Category Archives: Dating

Feeling Lack

It’s been a long two weeks without my kids. They’ve been with their father for a long period of time. They’re having fun. Enjoying their summer. Being kids and living their best lives.

I, on the other hand, am having an identity crisis. I’ve gone from Single Mom of Two Kids, to a Single Lady with Nothing But Her To Do list… and too much time to think about dating, or lack thereof. Sometimes I think I should just get a pet.

The first week the kids were gone, I was concentrated on work so it wasn’t too different. Just quieter. By the time the long weekend rolled around, I got bored and made a To Do list. It’s now all done. My Independence Day long holiday weekend went like this:

  • Felt sorry for myself and cried on Friday.
  • Power-washed the house on Saturday.
  • Visited family for a 4th of July party on Sunday.
  • Stained my deck on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Cleaned my kitchen floors, and descaled my Keurig coffee maker on Wednesday.

I thought I’d be able to use a couple of days during this time to get the know the new guy I met in the middle of June. We had a great first date, and have been regularly texting ever since, but never met up again because of our work and kid schedules. This whole time I haven’t had kids, but he had his son. Before I knew it, it was my last day of “free” time from my kids. So yesterday, when he asked what my plans were for that evening, I took the opportunity to see if he wanted to hang out again. He quickly agreed. I was a little annoyed that he couldn’t just ask me out on his own.

We met up at a Mexican restaurant. It was a little more of a subdued date than last time. The margaritas helped get conversation flowing. It was light chit chat and mostly me asking questions and him talking. I can tell he is guarded. He will freely talk when asked questions, but he doesn’t ask them back. Any information he knows about me is because I offered it up in conversation. I can tell he’s sensitive with a rough exterior, but it’s been a little frustrating trying to get to know him.

To my surprise, with how guarded he’s been, he suddenly opened up about the first love of his life. He told me the whole story, which was emotional, and I think he may have even teared up a little. I went from smiling and nodding to getting a little depressed about the whole thing. He seemed to still be in love with this person 20 years later. I was a little shocked that he went from surface level chatting to such a deep topic without much warning. I was left speechless. It kind of explained a lot about why his relationships have gone the way they have so far in his life.

After that, you’d think he’d asked more about my dating history. He didn’t. I offered up a little info, but he didn’t bite. I felt complete lack in that moment. Lack of someone wanting to get to know me too. The date was good overall. Not great, not bad. Just good. It was better than sitting at home texting him – I got to know him a little better. But like I said, did he get to know me better?

I thought getting to know this guy was a smart move because he was far from what my usual dates try to do – which is typically love-bombing to start, followed by complete good times, and ultimately manipulation of some sort. I’m done with that type of rollercoaster, but he was a complete 180 from that. It didn’t feel good. It feels like it’s not worth it. This is where I’m caught in the gray space of wondering if my perspective is twisted because of past relationships, or is this feeling of lack a legitimate red flag? I feel like I’d know how to give advice about this to someone else, but since it’s me, I’m double-doubting myself.

We walked outside the restaurant, bid farewell with some banter and a hug, and each walked to our cars in opposite directions of the parking lot. I sat in my car for a minute, bewildered, and looking for an appropriate playlist to fit my mood. It was an odd mood. Raw. Sad. Unsatisfied. Tired.

As I drove away with the windows down, the summer air smelled like it should be filled with good times, but tears streamed down my face for the whole drive. I couldn’t stop them. I was a sniffling idiot. I was trying to figure out why I was crying, because the date was not bad, but I was too tired to care. I let the music cover up my sobs and the wind dry my face as I gave up on making sense of anything.

Stifle Me Not

When You Try for Yourself and No One Else

“The Date That Never Was” led me to almost give up on dating for the 276th time… but I left the dating app on “active” on for some reason after bidding the last turd farewell. It was pure disappointment in the days that followed, but life is stupid and doesn’t get better if you don’t try. I guess leaving it on “active” was my version of trying.

One Friday afternoon at work, I facilitated a very long group meeting . Afterward, I was spent. My energy was at zero. It was a good meeting, but I was ready for a weekend of doing absolutely nothing. I had no hopes or dreams for that weekend except to rest and play Candy Crush. After the meeting, I saw the dating app notification that someone liked my profile.

Here we go again, another one. This oughta be good…

I reviewed his profile with little to no expectations. Attractive. Check. Seemingly normal photos and profile posts. Check. And he didn’t live too far away. Check.

So I responded. And that led to some productive conversation over the weekend. Which led to him asking me out later the next week. I think this is how it’s supposed to go.

We met up at a low key restaurant one evening and spent the next three hours talking and getting fully lost in the date. It was such a pleasant date. He was talkative but not over the top, he was more attractive in person, and he paid. We both agreed we’d like to meet again. I was pleasantly surprised. I guess I’ve become pretty jaded since “The Drunk Vampire Date” over a month ago.

I drove home with a smile on my face for once, and all I could think was finally… now what’s the catch?

That was more than a week ago. And I’ve discovered the catch… he moves at a way slower pace than what I’m used to. Also, I’ve discovered that I am still more jaded about my past than I realized. This threw me for a huge loop in the week after our date. I wanted to get to know him better, but it seemed like there was stalling around every corner. I was beginning to be suspicious.

  1. I was excited to plan something in the next week or so. My kids went with their dad for two whole weeks (and he knew this), and I thought for sure he’d jump at asking me out while they’re away. Days went by, and he didn’t say anything. Not. A. Peep.
  2. His texts became less and less throughout the days. His schedule is much earlier than mine. He wakes up very early (4 am) and falls asleep pretty early (sometimes by 8:30 pm). But I started to wonder… was his schedule an excuse?
  3. I decided to get creative and asked him “what are three words your mom would use to describe you”… I just really wanted to get to know him. He came back and said “I honestly don’t know.” I was shocked. How could you not know what your own mom would say about you? I thought he was trying to get out of letting me get to know him.

I thought, because he didn’t immediately want to plan a second date, and wasn’t communicating all that great, he wasn’t interested. I get that the novelty wears off, but I genuinely thought he wasn’t interested anymore.

Yesterday, I had it. I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t asked me out, and there was no logical reason because every other asshole under the sun has come back and wanted a second date if the first one went well. So, me being an impatient one, I unpaused my dating app and drafted a message to him, basically telling him “I get it, I’ll leave you alone.”

But before I could send anything, he texted me something that made me stop in my tracks. It made me reconsider my mindset about the whole situation. I had responded sarcastically to him saying that he couldn’t think of three words his mom would use to describe him , and he said he really didn’t know his mom well even though he sees her… he said she’s closer with his other siblings that he doesn’t really talk to much either.

It occurred to me that this guy’s perception of relationships – with family, friends, or a significant other – is way different than what I’m used to in my own life. I finally let my feelings spill…for no reason than to make myself feel better, not to hold on or to make him feel bad… it had nothing to do with him anymore, I just wanted to feel better for once and voice my side.

I told him I was confused, was getting the feeling he wasn’t interested because we hadn’t planned a second date and there hasn’t been as much communication other than crappy texting. He also has kids, and our kid visit schedules have been opposite each other. Furthermore, our work schedules are different with his being much early than mine. I said our schedules are just different and it’s frustrating that I can’t get to know him better.

To my surprise, he rolled with my punches. He pointed out facts of our schedules too, without getting defensive, and reassured me that he liked me. He was very nice and understanding about it. And then he said “we have time.” I don’t know if it was the “we” part or the “time” part or what, but that helped. It just did. I thanked him for hearing me out. I was truly grateful for the way he responded. Real adult conversation.

I spent the rest of the night crying. I was happy, I was very happy. But I was sad for myself. I was upset that I have been holding in too many feelings for too many years. I haven’t found anyone that I can speak my truth to without them turning the tables on me. It’s been years and years of feeling feelings and keeping a big girl face about it. And finally, after years of doubting myself and building myself back up, all I needed was for one person to listen, understand, and accept that I had feelings (even if it was just a misunderstanding that caused them).

I’m glad \I spoke up, even though I was tempted to simply walk away. I stopped trying a long time ago, when it comes to men and dating. This time I tried, but it wasn’t for him, it was for me. Trying for yourself can sometimes be worth it.

Stifle Me Not

The Date That Never Was

After surviving the drunk vampire date last month, I hopped back on the dating app this past weekend. Mostly out of boredom and curiosity. Plus it was time to dust off and get back out there. I reactivated my account, and a number of “likes” and “smiles” came through. It’s interesting to see how people describe themselves in their profiles. I’ve become more of an observer lately rather than getting too emotionally attached to possible outcomes. It’s quite interesting to see how someone describes himself and then, if you respond, see how he ends up communicating.

Communication is key. If they can’t communicate well, it doesn’t go very far. My brain can’t handle prolonged communication with someone who is not confident, awkward, or just plain not smart. I give them a chance, but my patience wears thin after awhile.

I ended up messaging with two guys. One guy didn’t make it far. He took the negative route too soon, and I wasn’t about to go there. The other guy kept conversation going at a decent pace, had a splash of interesting, and was attractive. He also had a decent job, lived nearby, and was involved in his own interests/activities. We kept messaging to the point where he asked for my number and we kept texting outside of the dating app. Good start.

Somehow we got on the topic if ice cream, and he asked me out to ice cream on Sunday night. Since my kids were away, I agreed and figured a harmless ice cream date was just what I needed after my date debacle last month. As Sunday afternoon rolled around, I let him know I was available and going shopping for a little bit – I told him to let me know a time and place, and I could meet him after I was done shopping. I asked if it was too soon because I didn’t want to rush him and asked if he was busy now or if we should meet later. This was around 5 pm, so it wasn’t too early or late. He kept responding as if he was ready to meet soon. Then his responses got more and more delayed. I was done shopping and needed to either go back home, or have him answer so I could go meet up with him. I was sick of waiting in a parking lot for an answer on if he was ready, and where we would meet.

He finally responded that he was running behind and was about an hour and a half away helping out family. An hour and a half away? What? Why continue to message me that you’re picking a spot to meet at soon, knowing I’m only 20 minutes away? Why not mention sooner that you’re out of town?

I was so confused.

That’s when I stopped. I wasn’t going to make excuses for this guy. If I’m confused, there’s a problem. I’m smart, educated, and have a decent level of social and emotional intelligence. If I’m confused, I’m either missing valuable information or the other person is being an idiot.

I drove home in a confusion fog, and I started to get angry. This is the same type of feeling I used to feel when my ex would make me “confused”. He always seemed so well-intentioned and convincing, but what he was really doing was manipulating the situation to fit his own agenda. It can be intentional, or not, but it is what it is, and I don’t like it.

I got home, mad. I was more mad at myself for having wasted time waiting around in a parking lot when I should’ve given up. I told him we should reschedule and he could call me later. I needed at least a phone conversation for my sanity to see if this guy was legitimately interested or blowing smoke.

He called around 8 pm. I don’t know about you all, but 8 pm on a Sunday night is getting near by bed time since I wake up at 6 am on Monday morning. He asked if I still wanted to meet up.

Uh, no.

I said no thanks, and we continued chatting about work and other stuff. I was feeling defensive, but trying to just learn what was going on. Suddenly, he had to take another call that was coming in and said he would call me right back. I honestly didn’t care if he called me back, but I was curious if he would or if it was a tactic to get off the phone. I went and did some chores for awhile. When I returned to my phone, I saw that he called back, left a voicemail, and also texted. Alright then.

I had no energy to call him back. I called my friend instead. While I’m talking to her, he texts “Let me take you to dinner tomorrow.” I didn’t respond and asked my friend’s opinion. This didn’t seem worth it since I was already frustrated and hadn’t even met him yet. She said “Eh, what else do you have to do? Just go and see what happens.”

I waited until about 10 pm (when I was about to go to sleep) and texted him back that dinner would be nice. He responded right away and let me know that he would be home from work by 6 pm. Okay fine, I figured dinner would be good after all that confusion.

The next day comes and goes. We texted throughout the day, but he never said anything about a time or place for dinner allllll day. When I was leaving the office at 5 pm, I sent him a message asking what he was thinking for dinner, where and when?

He asks if I want to meet after work or after a workout about 8 pm. I say after work because I have a bed time. He says he has a bed time too. And continues to NOT answer the question.

This was similar to the day before, where he wouldn’t fully answer or would respond to my questions with a question. I pointed out that he was dodging the question. He asks “How?”.

How? How?? By not answering the actual question!

He didn’t even say the classic line “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” to give me a chance to pick a spot (if the case was that he was having decision anxiety). He quite simply was not answering me, or responding with more questions.

There I was again, back in confusion land. And that was the nail in the coffin for this date that never was. I simply responded that I was no longer interested in meeting up with him.

I did get a response from him that he still wanted to take me out. The problem is, if you can’t figure out where you want to go, you can’t go on a date. It’s actually quite simple.

Stifle Me Not

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 pain 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