Tickled…Tickled Pink…Actually!

Not sure quite why I chose that particular title for this post…. 

I haven’t done a Google Ad Words search on it to see if it is SEO or anything.

In fact, over the last several weeks, what with the exit of the Oz and all, I’ve kind of done some thinking.  Amazing what you can get accomplished when you aren’t spending your time texting or talking to  or IMing someone on the other side of the world.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished with all the extra freed up time:

I’ve done some thinking, as I mentioned.  More about this later.

I have cleaned my house (not that it was dirty to begin with, but I actually can see the bottom of the laundry pile now…in fact…there is no laundry pile).

I’ve cleaned out my refrigerators.  Oh, and they really needed it!

I’ve gotten myself sick. Yeah, that’s what happens when you try to be the single mom of four kids and hold down not one, not two but three jobs to make ends meet.

I’ve read two whole books in the last week.  Amazing what you can do when you are sick…and can’t really read but you can’t sleep either so…what else do you do other than just stare at the ceiling and let your thoughts make you crazy.

I’ve actually folded and hung all my clothes from the laundry (j/k…I do that anyway).

I’ve gotten caught up on some work projects, na, scratch that.  I haven’t.

I’ve done some thinking. (Here it comes…really…it’s nothing really monumental or anything!)

I’ve made some decisions.

I decided, I’m not going to write unless I want to…meaning…writing under pressure (unless it is fun pressure) is so not for me. Well, at least not until I get a book deal (hahahahahahaha!) and then I will write, I will sign autographs and books, I will talk under pressure no problem…but until then…it’s going to be all about what catches my writing fancy.  So there! 😉

This also means, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus less here on how many search terms might be in my blog posts and just write what I love and do the best at that, that I can do.  Hopefully the masses, or a few of them, will like it enough to tell someone else to come visit.  I know this is probably the death knell to the blogger who wants a book deal and a movie deal out of it, but face it…I’m just not Julia and Julia right now.  Even so, I hope some of you will decide to comment, because that’s where I get my best ideas for further writing.

I’ve also decided that while I am really super sad that things with the Oz and I didn’t work out and I am super sad for my part in the demise of the whole thing, I am not going to let this make me even more bitter and untrusting…and for me…that wouldn’t be a hard thing to accomplish because I could go there.  But I won’t.  Instead of shutting myself down (which I might do at times to just sort stuff out but not forever) I’m going to work on really taking this opportunity to refocus. 

Some quotes that have helped me lately:

To the Oz….

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.  I miss you like hell.  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

To The Wild Mind…

[A] final comfort that is small, but not cold:  The heart is the only broken instrument that works.  ~T.E. Kalem

To Everyone Out There…

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.  ~Lamartine

And again To Everyone Out There…

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

To The Wild Mind and To Everyone Else Out There With A Broken Heart….

Love is like a puzzle.  When you’re in love, all the pieces fit but when your heart gets broken, it takes a while to get everything back together.  ~Author Unknown

And this…

Don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens – The Main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.  ~John Steinbeck, 10 November 1958

And for all who would, like The Wild Mind, attempt love, fail and dare to try again…these words…

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” — Robert H. Schuller

I’m not a Robert Schuller fan per se, but if the shoe fits….

Anyway, I’m tickled pink that I’m not sick, tickled pink to be returning to work tomorrow although it will not be easy after being out sick for a week, and I’m tickled pink that, well, it just isn’t worse than it is.  Seriously.  As a friend recently told me, “Chin up, girl.  You own your own home, your bills are paid, you have food on the table, transportation to work and a job to go to…in fact…more than one of them!  And…you’re an intelligent woman…you can actually learn to cook!  How bad can life be?”

Okay, yeah, that from a guy who is happily married and gets it whenever he wants but, okay, we’ll go with the intent there.

Anyway…can’t really put a finger on it, but I’m just feeling a little tickled pink and I kinda don’t really have any reason to be except that I’m alive and healthy and, well, I guess I’m grateful for all that and considering that Thanksgiving is just around the corner I guess that’s a good thing.

So, given that every ending is the opportunity for a new beginning….that when a relationship ends it can be a great opportunity for reinventing oneself, I have these questions for peeps out there…

What have  you done that helped you overcome a breakup?

Breakups aside, have you ever gotten to the place where you felt you wanted to reinvent yourself?  Did you?  How is it going?

Dating Over 40: Lessons Learned

Last night I was talking to a friend.  She’s been dating a man for about a year and a half now.  She is frustrated.  She called me for help.  Well, to more accurately state it she called for encouragement, support and to have a safe place to rant.

In the last 12 days, they’ve seen each other once.  They live in the same town.

He didn’t spend the 4th of July with her, though he indicated he would and then never called.  She and her two kids spent the 4th with me and my youngest.

He routinely tells her he wants to get together with her then goes silent for days on end.

He was scheduled to move in with her in May.  It is now July and no further progress toward that end has occurred.

She called me wanting to know what she should do.

Like I would know.

In the last two years, I have dated a lot of people.  I have learned a lot.  I guess it shows.  Even though she’s been part of this journey all the way along she called me to hear again the journey and to get her head on straight.  She already knew what I was going to tell her.

I didn’t let her down.  I told her to kick the guy to the curb.

But…before I did that, I told her some other things that were helpful for me as I struggled through exactly the same fears, insecurities, and pain she is now going through.  What follows are some of those thoughts.

1.  First things first.  Figure out what you are all about.  It is imperative that you know what your must haves, and deal breakers are.  If necessary write them down.  Continue to revisit the list.  I know it sounds ooey gooey touchy feely but getting to know yourself and accepting yourself as you are (a work in progress and a mighty fine and unique work at that) is critical to your success not just in dating, but in life.  I personally also think that it is a good idea to know what areas you are not clear about or what areas or behaviors or qualities you are unsure if you can accept or not.  These are what I call gray areas.  For example, I know that I could not handle living with a chain smoker.  But, in the last two years I have dated several men who on occasion had a cigar with scotch outside in the evening or while playing darts out in the garage.  While, I have issues with smoking anything from a health perspective, if I found Mr. Right and he enjoyed a cigar on occasion, I think I could live with that. Cigars were a gray area for me.

I told my friend that before she could really make any decisions she had to decide what she wanted for herself and in relationship.  I also reminded her about the following:  She’s let the guy know that his on again off again behavior is not working for her.  He’s done nothing to change.  News flash for her:  He is not going to change.  She now has a decision to make.  Can she accept this relationship, his treatment of her and all that she is currently experiencing as it is and be content or not?  She can’t make those decisions till she knows what works for her and what doesn’t.  She admitted, that this current situation does not work for her.

2.  Expect to be made a priority.  I’ve said this more times than I care to recall, but when a man is crazy about a woman he goes to the wall for her.  The Taj Mahal was built for a woman.  All sorts of love songs, poems, and efforts are expended on the part of men to woo that one particular lady that captures his imagination and his heart.  She doesn’t have to drop hints, call him, stalk him or do any relational heavy lifting. If he’s broke and he’s into her he’ll do what he can, get a second job if need be to make life happen with her.  While I am currently speaking from experience on this one for myself, I would know this reality were true even if I did not.  How would I know because many, many, many men have personally told me this.  They simply won’t let the phone grow cold, nor will they leave any doubt in her mind (or anyone else’s for that matter) how they feel about her.  They even humiliate themselves by dressing up in silly knight costumes to propose in front of a crowd or they go to insane lengths to skywrite love messages and proposals for all including and especially her to see. 

Message here?  Expect him to expend some significant effort in order to make being with you a priority.  If he’s not doing this it is because he’s just not feeling it.

3.  Expect to be treated with respect and consideration.  This, my friends, goes both ways. Men and women both should have this as a core relational value.  For me, this reigns supreme and is an underpinning for any successful relationship. For my friend last night, thinking about this was the real eye opener.  When a person says they’ll do something and doesn’t come through on their word and especially when there is a consistent pattern of doing this with no real explanation (and sorry, my phone went dead just doesn’t cut it) the person is being disrespectful and inconsiderate.  Does he listen to you?  Does he value your input when making decisions?  Does he make good on his agreements with you? Is he respectful of your life, your activities and your family obligations or do you somehow end up feeling like what matters to you is just somehow not that important to him?  How does he pay attention to you when you are out with a group of people or does he disappear till the end of the evening when it is time to leave?  Does he indicate that he cares about your happiness and well being (however that’s demonstrated)?  Hopefully this is one area that is definitely reciprocal. 

What’s the logic behind this one?  Think about it. Relationships and habits of interacting do not necessarily improve over time, unless two people are working at it and committed to it.  It is generally the case that two people will begin to grow more comfortable with each other, they will tend to assume the feelings are known, and things get more casual and more is taken for granted.  Establishing patterns of interacting respectfully from the get go is critical.  It is much more difficult to insist on this after the relationship is established if it hasn’t been an expectation from the beginning.  If you start out allowing a guy to treat you badly, he’s probably not going to improve much.

4.  Value yourself.  Here’s the deal.  If you don’t think you are worthy of respect, consideration or that you are worth expending some effort on to connect with, no one else is going to think so either.  It will be difficult for you to proactively chart your happiness course if you don’t first see yourself as just as valuable and worthy of good treatment as the next person.  If you come at this relationship thing from the perspective that you can’t do any better, this is better than nothing or that you have to make exceptions due to your age, weight, income or number of children or whatever you will always sell yourself short. 

I can’t tell you how many times men and women alike told me all along this journey that my biggest difficulty in finding a quality person or developing a quality relationship was going to be the fact that I have four children.  While, my children are a huge consideration and something any prospective beau must be willing to accept, I never bought that excuse.  All it meant for mewas that anyone who found the fact that I have four children and two ex’s a problem, wasn’t the guy for me.  After all, I’m not looking for a father replacement for any of them.  I’m not even looking for any parental assistance.  I’m looking for good quality connection and companionship for me.  Yes, he’s got to be an excellent role model, but he would be if I chose him based on his innate character anyway.  I simply refused to allow myself to sink into despair based on what so many other people told me about this one.  I determined that no relationship was better than something that just kinda sorta worked and it was far superior to a bad relationship. And, funny how life is, seems just the person may have wandered in who is a great fit for me and who is confident and competent enough that he’s not in the least intimidated or alarmed by four kids and two ex’s.

I don’t know what decisions my friend will arrive at for herself.  She’s feeling pretty blue about her current relational realities right now and she’s having a tough time facing facts.  I understand her angst.  I’ve been there.  She’s a wonderful person with so much to offer but before she can really offer any of it, she’s got to believe it about herself first.  So do the rest of us. This is all sometimes easier said than done.

Ditch Mr. Options

Last night was movie night.  At my house, my kids and I have recently discoverd On Demand movies.  This is where you choose the movie you want to watch, pay a fee and watch the movie.  It is certainly cheaper than buying the movie, more convenient than running down to the local video rental store and renting it and since I’ve lost the last movie I rented from Netflix, it’s what we are doing now to provide the programming for our movie night.

Last night’s pick was dictated by the 18-year-old and me since we were the only ones watching.  She chose “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  It was a cute movie and showcased a number of dating disasters which we’ve all probably encountered or created regardless of our place in the life cycle. One of the overriding themes of the movie,however, was the tendency that women have to overlook the obvious and hope for the best in a relationship.  I call this tendency the tendency to make excuses for men’s bad behavior.

If a guy doesn’t call he’s not interested.  If he doesn’t want to have sex with you he’s not interested.  If he doesn’t want to be with you he’s not interested.  These were some of the main points of the movie.  I happen to agree with them.  But many of us women, make excuses or create fantasies about how he could still be into us and be unable to call, not be interested in us physically, and not want to spend time with us.  He’s busy, he’s tired, he’s got a lot of stuff to do at work. 

I used to make these very same excuses for the people I dated.  I no longer do this. 

If he says he’ll call and he doesn’t I waste no more time thinking about it.  I have all the information I need.

If we’ve been dating for a while and things are still platonic, that’s great, but he’s not in the candidate pool for next romantic partner where I’m concerned and I don’t spend a lot of time wishing or wondering when he’ll make the move to take the relationship to the next level. He won’t.  I won’t let him.  He’s not interested. I get it.

If  he says he’s into me but continually makes time with the guys or work more important than spending time with me, I no longer spend much time or energy on this.  He’s not into me.  If he is, he’s not enough into me.  I’m not wasting any time wondering why or wishing things were different or making excuses for him. He’s not into me, that doesn’t work for me.  Next!

These are relatively easy ones to figure out though.  The tough ones are the ones where every thing seems good on the surface: he calls, you spend regular time together, he’s indicating sexual interest. It seems like a relationship.  But something doesn’t quite sit right.  Maybe it’s the fact that he said he’d call at noon and he ends up not calling till 4 or 5.  Maybe it’s that he said he’d see you in a few hours and six hours later you still haven’t heard from him.  He does the minimum expected relationally to keep you from calling it quits but he doesn’t quite demonstrate the kind of caring, considerate interest that we all know a guy would demonstrate if he were into a gal. These are the tough ones to figure out when you’re caught up in one.

It is hard to leave a relationship that isn’t working.  We don’t ever do it unless we have to because we all love the companionship and we hate the Friday and Saturday nights alone or with strangers.  We are wired for that intimacy and connection that a good love interest can provide.  However, when it goes sour it is painful and like getting a shot or going to the dentist we fight it. 

I have a friend who is currently going through this situation. She’s been dating the guy for a year and a half.  Here are the facts as I know them:

  • They’ve been dating for a year and a half.
  • He was scheduled to move in over a month ago, to date, he still hasn’t moved his stuff over nor are they any closer to joining households than they were a month and a half ago.
  • He routinely says he’ll be over in a couple of hours, four, five, six hours later and he is still AWOL, and hasn’t called.
  • He chooses time with the guys over time with her consistently.
  • He leans on her financially and bails on his part of the financial obligations.
  • He says all the right stuff, but doesn’t do enough of the right things.
  • To my knowledge, other than moving in together, which doesn’t seem to be happening there has been no further discussion about moving the relationship to the next level, a conversation my friend would really like to have.

This is the guy I call Mr. Options.  In my opinion, this guy is stringing my friend along, getting what he wants out of her but holding out in case something better comes along.  It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly what I think of this behavior on the part of the guy.  I also bet you can guess exactly what my advice would be to my friend.

Yep.  You guessed it.  She ought to ditch him and move on. 

But she won’t, because she’s still in the denial stage and making excuse after excuse for him and accepting his paltry statements which are unsubstantiated by his behavior as adequate proof of his interest.  He’s not interested enough.  Raise your standards, girlfriend.  You’re so worth so much more than that.

Star Wars and Marriage?

Yes!!! Another analogy!  Yes!  Of course, it is about relationship!  That is after all what I do here. Admittedly, this one is darker than I usually tend toward, but, you must understand, I’m in kind of a wacky mood tonight and having fun with it.  In the past, I’ve tended toward the dark side out of sadness or momentary discouragment with dating or relationships.  I’m so not in that place tonight.   

 A friend sent me a song by The Human League and I went searching for it on You Tube.  I used to love this group back in the day but never owned any of their albums, tapes or CD’s.  As I was reminiscing via You Tube, I stumbled across this video. So, I started out doing something completely different and ended up here.  This was seriously a post with a mind of it’s own.

If you’re at all familiar with the classic Star Wars, you will appreciate this.  I think the entire video is analogous to a long term relationship in many ways.  You invest, you get through some awful stuff together, you go places together and it just doesn’t work out.  Seriously, what is up with that???!! 

Anyway, whether you agree with my analogous perspective on this one or not, watch the vid.  It’s pretty creative.  Enjoy!

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…

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field

gingerbreadbreakup

Opening score fades as curtains rise and lights up on scene set stage right of a small cozy but humble study.  A small desk with laptop computer and comfy but worn office chair, a coffee mug, lamp some papers, pens, neatly arranged are the only props.  The Wild Mind sits in the chair attired only in casual lounge pants and a snugly fitting camisole.  Her hair is in a messy bun and one leg is pulled up onto the large but worn office chair in a yoga-esque fashion.  She begins typing and reading aloud as music fades.

There are a million blogs out there that address the fact that women are confusing, game-playing, bling-seeking, brats who expect men to jump unreasonably through hoops before they’ll give it up.

I propose that men are confusing, game-playing, sex-seeking brats, and some of them want bling and sammiches on top of that.  And, in addition, some of those lovable brats are liars and dishonest, even though they are completely unaware of it.  That’s because they are lying to themselves. 

I  propose there are good reasons for both these conditions to exist. It is called emotional survival and pain aviodance.  It isn’t a great way to do things, but many people, myself included behave this way.  Or they have, maybe, at one time or another. 

Next, while I’ve been villified for villifying those who go silent or who are “just not that into” me and who demonstrate it by going silent, I maintain my stance that when a man is really into a woman, he knows it, she knows it, the world knows it and he will cross distance, time, space (or work very hard to close the distance, time and space) to make it work between them.

Cue image of The Wild Mind with thought cloud above head and image of The Beau inside it. The Wild Mind continues typing.  Images appear on the large screen behind her as she continues reading.

Yes, the Beau.

A brief recap here is in order to bring all two of my readers that I haven’t talked to in a while up to speed. And…mostly for me to sort it all out so I can just move on.

I met The Beau through an online dating site.  The Beau contacted me in October, I believe.  This last October. 

Now, last fall I did a really stupid thing at the end of the summer and signed up on a couple of internet dating sites.  I do not know why I did this.  It was a week or two before school started, I was learning a new job and that time of year is insane for me anyway, so I’m not sure why I did such an idiotic thing when I knew I wasn’t going to have time to breathe, let alone date.  I also knew that I wasn’t really in a great place emotionally to date, since, well, I was still pretty ticked off with the whole going silent phenomenon anyway.  And, while I now see the benefit of going silent, both for the party who goes silent and the one they disappear from, I still think it is the more cowardly approach. More about that later.drink_coffee

So, in October, the Beau contacts me.  We correspond for the usual customary few emails and then got together for coffee.  We liked each other right away and he mentioned he had things to do but he wanted to get together for cocktails later that evening…if we could.  He said he’d call me later.

He went out on more coffee dates with women that day.

I went to a bookstore and bought a book. 

We got together later that same day for cocktails, had a great time.  Truly, with The Beau, we never lacked for conversation, which is a real turn on for me.  I later found we could enjoy those comfortable silences too, a double turn on.

The Beau and I, for some reason or another did not begin dating until December.  It was a miscommunication, a misunderstanding but we didn’t  date, till December.  I was kind of corresponding with someone at that point who was pretty interesting and simply needed to follow that out till he went silent on me after meeting me one time (yeah, ugh).  By December, all that had played out and out of the blue, in response to a post I wrote about being alone on Christmas Eve,  The Beau contacts me, invites me to his family for dinner on Christmas Eve, which I accepted and we really hit it off.wine_glasses

We spent most of the holiday break together. 

Thus began the dating season with The Beau which lasted till roughly late January, early February, where I began sensing that he wasn’t all that into me. 

How did I sense this?  After all that time together (six weeks or so) he still was talking about old flames.  He spoke of his two ex wives without bitterness or regret, but he also mentioned two old flames, which concerned me because of the way, in which he spoke of them.  Girls, you know what I’m saying here.  When a guy talks about another woman in a way that makes you wonder “if she were standing here next to me, would he even be with me?”, you know there’s a problem.

In addition, while he did call me daily, I began to sense that it was more out of a sense of duty rather than desire. He also began taking more time on other friends rather than keeping or making arrangements with me. 

He also continued saying stuff like how impossible the 90 minute distance was, how he’s building a house, I’m entrenched here, how’s this ever going work, yadda yadda.

Finally, after two free weekends, where I drove 90 minutes to be with him, on the third free weekend, when I said nothing about plans he neither invited me up nor offered to come to see me.

So, I surmised that he was not all that into me.  I talked about it with him.  I was right.  He wasn’t all that into me, but he wouldn’t admit that to me.  We decided to go our separate ways, but strangely we kept in touch.

We went out for cocktails one night when he was in town for business and had a great time.

He texted and emailed me occasionally.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was out of town for business, he invited me over for dinner on my way home. I stopped in, he grilled steaks, made a fabulous meal complete with appetizers, salad, martinis, wine, chocolate dipped strawberries (I mean who goes to that trouble if they aren’t interested, right?) and we spent a long fun evening together.  It was VERY fun.  I didn’t spend the night because I had to be back at work (and I wouldn’t have anyway…but he did his level best to convince me to).

That night, with my help, he set up a Facebook account and added me as his first friend.

The next morning his old flame was also added as his friend and she added me which I was suspicious of but I confirmed the add anyway. After all, she lives in Texas and a 90 minute drive to see me was a dealbreaker for us.  What could it hurt?

This last week, he was in Arizona watching spring training games for one of his favorite teams.  This is something he does every year.  Something he invited me to go with him to, which I declined.  After going to the games in Arizona, he flew back to Northern California with his son for a few days before returning home to go out with me last night to see my daughter’s performance.  This was something we’d pre-arranged way back in January.

On Facebook, gotta love it, I notice Old Flame is going to be in Northern California the exact same time The Beau is going to be in Northern California.

Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on there.

atsamsungpropelSo Thursday night, after not hearing from him since the beginning of the week, I texted him saying, “Hey, maybe your plans or thoughts about Saturday night have changed.  If they have, I totally understand, but please let me know, so I know how to plan.”

I get no response.  Not that I was sitting around waiting.  I was busy doing my own thing, but by Friday afternoon, I realized I’d not heard anything from him and I texted him again.  He responded with, “My phone was off, plans are still on for Saturday night.  I’m looking forward to it.”

Saturday night. I’m working backstage at my second oldest’s performance, playing hall monitor for the stage right stairwell.  It absolutely rocked, especially since during several numbers I could sneak up the stairs and with my head about 12 inches above the level of the stage, peek out and see Briggs singing and dancing her heart out.  That was a far better and more close up view of her performance than the matinee when I sat in the second row front and center. But I digress, more about that later, if I can get pics.

While I was working backstage, The Beau was sitting in the audience with my other three children.

After the performance, we presented Briggs with her dozen red roses, took pics and leaving Briggs to do her clean up and staff party, headed back to the house.  Once at my house, I hustled kids off to bed, but I’d tipped off Number 1, that I was probably going to hear some news that was going to be disappointing where The Beau was concerned so she headed off to her room early also.

Cue foreboding musical score.  The Wild Mind speaks directly to her audience.

You know where this is going don’t you?  You, like I, probably knew several paragraphs before this. 

 The Wild Mind freezes in position while lights black out. Curtains fall.

To Be Continued …

“Soul”utions in Silence

It’s late.

The house is silent except for an occasional groan from one of the two dogs shifting in their sleep.

I spent most of my weekend not feeling well.

I don’t think I was really sick.  I mean, there was nothing obviously wrong with me, but I did not feel good. 

It could have been the several nights this week that I awoke at 2:00 A.M. and stayed awake till about 4.

It could have been the nagging headache I had for three days straight.

It could have been that I believe that I have finally determined for myself just exactly how far it is and isn’t going to be able to go with the I.J.  I always seem to get just roilingly (is that a word?) physically sick, when I am in a place relationally I just don’t want to be.  Okay, well, I can’t say this has always been the case for me, but it is definitely the case for me in my post-divorce dating world.

Strangely, this really has nothing to do with him being or not being Mr. Right.   It has nothing to do with me not being all that into him…although…truth be told, I just am not feelin’ it quite the way I hope I will someday.  It has nothing to do with all the wonderful advice I got  from my last post (although, I already had my mind made up before I posted that post). The I.J. is an absolutely wonderful guy…and if I were to make a list of all the things or “expectations” I would have of a Mr. Right, he’d hit them all, except for two. 

Just happens to be the two that somehow are most important to me.

But, even that is not the really big issue here.

The really big issue is that I just want to do other stuff right now.  And, I will go ahead and do the other stuff and it just doesn’t involve him, or anyone really, except maybe my children, and he will simply get tired of taking a back seat to me wanting to just take care of me and mine and will move on.  It is probably as it should be. 

I’m sure I’d be singing a different tune if I felt differently, but I don’t, and I do feel I’ve taken the time to see if he would grow on me.

I just don’t want to spend my weekend evenings out late with his friends and then recovering from it the next day.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love his friends and it is always great fun, but it just isn’t really the direction I want to go…and mark my words…if I go with him…we go his way. 

But then what do I know…we haven’t talked about anything.  (Remember those two important items?  Yeah, well lack of any real serious conversation with any depth happens to be one of them.  Ten guesses what the other one is.)

So, here I am now, for about the third weekend in a row feeling that I’ve spent my time doing really fun stuff, but not doing what it was I really wanted or needed to be doing.

And that is why I am up late now.  It is as though I am dragging my feet about letting this weekend go.

Alright, there.  Now that I said it, I can move on. 

What do you think the odds are that I’ll sleep soundly tonight without waking up at  2:00 A.M. ?

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?

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!