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

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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.

Like Donkey Kong

Remember my post from yesterday? OMG, that was such a long time ago, my friends. How do I write this. I try to keep this blog fairly family-friendly–ish… I mean, in a dysfunctional, f-bomb, keeping-it-real family-friendly way, so I want to keep this all G-rated, or at least PG-13.

Let me just tell you this: It is ON.

Ladies. Gentlemen. Everyone else. I think you know what I mean.

Let me just lay it down for you like this: Ella got her groove back.

Here’s how it went down. Mark got all upset with me because I’d forgotten to mention a couple of previous partners when discussing our sexual history–the details or numbers of which, btw, are none of his business, but which I’d brought up partly because my ex Steven had made a big deal out of promiscuity and shaming women who’d had multiple partners, and I want to be upfront with any guy in the future that I’m not a virgin yet I’m also not on Tinder hooking up with random dudes all the time. I’m a human being and a grown-ass woman with needs just like you, Mister, and I will not be shamed for having made some drunken, embarrassing mistakes in the past, nor will I be shamed for having a friend with benefits after my divorce (or at any time, for that matter).

When Mark got upset, that told me one of two things. Either dude likes me and feels jealous, or he’s a germophobe and a shamer-blamer like Steven. I felt pretty sure it was the former, but just in case it was the latter, I decided good riddance because I don’t need that in my life. We’re not in high school anymore and I don’t need some grown man in his 40s acting like I’m a bad girl because I had a one-night-stand. I decided that if Mark was going to make a big deal out of this and not talk to me, I would move on, because no way will I be ignored or judged like that.

When I was in high school I dated a boy who was crazy about me. I was not that crazy about him but thought he was fun and funny so I dated him. Same kind of situation with my first husband, except I thought he was stable and not really that fun or funny. In both cases I had them wrapped around my finger because I really did not care if they stayed or left. It was manipulative and controlling on my part, and not fair to them. But let me tell you: they loved it. They just kept coming back for more. Steven did the same to me, and it hurt so badly to be on the other side. It’s such a cruel way to treat someone.

So I felt like I was reverting to my old self when I decided not to contact Mark again after he got upset, because I had apologized (profusely and earnestly, btw), and I sensed he was holding a grudge. It felt like Steven all over again, a situation in which I’d made a mistake, and he got his feelings hurt, and I’d spend the next day or week or however long with a knot in my stomach unable to sleep or eat because I’d “ruined the whole relationship” by saying the “wrong thing.”

When I came into AA I learned that the way I’d treated men with mind games like that was not cool, not a spiritual way of living, that it’s best to be honest and upfront, genuine, and don’t withhold your love. Somewhere along the way for me that got blurred with not setting proper boundaries. It’s one thing to say or do something in order to try to manipulate someone into doing what you want, and it’s another to say this is not okay to treat me like this, and I have no problem walking away if this is how it’s going to be. I’d apologized and now the ball was in his court. If he didn’t accept my apology for this minor detail that I wasn’t even required to offer him anyway, which I’d offered of my own volition, well then I’ll be on my way, sir.

And I did have a problem walking away, because the chemistry is beyond galactic, and we haven’t even kissed yet. But I meditated, prayed, went to the gym, texted with friends, colored my hair, repeated the third step prayer in my head throughout the day, and basically did everything I could to distract myself and try to think of everything but him (or studying, which is what I should’ve spent the whole day doing yesterday). Finally I went back on Match and started emailing and “liking” other guys at the advice of my guy friend Spencer, who is a bad influence. I was like, I feel like I should not do that, Spencer. I should be doing something else, like I dunno reading the Bible or something. To get on Match is just trading one drug for another, and what I really should do is just cancel my subscription and focus on school, friends, myself. God. And I only went on Match for about half an hour because, tbh, it was boring me to be on there.

My therapist had actually suggested something similar before, and another friend also texted me that the best way to get over a guy is to get under another. I’d like to go on the record for saying I think—or thought?—this was all terrible advice, and it seemed to me it’s just avoiding the real issue, which is that I’ve got to get right with me, to be okay with me, and not look to external things or people to make me feel better about myself.

But I have to admit.

It worked.

It didn’t completely keep my mind off the situation, and it did get boring after a few, but it helped me to remember that there are so many other fish in the sea who I can have chemistry with, and I barely know this guy. He is not the last man on earth. Okay so maybe he is six foot six and I try not to think of how big his hands are. But this is just lust. Infatuation. And like I said before, big hands are not a requirement. But it felt good to know I had lots of likes, winks, and emails from other men just as or more interested in me. Don’t give your power away, my guy friend had told me. Make him wait. Do not grovel. Amen to that, brother.

Spencer made a bet with me that he’d contact me again though I felt sure he was gone forever like how I always felt with Steven, and my abandonment issues were in high gear. I braced myself, decided who needs him anyway, though I did start to let go a little bit. These guys are interchangeable, my CODA sponsor had told me before, and I’d thought, Wow, that’s a jaded view. But what I think she means is that there’s no such thing as The One, the fairy tale romance, knight-in-shining-armor who does everything you want all the time, not anymore than there’s any person who does what you want all the time. If there was only One then what happens when dude dies or if he leaves you?

Sure enough, Mark texted me around 3pm. It may have helped that I’d already told him the day before, when we were talking about dealbreakers, that I will not be with someone who ignores me, that if I don’t hear from the guy for a day or so without any explanation I assume he’s no longer interested and I will not go after him. He’d basically said yes ma’am to that, so I figured time and his actions would reveal the truth.

And sure enough.

He came back.

He says he’s interested in me, hopes this will develop into something more, plans to keep me warm this winter, etc. Oh you will, Mister.

But at the same time, we’ll see about that. Because this girl is not hanging around waiting for someone to decide when and if they want me or not, ie, that today you hope this will develop into something more but tomorrow you have no time or space for me, nor will I be hanging out with someone just to have someone around.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

Some Real Personal Shit… or, A Player’s Gonna Play

Where do I even begin.

A lot has happened since my date with Mark. We had a second date. Dude is HOT. The chemistry is intense. Not what I expected this soon into online dating.

But something just didn’t add up, in my mind. Details of what he’d said to me all pointed to him being a player in my book. It seemed to me that he was handing me a bunch of bullshit he thought I wanted to hear—and I did want to hear it, but only if it was true. Mostly I want to hear the truth, so I pulled it out of him: What is it you’re looking for? After many conversations and roundabout ways of figuring out what I think he’s after, I then ask: If I were to say that I wanted an FWB would you be interested?

Indeed, he says.

Of course. That’s all he wanted from the start, I decided. He’s never been married, doesn’t want to commit, so what arrangement could be more perfect for him?

Here’s the problem. I think he likes me. At first I thought he was playing me, and I was like, Nuh uh, mister, a player can’t be played. Snap! So I decided not to be completely honest since I’d decided no way was he being honest with me so why should I be with him?

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The problem with me not being honest is that I’m bad at it. I got caught in the lie and tried to play it off but it hit a nerve with him and now he’s not sure he can trust me.

So I came across this Buzzfeed article and realized I’ve already messed up by imposing the FWB label on this attraction we have to one another. Because if this is the definition of a friend with benefits, that’s not what I want, entirely. I want an actual friend who I talk to on a regular basis, but who has their own life while I have my own life and friends and time apart. I don’t want the pressure of making them my top priority. I don’t want them to feed me some bullshit about how they love me but can’t commit while I wait for them to change their mind.

So then I came across this Psychology Today article which makes more sense for me, and which I hope to share with Mark if he’s still interested. He says he is, but I may have destroyed my chances by breaking his trust, because I told him I’d had fewer partners than I did over the last 14 years. I didn’t completely do it on purpose—I’d hastily come up with a number mentally and subtracted a couple of he-didn’t-counts and decided that was good enough. It seemed to me that my number is small even with the two I forgot. Basically I’m a serial relationship person. I’m 41 years old, y’all. I was in two long term commitments for five and a half years each, with a few in between and after. Is that a lot?

My ex-boyfriend never knew how many. He’d told me his number which was low, and he’d made many comments about “slutty women,” so I gave him the impression I hadn’t been with many guys, knowing I was promiscuous in high school and college, and knowing he’d have judged me for that. Please keep in mind that I was also drunk back then and often blacked out (and depressed and lonely and effed up) and that I slept with people I wouldn’t have slept with otherwise. Not justifying it, but I’m not proud of my past.

I certainly did not have to tell Mark my number, and wish I had not. It was just that he’d seemed overly concerned with the possibility of me having an STD. Who did he take me for? Was it because he’s out there sleeping with dozens of women all the time? Sure seems like it takes one to know one. (Turns out he had a scare years ago.)

It’s possible I have turned into a femme fatale, or maybe it’s just that I’ve always been a jaded person who assumes the only thing the guy wants is sex, and no way will I allow myself to be used in that way without getting mine. If it’s clear to me from the start that he doesn’t want a commitment or that he’s not who I want him to be, but there’s mad chemistry, well then let’s get it on. But don’t expect me to be committed to you or to be 100% honest with you.

It could just be that he’s a nice guy who wants a relationship but is afraid to commit because he’s afraid to get hurt. I’ve reverted to my old way of treating this whole thing like a power play for me to gain control over him and the relationship to keep myself from getting hurt. I chose a different route with Steven because I loved him and I wanted to take a more spiritual approach to life, and I got my heart ripped out. I’d picked a man who could not commit, and after meeting Mark, I suspected he too is someone afraid to commit.

Look at who’s calling the kettle black. Besides Steven, when have I committed? My sponsor tells me you attract what you are. Be who you want to meet and that’s who you’ll attract. She told me, the trouble is that you don’t know what you want. You got that right, sister. I want to have my cake and eat it too, just like the guys I meet, and then get annoyed with them for being that way.

What’s the secret to a lasting relationship? Different houses, time apart, I’ve heard it said many times. Somewhere in there you’ve got to have trust. Relationships look different today than they did 20+ years ago. Not everyone gets married, or even lives together. Some people have open relationships, others have secret affairs. Is anyone faithful the whole time, if that whole time is a lifetime?

The infidelity topic came up the other day when I was on my second date with Mark, so it got me to thinking about my first husband. Maybe Ryan would fess up now if he’d really been unfaithful. We text each other on occasion, so I sent him a text and point blank asked. It’s complicated, he replies. It’s a yes or no question, I text back. I finally pull it out of him that he’d fooled around with one woman and then there was another woman, but both times were when we were “broken up.” Um, we never broke up. Not until the end, anyway. He agreed and admitted he’d justified it that way.

Wow.

I’ve been the bad guy all these years, and he had done just the same thing. Before I had done my irredeemable deed.

I knew it.

This is why beating yourself up is pointless. No one is perfect. We can both blame it all on me for why my ex-boyfriend, Steven, and I broke up, but guess what? It can’t be just one person’s fault. I was faithful to Steven the whole time, and totally committed in spite of the fact that he didn’t want to commit to me. In the past, if I suspected the guy was losing interest or cheating on me, I revenge-cheated in advance. Keep in mind that I was also drinking and not living any kind of spiritual life whatsoever.

Now I am living a spiritual life, or trying to, but it’s hard, and I defaulted to my old manipulative ways of dealing with this new guy. I am hoping we can gain trust in each other and have the conversation in which we decide to just remove any labels and see where this thing goes. In my heart of hearts I confess that I don’t see more than a physical attraction on both ends; time will tell if there becomes a deeper, more emotional connection. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, to have just the physical attraction. I am probably overthinking this whole thing.

So there you have it, folks. Some deeply personal shit from me. God help me to deal with this in the right way, and to learn from it.

Be honest, y’all! And I will try to practice what I preach. Progress, not perfection. One day at a time. And all those other cliches.

Peace and love,

TCH

Being Real… Which Sometimes Means Being Gross

So the basketball-player-size guy I wrote about last time, Mark, asked me on a second date, which we’re going on this weekend. He’s the one I felt chemistry with on the first date, but I want to be careful because I realize that chemistry could be just infatuation, and I’d also gone on another date with another guy the day before, who I didn’t feel instant chemistry with, but who I feel like I have a lot in common with, and who seems interesting. So we need to go on one or two more dates to see if any chemistry sparks up… though I must admit I’ve been thinking about Mark non-stop since our date.

Here’s what I like about him: he seems like the kind of guy who everyone likes, who everyone feels comfortable around, who doesn’t throw around judgments about everyone all the time. He seems like the kind of guy you could make fart jokes with and it be funny and okay. Not that I’m one for scatological humor, but think about it. One day it’s probably going to happen. And then what are you going to do? My ex and I didn’t acknowledge our bodily functions whatsoever. I’d prefer that every man in the world believe I’ve never had any digestive functions in any way, or if I did, that my shit don’t stink. But let’s be real here.

I can’t believe I’m writing about poo. This is what happens when you get old. I always swore I’d never be like my grandmother when I got old, talking about bowel movements. Yet here I am, writing a blog about it. But this is also what happens when you study nutrition, or become a nutritionist. I’ve heard more about people’s poo than I’ve ever cared for, and I’m not even practicing yet. That’s just from working in the supplements department of an organic grocery store. You wouldn’t believe how many constipated people there are out there. Let me tell you: there’s a LOT. Hell, you might be one of them.

What I’m trying to say here is, Mark seems like the kind of guy who, if you accidentally passed gas, he’d just laugh and tease you. Or if you fell down in your six-inch platforms that you bought so you wouldn’t be 14 inches shorter than him, he’d laugh at you. He’d help you up, but he’d tease you. Which might make him sound like he’s real mature, I know, but what I mean is, he seems very real. And familiar. Which I like. I’d much rather someone just laugh, with me, than both of us stare red-faced into the distance pretending like we’re both robots.

Seriously, I don’t know what’s gotten into me. It could be the conversation that popped up out of nowhere when I was out with my friends a couple of weeks ago, in which Spencer confessed an old drinking story in which he accidentally had diarrhea that got all over his white pants while he was in the bathroom peeing the morning after a night of drunken sex with a one-night-stand he’d met when he’d lived back in LA. It was a story he told us in painstaking detail, that had us all in uproarious laughter, of how he tried to hide it but of course could not, followed by another story of explosive diarrhea he’d had on a hangover morning at a baseball game in some horseshoe stadium where there were only two bathrooms on each end of the horseshoe, in the stall of which there was no toilet paper, which he didn’t realize until after he’d emptied the contents of his guts into the toilet.

For some reason this struck us, possibly because it’s not a conversation I’ve ever had before—certainly not with any guys. It’s that unspoken topic of what happens when you’re a riproaring alcoholic, deep in the throes of your disease, when the most embarrassing of human bodily functions happens, in public no doubt. Anyone who’s an alcoholic knows what it’s like to wake up with a hangover that makes you wish you had never woken up, when your head feels like it’s been beaten with a hammer, and your belly’s on fire, but you have to go to work anyway. Most days I downed gallons of Gatorade, Pedialyte, and Alka Seltzer, and prayed for the best, and if it was really bad, I stayed in bed and begged my ex-husband to take me to detox, which he refused to do.

I don’t miss those days one bit.

The way we alcoholics look at it is you have to laugh at all the mishaps, the embarrassing moments of when your (my) stomach would not stop gurgling throughout the entire meeting with your boss, who’s finally like, Are you okay? and you pretend like you didn’t just guzzle down two bottles of wine the night before, just like the night before that, and so many before that you can’t remember the last night you did not drink, and you have no idea that you reek of alcohol every day you go into work. Like when I went into work on a Tuesday and casually mentioned to my co-worker friend that I had a massive hangover, to which she looked puzzled. That was when I realized not everyone got drunk every night after work like I did, and that some things are better left unsaid.

My intention was not for this to be about diarrhea or alcoholism, but to write about what’s been on my mind, which is Mark. Before I went on the date my friends asked me what my safe word was, and I told them not to worry, I’d just tell him I had explosive diarrhea if the date wasn’t going well. Spencer argued that “explosive diarrhea” was redundant, that diarrhea by its very nature is already explosive. Mike maintained that one must include “explosive” for emphasis. Kathy, Freyja, and I just laughed so loud we must’ve had everyone else in the bar (yes, we went to a bar/restaurant) wondering what we’d had to drink. Just water. We were just high on life. That’s one of those phrases I used to hate, before I understood what it meant, and that it’s really possible.

That’s why I love hanging out with my friends so much. They make me belly-laugh.

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(The above image was taken from Pinterest via the Positivity Note Facebook page.)

And that’s what I’m looking for in a partner. I figure if a guy can seem like the kind of guy you can make poop jokes with—well, that’s a real friend. Rather, if he’s the kind of guy you can be vulnerable with, who you can feel comfortable with, then that’s the guy for me. I don’t know if that’s really this particular guy or not, but I do know there’s chemistry, and that’s one thing that no amount or decree of motorcycles, boats, PhDs, or job titles can compete with. I don’t care how sophisticated-yet-outdoorsy the guy is—though that helps, don’t get me wrong—but nothing can compete with the connection you feel from another human being that you just cannot manufacture or explain.

I did not expect this after less than a year of being split up from what’s-his-face. What was his name?

Just kidding.

Of course I would not forget Steven, the guy who I once thought was the king of the multiverse, who awakened my heart then shattered it.

But I will tell you: this helps. It helps to know there are not just other fish, but some good-looking, hot-ass fish, bad-ass yet friendly and sexy uh-huh fish. Six foot six tall, big man fish. Light-hearted yet real fish.

Light-hearted yet real. Now there’s a goal. To feel light and love, to not be so heavy and serious all the time, yet to be genuine, authentic. I don’t know if that’s really how he is, but I know that’s how I want to be, and who I want to surround myself with.

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(The above image came from Pinterest via this page.)

Peace, love, light, namaste, all that hippie shit…Love you guys!

TCH

What the World Needs Now

It feels wrong to write about anything other than the tragic news of Las Vegas yesterday, or the dire conditions in Puerto Rico, so I feel I should at least mention it before I go into my post about dating. If you’re like me and feel helpless, look up ways to help and just pick the charity of your choice. Since I don’t live in the Las Vegas area, I cannot donate blood, so I donated to their local Red Cross. But there are all kinds of disaster relief organizations you can contribute to.

I don’t know if Puerto Rico is getting the money and supplies that are being sent, from what I’ve heard, but I donated anyway, and signing petitions and letters to Congress because it’s better than doing nothing. People are dying. And suffering. And animals are too.

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On a completely different note, both of my dates went well. I did not expect that at all. I expected to go on dozens of dates with guys who I had no chemistry with and to meet someone in six months to a year after going out on countless first dates. Not that that won’t still happen, but it’s just odd for both dates to feel promising. I’m not really ready for this! I just went on this site to help me get over Steven 100%, and not to feel so rejected by Jay (who I didn’t care about anyway and who I saw the other night and it was such not a big deal–it’s just that I hate rejection lol), and because my therapist suggested it. I’ve been having too much fun with my friends and my independence to want to ever go back to the codependent, isolated relationship Steven and I had. It would be great to have a relationship with someone and have my independence but I don’t know what that looks like, because I’ve always made the guy my top priority.

How can someone like two guys? And there’s a possible third one who I’ve been emailing but we haven’t went on a date yet. (I’ve already decided he’s probably a no-go, because one of the first emails he sent me he asked me if I was being sarcastic about some well-meaning, benign comment I’d made. That kind of paranoid insecurity scares me, but I do want to keep an open mind.)

Maybe I’m just in love with everyone. I do feel strong love for a lot of people in general. Maybe that’s what happens when you start learning to love yourself? It’s so refreshing not to feel indifferent to or annoyed by most people, but instead to love people for who they are, warts and all. Not that I walk around feeling like this all the time—it’s a practice that’s become easier and easier, and I do have a lot of days in which it takes no effort at all.

My friends all want to know, who do I like better? So far there’s more chemistry with Mark, the extra tall guy, though I have more in common, and feel like there’s more relationship potential with Lawson. Mark’s just a friendly guy who seems like someone who everyone likes. He’s fun, positive, warm. He’s close to his family-of-origin, and he comes across as someone who’s protective, who looks out for his friends and family, which I love. He’s never been married which is a possible red flag since he’s 42, but I try not to judge. It could be my insecurity talking, but he seems like he could be the kind of guy who’s a player but no one knows it because he’s just super nice. He seems like the kind of guy who makes you feel special because he genuinely feels that way about you, but he also feels that way about everyone else in the world. He works for some government organization doing something with plants which he loves and has done for many years, but says he doesn’t make much money but it’s worth it to him because he loves it. I commend him for that, and don’t believe he doesn’t make much money, though I believe he thinks he doesn’t make much. It doesn’t matter to me if he doesn’t make a high salary because I’d rather date a guy who loved his job and made an average salary than someone who hated their job and made high salary. (I’m not interested in taking care of a guy who makes a low salary though. Let’s be real here.)

Lawson on the other hand is so sophisticated I had to wonder if he’s really gay, because no straight guy is that amazing (no offense to my straight guy friends). He’s also tall (but only 6’1 and not basketball-player-tall like Mark), and he’s thoughtful, musically talented (he plays guitar), loves his dog (better than hating your dog, right? lol), loves the outdoors, drives a Harley (okay so apparently I have a thing for bikers, so sue me), and he’s an attorney. He’s really good-looking, more so than Mark, but I didn’t feel strong chemistry. I’m not giving up though because I read an article that says to give it at least a few dates to see if there’s chemistry.

A new friend of mine—who I don’t know that well, so consider the source, because she just married a guy she met less than a year ago on eHarmony, which to me is nuts—but she told me that when there’s immediate chemistry, like that feeling that this is my soul mate, like how I felt with Steven, [she’d said] that feeling might be a red flag that high drama is about to ensue. It’s been bothering me for some time because this is the opposite of what we’re told in this [American] culture, that you meet someone who you just know right away is your soul mate. So I did my research, ie, I referred to Google, and found this article about chemistry. It’s not exactly Psychology Today but good enough for me.

My therapist said something that struck me the other day. We were talking about all the different factors that go into play when dating and whether or not it works with someone, and she said it’s like a crap shoot, that so many different reasons go into it, and she casually threw out a few reasons, one of them being if you’re horny. LOL! But I just realized how incredibly true that is. And it made me wonder if that’s why there wasn’t chemistry with Lawson, but there was with Mark. Because Sunday I was not feeling frisky, though yesterday… let’s just say Ella got her groove back. Ella’s me, but not really, because that’s a pseudonym, but you get the point.

Now that the hormones are in high gear, I feel a sense of urgency to rush into something with one of these guys. Which I realize is unwise. My friend Kathy suggested I do one of two things: 1) Have sex and have fun, or 2) Wait it out and be friends first.

I really, really want to follow option #1. I’m human, y’all!

But I’m going to try and just be friends for now. Kathy was like, Yeah it’s really hard to do that option because you have to come up with conversation and activities and shit. Gah! So exhausting. But that once you run out of things to say to each other then you find out if you really like the guy or not. Seemed like wise advice to me.

Hugs and prayers to all the victims and loved ones of the victims of all the recent hurricane devastation and the mass tragedy in Las Vegas. And rest in peace, Tom Petty.

Love,

TCH