Thursday, July 26, 2018

Did He Really Think We Wouldn't Find Out?

As soon as I saw the message alert pop up, I knew. I felt it in my gut. Before I even read her message, I knew what was about to happen.
After reading the most recent blogs I’d written, an old friend from high school send me a private message on Facebook.  She’d read them and nearly fainted. She was not exaggerating. Her reaction was so strong because she’d had an almost identical relationship with someone from our old high school. In her message she said that the biggest difference about our situations was that they began to talk marriage. “Or at least he let me talk [about] it, allowing me to think he was on board.” 
This woman’s message continued: “He also very suddenly moved, telling me only a month before he did it. Within 3 weeks of his move, he never spoke to or texted me again. Like you, I sort of knew all along that I wasn't ‘in love’ with him but I did ‘have love’ for him and told myself that was good enough. I have been in very few relationships in my life. Most of my interaction with adult men of our age is them thinking I am the ‘most amazing friend’. That made this sting and sting hard. No woman deserves to be ghosted on. Shows what a coward both of our men are.” 
As I read those words, I knew in my heart we were talking about the same man. About a year-and-a-half ago, I had seen a picture of these two individuals on social media, smiling and happy together, and had wondered if they were dating. Less than 2 months prior, when I’d been exchanging silly girls’ night texts with him, he had indicated that he was not dating anyone, so I was very curious, but did not attempt to find out anything further.
Reading what she’d written about having been in very few relationships in her life, I felt like I was reading about myself. We had not been close friends in school, nor were we now, but I could absolutely relate to the story she was telling me. I also knew I had to find out who she was talking about.  
I responded and told her that I felt compelled for the two of us to figure out if we somehow were talking about the same guy. I said I had no problem telling her who mine was. That I trusted her with that information. It had never been a secret that we were dating as we’d been out in public together and he’d met a friend of mine and he knew other mutual acquaintances had been told about us.  But that was my side of things. I think he only ever told one person, his BFF, that he was dating me. He certainly never told his kids or family.  
The next message I received solidified things – even before she named names. 

“I was panicked as I read your story that it might be the same guy because our experiences were so very, very similar including the slow burn build up and weeks and months in between hot and heavy text sessions. Promises to visit or remember important dates, etc. only to ignore them and blame work or his kids. People [who knew us both] knew that he and I were dating because he would come out to [social functions with us], but I don’t think he told any of his other friends or his kids, though. When I cottoned on to the fact that he wasn’t telling any of his friends that weren’t old high school people we both knew, I began to realize he wasn’t as committed as I was.”

Then, she named names. Of course it was him. 

I wish I could say that I was surprised, but I really wasn’t. I quickly responded that I, too, had dated this man and I thought we had A LOT to talk about. As an afterthought I said, “HOLY SHIT is a good response. It’s the one I had.”

Her response was pretty priceless. “Wow! I’ll go as far to up it to HOLY FUCKING SHIT and I rarely use the f-word. I also think he may have been seeing us during the same time period. When were you together?”

It was at this point that I suggested we talk on the phone and we proceeded to talk for an hour. We truly did have SO much to talk about. 

We discovered that around the time he was starting to ghost her is the time that things were starting up with me. In fact, he hooked up with me while he was still with her. I’m not sure either of us were truly surprised about that at this point. We tracked the timeline of when he and I got together and it overlapped by about 3 weeks with when he was still involved with her. They had talked about marriage. They had discussed rings. When she’d mentioned being scared due to the illness of a parent and not knowing what she’d do without her parents as they still took care of her in many ways, he responded that he would be there for her to take care of her. Then he vanished.

On the day he moved, he texted me that morning on his way out of town and then he texted me hours later when he arrived at his new home. Conversely, she had asked him to let her know when he arrived, but he never did. When she did text him to make sure they’d made it safely, he curtly responded that they had and things were busy getting settled, etc. Not quite the reaction she’d been looking for. Even when she asked if being with her was still what he wanted, he responded with yes, but his actions spoke differently. Much as they had when I’d asked if everything was ok and he’d said yes, but it clearly wasn’t.

One major difference in our situations is that they had been friends when we were in high school. In fact, they had been hooking up off and on since then – for over 30 years. Even when he was with other women, he was still encouraging her. I write about all this with her full permission. She encouraged me to write and share all of this as long as I did not reveal her name and I won’t. Just as I won’t reveal his. It would serve no purpose.

My friend isn’t proud of how things happened or her part in it all the time, but I also understood when she talked about how the need for attention and to feel that someone cares about you and wants to be with you can be so overwhelming. When you don’t have that romantic love, you cling to it when you think you’ve found it. Even if what you have found is a mirage. 

What our conversation showed us is the pattern of behavior this man exhibits. He can’t be monogamous, that much is clear. He gets involved with one woman, but seems to have at least one more on the side. I’ve put other pieces together and deduced that when he was flirting with me via emails years ago and supposedly in a serious relationship with another woman, he was also still involved with this friend of mine. I suspect we weren’t the only ones.

We often heard the same basic stories – he was “so busy” at work or with his kids. Too busy to pay the time and attention either of us wanted and needed. 

If the pattern perpetuates, my assumption is that around the time he started to pull away from me, he met someone else in the state where he currently resides. It would make sense. Everything seemed fine with him and this other woman until he got together with me. Then he started to ghost her. Until then, she thought they were happy together. They had agreed – as he and I had – that they were dating exclusively and around January 2017 she thought they truly were embarking on a dating relationship. Of course, this was the time he was telling me he was NOT dating anyone.

When we got together, he told me that he hadn’t been “lighting up the social scene with the ladies” in the past few years and that he hadn’t had sex in about a year. His math was a little off.

So I am confident now that some poor, unsuspecting woman has met and started to date him where he lives now. Or maybe he has yet another high school classmate or woman from his past who is hanging on. He seems to like the distance thing because that allows him not to have to incorporate that woman into his life. 

We spent some of our hour on the phone talking about our feelings for this guy. We both acknowledged that we felt love for him, but were not IN love with him. She said when she was discussing marrying him with her mother, she was asked if she was in love with him. She told her mother that no, she was not, but she could live with him. Her mother said – and rightly so – that that wasn’t a good answer. It boiled down to how she could have settled for him so she wouldn’t have to grow older alone. I think most everyone can relate to that. I certainly can.

I also found it particularly interesting that she did not find him physically attractive. We agreed 100% that he is very witty and charming and that is a huge turn on for both of us, but when it came to him physically, we diverged. I find him physically attractive. She, however, said she’d never really thought of him as handsome. It’s interesting how we see some things exactly the same and others not at all.

After an hour we ended our conversation to try and get some sleep. Both of us spent a lot of that hour bubbling over with earnest laughter. The situation is so utterly ridiculous that you HAVE to laugh. The truth, as they say, is always stranger than fiction. Oh Sumter, you incestuous little Peyton Place. You did it again.

I know I did not do anything to cause the hurt this woman is feeling, but I am sad about it none the less. Even amidst her laughter, she said she had roiling anger in the pit of her stomach. This man crushed her and carelessly tossed her aside. He did the same to me, I suppose, but to a lesser degree. After all, we hadn’t been discussing wedding rings.

The question has popped up several times in the past 24 hours – how does this man sleep at night? Well, based on my limited experience, he snores like a freight train and is lucky I didn’t hurt him in his sleep the one night we spent the entire night together. I actually think he has sleep apnea and one day might not even wake up at all, but you can’t force someone to take care of themselves. To answer that question more in the spirit in which it was asked, I imagine he sleeps fine at night. In his mind, I doubt he thinks he is doing or has done anything wrong. Somewhere along the way, he learned that this is how you treat women. He’ll never change unless and until the women start insisting on it.

Did I get played? Oh hell yes. Of course I did. I understand that. I am, however, oddly not angry about that. Maybe I will be tomorrow or next week, but I was in a very good place when I learned this information and I simply wasn’t surprised. Sad, perhaps, but not surprised. I believe he is an unhappy person and that’s at least partly why he behaves this way. Happy people don’t treat others like he has treated us.

I’m grateful that both of us got wise to his game, even if later than we’d have liked, and want nothing more to do with him again. Ever. There is nothing he could say or do that would make me consider getting involved with him again.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Well, shame on me. The third time will not be the charm. I only wish I could warm all the women in his new home town before they get hurt. They don’t deserve it. Neither did we.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

It's Always Surprising How Nice Men Can Suddenly Act All A**hole at the End

This is Part V, the final chapter, for anyone following along.

Videos sent, I went on to work and my friend texted a bit later to tell me he’d gotten them, but hadn’t had time to watch them yet. After silence for the rest of the day and into the night, I reached out and told him we had to talk about what I’d said and he asked to table discussions till the following day. I knew he’d never bring it up again, but since we’d already picked a date for our next date weekend, I decided it was a matter best left until we were face-to-face.
Things grew progressively worse as the week or so went on until we would see each other again.  We sometimes went days without him saying a word to me. Finally, frustration limit fully exceeded at this point, I asked if everyone was ok. Was anyone hurt or in the hospital or anything like that? Because outside of that, I truly did not understand why he was ignoring me. I wasn't sending some constant barrage of texts. He said that things were fine, but once again, work was so very busy. Was he even still planning to come see me that weekend, I asked? He said yes, but I’m not sure if either of our hearts were in it at this point.
I give him credit for driving 8 hours that weekend so we could talk in person. He didn’t have to do that. Unfortunately, what he had to say wasn’t what I wanted to hear. 

He didn’t know if he could be in a long-distance relationship. Or ANY relationship. He wasn’t even sure what we were to each other. Was I his girlfriend? Sitting next to him on the couch, looking him in the eye, he seemed genuinely confused about it all. 
He said he’d been working 60 or more hours a week just at the office, while trying to spend time with his kids and he knew he wasn’t taking care of himself. He didn’t seem to know how to include me in the mix and asked what I wanted. I, of course, said that I wanted it to work.

He asked for a couple of days to get his head on straight and I agreed. I even offered a little more time than that, but he declined, saying that wouldn’t be fair to me.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to make things work, but I still knew that we needed to spend more time together. Maybe now he would let me do some of the traveling instead of him driving to see me each time. I had more flexibility to take time off work than he did and I certainly wouldn’t mind.  And while we weren’t at this point yet, I was not opposed to leaving South Carolina and moving closer to where he lived. There were ways to make things work if he wanted it to. If…
Before he left, we went out for a late lunch and he didn’t want to hold my hand. Oh, he did it when I reached for his hand in the car, but I could tell he didn’t want to. Where once he’s INSISTED on holding my hand, now it was as if he was avoiding any contact with me at all. When he left, he kissed me for the first and only time that day. I didn’t realize it would be the last time he would ever kiss me.
Those 2 days he asked for turned into a week and he did not seem to understand why I was frustrated and upset. But dammit, I deserved answers! I was being as patient as I could be, but leaving me hanging like that was unkind. 

Tired of what felt like the run around, I asked him to do a gut check, because he already knew what he wanted and now he had to tell me. I would expect an answer within a few days. The next morning, he said his gut told him he wanted it work between us. He wasn’t sure how, but that’s what he wanted. I believed him because that’s what my heart wanted. I didn’t want to lose him. 
I guess we hung in there for maybe another month. I tried to be understanding and let it go if we did not talk every day. He wasn’t lying about how busy his job was, but at the same time, if you can’t find 2 minutes to send me a text telling me you’re thinking about me, well, that means you aren’t. You make time for who and what matters to you. Period. It’s really that simple.
At some point I stopped caring what I told him. I’m loquacious on a good day, but this was probably overkill I know. I also don’t care. I had nothing to lose at this point. Nothing. He was already slipping away. Likely already had, truth be told. 

Regardless of what he said about wanting to make it work, I think he started pulling away from me in February and by May, he’d long since checked out. I was the one blindsided and left to struggle to keep the ship afloat. 
So I told him what I wanted. How I thought we could work it out. I tossed out ideas on how we could meet somewhere in the middle so each of us did some driving and it took the load off of him. I even told him I was in love with him. While I did feel love for him, saying I was “in love” wasn’t really the right choice of words. Loving and being IN love are different things, but I did feel love for him and I didn’t have a problem saying it, knowing full well that he wasn’t going to reciprocate. That was oddly ok with me because at least it opened some communication up for the first time in ages. 
I’m sure it also terrified him because he repeatedly mentioned feeling overwhelmed. Not just by that declaration, but by everything it seemed. He said he wasn't ready for this...whatever "this" was at this point. But really, where did he think all this was going? Did he think I wouldn't have feelings for him, stronger than merely like? Did he think I would be ok with being ignored? I don't know what he thought because he wouldn't tell me.
On a Tuesday afternoon in early May, he responded to a text I’d sent with one sentence and then…that was it. Nothing more to be heard from him.
During a conversation with my friend Jack a few days later, he said that in all the years he’s known me, he never would have thought I would be the one chasing after a man. He always saw me as the one turning down the men pursuing me. (Side note: Who the heck has Jack known all these years? Cause it doesn’t seem like it was me!)  After that chat, something in my mind finally clicked and the next day I texted this man and told him I was utterly confused about what was going on, but if he ever wanted to talk to me, he knew where to find me. And that I would miss him, so very much. Then I did a few shots of peach Absolut and cried my eyes out.
As predicted, I got no response. And as could also possibly be predicted, I kept trying several more times to get one. “Yeah. Sure. I told you goodbye, but clearly I did not mean it.” I can laugh at that now, but I so wanted things to work out. I just wanted him to talk to me. To tell me what was going on. If he’d talk to me, surely, we could work things out. Or at least I’d know why we couldn’t.
About a week and a half later, I did get one response and the last words he said to me were, “I will talk with you. Promise.” I knew as soon as I read it that he was lying. Perhaps not to me, but certainly to himself. I think he meant it when he said it, but in the end, it was easier – for him – to ignore me.
I have sent texts now and then, when I have felt the urge, but never expected a response. What I think upsets me the most is that we had become friends over those months and I miss my friend. He took that away from me and I may never be able to forgive him for that. I went through a stressful move and some life changes and I wanted to talk to my friend, but he denied me that. Maybe we were never really friends at all.
At the same time, a 40-something year old man should be above ghosting me. Aren’t we entirely too old for that sort of nonsense? Don’t I at least deserve the respect of being told, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t know how to make this work”, rather than the silent treatment?
I was going to be hurt no matter what, but he didn’t have to do it this way. To leave with me unanswered questions and confusion. He CHOSE to hurt me. He CHOSE to do this. He CHOSE to be cruel.
I once told him that part of my anxiety (over the lack of communication) stemmed from being ghosted by a man a few years ago. He would simply stop responding to my texts for no apparent reason. So, for this man to then go and do that to me, it has felt very deliberate. 
One thing that stands out to me through all this is how he said he wasn't ready to make me unhappy by being unresponsive. That's awfully funny to think about now because just how does he think it has made me feel when he's treated me this way? "Unhappy" doesn't begin to cover the range of emotions I've had the past 3 months.
Oh, the easy answer to why he did this is that he’s a jerk and I won’t really argue with that, but I don’t think that’s really all there is to it. Maybe I give him too much credit though. I’m sure his friends and family would say he’s a great guy and maybe he is. To them. But he didn’t break their hearts. He broke mine.
Maybe there are reasons he’s still single (and I KNOW there are reasons that I am – sweet Jesus let’s not get into that. That’s why I’ve been to therapy.) Heck, maybe he’s met another woman and couldn’t figure out how to tell me. If so, good luck to her. She may not have an easier time of it than I have.
All of that will remain a mystery to me and maybe even to him. When we saw each other that last time, he said he did not like how things had been going the past month, but he also said he did not know why he was behaving the way he was. And you know what? I think he was telling the truth. I don’t think he fully understood why or was willing to admit those reasons to himself if he did know. I will also never know why and that’s something I must live with. It gets easier day-by-day. 
What I DO know is that he broke my heart and he didn’t have to. At least not the way he's done it. I didn't deserve that…and he sure as hell doesn't deserve me!

Houston, We Have a Problem

For anyone joining the party at this date, this is Part IV of what will likely be 5 blogs in a short series.You can find Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here.

 Part IV - Houston, We Have a Problem

The physical distance between us was a challenge, but we were able to see each other several times during the months we were dating.  We even managed to pull off 2 visits in December. I was so happy. Just being together was a real treat.

A few weeks before Valentine’s Day, I mentioned to him that I knew it was a Hallmark holiday, but that it was going to matter to me. He knew I was shopping for a gift for him and because I am a planner, it arrived about a week early. I’d told him Valentine’s Day was going to matter to me because I wanted to avoid being hurt if my expectations weren’t met. It happened anyway.

The day before Valentine’s Day he asked me for my office address. Considering the timing, he had to know that I would be expecting to get flowers the next day. In the end, I got nothing. No card. No flowers. No gift. I did get a text that morning, but I was heartbroken. 

The work day had been a stressful one and then the one time in years I’d been dating someone on Valentine’s Day, he ignores it. I went home that night and cried. He was coming to visit that weekend and I thought surely he would do something then. He knew this mattered to me. I’d told him. Surely he wouldn’t hurt me this way.

The weekend came and went and not only did he not say or do anything about Valentine’s Day, but we also didn’t have as much time together as I’d expected. It was Presidents’ Day weekend and he’d picked it because “we’ll have more time together”. I thought that meant we’d have at least 48 hours to ourselves, but we never even got close to 24. I was so disappointed. On one hand, I was thrilled to see him because I missed him desperately and was all full of goofy, lovey-dovey feelings, but on the other hand, I was so very disappointed. I already knew that we needed to spend more time together. We rarely got to see each other and something did not feel right.

I felt uneasy and when I’d asked him if anything was wrong, trying not to seem desperate and needy (while actually flat out saying I felt desperate and needy bringing it up), I was assured that everything was fine. Work was busy and he’d get better at communicating. When all you have is texting and the occasional phone call, you cling to that. When communication started to drop off, I had to wonder why.

It was during that February visit that we also defined our relationship. It seemed like a silly thing to have to ask at that point, but I wanted to be sure we were on the same page. Were we dating? Yes. Were we dating exclusively? Yes. We agreed on both of these things and he even commented that it’s always good to verbalize that so no one has to wonder. I still wasn’t sure what it all meant, but at least we were in agreement. Weren’t we?

I was sad when he left, but as always, glad we had some time together. I’d rather have had a little time tgether now and then than to never see him at all.

Unfortunately, things didn’t improve after that visit. We talked less and less and one day, for the first time in 210 days (yes, I counted), we did not talk at all. Nothing. Not a single word exchanged all day.

After so many days of being in touch, it hurt not to hear from him. Yes, I could have contacted him, but as the day went on I thought, “No. I want him to miss me and think about me and want to talk to me.” I didn't want to keep feeling like I was pushing. I was back to feeling desperate, needy, and clingy. I’d expressed that fear before and was assured I didn’t seem needy. That everyone needed attention sometimes. 

The waning communication was on his end, not mine. I was still as gung-ho as ever about dating him. I still wanted to talk to him every day and see him as often as possible, but I felt distance creeping in. We limped along into March and by the end of the month I was sad, frustrated, and angry. 

Toward the end of the month, I was having a really bad day. By that time, we were at the point where I felt like I was barely hearing from him at all. Work was even busier, he said, and I was trying to be understanding. The last thing I wanted was for this to end. I wanted to talk to him about finding a way to spend more time together. I thought that was what he wanted, too.

I dislike talking on the phone and so does he, but knew we needed to try to make that happen now and then. We were talking one night and after about 10 minutes, he asked if he could call me back in a few minutes. I said sure because I knew he had some important people in town for work, plus he has kids (teenagers, actually) at home. Someone obviously needed something and I could respect that. After nearly an hour, I realized he wasn’t going to call me back and I went to bed thinking surely he’d text to let me know why he hadn’t, but I never heard from him. Not even the following day.

That day turned out to be series of mishaps and frustrations at work and at some point I texted and told him I could sure use some kind works to cheer me up. I never heard from him that day at all. Sad and frustrated, the next day I sent him a couple of short videos. In the past I had occasionally sent little 30 second videos to him because I thought it was more personal. A nice way to say hi across the miles. 

This time I did it because I wanted him to know I was hurt by his lack of responsiveness, but knowing how tricky interpretation of the written word can be, I didn’t want to come off like some deranged harpy, screaming at him for not paying attention to me. I was more hurt than angry and while I’d suppressed the Valentine’s Day hurt until we could talk in person, this couldn’t wait. I’d shed more tears over this man in the past few months than I can recall ever crying about anyone or anything. I couldn’t keep doing it.

In those short videos I told him how it hurt me that he hadn’t bothered to let me know he couldn’t call me back the other night and how ignoring me the previous day also stung. Then I was open and honest and told him I didn’t have a lot of relationship experience and therefore didn’t know “the rules”, whatever the hell they might be. 

We used to have what seemed like open, honest communication and were always talking about how much we missed each other. But now I wasn’t sure he wanted me to tell him I missed him and couldn’t wait to see him again.  I was confused and he still wasn’t shedding any light on things. 

My anxiety was through the roof and I knew that in spite of all the denials, something was wrong.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mixed Signals? How About Mixing Me a Drink Instead

As previously stated, I am The Clueless Wonder when it comes to signals from men, so initially I thought I was being rejected. My friend had been surprised by my offer, but after a couple of days' chit chat and some clarification from him, we decided one morning that he would come over that evening. Once again, no expectations were being placed on each other or for anything to actually happen. At the very least, it would be chatting with and saying goodbye to a friend. At most, well…sex. That was the plan, right?

Our evening together was very, very nice. (What? You thought you were going to get details??) We sat on my couch for 3 hours talking about anything and everything (and maybe even some people we both know) before he ever tried to kiss me. To be honest, I was getting to the point where if he didn’t make a move soon, I was going to ask him to leave so I could go to bed because it was getting late and I was tired! Hahaha But I’d decided that since I had made a big first move by inviting him over, it was up to him to take it any further. I mean, he might have changed his mind! Although, when faced with no-strings-attached sex, I’m not sure what man is going to turn that down.

The next day, I deliberately did not contact him, nor was I upset or wondering if I’d hear from him. No strings was MY idea after all. I truly had zero expectations except that maybe when I texted him in six months to see how life was treating him that he wouldn’t be a jerk. The previous night when he made it home safely, he texted to say he’d had a wonderful time, so that was good enough for me.
Around lunch time, the first texts from him started to arrive. All about what was going on with the move. You know, all the normal stuff people talk about if they are friends or lovers. Eventually, I told him to knock it off because being nice and sweet wasn’t fair when we were about to have hundreds of miles between us. Oh, did I forget to mention that we got together 2 DAYS BEFORE HE MOVED???? Yeah. That.

But you know what? He didn’t stop. He kept texting me and really selling himself as a great guy. I tried to fight it. All the feels and crap like that. I honestly did. This wasn’t what I wanted!! This wasn’t what we’d agreed on, dammit!! He was making me like him. Not just like him, but…“like-like” him and that was totally unfair. He thought it was funny when I told him to stop being so appealing and basically laughed at me and told me he’d be happy to see me again. The bastard.

After about a week of that, I asked him didn’t he think it was crazy for us to be doing “this” – whatever “this” was? He said let’s not label it, just enjoy it and see where it might go. And so we did.
We had a lot of fun with this texting relationship, which is what it was and kind of has to be these days with hundreds of miles between you. We talked every day, not constantly, but throughout the day. Soon enough we were planning to see each other again for some birthday celebrations. I do love my birthday.

As time went on – it would be 10 ½ weeks between our first and second dates – we got to know each other through those messages. We discovered we had a lot in common and we also discovered that we genuinely liked each other. We became friends and each commented on how happy we were that that had happened. Better than that, we both could not wait to see each other again. I hadn’t felt that way in a long, long time. I was all in with my attraction to him and enjoying being ridiculously smitten. Thank goodness that feeling was mutual.

We did get together after those 10 ½ weeks and each admitted to being a little nervous beforehand since it wasn’t like we’d been on a real date before. We were looking forward to spending time together and getting to hold hands and do normal dating stuff. In fact, he insisted on holding my hand in the car and while walking down the street. I tried to protest while he was driving, but he was having none of it. He wanted to hold my hand and I wasn’t going to argue.

Unfortunately after that date, we were back once again to time and distance playing an unwelcome part in our romance. Ummm…was it a romance? A relationship? Were we dating? Well, we still hadn’t defined it, but I didn’t care because we were together in whatever capacity because we wanted to be and it made both of us very happy. We weren’t ignorant of the obstacles or the distance between us, but why rock the boat until and unless you have to. 

A couple of months later we managed to get together again and, again, were both so happy to spend time together. I remember sitting in the movie theatre, holding hands once again, and turning to look at him and finding he was already looking at me. We both had goofy grins on our faces. It’s one of my favorite memories. When you don’t have the ability to see someone regularly or easily, I think you appreciate the little things a little bit more.

The goodbyes continued to suck like a Hoover, but once again, knowing that someone is missing you and thinking about you and can’t wait to see you again, well, that’s pretty wonderful.

Until it’s not.

And they don’t.

And you aren’t sure why.

Monday, July 23, 2018

"What I'm saying is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way."

I love "When Harry Met Sally". I really do. I need to quote it every day in life, just because. Not just for blog titles. For anyone who actually read yesterday's post, here is Part 2.


As previously stated, my friend would pop in and out of my life. I became preoccupied by other people and things, but whenever he reappeared, it was always welcomed. 

A few years after I moved out of town, I suddenly found out that we weren’t going to be living in reasonably close proximity any longer. This time he was the one picking up and moving on – quite literally. Now hundreds of miles would separate us, but why should that matter since we were only friends? And not even close ones at that. 

On the day I learned of his impending move, we had a humorous exchange that actually tied in to one that had happened about 8 months prior. Back then, I’d been planning a girls’ night with some friends and made a joke about needing someone to drunk text while we were hanging out (the real joke being that I rarely drink during girls’ nights since I have to drive home afterwards). I realized this flirty text friend of mine was the only person who might appreciate receiving that sort of nonsense and told him so.

That first girls’ night, he humored me greatly with a lot of silly banter. This was actually the night some friends questioned why he wasn’t a good option for dating. As much as I enjoyed our interactions, my trust issues have always been tough to overcome. Plus, it has always been my experience that I misread any and all signals from men. Always.

Back to the more recent evening.  My friend was informed that if things got wild and crazy at this second girls’ night that I would try not to proposition him. It was late. I was tired. It seemed like a reasonable thing to say to someone.  He chuckled and said if that happened he’d handle it with grace and dignity.

Well, the proposition never occurred. My friends and I were having fun that night, then I got busy and forgot about the whole conversation it until a few days later when I received a text indicating his disappointment.  Hand to God, that’s the first time I had any clue that this man might have more than a passing flirtation kind of interest in me. I am just that dim. 

But now I thought, “Why the hell not?!” We weren't ever going to see each other again, so if he rejected me, it wouldn't matter. We would go live our separate lives like we always had. Why not make the offer and if he says no, it's fine. Turns out, however, when I suggested we get together, he said yes.

I should state here, in case it is somehow unclear, that this was a hook up. That’s all it was meant to be. I told him that it was no-strings-attached and we agreed on no expectations from either party. We were casual friends who seemed to like and perhaps even respect each other, but our lives weren’t likely to continue to intersect in the future. I wasn’t looking for love and if I had been, it was…wait for it…in all the wrong places. Which became painfully obvious later on.

To be continued...

Sunday, July 22, 2018

"Hey, this guy is pretty cute" and other things you sometimes say

Long ago and far away, I was in high school. Back in the glory “daze” of the 1980s when everything was covered in neon and Aqua Net. Mind you, I did not have enough hair to reach the true heights of Aqua Net greatness, but I did my best to have my very own version of helmet hair. Bless my heart.

I went to a very large high school. At the time, I believe it was the largest high school under one roof in the state. My graduating class had 600 people in it. When I moved to SC to start high school, I went from a junior high in Virginia with about 150 people in each class to this mega-school and it was a change of pace for sure.

This all being what it was, it wasn’t possible for me to know everyone in my school. I might know OF someone or we might have friends in common, but that didn’t mean we actually knew each other. Such is the case with the man I was recently dating for about 8 months.

Back in the day, I knew who he was and we had mutual friends. It’s certainly possible that we actually met, but I highly doubt it. I have a freakishly good memory and feel sure I remember. If you ask him today, he seems more confident that we had to have met at some point, but isn’t the woman always right? ;) 

Fast forward about 20 years, when we truly did meet in person.  We were at the same event and I remember he walked up to me and called me by name. I’d seen him arrive and recognized him, but was surprised that he knew me. I don’t recall that we had any other conversation that night and am not sure I thought anything further of the encounter. 

Another jump of about a year’s time and our paths were crossing with more regularity. I took a good look in his direction and thought to myself, “Hey, this guy is pretty cute” (Yes, I still call men “cute”). I have no clue what he was thinking when he looked at me, but at some point we did have a little flirtation, so one can assume that he must not have thought I was a homely wildebeest or something. Ultimately, however, he ended up in a serious relationship with someone else and that was the end of that. 

For the next several years, he would pop up in my life about every 6 months. As social media lurker, he wasn’t one to publicly comment, but I’d get a private message and we’d do a little catching up.

Somewhere along the road, he stopped seeing the woman he’d been dating and I literally moved on to another city. We no longer had the opportunity to run into each other around town, but he continued to pop up now and then.  

A few years ago, I finally got my act together and got healthy. Well, healthier than I had been. I can’t claim I was particularly healthy, but I lost weight and started exercising more. Paying attention to what I was eating and actually – FINALLY – giving a damn about what I was doing to my body and whether or not I wanted it to be in decent shape. I felt really good about myself for probably the first time in my life.

Due to social media, over the years I had also seen photos of him and knew that he had put on some weight. I’m NOT pointing the fat finger at anyone, because I know I’m not skinny, but for what weight I had lost, it looked like he had gained. I still found him physically attractive (plus, he is ridiculously witty and charming and that’s a turn on for me), but I knew I looked good with 40 pounds gone. I also knew he needed to see it. To see exactly what he was missing.

When the opportunity presented itself, I made contact to see if we were going to be at the same event in the near future. In truth, I already knew that we were, but I didn’t want him to know that. With great deliberation, I knew I had to look as good as I could on those days we would cross paths. I needed him to regret that he’d never wanted to date me or done more than flirt mildly with me. My vanity and still-wounded ego demanded it.  

We chatted a bit on-line prior to seeing each other and when we finally had a chance to visit in person, it was nice. His charm and wit was still fully intact. It was like chatting with an old friend, even though I’d have called casual friends at best. Not that my new-found warm and fuzzy feeling stopped me from making absolutely sure that the last time we saw other that I was wearing a great dress and some killer high, high heels, so I did kind of tower over him (we are about the same height). I am very deliberate sometimes. 

Truth be told, I actually turned down an invitation to spend more time together on that very day and in hindsight, I wonder why I was quite so dense. I guess I wasn’t reading that as a potential signal of any greater interest in me and maybe it actually wasn’t. You’d have to ask him about that. I think we would have enjoyed spending more time together. Who knows where it might have led? Ah well. Regrets and such.

After that time, we actually kept in touch with random texts. I even remember once when he did not respond to me feeling a little sad. A friend asked me that if he was just a friend, why did it bother me so much? I didn’t delve into that at the time, but as hindsight is always 20/20, I can see that my interest was more than friendly still.

Looking back, I realize we were flirting, but neither of us was doing anything about it. I’d been burned before by him, thinking that years-old flirtation had been leading somewhere, so he was going to have to make the first move. When he didn’t, I assumed disinterest on his part and went on with life. 

I have friends who actually questioned why he wasn’t a good choice as a potential date and I said it was because I couldn’t trust him. He’d flirted with me – again, very tamely – when he was embarking on a new relationship. That’s not ok with me. And yes, I flirted back, even when I knew he wasn’t really available so I’m not guiltless, but it still made me a little uneasy, even years later. Plus, as I have said, he wasn’t making a move toward us ever seeing each other again, so I had no reason to think he might have a greater interest in me than the occasional flirty text.

I was wrong.

To be continued...

Friday, July 6, 2018

There is no joy in "swiping right"

So… recently I went through a break-up. I haven’t wanted to write about it a lot (and I have realized that I only seem to want to blog when I’ve got some life issues going on rather than when I’m all happy and sappy) because, while I do think there’s a great story in how we got together, it’s not one I can tell right now without crying. Yep. I said it. The whole thing has made me cry. Like, at random times. I can’t even write about crying without starting to cry. Go figure, all you people that think I have no soul. Well, I do. So there. And a heart. It’s just broken right now.

But that’s not the point of this blog entry. One day I will write about that relationship and that man, because I like the story, so I want to tell it. I may even get up on a stage somewhere and tell it because people who’ve already heard it do agree… it’s a damned fine story. It may not have had a particularly happy ending, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the story wasn’t worthwhile. So one day…but not today.

For today, I have some other thoughts rumbling around in my head. As a little social experiment, I re-downloaded the Bumble dating app and have decided to “swipe right” on every match that pops up. For those unfamiliar (and be glad if you are), Bumble is sorta like a more female-friendly version of Tinder. Well, I also assume Tinder is mostly about hook ups (I have never used it, but that’s how it is portrayed). With Bumble, the woman has to make the first move if each of you both have swiped right (if you swipe left, that means you aren’t interested). You have 24 hours to make contact with your match or it disappears and then they have 24 hours to respond or again, it disappears. 

By randomly swiping right on all the men who have popped up, I’ve made way more matches than I would have if I was actually looking at their profiles and picking and choosing. Hey, my family always said I was too picky, so now they can’t say that. Of course, it was mostly my grandmother who said that and she’s been dead for a while now, so if she’s still bitching from beyond the grave that I’m single then those heavenly choirs of angels need to get to work to keep her occupied. I’m just sayin’…

I’ll keep this little experiment going for a while now to see what happens. Once I actually DO match with someone, then I go look at their pictures and profile and see if we have anything at all in common. Location is important too since my last attempt at romance was long distance and we see how well that worked out. *insert appropriately sarcastic face emoji here please* Then I reach out with some idiotic comment about the weather or how is your day. Whatever works to get a conversation going. The trouble is, these folks can’t seem to carry on a conversation back!! Oh believe me, I do make some kind of effort after making first contact (there should be a Star Trek TNG reference here…I just know it…), but much as I can talk and talk and talk, it’s hard to carry on a conversation with someone that gives one-word responses. Do guys really think, as a friend speculated this morning, that they don’t have to make an effort anymore? Egads. And no thanks!

The truth is though, I don't want to meet a man that way. If I am meant to meet and date another one, I just want to meet him like (I think) normal people should meet - in the store or through friends or at church or something like that. I'm sure in today's world it IS normal to meet on-line, but that's not what I want. That's another reason I'll be angry with the guy I was dating longer than perhaps I should be. We were two people who knew each other for quite a while and then decided to get romantic and it worked. For a while, anyway. THAT is the kind of way I want to get involved with someone. Not by swiping right!