Category Archives: Dating

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 clich√© 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

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

Good-bye Old Patterns

I’m 40 and I’m finally somewhat happy.

I say “somewhat” because I feel like I have a new life that is just beginning. There’s more to come. But I’m pretty freakin’ happy considering how my life was since October 2017. I’m in a whole new world and I like it. It’ a little scary at times, but I welcome it.

I find that my path right now is to continue taking care of my family the best way I know how while continuing to be honest with myself. To not repeat old patterns and push through past mistakes. Don’t repeat the past. If it didn’t work the first 500 times, it won’t work now.

Because I’m finally single, my mind naturally drifts to a thought of “who will I be with next?”

And that is quickly followed up with “ugh, is anyone really worth it?” I get very anxious when I think of different guys and how our lives might “fit” together. Because “fit” in my mind ends up with me accommodating someone… and I’m over that old pattern.

I recently had a friend ask me if I was dating. I said I was open to it. But what she meant was am I online dating. No, no I’m not. And no, I have no desire to match myself online with random strangers at this time. It’s bad enough getting to know a semi-stranger in person let alone online. I actually missed the online dating boat by a few years. It didn’t become popular until I was already dating my ex. Then we moved on to get married. I never had the opportunity to do the online dating thing.

Now it’s normal. But I’m not there yet. I’m not comfortable or even remotely interested in it.

My friend’s response to me was “Well,¬† you’re just gonna have to get over that.”

Do I really?

I’m loving life right now. I don’t think I need a perfect stranger to get in the way of that.

Stifle Me Not