I am writing this mostly as therapy for myself, a way to work through some of my emotions around this.
I fell hard for Tim. We emailed and IM’d a lot before we finally met. We really clicked and I could barely wait to meet him. He felt the same. He was playful and smart and funny and I was wildly attracted to him. We saw each other four times in that first week after meeting. We were talking about the future, and were connecting. I think it’s fair to say I’d never connected with anyone on so many levels, so quickly. Everything seemed promising. The morning before Thanksgiving we made plans for Monday(he has his boys all weekend so we wouldn’t be able to get together). We both moaned and groaned about how difficult it would be to wait that long to see each other again.
We each had other plans on Thanksgiving, and it was too early to meet each other’s families. I texted him on Thanksgiving afternoon, a simple “gobble, gobble” to let him know I was thinking of him, and I got a wordy text back which ended in “Talk to you soon” but I didn’t hear from him that night, nor all day on Friday. Friday evening he logged on to IM and sent me a message saying he and the boys had just gotten home, they were going to watch a show and would I be around later. I settled in to wait for him to be free so we could chat, either online or on the phone.
He called after the boys were in bed, and after sharing Thanksgiving Day stories he said, “I need to talk to you about something,” and my blood ran cold.
Wednesday evening, his most recent ex-girlfriend showed up at his house. As he said, “I thought our story was over, but it isn’t.” He went on and on about how wonderful and amazing I am but I wasn’t really listening. How wonderful can you be if you come in second place? If you can be excited about someone in the morning, and then jumping back with someone else a few hours later? I listened, and was silent. He said he had seen a future with me, and that he had been looking forward to where were going. Finally I said, in a cry-filled voice, “I don’t know what you want me to say.” He must have said something and I then said, “You seem like a great guy, so I’ll wish you happiness.” And then, “The longer I stay on the phone with you the harder this will be” and we hung up. I was numb. I barely slept all night. I’m still mostly numb.
My three year marriage was mostly miserable. It ended slowly and agonizingly, as each day the love and desire oh-so-slowly slipped away. I never shed a tear during the whole process. I have already cried over Tim. I know he doesn’t deserve this much of my grief and energy. I feel foolish for falling so hard and so quickly. For hurting so much when I have only known him a short time. And yet, I don’t know any other way to be.
I am so, so sad. I’m definitely feeling sorry for myself and am not sure how to snap out of it. I miss the potential we thought we had in a way that makes my heart hurt. I’m wondering if I really have the stomach, or the heart, for this dating thing.
Last year in my dipping-toe-in-the-water-of-dating I determined pretty quickly that I just didn’t have the time to date. My life is very full and busy. I hold down a full time job for a salary, am parenting two still-young children on my own (a full time job in itself), maintain a home, have now two dogs and all the extraneous life pieces that go with all those things. Finding time to squeeze another person into that seemed near impossible.
Until I met Tim that is. I’ve already chronicled our first date and want to let you know that I will not be chronicling any more like that (phew, right?) but we’ve seen each other three times now in less than a week. Things look really promising, although it is still very early. At any rate, I am very much enjoying getting to know him, and finding the time to see him does not seem to be a big obstacle at all.
Yesterday I ran in a local road race. It was a 4.7 mile run (yes, and odd distance) and the longest I’d run in quite awhile. But it was a perfect fall day, and the course was through some well-maintained paths along a canal near where we live and it was beautiful and relaxing to run. I finished strong and it felt great the whole way. I’m hooked on the racing bug and am going to look for the next one soon! I had a sitter for the kids and it was really nice to get out and have some time for just me.
If you read yesterday’s post you already know that last night I had a date. A first date with a new guy.
I got to the restaurant and parked on the street outside. I was a teensy bit early (about 15 minutes) because my sitter had arrived and I was too nervous to hang around the house any longer. I figured I’d wait in my car till a few minutes before our agreed meeting time, since I was sure I was too early for him to already be there, and I didn’t want to wait inside by myself.
A few minutes later a car pulled over to park, and when the driver got out, I knew it was him. We’ll call him Tim. I watched him walk into the restaurant, waited a beat or two, and then went in myself. As much fun with talking and banter we’d been enjoying through email, Instant Messaging and the phone, I was concerned that once we met in person it would fall flat. I’m really funny about that. I’ve rejected otherwise perfect men because I just couldn’t imagine kissing them.
We greeted each other with a hug and went off to the “first date table” he had requested in arriving before me. It was off in the corner – the perfect place away from the noise to talk. He pulled out my chair for me and as he sat down he said, “I want you to know there is no reason for you to be nervous. I will be playing the part of nervous tonight.” How cute is that???
We ordered two wine flights – one red and one white, and two different orders of tapas. Neither of us had the stomach to eat much (nerves you know), but the food was excellent and the wine helped take the edge off. We had a most enjoyable time talking and laughing and enjoying finally being together in the same room.
Then we played a little game of Truth or Dare. This was something we had talked about beforehand – we’d play a hand or three of cards – poker, go fish, crazy eights, whatever – and the winner would get to have the loser do a truth and a dare. Because of the tone some of our conversations had taken, these were already assumed to be a tad on the PG-13 side. I had mine all ready, but I was mostly hoping I would lose because I was too nervous to actually have him read or do them.
Well, I won, and as the winner I decided to read the ones he had prepared for me instead (winners make the rules after all!). His Truth was easy – it asked if I’d ever gone skinny dipping, how I liked it, and if I’d ever do it again. Yes, a lot, and yes! Then I opened his Dare. It made me blush to read it, but suffice to say, it was really just a very wordy version of the one I had prepared for him, so I gave him mine instead. Mine read, “Kiss me. Right here, right now.” He smiled as he read it, said, “Right here?”. I responded, “That’s what it says.” He got up, came over to my seat and bent down and kissed me so softly, so sweetly and with just a little passion thrown in there at the end. It was very nice, and very exciting. I hadn’t kissed anyone in way too long, so it was even better.
Once that tension barrier had been broken we relaxed even more and we continued enjoying our time together. We made plans to get together again (this Saturday!) and reluctantly left the restaurant since I had a teenage sitter with school the next day to relieve at home. He even offered to chip in for the sitter (which I declined) – is that nice or is that nice?
Chemistry? We got it. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Tonight I am going on my first first date in just over a year.
I really, REALLY like this guy. We met online, and have emailed, IM’d and talked on the phone. We have seen photos of each other. The chemistry is there and I like him very much without even having officially met him yet.
I am hopeful that our in-person meeting (which is for drinks and tapas later tonight) will prove just as exciting and wonderful as the lead up has been. There may be plenty of fish out there, but you only need to bring home one.
When my ex and I were separating there was a lot of anger. Emotions were running high and a lot of things were said and done in anger that were not kind. At the time I can remember thinking that I still felt like the same person, but that I thought that some people he cared about (namely his parents) would absolutely cringe to hear some of what he was saying or to learn of what he was doing. I’m not saying I was perfect, but I was certainly (far) less awful than he was.
One of the worst things he did was to come in one day to pick up some of his things when Krystal and I were out. That had been agreed to. When she and I returned home my eyes went right to where the video camera, case and tapes were kept on the bookshelf in the living room. What stared back was an empty space. Rage and sickness took over. I didn’t care so much about the camera, but the tapes were everything I had of Krystal from the moment I met her. In my opinion the tapes were hers.
Over the next few weeks and months he used those tapes as leverage whenever he could. He threatened to destroy them. While we used a mediator to handle the divorce rather than hiring attorneys who would take all our money, we probably weren’t very good candidates for mediation. He was very angry, which was how I now realize he expressed pain. The marriage, if not the actual divorce, was quite expensive for me. It wasn’t until we were divorcing, a process we started before our third anniversary, that I realized marriage is a legal blending of two people. You basically form a corporation with another person when you marry. Silly me had thought it was about love. I do not know if I will ever marry again, but if I do, it will be with that knowledge, and I do not rule out a pre-nup. It’s not unromantic, it’s business.
As far as the video camera and tapes go, he showed up unexpectedly at Krystal’s final gymnastics class that year with the camera, took some video, and then without fanfare handed me the camera and case, with tapes inside. My heart was pounding so loud and hard I was sure he would see it through my shirt, and my mind was spinning with how I could run off with it before he grabbed it back. But he didn’t. They have been mine, and will be Krystal’s, ever since. He did remove the tape of our wedding, but I didn’t care. I assume he took a hammer to it, or ran over it with his car, or tossed it in Lake Ontario as he drove by one day, and whatever happened to it is OK with me. I got what was precious.
A few other things relating to our marriage seem to be missing too. While he got the engagement ring in the split (even the mediator was shocked he would ask, but I was stupid and didn’t care), our marriage certificate was mysteriously unable to be found after I moved. I might not have noticed except I changed my name back after our divorce and needed it during the adoption process for Belle. I was able to get another copy, but the lingering question to me was why? Why would he take it? My wedding band has also been missing since even before the move. I’ve never been a jewelry person, but I did like wearing a wedding ring. When I realized the ring was missing I actually bought myself some costume jewelry rings that I occasionally wear on my other hand. What he wanted with the inexpensive band I wore is beyond me.
When Krystal was little, and before we got married, two of his family members gave her savings bonds. They were issued in her first name with his last name, which was never her name. My mother has offered to help get them switched over to her correct and legal name, but the bonds are missing too. I did ask him several months ago if he might have run across them – I have learned to let things be his idea – but he said he didn’t think he’d seen them, and so far he has not produced them. I am willing to believe he doesn’t knowingly have them, and if he does come across them in the future, he will give them back. Four years ago I would not have felt confident saying that.
This morning Krystal was poking around with the myriad of things on my dresser. One of these things is a small wooden box that closes with a buckle. I’ve had it since I was about 9 or 10, just a tad older than Krystal. I keep old money in it – some $2 bills, Kennedy half dollars, silver dollars and the like. I don’t think I’ve opened it in years, but it’s not something I’d ever consider getting rid of. She was fascinated by the money “They make $2 bills!?!?” and wanted to know where I got it. Then she pulled out a gold ring. My wedding ring. What is it doing in there? I’m reasonably sure I never put it there. Did he hide it there? Or did I and promptly forget about it?
The inside of the ring has an inscription: Love is in the details.
Who out there is on Facebook? I resisted for awhile, but once I succumbed I found:
Facebook is so much fun!
Facebook is addictive!
Facebook has contributed to the plot of at least two TV shows I watch regularly (Ugly Betty and Trust Me). It’s a real pop culture phenomenon, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
I haven’t specifically checked lately, but I’m up to about 85 friends. These friends traverse almost all chapters of my life: high school, college, past co-workers, fellow adoptive parents, current co-workers, a couple blogging buddies, my step-mother, and more than a few ex-boyfriends (including Gary, my speed dating guy, who I feel better than ever about not pursuing things further – I really should de-friend him, but what can I say, I’m a voyeur). It can be very strange to have people who knew you “when” mingling amongst those who know you now. If you’re anything like me, you’ve changed lots and present different sides of yourself to different people, so arguably some of these people know very different “you’s!” I have set up “groups” of friends, but have yet to restrict access to any photos or posts to only certain groups, although I set the groups up with that in mind. I know some “friends” better than others, and especially regarding high school friends, some of them I barely knew even then. But I’m Facebook friends with them now as an avenue to finding folks I did know, should they join in the future.
When I first joined I did what I’m sure most folks do, and searched for those people you’ve often thought of over the years but had lost touch with. I found my erstwhile prom date that way, and have enjoyed the re-established connection. I searched for my ex-husband, out of morbid curiosity, but he wasn’t on. I searched his sisters (one of whom I’m still close to), and his brother-in-laws, one of whom is a very minor celebrity (TV/movie writer). I found the BIL, but I didn’t friend him.
For some reason I searched the sister I like again on Friday, and she’s now on Facebook. I debated about friending her, all sorts of scenarios running in my mind. While I don’t post anything uber private on Facebook, I’m also not sure I want my ex-husband knowing any of what I post. Then again, I shouldn’t be so hung up on myself as to think everyone is so interested in what I have to say that she would run off and tell him any of what I might post.
In the end I decided to friend her. She accepted.
I also searched the ex again, and he’s now there too. He is not (yet) friends with his sister. The ex and I are connected on LinkedIn, but I see that as a professional networking site, where Facebook is personal. I’m OK with using him for job opportunities (and vice versa), but personal…..not so much. I have to assume he’s looked for me too, and seen that I’m there, but has elected not to friend me, probably for many of the same reasons I have. Once we have a common friend, that may get a little stickier.
Don’t you love how I can find things to worry about?
After my last “big date” with Gary almost two weeks ago, a break over Thanksgiving wherein he traveled across the country to have a too-short visit with his kids, and a date looming this weekend which I had not decided what we should even do, I had to face the truth. The cringing when I saw his number on my caller-id had to mean only one thing: I am not ready to date. Or at least not date this man.
I have had a lot of time to think since our last date. I wasn’t feeling any physical attraction, and even though several of you mentioned that you didn’t initially feel attracted to your husbands, or other men you ended up in relationships with, I knew I didn’t have the time to wait for that to develop (sitters are expensive, and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger). Truthfully that’s happened to me as well – I actually married a man I wasn’t sure I liked after the first date (turns out my first instincts were correct, oh well).
But it wasn’t just that. I think we have some different values about a lot of things, which was evident to me even after just two dates. Which will probably be a bigger issue for me as I’m older and I know I’m pretty well entrenched in my ways and ideals, as I imagine almost anyone is in their forties or fifties. Interestingly enough, the last time I did online dating, in the mid-90’s, my experience with men was similar to what I also ran into with Gary this time – the men were nice, but seemed to presume a level of relationship or intimacy that was more advanced than where I was.
Anyway, I knew any future date would have me seething in resentment that my “me” time was being taken up. I knew I had to take care of this beforehand. My best friend’s husband gave me the go-ahead to use email, given we’ve only been on two dates, and I was more than thrilled to use that option. So I sent Gary an email this morning:
I hate having to resort to email for this, but honestly it’s how I feel most comfortable, especially since we don’t know each other super well. I apologize in advance if this seems impersonal, or cowardly, to you, but please understand this is about me. Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about you, and me, and whatever might or might not be going on between us, and about me. Yes, I said me twice. I’ve been doing a lot of introspection. And here’s what I’ve come up with. I signed up for speed dating because I thought I wanted to date. I thought I wanted to give myself something: some grown-up time, an adult friendship, someone to count on, and possibly even someone to have a relationship with. And unfortunately, I find that even though I did this to try to give myself something, I’ve realized that I don’t have anything to give right now. Perhaps at the root is that my children are too young, my job situation too sketchy, or any combination of those plus everything else involved in being a single mom, – but whatever it is, at the end of a day, at the end of a week, I am spent, and there is nothing left for anyone else. I feel awful because you have been nothing but kind and sweet and generous to me. You seem like a wonderful man, and I have enjoyed getting to know you.
I hope you can see this as I mean it, which is completely about me. It is me who thought I was ready for something I am not, and not you who did anything wrong.
I wish you nothing but happiness and success in all you do – and I hope you’re able to get to your girls full time just as soon as you can.
All the best,
And he responded back within 10 minutes – he said he thought something was up, offered himself as a friend anytime, and wished me a “great life with your girls.”
Gary called the night before he left for LA, and after chatting a bit about nothingness, the conversation went something like this:
Gary: OK, so I’m going to say something here and you can stop me at any time. (I immediately know where he is going with this but am ever so curious to hear how it comes out.)
Gary: The other night when we were in the car in your driveway I wanted to kiss you, but I wasn’t getting the “go signal”.
Gary: I just want you to know that I really like you and I’m willing to take whatever you’re willing to give, even friendship. I recognize you have a lot at stake here with those girls and my situation is a risk too. (He means the fact that he wants to move back to the west coast to live near his kids full time, which was the original reason I marked him a “No” after the speed dating thing.)
Me: <Not sure what to say, so out comes a lot of nothing> Thank you for that. That is really generous of you to say. I’m still trying to figure that all out.
The conversation wrapped up soon after that, but the main thing I’m wrestling with right now is my apparent utter lack of physical attraction, and the fact that when he calls he wants to talk for an hour or more each time. I just don’t have that kind of time! And I think I am beginning to resent him for it. Always a recipe for romance, eh?
So I’m feeling very ambivalent about Date #3, currently set up for Saturday, December 6th. I did suggest a more casual outing than the play, but haven’t quite yet determined what would best fit the bill. Some ideas floating around right now are: bowling, a casual wine place where you sit on couches like a living room and drink wine, eat appetizers (or dinner). Any suggestions are welcome!
Regular readers, rejoice! I am about to dissect my second date with Gary, which took place on Saturday night.
As a reminder, this was a charity benefit dinner for a food bank, sponsored by a Boston radio station, with three different musical acts.
I had agonized in the week leading up to Saturday about how we would meet up. I thought about driving someplace to meet and then going in his car, or having him come to my house but not coming in, etc. Finally I told him all this (as he kept saying I needed to send him my address so he’d know where to go), and he totally got that I didn’t want he and my girls to be introduced just yet since, as he put it, “we don’t know what we are yet.” So major points for understanding on that one. Dating is so much more complicated when you have children! We ended up agreeing that he would call when he got to my house, and I would just head out and meet him – no kid/Gary contact.
So he called and I went out to meet him, and…….there was no car in the driveway. Okkkaaay. I called his cell phone and it turns out he was waiting across the street, a few houses up. I watched him turn around and head to me. I should say he is an electrical engineer and relies heavily on his GPS, but GPS can only get you so far – you still have to look at the numbers on the houses – sheesh! I got in and there was a flower on the seat for me. A calla lily that he hoped was a match for my arrangement from earlier in the week. It was much larger and a bit lighter in color, but the thought was there (and totally unnecessary). And then he said something odd – “I went to them in person for this one – they are sort of “my florist” – very good.” To which I said, “Oh? You send a lot of flowers, do you?” And since I can’t remember what he said, I guess it wasn’t satisfying in either direction.
It was about 6:30 by the time we got to the hotel (it started at 6), and cocktail hour and the silent auction were in full swing. Drinks were uber expensive, and while I offered to pay, he waved me off saying I had babysitter expenses (but he paid $150 for the tickets!). Parking was free though! He kept touching my shoulder when talking to me. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I mean, it wasn’t like I wanted to bat him away, but I wasn’t sure I was excited about it either.
They opened the doors to the room around 7 and it was like a wedding – round tables for 10 all over the place. We found a seat and sat down with a bunch of 20-somethings while we waited for things to get started. At one point he said “Give me your hand”, and so I did and he entwined his fingers in mine to “relax” me. I felt like my hand and arm were not attached to my body. Was not really feeling it. Then we decided to get up and go check out the silent auction stuff since it was too crowded before. We did that, and when we went back in we got in line for the food (which was horrendous, by the way, not that I cared very much) and the woman we got behind was indignant that we were jumping the line and demanded to know which table we were sitting at (way in the back, and we hadn’t been called yet), and we got to bantering back and forth with her and ended up sitting with her and her friend at their table and had a fabulous time just having fun with them. I told them we were on our second date and had met at a speed dating event. They were surprised – they thought we were married!
There was an older (55-60-ish) couple sitting next to us that needed to get a room. Once the meal was over they took turns kissing at each other’s ears and nibbling wherever. At one point during a break between acts he got up and straddled her, spilling her drink with his hips as he swung over her (they didn’t notice till later). It was really pretty bad, but it gave us something to be uncomfortable about together – we decided they must be having an affair with each other.
At another point during a song he took my hand again, and this time I sort of liked it. My heart was pounding like crazy and I got all tingly. When the song was over we clapped, and I decided I didn’t feel comfortable enough to put my hand back on his leg. He certainly could have reached for it again, but he didn’t, which was fine too.
Then we left and had a nice conversation in the car on the way back. I expected him to try to kiss me, but he didn’t. If he had, I would have kissed him but I was just as glad he didn’t. I was surprised (but not disappointed) that he didn’t offer to walk me to the door, but he did wait till I was inside before he drove off. And he has emailed me 5 times and called once since then (he knew we had plans all day yesterday, otherwise it may have been more). However, I didn’t pick up the phone when he called last nigh because he wants to talk for so long every time! And I was sooooooo tired – Saturday night I didn’t get to bed till way later than usual, didn’t sleep well, and between kids and the dog was up way too early.
We have tentative plans to get together the weekend after Thanksgiving (he will be in California with his kids over this coming weekend), but I’m not sure…..he wants to go to a play, which I was at first on board with, but am now thinking I may need something lower key. This thing on Saturday was an “EVENT” that was very expensive and with dressing up and everything. Just a lot of expectations. Maybe just mine, but I’m the one that needs to be persuaded anyway. I’m trying to think of an alternative, casual type thing to do. If the weather were nicer I’d suggest going for ice cream and a walk. So I’m afraid that I’m being all negative and I’m going to poison it unnecessarily. I told my mother yesterday I wasn’t sure the sparks were there and she said, “Isn’t friendship more important than sparks?” and I’ve been thinking a lot about that. And I guess my answer to that is – you definitely need a foundation of friendship, but if you don’t have some sort of spark/chemistry at the beginning, it’s a long road. I want to want to touch him (or whoever) all the time (at least right now anyway!). I want to want him (or whoever) to kiss me. Am I asking for too much? Am I too old to want some sort of physical passion?
Oh, and I stressed out way too much over my outfit. While I definitely looked nice (which he told me several times, in a much nicer way), I could have gotten by with a much more casual outfit too.
And I have a new favorite musical artist – Ingrid Michaelson was the first act. I had never heard of her but she was funny, adorable and mega-talented.
Paula Cole was next and while she was good, she didn’t have the same presence or energy that Ingrid had. Something to put on my wish list!
So in the end, I had a good time, but I can feel myself withdrawing because of my apparent lack of physical attraction for this guy. My friend whose daughter baby sat my kids had this to say about that: The lack of compelling attraction could be for all kind of reasons – first dates in a long while – overly cautious due to past wounds – anxiety – stress – thinking about the kids and how it would complicate your lives. You know what I mean? There could be a million things going through your mind almost subconsciously that could get in the way of a natural attraction to anyone right out of the gate. No?
I got a call from a florist at work this morning, wanting to verify the building address I work in as they had a delivery for me.
Flowers? For me??
I had two hours to wonder what on earth was the occasion! And when they arrived, I was delighted with them:
Sunday evening Gary called and the first thing he said was, “What’s your favorite color?” I said, “Well, it depends on the context! Are we talking to wear, to paint a room, what?” He was astounded that I might have different favorite colors depending on which way the wind might be blowing in East Topeka next Wednesday, but hey, I’m a girl. I finally decided on purple, but I had a hard time describing the shade – he asked violet? and I said, no more like eggplant, but not quite.
Later on in the conversation the musical group Deep Purple came up, and I said I was not familiar with any particular songs they had done, but I sang a line from a song called Deep Purple – I didn’t know who sang it, though I was pretty sure it wasn’t the group. I said I’d check them out on iTunes and he suggested the song “Smoke on the Water” (are you following all this?)
The next day I sent him an email with the subject “Deep Purple” and said I had listened to the free 30 second clip of “Smoke on the Water” on iTunes, and while I was familiar with the beat, the lyrics didn’t ring any bells. And the musical style was a bit “harder” than I typically like. But I also shared that the song I had been referring to was sung by Nino Tempo and April Stevens – who knew?
The card that came with the flowers said simply, “Deep Purple”.
Until I read the note I was wondering whether to be charmed or freaked out. I’m choosing charmed for now.