Category Archives: Honesty

Dating is Stupid

Dating is stupid. It’s a rollercoaster. So is life, but whatever. That’s besides the point. I’m mad about dating.

3-Date Guy turned into 4-Date Guy by the end of last week. He asked me out on another date before my kids returned from their vacation. He said he wanted to squeeze in as much time with me as possible because we’d both be busy in the weeks ahead. That was so attractive. Finally, a guy who was planning ahead, liked me, and didn’t play any games. He took the initiative to see me as much as possible, without making me second guess. Lovely.

It was a great 4th date. We went to an art museum, then to a minor league baseball game. There were fireworks after the game. It was one of those rare hopelessly romantic nights. The night was full of great conversation, good vibes, and all of the hopes that go along with new dating.

He let me know he’d be going to North Carolina that weekend to get his son. 4-Date Guy lives in Ohio (as do I) and his ex moved to North Carolina with their son after getting divorced. They have 50/50 custody and he basically lives part-time in Ohio and North Carolina, constantly going back and forth. He works remote, so it doesn’t matter where he works. He set himself up to be as flexible as possible to accommodate being with his son. Got it. Makes sense. What decent father wouldn’t make all the effort in the world to be with his kid?

At first glance, dating someone who is in another state part-time could seem like a challenge. I didn’t give it much too much thought because he said he still very much wanted to be in Ohio since his family and friends are here. I don’t need to be with the person I’m dating 24/7, so this actually appealed to me for a moment. I like my freedom and space just as much as the company of another. What I like is consistency of communication. I don’t need to be smothered by another person on a daily basis.

After the 4th date, everything was positive. That was a Thursday. On Saturday, as he was driving down to North Carolina, he called me. We had a nice chat, he said that he’d be back in Ohio with his son that same week and he could get his mom to watch his son one night. He asked if I want to get dinner again one night. I said that would be great. He suddenly said a tunnel was coming up and he knew the call would drop soon. So we said good-bye.

He called back 5 minutes later. He said he was out of the tunnel and felt bad getting off the call so fast, and that he wanted to say good-bye properly. He then said he missed me and I made him happy. I hung up the phone, grinning ear to ear, squealing like a little girl.

That was Saturday afternoon and I knew he’d be busy from then going forward. On Sunday it’s like he disappeared. My life didn’t stop. I got my kiddos back and life kept going as usual for me. It felt odd to go from two weeks of non-stop texting back and forth with him to a cold turkey stop. On Monday, there was little texting, but I knew he was driving back to Ohio with his son.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was a little back and forth texting followed by, what I like to call, a text bomb:

“By the way, planning out the week, it doesn’t look like there will be a good night for the two of us to get together. Sorry if you already carved out the time… [for someone to watch your kids].”

Deep breath. How to do I respond to this? Quite frankly, I’m annoyed. I have two kids and can make time to text and call and even to go out for dinner sometimes. He has one kid and the world stops.

WTF? (like I said, text bomb)

This is a bigger red flag for me than him wanting to get a hotel room on Date #3. I can handle the male desire to get frisky too soon, and set a boundary about that. But I do not have the patience to be put on a shelf every other week because you can’t multi-task when your kid is around. I don’t need to meet his child anytime soon, we don’t need to meet in-person when his child is visiting, but you can certainly send a text and keep getting to know each other in the meantime, right? Right?

The answer is yes, yes you can, and I know that clearly. My response: “Oh that stinks, but I get it”

Actually no, I don’t get it, but I don’t think it’s worth it to confront this unless I’m given more context than that. Actions speak louder than words.

Maybe I didn’t make enough of an impression in 4 dates. Maybe he’s a coward and doesn’t want to change. Maybe he likes me when he’s single, but not when he’s in dad mode. Maybe I’m jaded and make up excuses for people too often, and then I get pissed when things don’t work out. Maybe I’m a fool because I rush in, or maybe I’m brave because I walk away. All I know for sure is if I’m making an effort, someone else should be too or dating them is just plain stupid.

Stifle Me Not

Quality Time

You know when you just know?

After my sniffling meltdown on my drive home from my last date, I perked up the next day. I can’t stay in that negative space for long. The next day I felt the residual effects, but I concentrated on getting my kids back. Once they came home from their dad’s, they lifted my spirits. My little lovebugs were chatty and tan, and they kept hugging me because they missed me so much. My priorities. I don’t like wasting my time on things or people who aren’t my priorities.

I exchanged a few texts with The Brooding Man I was attempting to date on Friday and Saturday. And then I had a little light bulb moment. After three weeks of observing his behavior, I caught on to a pattern, one that mimicked a couple guys I’ve dated in the past.

It goes like this: He works his butt off to the point of exhaustion. This typically gets my attention as a good sign, but I’ve come to find this can also be used as a distraction to deal with… well, life. He works his weekday job and then always has something he’s preoccupied with after work until he finally sits down in the evening and marinates in his exhaustion to doze off early. On the weekends, he also becomes preoccupied with a project, but its tenfold. His weekend evening routine is similar. He’s so tired he has no down time to think or form relationships with anyone. Just to sleep and do it all again the next day.

This annoyed me at first, but then I thought Oh, he’s just hardworking, of course he’s going to be tired. And I’ve let these last few weeks slide by, not really getting to know this man because how can you get mad at someone for being tired? This seems like an innocent hard-working man problem, doesn’t it? It does, until you pair it with someone who also:

  • Claims he can’t ever sleep well, and
  • Refuses to answer any question that remotely dives into getting to know him on a more personal level

We all have nights when we can’t sleep, but to never be able to stay asleep is a sign your subconscious messing with you. If you’re a normal healthy human, you’re awake at night because you need to clear something out of your psyche or your sleep environment sucks. Deal with the crap that keeps you awake at night and you’ll be able to sleep. Speaking from experience on this one.

Similarly, we all have personal areas off limits to others at first. But this guy was extra special when I tried to veer from surface level chit chat. He did not want me to get to know him personally, and he did not ask me any personal questions either. It was confusing to go on a date with him and have him pour his heart out, but then be blocked from asking questions as soon as we were back to texting. As far as I could tell, he wanted to be safe texting buddies with a few dinner dates.

To say this guy’s dating pace was slow, is an understatement.

On Saturday night I was scrolling through the dating site and kept seeing people with prompts about their love language. I’ve always hated the 5 Love Languages book because of my past experience with it. My ex and I used it when we were trying to patch up the ol’ marriage with counseling. I couldn’t remember what my own love language was, so I took one of those online quizzes just to see. Apparently I’m a close tie with Quality Time and Acts of Service. And then the light bulb that went off earlier… it kept getting brighter and brighter…

I’m frustrated with this guy because I want Quality Time and he apparently could care less about that. He’s clearly attached to some past trauma, and no matter how understanding I am, I can’t fix it. Only he can fix it. I want and deserve Quality Time from whoever I date.

Welp, I decided to make one last-stitch effort to see if he would open up and I sent him a link to the 5 Love Languages online quiz. We’re a month into this texting-dating situationship, so I didn’t see this as crossing the line. Maybe it did for him.

That was at 9 PM on Saturday night. I did not hear from him again until 3 PM on Sunday. This was sad and amusing to watch play out. I had a hunch he would avoid taking the quiz, or responding back about it. He did just that – he waited until enough time went by so that he could send a very surface level text the next afternoon that simply said “How’s your afternoon going?”

Well, there was my answer. He was never going to open up, let alone spend any quality time with me. I responded “I thought you’d ghosted me”… and he did not respond again for a couple of hours, to which he replied “Now why would I do that?” Answering a question with a question… where have I see that before? hmm. Clearly, this is not a man equipped to deal with even subtle confrontation. I accept that.

I didn’t have the will or energy to continue. I had my answer. He was as closed off as they come. I’m no savior, and I’m not here to make it my life mission to have this guy open his heart. And I didn’t want to either.

I had many things I could respond with, but his maturity level wouldn’t have been able to handle it, so I stayed silent. This morning, as I dropped my son off, I discovered another text from him… “Morning” he wrote.

My initial thought was to text back “Nope”. But I didn’t. I will just let him feel the frustration of being too unimportant for me to waste anymore of my Quality Time on him.

Add another one to the dating dump.

I’m not sad about it. I’ve already met another nice guy who is very interested in getting to know me as I am interested in getting to know him.

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

Uphill Battles Aren’t for Me

I was invited to a friend’s event this past weekend. It was a commitment ceremony. They didn’t want to go through the legal process of being hitched again, and they both aren’t religious, but they wanted to celebrate their new start together. I was happy to support them.

For some reason this day had me all in a personal debacle. Call me old-fashioned, but I guess I had a set of expectations and it just didn’t match up with the reality of the day.

To start, the invitation said no gifts. I’m of Italian heritage so, no matter what, you show up with at least a small meatball to offer as a sign of thanks or congratulations for attending. This gave me angst until I gave in and went to a local winery to buy some wine and “his and hers” wine tumblers. I figured I’d call it a house-warming treat if she resisted.

Next, the invitation said “parking can be tricky” and there was a link to click for more information. I suspected a map would open. Nope. It was a video of her fiancĂ© driving the route of the entrance of the neighborhood to their home. It was roughly a minute and a half of him instructing guests not to park on the main road, not to park on their road, and not to park in the driveway. He points out one possible side road along the way where we “could” park.

This gave me instant parking anxiety. I watched the video like five times. My anxiety worsened each time I watched it. I gave myself the ol’ self-talk of “you’ll figure it out when you get there”. Deep down though, somehow I knew it would be a problem.

I left for this event at what I thought was a decent amount of time to arrive on time, or possibly fashionably late. The time on the invitation said 4:00. I pulled into her neighborhood at 4:05 and thought about parking at a nearby park, but the route to her house was uphill and about a quarter of a mile up the street. I decided to forge ahead to find the side street that he pointed out in the video. I turned on that road, and there were no cars parked on the street at all. [insert wide-eyed emoji here]. I was so confused and was now driving around the block trying to find a any spot to park that wouldn’t cause me to be towed.

And my friend starts texting me, asking if I’m still coming…

Oh my gosh. How many people are attending? Is she waiting for me to start? I was mortified.

I finally found a row of cars parked on the street at opposite end of the street (it seemed near her house, but it was just as much of an uphill walk), so I just parked and hopped out, started hiking uphill and forgetting about the gift I brought.

She texts me again! She asks if I need help. I say no and I’m walking up to the house. OMG

Her fiancĂ©’s son greets me at the end of the very long and steep driveway. Meanwhile, I’m doing some serious work hiking up this hill, and starting to lose my breath (and I’m in decent shape). The son, who appears to be in his early 20s, claims that his dad is an idiot and should have planned for better parking. Ya think?

As I reach the top of her very steep driveway, she opens the front door and greets me.

What the hell? Why am I the one holding up their ceremony? I want to die: 1) from hiking up the hill and 2) from embarrassment.

She greets me excitedly with a hug and ushers me through the house to the back deck where there was a canopy and about 40 people seated, waiting for the ceremony to begin. I slid into a back row, greeted one of my old work friends, and proceeded to catch my breath — wishing that I was already sipping chardonnay.

The ceremony was cute, and short, and made me feel a little sad for myself. Weddings do that. I’m glad I haven’t been to any lately. But it also gave me hope, as she was once in my single shoes and found her second chance at love. So I observed with an open heart and happiness for her new start.

Next was social time, drinks, and food. I was happy to catch up with my old work buddy and her husband. We drank and ate together. After a while her husband wanted to go, and I was sad to see them leave. I didn’t feel like making new friends with strangers. Sometimes I can do this with no problem, but the uphill battle to get here (all puns intended) had already gotten the best of me. I was longing for home and comfy couch. I stayed a little while longer, while they cut the cake, and then I bid my farewell. I felt a little guilty for leaving so soon, I thought she may have seemed disappointed when I left. Maybe not, but I just felt the need to go.

As I walked out the front door, I realized I’d have to walk down the steep driveway, and then down the steep road to my car. And I remembered that I never brought the gift. I made the journey downhill to my car. I was then full of every bit of reluctance to retreat back uphill with the gift. Even if I drove up the driveway, the maneuvering I’d have to do to get back out of the driveway would have been a spectacle.

So I did something I’d normally never do, and I gave up. I left. I did not go back with the gift. I gave up early and in complete relief. I reminded myself that the invitation specifically said “No Gifts Please”. My mind started circling on how I could meet up with her later and give her the gift, and then I just stopped. I put the windows down and I turned up my music and cruised home.

There are just some things that aren’t worth it, that includes going uphill twice for no gain of my own.

Stifle Me Not

Seeing Clearly (Sucks)

Yesterday was an interesting day. It was a tiring but very necessary day. It was my daughter’s birthday – that should have been the main event. What I didn’t expect was the ending to the day. My daughter sat on the couch with me that evening and began venting. She does this often, but she’s usually ranting about her friends or teachers or something she wants to buy. But this time, it was about her father.

Let me back up to provide better context. Ever since I found out that my ex-husband was, in fact, a certified covert narcissist and lying manipulative cheater, I have not shared any of the fun facts about the divorce with my children. Anything has been on a need-to-know basis. For many reasons, but mostly because 1) they’re too young and it isn’t appropriate, 2) they still very much needed a father to parent them, and 3) my parents shared entirely too much information during their divorce and it just wasn’t necessary.

I’ve never lied to my kids, but I haven’t given them a bunch of unnecessary details either. They know I’m not a fan of their dad, but I always tell them he loves them and focus on shared parenting as much as possible. As my daughter has gotten older, she regularly asks me “Why did you and daddy really break up?” I tell her she’ll understand by the time she’s in her 30s. I believe she even thought I was at fault for breaking up the family at one point, and she’s challenged me numerous times about being the reason for all of the upheaval in her life.

I guess her dad recently told her his version and actually confessed to being a cheater. I’m not stupid enough to think he truly owned it, I’m sure I was made out to be a villian in some way. Ever since then, she seemed to observe him more closely. One day she told me she knew why we split, but I still kept quiet. No point in rehashing the past or adding fuel to a fire that is already out in my mind. She didn’t seem mad at him, but I’ve noticed that she picks up on many more of his personality traits and habits lately. She is observant anyhow, but this new fact has her very fixated on his behavior lately. It started out with her noticing small things he does or says. Until last night when it all snowballed into one big realization that her dad is not the person she has idealized her whole life.

I didn’t say too much, except to acknowledge that I understood what she was referring to when she described the situation she was frustrated about. She was telling me about how he was responding to (aka manipulating) her opinion about something. As she was talking, it’s like I was forced back through a time warp when I was with him and he had me doubting and questioning my reality over and over and over. It was a personal hell of mine, to have to do that on a daily basis to the point of detaching myself from my own reality just to survive. It is not a place I want to go back to, nor do I want her to live in that world.

My daughter was experiencing the madness of communicating with her narcistic father. I always wondered if it was just me, or if he would end up treating the kids similarly to me. I guess I got my answer. My daughter sees it for what it is right now, because she’s 13. At 13, you see things clearly. It may be confusing but she’s seeing it play out in real time – It’s not too late for her yet. I will calmly support her without aggravating the situation to the best of my ability. The good news is she has already been talking to a counselor regularly, and said she wants to talk to the counselor about her father. I am hopeful that she will not relive the past I went through with her father. I really hope she can have a relationship with him and not be manipulated by him. I don’t know. It worries me, but I’m confident in her.

It really sucks to find out that a parent is not who you thought they were.

After a lot of venting and some tears, my sweet daughter fell asleep on my lap as I pet her hair. She laid there peacefully for about 15 minutes and then hugged me and went to bed. I was so proud of her for owning her feelings, facing her doubts, and being honest about her realization.

And I have never felt so validated in my life. It’s taken almost a decade, and last night was the first time I could breathe in a long time. More challenges always await, but I can see so much clearly now.

Stifle Me Not

13 Again

My daughter turns 13 today. I remember 13 so well. It was fun and traumatizing all at the same time. As a teenager, you view the world honestly – you see what’s happening for what it is. Maybe that’s the “traumatizing” part. You haven’t learned to sugar coat anything yet. It all is…what it is. It’s a small period of time in the grand scheme of things in between the joys of being a child and the harsh reality of being an adult. Teenagers get a bad rap for being negative or weird. The truth is, they’re just being honest and expressing themselves. And as adults, we’ve somehow become accustomed to masking life with a rose-colored glasses. We call it things like emotional intelligence (of which I’m both a fan and a hater – that’s a whole other post).

Teenagers use their emotions to express themselves – whether good, bad, or indifferent. In your teens, you learn how to cope with people. You learn what you can handle and what you can’t. You determine how to navigate certain situations – what works and what doesn’t. And so it begins — you form the patterns and habits that “help” you and carry those mechanisms with you into adulthood.

I’m watching my daughter now and it’s so interesting to see her patterns. She’s very honest with herself. When she’s uncomfortable, she hides in her room and confides in her friends. She comes out when she’s ready. When she’s feeling happy and free, she gets loud and silly. She goes with the flow of her feelings. She can be chatty or sulky – it just is what it is and she’s okay with it. She is as authentic as she’ll ever be. It’s how I used to be.

After getting divorced and moving back to my hometown, I started to do what I wanted to do with my life – in my career, my daily tasks, my hobbies, and how I expressed myself. I started to feel like me again. I didn’t have this overwhelming cloud of doubt over my head anymore – I was just being me. I remember saying to one of my friends that I felt like I was getting back to my old self, “like I was 13 again”. I didn’t put much thought into that statement at the time, but now that I have a daughter that age, it’s very eye-opening.

When I was 13, I used to feel my feelings and let them guide me. I didn’t care if someone else didn’t like what I was feeling – I didn’t even think about that. I just felt my feelings and dealt with them and managed my way through each day. Then I got into my 20s and 30s and let other people’s motives override my true feelings. And I learned the worst habit of all — I learned to “adjust” to others. I adjusted, they didn’t. And so that was my demise. I see this as a pattern in others as well and I want to smack them silly and scream “Go back to being 13-year old you!”

I know she will be okay. She is a wonderful person at 13 right now. I hope she can hang on to her authenticity more than I did. If she ends up back at her 13 year old self in 30 years, she will be so lucky.

Stifle Me (Her) 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

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