I have to figure out exactly how much of this story I want to put online, but for now, there’s this.
His name is Chris. I love him. And I am so, so happy.
Man, two posts about my brain chemistry and I go and turn into one of those confessional type bloggers who pours their entire private life on the Internet. Watch out, here I go again.
VERY IMPORTANT WARNING: If you are part of my immediate or extended family, you will most likely want to skip this post. I’m about to say some things about myself that are definitely less than flattering.
So, when The Guy and I broke up, I was… not very nice about it. I didn’t handle it well, and I said a lot of very mean things about him (mostly on Twitter). I was hurt and angry. But there’s been a pretty major shift in the last couple of days, and I’m starting to recognize some of my own shortcomings.
Way back in March 2012, when The Guy and I first started dating, it was the beginning of what I can only refer to as my “Post-Divorce Slut Phase.” I’m not sugarcoating it, that’s what it was, really. I’m not particularly proud of my behavior, but I’ll own it. (And, well, ok, I admit that it was a lot of fun.) I think that my ego and my self-esteem had been so damaged by the end of my marriage, that I actively sought out positive reinforcement from other men. Lots of them. As in, I’d have to sit down and write out a list and think really hard to even try to remember exactly how many guys I slept with last year.
(See why I said my relatives should skip this post?)
I will say, because I feel like I need to, that the girls were never exposed to any of my behavior. The things I did only occurred when they were with a baby-sitter or Dave or my parents or whoever. And I’ve thought about how odd it might be for them when they’re older, if they find this blog and read this particular entry. All I can hope is that they’ll be old enough to understand.
So, The Guy? He knew that I was dating – and sleeping with – a lot of other guys at the same time that I was dating/sleeping with him. And he was ok with that. He had separated from his ex right around the same time that Dave and I split, so he wasn’t ready to jump into a serious relationship, just like I wasn’t.
(Random aside: I should have blogged a lot of this stuff as it happened last year. I probably could’ve gotten a major sponsorship from a condom company.)
But there was this weird chemical attraction that he and I had to each other. With other guys, I’d go out with/have sex with them a couple of times and then drop them like a hot potato for some reason or other. But I always came back to him. He just “got me,” in a way that nobody else I dated really seemed to get me.
At some point last fall, I decided that I was done with all of the other guys, and I only wanted to be with him. I realized that I had fallen in love with him – HARD – and that was that.
The problem was, while I was slutting it up all over town, he had been dating one other person besides me. So, basically, I was asking him to dump this other person and only focus on me. And when he hesitated, I interpreted that to mean that he didn’t really want me that much, and I ended it.
And that was that.
Fast-forward a few months. We haven’t talked since right after Christmas, and I saw that he clicked on my online dating profile. I saw that picture of his face and I burst into tears. I wasn’t expecting that – either seeing him or my reaction.
I tried to ignore it. Then, a few days later, I saw he clicked on it again.
I messaged him and said, “I’m genuinely curious: are you trying to torture me or yourself?”
That opened the floodgates. He told me he missed me, he still loves me, he called me Sweetie…
Then he said something to me that kind of struck a chord: I never once flat-out told him that I wanted a monogamous relationship.
I mean, I thought I did. I implied it. But I never actually said the words out loud.
And it brought home something that I learned during my divorce: I really and truly suck when it comes to communicating my needs in a relationship.
So. Huh. Whaddya know. Apparently that is not exclusive to the dynamic between Dave and me, it’s just how I am when I’m dating someone.
Basically, his version of the story is that I dropped a few hints, he didn’t immediately pick up on it, and when he couldn’t read my mind, I bolted.
I told this to a friend of mine, and his response was, “Wait. You’ve been miserable and in pain all this time, and it turns out it was self-inflicted?” And, yeah. It would seem that way, at least partially.
We’ve been talking and texting pretty much constantly over the past couple of days. We’ve agreed to meet for lunch – in a public place, no chance of any funny business happening – and sit down and really talk about what each of our needs/wants/expectations are, and see if there’s a chance we could work things out.
(I’m planning to write my stuff down in advance, since, you know, see above re: not being able to say that kind of thing out loud.)
Because lord help me, I do still love him. And I have missed him so, so much.
I don’t know where this is going. I guess I just have to wait and see. And I have to start forcing myself to work a lot harder on what I tell my kindergartner all the time: use your words.
Wish me luck, y’all. I think I’m going to need it.
So. That breakup thing? Turns out it’s kind of kicking my ass.
When I texted The Guy on Sunday night that this was too hard and that I couldn’t do it anymore, and I was too close to falling for him and there were too many red flags and I knew we weren’t going to last long-term and I had to use my self-preservation instincts for once in my life… I don’t know what I was expecting. He didn’t text me back that night, or the next morning, so I figured that he was either really pissed or relieved to be rid of me.
I heard from him that afternoon, and he was just so, so sad. He understands, he knows what the problems are, and he understands why it’s too much for me to handle.
Honestly? That just made it worse. I mean, hey, call me a selfish bitch or tell me I’m a horrible person or fly off the handle or, just, SOMETHING that makes it easier for me to write you off. Don’t tell me what a wonderful person I am and how you want me to be happy and that you’re jealous of the lucky guy that gets to have me. That’s just not fair.
I texted him back, “Just FYI, you really suck at being an a$$hole.”
We’re going to try being friends and see how that goes. That basically means we’re still talking/texting every day. I told him I can’t see him in person for a while, I need some physical distance. I honestly don’t trust myself alone with him at this point. But he’s become such an integral part of my daily life over the past 8 months, I couldn’t imagine just cutting off all contact with him.
But I’ve been in this funk ever since Sunday night. I’m just so… sad. And I know it’s normal, this is what happens when a relationship ends. But it’s a holiday, and I feel like I should be happy, and I should be enjoying my family, and instead I can’t shake this black cloud that’s hovering over my head.
I’m trying to focus inward. To work on myself, to be more present for my girls, to realize that I don’t have to be in such a rush for every damn thing in my life to hurry up and happen already.
It’s just a lot harder than I expected.
A few people who I know and love (hi, Greis, Issa, and Jenna, among others!) have mentioned recently that they don’t know how to date. And I have had so much experience with it, that I figured, what the hell. I’ll write a little how-to guide for y’all.
(I’m a giver. You’re welcome.)
CHAPTER 1: ONLINE DATING SITES
This is where the vast majority of my dating experience comes from, so hopefully I can help out with some useful information here.
Which site to use?
Personal preference, that’s really up to you. I met Dave on Match.com, but I’m currently on OkCupid. I’ve heard good things about eHarmony and PlentyOfFish, too. One thing to keep in mind is that the market on each site may be vastly different based on where you live. So check them out, see which one feels the most comfortable to you (and which one gets the kind of search results – excuse me, I mean guys – that you like), and go from there.
Your Dating Profile
A few points to note here:
1. Be honest. Don’t pull a bait-and-switch on anybody. Like, I’m never going to put on my dating profile that I “love the outdoors” and lure some poor schmuck in by thinking that I’ll go camping with him, because you know what? No. It’ll never happen. And I’m not going to talk about sports that I like, because I don’t like any of them. Sorry, dudes. What you see is what you get.
2. Be funny. This is SO HARD on a dating profile, but seriously, just work in some mild humor where you can. It goes a long way. (If you want to know my OkCupid username so you can go look up my profile and copy some of my stuff, let me know and I’ll email it to you. I’m just not posting it here, because… uh. No. Separation of church and state or whatever.)
3. Post a current picture of yourself. I know, it’s shallow. We should be judged on the content of our characters and not by our appearances, right? Well, sort of. Look, I’ll admit it, I’ve turned down some guys that look perfectly nice on paper because I was just flat-out not attracted to them. It happens. One guy had a 97% compatibility match with me (97%!!), but he also had a long twirly handlebar mustache. And I’m sorry, I know it’s shallow, and you might be otherwise perfect for me, but I cannot possibly think about making out with you if you happen to look like the villain in an old black and white movie who ties the damsel to the train tracks. Just, no. Your face killed my lady boner. Sorry, dude.
Also? Something I heard from one of the guys I went out with – don’t do the “MySpace Angle” in your profile picture, where you take the picture from 3 feet above your head to make you look thinner than you are. He wasn’t an asshole about that, btw – he liked me and lord knows I’ve got a little extra chunk on me – his point was that it’s just a misrepresentation. It comes back to that whole “be honest” thing I said in point #1.
Using the Dating Site
This is kind of a weird double standard, but it’s true. If you’re a female? You kinda don’t need to do much at this point. Once your profile is posted, you will most likely be contacted by a lot of guys.
But, if you want to search and find some guys that you want to contact yourself, hey! Awesome! Go for it! I did it once or twice myself. Sure, some guys might be put off by forward women who initiate the first contact, but those guys are clearly insecure and have tiny penises, so let’s roll our eyes and feel sorry for them and move on.
KEEP IN MIND! You are going to have to do a LOT of weeding. As we all know, the Internet is full of sketchy people and creepers, and dating sites are no different.
* I can almost guarantee you will get approached by at least a couple of guys who are very plainly just looking for a one-night stand. You don’t owe them a polite reply. Ignore, delete, move on.
* You will also most likely be contacted by many guys who are married and “looking for a discreet encounter.” (This happens to me surprisingly frequently.) Which, eww, right? Those guys usually get a curt reply from me that says, “I don’t f**k married men. Bye.”
* You may also get emails from guys who are in “open relationships,” and don’t even get me started on that topic, because hey, consenting adults and as long as everyone uses condoms and whatever, but bottom line? Not for me, thanks anyway, move along.
CHAPTER 2: THE ACTUAL DATE
Ok, so let’s say you do your online dating profile and you end up chatting with a guy who “gives good email” (heh) and seems compatible with you. Here are some ground rules for the first date. Some are safety oriented, some are for your own sanity.
1. Yes, it’s ok to give the guy your cell number so you can text each other. This is pretty common practice nowadays.
2. Have a go-to “first date” outfit. It’ll save you time and worrying if you go out with more than one person. (Plus, the whole, “Wait, did I wear this when I went out with him last time?” thing.) Mine is a particular pair of jeans (which I call my “good butt” jeans) and a cute top with a pair of wedge sandals. (Gonna have to rethink those shoes for winter. Hmmm.)
3. For the first date, meet in a well-lit public place. He doesn’t need to know where you live, and you don’t need to get in a car with a virtual stranger.
4. Make sure someone knows where you are. If you’re nervous that it’s going to be awful, have a friend text you at a certain time (about 20 minutes into the date) in case you need to make a quick exit. If you’re having fun, you can ignore the text. (Honestly, I never do this anymore. I figure I can suck it up and talk to pretty much anyone for an hour or so and it won’t kill me.)
5. The best possible plan for a first date is to meet for coffee (during the day) or a drink (at night), but no meals. If you’re having a meal together, you’ve committed to a big chunk of time. For a coffee/drink date, you can easily drag it out if you’re having a good time, or you can cut it short if you’re not. It makes it easier and less awkward for both parties.
Side note: Do not go see a movie on the first date, or even the first few dates, really. The idea is to get to know each other. You don’t get to know someone by sitting next to them in the dark and not speaking.
6. Remember the weeding I mentioned earlier? Yeah. You’re still gonna have to keep doing that. Some guys you might go out with and you don’t feel it. Or you might like them a lot, but they don’t feel it for you. Rejection sucks in either direction, but it happens. You’re probably going to go on a lot of first dates that don’t lead to second dates. It’s just how it works.
CHAPTER 3: AFTER THE FIRST DATE
1. This is hard, but try to be a little thick-skinned about it if someone blows you off. Likewise, you need to have a (preferably polite) blow-off message to send to someone who may be interested in you, but who you aren’t interested in yourself. This is rough. Mine is basically this:
“Thanks, I had a really nice time, but I just didn’t feel that ‘spark’ or whatever, and I know myself well enough to know that if it doesn’t happen on the first date, it mostly likely never will happen. I’m really sorry, and I wish you the best of luck in finding your match. Take care!”
Something like that, more or less.
2. On the other hand, if he digs you and wants to see you again, and you dig him and want to see him again… well. From here, I’m guessing you can probably figure it all out for yourself.
Ok, that’s basically it. If you have questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. (Oooh, maybe this will be a multi-part series! Fun!)
Happy hunting, ladies! XOXO
I keep thinking about things I should write about, and typically I use this blog as a way to sort of write out what’s going on in my head, because it helps me process things if I can put them into words. But lately, there’s only one subject that keeps coming to mind.
I don’t even know where to start with this.
We’ve been seeing each other since March. For a long time, he was just one of a few different guys that I was dating. He was seeing other people too. We both got separated around the same time last year, so neither of us was ready to jump into any serious relationship “thing” right away.
But we sort of kept gravitating back to each other. He’s sweet and kind and smart and funny and geeky and all of those traits that attract me. He brought me flowers on Mother’s Day. He texts me every day without fail (typically many times a day). I can be nerdy or goofy or sarcastic or whatever, and he “gets” me. His kids are a little older than mine (they’re 8 and 5), but they’re close enough that he has a pretty good idea of what my life is like.
He calls me Sweetie.
A couple of months ago, I said something to my mom about how I really liked him. She started getting upset, telling me that I shouldn’t be getting serious about anyone yet, what about the kids, yadda yadda…
Then she said, “I mean, go ahead and have your fun, just don’t fall in love with the guy.”
After taking a minute to process that, I said, “Uhhh… Mom? Did you just tell me to go get laid?”
She said, “I can’t believe I said that. Forget that. And don’t you dare blog about it!”
(Sorry, Mom! It was too funny to leave it. I laughed for days about that one.)
[For the record, as far as my mom’s concerns about the kids: he’s met Lucy a couple of times, because she’s so young that I don’t worry about her questioning who this person is or what my connection is to him or how he fits into our lives. He met Catie once for about ten seconds, when he came to the door to pick me up and the girls were with a sitter. He was introduced as “Mommy’s friend,” I didn’t hug or kiss him or even touch him in front of her, and she was so distracted by having the baby-sitter there that I think he barely registered on her radar.]
Anyway, as for me “going and having my fun”… that part? With him? Uh. Well. I try to keep my blog relatively safe in case any family members happen to read it, so let’s just leave it at HOLY FREAKING OMG WOW YOU GUYS.
Ahem. So. Yeah.
I don’t know exactly what it was that triggered it, but it’s starting to sink in that he has become much more than just a guy I’m casually dating. I really, genuinely care about him a lot. This was not supposed to happen, I was not supposed to like somebody this much so soon, but there it is.
And the weird part, is that realizing this – realizing how deep my feelings are for him (and no, I’m not saying the L-word because I just can’t bring myself to go quite there yet) – brought up a whole mess of fears and anxieties that I didn’t even know I had. I was suddenly crying constantly. Which is particularly noteworthy since I normally have a hard time crying. But here I am, closing myself in the bathroom after the kids are asleep so they don’t hear me, and sobbing my eyes out.
I try so hard to live my life with this constant attitude of “no, it’s cool, I’ve got this.” I hate the idea of feeling like a victim. I don’t want to be whiny or needy. So I try to give off this illusion of super competence. Truthfully, I am absolutely terrified of getting hurt again.
And on Monday, when I texted him and said that I was feeling stupidly weepy and emotional? Rather than run for the hills, he texted me back immediately and asked if he could take me to lunch so I could talk. He held my hand across the table while I talked and tried not to cry again.
(I hate crying in public. I find it mortifying. I’d rather fall down, or have a wardrobe malfunction, or accidentally fart or God, just ANYTHING, but don’t make me cry in front of strangers. That’s one level of humiliation I can’t handle.)
After lunch, he walked me to my car and he hugged me and petted my hair for about 5 minutes in the parking lot.
And afterward, I felt so much calmer. I’m not crying anymore. I think I’m almost (dare I say it) happy?
I don’t know what to make of this, y’all. This was so not part of the plan. But I think it’s good.
So! My website was down for a few days because apparently spammers have nothing better to do than take over my measly little blog.
(Don’t ask me, I don’t get it either.)
Random stuff from this past week:
1. The yard sale last Saturday was good. We had a pretty impressive turn-out of people, made a few hundred bucks, and the rest went to Goodwill. All in all, a success.
During the yard sale, I set up a couple of beach towels on the front yard (picnic-style), and set Lucy down so she could stay happy watching all of the people come and go. (When she got bored & fussy, my dad walked her around.) A few people asked me how much I was asking for the baby. I told them to come back at 3 a.m. and I’d make them a really good deal.
Really. There are some days that I’d be totally willing to listen to anyone who’d make me an offer.
2. I had lunch with The Guy last week. We generally take turns paying for meals, because you know, I’m a liberated woman and all of that. He picked up the check for this one, and paid with his credit card.
When the waiter brought the check back to the table, he said, “Thanks for coming in today, Mr. and Mrs. [his last name].” He and I both choked on our beverages.
Moral of the story: CHECK FOR A RING, Y’ALL. It takes two seconds and spares everyone involved in a whoooole lotta awkward.
3. Is there anything else going on that I need to tell you? There’s a couple of things that are not bloggable (don’t ask), and other stuff which just sounds whiny and y’all don’t care, so let’s skip over that.
Really, who wants to listen to me moan about how much my kids wear me out?
4. Alright, they’re cute sometimes.
They even make watching the Fresh Beat Band tolerable.
This is one of those random “nobody cares about my dreams, I know, but I swear this one is funny” asides:
I dreamed that I was accused of murder. I was innocent, but there were a couple of dead bodies in my yard, so obviously I was the natural suspect.
Rather than stick around to clear my name, I ran away and started working for the Mafia. You know, as you do. They had me manage a restaurant that was part of some scam operation.
Then, I left the restaurant after working my shift there, and I was picked up by my boyfriend, Alice Cooper.
He took me purse shopping. Turns out Alice Cooper has fabulous taste in handbags. Who’d have guessed, right? But he picked out a purse for me that was, like, the most perfect purse I had ever seen in my life. And I thought how cool it was that he totally got me and my taste, and what a great boyfriend Alice Cooper was.
Alice Cooper. Seriously.
Then I woke up. End scene.
Ok, here’s a weird story and I’m looking for opinions on how to proceed, because I have no clue.
I’ve been doing this online dating thing, right? And most of the time, for first dates, I’ll meet a guy for coffee or lunch during the daytime, because the kids are already at daycare and that way, I don’t have to pay extra for a baby-sitter. Let’s be honest, the vast majority of first dates will never evolve into second dates, and I don’t see the point of spending money on a sitter unless I know the dude is worth it.
So, this guy contacts me and asks me out. He seems nice enough and fits my basic requirements, so I agree to meet him for lunch.
He shows up, and it turns out, he’s in a wheelchair. There was no mention of it in his profile. That’s… a little weird, right?
I tried not to look surprised and just go with it. I didn’t ask any questions about his handicap, because he didn’t mention it and it seemed rude to bring it up. We had lunch, and he seems like a perfectly nice guy, but I didn’t get any “spark” or anything like that from him. And I don’t think that had anything to do with the wheelchair, I think he’s just not really my type. He comes off as a little conservative and uptight, which is not generally what I gravitate toward.
But then, he texted me later to ask me out again, and I have no idea to respond. Is there anyway that I can say “no thanks” and NOT sound like a totally superficial jerk?
I talked about this with a friend, who seemed to think that I should be angry about the misrepresentation, and that his lack of mobility should’ve been clearly stated in his online dating profile. I kind of see that side of it, because yeah, it’s not really cool to just surprise someone with something so fundamental about yourself. But I also see why he might leave that information out, because he probably thinks that a lot of women would dismiss him for that. And that’s probably true, sadly.
I don’t know. Is there a way to extricate myself here and not sound mean? Any ideas?