Corn Grinding, Lady Gaga, Etc.

I’ve been exploring my feelings for Mark, which I think is a natural tendency. We (I) get into a new relationship and wonder where this is going. Is there a future together? What will that look like? Can this person give me what I want and need, and can I do that for them? Is this going to be a lot of extra work that I don’t have the energy or desire for, and how much extra work should a relationship be anyway?

I don’t have an answer for any of those questions, and I can’t predict the future, and it’s futile to try to figure it out today. All I can do is focus on how I feel today. And what I know today is that I like him a lot and I believe I could love him—he’s easy to love. But I also want to be loved, and to feel loved. It’s hard to know for sure if he feels that for me, especially since I freaked out after he told me I had bad breath and took all my stuff from his house and did not meet his mom that night as he’d wanted me to do. He hasn’t invited me over for Thanksgiving, presumably because it would be an awkward way to meet his family for the first time, though he had no problem introducing me–or planning to introduce–me to his mom, aunt, and nephew only a month into our relationship. But tbh I wouldn’t want to meet his family on Thanksgiving, nor did I want to meet them this soon. But I want him to want me too. Not exactly fair, I know. Just giving y’all the truth of how I feel.

He’s taken all kinds of other actions to indicate he loves me, or could love me: he wants me to stay at his house frequently, always asks when he can see me again, when I tell him something’s important to me he remembers and does it or doesn’t do it (mainly that I don’t like to be/feel ignored–I like a “good morning” text and a “good night” text), he listens to me for the most part. We make each other laugh, and he’s fun to be around. He’s a good person, and a good friend.

But there’s a bigger issue that has come up, which is the intimacy issue in which we both have different… styles, I guess you’d say. Different ways of doing, and his way is the typical guy way which I’d forgotten about because my ex was the only one I’d ever been with who’d been different. I don’t know how to be discreet about this whole thing but I’ll do my best. I realize that Lady Gaga for example “likes it rough” or so she says in at least one of her songs, so maybe y’all think we all love feeling like we’re getting pounded like a dead piece of meat, but nuh uh.

What I’m saying here guys is this: Basically, most—many? Only me?—of us women need external stimulation—like, at the same time—while most men want to bang us like a jackhammer. There’s a little thing called “grinding the corn,” my friends, also known as the CAT position, both of which I’d provide a link except I still haven’t found the perfect one, and y’all know how to use Google. Learn it! Take notes! Ask your wives or girlfriends if this sounds like something they’d like! And in case I’m the only woman in the world who thinks this position/technique should be taught to men from the get-go, then explore other positions or techniques and try them! Ask her what she likes. Watch videos. Read articles. For the love of all things holy, friggin learn. Because let me tell you something, gentlemen: if she’s having fun, you will have so much more fun.

And when I say “watch videos,” I do not mean porn created by men for men. What I mean is instructional videos with friggin step-by-step directions and illustrations.

Because honestly guys, the way I feel today is that if Mark cannot get with the program on this, I’m going to have to make a decision. Either stay with him and let him do it his way and pretend to enjoy it simply because I want a partner and a possible child because I’m 41 years old and time is running out (that’s obviously a whole nother blog post), or move on. I really like him a lot and do not want to move on. The idea of moving on makes me want to stay single forever, forget sex and all men, get my own tiny house and live on a piece of land with some goats and be a crazy goat lady. That’s where I go with that. Which is my crazy thinking, projecting into an imagined future that hasn’t happened and most likely won’t happen, and in which I get this idea that Mark is The Last Man on Earth, and if this doesn’t work, then eff them all, I’m through. Done.

I’m not saying he’s not aware of my external parts and doesn’t spend time down there, nor am I saying he’s a selfish lover because he’s just the opposite. A big part of the problem—if not, THE problem that I probably should’ve told you from the start, is that I’m taking Prozac and it’s causing a real problem with my sex life. And I just had an IUD removed in August and my hormones are all over the place. But I just got the nuva ring and I’m tapering off Prozac so we’ll see what happens.

I got on Prozac almost a year ago when I lost motivation for life after my mom died, and it has helped me tremendously. So much that I’m not ready to stop taking it because I didn’t realize how much better I could feel, and for now I’ll be trying something different until I’m ready to go without.

In the meantime I sent Mark some instructional videos that he seems to have watched but not learned the lesson yet. I can see now that I need to communicate better, ie, ask him if he’s watched the videos. I’m hoping we don’t give up on this relationship before the Prozac gets out of my system.

But mostly I hope that whatever is meant to happen happens and that I can be okay with whatever plan God has in store for me.

PS: I got to see Lady Gaga perform live for the American Music Awards live from DC last night, and then I got to watch her win and give a beautiful speech. I now love her more than ever.

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The Bad Breath Incident, a ‘Healthy’ Heart and Lady Gaga

Turns out I do not have halitosis, for those of you who were worried, as I’m sure you were all waiting on the edge of your seats for this news. I know I certainly freaked out after Mark broke the news that my breath was not the freshest–which, by the way, happened to be right after I’d scarfed down half a bag of flavored pretzels (yep, I did that, says the girl who studies nutrition). Turns out my breath is no worse than any other human being’s, including Mark’s. His breath totally reeked the other night after dinner. And that was the second time that I noticed that, until I thought about it and realized I’d noticed it before too, before the whole Bad Breath Incident. Only I hadn’t told him before because I’m not the asshole who tells people–especially my new boyfriend—that his breath doesn’t smell so great. Oh, don’t y’all worry. I let him know, loud and clear, that his breath was not smelling good, at all. And now that whole situation has become a funny joke between us. Thank God for that.

By the way, my dad didn’t have to get stents put in his heart. It turns out he has blockage but doesn’t need stents, just needs to lose weight, exercise, and eat healthier, so we’ll see what happens. All I can say is that side of the family has amazing genes because I don’t know how someone lives his lifestyle (heavy drinking, no exercise) for decades and has what the doctor called a healthy heart for someone his age (or lifestyle) (he’s 70). My great grandmother lived to be 102, my grandmother is now 92 (but doesn’t look a day over 80), my great uncle was an alcoholic but lived to be in his 80s…

School’s out in a few weeks—hallelujahpraisethelordamen—and I’ll visit my family in North Carolina, then I’ll visit my family in Georgia, and then I’ll finally clear out the rest of my boxes I have stored in the basement. I’m hoping to get rid of most of my stuff. After you live in a bedroom for three years with limited space for your stuff, if you’re like me, you just want it gone. If I lived in my own townhouse, it would look empty. But as it is, I look like a borderline hoarder. Ah well. Life could be worse.

My therapist and I un-diagnosed Mark with OCD, after my observations that his life doesn’t seem to be disrupted due to this disorder he claims to have, and he left a spot of toothpaste in the sink (multiple times), he did not wipe down the table after we finished eating (God forbid), and at night he leaves his clothes on the floor by the bed. Otherwise he’s just a neat freak. Which is fine with me. I love how clean, neat, and organized his place is. Can he come over and do that to my house? Since my roommate and I are never home it looks like we just camp here every now and then, which I do now, actually. I’ve never had him over at my house because I don’t want him to see how messy and unorganized it is. LOL.

I want to write more but it’s my only day off and I have an assignment due for school today that I need to work on, and my room is a mess right now which is stressing me out. And I have to get it done asap because… (drum roll, please)… Guess who’s going to see Lady Gaga tonight? Ever since watching her documentary on Netflix, I LOVE her. And I love how she has a little belly in the halftime show, like me. Along with my (occasional–as in, rarely) bad breath, acne, and other gross bodily functions that human beings get because we’re friggin human.

Love yourself. If you meet someone else who doesn’t love you for you, they can go find someone else who’s perfect, and good luck to them on that quest. Which reminds me, my ex-boyfriend sent me an email the other day–just a forward of that article that’s circulating about the sheep who recognize human faces. And that, my friends, got a click directly to the trash pile. Like I said before, if he has something he wants to tell me, he can say it directly. I have moved on. Finally.

Peace and love,

TCH

My Most Embarrassing Post to Date

This morning it was a toss-up between “relaxing” (if you could call this relaxing) and writing for therapeutic purposes or cleaning my messy room with its piles of (clean) laundry, my half un-packed bag from staying at Mark’s, and way too many bottles of supplements, each one designed to “fix” me in one way or another. And don’t forget the books: textbooks, books that people have given me, self-help books, books on spirituality, and a stack of books that belonged to my mom, which I grabbed at the last minute just before I left her house the last time I visited my stepdad. It was one of those moments of I may never see this stuff again and I want to know everything she read. I just try not to think too much about how badly I want my own place where I have a laundry room to keep my laundry and a pantry for my supplements and some bookshelves for my books. Be grateful for what I have and not upset about what I don’t have. And my room is so cozy and warm, and it’s painted a beautiful grayish shade of lavender, known as Benjamin Moore piano concerto.

School will be out in a few weeks and I’ll have a long break to finally go through my boxes and get rid of what I don’t need or use, and I cannot wait. I am so looking forward to de-cluttering. Once I do, I hope to keep it that way. I’m going to have to tell people to stop buying me things on birthdays and Christmas. No more stuff!

I’m stressed out, in case you can’t tell.

School is out in a few weeks, and I’ve registered for next semester, and all of my classes are preparing for clinic. I do not feel ready for clinic. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. I’ve been just scraping by each semester. How am I going to work with clients? And if I can’t work with clients, I can’t take care of myself, and if I can’t take care of myself, I may as well work in a grocery store forever, living in the bedroom of someone’s townhouse with no personal space of my own, racking up more and more student loan and credit card debt.

As you can see, I’m spiraling out of control. Projecting into the future. Forgetting to live in the moment. What can I do today to work towards my goal? I have class later today, so I will study for my quiz, and I will talk to my professor after class about my schedule next semester. I hadn’t planned on taking the clinic classes yet, but all the other classes I wanted were full.

I have too many other distractions going on to focus on school. I often have to pass up social opportunities which make me feel like I’m missing out on life. For the past month I’ve been spending more time with Mark, who, by the way, is possibly an ex now.

And this is where I finally get to the embarrassing part, my most uncomfortable post yet.

Friday night after work I got to Mark’s house and I’m talking to him and he’s like what did you eat for lunch. I had binged on some flavored (Gluten free! Organic and non-GMO! Healthy!) pretzels I saw in the breakroom after several weeks of not eating any carbs except what’s in vegetables and Granny Smith apples, and I had not brushed my teeth before going over there, figuring I’d brush them when I got there. The pretzels had some sort of delicious seasoning on them, and were super unhealthy but I’ve been eating like a piece of spinach every day for a month now and I’m starving so I scarfed those things down like they were my last meal, and now my breath wasn’t smelling so great, which Mark informed me as gently as he could. And it turns out, in fact, this has been an ongoing problem for the entire month we’ve been together. Bad breath. Me. I have bad breath.

I had no idea.

No one has ever told me this before.

Then I remembered. There was that one time my ex told me, but at the time I had some weird dry sinus issue that resolved itself and he claimed it went away and I believed him. At the time I bought a tongue scraper and mouthwash and flossed more, but I didn’t keep doing the tongue scraping because he said it was gone and I felt like maybe that was overkill, and they’re always talking in school about how we as a culture overdo it with cleanliness so much so that we don’t have healthy microbiomes anymore and we’re resistant to antibiotics when really we need to just get dirty sometimes and let our immune systems build resistance to the antigens in our environments.

Well. Clearly that is the worst advice I’ve ever followed since apparently I’ve been walking around with rancid breath all this time and NO ONE has told me.

So I texted everyone close to me: Do I have bad breath?

What??!!

Luckily that is the response I got from most people, including sisters, best friend, co-workers, who all said no way.

But then one co-worker said she’d noticed it once when we first started working together two years ago. Then Kevin said he’d noticed it before and assumed it’s just because I eat healthy. After I replied to him with shock and horror, he tried to reassure me that my perfume overpowers it, and it’s not all the time. That does help a little, but seriously? Who wants bad breath? Some people told me that everyone has bad breath at some point. Which is true. No one wakes up with pleasant breath. You can’t drink coffee and have the breath of roses. And I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately, which doesn’t help (and is just making my anxiety worse). I do eat a lot of garlicky kale nearly every day, so that’s not going to happen anymore, I promise you that. I have taken fish oil supplements here and there but not every day, especially since one day they made my stomach hurt so bad I thought I’d have to get my gallbladder removed. So that’s definitely out now. Which means I have digestive problems, btw. Which I already knew. Which Mark suggested may be the reason for the bad breath (so the cat was out of the bag on that one too—Surprise! I have digestive problems! Isn’t that sexy?). I had some hyaluronic acid mints but they had sorbitol in them which cause bloating so those are out. I had been eating a lot of (sustainably caught) tuna, and that’s definitely out too. Sorry but I am just going to have to get my omega-3’s some other way. Flax seeds.

I brush my teeth at least three times a day and I floss each night but I use all natural products made with tea tree oil, mint, cinnamon, and clove. Mark doesn’t believe in these products and prefers what I think of as carcinogenic products like Listerine and Crest. But you better believe my ass went out and bought some Listerine, another tongue scraper (can’t find the old one), some cinnamon toothpicks, some chlorophyll (an internal cleanser, also acts as an internal deodorant), mint floss, and yes, folks, I will probably get some Crest. I’ve been using various toothpastes from Nature’s Gate to Dr. Bronner’s and honestly my teeth don’t feel as clean afterwards. Oh, and I am overdue for a teeth cleaning, so that appointment will be made Monday.

Before we met in person we asked each other what the other’s deal breakers were, and one of Mark’s was bad breath. I remembered that, and I remember thinking what an odd thing to say, of course that’s gross, and not something I have to worry about, and not something I’d think of because I’m thinking more along the lines of bipolar disorder (based on previous experience in case you’re new to this blog) or grudge holders. Never did I think I had better step up my dental hygiene because I thought mine was already better than most, along with all my other personal hygiene habits. I have more kinds of specialized soaps and lotions for all the various body parts than anyone else I know.

That happened Friday night before bed. Saturday I was supposed to meet his family. I’ve been dating this guy for a month. It seemed too soon to meet his family but I’d decided I would do it because I thought it was cool he wanted me to meet them, and what could it hurt. Meeting them would not change whether or not we stay together so why not.

But after the Bad Breath Incident I thought, How the hell am I going to meet his family? What if they think I have bad breath too? Does his mom also have OCD with germs? Because he has that (diagnosed), and that may be why he finds my breath bad, because I went to work the next day and had my co-workers smell my breath to which they said it smelled like nothing.

I did not feel confident. Or attractive. I felt like who will ever want someone with bad breath? I remembered he’d said it was a deal breaker, so the next morning I decided to gather all my things I’d left at his house and just go home. This is clearly over, and I don’t see how he’d want to be with me, he’d already said it was a deal breaker in the beginning, and what if he never thinks it’s good? What if I really have bad breath and cannot resolve it?

I spiraled out of control yesterday, thinking I may as well become a crazy cat lady now, especially what with the night sweats that I’ve also been experiencing for quite some time now, which has to be perimenopause because I don’t know why else that would happen. Except I’ll be a goat lady instead, which is perfect because that can just add to my pleasant smell.

When he woke up and saw that I’d packed all my stuff, I told him, Listen I should just go. And he was like, Okay. And that was it.

On my way home he called me: What’s going on?

I don’t see how this can work; you’d said that’s a deal breaker.

That was before I’d met you. Clearly there’s more going on.

I don’t feel attractive. I don’t know how I can meet your family. I had no idea I had this problem.

You’re trying to punish me.

I’m trying to protect myself.

Well I gave this a chance. You’ve made up your mind.

I don’t want to break up. I just think things are moving too fast.

Well you decided to leave. You made up your mind.

I’m telling you now that I haven’t.

That is the gist of it though more words were used, but then we got cut off, and I tried calling back but he didn’t answer. I left a message that I’d like to work through it but he didn’t answer. When I got home I saw that he’d unfriended me from Facebook. I talked to my sponsor who told me I overreacted and owed him an amends, that he’d made himself vulnerable and had been honest with me, and I had punished him for it, when in reality that’s what I want from a relationship: for someone to be honest and vulnerable with. I agreed and called him back and he still didn’t answer so I left a voice mail making my amends in which I admitted my wrongdoing, asked how I could make it right, voiced that I could see how he felt that it was punishment (though between you and me I did not intend that at all), that I want the kind of relationship in which we can be open and honest with each other, and I don’t want to be the kind of partner who just leaves like that, that I’d still like to meet his family.

A couple hours later he sent me a text saying, You meeting my family is not going to happen.

Did you listen to my voice mail?

Yes.

I was wrong and I’m sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?

No reply for hours, and then finally: I need to think about things.

I understand. Thank you.

Maybe I should go back to CODA?

This is supposedly the right thing to do, but it feels like groveling, and I have PTSD from my ex, and how he’d hold grudges for the entire relationship, storing them for a rainy day, to spring something on me out of nowhere about how I’d done something wrong that I had no idea about. It’s enough to make me want to run, to be single forever, to get my tiny house and go live on my friend’s property.

So that’s where that is, my friends.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m an alcoholic, but relationships feel so impossible to me at times. One of the things they tell us in AA is that we have an inability to form a true partnership with another person until we can live our lives in a more spiritual manner. My sponsor told me what I did was out of self-centered fear, which is true. For some of us, when we’ve lived our life being/feeling abandoned by everyone at some time or another, sometimes we become a rolling stone. And that is exactly what I’ve become: a rolling stone. After my ex I almost don’t care anymore.

Almost.

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Love in a Time of Mass Shootings

Before I get into my exciting love affair with Mark, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t pass along info I found about protecting yourself during a mass shooting. When I was little we had tornado drills, and when my parents were kids they had Civil Defense drills  because everyone thought there would be a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, which we were still afraid of when I was a little kid in the 80s. There’s so much violence and fear in our society today, I’m honestly afraid to go to any large public gathering, which is okay because I don’t like big crowds, but people can’t even send their kids to school, go to concerts, or go to church without fear of being mowed down by some psycho gunman. These are times we need a higher power, which I call God, the most.

It feels weird to follow that up with what’s going on in my little life but that’s what I’m going to do. I’m an everyday American having an everyday life, so far without any mass shootings in my personal experience, thank God. I’ll have to make this a short post because I need to get ready for work, so I’ll get right to the point: I’ve fallen for Mark, he’s my boyfriend now, and I see a future with him. It’s unwise to project too far into the future but I’d be lying if I didn’t say in my mind I’ve already married him and had his babies. That’s just what infatuation does to us; it’s human.

Here’s the thing about Mark: he’s incredibly sweet, he makes time for his friends and family, he loves his life, he likes his job, and he treats me well. Because I don’t just want someone who treats me well, which is a given, but I want someone who has their own life, and appreciates what they have. I just like him. He’s adorable, in whatever way a gigantic, six foot six man can be adorable. He’s honest about what he thinks and feels. When I think about him, I just want to hug him. And kiss him and make passionate love to him. In short, I’m done y’all.

So it’s time to find a new routine, and look for Zumba classes near his house (as if I didn’t already do that weeks ago) and AA meetings near him that I can go to in order to stay on top of my sobriety/spiritual life/social life. Because that’s what AA does for me: provides me with a spiritual way of life that keeps me on track, and I make friends there. One thing I’ve learned about myself is just how important having a social life is to me, so much that I may be one of those extroverted introverts, when I thought for years I was strictly an introvert. My friends mean the world to me, and I don’t feel that I get to see them enough. If I have a week in which I don’t get to talk to them, I feel lonely and sad. It makes me realize that when I was growing up, in my teenage years, I bet I’d have been a lot happier if I’d had more friends rather than isolating myself and getting caught up in drugs and alcohol. These are the kinds of things that make me worry for my niece and nephew for example. Mostly my nephew because my niece is a social butterfly. They’re 12 years old now (twins), and I feel nervous knowing they’ll be teenagers soon, dealing with all the effed up shit the world throws at you when you’re a teenager. Maybe I’m projecting my own effed up teenage years onto them, but at the same time, now they have the added pressure of social media and fear of mass shootings and a mentally ill narcissist for a president… Anyway, more on that later for another blog post.

At first I was stressed, worrying about how I’d balance everything and Mark too, but now I’m seeing it more easily. He helped me study for my quiz (which I made a 100 on—first and only time that’s happened so far), and he actually enjoys helping me study. He loves trivia and he likes reading my handouts that I have to make for class, handouts that we’d make for a potential client on what nutrients and lifestyle factors they should take into account based on their life stage. Mark loves being healthy, and although his idea of being healthy is different from mine, eg, he follows the conventional/popular way of eating, he’s interested and open to learning more. He seems to listen to what I have to say and he’s not a know-it-all about everything. Not that I push my dietary or lifestyle beliefs on him or anyone else—people will do what they want to do when they want to do it, but it’s nice when someone asks or is interested and willing to make changes for the better. It’s nice when someone respects what you have to say. I try not to make comparisons to my ex, but I think it’s probably only natural. What I realize more and more is what an asshole he was to me at times, and how I didn’t even fully realize it. Yes, he was also very sweet to me, and great when times were good, but when times were bad, they were the worst. Time will tell what will happen when I have conflict with Mark. That will be the real acid test.

Time to get ready for work and hopefully I’ll make it to meditation tonight given all the homework I have to do, and I work late tomorrow and Friday. I want to send some prayers up for my friend whose dad just had a massive heart attack and sounds like he may not survive, and for my friend’s aunt who got diagnosed with cancer recently. And for the loved ones of those who died in the most recent mass shooting that seems to be everyday news now. I’ll leave you with this beautiful talk from Tara Brach, the meditation teacher I like to see on Wednesdays here in the DC/Maryland area.

Update: Stents, Video Games, Alcoholism, Etc.

Tuesday I leave for Georgia because my dad will be having stents put in his heart, and they don’t know until they go in there if he’ll need bypass surgery. Stents are more routine now than in past decades, but he’s the most unhealthy person I know, so I’d be surprised if they did not need to do bypass surgery, or if things didn’t look so good when they go in. He quit drinking in January, which is a miracle to me, and tells me he must’ve been a heavy drinker all these years, and not an alcoholic, a distinction that used to baffle me, but starting not to so much anymore. He quit drinking because his doctor told him to. Easy as that. I can’t imagine it being that easy for me but then I’d never really tried to quit, except that one time I quit for 17 whole days, and it ended in disaster at the company holiday party where I lasted a whole hour before getting wasted and making an ass out of myself. Everyone was like, Wow you’re really different when you drink. And it was not a compliment.

Y’all know I hate going to Georgia, and I’m not that close to my dad, though I do love him, of course. He’s my father. I can’t not go; it’s out of the question.

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Daddy has diabetes that he doesn’t really manage very well, ie, he doesn’t watch his diet or exercise, and he just takes medication. The doctor wanted to put the stents in right away but he refused because he wants to watch the Georgia-Florida game tomorrow. Lord help us all.

On the relationship front, figuring Mark out has been a fun puzzle for me. I’m learning that he seems to be a nice guy though a bit immature and inexperienced with relationships, which is fine with me. He’s very sweet, and doesn’t seem to be jaded. He likes to play video games, which I think he was embarrassed about, but I’m like, I’m just glad you’re not the leader of a sex cult. If video games is your vice, play all day please. Out of all the other sick, disturbing shit I’ve heard that some men get into, I’d be grateful to have a guy that plays video games. I’ll even play video games with him. For real. My roommate has a cool game with this badass woman hunter who shoots a bow and arrow and it’s all very Hunger Games which I love.

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I have class this weekend and a lot of studying to do, and now I’ve got to get to work, so I’ll sign off but just wanted to let y’all know what’s going on with me. My life is super busy lately, and I’m mildly stressed about it, but will figure out a good routine soon.

PS: I stopped going to CODA for reasons I don’t have time to get into now. More on that later, but I’ll be focusing more on AA instead.

Peace and love,

TCH

Falling

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(The above image came from this article.)

I’m falling for Mark.

Our third date Monday night went really well. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to find out that he’s just a nice guy and not some predator out to chew up my tender heart.

Here’s the thing about Mark: he reminds me of someone I’d have been friends with in high school or college but who I wouldn’t have dated at that time because I’d have judged some superficial thing like the fact that he likes video games (which today I could give a darn about, and hey, I’m just glad he’s not the leader of a sex cult). He feels like a real friend, someone who’s just funny and fun to hang out with. He seems to think the same about me which I find very flattering. He laughs at my jokes. Some guys don’t like women to be funny from what I’ve noticed. I also don’t want to be with someone who can’t be okay with me just being real, so I laid some big stuff on him from Date #2 just to, you know, see if he can handle this.

On our date I did my best just to talk to him the way I talk to y’all here on this blog, which is how I talk to my bestie, because I decided that the worst that can happen is he doesn’t like me which means we wouldn’t have been a good match. It’s better to figure that out early in the relationship. I don’t want to overwhelm him by throwing all my baggage out there up front, but I did lay some heavy stuff on him. Not on purpose–it happened organically—and that is that I let him know I’m twice-divorced and I’m a sober alcoholic. His reaction was the best I could hope for: acceptance. Even better, he didn’t romanticize either of those details which is the opposite of what someone can do when you tell them you’ve been through some real life shit that to them may seem “bad,” if they’re naïve or judging you for it.

One of my weaknesses is that I can be too passive and not ask questions I want to know the answer to, so I point blank asked him early on our third date the following question: Last time we met you said you’re looking for honesty, communication, and a long-term relationship. What does that look like for you? I used my professor’s interviewing skills she’d demonstrated for us in class over the weekend about how to ask leading, open questions, and how to repeat them using different words to get a full picture of the situation. And I asked it as a four-part question, with the LTR question being what he thought about couples who don’t live together or get married. I gave him the example of Judith Light, my favorite character on Transparent, who I’d read an article about in a magazine at the nail salon. She’d said she’d been married to her husband for over 30 years, and they lived on opposite coasts, but that it was perfect for them. It brought to mind something that I’ve been pondering for some time which is the changing nature of romantic relationships in today’s world. It’s not the white picket fence way of previous decades which is attractive to me in some ways and scary in others. The most important thing is to know and trust your partner. Anyway, Mark said he wouldn’t like living apart. He’s already demonstrated he wants to spend quite a bit of time for me, for a long time; he’s said point-blank he plans to keep me warm this winter and beyond. At first I thought he was full of shit, then I thought he was simply deluding himself, blinded by lust like me, but I’m beginning to believe he means it, and I feel the same about him. I also feel that of course we’re both gaga for each other now but this is the infatuation period that I’m all too aware goes away. The real test is what happens after that.

Here’s what I’ve learned about him: he’s an ENFJ-A on the Meyers Briggs while I’m an INFP, and our personality types are compatible. (He’s also a Virgo while I’m a Taurus, if you believe in astrology, which I don’t really except maybe just a smidge.)

Another funny thing happened the other night which was that for some reason I got the idea to send him a picture of me in my pajamas without make-up on. I had on a snug tank top without a bra, and my boobs are small, and I realize he knows by now I’m not well-endowed but I wanted him to see what I look like without a bra. Then I decided last minute to go ahead and remove my make-up, as if to say, This is the real me, buddy boy. Can you handle it?

What I didn’t realize was that I had two red spots on my face from two pimples I had last week, because my skin often breaks out with a bump here or there, and I’m so used to it, and thought you could see it through my make-up anyway, that I thought nothing of it. His reaction? Everyone gets pimples. NOT the reaction I had expected. I thought he’d say, Wow you look great! Because obviously I thought I looked pretty good in the picture—not glamorous but just natural. He’d already told me I didn’t need to wear make-up, and mostly I wanted to let him get a general idea of my boob size tbh. For the record I think my boobs look good but I would love for them to be bigger.

Well obviously he has no problem with my boobs.

Anyway, his honesty was refreshing and hilarious but also mildly hurtful. So I laughed and then was like oh wow that hurt my feelings, and he was like, Oh I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings I’m sorry. He was just surprised I’d send him a photo of me without make-up, especially this early, because no one does that, ever. LOL. I was like this is who I am, like it or not. I told him that, and I can see that he respects that.

It’s such a relief not to feel like I have to be perfect in every way all the time. I told my therapist that, and she reminded me of how with Steven I felt like I just couldn’t say certain things. I walked on eggshells the deeper I got into the relationship, the more I saw how judgey he was, the more sensitive I’d see him become about certain topics, how irritable he’d be if you disagreed with him. Mark hasn’t said a negative thing about anyone yet, nor has he had any bad days. He seems like a happy-go-lucky guy who loves his job and his friends and his family and life.

There are some things about him that are just weird, like for example, he loves the mall. He thinks the mall is beautiful, and he loves the carousel in there, and he just loves walking around there. He loves the suburb where he lives, which is hilarious to me, because really? Who loves the suburbs? Actually now that I think of it, I must admit I think I kind of do myself. Really what I like is my town on the outskirts of the city, surrounded by country. Oh wait, that’s a suburb.

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So yeah Mark seems like a good person, who I am attracted to, and he feels like someone I can be friends with. Someone who I can be comfortable with. I had no idea this would happen so soon after Steven, nor did I think it would happen so soon in the online dating world. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions but I just have a good feeling about it. Everything so far is really good, but I’ll just take it one day at a time and we shall see what happens.

PS: We haven’t even kissed yet. 🙂

Peace and love,

TCH

Playing the Game… Or Not

It was a roller coaster of a week last week with Mark, with mostly highs, then yesterday almost ending in disaster, saved at the last minute by simple honesty and communication. All thanks to me talking to my sponsor. I’d spent all week trying to figure Mark out, at one point mistaking him for some master of the dark underworld and seedy subculture of some sex cult, because that’s how my crazy imagination works. I was like, Who IS this weird and scary guy? What planet is this guy from? …Take me to your people. Because that’s scary as hell and you’re freaking me out but… sign me up!

Let me explain.

But I sensed Mark was uncomfortable on our second date, or perhaps trying to impress me somehow. He was slightly different than before, when he’d seemed like just a nice, regular guy who happens to be really cute. Something was just off. He talked about his dates from Match, which were some funny stories, but also strange. How was it that so many women were so forward, unprovoked, one of them going so far as to suggest that their first date be the two of them go to Victoria’s Secret together first then go back to her place for sex. He was telling me about how weird it was and that was not his thing, but a part of me found it unbelievable. Who does that? And why? What kind of boundaries had been established between the two of them prior to that? Had he said or done something suggestive? And why was he telling me this now? When I added it all up, I noticed that most of the dates had sex in common, in that the women had advanced themselves to him too early into dating and it had been a turn-off for him. Was he bragging? Trying to gauge my reaction to see if that’s something I would be into? Was he laying down the law to let me know he’s the boss and if I want that I have to let him lead? Or was he just trying to impress me somehow to let me know plenty of women had been attracted to him?

That is where crazy alcoholic thinking goes when you’ve been focused on lust all week, on my goal of doing what I do best which is capture the guy’s attention in a subtle way through sex. That is the sad, deep, raw, painful truth. The message I wanted to send in a subconscious way was basically the same message I’ve sent to every man whose attention I wanted to get, which is this: Sex with me is so mind-blowing you’ll fall in love with me and never leave.

So there you have it, my dear readers, my deep-rooted fear of abandonment rearing its ugly head by me capitalizing on my perceived assets instead of relying on just being me: a funny, smart, and fun woman (who will probably be amazing in bed with the right guy… just sayin).

Mark also did not make a lot of eye contact with me on the second date. He looked around the restaurant, which I found disconcerting, but I decided to look right at him with adoration anyway because I found him endearing. At the time I suspected he was telling me all of this because he was trying to impress me, and though it did not impress me, the fact that he was doing it just to impress me impressed me. But by the end of the date I’d put several pieces together of what he’d said in which he’d tripped himself up by saying he’d been on Match off and on for years, had been on many dates, and had even said he’d dated women of many different races, and then he was like, Oh I shouldn’t say that, that’s not what I meant. He just did not seem that experienced for all the bullshit that I perceived him to be feeding me. He’s 43 and never been married so he must be a commitment-phobe, right? But I decided that I did not care.

Out of politeness I’d offered to pay half the bill, he’d said no, and I was like are you sure, and then he was like, okay, then he was like, would that be tacky? I was like, I don’t know, and he was like, Yeah that would be tacky. At the time I thought he wasn’t that experienced, maybe I’d made him nervous somehow, maybe he didn’t make a lot of money—he had mentioned that he didn’t make a lot. But guys will do that, which I always take to mean they’re letting me now they won’t be my sugar daddy to which I say fine Mister I ain’t looking for no sugar daddy because I’m a badass so don’t be trying to tell me how broke you are. Which is a lie because I would love for some guy to spend all his money on me, though I absolutely am independent and have always been, almost to a fault.

At the end of the date he walked me halfway to my car, asking first if I was okay with that, because some women didn’t want guys to know their license plates or their cars for safety reasons, but I was okay with it, he seemed trustworthy to me, and maybe that was unwise of me, but that’s what happened. And then he didn’t even hug me or shake my hand, which seemed strange for someone who just spent three hours talking to me, but I thought, Oh this is all part of his game.

On the date I’d asked him what it was he was looking for, and said that I’m looking for a long-term relationship. He didn’t answer right away but at the end of the date he said he realized he hadn’t answered that question, and that his answer was that he too is looking for something long term, honesty, and communication. Something in me just didn’t completely buy it, because I think that’s what I’d just said, and he’s just trying to get into my pants by saying cliché answers that he thinks I want to hear. Because those aren’t things you just end a date with and be on your way, but rather, to me, something you start a date with, then elaborate on what you mean by honesty and communication and what “long term” looks like for you. Note to self: This is what I’ll bring up tonight—ask him what these things mean for him.

Soon after our second date things progressed quickly via text conversation about the chemistry between us, and he is eager to seal the deal, as am I, and for a few days we were both willing to throw everything to the wind and just jump into bed together. From what I gather, he doesn’t have faith that a relationship can develop from such mad chemistry but he’s a red-blooded male and will take what he can when he can because it’s not often that he finds this kind of chemistry. My interpretation was that he’s a player playing the game and he does this all the time to dozens of women he meets online and he has no intention of being in a relationship whatsoever. What doesn’t make sense is why he wouldn’t just go on a free site, a hookup site like OKCupid or Tinder rather than Match, which is where I thought all the serious people who wants actual relationships go? Maybe he was just a predator who wanted to deceive women who’d be with him long term so that he could have safe, monogamous with someone without the worry of finding someone else for some time.

So I asked him point blank what would he do if I were to suggest an FWB situation? And he was like, It’s on, I am totally down for that. And I asked why he’d agreed with me about taking things slowly if all he wanted was an FWB in the first place? So then I decided if that’s all he wanted I wouldn’t waste my time trying to get to know him better and instead I’d focus on what our ground rules would be and how I would best protect my heart. Because that [FWB situation] clearly had worked out so well with Jay last time only two months ago when I cried for four days afterwards, as my sponsor reminded me later.

Pretty soon after this agreement Mark proved himself to be too smooth in my mind, too practiced at the art of seduction, because four days later he was sexting me (with words, not dick pics, to be clear—that would not be cool), using all the right words about all the right things he would do to me, and I was like, Who IS this guy? He no longer seemed like an inexperienced dater but someone who planned on using me all along, who wasn’t snide enough to be smooth at the dating part of the manipulation game but had the sex part down pat. So I spent the next five days after that trying to figure out his game. I’d decided he must be an expert Dom prominent in the BDSM community and he was reeling me in to be his newbie Slave, and as soon as my newness wore off, he’d be on to the next unsuspecting victim. You may be asking yourself how the hell did I arrive at that bizarre assumption, and I’ll tell you. He’s into role playing (not S&M or pain, to be clear) and started giving me some 50 Shades vibes and I was like, Oh no he ain’t. I’ve read all three books, though only skipping to the dirty parts in book 2 and then only reading the first part of book 3, because the writer tries to make out like this is love and that’s bullshit. It’s an updated erotic version of Pretty Woman which is an updated erotic version of Cinderella and it’s all lies, ladies. So don’t be trying to tell me this is love and you want me forever, because he was starting to talk about how he wanted to do this often and for a long time with me, and that confused me. Was he asking me to be his girlfriend or his FWB?

(Oh and the other reason I thought this was because I know someone who this actually happened to, and she became heavily involved in the BDSM subculture, started drinking again, moved into a shared house with other Submissives, and told me all about this bizarre subculture that frankly freaked me the eff out. So I was like, Maybe that’s who Mark is, and I was like, Are you a Dom? And he was like, Huh? I was like, Um nevermind just kidding.)

Here’s what finally came of our conversation: he wants a relationship but if he can’t have one then he’ll take great sex, and he can see that the chemistry with me is strong, which doesn’t happen often, and in his experience never led to a real relationship. In other words, like many of us, we gave up after the initial honeymoon period. (And I know that his parents divorced when he was three years old, just like mine. When you grow up your whole life without any good role models for commitment, it’s hard to have faith that it can happen, and maybe harder to make a goal that you work towards.) My experience has been that as soon as I get what I want, I want to leave the relationship. I’m a good codependent and adult child in that way. I’m not proud of it, and I want to change it, but that’s my experience.

I talked to my sponsor about it finally, telling her I was in an FWB situation but it was fine because I’m a liberated woman and I do what I want. She asked me to be honest with myself, and that if that’s what I want, then fine, go with it and be honest with him about that. She also reminded me how it worked out when I tried that with Jay.

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And then at some point she pointed out my bravado. This is the interesting part to me. She suggested that there’s this part of me that feels like I’m not good enough for someone to want me for more than sex, but there’s also this bravado part of me that boasts about what a badass I am and hey dude you cannot hurt me I can play that game too and hey everybody I’m dating a guy who is SIX FOOT SIX which is totally objectifying someone who’s a person who I have to admit I just like. Am I in love? No, I can’t say that. I don’t know him well enough yet.

He got upset with me yesterday after I admitted I do like him, and he was like, I thought that we agreed to be FWBs? I texted back that I needed to understand what our definition of FWB was, because it seemed we were both saying the same thing all along yet using different words. And I worried about it for hours while in class, feeling PTSD-like symptoms of obsessive fear and anxiety, residual feelings from how Steven used to get upset with me for misunderstanding or miscommunicating something and then holding it against me for the rest of our relationship, using everything he could to hurt me. I’m not saying Mark did that, but just that those are the feelings I had. And I wanted to run. Fast. I was ready to say goodbye to this and dating if we could not come to an agreement. I was disappointed but this was already too intense and overwhelming.

I was prepared for him to be a total asshole on the phone but he was completely understanding and we realized we are on the same page. We’ve removed the FWB label from this situation and have agreed to delay the sex and just become friends for now, to see where this goes. If we have sex now it will just confuse the issue and blur the lines. What will feel like love will be lust. I really do want a friend who can also be my lover. I can’t say that we won’t end up having sex anyway and breaking up anyway because I’m under no illusion that an LTR will guarantee forever. Nothing, not even marriage, guarantees forever. He has flaws that are cute to me now but may become annoying later, but he’s likeable and real and I trust him and have fun with him.

Oh and let’s be real. If it turns out we can’t have a relationship, it will be hard for me not to do the FWB thing anyway because I’m a 41-year-old woman and my hormones are like that of a teenage boy, and even though I know I can get hurt regardless, I feel like I can’t say no. We shall see.

So that’s where I am with that today. I feel so much safer and more comfortable now that today I’m relying on God to help me navigate this rather than read articles on the art of seduction and trying to manipulate the situation into working out in my favor. What you do is you get real with yourself and then make that known to others, and if it works out then great. If not then it wasn’t meant to be. For the record, I don’t think it’s shameful to be FWBs, though I’d rather not do it because no matter how well I lie to myself I’m probably going to get hurt. At the same time, sometimes instincts take over.

PS: The reason Mark didn’t make eye contact with me on our second date is because the few times we locked eyes he felt mad chemistry and it made him feel uncomfortable because it’s so rare especially to happen so soon. And I believe this explanation because he brought this up on the phone yesterday.

Here’s something from my new hero, Lady Gaga, whose documentary I just watched on Netflix. The messages from these songs fall more into line with my feelings two days ago but I can relate to her songs, because she has a lot of passion and vulnerability at the same time. I could go on but that’s for another day.