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 Blogroll Game

I’m procrastinating again. 

I can tell.  I follow a particular pattern in my procrastination.

First, I get out the work I need to do. Today, I must prep math lessons in powerpoint and develop a promotional flyer for the school’s afterschool math club in April.

I then leave the laptop and the curriculum and the file for the afterschool math club on the table and go pour a glass of wine.  Then I get online to check my email and Facebook account activity.  I change my status message at Facebook, read the one email I have on Facebook, delete all the messages I received in my yahoo inbox from Freecycle.org and then I go read what all my bloggy friends have written since Friday. 

I get distracted responding to their posts.

I then play The Blogroll Game.  This is the game I created for myself to keep myself from being completely productive and to keep myself from using technology efficiently.  I go to a bloggy friend’s blog read all their stuff.  Maybe I’ll leave a comment, but then I check out their blogroll. 

This gets me in big trouble every time.  I lose hours of productivity and fall further behind in life as the result.  It’s a great game!

Today I was over at Zeus’ blog, “On Becoming A Universal and Narcissistic God” and after reading his most recent post, which admittedly was way over my little head,  I checked out his blogroll.  Personally, I love checking out his blogroll (hee!hee!) any chance I can get, but it usually discourages me because he has some great bloggers listed there.  Oh well, when I grow up I want to be like them. 

Anyway…today…by chance I clicked on the blog Zeus had listed as Dad’s House.  (I was actually heading toward CMajor7’s blog, because reading him also makes me happy or at least want to move away from here, but got distracted.) If you are a single parent or even a single post-marriage individual in your late thirties or forties, you need to check this blog out. His blogroll is amazing and will connect you to others who are dealing with the same parenting/dating quandaries we all seem to experience at this stage of the game.  David Mott’s posts are entertaining, well written and have just enough substance to them that you can do something with it and not be completely overwhelmed (unlike my own posts.  Oh well, I want to be like David Mott when I grow up too, so there).

Join me in The Blogroll Game and procrastinate away!

Okay, now that I’ve frittered 90 good minutes away in cyberworld, I think I can finally get to work…hah!  Maybe.

Home Alone…On A Saturday Night

I’m home alone. No kids.  No dates. Would you think less of me if I told you that the no dates part was not my choice?  It was my choice.  I had invites.  I turned them down.  I wanted to be alone.  I needed to be alone.  Am I sick or what???  The world does not understand those of us who can tolerate solitude and silence indefinitely.  However, I have to admit, while I am solo tonight, I am not silent.

Playing in the 5 CD changer in the living room is a random mixture of Colbie Callat, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Nickel Creek and Cold Play. 

I’ve just finished a dinner of gourmet salad and barbecue steak and excellent Southern Oregon Pinot Noir.

I am pretty much done with the “chores” of the day (like I did so much!) and am going to take the evening and do whatever I want to do…which is blog and read the blogs of my other bloggy friends.

No kids here tonight. Oh, yeah.  I already said that.  Must be the Pinot Noir taking over. This is the weekend for the youngest three to be at their respective dad’s places and Number 1 is out with friends.  I won’t see her till after 1:00 tomorrow a.m. and I’m so not waiting up.  She’s such an awesome kid.  But anybody mess with her and I’ll load my Colt Police Positive so fast it’ll make your head spin.

I love writing.  It is good therapy, and a great outlet for all the crap that spins incessantly through my mind in a given day.  Once I write it…I feel I can finally dump it.  Good therapy.  Just understand that what you read here is the crap I dump and not necessarily the real me sans dumped crap.  *tosses her long auburn lock, winks, smiles and giggles charmingly*

Tonight is the night I’ve been waiting for all winter long.  Tonight we set our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time.  This so totally rocks.  Heck (he he) no!  I do not like invisibly losing an hour of my life but I sooooo love the later light in the evenings. It is summer now…no matter what.   And I begin to live accordingly.  However, since I’m a bit slow in getting after some of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’m glad that according to others it is not really summer.  In any event, I informed Number 1 that she is now going to be walking home from work starting Monday.  She wasn’t so into that. I was really into that.  Means I just gained a regular workout time!  Wahooo!!!  And, she needs the exercise anyway, not because she’s fat…she’s anything but…but fitness and endurance have not been her priority.  Now we start.

Life is looking up.  Not perfect, but definitely up from where I’ve been.  The district is not going to have to cut days out of the school year, I have several opportunities to earn extra income and not take a whole bunch extra time out of my life in the next two months and this is a good thing.  I still have 3 personal days I can use to attach to a weekend so I can get some work done around here.  Nice!  Debt is going down faster with every passing month and income is stable.  Cars are running and the house is not collapsing around me and I am incredibly grateful.  I also have a student teacher starting in my class on Monday.  Life so totally rocks!  I can focus on my other “professional development activities” while she is teaching class.  I’m rolling on the floor thinking how this is such a win-win for both of us.

I so think all of this deserves some solo hot tubbing in the nude!  Oh, wait, I didn’t really say that did I?  *blushes and smiles coyly* Naaa!  I’d never go hot tubbing nude, would I?????? 

You tell me.  Would I?  Should I? Sam I am?

Hypothetical (Ha! Ha!) Dating Dilemma #453

So…..what’s the right thing to do here?  Is there more than one right answer?  I’ll set the parameters, but read on and decide for yourself what you might do in this particular situation.

What do you do if you are dating/seeing someone (whatever they call it these days)…not “officially” in a relationship…whatever that means, but seeing them pretty regularly several times a week?  They are not seeing anyone else, you are reasonably sure.  You have not been seeing anyone else, but not because you’re all that into the person you are seeing.  You just haven’t seen anyone else, just because.  (It could be for any reason that you are not seeing anyone else but not for the reason that you are really, really into the person you are seeing, because you are not.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how great you realize they are…and they are great…you just don’t “feel it”.)

So, it appears to be an exclusive situtation on the outside (to everyone else, maybe even to one of you), but it isn’t.  At least, there’s been no real discussion about that or about feelings for each other or what not.

There’s been no discussion (does there need to be?) about the direction things might be going, but we all know things can’t stay in a holding pattern forever.  Things haven’t really moved forward for about 4 weeks now. Do they need to? Should they?

You enjoy being with the person, they really are wonderful and kind and enjoyable to be around, but you’re really in the end just not that into them…at least…not in the way you need to be in order to be something more significant than very, very good friends.

You know it probably isn’t going to mature into something more from your end, but the other person is really, really into you.

What do you do? 

Have a talk and tell them straight up how you feel? 

Chill, say nothing till they bring it up and keep seeing them? 

Chill, say nothing and stop seeing them?

Begin phasing out your contact with them?

Some other approach?

What would you do if you were in this predicament?  Have you ever been in this predicament?  How did you handle it?

Expectations, Schmecpectations

Alright, alright.  I give.  Expectations for the perfect match are important.  They are real.  We all have them and we all better be clear on what they are up front because they color our behavior toward our significant other in so many  ways.

I know I need to spend more time exploring this.

I also know I’ve already spent the last three years exploring this and, once again, the terrain is beginning to shift.  I need to revisit the topic.

But tonight, I’m a bit tired.  It is late and morning comes way too early on work days.  I need to get to bed.  But I will be back to fully address this topic in far more detail and intelletual capacity than I am currently able to provide.

Thanks for being patient with me.

Conversing With The Italian Job

So, I went for a walk tonight.

It wasn’t just any walk.

It was a walk to remember.

First off, it is the night before a school day and that, for me, is usually fully packed with no time for me. Hence, no walks and no workouts in the evening for me.  And, evening is when I work out best because I have to be at work at 0’dark thirty so getting up even earlier than that, well, screw it.  I simply refuse.  Let the world reject me.  I don’t care.

I hate doing anything before 6 a.m. unless it is making love with the love of my life whom I’ve yet to meet, so whatever already.

The I.J. and I decided to meet and go for a walk tonight.  We decided this on Valentine’s as we casually talked about stuff.  You know, stuff.  The conversation that is no conversation.  It’s fun, but takes you nowhere or it takes you everywhere depending…on…so…many…things.

So, we decided to set the time for 8:30.  I felt I could have my home reasonably settled down by then.  All kids would be back from events, dinner served and cleaned up and the two youngest in bed or heading that way.  At 8:20, I was in Target picking up some things I needed for tomorrow night’s presentation (thank God, these will be over for the year after tomorrow night) and I called him and said, “Let’s make it 8:45 and just come on up to the house.  He said okay.  We clicked off.

8:45 comes and goes.  I’m ready and waiting.  No I.J.

8:50 comes and goes.  I’m ready and waiting.  No I.J. and I think, “This is so not like him.”  Okay, now that thought right there freaked me out.  That I could, with complete confidence say, this was not like someone, was just…well…something I’ve NEVER been able to do where a guy was concerned.  I’ve always questioned and doubted because…welllllll….because I never really could trust the stupid guys because they were always so inconsistent.  The I.J. has yet to be inconsistent and therein lies the freaking out point….I knew without a doubt that he was not standing me up but that there had been a disconnect somewhere in our communication.  (Wow!  Amazing concept since the last two significant relationships I’ve been in were all about the guy playing games to manipulate and control.)

My son suggested I just call him.  I balked, but only for 5 minutes.

I call at 9:00. 

“Hey, where are you?”

“I’m down here on the corner waiting for you.”

He’d not heard me or misunderstood that I wanted him to go ahead and come up to the house.   I knew there was a reasonable explanation and, to be honest, this also freaked me out, because after my last few experiences with husbands, men are definitely not to be trusted, so my completely trusting him and not even questioning it, was a huge thing.  Yes, I’m getting healthier with respect to all that, but it says more about the I.J.’s complete consistency and unwavering reliability than it does about me.  Had he been anything less than honest, I’d have figured it out.

So, I headed out the door for our walk and he met me halfway between the corner where he was parked and my house.  Don’t tell me meeting halfway isn’t significant, because I, in my mid-40 wisdom, know so much better.

The minute he met me, we turned in unison and began walking.  As we did so, he asked, “So, hey, do you want to go on up to J’s or do you want to go for a real walk.”  A man after my own heart.  J’s  is the little sports bar that is located in the little neighborhood strip mall between his house and mine. We’d talked about my walking up there and just meeting him there but he didn’t feel so comfortable with that with it being dark out and all.  I’ve never been to J’s.  I’m a tad bit old fashioned and only recently have been going in and hanging out at bars by myself and J’s is not one I’d explored yet.  So, we went to J’s.

I’m sad I didn’t get my full 40 minute workout in.

It’s okay, I worked out earlier today with my son.

And….drumroll please….

The I.J. and I had some real conversation.  (To know why this is important you’d have to read my password protected post so there.  If you want to read it ask for the password otherwise, just guess what it’s about from the context here and be okay with that. It’s up to you.)

I dont’ even know how this happened, but I simply started by asking questions, but not third degree type questions.  These questions were “what’s your opinion on that” kind of questions.

First off, I have to back track a bit and make it clear that I did clarify with him where I was on the fact that his divorce, filed though it apparently is, is not final. He seemed to understand and accept my perspective here. At least that is what he said…mind you he said it…not implied it…not grunted it…but said, “I totally understand that that is something that needs to be resolved before we can move ahead.”  Well, okay, honestly, I can’t remember exactly what he said but that was very, very close.

And, of course, my head was spinning about that statement alone.  I mean, wow, it was so…what an adult would say.  Go figure.  No tension, no drama, just the straight up reality.

He ordered Scotch, and strangely I waffled.  I usually go for a Long Island Ice Tea hands down every time and completely with confidence, but tonight was feeling like it needed something different so I ordered a Bombay Sapphire Martini.  We sat and chatted over our drinks, but it wasn’t just light small talk chat.

We covered a great deal of ground.

We talked about a lot of stuff that isn’t just small talk joking trivial fun stuff.

We talked about his recent dating history and mine.  We talked about a lot of stuff!  In a short amount of time! 

At one point, I shared with him my “Are we building a house or a playground” analogy (see previous posts about this).  I actually shared this with him in the context of saying how important I feel communication is in relationship and how, disagreement and differing perspectives don’t freak me out nearly as much as simple non-communication.

He cut to the chase with that and said, “I’d love to build a house with you.”

He told me he understood that “building a house” didn’t mean marriage or LTR, it simply meant an exclusive relationship where we take it a day at a time and see what happens.

He told me that my baggage, and he knows what it is, doesn’t phase him.

He told me he understands that I cannot even begin to build the house until I see proof the divorce is final.

He talked.

We talked. 

It wasn’t small talk.  It definitely moved us forward, or somewhere.  And, it gave me a glimpse into the fact that quite possibly here might be a man who could very well surprise me in so very many really wonderful ways.

Houses or Playgrounds?

Short and to the point: The Beau is no longer “The Beau”.  (Surprise! Surprise!  Gasp!  Does that really surprise anyone? N0.  Didn’t think so.)

Don’t know how to quite explain all the details to myself, except to say that it was a mutual misunderstanding.  I can’t share really how things started declining from his perspective, only from mine, though he’s enlightened me through discussions over the last week.  And he makes some valid, very understandable points.  I only wish he’d shared where he was with all that a month ago when he began feeling that way.

Things with us started off really great.  Had they kept going really great, no doubt, I would not be writing this post.  Now mind you things weren’t going badly…they just kinda weren’t really going like they were before.  Sometime after the second weekend I went up to visit him I noticed a bit of a “pull back” from him.  It was slight and subtle but very, very perceptible to me.  Things like no longer reaching out to hold hands in the car when we went places, no (and I mean absolutely none, where before there had been plenty) physical affection other than a quick good-bye peck at the door as he left or I left.  Things like calling me really late at night after being on the phone with others (who were just friends, yes, but nonetheless female and not me).  Things like a reduction in the number of texts or other contacts in a day, making it feel a bit like he was just making the obligatory once a day phone call.  Things like simply not seeming as interested as he previously was.

Now, The Beau, is not, was not, a bad guy.  Something changed for him…or he saw something that gave him reason to pause.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  In fact, there is quite a bit about me that would give most people pause, not the least of which is 4 kids, a fixer house and a very tight budget and this blog.  I really have a problem with none of that.  It is totally understandable to me.  

We’d been dating about two months and he’s the one that mentioned not dating anyone else and taking off his profile from said dating sites.  I did not bring up this conversation…he did.   I guess I didn’t ask enough questions about what that meant for him.  I guess, maybe, that conversation was premature.  Maybe I misunderstood the seriousness of that kind of behavior.  To me that means, “I really want to focus on you.”  To him, well, I’m still not clear what he intended by even bringing up that conversation, but that’s okay too.  I don’t need to be clear on that.  It just didn’t appear to indicate a single purpose to him quite the same way it did to me or he thought better of it after he did it.  That’s alright too.  I just wish I’d understood all that before I stopped dating the four or five other very fine men, that I stopped seeing to date The Beau exclusively only to have The Beau get cold feet.  (j/k about the 5 guys, disappointed about the cold feet, but aware that it happens and am not losing sleep or wasting tears over it)

I guess the best analogy is this one:  “Are we building a house here or are we building a playground?”  My thinking is that the foundation for either of those endeavors is very different and you can’t exactly change projects midway, without some serious investment or strife or, at least some conversation.  Both of them serve their purpose and are wonderful projects.  Really, I don’t care which one it is, but if he wants the house and I’m thinking playground or vice versa things can and will get weird, misunderstandings happen, communication begins to miss and, well, feelings get hurt.  Further, if  both begin with the understanding that a house is to be built and the other changes what they are building without telling his partner, things can be really messed up and strange. None of that bothers me, it’s called relationship.  This is why human beings were given the gift of speech, so we could address these misunderstandings.  (P.S. I know the analogy is weak and flawed, but it worked for us and it helped us both understand each other better, so I’m going with it.)

I thought he wanted the house (no the house does not equal marriage, LTR or anything other than a mere exclusive dating relationship and the interested behavior to match…there are never ever any guarantees, I know this.  Yes, the playground does equal the non-exclusive, let’s just have fun and be friends casual dating kind of thing).  He probably did want the house for a couple of weeks there, maybe a month, but then had second thoughts and he backed off to the playground project, which is fine with me or maybe he found another house or playground he’d rather explore a bit more.  Only problem was, he didn’t tell me about it.  Well, yes, he did, just not with words.  That’s okay too. I was able to figure it out, pretty accurately without the words. Maybe I’m getting better at reading that nonverbal stuff more accurately. I don’t know. This time hearing the words only confirmed what I already knew several weeks ago was true. 

I guess I just don’t play the game well.  I’d rather have a guy just say “I’m not that into you” than to waste my time pretending he is in an effort to avoid hurting my feelings.  Cowardly as it is, even going silent is a bit more honest than continuing a game that one simply isn’t sure they want to play.  I won’t waste time (and it is a waste of time if  someone is not being completely honest and candid with the other person) spending time being with a person I really like who’s kinda sorta not sure he’s that into me. 

Now, true, it’s not like I’m the only consideration here.  I know that.  I come with a lot of  “baggage”.  I prefer to refer to it as responsibility, but face it, kids, fixer, finances, two ex’s—yuck, it’s just baggage to most people, no matter how neatly folded and tucked away it may be. (That reality does make me very sad sometimes, but I can’t fix any of that, so I just feel sad for a bit, then get up and forge ahead.  I mean really, what are my alternatives?)  He’s got lots to consider before making any serious commitments where I’m concerned, but I am not even remotely talking about that nor was I even remotely expecting it.  I just wondered how come he no longer wanted to hold my hand, be with me as much or he preferred talking to others instead of me.  I’m just talking about enjoying spending time together and it seemed to me that somewhere along the line, that changed for him. It seemed really, like he was no longer as interested in being with me and that I was not as attractive to him anymore.  It changed for me only because it changed for him.  My feelings for him and my attraction to him never dimmed or wavered.  I’m just not willing to be in a place where I feel less than desirable, like I don’t quite do it for him, or where I’m just not all that big of a deal to him. 

So, that’s where it stands.  My understanding has been cleared up about what his intention is and where he stands with me (the words now match the behavior)  and, to be very honest, I’m relieved.  No one enjoys feeling like the person they are with is just not all that excited anymore about being with them. 

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

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.