Getting Through the Red Flags

Earlier today I read the phrase “get through it to get past it”.

What true words.

After my much-needed energy reset, I reactivated my dating app (without high hopes), telling myself I’d keep it active until the subscription ends in a couple weeks.

A couple of guys liked my profile and I didn’t interact. Then one guy liked my profile, and we started texting. It started out promising (as many do) and it took a nosedive into the deep end. This guy was red flag city. I completely knew I wasn’t going to date this guy, let alone ever meet him in person, but I hung in there for a little bit. I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t running for the hills. I felt bad for him a little bit I guess.

My inner me was lecturing me about how I shouldn’t feel bad for people, I need to just focus on myself. This guy asked me early on, if I’m not interested in him, if I would just give him feedback as to why not rather than ghost him. Fair enough. However, that was more than I bargained for because this guy was a giant ball of baggage. He also somewhat reminded me of me x 10 a few years ago – maybe that’s why I hung in there, because I was in his shoes once.

Some of his red flags were:

  • He had an overall negative outlook on life.
  • He called his ex bad names when he referred to her. (I hardly expected to read C U Next Tuesday in one of his texts, but I did, I so did).
  • He didn’t socialize. I asked if he was anti-social or what – he said he didn’t care for people, they exhausted him.
  • He never left his home to shop or go to dinner or anything.
  • He didn’t know how to cook.
  • He didn’t work out.
  • He said he was broke (because of his ex) and that he lived in a cheap apartment with an old car.
  • He has cats (I’m very allergic to cats).

There wasn’t a glimmer of hope with this guy.

Women usually want some form of safety, security, and/or fun. He was none of those things. It’s not like he was just bad for me, I don’t think he’d be good for any healthy woman right now.

I felt like I owed him a constructive response, but man it was tempting to ghost him. It took me awhile to craft something that was direct yet easy to digest. I didn’t want to damage the guy further, but he needed some real honestly or he’d destined to hermit in his cheap apartment for the rest of his angry life.

He thanked me for the honest response and offered to stay in touch as friends. I said sure. He said he’d been single for 5 years and he thought that would be enough time for him to heal. I had the phrase in mind that I saw earlier, “get through it to get past it”, as I gave him the feedback. I didn’t use those exact words, but was hoping he understood he was trying to skip the “getting through it” part. He was hiding instead. If I hear from him down the road, I hope he finds a little self love. Maybe at least learns how to cook something.

I deactivated my dating app again – I can’t seem to make it to the end of this subscription. I’m glad I made a new texting friend, but the holidays are coming. Holidays and dating sound like a brutal combination. I think I will make it just fine, it’s the guys that come through that I’m worried about. I’m still “getting through it” myself some days, but things get clearer everyday and I feel more past my old crap than I ever have. I think I’ll finish out this year enjoying each day as it comes. I have some Christmas cheer to spread damnit.

Stifle Me Not

Energy Reset

I underestimated the amount of time it takes to recover energy back from someone else absorbing it.

It took me years to want to date after getting divorced. I was fully depleted of any energy to do more than basic life things — eat, sleep, work, take care of my children. Even exercise was not part of my equation for a long time. I’ve slowly integrated that back into my routine in the last year or so. After getting divorced, it made sense that it would take years to actually want to date.

When I dated a guy earlier this year for about 3 months, it took me about 2 months to want to date again after that. The guy I most recently dated only lasted about 3 weeks, and it has taken me about 2 weeks to get through that post-dating slump. And it’s not like I’m this emotional crying wreck that is sad and desperately missing the guy. I don’t mope around, I’m just energetically drained and lack motivation after a break-up. I’m crystal clear that I don’t want anything more to do with these guys, yet somehow it exhausts spirit. I need to reset my energy every single time.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I wanted to date in the first place if I don’t even regularly hang out with friends? There are the obvious reasons of course (like the initial rush of attraction, etc.), but why do I truly want to spend my precious time and energy finding another person that I don’t know so that they may or may not work out?

I don’t want to be so negative, but the recovery period after dating someone is so exhausting. It knocks the wind out of me. And I don’t go into each relationship thinking it’s doomed or is going to last forever. I feel like I’m pretty realistic about being flexible with my expectations.

I don’t think dating is very good for me. I think it’s bad for me.

I’m not sure it’s worth it. I think people often date “just to have fun” or “as a distraction until meeting the one”… but aren’t they so tired? And I’m not sure there is a “the ONE”. I think there are lots of people you could be compatible if you crossed paths. If someone is going to exhaust me, stay off of my path please.

I’m focusing on my peace.

Stifle Me Not

Not Ghosted, Just a Classic Case of Gaslighting

Remember how I figured I was ghosted by the most recent guy I’d started dating? And I accepted and it moved on? Welp, I guess it was not the end…

Apparently, I was being given the silent treatment. For 2 1/2 days to be exact. My last form of communication with the guy was on a Thursday morning. I figured by Friday evening, with no response from him, that we were pretty much over. Because who does that? He was an insta-texter, so I knew a long period of silence meant he was either sleeping, or not happy about something. He often texted me all day long while he was working, so he didn’t let daily business stop him. And why didn’t we talk on the phone? Well because the few times I asked him to, he didn’t feel like talking. Yes, a red flag, but I’m an idiot sometimes. So we mostly texted and made plans to see each other on the weekends.

My brain already started to decompress by Friday night. I even hopped back on my paused dating site profile. After all, it had only been about 3 weeks of “dating”. We hadn’t had the commitment conversation, didn’t make it that far. I wasn’t feeling bad because I already did that for two whole days — I am done with confusing relationships. If I’m confused, even after attempting clarification, then there’s something not working. Boy was I right.

So I went to bed on Thursday and Friday nights feeling sad, just because I don’t like the dating world in general and thought maybe I’d found a nice one. But I was also relieved because I felt like a dodged a bad boyfriend bullet way sooner than later. So I did a little sulking and by Saturday morning I was in acceptance mode. I did some yoga and had some nice quiet time by myself until it was time to go pick up my kids from their dad.

On the way home Saturday evening, I heard a text notification on my phone. I didn’t check it right away because I was driving. When I got to a red light, I glanced at my phone. It was him.

He texted, “So…how was your week?”

How was my week? Well well well, we have a man here who wants to interact but not confront the actual situation. I believe when someone is trying to get a big reaction out of you and causes you to question your own reality, that’s called gaslighting. I decided this was an unacceptable response after 2 1/2 days of silence. He was trying to get a reaction out of me, and I didn’t have one to give because I no longer cared. I didn’t respond, spent a nice evening with my kids, drank some wine, and went to bed. Silent treatment right back at ya buddy. (I never do the silent treatment by the way, I think it’s awful and you owe someone direct communication, but I knew this was no longer a viable relationship).

On Sunday morning, I made a big breakfast, took a long shower, took the kids shopping a little bit, and then we came home and chilled out. I took a nice mid-afternoon nap on my couch. It was glorious. I woke up from my great nap and glanced at my phone. Oh for crying out loud, he sent a long rambling defensive text. Come on dude!

I was equal parts annoyed and happy. Annoyed, because I’ve seen this behavior before (aka ex husband behavior) and it is exhausting. But happy, because I didn’t do anything wrong, it was doomed from the start. It wouldn’t have mattered how much I tiptoed around this guy with my replies, he was going to find a way to be pissed about something. He needs endless ego-stroking, and his ego will forever act like he is the victim and blame someone else for what he is feeling. He even stated at one point “People think I’m a dick, but I’m really just confident.” No, no no.

I took a deep breath and (against my better judgement) responded to his long rambling text with my own lengthy text (for my own closure) that was full of my very constructive observations on what happened with our miscommunication and then bid him farewell told him good luck. I got an instant response from him telling me I made so many assumptions and that I only cared about my own feelings. I responded one last time “Then we’re not compatible, move on.” …. and he kept responding and I had to block him.

I shed a few tears out of pure frustration. And then instantly felt better and made dinner for my kids.

Dating is stupid. I don’t recommend it.

Stifle Me Not

Ghosted

Welp, that was short-lived. Not even a month has gone by and the last “relationship” is already done. I hung out with the guy from the dating app more last weekend. It was a very nice time. He seemed just as interested and engaged in everything as much as I was. We went for a hike, he cooked steak for me, we napped on the couch, we had lots of comfortable conversation. It was the perfect cool fall weekend dating scenario. I guess it was too perfect.

As I was hanging out with him the past couple weeks, I discovered that he is not physically well. He hadn’t been well in a year or so. He even had an upcoming surgery scheduled in the next month. He apparently has good days and bad days. I guess I was hanging out with him on his good days. I left his house with visions of our next cozy weekend together, and there was NO indication that we wouldn’t be hanging out again. We even had planned a date night for an event in about two weeks – I had a sitter lined up and everything.

On Monday, I noticed he wasn’t texting as often as he had in the weeks before. But I don’t often text much either when I get busy at work, so I wasn’t going to overthink every time lapse in between text messages. By Tuesday, I realized he was being very short. He was no longer asking me any questions about me. He was also being pretty negative and said he wasn’t feeling well. Wednesday was a similar type of day. I was pretty sad on Wednesday – I was sad for him not feeling well, but also sad for me, because I felt a little duped. I didn’t understand why he entered the dating world right now while his health was in the state it was in. If he didn’t feel well, how was he going to put any energy into a person he’s dating?

On Thursday I texted him “Good Morning” and he didn’t respond for a long time. And when he did, he responded negatively. He’s actually done this a few times when I’ve texted good morning, and I brushed it off. Red flag? I think so.

I asked him if I was bothering him or what was up. He explained that he didn’t feel well plus he had some family drama going on that was related to the upcoming holidays. I said ok and left it at that…BUT then he forwarded me the conversation between him and his sister to explain why he was so mad.

I read it. Okay. Got it. Made sense . Sort of. It actually seemed like she was reaching out and he was just being defensive toward her, but it wasn’t up to me to judge. I was just there to listen to him.

I was relieved that he was opening up to me after an awkward week of communication. He even said it wasn’t his intention to be short with me. I figured this was just a bad week for him, but I wasn’t sure how to navigate the conversation since he seemed so agitated.

So I asked him a few questions about the scenario with his family. Three questions to be exact. And none of these questions were too personal or out of line in any way. I just wanted to keep the dialogue going (since he just opened up about it) to learn more about him. He brought up the topic, and he was the one to elaborate on the topic by sending me copies of the conversation with his family. It didn’t occur to me that asking a few questions on the subject was out of line.

After I sent my few questions, he abruptly texts me back that he’s done talking about it, he feels like I’m interviewing him, he’s not in the mood to go into specifics, and he doesn’t care anymore. He asks to move on from the topic.

Okaaaay. Gaslighting? That’s what it felt like.

I was stunned. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I wasn’t sure if I should respond at all. I felt like I was in one of those damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situations.

And I was.

I went about my morning at work feeling uncomfortable. And I was upset that someone I was trying to get to know was making it this difficult to have a simple conversation. I was going to text back a simple “Okay” just to ease the tension. But I’m not dating a guy to just be a people pleaser. I’m not dating someone to have a one-sided conversation where I don’t get to be curious or contribute in any way. No matter how bad of a day he’s having, I still matter. I’m not selfish and not caring. I was just asking some questions.

So I finally responded: “That’s how you get to know people better… by asking questions.”

Crickets.

And I haven’t heard from him since. It has now been over 24 hours that the ball was in his court. He has abandoned ship.

I believe I have been officially 100% ghosted. Even if he reached out to me by now, I can clearly see that he doesn’t have the energy or motivation to put into another human to have a meaningful relationship right now. I would have to tell him that.

I feel both rejected and relieved. I’m upset because it seemed like we had a good start, but it’s now apparent he likely wasn’t as into it as I was. I’m relieved that it was short-lived, might as well pull the band aid now instead of later. I already put in 18 years with one man that didn’t work out. This was only a little over 18 days.

If I said there wasn’t more than a couple of red flags, I’d be lying, but human nature is to hold on I suppose.

Thank you God for the brief yet important lesson.

Ghosted it is. I’ll take it.

Stifle Me Not.

When You Least Expect It

Since August I’ve been doing my own thing, being free from the dating world. It’s been on my mind, but I didn’t take any action until the calendar flipped to October 1st. Why that day, I have no idea, but I signed up on another dating site. Last time I had instant results, so I guess my expectations were high going in.

Ugh.

By the third week of October I was ready to throw in the towel. I’d bought a month’s subscription and planned to get through the month and see what happened. Well, I’ll tell you what happened. I got plenty of interest, but having someone initially engage with you is not the hard part. It’s actually having a meaningful conversation with any of them. Holy crap, the level of effort that men in my age range put into their initial communication is piss poor at best. I’m in HR, so I naturally ask questions to get to know people, so I know not everyone is super comfortable at first, but gosh, the lack of motivation was astounding.

By the third weekend, I’d had it. I was trying to engage with a man that had the personality of a coconut. I woke up on Monday morning in a bad mood and gave myself a pep talk that I could take a break, pause the service, and come back another day. But by lunch time I was furious at how annoying my last conversation was. I went to the park to go for my afternoon lunch walk. Before I got out my car, I got a ping on the dating app that someone new had “liked” my profile. I looked at it with no excitement. None. He was attractive, and clearly fit, bald, and it looked like had had some meaningful hobby. I was like Okay, seriously, this must be just another meathead and I don’t have time for this. I went for my walk and pouted, and decided I’d delete the app after lunch.

After my walk, before going back to the office, I looked through the guy’s profile that had just liked mine. I looked a little closer at his pictures and it sparked my curiosity. I just really wanted to know what the hell he was doing in one of his photos so I could click the X and move on. So I sent him a conversation and asked him my questions. He responded pretty quickly. We went back and forth like that for a little bit. I went back to the office. The conversation continued.

Oh my GOD, I found one with a brain!

We ended up talking on the phone that night. He grilled me with questions. He wanted to know just as much about me as I wanted to know about him. How refreshing.

We chatted throughout the week and he asked me out on a real date. Last weekend we went out to dinner and spent a long time talking and laughing and getting to know each other. We ended up hanging out the next night too.

Wow, this guy was fun, and thoughtful, and serious about dating. This is dating.

I haven’t seen him in over a week now because I’ve had my kids nonstop, but we have an ongoing text conversation going on throughout each day and into the evening. Talking to him is always the best. And we have another date planned in a few days.

I like this one. I really really like this one. Maybe he won’t be around forever, or maybe he will, but one thing I know for sure is he’s better than the last one. And this is why I trusted my gut – the last one had to go, because I needed someone who engaged and communicated better with me. I deserved more of what I didn’t know I needed.

To be continued… I hope!

Stifle Me Not

Coffee?

One day, just days after breaking up with 3-month boyfriend, I went grocery shopping. This wasn’t any shopping trip. This was a grocery shopping trip with my beloved children whom I had already taken back-to-school shopping earlier in the day. I usually never take them with me to get groceries. I time it so they are with their father when I go, or I’ll order groceries online and pick them up. The stress of ensuring they are alive at the end of a shopping trip and managing to get everything I need is just too much.

My daughter is a quiet, but needy 12-year old. Upon entering any store, she suddenly has every “need” imaginable – from special foods and drinks to expensive beauty products… it is exhausting and mind-numbing to process each request. My 6-year old son always has a lot of energy and is usually talkative, but for some reason walking into a store turns him into a wild animal. He turns into a literal high-powered testosterone-filled superhero that suddenly wants to touch everything imaginable and run through the aisles at a high speed.

It was a Sunday evening and we had just visited grandma and grandpa. On the way home I was passing the store, and I realized we had no decent meals for the week. If my kids don’t eat well most of a week, well, there are always consequences, a whole other story. So against my better judgement, after a long day of being out and about already, I decided to go in.

We barely get through the produce section, and I’m already regretting my decision. I’m trying to calm my nerves as my son darts around people’s shopping carts and I dodge my daughter’s never-ending list of preteen demands. I was already exhausted and just wanting to get through the mental list I had for the week.

I noticed two things. The store wasn’t too busy (for that I was thankful) and I also noticed that there were a lot of single men shopping with their baskets. I admit the thought crossed my mind that this would be a place to scope out a single dad. To be clear, scope out, not ask out.

You know how you can end up with the same people as you make your way through a store, and then you end up at the check-out with the same people? That was me, and I was getting in all these people’s ways as I rushed through the trip, because I was in multi-tasking mom mode.

Fast forward, I’m in the meat section. I’m trying to pick out some beef tips (of all things in the whole store, beef tips). My daughter is right next to me saying something I don’t comprehend, (because 12 year olds mumble, a lot). As I turn around, my son is in my peripheral vision jumping around, my daughter is right by my face mumbling, and a guy I don’t know is right behind me saying (in what feels like slow motion) “Excuse me…would you like to go to coffee sometime?”

UhhhhhWTF?

I make eye contact. I am stunned. My daughter squeals and runs away down the snack aisle with her brother (bro thinks its a game). I am out in the open, in front of other people, in the beef section, getting asked out by a guy who maybe, just maybe, watched too many RomComs recently. I knew my answer, but all I could immediately think was I just broke up with my boyfriend, how did he know? Do I have an “I’m newly single” sign on my forehead?

I’m not married so of course I don’t wear a wedding ring, but my kids were with me, I was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans, and I was not making flirty eyes with anyone. If anything, my head was down and I was just getting through it, man, I was in survival mode. What possessed this poor guy to ask me that question? And in the meat section of the supermarket?

This guy was on the short side (nothing against shorter guys! My personal preference is just taller), he had a head full of messy dirty-brownish hair, and a big messy beard. I couldn’t tell how old he was because he was covered in hair – maybe 35, but he could’ve been up to 45. I couldn’t even tell if he was attractive because of all the hair, and I was too shocked by it all.

I just blurted out “Ohhh thank youuuuu… but no thank youuuu.” And I smiled nervously as he bolted. I mean the dude whipped his cart around and bolted like lightening down the closest aisle toward the check out area. I stood there grinning sheepishly as my daughter bounced back to me, laughing hysterically and texting her friends that her mom just got hit on in the meat section. My son was laughing too, but he didn’t know what was going on, he just thought were were all having a great time.

I made it through the rest of the supermarket, trying to remember what else I needed. I was equal parts flattered and horrified. My daughter said “Mama, you got game!” Haha, sure kid.

Life is so weird. I’ve been considering my next move (if there is one) in the dating world. Online dating is frightening, but I’m not sure having a complete stranger walk up to you in public to ask you out (before asking for your name) is much better. It’s not like we even had a run-in and joked about broccoli first. It was just bam, wanna go out?

I’m trying to keep an open mind about it all. Bless his brave heart for trying. I hope he finds the girl of his dreams soon. For now, it’ll just be me, myself, and my own coffee.

Stifle Me Not

Ripped the Band-Aid

I did it. I broke up with the 3-month boyfriend.

I’m not gonna lie – it was a little rough. I think he was blind-sided, but not oblivious. I voiced my concern about how he was envisioning us as more long-term than I was. He didn’t disagree. He was mostly quiet. He said he understood, and he thanked me for being honest. I spewed all the break up words in less than 5 minutes, trying to be conscious of not using the cliché one-liners, like “it’s not you, it’s me”, even though it was quite a bit of the truth.

He was a good match, but he wasn’t my match.

Once I ripped the band-aid, it felt like a butterfly lifted from my stomach and flew away. I drove home in relief. Yes I was sad, but I was sad because I made him sad, not sad for myself. I was proud of myself. 10 years, 5 years, 2 years or even 1 year ago, I wouldn’t have done this. I would have stayed. I would’ve made excuses as to why he was so great, and I wouldn’t have considered my own happiness and how I was really feeling. I would have covered up my real thoughts and feelings with my mask – the one I can wear so well in a relationship, because I had a lot of practice with that mask before. It would’ve been a significant comfort to do that again.

But I can’t cover up anything anymore. I am supposed to be in an airport right now, sitting next to him, getting ready to board a flight for vacation. But instead I’m working, and I’m not sad that I’m not going on vacation with him. Because the vacation would just be a giant cover up for what I was really feeling.

I broke up with him on a Friday and I was a little down the rest of the weekend. I kept waiting for the regret to set in. It didn’t. I went through my regular work routine that week – little things would remind me of him. Was this regret? No, it was a quick memory. I reflected on how I was feeling after a full week of not being with him or talking or texting with him. I was still relieved.

My friends and family looked at me wide-eyed and shocked when I told them I broke it off, and of course reacted with “Why?????” When I explained my reasoning, everyone seemed to understand and responded with a thoughtful look . They all understood, they all supported me fully. I think they saw what I saw after I articulated it, but they had fallen in the trap too. He had all of these magical unicorn qualities that I should want, so they didn’t focus on anything else…

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

This relationship was short-lived but it helped me with two things: 1) Learn that I can trust myself about how I’m feeling and 2) I’m a little more clear on what I want/need in a relationship.

When you live half your life denying your instinctual feelings, it’s hard to unlearn what you’ve become accustomed to doing. I’ve discovered that growing up, and in later relationships, I’ve been conditioned to suppress my original feelings if it conflicts with another person’s feelings. I’m not all “whoa is me, I’m so damaged” because of all of these misguided relationships in my life — I haven’t been abused all my life — it’s just how I learned best to cope with conflict. I don’t like conflict, and apparently so much so that I complete disguise my feelings so that I don’t disrupt another’s life to a point where I’m completely misrepresenting my own. Well that’s not healthy. So I’m not doing that anymore. Check.

As for the second thing I learned, that was a little harder. I knew I wasn’t a fan of conflict and had some work to do, but I was not clear at all about what I needed or wanted in a new relationship, except that I didn’t want what I already knew with my ex. Well, if you’re used to peanut butter and jelly for most of your life and then someone asks you what other sandwich you want, but you’ve never had ham, or salami, or tuna or whatever, how in the hell are you gonna know what to pick? You’re not. And I didn’t. So I ended up with a guy who was the complete opposite of my ex, and he was good, but he wasn’t the best for me. And I realized I don’t need the exact opposite of my ex. The ex had some good qualities (as much as I hate to admit it), otherwise we wouldn’t have originally ended up together. So now I know a little more about what I like and don’t like in a relationship. Check.

So what now? I’m not really sure, but that doesn’t bother me. I feel like I just passed a challenging level in the game of life. So I’m going to relax, work out, clean, water my flowers and figure out what I fancy next. The universe is recharging for my next level.

Stifle Me Not

That Was Fun, But I’ve Had Enough

My current relationship status is about to go from dating to single. Quite simply, I don’t want to be in a committed relationship right now. I’ve made up my mind and have all but ripped the band aid. That will be happening in the very near future. I’m just trying to muster up the right words to disconnect from him officially. The truth is, I’m tired. There was no beating, or cheating, or disrespect. There were no harsh words or big frustrations. I’m just not ready to have something long term, and I can tell that he is. It’s not fair for me to be a maybe lady.

After being with him, I’m drained. My time off without my kids is valuable – it’s when I get stuff done, and when I enjoy my personal peace… He is not a bad person, but he is not a peaceful person. He is disrupting my personal peace without realizing it. I find that he’s becoming more of an obligation than a compliment to my current life. No one wants to be an obligation.

I guess this is why you date, huh? To find out who fits in your life and who does not. I can’t say enough good things about this guy. If there was a such thing as an Excellent boyfriend resume, he would be it – the looks, the career, the money, the personality, etc. But my life doesn’t want each box checked that society wants checked. My life wants peace and ease as the priority, and everything else is a sprinkle on top.

Wish me luck. I’ll be fine.

Stifle Me Not

Boundaries and Benevolence

The guy I met in April is still around. It’s been… an experience. We’ve moved on to using the awkward relationship titles –> boyfriend and girlfriend. When you’re in your 40s, it just feels weird to have to label each other.

It’s like I’m skipping down a lit pathway (so it isn’t scary), but there are a lot of sudden turns, so I get caught off guard every so often by different, um, surprises. We’re finally getting comfortable with each other, but continuing to discover new quirks about each other. I remembered this phase happens, it’s just that it was 20 years ago.

So far, he’s been great to be around. We have fun. There are times when there is a lot of conversation, and there are times where we just lay on the couch and stare at the TV in silence. I don’t mind either way, and he doesn’t seem to mind either. We’ve met each other’s families and kids. Everyone seems nice and amicable on both sides.

I’ve had moments where I couldn’t tell if he was being annoying, or if I was being oversensitive…or maybe a little of both. I tend to be a people pleaser, so I’ve had to stop in my tracks and tell him specifically when I don’t like something. But I can also let things annoy me that may not annoy others — okay, okay, I can be moody. So I’m careful not to overreact when I know he’s just being a human. But I’m trying to speak up when I need to, and I’m really really trying not to compare him to everything with my ex, but it gets hard because that’s the only experience I have in mind.

I have to say that the last three months have had way more positives than negatives. Anytime something doesn’t feel right, I just try to process it the best I can and then to see if it “feels” right when I’m with him again. Every time I’ve gotten overanxious about our relationship, it’s seems to auto-correct itself. It’s weird. I’m used to my past, where I tried entirely too hard… until I was completely drained of all energy. Now I’m trying to, well, not try.

Being yourself and having boundaries works wonders for a relationship. If only someone had shared this secret sooner in my life. LOL. Not funny, but funny.

What I’ve been overthinking quite a bit is that I haven’t gone out with anyone else other than him. I like him, so why not? But is this too easy? I’m pretty sure the grass isn’t much greener elsewhere, and it’s not like I want to “play the field” as a single mom of two kids. It’s just that 1) I thought dating would be harder 2) I thought I’d be on several different dates before finding someone I actually wanted to spend time with and 3) I just didn’t expect to like anyone at all… ever again.

What he’s really up against is my alone time, which is priceless. I’d rather have some much-needed peace and quiet than be with someone that disturbs my peace.

I feel like my new guy is a little gift from the universe – like a “good job with dumping your slut husband and moving on with an honest life”.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy isn’t perfect. I can see why he’s had his own personal struggles, but I can also see that he’s learned from mistakes and tried to be a better person. That is what I wanted out of someone.

I guess I’ll see what the next 3 months bring… it can only go one of two ways because I’m too young to settle, but too old to waste any time with being unhappy – I’d rather be alone than unhappy. It’s a strange but good spot to be in. Boundaries are needed, but so is having some faith that others can bring good into my life without causing me grief. Boundaries and Benevolence.

To be continued …

Stifle Me Not

Let the Dating Chapter Begin…

The dating chapter has begun.

In mid-April, I flipped the switch on a dating app and by the next weekend I was out on a first date. To my surprise, that first date has led to many other dates with the same guy. I already deleted the dating app, and so has he. And this is all so very eerily… comfortable? I thought I’d either end up on a dating spree, or I’d have one or two bad dates, get discouraged, and take a break from the app immediately. I did take a break from the app, but not for the reasons I thought I would.

This guy is very normal, and kind, and attractive, and hard-working. He is ALL the things I’d list out if I had to. I actually really like him. And he likes me. And it all seems so…dare I say, easy? My mind has been in overdrive “what’s-the-catch” mode for weeks now. I’m beginning to realize that maybe there is no catch. I’ve put in the self-work and so has he. We’ve both had our ups and downs (and down downs), and we’ve learned and grown. Now we’re getting to know each other. And it’s refreshingly nice to just get to know someone and not be afraid of their expectations of me.

I tip-toed on eggshells for so long with my ex, that being around a nice man (who isn’t intent on manipulating me) is a strange (but good) place for me to be in.

I didn’t realize what a dark place I was in until I arrived to this lighter place in my life. I didn’t fathom someone would like me just for me and not just for what I could do for them. It’s all so sad really. I’ve left the dark place, but it still haunts me. I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to be anxious about it. I’m trying to just enjoy the here and now.

There’s no guarantees with how this new relationship will turn out, but for it now it feels like a nice change from the last three and a half years. I’m curious about the journey, and look forward to it.

Stifle Me Not