Category Archives: Learning

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

3.0

When I first started this blog, it was an outlet to help me cope with the newness of my divorce and the many challenges that followed. One challenge included a surprise case of head lice. Fast forward 4 years and we’ve come a long way. However, my daughter’s head is apparently still a hot spot for critters. When my 13 year old daughter started itching her head a lot on vacation a few weeks ago, the first thing I did was check her head and neck for nits and bugs.

I saw nothing of concern. However, my vision is… horrible. She kept claiming her head was just oily, or dry, or this, or that . I checked her head again at least twice more, even used a lice comb. I almost went to get lice shampoo because I couldn’t understand what else it could be. She swore up and down that it had nothing to do with bugs. She said she had combed her head for them too. She’s 13 and takes care of herself way better these days, so I had no real reason not to believe her.

We got home from vacation, and two weeks later she was still itching. I took her to the doctor because I’m beyond confused at this point. And low and behold: he points out nits. Hello hair bugs 3.0. We were both horrified and confused all at the same time. How had I checked her multiple times and missed this?

We both knew what to do. I started mentally preparing myself for the long haul of weeks of combing. The doctor knew the enormity of this task as he surveyed her beautiful, thick mane of hair, and he quickly called in a double prescription of “the” shampoo.

I dropped her off at home and went to get the prescription. My son was instructed to stay in his own area, I fed him, and let him play on his tablet. He was fine. My daughter started stripping bedsheets and doing laundry as she prepared her mind for the long haul as well.

To my surprise, she didn’t want me to help comb her hair. I gave her some instructions about the shampoo, she asked a few questions, and went to work while I cleaned the house. There was an unspoken team effort. I checked my head and her brother’s head, and by some miracle from the God-Sent Sanity Fairy, we were good. I have checked our heads regularly every night since. I put sheets on all of the couches and assigned seats for the next few weeks. Everyone agreed, and we’ve been living in harmony for the past week.

All is stabilizing, but I’m still on edge.

I kept thinking “where did I go wrong? why did I let my guard down? I know better, I know better…” My past came back to haunt me, and it occurred to me that I was beating myself up for something that could happen to anyone. I was looking for someone (me or another) to blame to make sense of it all.

I wanted to cry, but all I could think was “this too shall pass.” Because it will. We’ve been through it before, we’ll get through it again. And this time I was let off the hook from combing, so I’m thankful for that. I’m so very proud of my girl.

After she got done combing out her hair that first night, she calmly came to me and said “How did you do that when I was little, mom? How did you comb my hair out for me for weeks the two different times that I had it?” And I simply shrugged and said “Who else was going to do it? I did it because it had to be done.” And she gave me air hugs from across the room.

I’ve been looking for the lesson in all of this. From challenges come great lessons. And I think this lesson was more for my daughter than for myself. I have learned, I have grown, I have tried to pass on my knowledge, but some things she must learn on her own no matter how many times I try to tell her or show her. That thought made me sad. I can only help her to a point. All I can do is be her support system.

This too shall pass.

Stifle Me Not

Trusting Thyself

Right now I have “What’s next?” on my brain. Evaluating current state and thinking about my next move. Thinking about my future.

I haven’t been future-focused since I graduated from college. That was 20 years ago. And that is probably the last time possibilities were endless for me. I experienced each day with the future in mind. Hopes and dreams were alive.

Once I got married and had kids, everyday turned into survival mode. I was lucky to get the kids stuffed in the car for drop off, and make it to work on time. I lived to pay bills and possibly plan a vacation or do some big home project. Vacations never happened. Home projects were rare. I’m not blaming marriage for my life woes, but acknowledging that I let myself get in a rut and never got out of it until I was forced to.

After my divorce, losing my job, and being forced to sell my house quickly (only to live with my parents for the next year and a half), I found myself in the bottomless pit of survival. It was a challenge to feed my kids and wash my hair. I saw other people with their families out in public, talking about their jobs or plans. And I couldn’t fathom planning anything past the end of each day. I didn’t have a job, didn’t have cohesive family, didn’t have my own home, and didn’t have a purpose other than to survive for my kids.

After about 10 years of constant challenge, I have risen up considerably despite my weaknesses. I have achieved the unthinkable for me since just a few years ago: Stability.

This is my danger zone.

There are no big problems in my life right now (knock on wood). I’m caring for my kids, doing work in a career and company I like, making money, and happily keeping busy with daily life stuff. Minor challenges are merely temporary annoyances these days.

I felt like I was drowning for so many years, so this is a new territory for me. I’ve come up for a very long, much-needed breathe of fresh air. Everything is, dare I say it, Good?

It’s all very good. BUT, I’ve been conditioned to prepare for the worst – and I’m trying to shake that habit. Adjusting my mindset for the next great thing, not the next bad thing.

I say this is my danger zone because I’m capable of doing just about anything when I want to do something. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I can execute to make things happen, but it doesn’t mean what I choose is the best way forward. I stopped listening to others. Started listening to myself. My biggest threats include dating toxic med, career boredom, spending too much money, and quite simply not trusting my gut.

Right now I’m calm and quiet. Wide awake, but quiet. There are no loud voices in my head leading me in one direction or another. No noise. I’ve worked so hard to clear out all of the noise and distractions. All is quiet. Almost too quiet.

My mind keeps spinning with these words: Whatever you do next, choose carefully. Choose very carefully. This is what freedom looks like. I am free to do whatever I like, but choosing wisely is key to avoid losing my hard-earned stability and freedom.

Right now there is nothing to choose except to trust myself when the time comes to take the next step forward.

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

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.