Category Archives: Dating

Re-evaluation

This weekend, I went on a date. It was not good. In fact, it was horrible.

I’m not broken up about it. I must’ve had that sixth sense that things weren’t right because my excitement never really manifested in the first place. I couldn’t see the actual red flags until I met him in person (and then that was more than obvious), but I had something instinctual going on. Too bad it wasn’t enough to have fully avoided the situation.

We talked on the phone in the evenings and texted throughout the day for almost two consecutive weeks. I thought this would be a “safe” date. Meaning, not an immediate letdown, and literally not unsafe. This man was educated, well-employed, has three kids of his own, had life experiences that knocked him down and he got back up again, and he seemed like an all around honest hardworking divorced man who just wanted to find a good partner for the second half of his life. He seemed similar to me.

He lived quite a distance from me (about 1 1/2 hours), so he planned a date where we’d meet somewhere halfway. We each drove about 40 minutes to a restaurant for lunch and then we were going to a winery for live music. I finally asked where were going exactly so I knew what to wear, well, that is when the red flags began. Let’s review, shall we…

Red Flag #1: The restaurant he picked was Applebee’s.

I admit, I am somewhat of a food snob. I have hung out at Applebee’s with my kids on occasion, and maybe for a date in high school. But going to Applebee’s prior to a winery seemed…odd. It felt cheap and not a good first start. However, I figured he was trying to keep it simple since it was a first date and we both weren’t from that area.

Red Flag #2: He wasn’t 6 feet tall

His profile said he was 6′. When I got out of my car and started walking toward him in the parking lot, he was not as tall as I expected. He barely seemed taller than my ex-husband, who was just over 5’11. I don’t care that he wasn’t 6 feet, but I do care that he lied.

Red Flag #3: He wouldn’t make eye contact with me until he had a margarita

He walked up and immediately asked if he looked like his photos. He started to flex his arm. We went into the restaurant and the server greeted us. I noticed that he wasn’t making eye contact with me. He was distracted by everything around us. After she walked away, he asked why she was looking at him funny. She wasn’t. I was confused. He then spotted a guy in a “wife-beater” tank top across the restaurant and preceded to say how he hated when guys wore stuff like that to show off. Umm, ok. He then said he had to order something healthy and watch his calories. He ordered healthy food, but followed that up with a big frozen strawberry fishbowl margarita. I was in awe at the whole start of the date.

Okay, so from the restaurant, we drove in his car to the winery. It was about 10 minutes away. I didn’t even think twice about this because of the short distance, but hindsight is 20/20. I should have just followed him to the winery.

Red Flag #4: He just wouldn’t stop drinking

We get to the winery and it is a fun atmosphere. There was great live music playing and it was sunny and warm outside. We went in to do some wine tasting, and then he bought a bottle of wine and we went outside to enjoy our wine and the live music. It was a all good. We were back to having nice conversation like we had on the phone that last couple weeks. My hope was back. I thought maybe he had just been nervous. I was relaxed, it was a nice day.

He went and got a second bottle of wine. The little voice in my head said that should be good, but no more. By the end of the second bottle of wine (which he drank more of than I did), I ended up sitting next to him (instead of across from him) because the music got louder. This is when things went south. He started getting a little frisky. We were in the middle of a public place, with many people were around us, so I wasn’t too worried. He chilled out for a moment and said “I could just bite you.” I was turned toward the singer at this point, and said “please don’t”… but I thought he was kidding… and then next thing I know there is searing paid up the back of my arm. He literally sunk his teeth into my arm.

I yelled and moved away, because, well… he bit me. Did he really just bite me?

I became uncomfortable for sure. I got up and went to the bathroom. After I came out, I went on the other side of the building and needed a minute to collect my thoughts. I looked for an escape route. I thought about calling an Uber. I looked for a ride in my Uber app, but I was at a winery in the middle of the country. There was not an Uber driver anywhere nearby. I finally decided to go back to him, but he was becoming a drunken mess. I could see him sitting, but hunched over himself. I imagined he might have a case of the spins. I went back and convinced him that we needed to leave, that I needed to go back to my car.

He was slow to agree, but he finally got up, swaying as he moved his large body from the the table toward the parking lot. We got in the car and he turned on the air conditioner and opened the windows. He then leaned his seat back and rested there for a very long time. I asked him if he was okay. He said he was. I asked if I could drive. He said he would be fine. I asked him what he needed, he said nothing and that he would be fine.

After, what seemed like eternity, I got out of the car and sat in the grassy area in front of where the car was parked. I sat there and took in the beautiful scenery and contemplated my next move. I finally called my brother and asked if he could come help me out. He immediately said yes and put on his location map on the phone so I could track him. My date came and sat next to me, on the grass, not really talking, just drunkenly existing next to me. I wondered how the last hour went downhill so fast, but then I remembered all of the red flags earlier, and of course it did.

Red Flag #5: He left me, and blamed me

I told my date that I had a ride coming to get me. He acted confused and questioned me. I said that my brother was on the way to get me and he was free to go. I said “You can go.” He got angry, stomped off, turned around and came back to tell me “No wonder you’re single”, and then he got in his car and peeled off. I was relieved he was gone, but sad I was alone. And I was thankful to see that my brother was getting closer. I walked around the winery for a bit, wondering if I should cry but I didn’t, and bewildered by the whole day.

My brother arrived, drove me back to my car, and then followed me home. He’s the best. I need a guy that will do anything for me the way that my dad and brother do. But I know better, I don’t think that exists.

I got home and immediately called my sister to vent and made some pizza rolls. After being home for about 15 minutes, I got a text from my date that said “You are a dumbass b!tch, no wonder why you are single f#^*&d up”

I blocked him and ate my pizza rolls.

Yes I’m dumb, because I went on a date with that guy had a slew of red flags to start. And yes, no wonder I’m single, because I won’t put up with crap like that.

It’s time to re-evaluate dating altogether. There has to be a better way.

Stifle Me Not

Dating Revelation

I think I’ve finally figured out, with actual words, why dating has been so hard for me. I’m a goal-oriented person. I’m used to working toward trying to achieve something, toward meeting a goal. At least that’s how I am in my work life. Throw me into a dating pool and I try too hard. Even if the other person doesn’t catch on that I’m trying too hard, I’m on overload with what the final result will be. I’m used to trying to achieve something, not focused on myself.

When dating, each person you meet is not the goal. I am the goal. Me finding the fit for me is the goal. This is not rocket science, so why is this such a revelation to me? While I practically know this, I ultimately fail (in my own ideals) because I’m not playing the game the way it’s designed. I’ve been playing by my rules instead of based on how it really is.

I recently heard some memorable advice: Don’t attach yourself to the outcome. Date and have fun, but don’t have an outcome in mind. You’ll know the outcome once you get there. If you visualize a certain outcome with dating, you’ll just set yourself up for disappointment.

So I logged back into the dating app with that mindset. No expectations, no attachment to the outcome. No chatting with someone and working toward a goal. Just be. Just play for the sake of playing, not the end goal. Take it all in and decide what’s good for me, leave the rest behind. I even reminded myself not to get excited when the dopamine rush kicks in from a “like” or a comment. Clear the mind, and wade through pool floating on a ducky.

At first I was looking at matches on my dating app and throwing them away right and left because of one criteria or another. Too far. No kids. Single vs. Divorced. Etc.

Finally, I expanded my search properties and took my hands off the wheel. There were a couple of guys I noticed (but didn’t reach out or remove) from the list. Without talking to these guys, it seemed like a logical move to dismiss them already. Then one of them reached out to me.

I hesitated. Like I always do. But I recited my new found advice and responded to this man, without attachment to the outcome. Just have fun, just have fun… If you don’t like him, you can run.

He responded back rather quickly. This was followed by a flow of discussion into the night, and into the next day. And then we started talking on the phone the old fashioned way.

It’s too early to tell anything yet. I’m still not attaching myself to the outcome. I know how quickly things can go sideways. But I find it funny that when I finally opened up my perspective just a little bit, the sun shined through just a little bit brighter.

To be continued I guess…Just have fun, just have fun… If you don’t like him, you can run.

Stifle Me Not

That Scent Me Running

At the end of 2021, I started dating a guy. By the second week of 2022, I already moved on.

I guess I’m finally getting the hang of the dating game, without letting it take a toll on me. I’m letting my gut feeling take over and do the work for me. I’m tired of overthinking or pretending too long. It’ll be whatever it will be.

I went on about 5 dates with this most recent guy. That was enough. No point in pretending and getting attached for an inevitable departure. It takes about 2 – 3 dates and a week of constant texting to get through the initial “getting to know you” phase. I was feeling pretty good, but not overjoyed at this point. I felt like I had to see him again to make the call.

By the second weekend of date 4 & 5, he was trying to lock me down into girlfriend mode. He was calling me all the pet names, sending all the lovey emojis when he texted, holding my hand in public, and adding stuff to my Netflix watch list. Oddly enough, I wasn’t annoyed by those things. That stuff usually wigs me out and I run like the wind, but I hung in there. At the end of date 4, I was definitely not all in, but he called the next morning and wanted to take me to brunch. Who in the hell doesn’t want brunch?

The Problem: The bad part was I liked him, his personality, most of his values…. BUT I just wasn’t fully physically attracted to him. I was at first, I thought, but I underestimated what lack of attraction can do, or not do. Each time we parted ways, it nagged at me a little more (without me fully admitting it at first).

Lack of physical attraction messes with you. My brain and heart were all confused, so my animal instincts took over and said “nah”. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a bad looking guy. There’s a reason why I liked his photos and went on as many dates as I did. But man, I just couldn’t lie to myself anymore.

The Deciding Factor: Each time I was with him, I noticed he had on some kind of scent – I didn’t know if it was cologne, man body wash, deodorant or what. It actually smelled good, but only when I was with him. It’s after he left that made me insane. It was like a cologne bomb was dropped in my house, on my sofa, on my clothes, in my hair. I would ride with him in the car and sit next to him on the couch for a couple of hours and I would be drenched in man balm.

I KNOW it wasn’t that strong in person, so I’m still baffled at why it was so strong after he left.

It is like a dog marked its territory. I felt totally marked. One time I had to air out my sweater and change my top. The next time I had to completely change clothes. And the final time I was with him, I raced home, sprayed my coat in my own body spray, and took a shower. I felt like a fog of man fragrance was following me everywhere.

This was so odd. I’ve never had this problem before. I told one of my co-workers when I got in to work this week, and she simply said “Oh, if you really liked him, you wouldn’t mind his cologne”.

She’s right. The scent made me run. Maybe it was another indicator since I wasn’t being honest with myself about how not attracted I was to him?

The Solution: I waited a couple of days and let him know that I couldn’t see us moving too much further along. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I didn’t like his scent – that would be a lie, I hardly noticed it in person. I just didn’t like it’s aftermath!

Weird problem to have, I know. But I feel so much better now. Usually, after I break it off with a guy, I feel a little bad and overthink it a bit.

The Outcome: I don’t feel bad. I feel like I did myself a huge favor. I let my animal instinct track the scent and handle the problem.

Stifle Me Not

Oops, I did it again

I did it again.

On Christmas night.

I reactivated my dating app. Ugh.

I think it’s because it wasn’t fun coming home from my parents house that night, with no kids (they were with their dad), and it was just me. Just me and the fireplace. Sounds like it should’ve been amazing right? It kind of was, because I needed some peace and quiet, but I still had the longing to spend the holidays with someone who means something to me.

Human nature? Damn human nature.

So I re-installed the damn app, paid the monthly fee, and started swiping. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to a few “likes”. I couldn’t bring myself to respond to any of them. I was back in he same boat as before. I wasn’t hopeful, but decided to keep the door open for a month “just in case”.

Well a day later, I got an interesting “like”. I waited a bit and then responded, but still not hopeful. Just interested to see what the hell this guy was all about. It looked like we would have nothing in common, but I was curious why he was interested in me. I felt like we didn’t seem like each other’s type. And then the non-stop text conversation began…

That led to meeting him for a first date a few days later. It last about 3 hours with non-stop talking, blushing, and smiling. I was so relieved when he walked up – I was instantly attracted to him and it got better as we got to know each other. I went home in a daze. A stupid girl daze. He had already brain damaged me.

The next day, which happened to be New Year’s Eve, we ended up going to lunch and hanging out for the afternoon. Further brain damage.

We went our separate ways for our New Year’s Eve plans. He went to visit his friends. I went to hang out with my family. We texted each other the whole time.

On New Year’s Day, we ended up getting dinner again and hanging out for a few more hours. More talking, more smiling. I may be permanently brain damaged at this point.

I kept myself in check, told myself that time will tell, look out for the red flags, don’t be stupid girl, go with my gut…you know, all of the responsible self talk that usually gets ignored.

It was back to reality this week – the kids came back and it was back to work and school. And the conversation between me and this new guy continued all week. I can idealize people sometimes (I’m an eternal optimist), so I’ve already tried to mentally pick him apart… And I think his worst qualities are that he goes to bed before me and he may not like quite as many foods as me. Uhhhh, what?

I usually have a pretty good idea (even if I don’t want to admit it) in the first week, especially after hanging out three days in a row, if the guy is going to sink or swim. This guy just keeps getting better. I KNOW it’s still totally the honeymoon phase, even through the brain fog. I plan to keep my radar up and continue to get to know him.

I feel like someone read my list though? I made a mental list that I put in my journal after the last lunatic was so disappointing. I added to my dating list, increased my standards. And I thought myself to be mad and no one would ever measure up to this list. I’m not saying this guy is a keeper yet, but he damn near hit all the wish list points and I like hanging out with him. He doesn’t stress me out.

I guess only time WILL tell – as I’ve told myself a million times this week.

I’m interested to see if I must revise this list again.

Stifle Me Not

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.

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