A Second Date!

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

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

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

And I think it’s ok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ugh. A big old ugly ugh.

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

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

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

Which sucks. Just sucks.

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

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

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

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

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

We shall see.

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

I will keep you posted.

Less Angry, More Thoughtful

After John I absolutely went into an angry swiping frenzy. Ended up speaking to too many men at once and got over it in about 24 hours. I know better.

What I learned over the weekend of angry swiping and needless chatting:

1. My match really needs to have been married with kids. I have yet to find one man who wasn’t that truly understands how important parenting is….unless they want their own family and then we are not a match anyway.

2. My match needs to be aligned socio-economically. I’ve spoken to a few teachers who have off the summer, earn lower-pay, and are generally less ambitious (not saying all, just the ones I’ve spoken to). I’ve been asked a couple times if the career and long hours made me happy. They just don’t understand corporate mechanics. I’m a 30 year corporate veteran, it’s partially what drove me to the success I achieved – there is never a good (or right) answer for “was it worth it.”

3. My match needs to have a desire for “more.” What’s more? I’m not exactly sure but I do know it means not complacent with what you have and where you are for the rest of your life. I’ve spoken to many who have their summer homes on a beach and that’s all they want to do with the rest of their lives – sit on a beach. That’s not for me. Ask me again when I’m 70.

4. On the other hand – My match can’t be hyper-active! I don’t ski, surf, hike, Climb mountains, SUP, scuba or CrossFit. I do exercise every day and have the energy and strength to do more active outdoor activities but I’m never going to be a go, go, go girl. Balance works best for me.

5. My match can’t be too obsessive about my “sexy, thin” body (a common comment pretty consistently now). When the clothes come off, the scars are real. I’m still not convinced it wasn’t what tipped John over the edge so quickly. The man needs to be committed to health and fitness, but not body obsessed. I have also noted that now that I have been with more fit men and am more fit myself, I am less tolerant of someone who doesn’t work out at all. I want to keep this practice so I need someone who is committed to it as well. My life has changed and fitness must remain an important part of my well-being.

6. The man needs to show interest and intellect pretty quickly. I perceive this as someone who knows how to balance a banter with serious questions and is interested in knowing about me and my life and how it matches with his own desires and interests. They will ask about my job, family and children unprompted. When the man is focused on my beauty and we don’t have anything in common, it always feels forced. I avoid the physical match like a plague now.

I’ve realized my long, long list of attributes pretty much shortens to these 6 things (excluding a physical attraction of some sort which always included height). If I can find these 6 things in the initial match and conversation, I will move on.

The other things I want like: kindness, emotional intelligence, travel, trust, honesty, respect and good sex all follow after meeting. I don’t try and dig for these things early in the conversation. If little hints don’t flow naturally, I become disengaged.

As I was thinking about this over the weekend, because I started up too many conversations, I realize that I am quickly drawn in by a natural conversationalist who is quite comfortable in their own skin. All the men I have liked, even a little, post Tony were very successful, ambitious men. I also realized all of them were serious athletes at some point in their lives – which creates that competitive edge I love so much. They were all extremely handsome -even if physically, all very different. And not necessarily handsome to everyone, but absolutely to me.

I have at least narrowed down the characteristics that I am initially attracted to. The ones who meet these criteria, but can’t or don’t back it up with humor and great conversation just fall off the radar.

So who did I speak to this weekend in my swipe craze?

1. Paul – I really liked so much about him, until he told me he was a recovering alcoholic. I actually thought about this for a while and considered if a person who had their own damage might somehow better understand mine…but then decided it wasn’t for me (I’ve been there already). Coupled with the fact that while he has lived apart from his wife for 3 years, he’s still married. We spoke and I sent a text as a follow up to disengage.

2. Eric – handsome and seemed positive until we moved to text. He is a teacher and more than once told me I had “a good life” and questioned if I was happy working the way I do. His text were so dry that it never got off the ground. He was also entirely inconsistent with his text and was boring.

3. Chris – haven’t written him off yet. Handsome (and big which I love!) and divorced several years with a daughter college age. We hit it off and moved to text. He would engage somewhat but never really got inquisitive. If he comes back for another round he will need to show he’s more interested. If not, that’s fine too.

4. Joe – just boring. Nice but boring.

5. Jeff – handsome and interesting but once we began talking and said he had 3 small children, I was out. No more ball games and carpools for me.

There were at least 3 others. All nameless in 24 hours.

I made my excuses to each of them and politely exited.

I am bummed about John and it’s eating me. I felt like “finally” someone! Yay me! And then, nope. Of course it leaves me questioning myself. And blaming myself. For 24 hours I almost let Trixie out to see the light but she never got far…I know my bad behavior (which is why I deleted John from every possible deceive systematically). I know I can not indulge my bad behaviors because it doesn’t really feel good. It’s a temporary fix.

There’s a part of me that is going full force with the negative self talk: it’s something about you they don’t like, you’re too pushy, you’re too relationship orientated, you’re scarred, you’re loud, you’re just it right and you’re not enough for me to want to stick around and get to know you better. I have not resolved this negative self talk and I don’t know how to – I do try, all the time, but inevitably when something like John happens, it comes out again in full force.

Being alone is wearing on me now, I admit. I just don’t think I’m built to be alone. But I am getting better at not wasting my time or anyone else’s with sheer nonsense. When I need the therapy I can’t afford I will write here, meditate, or listen to one of my self help books. I have plenty of down time to exercise and care for myself on weekends. I am focused on keeping myself as positive as possible, but this threw me for a loop – and the others I’ve dated didn’t have this affect on me.

I Don’t Even Understand How Dating Works Anymore….

I know it’s been some time since I’ve written, but honestly there wasn’t much to report.

Adjusting to work and the commute has frankly sucked. I’m between a rock and hard spot to sort of “interview” during this freelance period and show them what I can do so they may consider hiring me. Conversely, I don’t want to give away my best ideas and skills for free since they are not paying me near what I’m worth. I also find myself not wanting to work 60-70 hour weeks being paid less than what I’m worth, even if the pay is fair enough for the current role I’m performing. It’s really a catch 22 at the moment. I work remote Friday’s which I know they don’t love but it’s saving my sanity.

I also realize after all I’ve been through that I no longer have the killer instinct. I know it may come back, but for now I know I still need more rest than normal. I must take care of myself.

Finding a workout balance has been tough at best. I leave at 7am and I’m home at 730/8pm. I’m starving and need to eat which means I don’t start working out til post 8/830. I need to be sleeping by 10 to function. It’s a killer and I’m trying to figure it all out. When I missed my first day in 160 days, I panicked for a moment and then told myself this: I missed the workout because I was having so much fun with my friends. My priority that Sunday was my emotional well being. I truly didn’t feel as bad as I thought (which honestly is the bigger worry, I don’t want any excuses to slip in and take over again). Then, just a few days later, the same thing happened: I randomly missed a workout.

My workouts are simply Peloton related. It could be a quick 5 minute stretch, yoga, meditation or something active. My commitment to myself was to make it part of my life every day. When I make it a priority I always figure out how to make it happen. I can’t figure out how to get the quantity (in time and effort) I prefer but I may have to adjust my lens on what’s feasible when I’m working and commuting.

When I missed the second day, I realized it just past midnight. I missed it because I was on the phone with a man I had matched with and we had some crazy connection. He was traveling in India, so it was his morning to my night. John is the reason for the post, actually.

I matched with John on Bumble. He wasn’t exactly my physical type but he met enough criteria. He was out of my distance range so it was a surprise he came up as a match. On Bumble the woman initiates the conversation and he replied quickly. We both had a lot going on and agreed to exchange phone numbers more quickly than usual. We both happened to be going into the city with friends for the evening. Surprisingly, we kept in touch. We both found each other interesting enough to communicate while with friends. It wasn’t a lot, but it was sweet. And we were both drunk. No sexting. Just funny text.

He was leaving for India the next day. I was still in the city with my friends for another evening. We text chat back and forth most of the day and then he called me when he arrived to the airport. We spoke for over an hour through airport security and dropped calls. We just kept going. He was fun, interesting, intelligent and I enjoyed speaking to him.

I didn’t get the butterflies I’ve gotten so often in the past when a man begins to check my boxes. This didn’t feel like that. I just liked him. He wasn’t overt, it was a really genuinely easy conversation from one topic to another. We had everything in common – and I mean everything. There was nothing we didn’t see eye to eye on and that was truly the strangest part. We weren’t excitable with one another, no one was giddy or coming on to the other – it was just easy. He asked a lot of questions that showed me he was interested. He answered any question I had as well as offered up his own stories.

Off he went to the plane and the communication didn’t stop! He had WiFi and text throughout the flight while he was awake. He text me through his 25 hour journey to India. He was so communicative that I became more interested and engaged after a few days of his attention – no one had communicated like this with me since Tony. He wasn’t as flattering as Tony was (because Tony was in immediate limerence) but he was eager and interested. I started to drop my guard. Within the week I began to expect his text because he was so consistent.

While John traveled for the week, I was having a killer week at work. But somehow, we communicated consistently. No good mornings every day kind of thing, but I knew he was texting me pretty soon after he woke up and looking for me to chat while we had some crossover time. He was consistently responsive. After 4/5 days of text, the conversation had taken on an incredulous tone for both of us – we still hadn’t found one thing, not one thing, that we disagreed on. I finally threw out dance music and he admitted he didn’t like it! But seriously, that was it. Really and truly – every thing else was aligned: family, religion, politics, jobs, travel, clothing, shopping, food, music, exercise, activity, favorite places, friends etc etc etc. it felt like Tony without the limerence. It was more than clear he was attracted, but it never got over the top until the last day before he returned home.

We had avoided all sex talk and it eventually made it around to some teasing. In an effort not to tease him directly but to still share my crazy sexuality, I sent an old blog story I had written. Surprisingly (again, it was common at this point) he wrote me back a sexy story! Bobby and I used to do this and I loved it, but never thought it would happen again! And here it was, happening without any pressure. He just wrote! I had crossed over into shock as did he. We both started to say “how can you be real?” Multiple times.

The sexy talk continued, I admit I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to stop but I didn’t. It wasn’t too crazy but it was a tease. He loved it. I loved it. We made plans to meet Sunday. In between it all we had normal conversation. Some he initiated and some I initiated. I began to get a little excited because I hadn’t met a man like this since Tony. He was arriving home on Friday and then driving up to see his son Saturday. He would come to me Sunday after he saw his son on the way home from his trip.

But, at some point he began to tell me there was just no way he could wait til Sunday to meet me. He wanted to meet me now! I felt like everything was entirely genuine about our connection. I wanted to meet him as much as he wanted to meet me. I had no concern we wouldn’t be attracted. We already wanted to sleep together. He was willing to get off the plane from India and drive the hour to meet me.

That didn’t feel right or fair to me. 24 hours of travel would kill me. I agreed to see him and offered to drive to him. I spoke to my girlfriend about this and she agreed and told me to throw an overnight bag in just in case.

Now I began to worry. The chemistry was off the charts, I knew it would be in person, and if it really did work between us – I was going to have to explain my scars before getting undressed. Because I was getting queasy of this, I finally decided I just wouldn’t get undressed on the first date – even if I did stay overnight with him – that I wouldn’t have sex with him. I should have known myself better, but I kept telling myself I could hold out.

So while I was debating internally – I sent him this text at the same exact time he was typing a text with the exact same thought:

Exchanges like this happened pretty frequently – we were just in the same wavelength.

I included some snippets of conversation – just to show you how equally engaged he was be the end of the week:

I was convinced by his repetition of his interest in me and his consistency in his language.

So, I totally agreed to drive to him on Friday night and wear a sexy pair of heels (part of the discussion above). I was really excited and hadn’t felt the butterflies in so long that I actually wasn’t even sure what I was feeling.

My emotions were saying “hell,yes, real potential here!” And my brain was saying “how good is he at convincing a woman to sleep with him? And if he repeats the body type during the conversation more than once, will he be able to manage my wounds? I don’t think so, he’s going to get grossed out by my naked self”

And those are the thoughts that kept me awake Thursday night. Would I disappoint him? I was so confused.

My Poison

I was doing my usual sweep of social media this morning and saw Tony’s daughters FB. I know it’s creepy I look at his childrens social media, but it’s the last place I can see him. I also know he’s celebrating a wedding anniversary soon and figured someone would post a photo.

I got a video of Tony giving his wife a family trip to Italy because their son is studying abroad.

At first I felt sick. A literal shock rolled through my body. As I watched the video a second time, I was calmer. He looks like the same person I knew but perhaps tinged with cowardice(?) Does that make any sense.

I have a feeling I missed all along he was a little afraid of his wife. I got hints of it along the way, and I don’t think he’s afraid of her per se, but afraid of how she could ruin his life.

I’m not surprised or bothered by the family trip. I know it’s very common after a DDay to plan big moments like this to bond. To invest back into the relationship you were taking away from during your affair.

It’s a morbid curiosity for me to know what happened after their DDay and to learn what my part in the story was. I know it’s none of my business but how do I stop thinking about it?

How do I shut down my brain from obsessing like this? It’s been a year since I’ve seen this man and I’m still obsessing.

I understand what he gave me and why it was so important to me. I understand I will never be with him again. But why do I continue to want connection with him?

Part of me does wonder if the daughter did it intentionally? Her mother told her of the affair – did she tell her about me? Why does this matter to me when I known this is none of my business.

As a last thought, because I was being reckless, I now realize his daughter can see that I viewed her video on FB.

Will I be sick forever? Is my mind entirely destroyed from this affair – never able to get straight again?

I can’t seem to let go. I’m worried I may never let go. I’m worried I can only hold Trixie down for a while before I truly do harm again.

I’m a broken record. People with normally functioning brains can’t understand me. I want to will it all away and make active and conscious good decision to do so. Then something like this takes over and debilitates me.

I dialed his number from a burner and listened to his voice mail. Then I sent a text telling him I missed him. He’s not stupid so he will know I saw the video.

I deleted the burner now and wrote this post to save a little sanity. Next I will do some exercise. I should have put the phone down first and helped myself out of the burning desire to communicate with him but, as usual, the obsession won the fight.

Why, why do I feel some need to speak to him? I don’t have any desire to see him – but something in me wants more from him. More that I know I will not get.