Story of My Life….Today

This boy here wants to move too fast
He sees my future as having a past
Well, I don’t think so

That boy there, well he’s playing a fool
He thinks he’s funny and he thinks he’s cool
We’ll I don’t think so

Cheap date, bad taste, another night gone to waste
Talking about nothing in so many words
It’s not like I’m not trying
‘Cause I’ll give anyone a shot once

And, I , I close my eyes
And, I kiss that frog
Each time finding:
The more boys I meet the more I love my dog

Prince Charming Need Not Apply

mgid uma content mtv.com 1687787

It’s a cool, dark and damp February night.  Here I sit, after work, in my most unattractive bright pink, flannel, pajama pants and an unflattering sweat shirt with my cup of tea.  One thought keeps ringing through my head: alone and single again.  It’s a status I am trying to willingly embrace, since after all, I am the one who pressed for it.  But now that I have waded through the mess of a break up, the residual emotions dying off- the high of freedom and low of heartbreak finally evened out- I don’t know what to do with myself.  Where do I go from here?

That said, I should be content being alone.  I have recognized a major issue of mine is that I always seem to be in the midst of some sort of stage of a relationship with men.  It seems nearly impossible to not have some sort of guy at the ready.  I don’t even (think) I do it on purpose.

I realized this while I was watching the Julia Roberts, book-based, film Eat Pray Love on a coworker’s recommendation.  Surprisingly, they were right- I could relate to the main character, a young divorcee trying to find herself, more than I could have imagined.  At one point in the film, she says “since I was 15, I’ve either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy.  I have not given myself two weeks of a breather to deal with, you know…myself!”  I found myself thinking so I’m not the only one…

So, while I know it would probably be most prudent to just be alone, it seems that there is always someone expressing interest, chasing me, or at the very least, trying to sleep with me.  I think about saying no.  I know I should.  But I can’t.  I tell myself I’m on a dating hiatus, or temporarily swear off men, and then two glasses of wine later, and I will be acquiescing to a dinner request.

I’m not sure if this is because I simply like the attention or if I worry that every guy is potentially “the one” (not that I really believe in “the one” but that’s another story for another day).  Regardless, this part of the movie got me thinking.  If I can’t successfully swear off men but I don’t want to be in the throws of any kind of legitimate relationship, perhaps it’s time I tried good old fashioned dating. 

I know it seems rather basic and obvious.  But I have found my generation (or maybe, it’s just me?) doesn’t date.  We have dinner and it turns into a constant flurry of  texts and Facebook messages and before you know it, you may not have the official label, but you’re spending all of your time together and it’s implied that you aren’t seeing anyone else.

What happened to dating?  You know, pick me up, drop me off, kiss me good night on my front stoop… in the moonlight…with the glimmer of the stars and a lovely breeze…ok I’m getting out of hand, but,  I realized I’ve never legitimately dated.  The concept of dating is so foreign to me; taking things slow and not immediately trying to picture how your lives would fit together, or even, um, not sleeping together immediately (hate admitting that one). I need to change this.

Equally as foreign, is the idea of using dating to try different personalities against your own.  The idea that any guy I go out with isn’t “The One” or at least, potential long term material, is so daunting and seemingly pointless, but perhaps that is the key.  Perhaps, it’s best if Prince Charming doesn’t show up right now.  I’m not ready for him anyway.  I’m still busy figuring out me.  I’m too much of an emotional mess and unevolved in my own being to even know what to do if the right “one” were to show up in a pretty bow, on my door step.

So instead, I need to change my thinking.  I need to go out with guys-casually– and use dating as an inventory tool to learn about others and myself (god, that sounds harsh and cold).  Find out what works and what doesn’t.  I also need to use it for fun.  The weight of a legitimate relationship is too heavy right now.   Not to mention that my heart simply isn’t open to it, even if I wanted to be.

So to keep me on track here is a working list of principles and guidelines I will be attempting to follow:

#1.  Don’t Tune Out.  Once I pick out a reason or two, (or five), why my date isn’t in the running as a potential soulmate, I find myself tuning out.  I smile and nod but in my head I’m working on my grocery list.  How am I going to learn anything from dating if I dismiss them just because they aren’t immediately “perfect” for me?  Dumb.  Get in there girl and use dating to your advantage.  Learn from it.
#2.  The Vagina Has the Power.  Not that I am trying to be rude or crude, but if a guy really wants to see me, they can come to me.  They will make it happen.  I don’t really need to be dating, so there is no point in chasing anyone, even if they look like Channing Tatum (ok well maybe then…we’ll revisit this if that issue pops up).  That said, I also need to command more power as a whole.  It’s ok to say no.  No to sex, no to meeting family and friends, no to dinner at chain restaurants (which I generally loathe), no to “one” more drink, no to a second date and no to coming over when I just saw you yesterday and really want the night to myself to read in bed and eat ice cream.  No is okay.
#3.  Be Honest.  With myself and them.  If this is simply a hook up, call a spade a spade.  If this is dating, in the traditional sense, be aware and act accordingly. I find myself dating guys I deep down am not interested in any way, especially physically.  I think it’s a residual effect from High School where no one asked me out…like ever.  So now I jump at the opportunity of anyone who asks to take me out and before I know it, I am casually sifting through the greens in my salad wondering why I am even here.  And even worse, at the end of the night, I find myself making out with them out of obligation, not attraction.  Be honest- with some people there just is simply no reason to go out.  At the same time, remember they don’t need to be Prince Charming…right now.  And the date should also know where you stand.  Leave ambiguity out.  You aren’t looking for anything serious anytime soon.  They should know that.
#4.   Slow it down.  I am notorious for jumping head first from relationship to relationship.  This is called dating.  Go slow. It’s okay to go out and only hear from each other once or twice the next week and not multiple times per day.  Or even, not at all if neither one of you felt like you hit it off.  Also,  if I come to a point where I intend to legitimately date someone, I will now employ to 3 date rule before sex.
#5.  Watch the alcohol.  Alcohol, obviously, loosens you up and leads to hasty decisions.  I have found myself, embarrassingly, having an issue (or more of an issue than usual) saying no when I drink, especially to sex.  Then I’ll find myself in the morning filled with regret.  And the worst part?  I can’t even get off when I’ve been drinking.  So what’s the point?  So now, new rule: two to three drink max when on dates depending on food intake.  I have come to a point where I am comfortable with some forms and instances of casual hook ups.  But if I am to do that, I want 100% control over my thoughts and decisions with it.  And for godsake, I also want to enjoy it!

Hopefully, this list will only grow as I date more and get my feet wet.  For now, these are the basics.  I need to follow them without exception, because it’s too damn easy to make exceptions (especially with the alcohol).  I need to let go of my preconceived notions of dating, love and sex.  I need to let things ride and follow my heart and not be concerned with the rest of my life as much as being in the moment and learning who I am today.   That’s why as of today, Prince Charming need not apply.  The fairy godmother needs to wait.  Cinderella isn’t ready for the ball, just yet.

04eb5b809538c581b0b329cb7eea9626.jpg

DEAR: Friends and Family

Going through this divorce has been enormously painful on so many levels.  When I first announced I was leaving, I was met with various responses, but mostly resounding support.  Some of the support I got was so enormous and kind that I will never be able to repay those individuals.  Your words of encouragement meant everything to me.

While I try to focus on this outpouring of love and support, it’s hard when certain people were not there like I had expected them to be.  It’s particularly hard to look past some of those friends and family who maintain(ed) a relationship with D*.  I try to be mature and be ok with it.  I try and not care.  I try to remember that he doesn’t have many friends like I do or the close knit family, to help support him, but at the end of the day it makes me sad and bitter.  He has not treated me with the love and respect I deserve since the divorce.  I tried to make this separation the easiest it possibly could. And he was still mean and spiteful.  I don’t feel he deserves the love and attention you are giving him.  And above all, I know it’s selfish, but it hurts all the same for you to be allowed into his life and his heart and not me.

Beyond that, there has been a serious drop off of support. I guess not even support, but existence in general.   It’s like after I made it through the first few months of the separation and started dating, ever assumes I am just fine.  I’ll tell you I’m absolutely not.  This is an ongoing grieving process.  I’m not okay just because I am making attempts at moving on.  I am not okay just because I look it.  I am not okay just because I can pull myself together and get to work.  And I’m not okay just because when ask how I am I say ‘good.’  I left D* in June.  The summer was filled with love and support.  Then just like the animals, it seems my support network went into hibernation as fall faded into winter.  Where are you? Don’t know I still hurt?  Don’t you know I still need your love?  I know I can reach out and ask.  But it always hurts to have to ask.  Maybe it’s another point of my immaturity.  I don’t know, but it’s how I feel and I miss those of you who have been M.I.A.

Finally, there are those who have been there, and continue to be supportive, but not without judgement, and even, at times chastisement.  This includes you, Mom and Dad.  Lord I love you, but you have an opinion about everything and it’s the only opinion you see fit.  For all of you, who have something to say about how I am carrying myself, acting or making my choices, I appreciate the concern, but there is a fine, fine line between judgment and concern.  Needless to say, I welcome your observations, but please stop expecting me to follow all of your advice.  I see things differently- we all do- but at the end of the day this is MY life. 

I guess what they say is true: when times get rough, you find out who your friends are.  For those who have consistently been there, thank you.  For those who haven’t-it’s okay.  I am not going to hold it against you, but things will need to be different if you want to remain in my life.  I’m cutting out the fat and making my inner circle of friends and family smaller.  If you want in, you need to show it (as I will willingly do the same for you).  Be there, be kind and be honest with me, without judging me.  Is that so much to ask? 

DEAR: Ex-That-I-Can’t-Get-Over

I begin this while listening to a soundtrack of songs that remind me of you.  I have read and reread your letters from happier days.  I have (shamefully) stalked you countless times on Facebook.  I have watched in frustration and held my tongue when others talk about you or when I have seen you in social situations.  I have told you to never speak to me again.  I have claimed to have moved on.

However, truth is, I haven’t moved on.  As much as I want to move on, tell myself to move on, and can emphatically list all the logical reasons why we are a terrible pair, I still have fantasies of you calling, showing up, begging for me.  I shouldn’t.  Not after the way you treated me like such a disposable option.

It’s not that you committed any of the serious, classic, offenses.  No cheating, no text-dumping, no abuse, no blatant lying (that I am aware of).  But, all the times we have tried to patch things up, the end is the same picture–you walking away without a second glance back.  Don’t you wonder?  Wonder where I am, what I am doing?  Wonder what we could have been?  Or am I a fool to even think you ever cared that much?

Most of the time, I convince myself of exactly that; that I had you built up to someone you weren’t-someone who cared only half as much as I did.  I think I actually could be okay with that; with the idea that I overestimated your affections for me.  But it’s the cognitive dissonance I get when I look back at your actions, your emails and letters, things you said with so much conviction and love that it’s hard to believe it was all fake, making it close to impossible to let go 100%.

Just today, a particularly trying day as I am trying to get to the bottom of love and relationships and what it means to me, I pulled up some of your emails from just this last go around, six months ago, in the summer.  The emails are long, detailed, loving, funny and personal.  They share intimate details of who you are, who you want to be and how much you want me to be part of your future. They say things like: “I miss you already, our texts, our little visits and even just sleeping next to you is so relaxing and comfortable…” and  “I’m trying to hold back as much as I can about my feelings that are rushing back for you, and considering how long we were apart, I’ll take all of it in stride, but I’ll be honest with you the whole way and I know you need that from me.”   

You asked my options on jobsYou asked me about houses–in case I were to ever live there too.  You asked about moving someday to a location a few hours from here.  And this is just the last go around.  I won’t even bring up the first two times we tried.  I had long ago chalked that up to both of us being young and stupid.  Until you came back around this time.  Seven years later.  In the wake of my divorce.  A very short wake. You found me, and reached out to me completely unsolicited when you were on my mind the most.  It had me completely convinced this was all fate.  All perfect timing.

But no, it was all a giant fluke.  Which would be also fine, if it didn’t turn into such a heart wrenching fluke.  I honestly had felt like everything was happening for a reason, and that we belonged together. That this was our time, our chance, to get it right. 

I can close my eyes and in an instant, I am right back on a local beach this summer.  I’m looking over at you in the sunlight, looking at me with those enormous brown eyes that melt my soul.  You leaned over, and tenderly kissed my shoulder, murmuring that you loved me.  You said, “For the life of me I cannot think of what tore us apart before.”   I sighed and tried to begin listing some of our previous offenses, but you stopped me  said “That was seven years ago and I can’t for the life of me think of anything that will break us now.”  I answered with something flippant about taking it slow, as I always (fruitlessly) tried to be on guard, but before I could even finish, you had started kissing me, and the electricity between us whenever we kiss- be it seven years or six months ago- is always enough to stop me in my tracks.

But that moment of pure love and bliss quickly faded as we began fighting.  Silly, immature, pointless arguments that left me crying into the night and unable to get out of bed in the morning.  You didn’t take responsibility and I continued to instigate. I wanted more.  You couldn’t give it.  You couldn’t comprehend where I was coming from (divorceville) and I couldn’t relate to you either (perpetual singledom). And with one final fight, I called it over.  I said I was done.

Maybe I was.  Maybe I changed my mind a minute later.  You will never know because you never talked to me again.  Never called, never emailed.  While the emptiness of my days without my lunchtime texts, mid day emails or goodnight phone calls haunted me for weeks, you never seemed to bat an eyelash.   Perhaps it was a performance on your part.  But every performance ends.  And you still didn’t come back to even see if I was alive alright.

Instead, I am left wondering who is the crazier one?  You, who is acting like a sociopath in how quickly you can turn off your feelings and emotions so easily?  Or me, for ever believing you and allowing you into my heart again?

Regardless of the competition for insanity, I guess I still want an answer.  Was it that you never really cared? But then why did you bother?  Or is that you really are sociopath (or some similar form of mental illness)?  Or is there a conclusion I can’t seem to come to in between?

I doubt that I will ever really get my answer.  Because even if you gave it to me, I am not sure I would believe you.  You have tricked me too many times before. It would take a lot for me to understand and accept what happened and why.  That doesn’t mean I don’t wish you would try to explain it, though.

I guess the truth is that maybe you are ‘the one who got away’.  Maybe you aren’t.  But in the darkest of the night, I know I am still looking for whatever magic, intense passion, feelings of comfort and love that I had with you.  My only hope is that I can find it again, even if it is not with you.

 

DEAR: Current-But-Soon-To-Be-Ex-Boyfriened

I don’t know where to begin.  All I know, is that I’m not happy.  I want to be happy with you.  I want to make this work.  But right now, it just isn’t.

It really has very little to do with you.  While you have flaws, we all do, and that’s okay.  The thing is, it’s really too much too soon.  I need more time to grow; more time to understand, process and heal from my divorce and learn to be on my own.  I know you don’t understand this.  I know you can’t comprehend why I can’t do all this while still being with you.  I don’t have an answer for you.  I just can’t. 
I know part of why you can’t understand is because you have done everything right.  I know you have.  You have done more for me than many other men I’ve seen combined.  I wish I could just put everything with you on hold and have you come back in a year.  However, that’s also not right and that is selfish of me.  I know this is hurting you, and is going to be hard. 

The last thing I ever wanted was to hurt you.  You just aren’t right for me.  Not now. Maybe not ever.  I don’t know.  I have a lot I have to straighten out first.  And I have a lot to experience before I can settle down the way you want me to.  What I need right now does not align with what you want.  I cannot give up as much of the social life or parties as you want. I cannot become the mature homebody you want.  I know you will do anything for me-including going out- but if that’s not you, it’s not you. You can’t be someone you are not.  And that goes for both of us.

Only time will tell.  For now, I have no choice but to ask us to go our separate ways…

If I Could Just Say To You…

As I surmise there are with most people. there is a primary list of people that once held a great deal of meaning in my life, and then in some way, or another, are no longer even involved or in touch with me.  Some of these were relationships that were dramatically ended, while conversely, others drifted out, quietly fading into the background like childhood turning into adolescence.  They were boyfriends, good friends, old friends, friends with crushes, friends with benefits.   It’s a mix.  But at the end of the day, the one thing they all have in common is a piece of my heart.  Some days it strikes me with a a force greater than I care to admit, that I miss them.  I wish I could call some of them, write them a letter, meet them for coffee.  Ask all the unanswered questions.  Apologize.  Catch up.

Lately, as I have been doing some major evaluating of my life and my relationships, I’m being struck over and over reminders of those who are lost into the relationship purgatory that comes when you don’t resolve things.  Hence this post and (accompanying series of posts).  To (attempt) to help deal with and process this,  I am writing, albeit abbreviated letters to them.  It’s my way of making an amends without creating drama, opening old wounds and even needing new numbers or addresses.

Here’s hoping it’s cathartic.