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.

All Kinds of Attraction

*Somehow the original was deleted and I’m too tired to go back and write the entire thing….so this was left in my drafts but I can’t find the original anymore. This date would have been the first in the non-drinker series and happened about a month ago*

So my first “non-drinker” date was John (John3). There are actually a bunch of things about John that would lead me to knock him off my list, but I didn’t in the hopes to expand my dating preferences.

This hasn’t workred before but I am truly attempting to be tmore open minded to what the Universe sends my way.

John is 6’, bald and interesting looking. He wanted to move off the app and into text quickly. Through text I found he had 5 children ages 7-17, is not yet divorced but has been separated for 6 months and living apart, was a naval officer and is a practicing LDS. He’s moved around quite a bit and all his children were born in different states or countries. His wife asked for the divorce but he claims he wanted to work it out and she was unwilling. He lives quite close. He has a very interesting job in cyber security and it seems quite stable and lucrative. There was no crazy reason not to meet though there were a few flags in there I was aware of.

Setting up the date took a few left turns. When we were due to meet he cancelled at the last moment but quickly asked to reschedule. Specifically for a day and time I had already told him I was unavailable. The thought crossed my mind that he wasn’t paying attention. He asked for a coffee date on a Sunday, another day and time I told him I wasn’t available. I was sensing a theme. He seemed eager to meet me.

Turns out, my Sunday plans cancelled and I let him know I could meet. Again, setting the time felt like deja vu because I had already given a window of availability. He suggested lunch and we meet at a local bar/restaurant of my choosing. I knew he was working around his kids and making the time for me, but it didn’t feel right for some reason. I ignored these few things. I ignored them because I wasn’t overly interested in him, more curious.

I arrived first and ordered a glass of wine. When he arrived there I noticed a few things (again, I didn’t place a lot of value on these things individually). He slumped forward onto the bar, arms folded. Poor posture is a real turn off. He grabbed my hand and rubbed it quite quickly. This turned into a hand in my leg. He couldn’t carry the conversation unless I presented the topic. He stared at me (uncomfortably so). And then, I felt it.

Attraction.

Slight, not glaring. I was attracted to him physically. Once I recognized the feeling I started looking for signs. What was it? His eyes, lips, mouth, nose, voice? What? Unidentifiable. Smallish hands made me think small cock. Not the best dressed. Still leaned over the bar. Hasn’t asked me to eat lunch yet. Hasn’t asked me one relevant question. But, it was there. Animal attraction.

So here’s something I’ve learned about myself. My sexuality comes off like a fucking homing beacon. I don’t know why or how but it happens almost every single time. And once my brain senses the chemical attraction I must be like a skunk that sprays its scent and it’s unmistakable. This is awesome when I’m super attracted to someone. Not so awesome when they are less appealing because it reels them in faster than I’m ready. I can tell the difference between someone who is truly interested in me AND sexually attracted to me now and John was giving off sex only vibes despite his few words to the contrary.

Two things happens that could have led to different paths.

The first was when I asked about the breakdown of his marriage. He really played this off as a sexless marriage. He made some speech about sexless being that they only had sex a couple times a month! Wow. He doesn’t even know the meaning of sexless marriage. When I asked him if he ever cheated because of a “sexless marriage” his answer was vague at best. He had a 2 year “emotional affair,” according to him. As it turns out that affair “crossed the line” multiple times – but to limit wasn’t really anymore than an emotional affair. He found may ways to explain off what he had done. He also didn’t seem to want to end his marriage while she did and he blamed that other inability to work through their issues in therapy.

Gee, I wonder why? You think she saw a cheater when he didn’t even admit to cheating? He reminded me of my x in that respect. I was disgusted by this, but not enough to end the date.

The second thing was he wanted to talk about sex and his prowess. This is a sure-fire way to know a man is only interested in sex, they literally can’t help themselves. I also know, as it seems to have been proven, most men who need to talk about it are actually not the best in bed. It’s more bravado and self-affirmation than skill. To have fun with this, I made a point of telling him that men who spoke abut this only wanted one thing, and it put them into a pretty crass class unto themselves. He acted all surpised and put off and made an attempt to not speak about it. But, he couldn’t’ help himself (as a side note, later when we were texting, he suggested multiple times I wanted to “see it” and I had to continue to decline photos).

The long and short of it is, he left and we made plans for a second date. I did not have a good vibe about him but was really curious to see what had so attracted me to him when he really wasn’t even my physical type.

We text for the next several days between dates. He was traveling and insisted he wanted to meet me on his way home. I gave him multiple opportunities to cancel due to travel, but he continually declined. Ultimately, his flight was so delayed that I ended up at the bar we selected as it was closing. I made suggestions for alternatives and he was weirdly stubborn about trying anything outside of a small radius of his apartment. We finally landed on something. But, by the time we did I was angry with him for being so difficult and making me wait due to poor communication (I understand travel causes delays, but he wasn’t clear on his status).

I arrived to the bar first again, and when he did arrive, bag in hand, he immediately kissed me hard. He couldn’t contain the lust in his eyes, body movements etc. He wanted me to pretty much guzzle down my drink and get out of there. I should have left but I was still curious but what sex with him was going to be like since I was so attracted, and that attraction was strangely and stubbornly hanging on. I don’t know why – I didn’t really like him as a person by this point.

In the end, I ended up in his bed. He was pretty lousy. He also had no cock to write home about for all his talk of 9 inches (and, no lie, he quoted his size). I’m such a size queen thats probably what got me into his bed! He asked me how many times I came and I was pretty quick to say “none because you didn’t really spend any time trying.” He then said he was just so tired. But, the fact he even thought I came was fascinating.

Talk about a delusional man. It was evident in the way he spoke about his marriage, his sexual prowess and the fact he actually thought he was a decent guy.

He fell sound asleep after sex and I waited until his breathing steadied before I dressed and slipped out. He text about 30 minutes later that he couldn’t wait to see me again.

Delusional.

I text back the next day to let him know that was never happening again! Nicely, of course. No one likes to be on the driving end of a crap message.

Was it another wasted date or wasted sex? Maybe. I didn’t enjoy myself and its the second time I had sex where, once I started, I was sorry I let it get so far.

(The Douchebag date happened AFTER this date, so I know I have shown slight progress in not having sex I don’t want. I am clearly still pretty screwed up with allowing myself into these situations to begin with)

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.

When I Don’t Care Enough – Part 1

Sometimes, not often, I don’t really care about how I am going to present on a date.

There are some men who I get the sexual tension from quickly, and I want to impress those men with sexy heels and a hot outfit.  Other men don’t seem to give off the same vibe and I don’t get as excited about the first meeting and what I am wearing, and perhaps a little, how I look.  Frankly, I tend to prefer the men with whom I get the tension with – even if the date doesn’t get legs, the initial date and flirting is just more fun.  I love the sexual tension and I love to look sexy.  Especially now….sexy now is an entirely different thing than it was before.  My body requires little to no effort to appear sexy to a man who likes a lean, fit woman.  This is a major head trip, for me.  I love the fact that nothing is uncomfortable when I wear it any longer.  Most articles of clothing are going to look good on me no matter what.  I can wear heels all night long.  I’ve always had the feeling of “being” sexy, but now its much more prevalent since I am proud of my body  (well, the exterior, the wounds and loose skin get compartmentalized when I am getting dressed because they are under wraps).  I don’t think my behavior is any different, but removing the physical self doubt is a massive relief.

I did choose weight loss surgery after all.

And then I chose to take care of the gift of life I was given post all the trauma.  I’m super fit and lean now.  I feel better physically and find that the working out helps me redirect a lot of negative energy.  I never thought I would be the one to say it but I love how the fitness makes me feel now.  It has changed my life.

This is a bit long-winded story about how I didn’t care how I looked on a first date. I had matched with someone who wanted to meet this particular night.

I had planned to do something quite out of character for me – I decided to go into the Peloton studios and do 3 classes in a row, in costume, for Halloween.  Alone.  Why?  No reason at all.  More like, why not?  I could. I love my Peloton classes and getting in studio is always awesome.  Plus, not that I admit this to any of my friends or family, but there is probably some attention factor in here.  Going to the studio gets me noticed by my instructors and creates a more personal bond when you interact with them on social media.  When I’m not working, the Peloton social community is my primary source of accountability.  If I make a post that I will do something, I do it.  I don’t know how the logic of that works for me, but it does.  So when I feel like I need a little push to step out of a comfort zone, I post before I think about it too much.  Then I’m committed.

The classes started at 6:30pm and would end by 10:30pm.  It was a pretty big fitness commitment and when I am in studio, it also means a push effort – I don’t want to “take it easy” on myself in studio.   All classes have a “spotlight” bike, tread or mat.  In the past, I have chosen this spot knowing I would be on camera for the studio taping of the on-demand classes.   Unexpectedly, I ended up in this spot in 2 classes -in full costume – doing classes that were so far out of my comfort zone that I questioned the sanity of these spontaneous choices.  I did a 45 minute run (I have never run that long) and a 30 minute yoga class (I never did a studio yoga class and I can’t do half the poses).  Of course, in the end, it worked out amazingly well and I had a blast and did just fine.   I loved being on camera (sort of, off to the side and in the dark, but still! Lol)

I did trip on the treadmill towards the end! Whoops! No one saw, right?

It reminded me that I like the spotlight and the competition.  My personality feeds off these things, but I forget that it does.  I should really consider how to tap into more of this part of myself – because I am good at putting myself out there.  My confidence takes a huge leap and I become like a different person.  I recall times in my life where the spotlight was on me that it brings out my type A competitive nature and I want to crush whatever it is I am doing.  I can’t create this feeling, or even call it up – but when it happens I love it.  I know athletes are able to tap into this ability to focus themselves and hype themselves up for competition, but when I try to do that, it doesn’t work the same as when it happens organically. I hadn’t actually thought of this before and maybe I should do a little research on why this happens with me.

This night, it was all organic.  Sort of.  I had set myself up for the potential something could happen, by being in costume, being present and interactive, and I was going to be equally as ok if nothing happened.  But, it did – I was noticed, ended up on camera, and made new friends.  I loved every minute.  No one was there who knew me or could judge, and the side of my personality that I normally don’t let loose too often – you can call it my cocky side -comes out.  My confidence and happiness overflow and I can affect those around me.  It’s such a natural high.

It was several hours of high intensity interaction and exercise. I loved every minute. If I could somehow tap into that energy more frequently, it would be amazing – I don’t know where it would take me because it feels boundless. However, times like this – where the energy is flowing so heavily from within – exhaust me for days. Add into it my chronic anemia, which happens to be keeping me down because it’s time for an iron infusion, and one event like this could knock me out for a week.

The bottom line was – after these classes I was going to be a mess. My hair was a birds nest of hairspray and curls, my makeup soaked through, and I would be a soppy sweaty mess. I would be able to take a shower post the last ride, but there was nothing I could do about makeup or the fact I had worn yoga pants going into the studio. Hardly the ideal condition to meet someone for the first time…..

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.

Lightbulb Moment – Mike

Oh, Michael.

I like you.

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

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

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

Maybe.

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

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

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

I equate that to disinterest.

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

Sorry, can’t do it to myself anymore.

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

Maybe you never give the emotional connection I crave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s enjoy each other.

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

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

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

Meet Charles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmmm. Do I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yup.

Right.

That’s the same.

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

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

Which is fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lightbulb Moment – Charles

I haven’t written about Charles yet, but the outcome is more important than the path taken to get there.

Charles was the last of the three frenzies swipes I met around the same time on Tinder. He was engaging immediately. Super interested. While this used to be my absolute favorite reaction in the past, now I proceed with caution. Anyone who tells me that I’m “all that and bag a chips” before they even met me now concerns me. Charles is really into me. I get it, I must be his type. But he’s already too smitten and I feel myself backing up before even getting started.

Charles checks all the boxes, just like the last few. Tall, handsome, educated, super-fucking-fit, intelligent and communicative. Kids similar ages. Nice parenting style.

He is handsome and fit on a level that I haven’t actually come across before. I would say men like Charles haven’t generally been interested in me, I was always too heavy.

Like Tom, he’s another talker. I can’t get a word in edgewise. He’s not interested in me, he’s interested in the idea of me. A beautiful, fit, intelligent partner. He’s described several of my physical attributes more than once so I know exactly what he likes. For him it’s all physical, I’m not really even sure how much it matters to him that I’m intelligent, a Momma, or have a career.

Sound like anyone you know?!

This light bulb hit me so hard when I realized that’s exactly how I process people!

The idea of someone. Not the person themselves. Do they check my boxes? People take time to get to know. I’m so busy checking all my boxes I overlook the actual connection or, more than likely, imagine a connection is there when it probably isn’t.

The next thing I realized: I am ALWAYS going to see myself as heavy/bigger. Always. It ain’t gonna change. I was curvy slim and athletic through my teenage years. Gained too much weight in college but lost it all in my 20s through 30. I didn’t grow up as a heavy kid or young adult so I don’t carry the same baggage as someone who has been heavy all their life. But once I had my 3rd child 17 years ago, the weight skyrocketed. Sometimes it also went down, but mostly I was well heavy for 10 years. The last 7 years somewhat less heavy. As you know, the weight seesaw finally tipped me over the edge. I was done with it. Being slim suits my perception of myself. I am more comfortable and confident in my own skin. What I’ve come to realize was the weight-shaming I thought I felt all those years is a real thing. Men talk about it to me now because they assume that I’ve always been fit and skinny. I can’t believe some of what I’ve heard from them – and now these are the men I attract.

I am under 130 pounds these days and way to skinny for my own taste (as well as anyone who knows me) but I’ve got health issues I can’t control. My bones are out but are now tightly wrapped in sinewy muscle. As long as I don’t move a certain way, you can’t see the loose skin (and there’s plenty of it everywhere).

Here’s the thing – never, have I ever, in my life been called skinny, lean or thin. Never. Maybe once before I got married. Maybe. But every bride loses weight before their wedding. Now I attract men who like skinny, toned women. That’s what they look for. Skinny. I can’t reconcile that word with me. And all of them, John, Mike, Tom and Charles speak about their dislike of heavy set women. They speak with disdain as well – they don’t understand how these people “let themselves go”. Guess what? I get insulted.

Even though I hated being heavy, fought with weight issues my entire life and chose a weight loss surgery, I still feel insulted by their discussion surrounding weight. And comparing me as a sexy, fit woman who takes care of herself as compared to “those heavy women”. Little do they know.

They have all touched my arms, shoulder and hips with delirious attention because the bone and muscle are most prominent on those areas. You would think I like this after all I’ve gone through to get here, but I’m finding it a bit repulsive in its own way. I can’t exactly explain. I believe I feel shame for being heavy and making the decision to have weight loss surgery and it’s not something one speaks about in early days of dating, if ever.

This all feels weird to me and is a side effect I could never have anticipated.

That was a long meandering way to explain the light bulb. I realize I am never going to tell my whole story to someone until I’m pretty solid in a relationship. Maybe not even ever. Im starting to subscribe to the thought that not everything needs to be revealed from my past. I’m too concerned about what a man thinks at the same time I’m trying to find a confident way to explain my wounds. I have no doubt – and maybe I’m wrong here, but this is my gut check – that a man who is so visually attracted to my “perfect thin, muscular body” (their words and it happens all the time now) is going to find issue when the clothes come off because I’m not what they expect.

The good news, I guess, is that the feeling of being insulted also makes one a bit defensive. I’ve started to think “fuck you and your ideals about a woman’s body because I am so much more than my scars”. To the point, with Charles, I found a way to tell him what was under the shirt he hadn’t lifted.

I’ve just explained so much without even telling the Charles story!

I suppose I better do that in a separate post.

I’m going to be living with my wounds, my history, my mistakes for the rest of my life. They made me the person I am today and will shape the better woman I am still becoming. I can’t revise history, but I don’t have to have verbal diarrhea anymore either. My interaction with Charles made me realize there are going to be people along the way who don’t deserve the story from me by way of explanation of my wounds. I cried in front of John when he asked what the bandage was about because of my own insecurity over how it would impact a yet undetermined future relationship with him, totally emotionally presumptive on my part and, ultimately, entirely wasted on someone who wasn’t going to be invested anyway. Charles wasn’t going to get that from me and nor will anyone else. I am glad it happened with Charles first because I wasn’t invested and I got to have a bravado I don’t often have.

We all have our preferences. I get it. John, Charles, Tom and Mike are all similar – very invested in physical appearances. I can’t allow this to bring me down any further than I already am about myself.

Lightbulb Moment – Thomas

Maggie is right, I’m already seeing red flags with Tom. They came up quick. Whole freaking fields of red flags.

I bet they were there the first time I spoke to him but I don’t recall. Chances are high that I ignored them the first time I spoke to him in favor of him checking my boxes.

But that’s ok because Tom has landed pretty squarely in the friends or FWB (if I ever have that) category.

The light bulb moment with Tom had a physical effect. I really felt a difference – like a spool of tension unwinding – a spool I didn’t even know I had. I thought that was pretty interesting.

I quickly liked that he’s communicative and I don’t need to say much. He’s intelligent and interesting. Very fit, tall and handsome. When I was first looking through a relationship filter, I didn’t like that he didn’t really seem to want to find out more about me – he loves to talk about himself, his child and his x. Ad nauseam .

The talk around his x is aggressive and vicious because they are in a very contentious custody battle and she’s a violent alcoholic. It makes me uncomfortable since I don’t know him well enough.

Those were the two things that hit me clear across the forward with Tom.

When I thought about my intentions toward him differently, it changed the entire way I felt about him….I don’t care if he asks about me and my life because I can already see he’s not ever going to be that person, so why even try and go there? Why would I feel neglected or rejected that he’s so busy being worried about himself? I’m not sure he realizes or cares how self involved he comes across. I’ve always taken a mans “disinterest” as a reflection on me but I know, at least with Tom, it has nothing to do with me. As soon as I told my anxiety that we would not be chasing Tom, despite the fact he was a man who checked many of our boxes, anxiety had a little pity party and left the room! I loved watching her sashay right the fuck away from me and literally had a physical sense of relief! I don’t need Tom to be any more or less than what he is. Maybe we have sex, maybe we don’t. It’s all good because, no matter what, it won’t have any legs as far as a relationship. Maggie taught me all about reframing a long time ago and it’s one of my favorite tools, I just forget to use it

The second thing, right on the heels of the first, was I realized I was uncomfortable being pulled into his life drama without getting to know him first. This made me think over how much I like to “get right to relationship” and learn everything up front with someone. Maybe it’s because of the situation and I was disinterested in the adversity in his life but I tend to think it’s because I just realized it’s way too much too soon. These things SHOULD take time. I would now prefer they take time. If I’m paying attention (like I am recently) I realize he’s just telling stories about himself, he’s not getting to know me or probably even sharing anything more or less special than he shares with anyone else.

One other thing, and this has been a very slow realization since Tony – people do have normal relations with their x. I wanted to, I just can’t. But when I hear such violent reaction to an x I am uncomfortable. I think I realize that either end of the spectrum is unfamiliar to me: I didn’t have the absolute possible worst experience of the best. I don’t understand, or embrace, either. I find it difficult to accept a good working relationship with an x as much as a violent hating relationship. This wasn’t a light bulb as much as it’s something I feel needs to be explored more deeply. If I were to get into a decent relationship and the man had a calm and friendly relationship with his x, will I be threatened? Good for thought. This comes up again with Mike for sure, as it did with John a I wonder how a good co-parenting relationship works and why they don’t dislike their x. Again, nothing to resolve for the moment, but I realize there’s more to uncover here.

Where do things currently stand with Tom? I hear from him when he’s interested in engaging me, otherwise I remain quiet. However this moves forward, or not, is just fine.

I almost can’t believe I’m saying all this.

So Much on my Mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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