Questions?

Why is it that some people can so easily find “a relationship” and for others it is the ultimately elusive thing?

Why is it that stupid women can find handsome intelligent men but beautiful intelligent women have a far more difficult time getting past the first date?

Why do mature adult people (supposedly given their chronological age) run off to Vegas to get married after only knowing someone for about six weeks? 

I have a friend who is young, gorgeous, together and intelligent and single.  WTF is up with that? She should not even be single for two seconds.  What is wrong with male America these days?

Why is it that some people make it last the first go round and others of us can’t help but screw it up from the get go?

Why is it that the ones that make it last aren’t even all that put together either…I mean…what?

Why is it that the good looking guys are stupid…mostly… and the ones who are good looking with a brain are married to stupid women…I mean, really, they are married to posts most of the time. 

At what point do you just throw in the towel on love and figure you’re just too old for that shit?

At what point do you just throw in the towel on ever  achieving your dreams because a.) you have too many kids to deal with for too much longer, b.) achieving your dreams would require the energy, optimism and fearlessness of a 20-year-old and you’re simply not 20 any more and have so many obligations to so many…I mean really…at what point does chasing that youthful dream become like the woman in her 50’s who tries to dress like she’s in high school.  Hmmmm….

I have more questions, but if you can answer these  then you’ll be doing well.

Bonus Question:  Why can’t I meet someone and run off to Vegas and get married after knowing them for six weeks and actually have the damn thing work out?  (I already know the answer to this one and, yes, it has something to do with birth order and, well, I’ll just leave it at that!)

Take your pot shots…go ahead!  I dare ya! 

Oh, and don’t give me all this positive attitude crap. If you’ve been single, divorced or any of that for any length of time the inconsistencies and seeming inequities of life have crossed your mind in question form as well.  And the biggest question and the most unanswerable one is “Why?”

Positive is great and I’m all for it.  I’m a recovering “glass half empty” kinda girl.  I want the glass totally freakin’ full so whether it is half empty or half fricken full doesn’t matter….it isn’t where I want it to be and that is just sometimes not good enough.  Playing little mental games doesn’t really convince me that things are better…or worse…than they are.  They simply, currently are not what I want them to be…YET.

Big word, that word, “yet”. 

Bigger question:  When to let go of the “yet” and figure it ain’t ever gonna happen.  I really need to hear from someone in their 80’s or 90’s on this one because seriously, at 40-something, sometimes I’m so deep in the quagmire I can’t even see the map!  And in 40+ world the scales seems weighted to my disadvantage as a female.  Maybe, it’s my own myopic vision that is creating distortion.  What I do know is this:  as you age, especially if you are female, people stop looking at you.  They not only stop admiring you physically, they stop seeing you completely.  This is the demise of the elderly in our country.  They become disrespected, invisibile liabilities.  I’m not there yet.  Just today I had a perfectly red blooded male friend tell me that my jeans totally worked for me and this is a person who would have no problem letting me know he thought I looked like shit, so it was a valid compliment.  But that time of being invisible and unseen is not far away for me and it is certain for us all. I just am not sure I want to be one of those banging my head against an impossible wall if the liklihood and realities of love and dreams are long past.  Maybe at that point, it is time to shift focus and create new, different dreams.  I don’t know. 

Ahhhh!  Life!  Ain’t it great?  It’s the only test you can’t study for and you get only one shot at it.  Sometimes to be honest, I feel like I’m blowing my shot at it. 

Just sayin’.

Online Hose Suppliers or Snake Oil Salesmen?

Kip commented on my last post about Online Hose Suppliers and he cautioned me to be very careful.  His comments were valid and my responses lengthy enough that I figured they’d make a decent little post on their own. 

Here is what Kip said in his comment on my last post:

Be wary of would-be hose suppliers who promise the moon; they tend to be in the same class as snake oil salesmen. And let’s face it, they can tell you anything and show you any kind of pictures they want on the internet. There are some things you just shouldn’t purchase online, and this is one of them. You need to see that hose in the flesh and hold it in your hand, make sure it connects properly and produces a healthy flow when turned on. As they say: think globally but act locally! The hose you need may be in your own backyard. So get out there and find it: examine it well, hook it up and turn it on! Don’t despair that you haven’t found it yet. If you have faith in it, it will come!

 And, now my response:

I’m not certain that purchasing something like this online is necessarily a bad deal, though it would require certain additional considerations and many, many precautions.  I would never purchase a hose sight unseen.  I would insist on the opportunity to see the hose, hold the hose and try all the appropriate functions to ensure the hose and my pump fit well together.

 If the hose I needed were in my own backyard, I’d be happily swimming in my blissful pool rather than looking for a quality hose!  I can assure you that there really are no quality hose suppliers in my area and I’ve been diligent in seeking them out.  You see the emphasis here is on quality.  I believe the inner construction and the make up of the hose will determine its usefulness and effectiveness in working with my pump over the long haul.  Most hose dealers are supplying hoses that are poorly constructed, made of weak or brittle materials, not long enough or are simply not the right kind of hose for the job.  After all, if I’m looking for a hose to attach my pool to my pump, I’m not going to use a garden hose.  Garden hoses are not bad and they definitely serve their purpose, but it simply isn’t the kind of hose I’m looking for.  Further, you’d be surprised to find out how many local suppliers post a picture of a hose that looks serviceable but then when I go to visit them to see the hose, they present me with a worn, damaged, dirty and defective item.  It is disappointing, tiring and I’m not wasting time with any of that!  So, I continue on with my search for the best hose for my pump.

 As for the getting out there and finding it?  Well, I’ve worked tirelessly at this project for some time now.  I’m quite willing to do the legwork required to examine the hoses thoroughly, hook them up, and turn them on.  It is upon closer examination (before even hooking up)  that I usually find defects, flaws, ways that the hose would be incompatible with my pump.  When these concerns in hose viability arise, it seems foolish for me to go the next step of hooking up the hose and turning it on.  Why waste my time trying to make a hose work when it isn’t a good hose or the right hose?  No, I need to be able to see that the hose is the right hose before the hook up and turning on.  Once I take that hose home, I can’t expect it to become a different hose.  I can’t just see a brand new hose, hook it up and turn it on and hope it works. I just don’t shop that way.  I prefer to do my research on each hose carefully and thoughtfully first.  Salesmen hate me because I ask a lot of questions and can determine fairly quickly where the inconsistencies lie and where the defects in the hose will be.  When I do find that special hose, then and only then will I consider hooking it up and turning it on.  After all, not just any hose will do for my pump.  I want the best hose!  I’m willing to pay well for it, travel the earth shopping for it, and when I get it home I will care for and maintain it well because I really hate hose shopping.

Dealing With Those Difficult Relationships

This is how I resolved all conflict with my ex husband:

My Ex
My Ex

Yep, no Ex, no problems.  I would not, however, advise this approach for the casual dating relationship.  Disposing of the remains can be tricky and awkward.  But when used on a very infrequent basis this problem solving approach can supply one with enough stew meat to last for months and you’ll never want for authentic looking Halloween decor.

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field-Lessons Learned

Curtains rise, lights up full center stage spotlight on The Wild Mind who is dressed in tight  jeans, flattering trendy top, pumps with stilletto heels, hair perfectly coifed and make up on.  Cue happy music playing softly in the background.  The Wild Mind addresses the audience.

I am really grateful that now there is complete closure not just with The Beau, but the I.J. (Yes, we had a “conversation” also in the last two weeks.  I haven’t written about it because it was a little sad and I’ve been too busy writing and doing other things). 

beerhandsmallDating is a different world now in Post-40 World than it was in Post-20 World.  Okay, if it is still the same world it was back then, then I’ve been dealt a new hand and the cards suck in this one.  Furthermore, when I was younger, I had more time to regroup the losses both emotionally and financially, I am not so young and not so cavalier about the consequences of poor choices.

I now know that one’s choice of a marital or romantic partner can affect your life forever, even long after they leave the scene. datinggumswap

It’s a high stakes game and I’m betting all or nothing on the best possibility for relationship, not just something that’s good enough or nice enough because I’m tired of being alone.

I am emotionally free from wondering if , maybe, when, how, what if anything will happen with The Beau or anyone else that is not knocking down my door or heating up my phone to connect with me.  I just know it won’t happen for me with someone who is merely lukewarm.

Even if it doesn’t work out with the Old Flame and The Beau, what’s he going to do? Come back and knock on my door and say, “Hey, you’re the lucky first runner up. Old Flame couldn’t fullfil her pageant responsibilities. Want to give it a go?”

Thanks, but that’s not exactly how I see my fairy tale playing out. I don’t know how exactly how I do see it playing out, but I’m fairly certain that scenario is not on the list.

So, to take The Beau’s and many of my readers’ and friends’ advice and especially my sister’s (she’ll so love this!)  I’m going to use this last episode with The Beau as  more than just an experience to do some creative writing.  I’m going to use it as an experience to reflect and further clarify for myself where I’m at and how I’m doing.  Let’s see if I can do it in 10 points or less.  Here we go.

The Points (not in any particular order):

  1. One’s choice of marital or romantic partner can affect the quality of the rest of your life.  This is true on a minor scale with those you date.  Choose wisely.
  2. The Wild Mind’s Love Philosophy still holds:  When a man is into a woman there is no doubt: he knows, she knows and there is no obstacle too great to overcome in order to make it happen.  He’ll find any way he can to get into her life, heart and, yes, pants.  This includes picking up the phone and calling her or driving distances to see her.  He won’t mind.  He’ll actually want to do it.
  3. Some people out there in Dating World are completely unavailable but they masquerade as completely available.  Do not believe this until proven. 
  4. Emotional availability is proven by scaling tall obstacles or great distances unasked and without hesitation or groaning.  It is also demonstrated a million other very creative ways all of which, every man knows capably how to execute, but won’t, unless you are the one he wants to be available for. If he’s not willing to prove availability in these ways, he’s just not that into you.
  5. Pay attention and trust your gut.  Read point Number 2 and if you experience doubts then he’s just not that into being into you. 😀 Move on now.  Don’t waste any more time.
  6. Men play just as many games as women.  Don’t deny it.  Some of these games are: “I Want Sex, But I’m Not Available For Any Serious Relationship, I’d Just Like To Make You Think I Am”, “I’m Bored With Nothing Better To Do, Come (yes, pun intended) Entertain Me”, “I’ll Play With You Till Something Better Comes Along” “I’m Completely Unavailable But Can’t Admit It”,and the final version, “Let’s Pretend” where he wants to pretend he’s really available so he can get sex or he’ll pretend he’s really into you even convincing himself he might be in hopes you will give him sex. The “Let’s Pretend” game is also played by those men who are hoping to get their mind off their own pain/loss/whatever for a while or by men who are married and won’t leave but can’t stay either.
  7. Women, do not go near these games!  If you do, you do so at your own peril.  Do not play the If…Maybe…What If?…Game. If you find out you are involved somehow in one of these games, get out yesterday. Don’t look back.  You deserve better.  You will also feel better.  Take charge of your health, get out now!pirates_of_the_caribbean_015 
  8. Being alone is still better than being in a relationship that is just okay or where you wonder all the time if he’s really all that into you.  Stop the wonder.  He’s not.  Move on. (I so need to remember this one myself!)
  9. My Prince Charming (or Adventurous Pirate) is out there and some day, if and when we meet, I will be ready and willing for the raping/pillaging and plundering to ensue.  (Okay…or for him to sweep me up on his magnificent steed time and time again until we are exhausted, then we’ll ride happily into the future together.) 😀
  10. Painting ceilings without a sprayer sucks.  Don’t ever do it. Next time, I’m buying beer and pizza and putting an ad on Craigslist that reads, “Free beer and pizza in exchange for painting help!” It’ll be a lot more fun.

Lights out. Curtain falls.

The End, Yes, Finally, The End!!!!

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field–Act 3

Curtains rise on The Wild Mind staring pensively off in stage left direction.  Lights up. The Wild Mind wakes herself from her reverie, takes a sip from the mug, put it down absent mindedly and resumes typing at her computer.

ghost-picWho can even fight fair against a ghost? I had no chance to start with.

This brings up another key point that I wish I’d known all along:

The Beau started up contact with the Old Flame at the same time or shortly before he invited me to Christmas Eve dinner. I had no chance from the beginning, because as long as she was even a remote figment in his imagination, I could have been perfect and it wouldn’t have mattered. The living cannot compete against ghosts who still live and carry even the smallest hope of reincarnating themselves.

In a word, The Beau, was not emotionally available. Not really.

I suspected it but I did not know this.  He liked me a lot.  Had she not even been a possibility, I dare say we may have had a chance at a really, really good thing. But it could not ever be, because ghosts are powerful and will not be denied. 

It just was not meant to be between The Beau and I. I’m okay with this. I told him so.  I know there is someone out there for me somewhere.  (I’m skeptical, at this point, about my ever finding him, but that’s okay too.)

The Beau wants to remain “friends”. He said he’d hoped he could be that friend that I call first to tell him I’ve finally met Mr. Right.  While I don’t want to burn bridges unnecessarily, but I never wanted The Beau to play that role in my life. (Sorry, but that will probably be Semi-Professional Photographer Friend and not you, Beau. I already have friends like that in my life. That was not what I was looking for or what I needed when I started dating you. If it had been, you’d have been contacting me on Facebook the first time not on an online dating site.)

I told him that while I’m usually able to do be friends with people I date, I don’t think I can do that here. At least, not right away. He understands this to mean that I am sad, hurt and heartbroken that he’s choosing her over me. It really isn’t so much that at all. It was that this relationship, more than any other to date, for me, had all the signs of being completely viable and lasting…except that he just wasn’t that into me…in the most important way.

And, I so don’t want to be with someone who is into me,kinda, but just not enough.  I want him to be crazy about me or it’s not going to go very far even if I’m crazy about him. 

I also don’t want to be competing against unburied ghosts from the past.  It is not how I’m going to roll.

My disappointment comes from knowing I was right early on and not trusting myself earlier and just moving ahead with my heart. Instead, I kind of dabbled and played the “Well…Maybe….What if?….” game.

My sadness (if there really is any) comes from thus far in my entire life, not having one man who would really go to the wall for me in spite of me going to the wall repeatedly for them. thinkingTwo marriages which existed mostly because I made excuses for the men and held the marriages together at my own personal health and financial peril are enough. The dating scene has been no better. I’ve mostly met men who should not even be dating because they are a.) married and lying about it (read, The I. J.), b.) separated and working on it (read, still not available emotionally or legally no matter what he thinks or says) or c.) still in love with a past relationship that didn’t, won’t, or can’t work out (read The Beau and several current prospective suitors who are making bids for my time and attention but who haven’t quite thrown the dirt over the grave of their past loves).  The graveyard of past loves is not a safe place to go exploring for Mr. Right. 

This is all very confusing, because there is no way you know this going in to a relationship except by being very careful and paying very close attention (something I’m getting much better at doing), and there is no way you can possibly compete with the past or connect fully with the unavailable heart, while you’re there.  When you get out, you regret the whole bloody thing because the playing field was never level from the get go and it was just a big waste of time, except to confirm to you what you already knew about love, life and dating anyway. Who needs to experience all that just to find out you were right all along? I’d rather paint ceilings with rollers.

While I am disappointed (not distraught) on one one level that ” it “didn’t work out with The Beau and I, I really enjoyed our times together and I learned a lot.  It’s always nice to be in a relationship or to be thinking you might be heading that way.  On another level, I can do so much better than to spend my time wondering where I stand all the time.  I go back to my very opening point in these series of posts: When a man is into a woman, no one has any doubts about it, least of all the woman or man involved.  Am I making myself clear here.  I hope I remember that point.

The Beau, was courageous in talking to me about where he stood. I admire that. I gave him an out. He could have taken the chicken’s way out and responded to my text with, “Yeah, I’m not going to be able to make it. I’m wiped out.” Given the FB communiques it would have delivered the same message. He chose not to do that and instead delivered the message the tough way: face to face. I just wish it wasn’t in my living room, but okay. Live and learn. Next time, when I anticipate that news, I will suggest we go out, better yet, I’ll try to force a phone conversation.

Cue happy musical score as curtains fall.  The Wild Mind leans back in her chair and smiles.

To be concluded in the next post…

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field, Act 2

Continued from previous post….sfcablecar1

Sure enough, The Beau met Old Flame on Thursday night in San Francisco (liar, his phone was not off, duh!)

The Beau then took about 25 minutes to tell me something that really only required 5 minutes discussion and which I already knew anyway.  I kept wanting to interrupt and say, “Cut to the chase, please” but I refrained due to the remote possibility that I could be wrong and he could be telling me that he finally once and for all put it on the shelf with the Old Flame and wanted to move forward with me. 

I now understand the very definite advantage to going silent.  If someone is going to give me that kind of news, I’m not sure I ever want to sit through half an hour of hearing about how much fun they have with someone who is not me in what happens to be my favorite city in the whole world.  That was the most painful part.  Da** him!  Now I have to pick another favorite city. 😀

Apparently, The Beau and Old Flame (who is, get this, almost 21 years younger than he..I so knew my being only 11 years younger was an issue for him) picked up where they left off, but since she’s living with a fiance of 5 years that she’s supposedly leaving, and because she lives in Texas, there are complications.  Even so, before leaving her on Friday, he told her “If you’re leaving him, I’m interested in pursuing us.”

This, from a man, who couldn’t make a 90 minute twice a month commute work out with someone who has no five year live in fiance still in the picture.  

Yeah.  Like I said: When a man is into a woman….he knows, she knows and there is no obstacle too great.

5blarge5d5banimepaper5dwallpapers_range-murata_dioma1_6__thisres__70420Okay, so none of this came as any surprise to me, though it was painful because it was so disappointing on so many levels. I really liked The Beau. He travelled easily and by this I mean, he fit seamlessly (from our perspective) into our family. I absolutely know, and I speak with confidence from experience not from arrogance or wishful thinking, that we could have blended our families so easily. There was just a high level of mutuality, compatibility, communication and willingness to negotiate without giving ourselves completely up. And we agreed on expectations for behavior from the kids. He also had a wonderful way of calling the kids out respectfully, humanely and without overstepping his bounds, something that is such a must have for me. I think that is important in a relationship but especially when kids are involved.

But for all that The Beau really liked about me and he did “like” me, I was, for him, what the I.J. was for me. Everything, EVERYTHING about me for him stacked up in the “works for me” category for him, except one very important thing: chemistry (while we had it in spades, or so it appeared, it just wasn’t what he had with the Old Flame) .

In addition, The Beau simply was not emotionally available because he had a ghost from his past that just wouldn’t die. He has to follow his heart. I get it. I do wish him all the best.

I did tell The Beau this, “Remember way back when I told you my When A Man Is Into A Woman Philosophy and you disagreed with me?”

He nodded. hes-just1

I continued, “You just proved my point. You think nothing of trying to pursue something in Texas, when 90 minutes killed you with me. When a man is really into a woman….” I let my voice drift off. 

What could he say?

I told him, he needed to follow his heart ( like he needed or cared about getting my permission) and that I totally understood. (I really do understand and I wouldn’t want him hanging anywhere near me if any part of his heart is still somewhere else.)  I told him that I am disappointed but only because the way he feels about the Old Flame, is how I someday hope someone will feel about me and vice versa.  I am unwilling to settle on that score.  I reminded him that this is what I was trying to tell him a month ago, when the status of our “whatever we had” changed. I also told him, that I predicted he’d be married to her by the end of the year. We shook on it.

I also told him I was removing him and her from my Facebook. Not because I’m angry, but because I don’t need daily reminders that I came in second. Not that love and romance is a competition. It isn’t.  I don’t view it that way.  But I do not need reminders daily that I spent the last three months entertaining the idea there might eventually be something, when in fact, there never was the remotest possibility.  Ghosts who are not dead are fully capable of reincarnating themselves.  The real and vibrant living have absolutely no hope against the imagination especially when it centers around ghosts from the past and thoughts of what could have been.  In dating situations like this the the playing field is just.not.level.

Cue sad, romantic music.  Lights gradually dim as The Wild Mind sitting pensively at computer (stage right), picks up coffee mug, leans back in her chair and stares thoughtfully into space (somewhere stage left).   Curtain drops on Act 2 as music fades.

To be continued…

The Key To A Successful Marriage

It’s not as elusive as we all believe.  It can happen.  We can have successful, happy lasting marriages.  The fairy tale can survive.  John Gottman studied many couples over the last 30 years and within 15 minutes he can tell with 90+% accuracy whether a couple will be together in two years or whether they are headed for divorce.  Want to know the key to marital bliss?  Watch and learn.

Hmmm, think the same principle might hold true for work relationships, relationships with kids and friends? 

Something to think about.

Brave New Post Marriage Dating World

I have several friends lately who are just newly divorced and starting to think about dating again.  After many years in a marriage, no matter how bad it was, one can really miss the companionship of another adult.  And, yes, one misses the sex too.  Although, in some cases, the sex might have been nonexistent long before the marriage ended or it might have the reason the marriage ended. 

Whatever the situation, many of my now single friends are trying to negotiate this new world that I refer to as “Post 40 World” (even though some of us are not really post-40, all of us feel like it) where we are now single, in our 40’s, not ever wanting to be here at this stage of our lives and with a boatload of responsibilities (aka, baggage).  We try to date, and if our personal worlds don’t bring us near any prospective individuals that we can even consider talking with over coffee, we turn to the online arena.

Online dating has advantages and disadvantages.  It’s been said that in 2006, 1 in 8 married couples met online.  I can only imagine the number has swelled in the last few years. As one who recieved her graduate degree online, and feels fairly comfortable with the way the digital world can expand our ability to connect with those from places we might otherwise only read about in books, online dating doesn’t scare me.  However, I say that, knowing full well, I’ve been very, very fortunate so far.  Those I’ve met have been decent people.  Only one in probably a hundred or so folks have lied about their age and that’s pretty good.  No one, so far, has stalked me, though there have been several that I wished would have.  

Today I received an email from a friend who is just recently and hesitantly venturing out into the world of online dating.  He’s a card carrying member of “Post 40 World”.  Married his true love and when he did so he did it for life but she didn’t have the same agenda.  She’s moved on and now he’s here in “Post 40 World” wondering how to navigate the terrain.  Well, like I’m the world’s greatest expert in this.  Anyone who reads my blogs can tell I struggle with trying to figure out how to do the dating thing when things are so very different than they were when you were in college and had your whole life (and your best body) going for you.  So, I gave my friend some pointers.  Here’s what I said.  Look the advice over and see what you would add:

1. Create an alias and don’t reveal your true identity until after you have met the person in the flesh.  Okay, you can give out your first name, but much other than that, just don’t!  Remember, if they have even your last name they can find out exactly where you live.

2.  Don’t believe the pictures. I’ve been burned and had many friends who’ve been burned by the fake picture. It’s disappionting and a huge waste of emotional time and energy when it happens. Hold everything at arm’s distance until you meet. 

2a.  Be very cautious of someone who doesn’t post any pictures and isn’t willing to send you any.  Be equally cautious of the person who posts a picture that looks airbrushed or like it is of a magazine model.  (It just might be.)

3. Don’t spend a lot of time chatting online.  Exchange a few emails, get to know enough to determine if you would like to meet or not, then meet.  You can create this big fantasy online and then when you meet be completely disappointed and heartbroken.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it does.

4.  Be cautious of the person who after a few tries still finds excuses not to meet or talk on the phone.  I personally hate to talk on the phone, but will do it.  I’d rather just meet. If the person is unwilling to do either, suspect that a.) they are not really interested in a relationship like you are or b.) they are not really female. 

5. Be very suspicious of those who cannot communicate reasonably well in writing.

6. Never entertain further communication from those who ask you for money…it is probably a scam from someone outside the country.

7. Trust your gut (you already know this, I know).  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

8.  Don’t make a dinner date your first meeting. Something light and casual like coffee or a walk is great.  It can be shortened or lengthened as you feel and you don’t have to endure a long night with a lot of expense if the interest factor just isn’t there.  

9.  Obviously, don’t tell anyone where you live until you’ve checked them out and know they are who they say they are. 

These items are the most salient points I could think of on the fly.  I realize I am pretty inexperienced in this realm, after all, I’ve only been dating for about a year and a half. I’m still evolving in my view of what it is all about. I feel I’ve had a good experiences overall with online dating, but I’ve also been very foolish and very lucky because worse things didn’t happen than did (in other words, it could have been so much worse and you could have read about me in the papers…I’ve really been that fortunate).  I also live in a much smaller area and not a big metro urban area…so, maybe the risks are fewer?  Not sure about that one, but it sounded good.

What else can everyone add to help those out who are trying to find their way in this Brave New Post Marriage Dating World?

If I Doubt, Then He’s Out

Alright.  Enough with my whining and moping, pondering and postulating.  I have been enlightened.  I know for sure how a woman (and I think a man, but I’ll leave that for the men to decide, since I am not one of them and cannot possibly presume to understand what their take might be) can be sure that the “person of the hour” is really that into them. 

I’ve wondered about this and theorized about this both publicly and privately long enough.  From the not getting things quite off the ground to going completely silent after there’s been a great deal of supposed chemistry and intimacy (apparently that was only a one-sided deal), there are a million things that masquerade as a potentially decent relationship but which leave us feeling disappointed, sad, cheated, maybe even foolish for wasting the time in some instances and heartbroken for years  in others. I’ve felt all of these things and more and I’m certain I’m not alone. We wish we would have read the warning signals better or heeded them earlier but at the same time we loved every minute of what we imagined or thought was going on.  Or maybe we didn’t.  Maybe it was all just a miserable attempt to fix something that never was going to work but which somehow pushed our buttons in some weird way and we were drawn in.  Who knows what the deal is or why?  It didn’t work out.  No one likes to leave something they thought was valuable and  heading to the next level feeling cheap, used and invalidated.  I suspect, that is how most of us end up feeling on some level when we finally realize (after we’ve invested our time, money, energy and hearts) that the person of our affections is simply not that into us.  Forget that, it is how I end up feeling and I hate it.  I really would rather avoid that at all costs.  So, I strive to answer the question…how can I know…before it is too late.

I now know. 

At least, for this moment. 

I could change my perspective in ten minutes, but for now, I think I know.

Part of my conclusions come from my readers.  All three, or maybe it is now five of them, who actually comment.  I’m especially indebted to the men who’ve chimed in (I hope you won’t stop chiming) because your perspectives have in every instance confirmed what I already suspected to be the case with men and how they show their affections.  I also know from women who’ve travelled my same path and shared about it.  This would be friends, colleagues, other bloggers, anyone I’ve bumped into, shared coffee with or read who had the guts to tell their story.  They confirm what I suspected all along.  They confirmed what I was afraid to face all along.

My conclusions also come from deep within myself.  They don’t automatically surface from “deep within” because, quite frankly, I’m just not all that in touch with me all the time.  This would explain all the wandering, rambling and cloudy thinking I demonstrate (no really it is not my sub normal IQ at work here).  Deep down, I just know when he’s just not that into me…

Now, I could be wrong…

I’m willing to entertain other perspectives and viewpoints…

I’m willing to consider that hunger….

anger….sadness…anxiety….

fatigue or loneliness…..

 insecurity and fear…

may impair my judgement…but…

I suspect I might be really close on this one…

Ready?

Here’s how I think I know that I can be sure whether or not he’s really that into me:

“If I Doubt, Then He’s Out”

Okay, now I’m not talking about after the first couple of meetings/dates when you’re wondering if things are going to launch.  I’m talking about when you are into the deal and you are still wondering “Where the hell do I stand with this guy?”  The mere wondering is my answer. 

Truth is, we know.  We know what we want.  We want the fire, the passion, the “feelings”, the “chemistry”, the everything…and we want it to be coupled with a compatible relationship that can go the distance.  I want him reaching for my hand in the car instead of me always being the one to reach for his.  I want him to initiate the affection as much as or more than I do.  I prefer the more than I do and that will have to be a lot because I’m a touchy feely sort (well, not weirdly so, I hope).  I’ve had these experiences.  I’ve had guys who were so into me that they were willing to try to make love to me in the clearance sweater bin at Macy’s, but, sadly, I’m simply not that much of an exhibitionist.  I’ve had guys who were so into me that after the very first date with me I received flowers on my desk at work the next day.  No, not one or two pretty orchids in the latest seasonal arrangement of greenery and Baby’s Breath.  I’m talking the 12 long stemmed blood red roses in a vase that communicates in girl world, “Wow!!!!  He’s really into you!!!! Who is this guy?  We didn’t even know you were dating someone! Oh, do tell!”  

Compare this with the situation where everything seems simply “nice”.  The dutiful call every day is made, regular time spent together occurs and is very fun, things seem to be “all systems go” on the surface but in every instance you’re left wondering. Wondering where you stand and if he’s really into you…or…if he’s just biding time…till…gulp…sick feeling in pit of stomach…something “better” (younger maybe?  prettier maybe?  thinner maybe? wealthier maybe? or even worse feeling in pit of stomach just anything maybe? ) comes along.  This isn’t just insecurity kicking in here.  This is real doubt. 

Communication is both a verbal and a nonverbal transaction. When given an option,  people generally believe a person’s actions over their words every time (if the two are in disagreement, that is). Behavior or the lack of it combined with the words, the tone, the hesitations, the silences communicate and don’t communicate volumes.  In any of the cases where men were head over heals for me, I never once for a moment questioned it…even if the relationship got tense at points…even if the relationship was one that I wasn’t that excited about.   Those men who’ve been brave enough to put themselves out there and commented on past posts confirmed my theory (at least enough for my sloppy but very valid research). My conversations with married men who are still in their first marriages and pushing 20 years who absolutely adore their wives, confirm my hunches too.

I think the bottom line is:  When he’s into you, you know and there is absolutely no room for doubt. 

If you don’t absolutely know then, my dear, you really do know…he’s just not that into you.

Whenever  you wonder or doubt, you also know.  If you wonder or doubt what he’s about then he’s not IN to you, he’s OUT there either killing time, considering his options (who wants to be an “option” anyway?) or simply uncertain himself.

For me, no need to waste anymore time wondering past a certain point.   If we’ve been dating for any length of time and I don’t know that he’ll go to any length to  hang the moon in my sky then, guess what?  Hate to say it, you know it’s coming so I’ll skip it.  But, for myself, I know.  I’ll never wonder again.

If I do then the very act of wondering becomes my answer.

Online Dating: 10 Things Men Should Definitely NOT Do

Don’t you love all these dating advice sites for guys that are written by guys?  I think they are funny.  Here’s a guy telling another guy what works with women.  What the first guy is really getting from the guy he gets advice from is what works for that guy with the gals he’s meeting or being successful with…doesn’t mean it will work for you…unless what you want is what he’s getting exactly. 

To put it differently, it would be like me going to ask advice about how guys think from a woman.  How the hell will she know???  She’s not one of them.  She might be close.  She might even be right on.  I might even listen to her and take her advice, but not before I check it out with my guy friends.  The ones I know I can trust.  The ones who feel comfortable with me enough to tell it like it is.  These are the guy friends I would never date or become romantically interested in for one of two reasons:  a.) because they are married to my very good girl friends or b.) they would tell me point blank, “Hey, it’s just really hard to get romantic with one of the guys”.

So for all the guys out there, who hope to try to make an impression with a woman online so that you can put yourself at the top of the email pile and maybe even make it into her favorites list, I’ve provided this list of my top ten most reliable behaviors that will get a guy blown off, ignored or deleted.  

I confessed in an earlier post that I was a bit of an online dating junkie.  At one point, I was on, I think, three different sites at one time.  I’ve explored nearly all of the really notable ones, free and paid, for long enough to form a strong opinion about which approaches from men really work and which don’t work at all.  I’m pretty successful in the online forum for reasons that have to do with sincerity, truth and a good picture that really looks like me. Plus, I think it helped that I grew up as a tomboy.  (The Barbie Doll shoes really annoyed me.) I kinda get the mentality of bonding over doing something  instead of  the just talking thing…something most women don’t get but which many men, bless their hearts, endure anyway. 

But I’m talking and not doing, so I’ll cut to the chase.

10 Things You Should NOT Do When Approaching A Woman Online

1.  Don’t be self-absorbed.  Clearly, this should be a no brainer, but I’ve received a ton of emails where the man talks only about himself.  If I don’t know the guy, there’s nothing there to help me connect with him.  What you are thinking is you want to give her information that will help her make an informed decision about you.  Sadly, you’re assuming too much in what it is that she is making her decisions upon. She’s thinking, man if I get into relationship with him am I going to have to put up with him talking about him all the time?  She’ll hit the delete key, send a “thanks but no thanks message” or, worse, she’ll block you.

2.  Don’t treat this online forum as a job interview.   Would you do that at a cocktail party?  Would you start interrogating someone you were attracted to about their past relationships, their preferences for sexual frequency and whether or not they’d be comfortable with you coming up from behind and grabbing them by the boobs in public? (Yes, all these things have happened to me and to other women I know.)

3.  Don’t fall in love too soon.  Dude, until you meet her and date her…a lot of times…or, at least until she tells you otherwise…she is still just a digital image paired with some words.  Don’t go being all smitten and stuff and talking about how gorgeous she is and how you think the two of you were meant to be.  She’s making decisions based upon how you treat her, talk to her and think about her.  If you think she’s an “object” instead of a person, she’ll disappear. Treat her like another human being, not like the beauty you are attracted to.  She’ll become that beauty in your face-to-face life if you can respect her and love her for her mind and her contribution to this world (beyond just the airbrushed or real beauty).

4. Don’t be afraid to be you.  Women are all about relationship.  We want to connect.  We want to connect with those we relate to. If you are trying to be something you are not, we will see through this eventually.  Hopefully, for everyone involved, this happens sooner rather than later, but there are plenty of divorce statistics out there that state otherwise.  If you are a funny, humorous light hearted sort express that.  If you are more serious and thoughtful let that be apparent.  The woman you are hoping to attract will be attracted to the real you.

5. Don’t try to impress her with how many dates you’ve been out on recently.  That might work if you’re trying to impress the guys, but for use female types this simply translates as “we’re just one of many options” you have.  No one wants to be an “option”.  All of us want to be the person you’d slay dragons for.  If you try this approach we will read it as you’ve already decided that “you’re just not that into us”.  We’d be fools or unhealthy to invest in that.

6.  Don’t expect her to do all the work in setting up the first meeting.  Take the bull by the horns.  Suggest something, anything.  It is never okay to make her a.) call you when she’s free or b.) tell you what it is that she wants to do if you’re the one approaching first.  In this area, you must take risks and forge ahead trusting that if she is not okay with it she’ll be decent and kind enough to counter your proposal with another option.  If she kicks you to the curb because you missed on the first idea for a meeting, is that such a bad thing?   After all, if she treats you like that after such a kind gesture, do you want to be in a  relationship where that treatment is the norm?  I mean, really c’mon.  You’re a great guy.  You deserve some respect.

7.  Don’t ask her how successful she’s been in the online dating forum.  This question shows up like this:  “So, having any success here?”  or “So, I bet you have all the guys wanting to meet you!”  First off, we have no idea how to respond to that with kindness.  If we are successful and we tell you that,  what will you think?  (Please note that women, especially ones with good photos and well written profiles…okay…skip the profile…ones with good photos and lots of them…are going to get more mail than they could possilby respond to in a 24-hour period if they worked straight through.) If we tell you honestly that we aren’t having much luck…well…what will you think then?

8.  Don’t give up too easily.  Guys, remember, that many of us are single moms with careers and we might be homeowners in our own right as well.  (Meaning, we bought the friggin’ house ourselves and didn’t get it gifted to us as the result of a divorce settlement, death, or judge’s signature at the expense of some poor man who may have had to claim bankruptcy in order to avoid contempt of court charges.) This requires our time and if we are real people we won’t be able to respond right away all the time.  Kids have concerts, we have lives, houses need to be maintained and we simply need to sleep sometimes.  Be patient.  Don’t assume that because we didn’t respond the first time we didn’t care.  Don’t also assume that if our response is brief that we are just not that into you.  We might have wanted to connect, but the kids were demanding our attention, the account we have to have that big proposal ready for  is meeting with us the next day or the car dropped its rear differential in the street three hours ago and we have no idea how we’re going to get that repair done.  Please cut us some slack. We are willing to make room for you in our busy lives, but not till we know you’re going to be willing to accept our busy lives. Be patient.  I cannot say this enough.

9.  Don’t come on too strong.  I know that sounds strange after what I just wrote, but listen, if you pounce, you’ll suffocate.  You’d run too.  Have fun with it.  Don’t make it the end all most important thing ever.  Relax.  Friendships, relationships, love, is a bit of a dance.  Don’t force, just be the fun you, the thoughtful you, the true you that you are but be very careful of overdoing it.  I might add that if you feel like you are being you and at the same time you feel like you are coming on too strong, maybe you should pull back.  A woman in love can never get enough of her man’s attention or affection and she is always deeply appreciative of it even if she can’t necessarily carve out the time to respond at that exact moment.  If you are feeling weird about things, listen to that.

10.  Dont’ go silent.  Say something.  Understand that women are verbal creatures.  On the playground as kids you guys settled differences by physically laying into each other.  We, girls, learned the “more socially acceptible” method of being catty, using our vocabulary and really learning that words, as well as sticks and stones and fists, can hurt and leave deeper scars.  We also learned that words can create worlds, characters, perceptions and evoke really positive emotion too.  We live and love base on the words you tell us (as long as they match your actions).  Please, don’t just email us and say, “Hey!”.  Don’t email us with tons of pictures of you and your life and no verbal explanation.  Don’t just grunt.  We need to connect with you and we do it with words.  This is never more important than in the online forum where the first meeting is completely textual and verbal.

And I might add, that if you really want to make an impression you should consider what your elementary schoolteachers told you and use good punctuation, capitalization and accurate spelling.  Even if she’s not all that smart, your emails will be easier for her to read and understand.  If she is all that smart, she won’t give you the time of day if you can’t communicate well in writing.  If you find that too tedious, take your chances.  If  you can’t present yourself well in writing, what  makes you think she’s going to think you can present yourself well in person? 

Okay, have fun with that one fans and skeptics alike! I’d really like to hear perspectives that maybe I, in my finite wisdom, have not considered.  Do enlighten me.

In the meantime, enjoy your online dating experience.  It can be frustrating, heartbreaking and disappointing, but it can also be a great way to get to know other people in your world when your world doesn’t allow you to cross their paths in real time.  It can also be a great source for putting yourself in the path of romance.  After all, 1 in 8  married couples in 2006 met online.  I’m sure that statistic has grown since then.