Category Archives: Perspective Shift

Don’t Hesitate Too Long…

By Friday I didn’t hear much from my rainy Tuesday night date. I figured he was done with me. I don’t need fireworks, but a spark is a nice start. He reminded me of an attractive/nice co-worker that I’m not attracted. I enjoyed his company, but wasn’t interested like that. In light of this realization, I turned on my dating app again. I do this a lot you guys, I get bored and go man shopping even though I know it’s not healthy to keep doing it. Well, when I turned it on, I saw a new guy in my small batch of matches. His name was Joe. I was initially attracted to Joe. I haven’t dated a Joe yet. The next thing I know, Joe “liked” my profile.

Whaaaat?

I wait, a little stunned, because the dating app is whack and the likes don’t usually arrive that fast. I finally go back in and re-review Joe’s profile. Joe looks like someone I want to talk to. His only downside (on the surface) is that he lives an hour away. I decide I’d rather get to know someone I may have a chance with than go on lukewarm dates with nearby guys that don’t have a spark.

I’m an idiot – either there’s a spark and I jump in too fast, or there’s no spark and stay longer than necessary even though I know I want to run the other way.

I respond to Joe, and we have immediate and flowing conversation. We knock out most of the super important value-related conversation topics right away. Joe is about 4 years older than me, but not too old. Joe was hitting allllll of my dating mental checkpoints.

As I’m chatting with Joe, I get a message from the Tuesday night date guy at like 10 pm that night.

Whaaaat?

I hadn’t heard from the guy in 12 hours. I convinced myself we were going separate ways – not ghosting, but not fully acknowledging the lack of spark either. I made no commitment to this guy, so I didn’t feel guilty for texting a new guy at the same time. Okay, I felt a little bad – made me realize he actually liked me and I just didn’t like him. It sucks to be rejected, but it also sucks to reject someone else, especially if they’re a good person. Good people are hard to come by these days, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I couldn’t write him back yet. I had to respond thoughtfully later.

So Joe and I kept texting. Joe started off strong, but then I started to get a little skeptical of Joe. He attempted to cross the flirting zone. I held my boundaries, and of course he tried to act like he was being playful. I flirted to a point, but I called him out and told him I wasn’t looking for a sex-based foundation to a relationship. Men like you until you don’t agree with them or push back, then you’re just inconveniencing them. He ended up agreeing with me. Or so he said. I was skeptical, I was mistrusting. I had been here before, but I figured pushing back in the beginning would either help stop before it started, or establish my ground rules early one.

I went to bed and woke up to more easy conversation with Joe. I kept pushing back if he even tried to cross the flirting zone, and he backed off. Then he wanted to schedule a date with me already. I was not ready to meet this guy. I’d been chatting with him for less than 24 hours. I told him it would be two weeks before I didn’t have my kids and could go out. In the back of my mind, maybe I wouldn’t meet him at all.

By Saturday afternoon, I responded back to Tuesday night date guy. I told him I really enjoyed our time together, but wasn’t feeling all the feelings I wished to have at that point. He immediately thought he did something wrong. I said no. We texted each other good luck. The End.

This is exhausting.

Sigh. Now I have this Joe guy texting me and I’m not sure if I like him. We can’t realistically meet for two weeks, so I’m trying to decide if I should bail now or wait it out. By Saturday evening, the content of his texts mellowed out. I was surprised. I don’t know if he was acknowledging my boundaries or if he got tired. If he stayed like this, I didn’t mind getting to know him more. But when I went to bed on Saturday night, I was still skeptical.

On Sunday morning, I did text him first, and immediately was disappointed in myself. “Let the boy make the first move” was all I could think. Ugh. He texted me back, but he’d slept in. I had already been up with coffee, shower, and getting ready for church. I wasn’t sure if this guy was going to be compatible. I went to church with the family, then breakfast, following by a day with my family and cooking. I didn’t hear from him all day. And similar to the last guy, I thought maybe he fizzled out. Nope, he surfaced again around 6 pm.

I used to get giddy when I started chatting with a new guy. That was about 5 guys ago. Now I’m a jaded doubtful brat about it all. I hate that I’m like this. I was mad that I didn’t take a break from dating when I said I was, but I was also mad that I was even dating at all, and that made me want to rage against my ex-husband, all of those feelings just made me feel like further crap. So I went back into day-by-day mode, and I just simply texted him back.

I texted him back and told him how busy I was all day. He responded and let me know he was actually busy all day too. Here I assumed he was going to laze around on the couch all day and watch football (because I know he’s really into sports). I shouldn’t assume things. Anyhow, we chatted more, but at some point I was just over the conversation. I know I was just tired. I told him goodnight.

I went to bed, but for some reason I went into my dating app real quick. I wanted to look at his photos again on his profile, but his profile was gone. Poof! Gonzo! That only happens if the other person 1) unmatches from you, or 2) he deletes his app altogether. I just assumed it was #1. I went to sleep crying my eyes out, because I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to meet him yet, but apparently I can’t handle rejection myself. I cried and cried and blew my nose and fell asleep, not expecting to hear from him ever again.

I drove to work very sad this morning. Sad overall because nothing is working out in my dating life ever. I surrendered that part of my life a few weeks ago – I said here Jesus take the wheel – and then gave in and tried again for whatever damn reason. Shame on me for trying. It really makes no sense what my motive is. It’s not fun, even if it is for a little bit. I learn from drinking hangovers, but not dating hangovers apparently.

I started my Monday work routine. Around 8:30 AM, there was a text from Joe.

Whaaaat? What is happening? Am I losing my mind?

I responded and we had a decent morning chat. I asked why he deleted me from the dating app. He said he didn’t, he deleted the app altogether because he was sick of it already and was enjoying talking to me. I actually think he was being genuine.

I went to TJ Maxx during my lunch hour. Right as I walked in the door, I saw the perfect Kate Spade purse for me. It had all of the right purse dimensions, style, and pockets for me. I picked it up three times and looked at it closely. I never treat myself to a new purse, even a discounted one at TJ Maxx. I put it down since it was connected to a security tether and planned to revisit it at the end of my shopping trip. After about half an hour, I ventured back to the purse section, fully committed to buying the purse, but it was GONE. Someone else had bought the purse I was instantly so attracted to.

Okay, I’m getting it. Nice one. Is this a joke? Lesson learned.

I thought Joe bailed and I was sad. I lost out on a great purse because I didn’t grab it first and I was sad. Moral of the story: If you shop around too long and don’t swoop up what you want, you’ll miss out.

I’ll give him a chance. He seems to handle all of my questions and mistrust of humans quite well.

And hopefully I’ll see another cute purse to buy in the future.

Stifle Me Not

Circling Back to Where I Started

I grew up in The Catholic Church. I went to public school, but my dad made sure my butt was in a pew every Sunday, and I was not allowed to miss CCD. I was baptized as a baby, received my First Reconciliation and Communion in the 2nd grade, and in the 8th grade I made my Confirmation. Even though I didn’t go to Catholic school, I learned to fear nuns during my First Communion. Sister Mary Adolph seemed to be missing a part of her name.

My parents divorced right before my Confirmation, so I wasn’t all that into it. I was mostly a self-absorbed, but polite, teenager. I kept to myself, had my small friend group, and mostly stayed out of trouble. My dad ensured we went to church when we were with him. My mom did not. She would waiver. It depended on who she was dating at the time. Overall, I made it out of high school without making any negative life-altering choices. To this day, I credit my father with being a great male role model, even though I hated being dragged to church. I took it as an opportunity to check out boys as they walked up to communion. Why not?

I moved in with my dad my senior year of high school. I couldn’t handle my mom’s irrational decision-making (see: her new husband’s ridiculous rules, like telling me I had a bedtime at 17 years old). No thank you. I chose my own rational biological father’s strict religious household over my step dad’s ego-driven rule book from hell. My senior year was fun, peaceful, and I didn’t do anything stupid. I left for college, looking forward to an even brighter future.

When I got to college, my roommate all but declared she was an atheist. I think she didn’t say the word out loud out of respect for me. I found a Catholic church to attend right off campus and I went a few times during my freshman year. I’m not sure that I went anymore after that. I was too caught up in myself and school and friends and parties. I always believed in God, but church was reserved for when I went home during the holidays.

I met my ex-husband my senior year of college, and he was confirmed in the Catholic church. However, we didn’t go to church unless he came home with me for the holidays. When he proposed, it was a no-brainer that we’d get married in the Catholic church. Once we bought a house, we became members at the nearby Catholic church. We did our Pre-Cana classes there with a priest who could never remember my first name. Finally, we got married at my childhood church. It was an elaborate Catholic mass followed by one drunken reception.

My ex-husband wanted nothing to do with church if it wasn’t a major holiday or a wedding. Sometimes I could get him to go to mass with me on a Sunday here or there, but not often. I mostly gave up on dragging us to church, especially once the kids were born. I had them baptized when the time came. My daughter went to Catholic grade school, and she even got her First Communion. After getting divorced, I just checked out. I wanted nothing more to do with church. I didn’t have the energy to keep my son quiet at church, and my daughter was just “over” being forced to do anymore church after attending Catholic grade school. I chose to do nothing.

In 2018, my kids and I moved in with my religious dad and stepmom and we almost never went to church with them. We lived there for 1 1/2 years and maybe went to church only a handful of times. To me, it wasn’t a good use of time. It felt like I was going to an old people’s club. I had turned my attention to astrology and online tarot readings in the couple of years leading up to that. It was interesting, gave me comfort, didn’t feel so hard, and I “wasn’t sure if it was real anyway”. I had heard that these things weren’t “approved” of by Christianity, but I never opened the Bible or took any steps to lift my ignorance. Ignorance was bliss. I wanted to be left alone.

Fast forward to my past year of Adventures in Online Dating, and I’m brought back to religion. On almost every dating profile, there’s a line item for religion. You can state your religious preference and usually you can filter by it. I’ve selected everything from Christian to Catholic to Spiritual as my label and/or filter. I’ve become more and more aware of how many people identify as Atheist or Agnostic. And I’ve become more aware of how many men state they are Christian, but when it comes to their daily life, they might as well be living in the pits of hell.

When you tighten up the filters on a dating site, you are left with very few if anyone to choose from. It’s made me realize that I’m really missing something in my life: an actual relationship with God and like-minded people. All I’ve ever known is being forced to go to church, not why it was important. Now that I’m trying NOT to mess up the second half of my life, I’m discovering all of these God-less men. I don’t want that again. Been there, done that.

A few weeks ago, I went back to church. I enrolled my kids in Bible study (they aren’t happy, but they’ll thank me later). I also deleted any astrology or tarot card related links, apps, or YouTube subscriptions I had. And I suddenly have an urge to understand Bible readings.

In the midst of all this, I started chatting with a guy who seemed to check off all of the ideal dating boxes… except he doesn’t have church in his life at all. I always ask a new guy if they believe in God. His answer was “absolutely!” and he left it at that. It’s literally the only thing “wrong” with him (well, that and he seems to have a slight obsession with county fairs). If you know me, I don’t do country fairs, ever. We’ve been texting for a few days now, and he left me hangin’ last night. No more responses after we had a short discussion about what was for dinner. It’s been almost 24 hours. I have a clue that this one is over before it started, like many others. He never asked to talk on the phone and never officially asked me on a date. After the exciting “get to know you” phase fizzled out, we didn’t really click. Text messages felt forced. And he already told me he’d be going to a county fair tractor pull this weekend.

I’m sincerely not broken up about this one. He was a pretty positive individual, so that’s rare these days, but I was already trying to figure out my escape route. I had a feeling that Last Call guy wasn’t going to stick. I think he was my Last Wake Up Call to prioritize my dating standards further. Geez, and I thought I couldn’t get any pickier, but here I am: God first, Godless men get to the back of the line.

I usually have all kinds of anxiety when I decide to make a life change like this, but I feel nothing but calm. Calm and confident actually. I guess I’m circling back to where I started.

Stifle Me Not

Stop the Insanity, Jesus Take the Wheel

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, there are three basic definitions of insanity:

1 dated : a severely disordered state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder

2 law : unsoundness of mind or lack of the ability to understand that prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or that releases one from criminal or civil responsibility

3 a: extreme folly or unreasonableness
the insanity of violence
His comments were pure insanity.

3 b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable
the insanities of modern life

I decided that 3b applies to me. This year, definition 3b must be me. And if it isn’t 3b, then it’s overridden by definition 1 or 2.

When you’re a decent woman, with children and a valuable lifestyle to protect, continuing to date after a few bad dates seems… a bit insane. After reflecting on my past two years of dating, I’ve come to this conclusion: It’s not good. It’s very very bad. If I’m not insane, then I’m quite unlucky. And it’s time to question my role in all of this.

2022 dating:

  • In July, I had four lovely dates with the The Noble Nomad who worked a great job, traveled between two states to be a great father to his son, he didn’t drink or curse or speak ill of anyone, he was intelligent with a growth mindset, and he loved sunsets. He also wanted to “get romantic” with me and still “get to know” other people he was meeting through his dating app… in whichever city he happened to live in each week.
  • In June, I went on two dates with the The Guarded Hat Man, who basically got to know me just enough be life long texting buddies, tell me about the love of his life that he’s never gotten over in 20 years, and wouldn’t disclose the status of his hairline under his ball cap.
  • In May, I had the memorable one date with The Drunk Vampire, in which he bit me and left me stranded at a winery in the middle of Amish Country (albeit my wise choice to be left behind).

Each of these scenarios could be seen as a standalone isolated instances, but I get the clue — I’m clearly not attracting the most stellar gentlemen. If I’d only been dating a year, I’d give myself a break… but then I remembered my track record the previous year.

2021 dating:

  • Winter 2021, there was Lazy Pothead Stinky Cologne Guy. He had a decent job, similar views, was nice and calm – but he routinely got high on his couch with his dog during non-work hours and wore really really bad cologne.
  • In Fall 2021, there was the Personal Trainer Gone Mad Man. He was a big deal once upon a time, and at first he beamed with his residual confidence from days past. However, unbeknownst to me, he recently acquired some health issues, which led him to snap in emotional outbursts. And sadly, he thought he was entitled to do so, with no accountability for his behavior.
  • Spring/Summer 2021, there was Millionaire Buy-My-Love Man – he was made of money and wanted me to take care of him in exchange for all he could buy me – dinners, gifts, vacations, etc. Doesn’t sound bad does it? It doesn’t until you add in his loud talking voice, him constantly repeating himself, his frequent gambling addiction, his lack of physical activity (which contributed to limping and overabundance of snoring). This was all wrapped up in a nice bow of his constant mood swings.

It’s hard enough to go down Post-Dating Energy-Reset Lane once, twice, three times… but this has been ridiculous. My family and friends love to hear my stories. They think each date “fail” is so hilarious. And they all say the same thing: “I’m so glad I’m not dating these days.”

After the sixth bad egg (for me) in two years, I decided I have to do something differently.

I can turn off my dating apps and hide in my house? Nope, I’ve done that. I can try a different dating app? Nope, have done that and each app seems to have the same characters trolling around. I can go to the bar? Nope, I barely drink anymore and I have two kids. That one doesn’t work anymore. I can look for hot daddies at the grocery store? Um, no. I can get set up with someone from one of my friends? Nope, no one seems to have anyone that they can (or want to) set me up with.

I did the only thing I could think of that I haven’t done in awhile: I went to church.

I go every so often, but not enough to be considered “religious”. I grew up going to church regularly, but strayed after moving away once I graduated. I had both of my kids baptized, but I don’t routinely make them go to church.

I decided it’s time for a change. I needed to feed my soul with something different altogether and see if it helps me help myself. Never mind attracting a man. I can do that part, I’m just not attracting the right kind. Apparently, I’m bad at this. Very very bad at this. God is going to have work his divine intervention to redirect me.

Jesus, take the dating wheel, I’m done.

Stifle Me Not

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

Owning It

After publishing my last post, I overanalyzed everything, like I always do. But then I stopped and just took action. If something is bothering me about someone I’m attempting to date, I need to talk to him, not bash them to the Internet in an anonymous blog and expect to see results.

My past experience with my ex-husband was, if I told him something was bothering me, he would turn it around and somehow make it my fault. He would never own that he hurt my feelings, even if it wasn’t the smallest little thing. He was a master manipulator. I didn’t realize that fun fact until it was too late – until I was nearly out of my mind crying everyday and heading down the fast lane to divorce. I had built up tolerance to this kind of manipulation, and learned techniques to avoid it. I developed a strong sense of what would trigger him, and would prepare myself for for his cool, calm, thoughtful response to me being a “crazy” person. Some call this “walking on eggshells”, but I just thought it was normal.

Fast forward to my new dating life. Now, when I need to confront a man about his behavior, I try to think of every angle why I may or may not be right or wrong before I push the issue. The only problem is I don’t know these men like I knew my ex-husband, so it’s harder to prepare for their reaction. If I have to put up a boundary, it doesn’t often end well. They typically get upset, even if they apologize quickly to save face, and the relationship doesn’t usually go much further after that. There’s something about putting up boundaries that pushes people away.

But then I realized, isn’t that the point? I’m always so careful about what I say and how I say it, all so I can continue to hold on to someone or some situation. But why?

This time I figured I’d rather be called crazy and quickly move on from this guy than disrupt the hard-earned peace I’ve been working on for all these years. I’m all about not wasting time, keeping it peaceful, and doing what’s best for me these days. Finally, after all of these years I just don’t give a damn.

So I let 3-Day Date Guy know I was very bothered by the context of his call on Sunday evening. I told him I was trying to dismiss it and make excuses for him, but it kept nagging at me two days later.

I braced for the blame. I was ready to retreat. I prepared for this to be the beginning of the end of yet another post-divorce relationship that barely got off the ground…

…but to my surprise, he didn’t hesitate to apologize, and he owned his actions.

He seemed genuinely sorry about making me uncomfortable, and asked if we could talk more about it that evening. He promptly called me that evening, apologized again, and we talked through it. He didn’t just apologize and move on, he actually dug into it, explained himself a little and owned it. Owned it.

I was pleasantly surprised. And I was relieved. And I was happy to be getting to know someone like him.

And then I was sad. I was sad for myself that I stressed about speaking up in the first place. And sad for my past self that I ever got to a place where I couldn’t be myself.

And then I was proud of myself for doing things differently this time. And finally seeing different results. You attract who you are. And I’m finally attracting a different type of person in my life to allow me to be who I am becoming.

We may become a couple, we may not. That remains to be seen. My goal these days is not to hang on to old ways that didn’t serve me, but to own and follow through with what’s best for me.

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

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

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 fiancé 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 fiancé’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

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