Archive for the Dating Category

Finding the Gratitude

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, Relationships with tags , , on November 28, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving and I always like to reflect on the wonderful things I have or have had in my life. It’s so easy to focus on the negative–the things I don’t have or the people who have hurt me in the past. So much of this blog is about processing all the shit. Frankly, there’s been a lot of shit in the past decade. For tonight, I’d like to just think of the good things. So tonight I’m going to take a walk down memory lane with my relationships, focusing only on the good from each one. I’m going to focus on both something I loved about the relationship and a life lesson I took away as a result of it.

From my ex-husband I took away two beautiful, brilliant, amazing kids. I will always be grateful that out of the love I once had for him, my two favorite things in life came into existence. From our relationship, I learned that it’s better to leave no matter how impossible the leaving seems, or you risk becoming someone you don’t recognize. I also learned that no matter what my own insecurities might be, to never let them hang out with a partner. It’s not sexy or attractive to look to your partner for your own self-esteem. I learned to start looking for my own.

From Z, the man I loved right after my marriage ended, I will always love the humor we shared. I love the deep thoughtfulness he brought to our conversations. I love that he loved me, even if it wasn’t enough in the end.  I also got my first lesson in not pretending something is enough, just so you won’t have to say goodbye.

L gave me a flirty sort of fun that made me think I might have found “the one”, at least for a couple of months. I loved how tender and protective he could be sometimes. There were many, many times that even after our breakup, he made me feel as though I had someone who cared enough about me that I could call and say “I need you to be there for me.” He was my second lesson in the failure of pretending something is enough when it’s not, just so I wouldn’t lose him. Maybe with enough lessons, I’ll learn! I also learned that if something went wrong the first time, a second or third time of trying is probably not going to make it right.

I had to spend more time thinking about D, to try to remember the good. Tonight is the two year anniversary of our first breakup. Interestingly enough, the good from the relationship is also tied to what it taught me. D was the first man with whom I saw the hope of a lasting relationship, who seemed to progress the relationship to a committed level that appeared as though it could go the distance. That was, briefly, a reassurance I’d badly needed. The life lesson came from learning that when it feels like a man is barely contributing to the relationship, it signals something that shouldn’t be ignored, no matter what excuse he gives for why he can’t give more. People put time and effort into what they value, yet I rarely felt valued. The life lesson is to not settle for something mediocre when you know you want and deserve more, out of a desperate desire to have someone willing to love and stay with you. If you don’t feel loved and desired, what’s the point? I also got a reminder in why trying to make things work multiple times, when the person broke your heart the first time, is a very bad idea. The gratitude comes in having the pain finally eased to where it doesn’t feel crippling and in knowing I learned so much about what I don’t want the next time.

With J, my barely born relationship, there were many things to love and feel gratitude for. I am grateful for the feeling of radiant joy I felt during the two months we were together; it was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I’m grateful for the easy physical affection he always established; he was quick to hold my hand, put his arms around me or kiss me at times when it wasn’t just about trying to get me in bad. In fact, walking hand-in-hand with him is the memory that comes to mind for me first. Well…after the sex! I am grateful for the fun and child-like joy I experienced on every date with him. I’m grateful for the deep sexuality that he brought out in me that managed, ironically enough, to feel healthy in a way some of my others have not. In the end, the life lesson I learned was to trust my intuition. Listen to the voice within that tells me when loving someone, although tempting, is a really bad idea.

In my life right now I have many things to be grateful for:

My children, with whom I share a deep bond of love. They are amazing and wonderful, even in the times when they drive me bonkers. They’ve made me a better person and I can only hope I’ll help them grow into better people.

A job that I enjoy and that I’m fairly good at, that also means something besides just a paycheck. It’s not every person who can find fulfillment and meaning in their work, outside of just making a living. I’ve found it.

A cozy little cottage home that shelters us. A car that still runs well. That all our basic physical needs are met and many, many beyond that. That on the Maslow hierarchy of needs, I’m at the top and have the luxury to sit here and ponder my life and the meaning of it.

I’m healthy. That the medical issue my youngest child has is treatable and that between her father and I, we can afford treatment that keeps her symptoms mostly at bay, most of the time.

That I have a community of friends and family to help be a support system for myself and my children. That I have some dear friends in whom I confide the secrets of my soul, whom I trust to keep them safe.

For everyone tonight and into the holiday weekend, I wish you joy and peace. I hope the list of good things in your life outweighs the bad. We all have our burdens to bear and sometimes they feel very heavy. May your burdens feel lightened by the grace of the good.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Power of Intuition

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, online dating, Relationships, self-improvement with tags , , , , on November 24, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

I’ve always had a gift for reading people. Since I was young, I could size people up quickly. I could hear inflections in their voice, see quick glimpses of expression and observe subtle body language that seemed to elude a lot of other people. I could strongly sense if someone was friend or foe and a lot of things in-between.

There have, however, been two gaping holes in the power of my intuition throughout my life. One is the desire to have people be other than what they are and the belief that if I simply give someone enough of a chance, they can overcome the first impression that I receive from them. The second, hinging strongly upon the first, is my tendency to completely ignore my intuition when it comes to men that I’m interested in.

This was recently proven to me quite effectively in a benign sort of way. I met a man, an attractive man who ended up asking me out. He was very quiet throughout most of the social gathering and mainly stared at me. If I got a quick image at one point during our evening, as he sat placidly eating a large slice of cheesecake, of a brown-eyed cow chewing his cud, I chastised myself for my mean judgment and deemed him “reserved”. Yet…our subsequent three dates that followed would prove that “reserved” can also mean “quiet” or even “boring”. He would primarily sit, throughout the date, staring at me with nothing to say. I carried almost the entire conversation and he would speak only when prompted. At one point, when asked pointedly why he was staring at me without speaking, he volunteered: “You’re just so pretty to look at.” He gave enough interesting information on the first date that I determined there must be more beneath the surface, just waiting to come out if given enough time. Nope. After two more dates, it was more boring and awkward than ever. I quickly grew tired of being an ornament that he gazed at without speaking.

My most recent attempt at a relationship with J followed much the same path. Our email and phone conversations left me with an impression of someone who was slightly off, but after repeated attempts to woo me into a date, I acquiesced. Upon meeting him, my initial judgment was of someone who had a difficult time responding appropriately to social and emotional cues, seemed to nearly burn with  frenetic intensity and who had a significant amount of emotional damage. Yet…I told myself not to judge him by his childhood and his former addictions. Lust and a tender heart toward the little, abandoned boy he once was had me muting those voices in my head that said: “Run”. So I stayed, fell, and found out the hard way just how correct my intuition about him was.

I’ve had to admit that even D, as I approach the two year anniversary of the first time he emotionally gutted me, rubbed my intuition the wrong way upon our initial date. As he strutted toward me across the restaurant, finger pointed towards me in triumphant pleasure over a practical joke he played before he even met me face-to-face, my first thought was “Schmucky, insincere frat-boy turned yuppy with a strong streak of mean”. Instead of heeding that intuition, which I would receive tiny glimpses of again and again throughout our nearly 19 month arc, I let myself come to see his other good qualities and fell in love. If I’d simply walked away after that first date, I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak and angst.

Yet therein lies my dilemma: No human being is ever only one thing. D did prove to be schmucky, insincere and to have a strong streak of meanness. He could also be unconventional, loving and tender. J was a person who had spent a lifetime running from his emotional damage and thus, couldn’t understand the emotional cues of others because of his addictions. Yet he was also intelligent, deep and exciting.

My glitch lies in always wanting to see the best qualities of another person. I’ve always believe that was the right thing to do, the loving thing to do. Yet I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy doing it. After all, the man who beats his wife so badly she ends up in the hospital didn’t win her, initially, with his abuse. He won her with his good qualities, with the best part of himself. In the end, though, if she’d listened to the voice that told her he seemed to fly off the handle easily or needed to control others a bit too much, perhaps she could have avoided that hospital trip altogether.

How would my life have been different if I’d listened to my intuition from the very first moment I met someone? Is being judgmental a bad thing or a good thing? Or does it depend on the individual doing the judging? I’ve always been able to sort out the surface from the interior pretty easily, so perhaps it’s easier to trust my gut. When do you temper a poor first impression with the ability to give people a second chance? These are some of the questions I’m having to ponder. According to my therapist, I need to be more judgmental. I’ve also realized my initial first impressions have always been right, I’ve simply ignored them. Yet… something about the concept of being judgmental troubles me.

Where is the boundary between acceptance and judgment?

The Lure of a Challenge?

Posted in Dating, Relationships on November 15, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Relationship fails aside, I’ve never had a problem attracting male attention. While I enjoy being pursued, it’s rarely the men who fall all over me that hold my attention. Of course, what I really want is that delicate balance: A man who lets me know he’s interested, but is secure and strong enough he won’t jump through hoops to win me. He’ll put in effort, but he’s not going to fawn or be led around. The balance is difficult to find. What I’ve usually encountered is men who will say or do anything to win me, for whom I begin to lose respect. Or men who think they don’t have to do anything and are apathetic about the relationship.

So, a couple of months ago, I met a guy at a Meetup. He emailed me the day after we met to “extend the hand of friendship” and was very sweet. Since then we’ve kept in touch via text with casual, flirty banter. When I’ve seen him at Meetups, the contact follows this formula: Connect, drift apart to mingle, connect, drift apart to mingle, eventually gravitate toward one another for the duration of the evening. Then he walks me to my car for safety and hugs me goodnight.

Friendly, right? Yet…there’s definitely something beyond friendship there. He makes continual reference to how many people ask me out or give me their number; I have a hard time being able to tell if it’s annoyance or amusement that prompts the preoccupation with whether I’m dating or not. He’s obviously drawn to me. The banter and the eye contact is laden with sexual energy. People continually assume we’re dating. One observer said, “His body language says he’s definitely into you.” Another: “He’s sweet on you.” The people who have asked me out from these groups always ask, “Are you involved with ****?” I’ve made a couple of small hints to him about us getting together, which has been met with…I have no idea what. Not a rejection of the notion, but he hasn’t asked me out.

The last time we were together, I finally, after a couple of hours of following the formula and some heavy flirting, looked at him and said wryly, “You just don’t quite know what to do with me, do you?” With his typical quiet grin, he shook his head and said, “No. No I don’t.” Later on that night he made reference to how we should get together at his house for a wine night, but mentioned that it might be “weird”.

“Why would it be weird?” I ask.

“Well…then you might try to get me drunk and then we’d become friends with benefits.”

“Somehow, I don’t think I’d have to get you drunk.” I joked back with him.

To which he turned and looked into my eyes for several long seconds, before moving onto another topic. He announced at one point that he’d never date someone he met at a Meetup group, because the potential for awkwardness was too high (this was in direct reference to the dates I’ve acquired from Meetups).  At the end of the night he walked me to my car and hugged me goodnight; I kissed him on the cheek. He texted me to say we should do a wine night soon.

Dammit! I’m getting so many mixed signals from him it’s driving me nuts. What drives me even more nuts is the inner acknowledgement that part of my fascination with him might be because I can’t actually tell if he’s interested in me or not. The larger question is: Do I want him to be interested because I’m actually interested? Or do I want him to be interested so that I can win? That is a sad admission on my part, but I’ve had to admit that might be part of it. He’s clearly interested on some level, but won’t do anything about it, which makes him immensely more attractive. The intrigue is…exciting. Which I have typically found does not make a good foundation for relationships, but it certainly is fun!

For now I’m simply letting the chemistry, whatever it may be stemming from, exist between us without trying to force it to be anything. The lure of the challenge is strong, but I’m trying to resist actively pursuing it!

Conversations with Myself (Why I Am Ridiculous)

Posted in Dating, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement, sexual addiction with tags , , , on November 5, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

It’s been over a month since I spoke to J, the man who made me feel like a giddy teenager for an intense two months, then professed to me he was a sex addict that needed to go into treatment. It was only 6 days after that surprise announcement that our short relationship fell apart.

His birthday is in 2 and 1/2 weeks. For the last 4 weeks I’ve been having an on-going argument with myself. It goes something like this:

Emotional, rationalizing self (ERS for short): “I think it would be nice to send him a happy birthday email.”

Logical, sensible self (LSS): “Why? What possible reason could you have for wanting to do that? You’re crazy.”

ERS: “Well, I still care about him as a person! I want to show some support and love to let him know I’m thinking of him. Can’t I just have pure motives and try to reach out on a human level?”

LSS: “Jesus! You are so completely deluded! Pure motives, my ass! You mean you want to test the waters and see what happens. Haven’t you had enough of doing that with people who are all wrong for you? Do you like being tortured? Are you really that masochistic? You make me kind of sick!”

ERS: “Shut up! You’re such a heartless bitch! I’m just trying to be nice. I care about him and I just want him to know. It’s totally innocent and you’re just cynical. Afterall, it’s not like I expect anything from him. It would be for the thought alone, not for him to reciprocate anything!”

LSS: “You are a total liar. If he didn’t write you back, you’d be crushed. You’d go home and curl up in a little heap and watch back-to-back episodes of Vampire Diaries, alternating between guzzling wine and inhaling chocolate. Totally innocent? Do you forget I am able to see inside your dirty little fantasies? Don’t I already know he’s the star in the porn movie inside your head? There are only two reasons you could possibly have for writing him and both of them will only lead to more misery! Why don’t you try letting me run the show for awhile? It’s not like you’ve been doing such a bang-up job, now is it?”

ERS: Crickets

Yeah…I’m struggling. I still have two of his voicemails on my phone and yes, I have listened to them several times. I’ve gone back and read his bizarre poems repeatedly. I’ve looked at the picture of us on our first date over and over. I’m distanced enough after five weeks to realize it wasn’t love, by any means. So why am I still thinking about him? Three reasons: A.) Pure, intense lust (Can I count this reason twice?) B.) I got naked emotionally with him in a way I rarely do. C.) I’ve not felt that way with anyone in…years. Possibly never.

Of course, the admission of the sex addiction and the subsequent abrupt ending would probably color all of those reasons in a negative way . Hard to feel unguarded and intense about someone who’s not only verbally admitted to using women for years, but actually shown signs that despite the desire to love you, you’re really just an interchangeable vagina. Although, my vagina seems to think she has a voice in all of this and she is feeling quite frustrated at the thought of never seeing him again and thinks she might be okay, at least  a few more times, of being in the rotation. She’s being very unreasonable.  An unreasonable,  angry vagina is a bad thing. She’s scoffing when I try to offer her substitutes and, frankly, she frightens me a little.

Although my friend and I have both decided that “Interchangeable Vagina” might make an awesome punk band name.

Sigh.

I think it’s for the best if I leave this alone. If you have to tick off the days since contact and you have multiple voices in your head (one of them your vagina) arguing over what the right decision is, that’s probably a sign.

Mr. Insecure

Posted in Dating, self-esteem with tags , on October 29, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

After attending a social group recently, I was asked out by one of the members. He was attractive and funny, so I accepted. He texted me multiple times before our non-date (he told me if this casual meeting over drinks and food went well that he’d ask me out on a real date) and I got a weird vibe from the texts, but he had mentioned he hated texting because of the lack of context, so I chalked it up to an impersonal method of communication.

The non-date began fairly well. He’s new to the city, so I chose a tapas restaurant that never disappoints and is a local treasure. We talked about movies and music and food, all fairly casual subjects. I was unpleasantly surprised when he chose to mockingly impersonate a person who was sitting fairly close to us, yet thought I’d see how the rest of the evening went. As the night progressed, the pattern I began to see was of a man who was deeply insecure. He verbally assessed my body language to try to gauge my interest in him. He continued to comprise little tests, to try to figure out if I had a hidden agenda or was just being nice. He mentioned his interest in me several times, then anxiously said, “See? Now you have all the power.” He tried to cross several boundaries that I was uncomfortable with.

And in my head, I kept envisioning the new social group that I’d just joined and how awkward it would be to run into him there…because I sensed it was all going downhill.

He asked me out again and like a coward, I said yes. But driving home, I knew that I couldn’t possibly keep the date. I kept praying I’d be given a really good reason to cancel that would let him down easy and not create a big scene.

Be careful what you pray for.

stalker

In the week since the date he has texted me close to 100 times. He has sent pictures of himself, repeatedly, with the captions going something like this:

“This is the tie I’m wearing today.”

“This is what I look like today.”

“What do you think about this look?”

He was clingy and needy and ridiculously over-the-top and I felt increasingly annoyed. Until finally, he asked the question that started it all.

“Is it okay if I ask you a very forward question?”

Uhm…no. Not even slightly okay. I used the chance to set some boundaries straight and let him know I hadn’t appreciated some of his behavior the week before. He launches into a full-blown text panic attack, completely overcompensating and going on and on about how he didn’t mean it, he would fix it, he’d be better…but always ending with something along the lines of “But I can tell you don’t like me now.”

Finally, he tells me how much he misses me. To which I reply: “How? You’ve met me twice!”

Another long, novel-length text about his attraction to me, his interest, his willingness to prove his interest…”But I can tell by your answers that you’re disinterested.”

Finally, even my non-confrontational, passiveness about the situation had reached a breaking point. I canceled our plans (which I didn’t want to keep anyway) and told him I couldn’t deal with the drama and insecurity after ONE date.

Lengthy, pleading texts ensued.

Sigh.

He seemed normal when we met at the social group. Now I suppose I’ll get to circle the room at the next event and pray he stays far, far away from me. I prayed for a reason to cancel the plans that left him with dignity and me with a gentle exit strategy. Talk about a half-answered prayer! I got my reason, but now I have no doubt he is completely humiliated and I hope to never see him again…which isn’t great…considering the social group.

Double sigh.

How does one go from seeming normal to full-blown crazy within two weeks?

In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle…The Cougar Sleeps Tonight?

Posted in Dating, Relationships with tags , , on October 14, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

COUGAR06I got called a cougar last night.

May I just state for the record that I vehemently object to that label.

First of all, I’m not quite 40. Second, I don’t pursue younger men, they pursue me. And last, I despise animal prints with a passion. With all the labeling that everyone has to do to know where they and everyone else fit into the world, where does the line between MILF and cougar stand? If a man pursues a woman that’s older than him (and one with kids), apparently he’s into MILF’s. If a woman gets bold and pursues a younger man, she’s a predatory animal? With no fashion sense? Sorry…still stuck on the animal prints…

I think I’m at the age where younger men really gravitate toward me. I don’t look 25, but in some ways I feel like I’ve grown into my looks. I’m more confident in my appearance and sexuality and it shows. I don’t feel the need for a lot of drama and posturing. I’m smart, I make my own money and I don’t feel internal pressure to get married and make babies. For a guy in his early 30’s, that can be alluring, especially since a lot of women his own age will have an internal clock going.

There is a part of me that is tempted to try out this “cougar” thing. After all, I’m already getting the label, just by way of being older than 30  and having younger men ask me out. Maybe it’s time for me to put on a slinky little dress, pull out my predatory instincts (surely they’re in there somewhere!) and go hunting. Maybe it’s time to have some fun, purely for the sake of fun, instead of sitting around feeling bereft that I haven’t found my life partner. I’m sure my “prey” wouldn’t really object!

Who Are You Again??

Posted in Dating, friendship, Relationships with tags , , , on October 8, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Yesterday I went to a Meet-up Group in an attempt to make new friends and get out of the house. As I approach the group, I’m greeted by a man who pulls out a chair for me next to him. In appreciation at the warm gesture, I smile and reach out a hand to introduce myself.

“We’ve met before.” He says laconically. I must confess to some concerns about my memory lately, so feeling disconcerted, I study him for a moment. Try as I might, I’m getting nothing.

“I’m sorry…” I begin tentatively, hoping to get more information.

“We went out on a Match.com date.” He says, with a slightly amused, smug expression.

I stare at him in what I knew was an unacceptable state of non-recognition for several more seconds…brain scanning memory banks for nondescript, smug, arrogant single date encounters…Aha!

“Right.” I say confidently (as though I hadn’t completely and totally forgotten ever meeting him). “We went to —.” (Naming the Thai restaurant we visited.)

With sudden total clarity, I remembered my date with him: He was a pretentious, arrogant, number-dropping, dismissive to the server dinner companion with whom I had the rare experience of finding nothing redeeming about the evening except for the food. Typically, even my bad dates are so comically bad they make for a good story. Or, although not interested in a second date, I still manage to have a decent evening. Usually there is at the least an experience of having some common ground to cling to during conversation. This was a date where nothing dramatic happened, but I didn’t have a good time and really didn’t like him. He was boring and there was zero chemistry on any level, but that was it.

What bothers me is that I didn’t recognize him at all. Nothing. Nada. Zip. My brain finally did what it was supposed to with a lot of prompting, but otherwise I would have gone through the entire Meet-up with no clue I’d spent an hour and a half with this man just a couple of years ago. I began to frantically catalog all of my dates, to see if there were any additional ominous gaps. Then I realized how ridiculous that was, because how can you remember something you’ve forgotten, but don’t realize you’ve forgotten?

Forgetful

Is forgetting a date even remotely normal? Does it mean I’m dating too much? Do I need to start taking Ginkgo Biloba? One person told me it was a very “guy” thing to do. A friend who goes out of his way for shock value called me a “slut” when I relayed the story. That’s a pretty big stretch; if I’d slept with him and couldn’t remember him, I’d be a lot more worried. It’s entirely possible I’m overthinking this, but I do wonder if it says something about my dating habits.

We head into the movie we’re all there to see and I choose to sit in a different aisle than him , winding up with two guys who seemed close to my age. We make small talk before the movie and commentary during, then decide to go grab a bite to eat afterwards. One of the guys has jackass potential (his critique of the movie was that the actress—portraying a woman in deep space trying to survive—didn’t wear enough makeup or try hard enough to be attractive). The other guy seemed interesting and got my number at the end of the meal; it’s possible he could be fun to grab a drink or go to a concert with. Interestingly enough, the other guy sent me a long email the next day “extending the hand of friendship”.
While I don’t think either of them would be matches for me as partners, maybe I focus too much on the long-term. I’m lonely and I really need some friends and people I can call to go hang out sometimes. I’m trying to not slap a Band-Aid on my most recent dating adventure and the deepened depression it’s prompted. It would be really easy to just find someone else to date, in the hopes that THIS person would make me feel better…fix me…lift me up out of the depression. While I’m not going to make any more grand proclamations about not dating, I am trying to breathe through this and not jump for the quick fix.

So, I think I’ll continue to attend various Meet-up groups, hoping to make new friends of both genders. At the very least, having more people in my circle should be a good thing. Loneliness does not help depression, nor does not having a good support system.
Hopefully I will remember all of my new friends!

Feeling My Feelings

Posted in anxiety, Dating, depression, self-improvement with tags , , , , on October 2, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Last week I asked my therapist if it was possible to die from anxiety.

“No, not really.” He replied in an infuriatingly calm voice.

“But my chest hurts like I’m having a heart attack and it’s been going on for days!”

“I’m sure that feels really bad, but it would basically take years and years for it to kill you.”

This week, still in the middle of what feels like the world’s longest anxiety attack and a complete, sobbing mess, I basically ask for drugs.

“I need something to make me feel better RIGHT NOW!” I tell him between sobbing fits.

He tells me I need to feel my feelings. In protest, I ask him what the hell he thinks I’m doing? All I’m doing is feeling my feelings, that’s the problem! He insists that I’m so busy thinking about my feelings and trying to distract myself from them so I can continue functioning, I’m not really allowing myself to feel and identify them. He makes the asinine suggestion of taking the next two days off from work, a suggestion I immediately reject because…well…I just can’t…even though the thought of having space and time to grieve is certainly appealing to me. He tells me to use my weekend without my children to let myself sit with any feelings that come up and just feel them, without rejection or judgement.

I immediately am able to clearly identify the feeling of wanting to throttle him with my bare hands until he gives me a pill…a practice…a solution, anything that will ease this tightness in my chest and sick knot in my stomach. Anything that will make me feel better, quickly. Because getting into the hell hole bubble of grief and fear and anger that keeps surfacing sounds really, really bad and like a monstrously unappealing and scary idea.

Still, I went into this weekend prepared to try to dive headfirst into this darkest before the dawn sort of thing; feel bad so I can have hope of feeling better. I vow to myself to A.) Not drink, because I know that I drink to mute my feelings, even though I rarely get drunk; It’s still a way of escaping. B.) Let myself feel whatever comes up and try to identify what it is and trace it back to the source. Is it anger? If so, what am I angry at? Is it grief? What am I grieving?

Over the weekend, I went and met face-to-face with my lover…well, ex-lover. Perhaps that’s a future blog. Suffice it to say, for now, it gave me a lot of feelings I could work on.

The weekend was unpleasant. I cried a lot. I realized the extent of the emptiness and depression I often feel and how much my lover lifted me out of it and gave me something to look forward to; I saw how much this wave of emotion is related to not wanting to sink back into that place. I felt anger and frustration and fear and sadness. And deep down, I feel hopeless because I don’t know how to mitigate it. I can recognize relying on a partner (or the hope of a partner) to change my life is absolutely setting myself up for failure. Because if I do and things fall apart, it thrusts me right back into crisis and self-doubt. Yet I don’t know what to do differently, because I feel like I’ve tried everything. Getting “out there”, being social, starting hobbies, taking up projects, throwing myself into parenting, studying, meditating, yoga, exercise…it all feels like I’m pouring water into a jug with a bunch of holes at the bottom. At the end I’m left feeling empty…lonely…bleak. How do I change that without relying on a partner that may or may not show up, or may or may not stick around? I also realized how often when I’ve expressed sadness or anger I’ve been told all the reasons I shouldn’t feel those emotions, rather than receiving validation or even simple acceptance. Being told “feel different” is hardly a valid solution to any negative emotion; I’ve gotten the message loud and clear that what I feel is wrong, therefore who I am must be wrong. Feeling my feelings seems scary; there are all these voices in my head saying “stop being ungrateful, selfish, whiney, self-pitying, a drama queen, unenlightened, angry, a bitch, unreasonable, too sensitive…”. The list goes on and on.

So I have lots of questions, with no answers, drugs are still sounding like an appealing option and I don’t feel tremendously better. I’m calmer. I’m a week and a half past the end of things with my lover and the anxiety is still present, but I don’t feel it every single moment of the day at least. Is that progress? Or just a sink back into the emptiness?

My goal was to use this year before I turn 40 to get answers, but all I feel is the clock ticking and not really closer to knowing how to truly be happy. So…come on, Universe! Send me some light! I’d like to kind of start to figure this life thing out sometime soon…

The Love Drug

Posted in anxiety, Dating, depression, Relationships, sexual addiction on September 25, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

It’s been four days since my lover told me he couldn’t handle dating me while trying to achieve sexual sobriety. The couple of people I’ve talked to about this (and I’ve kept it limited) have essentially said: “Sorry, that sucks, but you clearly dodged a bullet.”

I hate that phrase, even while I understand what they mean by it. I escaped the extended heartbreak and risk that by all probability would have come along with loving someone who is deeply emotionally damaged. I’ve avoided pain resulting from being in relationship with someone who has alternated between alcohol, drugs and sex to escape his pain and who has not been able to sustain a loving, intimate relationship with anyone. I’m relatively unscathed.

Relatively.

I’ve spent the last three days sobbing off and on, with my brain circling around like a caged animal, snarling at the idea of losing this person I’ve fallen for. One moment convincing myself to just let it go, be thankful it wasn’t for longer and accept that trying to make it work would be even more heartbreaking. The next trying to think of reasons it would work and why I should contact him just to stay in touch. You know…stay connected so that once he’s healthy we can try again. Betwixt it all, the fragility of my self-esteem runs like a thread of darkness, whispering, “Here’s another man who is willing to give you up because you’re incapable of inspiring love or loyalty”. Common sense pulls me away from that chasm to smack me upside the head: “Really, you crazy bitch? A former junkie alcoholic who is just now entering a 12 step program for sex addiction, who can’t even be around you after 12 days of celibacy for fear he’s going to completely lose it, and you want to make this about YOU?” Then I think about him holding my hand in the park, pulling my head to his chest as we cuddle, teaching me how to swing a golf club at midnight, or kissing me until my legs tremble and I break down sobbing all over again, terrified I’ll never feel this way about someone ever again.

And there’s the crux of it. I’ve felt something that I don’t want to lose; the thought of going without it makes me feel bleak. How can I go back to dating and trying to see who ticks off the appropriate items on my list? I’ve spent two months barely able to think about anything but him, feeling something extraordinary. I found myself watching the way he moved his body and hearing the inflection in the way he said my name and thinking how beautiful he was, like some love-struck teenager. Yes, I tried like hell to insulate myself with all the arguments against it. I tried to date other people, hoping it would stop the head-over-heels fall into insanity. None of it worked and finally I had almost managed to convince myself I didn’t need to worry. It would all work out.

Logically, I know this is infatuation. The only way forward is cold turkey, right? No contact, no reaching out to find out how he is and trying like hell to stay busy. I’ve made the mistake over and over of not moving on and I don’t want to keep doing it. Between my propensity for extreme sensitivity to emotion and the already compromised and barely healed state of my emotional health, I’ve got to keep moving forward. When I made the decision to live nearly 6 years ago, it was with the knowledge that the consequences of giving into my depression are too severe. Becoming immobilized is not an option.

But this fucking sucks and I want to scream and cry. I want to not feel terror claw at my throat when I think of trying to date again, because this feeling is so awful and wrenching that I wonder if it’s easier to just give up on love completely. I’m really close to saying “Fuck it” and just not trying anymore and I’m cursing myself for being fool enough to be in this situation, when I had reservations from the beginning. The phrase “the heart wants what the heart wants”, that I’ve always thought was complete self-indulgent crap, is making sense to me right now.

And there’s still this self-mocking voice that can recognize that the detox I’m going through and all the analysis and strong emotion that its eliciting is probably similar to what he’s going through while trying to be celibate. This feeling is like a drug and it’s going to take time and removal from the source to get sober. I guess I need to settle in for the mood swings, tears, anger and railing against fate that I’m in for while the drug leaves my system; hopefully it will be a short period of time.

Because you can’t love someone after two months, right?

Right.

Stud for Hire: Mr Rogers & The Over-Revealer

Posted in anxiety, Dating, Relationships on September 17, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

So, I’m still dating the younger man and to say it’s gone well is an understatement. Every date is better than the last! My response? Utter and complete panic.

So, I do what any woman in a panic does: I try desperately to widen my options in an attempt to not care one way or the other. I accept another date with a “good on paper” man. He’s in his forties, attractive, has children, has a steady job and seems intelligent and thoughtful. We meet at a local restaurant and when he arrives, I’m happy to see he is quietly attractive and able to hold a conversation. He vaguely reminds me of Mr. Rogers and I attempt to ignore the visions in my head of him in a cardigan.

The dinner conversation leads me into vast and extensive knowledge of his past…his paternity, the paternity of his children, his shame (yet secret pride) over the woman who used him only for sex and wanted to pay him for it with tokens of her esteem. I left the date with my head spinning and it took several days to process the information.

I stupidly agreed to another date with Mr. Rogers before I had time to process the date. Indecisive, I use events in my life to postpone with him, to try to stall and give me time to make a decision.

Meanwhile, I had a date with the younger man that was so lovely and honest; he tells me he isn’t going to sleep with anyone else, but thinks it’s too early to be exclusive. What??? Talk about a confusing situation.

So, I agree to that 2nd date after all, hoping Mr. Rogers will manage to salvage things somehow so I feel less vulnerable with the other man. Instead, he heaps more information on me about his childhood and his family, his ex-wife and his sexual exploits. He coyly talks about being passed around amongst his daughter’s friends mothers (still with me??) like a “stud for hire”, then informs me that he was also a “teacher of 18 year old girls”? Say what?

Indeed. Apparently, while hooking up for some meaningless sex (that he was ridiculously good at, but that made him feel deep shame over the superficiality…but to be clear, he was REALLY good at it…so good they gave him gifts and gave up their sex club memberships and…oh wait…deep, deep shame), he looked up to find an audience of 18 year old girls watching him demonstrating his prowess.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER been in the middle of sex and suddenly realized people were watching WITH NO CLUE THEY WERE THERE. Oh wait, I should clarify. I’ve never had an audience, but I think I would realize there were more people in the room than I’d started with. Apparently, they enjoyed watching so much they came back for future performances. Somehow, he seemed to believe this was good information for me to have on our SECOND DATE.

So, to recap, my “Good on paper/Mr. Rogers” guy that I agreed to go out with as a way to reject my deep attraction to “Bad on paper/Hot guy” turned out to be “Troubled Childhood/Stud-for-hire/Creepy guy who lets 18 year old girls watch him have sex/Too much information” guy. Ironic, isn’t it?

So, I won’t be seeing Mr. Rogers anymore.

I’ve had to face the facts: This man that I’m dating does it for me in a way no one ever has before. Even better, strip away the sexual tension and he still makes me think and feel in a way that doesn’t usually happen. He’s been honest and upright about where he’s at and the ways in which he’s struggling and I have respect for him because of it.

And I am scared out of my mind.

I’m scared that I’ll fall for him and it won’t work out. I’m scared I’ll fall for him and he’ll hurt me. I want reassurance and a crystal ball so that I can know the outcome before I risk anymore.

Of course, that’s not going to happen.

Love is a risk and if I proceed, it’s with full knowledge and acceptance that hurt might come with it. Which leaves me with a tightness in my chest some nights, yet knowing I can’t turn back until I KNOW. And until then, I suppose I just have to practice taking a deep breath and try to enjoy the journey. Stop fighting it.

Here’s to uncertainty…and hoping I survive it!