I am so confused….. (Part 2)

For the first time, since Tony, I was so confused about how to move forward. The difference now is that I’m not in love with Scott so the overwhelming emotional component is missing – so why am I so conflicted when my heart isn’t involved?

I finally realized through my reading on intuition that it was because my gut was involved when I didn’t even know it. The battle I had been waging was between my gut and my head, rather than my heart and my head. That’s interesting.

While I’ve detailed so many of his good qualities, there are several that have concerned me from the beginning. I know before I wrote this how shallow some of them sound and all I can say is this: I was raised very differently from Scott, we did not start from the same place and life experiences shape us.

Scott was born into a poor family in the Midwest, the actual backwoods. His family kicked him out in 7th grade and he had to stop school and earn a living. He was married by the time he was 18 and she was pregnant. Knowing he needed to make a change and support his new family, he joined the service for 4 years. Some time after service, he realized he needed more than selling cars or working in warehouses so he went to school and obtained his Bachelors degree. Some time after that he began working for the government and subsequently earned two masters degrees, one being from Columbia. He was in a long and failing marriage that produced two daughters. One who he is very close to and one who doesn’t speak to him. Post his divorce he became involved with a married woman for 3 years. That relationship ended entirely about 6 months before we met. Like me, they were always on and off and he dated during the years of the affair. He owns a home and is stable financially. He has come a long, long way from an uneducated kid from the sticks.

I was raised with everything given to me and my education was expected as well as paid for by my parents. While I made missteps educationally, I fell into management and had pursued a career that was lucrative until 2018. You know I’m spoiled and have been around middle class money for my entire life. I never really struggled to put food on the table the way Scott did. My arguments with my x revolved around how much money I should spend on vacation. I am not frugal and always believed I would earn a pretty decent living. I bought my home post divorce and was going to be able to contribute significantly to my kids college educations. Once I left my role in 2018 and had surgery I never regained my financial or career footing. However, my expectation of my own income and financial situation never faltered, not until very recently. I admire ambition and career success that nets a large financial gain. Since my divorce, that has always been a significant attraction because my x was willing to allow me to bear the financial burden of the lifestyle we were living and I never wanted to feel that way again. Money and earning potential had become much more important to me post divorce because of my experiences during marriage. It actually became a dating qualification. I had grown used to some luxuries that I provided to myself and I didn’t want to give them up. I had fought too hard for status.

Scott works for the government and, as everyone knows, the government caps salaries no matter how good (or bad) you are at your role. Because of this, the government employees also are known to rest on their laurels and do the minimum required work once they pass a certain time in the job. The private sector would fire incompetent or lazy employees, while the public sector tolerates this for some reason and makes it very, very hard to fire someone. The stability associated with a government job as well as lack of incentive breeds a sort of laziness that’s commonly known. This is NOT Scott by any means, I am just trying to set the stage. Government employees also work very standard hours. You put in your 40 hours and not a minute more because there is no incentive to do so. This also creates a fabulous work life balance because the hours are dependable and stable. As long as the employee is willing to sacrifice earning potential, a government role isn’t a bad one to have and why most people never leave them despite their apathy towards their jobs.

Of course I am over generalizing as well as stereotyping. But, based on my experiences, this sort of apathy does exists and breeds a sense of arrogance in government employees. They know they can’t get fired, they know they only need to put in the minimum effort and once they reach the ceilings of their roles, they become big fish in small ponds and that creates a whole other sense of bravado. And this IS Scott. He’s at the top of his game and will likely be in this salary pool and role for quite some time until his boss leaves. He has no desire to go after more because he likes his 40 hours a week and is satisfied with his salary. He has come from nothing so where when is today is a great achievement and it’s ENOUGH for Scott.

But Madeline is wayyyyy more judgmental coming from corporate America and the private sector. Where the harder your work the better potential for financial gain. Where hours and work/life balance are irrelevant. Where you get bonuses, perks and promotions that you and everyone around you equate with success. Where you never assume you are safe or stable so you work harder in the hope it offers some protection when the layoffs come.

With those explanations, the divide between Scott and I becomes evident. He is a big fish in a small pond and definitely has an arrogance and bravado because of it. He also has a lot of time at work to chatter and gossip (I tell him he’s a wash woman and he admits to it). My experience as a leader has taught me not to gossip at work or even be perceived as a friend to all my employees. Scott says the government doesn’t have barriers like this – everyone is friendly with everyone because some people never change level but are age peers. Scott is satisfied with “enough”. The biggest criticism from my marriage and even my children is that it’s “never enough” for me. And that’s true.

I perceive it like this, if Scott is as good as he brags to be (another quality I do not like at all) then why doesn’t he leave and go make double or triple the money he claims he can make in the private sector? He says it’s because he doesn’t want to work any harder – he did it enough when he was young and he’s satisfied with what he’s accomplished. I thumb my nose at this since he’s only 46. I feel he’s too young to be so complacent.

But, that me. He’s happy. He’s satisfied with what he has and what he’s achieved. My fear is that my judgement, which has always existed (it’s not new, I’ve always felt this about people) is never going to go away and I may ultimately resent him the way I resented my x for never wanting “more”. I do feel he should be proud for what he’s achieved from where he started, but I don’t feel a man should be done at such a young age.

That’s the worst of my snobbiness out of the way. It covers almost all the qualities I dislike about Scott: lack of drive or ambition, arrogance/bravado (big fish in a small pond), gossip, braggart and the stereotype of a government job personality.

Unfortunately, there are other concerns.

I am not especially attracted to Scott. I thought he might grow on me but he isn’t. He’s not ugly by any stretch of the imagination and he’s very fit and pretty rock solid. He even has most of his hair! He is a bit short for my taste but still taller than me so I’m trying to let that one go. It’s just his overall appearance isn’t “doing it” for me. Combine this with ok sexual chemistry (not horrible but definitely not great) and I’m worried we have a toxic combination. I don’t find myself wanting to call him handsome or wanting to explore his body. Sex has improved but he has already told me I’m the best sex he’s ever had. He has been patient to learn what I like or don’t because sex in the beginning was close to bad. I’ve had some seriously amazing sexual partners – so should I be worried? My older friends tell me to forget about this. If sex is good enough I should be fine. We are getting older not younger. He never pressures me sexually but he really isn’t intuitive. He fumbles more than I would like for someone who claims to have had many partners. I hate being the leader because it leaves me with no desire. This one combined with the job situation worries me.

We come from different classes. Should this matter in this day and age? I didn’t think so exactly but I can see it pretty clearly with Scott. Being raised in a city or suburb of a city versus the middle of the country just creates a whole different person. Can you change that? Probably. He surprises me with some things like understanding some fashion brands but then there are other things that I just don’t get. Like shooting squirrels and throwing them in the grill. I’m unsure which divides can be crossed and which don’t matter. He’s also just lacking that “cool-factor” because of this. Again, not sure how much it matters except that sometimes he really does come across as a hick and I feel a little embarrassed. Luckily he has never done this in public, only in private.

Scott can also irritate me pretty quickly. He often starts stories in his head and then finishes them out loud, leaving me to decipher what he’s talking about and me getting frustrated with an unclear story. For someone as smart as he is, it’s all book smart. He definitely has trouble getting his thoughts out of his head in a cohesive manner.

His humour is a bit low brow for me. Reminds me of my x but I can manage this. He does come from the middle of the country.

So it’s sort of like 3 big negative buckets:

The job/ambition and the type of behavior a government job has created in him

Attraction

Class

I thought I was getting this out in 2 posts and clearly I can’t. So the rest has to wait for part 3!

He’s A Nice Guy (Pt 2)

Thursday rolls around and Scott made arrangements at a hotel close to my home and said he would be here around 5pm. He was done with his local work early and ended up arriving around 2pm and I was nowhere near ready. I had that moment of panic that he would perceive me as disinterested but then got a grip and, instead of dropping everything I needed to do for myself, which included my workout, I didn’t and just let him know I would be ready after 5pm as planned. He wasn’t phased at all and told me to take my time, that my workout was important.

I also knew I didn’t have to go overboard with getting dressed for him, and I could just clean up nicely and we would be fine. I have seen a change in how I handle preparing for dates and don’t find myself really going over the top to impress anymore like I once did. In one way this is a relief, but in another sort of sad that I don’t get excited like that anymore. I suppose my sexy outfits and shoes will eventually be for one man who is going to really appreciate the effort I’ve gone to look good.

We met in the lobby and went to his room, once again with no pressure to have sex. We both admitted to being hungry so decided we should wait before getting messy. We also decided we would just eat in the hotel restaurant (which is quite nice, actually). Another pleasant and easy evening ensued. Conversation flows easily, but I still can’t put my finger on what I don’t like about Scott – but there is SOMETHING. Not enough to stop me in my tracks, but it’s there. Its making me a little nuts to ty and figure it out and, perhaps, inhibiting some of my more natural behavior.

Divorced for several years, two older children in college, a steady government job, a home and car. He’s stable and emotionally available. One longer relationship with a married woman so he understands what I went through pretty intimately which was unusual. We like a lot of the same things, we think along the same lines in how we approach things and there is no tension between us at all. We laugh together, but he’s not exactly funny -we just find humor in similar things and I am funny so he laughs at me.

But, for me, there is no excitement. I do miss that.

When we went back to the room we had another fun evening and we did a lot of talking to get to know one another. He makes it clear he is interested in me. He said I don’t know how to take a compliment (is that true? maybe. I am also uncomfortable with a lot of compliments coming from someone when I don’t know how I feel about them). I stayed over and needed to leave early to go for a workout, which again, he encouraged and was impressed that I was committed to my Peloton.

I would like to say he is a consistent communicator, but I haven’t gotten his pattern down yet. He prefers text to talk, which is unusual for a man. He asks a lot of non-text-appropriate questions (like “why are you single”) that shouldn’t be answered in text and require face to face or at least a phone conversation, which I say clearly I won’t engage in text and then he agrees (almost like it’s a test of what I will and won’t answer? I don’t know).

And then, the most confusing part to me – all the words are right. So many remind me of Tony. I have been dying to hear some of this and now its falling flat. But, why? Because its not Tony or because Scott isn’t the “one” they should be coming from? Or am I just smarter and know to keep things at a slower pace? I have this distinct feeling they are disingenuine, but then I think “how could that be” when its so new and its so consistent?

Here’s a snippet of his text to me:

I haven’t stopped thinking about your eyes. Your smile. Your laugh. Your beautiful body. I can’t wait to see you.

(sends a photo of dog on his lap and I reply “that looks comfy”) I’d prefer to have this absolutely stunning and breathtaking women I just met in that spot.

I know I want to hold her. Caress her gorgeous neck. Run my fingers over that sexy collarbone. Kiss her sensual lips. See the pure radiance of her smile. Be in her presence. Being around her makes your mind go blank.

I’m keeping a list of all your favorites (and he names them all…)

I may have spent a minute or ten telling my daughter about this super awesome lady I just met. Told her I would like to figure out how to snag her….yep, I said it. I will own it.

I’m going to need to work at Lowe’s part time (to buy me the things that bring me joy because his government job is low income)

You showed up and I was speechless….you look just like your photos but so much better in person and with such an amazing personality to match. I think you are the most amazing person.

So I should be thrilled, right? I’ve been waiting for this, right? Then why not? He’s so sweet, he’s so nice. Why don’t I want this nice guy? Why aren’t I more excited?

For sure one of my blocks is his income. It feels way to close to my marriage where the disparity will ultimately create issues. But, I don’t know this man and that’s putting a lot of my history onto him or a future with him which is unfair, but I think that’s a solid roadblock for me. I have a sense of luxury that I don’t want to give up -even being unemployed I don’t think I can make such a significant change in income and actually end up being happy (or grateful) about it. I think I’m already spoiled to some extent (which I’ve done to myself). If I am being practical the bottom line is that his current salary cannot afford the lifestyle I am used to and will keep me working until the end of my life. I don’t want that, I already know that. Is that an unfair thought, sure. But it’s the truth. My expectation was that somehow and somewhere someone would be taking care of me, not the other way around. Disparity in income and lack of ambition are some of the reasons I got divorced, this feels close to that – but I also shouldn’t assume just because he chose to stay in a government role that he’s not ambitious, should I?

He may also have a false sense of confidence. This is a total shot in the dark – his confidence could be real, I don’t know, but my instinct is that he’s a bit full of bravado. He doesn’t particularly beat his chest or something so obvious, but there are small indicators of how he thinks he’s “cool” and I tend to think people who really are, don’t need to speak about it. I don’t think I’ve hear him say anything self-deprecating…and this is usually my signal that the man is self-aware and has a sense of humility.

So, I’m at a loss. I don’t think I should cut him loose, but I can’t draw him closer either. Eventually things will work their way out I think and I will figure out whats at the bottom of it.

My friends are beginning to question my decisions with men. Most think I should settle for a nice man willing to care for me. A man who I would be a prize for. Yea, I get the idea, but I need my own prize and “nice” doesn’t do it. That aggression that goes with ambition is attractive to me, and those men are not a dime a dozen but have women who are. They also match and go off the market really quickly. Is it wrong to expect a man of similar caliber? If I find an unattractive man, but he has every other quality I’m looking for – why am I still dissatisfied? (This is what my friends keep saying to me – I’m shooting too high and have to drop the looks piece). So far, I have been unable to cross this hurdle – the physical attraction is a strong pull for me that I can’t seem to surpass.

I have taken a look at my requirements again, and they remain the same and I do realize that my formula may be broken, but despite trying to go our of my comfort zone, I can’t seem to be attracted to a man who doesn’t hit all of these:

  1. Handsome / Attractive to me (which includes height and weight)
  2. Ambition
  3. Physically fit (this is actually much less of an issue anymore, most divorced men are)
  4. Funny and fun
  5. Financially well off – likes a little bit of bougie and doesn’t get upset with mine
  6. White collar
  7. Father
  8. Divorced (or separated living apart of some time)
  9. Great communicator; understand words of affirmation as a love language
  10. Good sexual chemistry

How many of these are total deal breakers and not just desires? So far, it seems without 8/10 it becomes a deal breaker. The list used to be like 22 things, so this is a major improvement! But, even here, my friends think I should be focused on a nice man, and let some of the other things go (all their “nice men” are well off, intelligent and kind – and not good looking).

I’m at a loss lately and I feel like a spoiled brat, but I haven’t figured out what I can give up or even that I should give any of it up. Dan and Tony hit 9/10. Bobby to 8/10. Only Mike hit 10/10 and he wasn’t interested enough in me for unknown reasons. I still daydream about Mike and wonder why not me? I suppose he’s my unicorn.

If I’m not attracted to someone, how do you overcome this if they meet a bunch of other great criteria? Even the dating service I went to debated this with me – saying most women wanted a nice man and were not so worried about a mans looks. I don’t know how you have enough chemistry with someone you are not attracted to -to then go on and have decent sex? If Im not attracted enough to want to kiss them, how does the rest follow?

Ugh.