and was really waiting to meet the right person to start his next relationship before having sex. If these were “lines” to convince me to sleep with him they had no impact on my decision to be a ho or not! When I type them out they sound like lines. Lol.

Wasn’t all of those small white lies enough to equate to one big red flag that said stop? Nope. Here’s why not:

He had a lot of attractive qualities that I liked for the long run. In particular: he was very fit and active, he liked to socialize like I did, he seemed like a good Dad, he seemed to have a good track record with relationship, he was interested in me and made it known by his communication (that’s a big one for me), he was single, clever, an entrepreneur, and looking for a LTR.

I was never especially attracted to him but when I looked at him I thought “I might grow to like his appearance more.” His body was fucking fine for a 58 year old man, better than most men I’ve been with. Like, really really fine. Damn. Lol. Anyway, I neglected to see I was dating myself with laughter – he wasn’t particularly funny and I carried most conversations once he learned most of what he wanted to know about me. This was suddenly and glaringly obvious on our last phone call.

I sort of knew from the moment we didn’t have morning sex that things were heading downhill. He didn’t let on the first few days, but it soon became apparent. Since I’m trying to listen more and talk less, I caught on to his change in conversational style pretty quickly.

In hindsight I realize Rich was much more contrived than I gave him credit for. I didn’t put stock into his many comments about me being the perfect match for him and his excitement in connecting with me. (See, growth here people!). I know it’s because I never got the butterflies with him – but he said all the right things and stuff I normally would kill to hear.

The strangest thing of all. The last text he sent was “early day for you running.” At 7am on a Sunday. I hadn’t spoken about waking early to run and I double checked that I never posted anything like on social media. At first it stopped me in my tracks like how could he have known. I never answered that text and he hasn’t text since.

So much for never ghosting next, Rich. Cause you’re not that type.

I was a little butt hurt the first week, sure. Mostly because it was pretty drastic that he just stopped texting entirely. Then I just reminded myself that when a man is interested they pursue. They ALWAYS pursue. I recall when I first started dating that I just didn’t believe this. This is a fucking fact.

I do wonder why I am having so much rejection and don’t date anyone longer than a month and generally the ones I choose to sleep with are the ones who ghost me. This fucks with my head for sure. In this case I look back and don’t see anything I did wrong. I’m certain Rich was playing a broad field and lying, I just ignored obvious signs.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

The Big Quarantine Lesson

Before anyone else says it, let me say it first – I should have learned this sooner and saved myself a whole lot of heartbreak.

I wrote that George and I played a question and answer game that forced deep conversation. It opened doors that normally would never be opened as quickly in any relationship. It exposed raw thoughts and feelings. It highlighted both the individual and couple strengths and weaknesses. It is not a game to be played with anyone you are no serious about having a relationship with.

George was serious. I was not. I was pretty sure George was going to pursue and I was going to flirt. I was initially in the position of power here.

Until the game highlighted things about George that reminded me why I loved Tony. That fucking game. But I can’t just blame the game, it’s the way I played it. That was my big mistake.

Now, it doesn’t matter whether or not I played the game right or wrong in terms of having a dating relationship with George. I know I played it wrong for having a dating relationship with ANYONE. And that’s where the life lesson was found.

There were multiple categories and questions within each category. Some were harmless, some serious, some sexy and some flirty. But some were deep, like really deep getting to know you stuff.

The questions and answers themselves don’t really matter. Nor does it matter what George and I said to one another or how it ended between us (spoiler alert: covid made the decision, not us). What matters was when George said this can’t go on and I realized how I was going to feel about that (because we had created a false sense of deep intimacy) I had to take a good hard look at myself and understand why I was feeling so anxious and depressed over a man I didn’t initially even want (I can still stare at his photo and wonder if I would be attracted and find myself guessing not) and had never met. I lie in bed for a good two days really feeling sorry for myself. Quarantine did not help this overwhelming sense of depression and rejection. I really took this rejection harder than I should have.

George did say if it wasn’t for covid and we had an opportunity to meet, he would want to start talking again with the hopes of potentially building something. On the other hand, he thinks he’s too needy for a long distance relationship so chances are it’s not the right relationship for him. He never said he didn’t want me, didn’t like me – none of that. I can say, in hindsight, that we are not compatible for many reasons which led to him needing to take a break from “us” anyway. He did the right thing I just had a hard time acknowledging it at the time. My vision has become much more clear with introspection.

So here’s what I did wrong when I played the game – I threw out careless answers to shock because I didn’t think I would ever be interested in George. For instance: what is something you would never do again? My answer: go to a swingers club.

Another one: is it ok to have sex on the first date? Me: Abso-fucking-lutely!!

Shocker. George is basically a prude. 😳😂 He could never quite get past those two answers. He did not like sexual banter in general and I had to pull back on this because it’s a go to for me when I don’t care where the conversation will lead.

Does it matter that I shocked George in particular? Nah. This is about what I learned for my long game. When I thought about what I did – I realized I need to keep my mouth shut. I do not need to shock anyone. I don’t even need to tell anyone any of my personal business so quickly. Especially sexual. I play all my cards early on. I run my mouth. I over-share. I want the man to know everything right away. Let’s jump into the deep end! That has to stop. Like immediately.

Even, perhaps, maybe never share some of the things I’ve done. Do we really need to tell the intimate details of our past? Is that a requirement? Jury’s out on this because I like the transparency but maybe it is the right move.

Ok, lesson one. Learned.

George is very polite. He doesn’t argue or disparage. He tries to understand and appreciate differences in people. He values shared activities with his partner. He values compatibility that isn’t solely based on that white hot chemistry. So much so he won’t have sex until the 3rd date night matter what.

How the game played out here – the question was “what is a bucket list item to do with your partner?” George’s answer was to visit every national park. My immediate reaction: I’m not doing that. Why? Why would I have to stomp on his bucket list item with my own opinion? Because I didn’t think I cared about a relationship with him, that’s why. But what it taught me is that I need to keep my mouth shut. Sure, that’s not up my alley. But a better reply would have been: tell me what interests you about doing that? It opens an opportunity to learn more about the person. I just shut him down and disappointed him. And I didn’t do it just once, I did it a few times with a few things. I think in my head I’m trying to be honest and open about my dislikes, but I realize I can accomplish the same by taking a different path. I could add it’s not something that ever interested me before so the jury would be out on if I would enjoy it or not but I was open to new experiences. Perhaps it doesn’t apply to everything, but it can certainly apply to many.

I also learned, through conversation related to the game questions, the types of activities he likes to do with a partner and I was very attracted to this. I realized it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve done anything shared with a man. I’ve literally had one active date ever since divorce. I don’t think my opinion has changed that a first date should not be a shared activity, I prefer a drink, but it made me realize how much I wanted someone to share activity with. When I thought about the men I’ve dated, it was a quality I had long been attracted to and not acted upon for one reason or the other. It made me realize that date 2 should be a shared activity. Of course quarantine compounds the feeling of needing to get out and be active.

Lesson two: learned.

George is by no means some perfect man I let slip through my fingers. He’s set in many of his own ways and was looking for me to fit that mold and ignoring some of the disparity in favor of the things he liked about me. But he is a kind man who was willing to talk about his feelings and share his thoughts. I know for sure I appreciate this in a man. He is communicative and open. He is funny. He is really smart. A dad. He’s working hard to lose weight and be toned and fit and he’s doing a great job. He checked a lot of boxes (like almost every single one) but at the end of the day, he really isn’t my type. The game highlighted this as well and made me think to go back to my list of requirements and evaluate how I actually interpret them because “on paper” George did check the boxes. In actuality, maybe those boxes don’t define what’s truly compatible for me.

Lesson three is an activity for me: go back and think differently about my requirements and how they really impact if someone will be compatible for me or not.

Bottom line, I learned I need to go into dating a little less aggressively. No one needs to know all my darkest dirtiest secrets right away. And when I do choose to reveal them, it shouldn’t be in throw away comments, ever. I need to be more open about a potential partners likes until it actually happens – again, it doesn’t need to be solved right away in the first few weeks. When I think about how I’ve dated, I’ve put my best physical foot forward: I look good, I laugh, I’m smart, I’m sexual etc – but I don’t think I’m actually playing enough of the dating game by keeping my cards close to my chest until the time is right. I don’t mean to create a false impression of myself, just a less obvious one. I need to hold back more, give less, and be less invested. I have always been an all-in person, every time. That’s how I’ve gotten hurt so many times.

Before I had any in-person dates, I put these words into action. I looked for the right kind of connection and tried to focus less on immediate physical chemistry (at least from text and phone). I focused on the persons background, similarities, lifestyle and all the things that would make us compatible. I listened more. I asked more questions and I offered up a whole lot less about myself. I edited information about my past relationships, health and career – not lying l, just not giving up all the details right from the start. For my career, I learned to say “I have had an amazing and robust career and I’m looking forward to the job market opening back up for my next opportunity ” instead of diving into why I’m not working and how I feel about it because EVERYONE thinks they have the answer for how I should be recreating myself and chasing what’s next. For my past relationships I learned to say “Ive had two longer relationships which I valued but the details are best saved for in person conversation.” And, most importantly, I entirely avoid the sexual flirt and innuendo. If a man goes down that path with a gentle innuendo I can give a gentle one back, but don’t allow any lines to be crossed. I can tell almost immediately when this frustrates a man and it shows me where his mind and probably his intentions fall (however some are better at this game and you can’t always tell).

While George and I were not meant to be more than friends, that game and our interaction (and my mind being so quiet during quarantine) really opened my eyes for how I want to show up go forward. It’s time I grow up and realize I’m looking to play a long game here – and need to find a man who can do that with me.

I Enjoy Dating Myself: When a Sense of Humor is a Requirement on a Date

Here’s a big lesson I’ve learned: I know how to date myself and I have to say, I’m a pretty fun date. I bring laughter to any date. Even the ones where I’m watching paint dry.

I’ve selected one too many men that check lots of boxes but continue to miss a critical one – the funny box. I’ve tried one too many times to date a guy who just isn’t funny and I am always let down.

What baffles me the most is that everyone, and I do mean everyone, says laughter is important. Yet so few men can really illicit a belly laugh from me. I mean, they don’t even seem to try. But I can keep them rolling on the floor with my stories. I’m so good at a funny story that I can entertain myself. After all, I already know all the punchlines. I can carry an entire date. And that, my friends, is how I’ve made many mistakes. I want the laughter so badly that I sometimes ignore I’m laughing at myself.

I can also talk to a wall. Now, this is a learned behavior after years and years of corporate training presenting to large groups. I can talk about anything long enough to engage the party I’m speaking to. When I’m at work I know how to read the room. Similarly, I can also read each man I pre-screen yet I ignore the fact he doesn’t make me laugh. Why? Maybe because I used to believe some people need time to warm up. If that’s the case, I’ve now also realized that person probably isn’t for me. I know for certain I need a more gregarious man. A man who can be funny right from text. And it happens often enough so I know it’s very possible.

Funny without sexual innuendo. Funny without sarcasm. Funny without low brow humor. Just the right turn of phrase or words to put a smile on my face. Sometimes taking something I just said and gently teasing. Sometimes self deprecating. But funny comes across in text despite what anyone claims to the contrary. If it’s there, in text then it follows in the phone conversation in spades. It also follows that the date will be filled with laughter as well.

When I look back, this has 100% accuracy for me. It doesn’t mean every date is a success or the man is a match. But if he’s funny from text and phone he will be able to make me laugh in person despite if I am attracted to him or not. Scott is funny. Even though I’m not attracted to him I still laugh with him often. He is just funny. George is funny. Even though we never met, he can get a solid laugh from me through text and on the phone. Mike, Dan, Tony etc all very funny men. My x, while his humor is mostly unappealing to me in my maturity, is still very funny. Thinking back to the first man I slept with, Dan, he made me cry with laughter – and still does to this day when he reaches out.

I have to stop dating men I don’t find funny. I have to stop giving them way to long to crack a joke and make me laugh.

I’ve really been debating my own list of requirements as I grow older and think I’ve tried enough to let this one slide. Laughter has become a non-negotiable. I believe I’m so lonely I’ve allowed some of those other check boxes to take the place of this one but I know I can’t live without laughing hysterically the rest of my life. I don’t want to keep dating myself. I want to date someone who is funny. Period.

Dating in the Time of Covid pt 2

We are all caught up with my dates pre Covid and during quarantine, so what changed? We are not exactly out of our state quarantine, we have many restrictions in place, but luckily I live in one of the few states that is currently marked safe. We may have been the worst at one point, but now we have all kids of travel restrictions – we want to keep people out!

My time in the hospital was pretty hard. I wasn’t able to eat or drink and I was mostly in a lot of pain and on heavy narcotics. No visitors were allowed so my company consisted of the nurse and doctor visits (many who often stayed to chat). It leaves a lot of time in one’s own head.

My conversations with the doctors and nurses change my opinion about how I was living in fear around Covid. I do not dispute how dangerous the virus is and can be, but I have chosen to try to begin living more carefully. For me, that included dating again. When I started speaking / texting men on the apps, I was surprised how many had been dating all during quarantine. Some safely, and many not so safely! Ultimately, I had to decide who I was going to trust to date. I think I have made good decisions so far, but absolutely was caught out by a narcissist. He gets his own post.

I have matched with some men who still don’t want to text or speak, they want to meet immediately. I didn’t want to do this before Covid, but this is absolutely out of the question now. Besides meeting someone I am potentially incompatible with and wasting my time, there is an actual safety issue, even if we are in public and socially distant. I just don’t want to take the risk, it’s not worth it to me. Still, I have had more than one man come after me for not taking risks, not being spontaneous, and one even went as far to say I was controlling because I had to have things my way by establishing compatibility first. I’m just surprised how many men outright want to meet after one text, not establishing any form of compatibility and then get angry when I ask to chat some more, despite stating I’m not interested in being a pen pal either. It’s a hard no for me if they are even willing to do that.

I did manage to have a few safe dates. A quick recap:

First Date: Isn’t this terrible – I can’t even recall his name. He was a nice guy, our text was super easy. We had a quick phone call that went well and he had an underlying sense of humor. The first red flag: he hadn’t dated in some time or even have much dating experience. We had a bunch of things in common so it was worth meeting. We met at an outdoor restaurant in the daytime. I was instantly not attracted upon meeting him. His photos we’re taken at very good angles, and he was one of the rare few that looked worse in person. The conversation was too serious, with little to no laughter and I was simply disinterested. We enjoyed a glass of wine and a short walk around the block, but I was home within 2 hours. I was happy to be out in the sunshine feeling somewhat normal outside my home, even if everyone was socially distant and masked. For a first outing, it was fine. I let him know by text the next morning that I didn’t think we were a good match. He didn’t respond and deleted me from Bumble immediately. I understand. Getting that text sucks, but I hate when someone doesn’t have the courtesy to be stand up human and do the same for me, and many just don’t.

Darren: Another easy match by text and he lived in my town which was a first. We spoke by phone and hit it off. I should have seen the disparity in styles when we were trying to find a local place to meet and he was unhappy with every choice I made without saying why. He kept going back to the same two places which I was clear I didn’t want to go because they were on very busy streets and in our town, which I just wasn’t comfortable with because my kids friends would most likely be working at these two places. I finally invited him over to my back deck. The first date went well enough, I wasn’t super attracted to him but he was appealing enough and I felt he could grow on me. We chatted easily but I did notice there was no laughter unless I was making a joke or telling a funny story (I am going to write a post about this – humor is no simple thing). We had a nice kiss goodnight and agreed to meet again. The second date came just couple days later and he made a fabulous proposition to bring lobster and shrimp to the my deck for dinner. Everything started off quite the same, easy conversation, shared smiles. But the evening turned at some point when he needled me about a few topics and I grew more heated than I should have. It wasn’t as if he actually disagreed with my opinion as much as he wanted to continue to force an opposite opinion. I knew by the end of the evening neither of us much liked the other. I wrote in the morning to thank him for the date and he replied to me with a polite “I don’t think we are a match” text. We wished each other well.

Lew: there were many red flags with Lew. Too many. He was a widower of about 10 years with no long term relationships within that time. He worked from home. He kept talking about sex even after I asked him not to. Then it became innuendo which was more irritating. He did apologize each time and said he would try and do better. When I asked about his friends he said they were all married and rarely if ever went out with just the boys. When I asked about his activities or travel the answer was always the same: I don’t but I would if I had the right partner. This was a man who had convinced himself that his life hadn’t moved forward due to his lack of finding the right woman – and that woman needed to have a high sex drive. I didn’t learn all of this before I met him – he happened to live on the way up to my sisters so we met for a quick drink. He was better looking in person and nicely dressed. The date was stale. We didn’t laugh. Conversation was too serious. I was glad it was a hard stop at an hour since I had to get on the road. He was anxious to see me again because I checked whatever boxes he had particularly the physical appearance, attraction and intellect ones. It was too obvious he was placing too high a value on the physical chemistry – and I understood. I used to do the same thing and work hard to try and get over that even now. Later that evening I sent the text to decline meeting again and he didn’t answer and deleted me from Bumble immediately.

Rich: now here was promise. Finally. Rich gets his own post because there’s a whole story here. I still haven’t figured out what happened and I’m highly unlikely to ever know why but he ghosted me after a month of speaking and two dates.

Matt: oh what a cutie Matt is. I really adore him. Problem is he lives 600 miles away in Michigan! We met on line just after Rich and I met online so we’ve been speaking for about a month via text now. We are quite similar and attracted in photos and text. He loves the flirt. He also loves to send a cock shot. He doesn’t even try to call which irks me and then I remind myself there is zero point in attempting to move this relationship beyond what it is: a light flirtatious text boyfriend. This does take willpower on my part not to push for me (despite knowing it’s fruitless, I still get irked, I’m working on this). If he was genuine he would call and not make excuses for it. I no longer discount the possibility of a long distance relationship, but that needs to work on both sides. He gets the hall pass for sexting because it’s light, fun and harmless. I never send dirty photos and he never asks. We talk about his life mostly, he doesn’t ask a whole lot of questions. He says good morning every day and good night every night and checks in throughout the day. He’s lonely, I’m lonely and that’s pretty much it. I’m sure it ends when one or the other of us meet someone to date.

That’s it. We are all caught up til today. Many men are much more willing to travel for relationship than before (unless they live in the city, that hasn’t changed – they are too locked into city life). I have to be cautious about how far my matches are because I don’t know what I want in terms of distance but I don’t rule it out. I suppose a couple things happened during quarantine – people are working from home for the most part everyone has more flexibility and single people realized just how lonely they are without relationship. I’ve been surprised at how common this theme is – many men didn’t have their children with them or have adult children and hadn’t seen them for some time. They also lost their gyms. If they didn’t live in a home they suddenly found themselves very bored and alone and struggling to keep their time filled. I wonder how long this will last?

Getaway

I haven’t been writing because the truth is there’s just nothing going on. And when I mean going on – not that I don’t keep busy – but my brain feels empty. I feel a bit like I’m disappearing if that can be a thing.

I’m still feeling sorry for myself for all the same reasons prior to the holiday. I ended up so very sick before Christmas that I almost cancelled. The apathy was so strong and layering in a nasty sinus infection made me just lose interest. I was surprised at myself, but that’s where I landed. The apathy created a hole I couldn’t fill. I was feeling like no one really cared what I did or how the holidays went. It didn’t feel important. When I’m not feeling loved I just want to disappear into myself and be left alone – which simply makes it worse, I know that, but that’s what happens.

I ultimately had to convince myself that I would regret not doing all the normal Christmasy things so I found the energy to be present and do the things. I feel sad that the woman who took such joy in these things wasn’t around. A little death, if you will, for the old me. I was there but not in spirit. I’m don’t even think anyone noticed and just assumed I was sick.

Without a doubt I know I need attention. I’m not getting it. Not from my kids. Not from my friends. No partner. No job. A total lack of attention coming my way. It just compounds how crappy I feel. I stay as connected as possible to my Peloton groups because I do get a certain amount of attention there. I’m developing new relationships that start virtually but which I can continue IRL. It doesn’t replace my true long term friendships but it does create a sense of belonging for me. There’s a part of me that is saying “this is a false sense of belonging, you can’t belong to society virtually”. There’s another part of me that says “who the fuck cares, it makes you feel good where you have nothing and no one else”. I don’t know which side of my brain is even right at the point so I do what feels good. It’s a bit like blogging I suppose. Here’s my life in writing and some people interact with me creating connection.

Anyway, not even the reason I started this post. I think you will be proud of me regarding dating. I know I have finally gained a little control over myself. Maybe without all the stressors and pressures of real life I can more clearly see the shit my subconscious has done to me with dating and I’m able to put Trixie on complete lockdown. Not having a feeling of desperation is a relief frankly.

I shut down the dating apps right after Halloween and maybe before Thanksgiving. Somewhere in that period after the last date I had sympathy sex. It wasn’t easy because I needed my ego to be stroked over the holidays and wasn’t able to have that from a partner, even if they were temporary or incompatible partners. In any case, I succeeded in staying off until last week.

I had met Dan around Halloween and we’ve been on a few dates. He doesn’t live here so I’m at his mercy for travel. We already agreed there was nothing more or less to our interactions than enjoying one another. His lack of communication still aggravates me but I generally get over it as quickly as it comes. He shows zero interest until he can meet me and then makes plans. When I’m with him he’s totally focused. We have a fun time. The sex is really good. His cock is literally perfection. There is no depth to our connection.

I caved against my better judgement and asked him what he was doing for NYE hoping he would ask me to join him so I didn’t have to be alone. He originally thought it was a good idea and then decided he would be home (or rather available) with his (older) children. However, he did tell me he was traveling just after the new year and asked me to join him on a short vacation before his work event. I agreed.

So here I sit in the sun by the pool after a weekend of sex with him. He is here for a week and I chose to arrive early Saturday and leave Tuesday. That seemed like enough time to spend with a stranger I wasn’t interested in cultivating a further relationship with.

It’s definitely not easy for me to interact at arms length. I want the romance and silly engagement a love interest brings. But I KNOW that’s not what this is or what it ever will be so I keep reminding myself not to attempt to solicit it from him. I am certainly operating in a strange space. There’s no hand holding, cuddling and giggling. There’s a little of it, of course, but it’s not the constant engagement you get when someone really likes you. There’s a huge part of me that keeps thinking “why don’t you like me MORE?!” That’s the part that wants to see what I can do to engage him more. My common sense has prevailed and I haven’t done any needy moves at all. Not once. That’s why I think you would be proud of me. No tricks. No ulterior motives. I give back what I’m getting. We engage nicely, we laugh together, have really good conversation and we like to drink together. It leaves me wanting more but I think what stops me is I simply know I don’t want more from HIM. It’s a little hard at moments to not be sad I can’t have a normal dating relationship, then I remind myself that he likes me enough to have invited me to spend time in a beautiful resort, all paid for by him, and there’s nothing wrong with where I am right now. This is ok. My person will come.

I can be mostly at ease with him and just talk about whatever I want. I don’t have to worry about how I’m perceived in terms of keeping the relationship. In that respect it’s a bit easier because I’m not always thinking around the corner. I’m just enjoying the time. On the other hand, I can’t be the person I am in relationship that I really like – I like that girl who fawns over her partner and has love in her eyes. I like that connection, the attention and appreciation. I can’t even leave my eyes open during sex, looking into his eyes is just weird. Feels wrong. So I keep them shut, which also feels wrong but it’s the only way I can immerse myself into the feeling of simple sex and eliminate the “need” for heart felt connection. And the sex is really, really good so I am enjoying it immensely.

The whole thing is weird. Not as in wrong, just a new, strange experience. I feel like there “should be” more and I feel like I want more, but my brain is actively overriding my emotion and shutting that shit down to keep it where it should be. It’s an extended booty call.

Learning how to accept comments for face value and not look for more isn’t easy for me. Accepting there is nothing more coming is a new feeling and not a comfortable place for me. However, just like exercise, I now understand I’m going to grow because of the discomfort and that it’s ok to live in an uncomfortable space for a while.

We get on well. He’s really, really good in bed and has the most amazing body for a 52 year old man. He’s not bothered by my scars or loose skin and has clearly told me they don’t matter to him at all. He’s super smart so I enjoy our conversation. I’m not particularly attracted to him so there’s this part of me that wonders how I am managing that disconnect so subconsciously.

So here I am, sitting in the sun even though it’s a little chilly, writing this post and drinking my coffee. About to get motivated to get a workout in at some point today. Not thinking much which seems to be the only way I get through these days of late. Like I said, I feel like I’m slowly just disappearing.

Frame of Mind

It’s been a minute since I’ve written.

To be honest, I don’t have much going on.

Not much is going on. My sister got married and I’m glad the wedding is over and the relationship tips back to normal. I realized I didn’t feel very good through most of this prep. In some ways, I feel like an imitation sister. I’ve been adopted my whole life and never really felt quite like I did during the wedding. I felt like a throw-away, someone she had there because she had to, not because she really wanted to. I felt the strength of her connections with her friends and felt like an outsider. It’s not me she relies upon or me she calls for advice. I’m not even sure how to cultivate a better relationship with her exactly. I don’t get the sense it’s something she really wants – or wants more of. I’m unsure what I want from relationship with her. I suppose it’s just one more person I don’t feel important to and this seems to be a theme in my life.

I was asked to do a podcast, two actually. One was about life struggles and how individuals overcome them and the other is about strong, accomplished women. I finished the first one and found the process super interesting. In the first pass, I understood the interviewer wanted to focus on the Mexico story and travel weight-loss surgery. I was able to tell the sorry quite easily with no emotion and plenty of humor. In the actual interview, there was a significant change to my story because all my emotions were stirred up (made for a very good interview). The emotions caught me by surprise. I have pretty much buried Mexico and what happened to me. The horror of that experience is not something I want to revisit. I acknowledge I carry a great deal of shame for choosing weight loss surgery, wanting to die and subsequently what happened to me post surgery. In particular, I purposely try not to dig too deeply because of the one fact that continues to haunt me: no one came for me. Even when I begged, no one cared enough to come for me. I was dying at one point, I was terrified, and those closest to me couldn’t come.

Logically, I understand why. Emotionally, I can’t address it because I don’t see any other choice but to forgive them and accept what’s happened. They made a choice the same way I made a choice. I don’t think they didn’t come to penalize me, I just think they had other priorities. I don’t even know what I would have done had the tables been turned. Which leads me to a feeling I’ve buried most of my life and pushes me to the outskirts of my depression – I am not anyone’s priority.

We spoke about this in the interview and I definitely had a hard time working through this part of the story. In the end, we edited it out because I don’t want to upset the people who were there for me. And they WERE there. Just, perhaps, not physically. I am worried if I were to ever express the truth of how I felt that I would be considered ungrateful. After all, Mexico was my bad choice and I should live with its consequences.

Since the interview I’ve been struggling with these thoughts because, like I mentioned, I’ve buried them pretty deeply and they simply only cause emotional distress for me. I also don’t see a way to resolve these feelings other than learning to accept what’s passed and move on.

But then there are days, and unfortunately there are many of them recently, where the thought of not being anyone’s priority eats me alive.

My long time closest friend, the Spanish speaker who translated Spanish for me while I was in Mexico, changed all my bandages when I was home, my maid of honor and godmother to my son, is always too busy for me. I never see her or speak to her and I’ve grown tired of constantly asking to see her. She finds time for what’s important to her and I’m not it. Now, if I really needed “help” she would be the first one here. That’s because she finds her own value in helping others. It’s great to have a friend like that, but I love her dearly and would like to connect with her more frequently than once a month. Mind you, I’m not working and I’m very flexible so it’s twice as upsetting when I have the time to spend with her and she basically can’t find the time for me.

My closest cousin, the one who was very busy working to get me out of Mexico and who probably invested the most time in figuring shit out while I was there, comes from a massive tight knit family. Her family will include me in many functions and I love to participate. I’m so happy when I’m with them and I always enjoy myself but I go through some sort of let down once I leave them. I find myself wishing that was my primary family. Once again I feel like I’m on the outskirts looking in.

My kids have really been much better than last year and I am VERY thankful for this change. I try not to push them too far forward too fast because, again, I don’t want to appear ungrateful for the strides they have made. Logically I know kids are kids and boys are boys, but I often feel that I hold no importance. I know this isn’t true and this is just my neediness. I want more demonstrative love and this is just not their way. They really have been good kids lately and I am trying not to put them down in any way because of my own neediness.

I still don’t have a job and there has been NOTHING to be found. I am so over my head in debt for the first time in my life that I am beginning to feel panic rising at the back of my throat. I keep telling myself I just need to get through the end of this year and things will change. I will find a job and be able to pay down my debt. It’s the first time EVER that I am truly scared about the debt I’ve created. People keep asking “what will you do?” And this is becoming frustrating. I don’t know. I don’t know what I will do. Am I wasting time not “doing something else?” I don’t even know what that can be. If I have to become a realtor I would rather die. I am good at my job and want to stay in my industry and would even consider relocation. There are just no jobs out there. Not even consulting ones. I am officially out of money by Feb 1st and have to take from long term savings to survive. This is creating an angst in me that I’ve never experienced. All of this makes me feel like I’m not worthy of being hired. I’m too old. I’m too expensive. (Even though I would take half my last salary). I’m over-qualified. I’m so disappointed in myself that it’s becoming very hard to remain positive.

Then there’s the dating, or better yet, the lack of it. Before I shut down the apps I knew I had hit a low point with my last sex date with Chris. I knew I had to stop what I was as doing because it wasn’t how I wanted to feel. There were two men, both from out of town, that I felt would make good on/off dates when they were here because I could keep them (or keep myself is a better way to say that) at arms length and not invest in the emotional chase. Sex with Dan is pretty good and we have a blast when I see him, but his communication is so horribly inconsistent I still end up aggravated. The other guy, Tom (don’t even think I wrote about him) started off well, we had two fabulous dates, and then his communication and attention plummeted. This is so fucking frustrating to me and puts me right back into the thought pattern of “why can’t I be anyone’s fucking priority?” Not even a small priority. I don’t even think priority is the space I’m looking for as much as just being someone they think about and WANT to reach out to sometimes.

I’ve gained some weight – which isn’t a bad thing but it’s fucking with my head. I had dropped so low, most would say too low for me, that I needed to regain some weight. But I haven’t stopped gaining because I haven’t curbed my eating. Even with all my cardio I’m not losing because I’m eating all the time. I don’t eat much at once but I eat all day. As you can imagine, this screws with my head after weight loss surgery. There was the sick part of me that liked being so thin. That liked seeing that low number on the scale. My goal was always 150 but I loved seeing 130. Sitting around 140-145 isn’t unhealthy but I don’t like it. I want to stay sub 140. That space felt good in my head for the first time in my life. I’m so sick of struggling with the numbers on the scale that I just want them to stay put. Weight loss surgery doesn’t cut out the demons. They are all still there and the effort it takes to quiet them is immense. The only time they recede is under that 140 mark. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m actually in the best physical shape of my life, my arms look beautiful, my legs feel amazing and I love being stronger than ever and rarely out of breath anymore. The numbers on the scale fuck with my head worse than ever. Especially since I saw what I needed to see for the first time in 20+ years. That number on scale “helps” me forgive myself for the damage done to my body and how badly my stomach looks with its wounds and loose, hanging flesh.

Speaking of wounds, here was a little bright spot. When having sex with Dan, he gently kissed my wound. I knew it was intentional. He also made sure to tell me post sex that he loved my body and the wounds don’t bother him at all, he doesn’t even see them. I appreciated that immensely. I believe him also. It doesn’t change how I think about my tummy, but it does help to calm me down a bit, as long as I can get my weight back down.

So that gets to me to my current frame of mind: not good. Not good at all.

Not working, not dating, not having enough good, consistent sex, not having any money are all very bad places for me to be. My ability to not be depressed is quickly eroding.

I am doing what I can. I actively look for jobs and network. I continue to exercise – although I should be stepping up my game considering I’m unemployed. I bought a studio 10 pack so that I get myself into the Peloton studio and interact in person. I continue to support others in my accountability groups though recently I feel like I am being false. It’s an effort to Log into social media to be positive and emote positivity and gratefulness when I don’t feel it. I do logically understand I have much to be grateful for but I am horrible at making this a practice I believe in. It’s also why I push myself into my accountability groups the same way I pushed myself to get dressed In Workout clothes at the beginning – I will fake it til I make it. This is taking way longer than the 100 days I committed to making fitness a priority. Wayyyy longer.

This time of year warms me and depresses me all at once. I want a boyfriend. I want my person. I want the person who is going to make me a priority. I haven’t had that since pre marriage, since a childhood boyfriend. When I think about it I only feel more damaged and broken. There too many things keeping me down, and too many things making me feel like I’m not important to anyone. I know all about self love and it’s not working for me. Sure, I haves plenty of moments where I am doing a decent job taking care of myself and my family, but I don’t feel any reward in it. It’s. A horrible place to be as I think about this being the 5th Christmas and New Years that I will once again be alone.

When I Don’t Care Enough – Part 2

So, back to how I present on a date….I matched with a nice man and we text back and forth.  Turns out he doesn’t live here and comes for business at least once a month for a week.  He would be leaving in 2 days.  That left only one available night to meet if we wanted to see if we were a match.

The night I had scheduled for my Peloton classes. I am proud to say the thought NEVER crossed my mind to cancel my classes for the date. Two years ago, I would have turned my world upside down for a date. No more. They happen when they happen now.

I’m not for or against a long-distance relationship.  Its not my first choice, but I haven’t eliminated the options.  If the man was that good of a match, I could consider it – I am not tied to my location beyond the next 2 years when my youngest will graduate HS.  Even if there wasn’t a man involved, I do not see staying where I am forever. In any case, my thought process is so different now because I can meet a man for a date to have a nice date, have sex, and go home just as easily as I can potentially meet the man of my dreams. Now that I understand I need to just take each date one moment at a time, it’s much easier for me to disconnect my desire to have a partner from the desire just to go out and have a good time.

So, Dan2 and I matched and had been texting on the app.  We agreed to meet after my last class as he was in the city at a client dinner.  However, post my 2nd class, his diner ended early and he was getting tired.  Just before my 3rd class, he text that he didn’t think he could hold out til 10:30pm.  I sent a last text that said “I’m shutting down my phone as I enter class, I hope you change your mind, but I won’t see it until class is over.”

My 3rd class was with a new instructor who engaged with me quite a bit – she told me after class that the previous instructor text her and told her I was coming and I was cool.  🙂  Feels good to be a little on the inside so I soaked this up a bit before I remembered to check my phone for Dan2’s message.

He would wait for me.

Uh oh – I better get moving!

I was in full 80s Madonna costume – I had enough hairspray in my hair to ignite a Chernobyl size explosion.  It was crunchy and scary – how I did that in the 80s is beyond me.  Light a match and I would go straight up in flames!  I had on a lot of black eyeliner and a lot of heavy waterproof makeup (it had to make it through a shit ton of sweaty workouts!)  I had to shower without washing my face (I wasn’t going to potentially smell!) and leave my hair the way it was.  I only had leggings and a Peloton sweatshirt to wear with my trainers.  This is what I mean about not caring how I presented myself.

Basically, I take the chance he rejects me because of my appearance OR I have an opportunity to meet a man that I could enjoy the night with. I chose to believe we could have a good time.

Maybe I thought he wouldn’t meet me?  I certainly hadn’t given it thought before I left my home or I would have packed a change of clothes at least.

I was on such a high that I didn’t care what he thought.  He seemed to begrudgingly agree to one drink before he headed out to sleep before early morning meetings.

Ok, then, that’s good enough.

The confidence I felt from the evening exercise classes was making me feel like Wonder Woman. I could tell I would impress with my personality when I met Dan. I could feel the energy zipping through me and I aware of the feedback I get when I behave this way. It’s so interesting to me that I have this ability but can’t seem to call it up on command when I need it. It would be a super useful tool to have and would help immensely with all my body image issues.

I think you can guess, the night didn’t end with one drink.  I’ve gotten to the point where I know almost immediately when a date is going to go all night, or end quickly, but, actually, I didn’t get my spider-sense upon meeting him.  He was super tall, lean and “sort-of” handsome (honestly, I still can’t determine if I think he is or not).

Regardless of any of that – he was interesting  Really interesting.  The conversations just flowed and flowed and flowed and before we knew it we had each put a bottle of wine behind us as well as several appetizers and it was 1am. I truly enjoyed our dialogue and it was less traditional than many first dates – we just explored a lot of cool topics and he is super smart.

Here’s the surprising part, for me at least….not one kiss or touch the entire almost 4 hours together.  Not even an inkling of sexual chemistry. But there was an absolute connection. The energy had worked in my favor.

Very strange for me, indeed.

We went back to his hotel and the first kiss commenced.  I have no feeling about it one way or the other, it was a good kiss.  When he asked me up, I agreed, but still not feeling the typical craziness (or even drunkness) I generally have at this point.

Of course we had sex.  I didn’t come up to his room expecting any different.  But, the sex was different, for me at least.  I didn’t go out of my way to please him, or even explore him.  Just before undressing I stated simply that I had quite a bit of surgery and had a lot of scars on my belly that made me uncomfortable.  I then proceeded to strip down and out of my clothes entirely- a complete FIRST!  Go me!

Somewhere, deep deep deep in my head, I put the statement out to the universe and chose to let go. If I didn’t stay in my head full of worry about my appearance I would never enjoy the sex. I love sex. So I let go. When I took my top off and threw it to the floor, my inhibition went with it. He would have full view of the wounds and all the loose flesh.

He didn’t hesitate. Or I didn’t notice. Either way, forward we went.

His body was amazing for a man his age. Every ripple and muscle was accentuated. I have never been with a man as rock solid as this and now I understood the appeal. It was a beautiful thing to behold and enjoy. He made me cum very easily, and twice, which is also unusual for me. When he came up to have sex with me, and started to penetrate, I realized I had zero idea what his cock was like.

Holy fuck.

He was huge. My eyes rolled back into my head with pleasure. He was long and thick and knew exactly how to wield his instrument. I could tell he was holding back so not to cause any pain for me. He was big and we couldn’t go full throttle because of it but whatever we did was pretty fucking awesome.

Sex was fabulous and he asked me to stay the night but I just didn’t want to. I lie in his arms for some time before he walked me down to get my car.

The next day he called from the airport telling me he had tried to move his flight out to the next day but had been unable to do so. He also looked at his calendar and proposed several dates he could see me – not in my city, but where he could bring me to the city he was working in. He had clearly put some thought into how he could see me every other week. My old reaction to this would have been major excitement. Unwarranted excitement. This time I took it with a groan of salt and just discussed, rationally, what might work in the coming weeks.

He ended up suggestion to come back to my city in 2 weeks if he could.

As it turned out, he couldn’t make it back to me and his communication skills are sorely lacking. We had spoken about his style / my style before he left and agreed it could be a bigger block than anything else. He is single minded and focused on what’s he focused on when he’s focused on it. I usually hear something from him each day or two, but a text conversation generally ends abruptly with no follow up. We have nice phone conversations at random. Bottom line, he is unable to form any relationships based on his style and he admits to it. He can’t balance his life.

I’m glad I realized this and it doesn’t phase me. When I hear from him, I hear from him. When I don’t, well that’s fine too. We had a fun night, good sex, some amazing orgasms and I’m sure we will remain friendly for when he returns to my city. I don’t think he’s the right match for me in any case because of his typical communication style – it would drive me mad if the person I was seeing had freestyle communication skills.

Next.

Big Sister

I’m struggling being a big sister to an adult woman. Since I was adopted, and raised apart from my half sister, our relationship is non-traditional. We are closer than ever as she approaches her wedding day in 2 months, but this closeness also brings frustration learning about one another.

We have the built in family connection. She’s my sister and I adore her. I prioritize her in my life. I realized after my breakdown last year how much she adores me back and I was taking her love for me for granted. I have tried to be much closer to her this past year. My timing may suck since she’s about to be married, but you work with what you have.

The wedding, of course, is anxiety fueled and she’s an emotional creature – maybe even more so than I am. We are quite similar in our ability to be so direct it often comes out unkind and we’ve definitely been having our share of crossed wires.

Lately I just feel like ALL the wires are crossing and we can’t have any communication without a misunderstanding.

I have to admit sometimes I find it all too much. I am still struggling to find myself and I know the people around me are frustrated that I am still depressed so I’ve mostly stopped talking about it with them. I call if I feel I hit a bottom and need support, but otherwise I’m back to remaining silent about my own feelings. In particular, I don’t want to cloud my sisters special time. I already have terrible shame that I chose to go to Mexico for the surgery the day she got engaged. Even though the subsequent terrors were not of my doing, they impacted her in a significant way as she tried to support me…during what should have been the happiest time in her life. I will never forgive myself for that and the shame and guilt I feel is overpowering.

But every time I try to do what I believe would please get, I seem to get it wrong. Maybe it’s because I don’t actually know her well enough. Maybe it’s because I see her through a different lens. Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe I just don’t know how to have an adult female relationship that’s as close as ours is. I don’t know.

I do know it’s bumpy and I want to fix it, but that can’t come until we can have a serious conversation/ maybe early next year. I just don’t want to add any anxiety. But, I fear it’s all I seem to be doing lately.

Planning her bachelorette has been horrible. What I wanted to be a classy and fun weekend isn’t the experience her friends, or her, were expecting. They would have been happy with a pizza and beer weekend – and getting a bit sloppy drunk. I shouldn’t have taken the responsibility on my shoulders when I don’t know her friends well enough. I should have asked more questions and spent less money. But I planned what I believed she would love, and it turns out it’s all too much. For her, for them, for me. I’m just over it all.

Without getting into the entire story, I just wanted the long weekend to pass with her being happy and no one else complaining. I wanted it over before it even started. I am too old to be doing this for the first time. What started out as excitement and anticipation has turned into a bit of dread.

I also found it highly unusual that every friend of hers was invited with a plus one and I wasn’t, when I asked to bring one before the invites were sent.  I replied with a +1 even though I didn’t actually have someone to bring.  Her mother doesn’t think I should have the distraction because I will be “working.”  Working until the party, then mostly alone as the ones I love are in the spotlight and its not “my” family exactly.   I do want to bring a date, but I don’t have someone who can easily fit in, so I am going to let them know, but I don’t actually liked being told I shouldn’t have a date.  They seem to be worried I would be distracted with a date – who wouldn’t show up until the party in any case.  I am already going to be distracted with 3 teen boys trying to get dressed in Tuxedos when I am not there to help them.

I just want her happy and I seem to be failing at giving her this happiness. Now I just feel like I will also fail her the day of her wedding as the Maid of Honor. It’s overwhelming me and making me want to pull away and get away from being in such a close relationship. It makes me realize I’m not very good at relationships like this, and makes me think it’s why I attract men who aren’t ready for relationships. I don’t know if that’s true or not, I don’t think I put negative energy into the universe but lately I feel so judged.

Judged that I went to Mexico. Judged that I’m now too skinny. Judged that I like fancy things. Judged that I speak my mind and it doesn’t always come out so nicely. Just always judged and found lacking. I don’t know when I’ve felt this defeated (consciously felt at least) for such a long stretch of time.

The only single place I feel at ease, confident and comfortable is within my Peloton community.

Granted, much of that community is social media and not “real” relationship, and maybe that’s why I feel safe. I do have real life Peloton friends as well and I feel like their entire approach to life is just different than what I’ve experienced ever before. It’s a community of support. A community of accountability. There are challenges we all get to meet together. We work together towards a common goal. It makes me want to help others who are just starting out with changes in their lifestyle.

Some days I seriously consider becoming some type of coach. I think I have a lot to offer if I could find the right niche. (I believe even Morava picked up n this in a comment!)

And, if the saying is true that you attract what you put out there, then it’s super interesting the man I’m currently seeing is in all sorts of transcendence. Maybe a bit too much for me, but I’m sure I could have a lot to learn from him.

I’m unsure how to manage my sister. I’m turning inward which is also making her upset because I’m withdrawn but I don’t know what else to do.

I read a few of her text and her Mom’s text to a friend of mine and she felt the same way -that somehow I was being penalized, or perhaps “managed” is a better word.  “we’ve got to make sure Maddy doesn’t jump off the deep end again” or “we don’t want any drama at the wedding.”  I may be wrong, but my instincts with these types of things are not usually off.

The wedding is now 3.5 weeks away and what was very exciting for me to be a part of feels like a drag now.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, yet I feel like something is wrong at every turn.  I am truly happy for her and I am touched to the core she asked me to be the MOH, but I am starting to feel like I was put in this position so I can be managed, rather than because I was her first choice.  It just sucks, feeling this way before the wedding when it should be such an exciting time for both of us.

The First Surprise

Ever since A week ago Sunday I’ve been pretty mellow. Whatever was eating at me, which probably included some PMS, has passed. I am overall less anxious.

I am bummed about Mike. Yep, I still think about it. Is it obsessing? I dunno. Maybe. I am starting to believe it’s just the way I process stuff. Maybe I can’t change that, maybe I can. I still really don’t know. I only know I can control the behavior. I made a last attempt, despite my better senses, and invited him to a party this Saturday. He replied immediately, said he was interested, and then said he had to see what his kiddo was doing. It took him 4/5 days to get back and decline. I suppose at least he’s polite? Ugh.

I also suppose that’s the equivalent of sticking a needle in my eye for a man I’ve only gone out with twice. I shouldn’t have done it. He’s past his expiration and I need to stop.

But it does eat at me. I just wish I knew why with these guys. What is it that I can’t seem to make it past the start? I don’t think it’s sex, I just don’t agree that’s the deal breaker for seeing someone or not again. I believe he met someone else around the same time as me and she’s a better choice for him. Or whatever. Who cares. I need to stop thinking about it.

Tom continues to check in mostly daily. A good morning almost every single morning and then a random evening check in. I will reply like I reply to any friend. But the minute I sense he wants to get sexy I just stop. Sure, I would love to go out with him and give him a sexual spin per se, but I’m not interested in the phone sex with him. He can’t seem to find time to see me and I never ask. If he says something like “I wish I could kiss you right now” I usually say “me too!” And it drops.

At one point over the past weekend, when I was drinking, he sent a text to ask if I was having fun. I replied that I was drunk by that point. He replied with “nice” and then sent a video of his daughter taking a riding lesson. I was seriously like WTF? I write back “Very nice. But if I’m telling you I’m drunk, the last thing on my mind is watching a video of your daughter.” I truly didn’t think he would write again after that little dig. But he did and laughed it off.

That’s the end of the better selection of men the last month. I am bored, frustrated and tired of looking for Mr. Right.

I was scrolling again but matches are non-existent these days. I was surprised to see my first match, an oldie but goodie: Rob.

I reached out to say hello and ask how his kids were. He replied and said “we should get a drink!” So I called his bluff and said “let’s go as friends!” He agreed. A few days later I asked when he wanted to get the drink? I was surprised he made a plan!

We met a week ago Thursday at a local bar and had a fun time. Since I didn’t have any investment in him this time around, I was able to keep the conversation humming along. If I had still felt like he had potential, I may have been frustrated he didn’t ask a lot of questions. He remembered more than I thought. When we left we have an amazing makeout session in the Parking lot. I could feel how excited he was. He felt different than last year, much more confident.

We parted amicably and I sent a follow up text later: how about we are FWB, it could be fun. He replied with an absolute yessssss and 10 exclamation points. Said a few more positive things out thinking it could be a great things and I said goodnight. He said he will ask me out again. That was a week ago. It hasn’t crossed my mind. But it was a nice surprise.

I think I can do it now, FWB. But only with certain men that have no long term potential for me.

I’m still frustrated about Mike and bummed no one can just be honest about what happens.

I know all of this sounds like I’m only focused on dating but it’s not even close. It’s just that I need to write about dating as it’s the most frustrating thing that I can’t handle alone.

Relief

I can’t even begin to tell you the immense relief I felt when I woke up this Sunday morning.

The anxiety, the trepidation, the overwhelming sadness I have been struggling with for 2weeks seems to have lifted. I literally feel lighter.

I didn’t understand what was happening to my mind and body the past couple weeks. I was really afraid I was internalizing the dating rejections worse than I was allowing myself to believe since that’s a typical trigger for me.

But it wasn’t. Everything I wrote about lightbulbs and a better understanding of myself is true. The gears have shifted.

Then, I thought, how could the one incident with my boys send me flying over an edge and free falling to the point I felt crazy, hyper and needed an emergency call to the therapist.

It didn’t occur to me until I woke this morning, happy and peaceful. I lie in bed trying to understand what felt different. I was sleeping in my sisters home after a big birthday bash for her the evening before and I was definitely nursing a little hangover. I had this feeling of emptiness and joy, literal lightness.

I started to think about a few things since my brain seemed to be less foggy and muddled. I felt something within my grasp but couldn’t quite articulate it. It wasn’t until I had a almost 3 hour drive home that my mind cleared the way for me.

It was exactly 1 year ago on September 7th I had my elective surgery. I had come through, what I thought was, the most debilitating period of my life and was in a long, painful spiral downwards. The surgery was meant to give me a reset, to take back one thing in my life that I could control. Of course, we all know that’s not how it worked out for me. My emotional breakdown turned almost fatal.

I know, very well, I buried Mexico. I don’t think about it. I don’t want to think about it. I buried it in a chest somewhere deep never to be opened again by anyone. Ever. I mean it. I don’t want to discuss it or go back to it. It’s such a dark period for me that I just know I will never want to revisit it and experience the pain again. I have always been good at pushing things away and I can keep this one buried deep.

So what’s left when you don’t address the pain? Shame, embarrassment, guilt, sadness and a whole bevy of other assorted negative feelings.

The biggest and most painful of those is shame. Shame for what I did to myself. Shame for what I put the ones I loved through. Awful, terrible, gut-wrenching shame. It’s one of the few feelings I don’t often experience. I never felt shameful about my affairs I don’t think I’ve done much in my life to be ashamed of. I believe the past two weeks my mind is trying to dig up / relive / let-go of something from that time a year ago. Because it’s so suppressed it manifested as physical warning signs.

It didn’t dawn on me until I woke up from from trepidation and anxiety that I had been harboring so much shame within, but I know now that’s the feeling I’ve been struggling with. Shame is such an ugly word and it feeds the inner voice that says “I’m not worthy and I’m not loved”. I had just finished listening to a Brene Brown book where she spoke about shame – she says – in order to cut shame off at the knees you need to talk about it.

When that little nugget of advice came back to me I knew that was exactly what was about to happen. Somehow my body knew before my mind (it always does I just never quite understand it). I felt so loved and cherished and adored being around my sister and her family and friends (and my birth father) that shame had no room to keep corroding my every thought.

To make sure I kept shame at bay I also spoke to my sister and her mother. I explained that I had been feeling shame for the past year and that what I did cast such a shadow over the happiest time of her life (she got engaged the day I had surgery). I was so disgusted by feelings of shame that it was making me weak and ill all over again. They both reinforced how much I was loved, forgiven, and an important part of the family. That I wasn’t bad, I had just done something wrong.

My body was telling me it was time to move from shame to guilt. Guilt is ok. I did a bad thing. But I am not a bad person.

I cannot change what happened, but I can make reparations and take a new path. A path to a stronger, better me. A better parent, sister, friend.

I’ve been taking all those steps and doing so quite consciously. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and even more proud that I just squashed some shame like a bug.

I’m still relieved, even 2 days later. No more panic and anxiety.

I knew something big was coming.

Unlocking myself hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there. Reducing shame to guilt is a big step forward. I kept thinking something was going to happen TO me, but instead, something happened because of me.