Category Archives: Single Again

when life hands you a shit sandwich…

Lately a lot of people have been asking me how I’m doing:  they know my ex has been struggling with health problems; they know my boss is certifiable; they know I’m a full-on single parent with a demanding job and hellacious commute and children’s activities and more than too much to try and squeeze into a day.

I tell them, “I’m fine.”

I am a liar.

The truth is that I’ve been struggling. For months. More than ever. And it hurts. I’ve never been in a place where my herbal antidepressants seem so ineffective, my endless optimism is so drained, my outlook — regardless of what I may tell my friends — is so bleak. I exercise and it is not enough. Summer is not enough. I am able to have fun; I am able to function; I can experience joy, but there’s a ceiling on this joy — an upper limit I don’t recall experiencing before. And my heart is broken.

Broken for the man I once loved and for the decline even our children must now observe. Broken for the friendships and full, rich life I once had and those who no longer call now that I’m a single parent. (What?! Do you think I’m somehow a threat to your relationship because I don’t have a husband? My life is still full and rich…so there!) Broken for my friend with a brain tumor, dying slowly or maybe less so after a lengthy seizure about a week ago.

There is a word for how I feel…lonely. I am constantly surrounded by friends, co-workers, children and people who want nothing but the best for me. And none of that is the same as being loved fully and unconditionally for who I am by a lover and mate. So I naturally poured my heartache into the fantasy of my one unrequited love, making so much more of that crush than ever really was…about whom, by now, I must have written a dozen times. Without ever even trying, the man completely lay me bare, left me defenseless. And I loved it because I loved me in the context of him:  I loved the me who cared for a man because he was good and kind and competent and caring — and not for any superficial reason.

He had passion for me, too, in my dreams. I’ve woken at least a dozen times in his loving arms…I mean, it seemed like I had until I really woke up.

“I want to meet him,” says my friend and co-worker, Char. “But I think I’d probably slap him.” Char was raised by a single mother and, therefore, assumes that I am a stronger and better woman than I am. She thinks he’s crazy. (I do, too.)

Pouring my feelings into longing for someone with whom I’ve never had a relationship must somehow be easier than having to deal with the fact that my ex is an alcoholic and that my children have to watch his decline and all the other garbage that I won’t even go into right now. Heavens, it gets old to dredge up this shit!

So I swing between this genuine pain I am feeling, because I truly feel as thought the spate of difficulties is perhaps more trouble than I deserve just now, and the rational, Peppermint Patty voice inside my head telling me to “buck up” and, frankly (even though I’m not Catholic), guilt about feeling as I am when I know full well most of these are first world problems.

I surround myself with happy, positive people and am blessed to have this rich group of friends. Except, right now, it seems as though they’re all looking around pointing at rainbows and, the second I turn my head to look, thunder claps down around me. And I’ve been self isolating, which is never a good sign.

I don’t waste time wondering why. I do wonder how on earth I might find time to take forward steps…dare I say, to put myself out there, to date. Alas, I have no time to offer another person. I’m not even sure I have the time to be a good parent!

So when I took a walk with my therapist friend recently, she echoed what she’s heard from me for months and gently asked whether I thought it was time to try a different course of action. Yes. And what did I plan to do?

(That’s a good friend right there!)

I committed to a plan. And I spent more time in the sun and worked out and started meditating again and, for the past week or so, I have felt better. My head seems to be on straight again. My heart does not feel noticeably broken. And this, too, shall pass.


confidence shaken (not stirred)

When I re-read my post from yesterday and think of all the bullshit I’ve done to create an imaginary boyfriend in my head — and yes, among friends, I even refer to him as my IBF — I think this is exactly the sort of crap I’d expect from a younger version of myself. But not professional, healthy, adult, mother-of-two me.

And then I wonder why did I allow this to become such a big deal and why has this guy taken on such mythological proportions in my head?

Here’s why:  I was so utterly convinced — and still am — that we had something so incredibly worth exploring together that it never dawned on me that we wouldn’t. He’s worth it. I’m worth it. We had / have a chemistry and a closeness and enough in common to make us worth it, whatever other obstacles there may have been. We also have genuine differences; any two people do. And somewhere along the line, based on what he had gotten to know about me, I think he decided they were too big or too important to ignore. But he was very private in many ways, so I don’t know what those things are or how far apart we are, and I never had an opportunity to be part of that discussion or decision, so it has always felt unresolved.

It shouldn’t matter anyway, because the only way a relationship can be successful (in my experience) is if a man pursues it…which he started to, and then didn’t. Game over. Move on.

That experience has shaken my confidence more than probably any other relationship encounter I’ve had in the past five years.

There’s a solution for it, though; one I have some faith will work. I’ve got to start dating again. However unready I feel I am, I have to put myself out there and begin again.


I have a jeremy, and his name is jeffrey

I read this Modern Love essay months ago, and it continues to resonate:

“He’s the guy we never really dated and never really got over.”

“I think maybe you’re addicted to the memories, in love with a person you’ve idealized who probably isn’t real.”

My Jeremy’s name is Jeffrey. And, unlike the essay’s author, I am not in college and am, in fact, twice “college age” and I ought to know better. I do know better. Yet I can’t seem to help myself.

It’s baffling that an otherwise successful, intelligent adult woman who keeps my financial house in order, my parenting on point (I think, for the most part) and my professional life progressing, can’t seem to properly contextualize, process and move on from a relationship that never actually happened. I’ll even go so far as to say that it’s a little crazy. And yet, this is what I’m doing.

It’s as though to avoid dealing with some of the emotional processing, grieving and other emotional self work I must do to deal with my ex’s issues (and the real possibility he may leave my children fatherless in the not-too-distant future), my friend’s progressing cancer, my grandmother’s decline and a certain measure of dysfunction in the workplace, I’ve decided to create a mental loop wherein I’ve poured all my unfulfilled hopes and pain into longing for an imaginary relationship scenario that I know, intellectually, is not a real possibility.

Yet the heart wants…


can a modern woman love an old-fashioned man?

Here I shall reveal my latest idiocy:  I had happy hour with the guy…yeah, the one I can’t get over. Something inside me thinks:  it’s been a long time, I won’t still feel it, we’ll just catch up like old friends and then part ways. I keep thinking I will find a way to bless what I’ve learned and move on. And, even though I suspect it was just two colleagues keeping in touch to him, I have spent the last two days and will spend the next many more wishing and hoping that something inside him, something about the way he perceived me, would shift and that he would be compelled to call and ask to see me again.

Simultaneously, I wish something inside me would change and allow me to get on with my life and attract a relationship with someone who can love and appreciate me without ever waffling about it.

In other words, the happy hour was just one among an unabridged dictionary’s worth of missteps with Mr. Meltsmyheart.

I wish I could recall how it came up but, at one point, he complained to me that chivalry is dead and an old-fashioned guy like him didn’t stand a chance with women today, particularly liberated ones.

Okay…first:  WHAT?! Why the heck did he think I was (am) so head-over-heels interested in him? It was all that commanding, masculine energy that turned me to mush inside! It was my intuition telling me that, after a long day of putting on my man pants, going to work, making a million decisions and having to be in charge or everything under the sun, with a man like him I could relax into my femininity and enjoy it. It was knowing that he could treat a woman with respect. It was sensing that, if we ever became physically involved, he would treat those moments of intimate discovery with a certain amount of reverence. It was believing that he might have the maturity and relationship skills to cherish me. It was feeling a growing sweetness within myself whenever we were together.

I fell for him because of those feelings. And because of his kindness, warmth, wit, intellect, decency, calm, commitment, hard work and so much more. For all the right reasons, for once. And I still revel in all of those senses and feelings when he’s near! The way I feel in his presence always leaves me wanting for more. And probably that’s why I was so heartbroken that it never went anywhere.

Did I say all that? No. But I did tell him how far off he was, and just how much a woman like me desires more than anything to find a chivalrous man, with manners and decency — a man stronger than me, who can stand up to me and for me, a man worthy of leading our family. I offered up an example:  the Southern gentlemen I’d dated a few years back, who opened doors, arranged dates and knew how to properly behave. Ah, it was dreamy!

He was shocked, completely taken aback. “You just blew my mind,” he confessed.

I don’t recall exactly where our chat went from there, as we soon had to part to pick up our evening parenting duties. We hugged our goodbyes and, later, when I thanked him for a nice time, I teased that I liked poking holes in his theory of me, too.

…I just wish it were mind blowing enough to keep him coming back for more!


another douchey ending

Let me first begin by saying that I truly believe most people are good, kind and well-intentioned. I love men, and I think there are many wonderful ones walking this earth.

And then there’s a guy who I spent some time with maybe a year and a half ago. Despite being older than me, his last relationship of two years had ended…when his girlfriend, 24, moved out. In other words, we shared a love of excellent food and service, and had great conversation — but he was never in consideration for a relationship. And I made that clear.

We would go out for nice dinners, drink copious amounts of liquor and, then, when I was truly on the verge of being a mess, he would try to make moves. I would tell him that I didn’t know him that well, I wasn’t ready for that, I would be uncomfortable, and so on. Bear in mind we went out all of three or four times over a couple of months. He did not make refusing him easy. But if he’d seen me the morning(s) after, he would have been thrilled to not have to deal with the hung over mess I most often was after a night out with him.

Fast forward to this last fall:  This same fellow, a youthful and fit man in his early fifties, is retired and spends most winters abroad. We hung out once in the early autumn — we’d had lunch plans, but other appointments made me late, so we went shoe shopping instead. (Of course, he asked me to meet him at his house, where he first attempted to ply me with alcohol and seduce me.)

Okay, yes, by now a smart girl would have figured out that he has but one motivation…

So one night while I’m out by myself, he texts me to see if I’d like to meet for a drink. We settle on a place near my neighborhood, order a round of drinks and begin chatting. I request something that will warm me up, because I am coming down with a cold. He expresses his disappointment, because that means he’s unlikely to be invited to spend the night with me afterward. Ugh. So finally, in a very direct way, I explain that I enjoy his company and friendship, but I don’t share his feeling that our relationship simply must be consummated.

From that moment in the conversation, he excuses himself and goes to the restroom, comes back and picks up his phone, in which he is entirely engrossed. Though he is clearly ignoring me, I try to make pleasant conversation. He shows me a photo of his dinner date from earlier in the evening, a young blond woman. I tell him she’s cute. He tells me she wants him to take her abroad with him. I ask, “for a visit, or for the entire winter?” He tells me that she wants to join him for the winter. I ask if he’s considering it. He tells me yes, then goes back to his entirely engrossing mobile device…

I finished my drink, pulled out a credit card, paid and bid him adieu. He took the young blond — his former girlfriend, now perhaps 26, with him abroad.

I honestly hope the two of them are very happy together. And I am positively disgusted that he was trying to squeeze in a last-minute lay with me before committing himself to cohabitation (at the very least) for the next six months. What a pig!


my last failed relationship

Do you ever get yourself into something and then, somewhere along the way, you realize it’s a bad deal, but you’re in it and you forget for awhile how to get out?

That pretty much sums up my last relationship. Even looking back at how it began, there was nothing that really suggested it could last. Our early dates didn’t generate warm and fuzzy feelings inside me. And yet, somehow, I got sucked in. And, before I knew it, I found myself feeling as though I was four years into an unhappy marriage — to which I’d never committed in the first place.

For the record, we dated for approximately ten months.

He was positive at first and could be surprisingly sweet. But we disagreed about political viewpoints that made me think he was a closet misogynist. And life was throwing a few sucker punches his way. He became negative; he used language that painted himself as a victim ever so subtly; he complained about being broke and his health problems; he sucked me into his drama.

And it’s so easy to see now because TWICE since we’ve broken up, he’s done something so crazy I can barely recount it:

  1. Right around the new year, he called to ask if we could get coffee and talk. He said he needed a friend. I agreed to meet him. He told me about the woman who’d broken his heart. (This was all of two months after we’d broken up, mind you.) And then, before I understood what was happening, he was telling me how much he missed us and that we were steady and stable and I wasn’t crazy and couldn’t we just go back to where we were? To me, where we were was a realization that, no matter the circumstances, I was never going to want to move in with, much less marry him. To him, where we were must have looked different.
  2. Three months later, he called and said he needed a friend and would I meet him for a drink? I swore that this time, if he asked me to reunite, I would never answer his call or agree to meet him again. This time, he told me about the women he’d dated in the past few months — those who’d broke his heart, those whose hearts he’d broken — and his engagement. Yes, engagement. But he’d called it off. He’d asked her to marry him on Tuesday, then asked for the ring back on Friday. You see, women are all crazy and bipolar and couldn’t we just start over where we left off? Yep; he did it again! And I’m quite sure it’s never dawned on him how that might feel to me.

Anyway, maybe that sort of explains why I haven’t written much lately and why I haven’t been dating lately. You see, when you attract someone who ends up hitching a ride on the crazy train, you have to take a moment to look in the mirror and wonder what’s going on with your own energy for you to attract a situation like that. And I’ll be honest, the emotional ground beneath my feet still feels a little shaky. I can’t really put my finger on why…but it does. So I’m not going to look for someone else who, at this moment in my life, is only likely to add drama. I’m going to take care of myself for awhile. And, if it so happens that someone comes along when I’m taking care of me, I’ll be okay with that.


wish you weren’t here

I never imagined my recent…wait, can we even really call four weeks ago recent? I guess…recent dalliance with the magnum would be more than it was. I think I was more disappointed that, for all his supposed years of wanting, his desire to woo me seemed to have fizzled out. But the real kiss of death was something that came out of his mouth… (actually, there were a lot of deal breakers that came out of his mouth)… but there was only one that made me wish none of this had ever happened:

He brought up a mutual acquaintance, one he knew I’d liked, and suggested that the two of us must have slept together… And then the name of this man brought up his visage and the memories and the same feelings flooded back as viscerally as if the scab had been ripped off to expose an open wound. He was all I could think about, even as I still think he’s a fool! And I still think he’s a far better man than the one I was lying next to at that very moment and, suddenly, I couldn’t wait to get the hell away from there and never come back.

Thing is, this mythologized man is someone I wrote about a couple of years back:  I wrote about how he had an uncanny knack of bypassing all my defenses, making me feel soft and sweet inside, coaxing out the very best in me and enabling me to relinquish control — and all we’d ever done is talk, hug and kiss. We’re creeping up on two years since that kiss and, despite fights and hurtful words and disparate values, I still feel that way. He still occasionally visits me in my dreams.

I texted him a few days later to see if he wanted to grab a beer before the holiday break ended, and he said he was flattered, but seeing someone, and that he’d bought his children a dog for Christmas. Four weeks have passed. My heart still aches.

I’ve since deleted our text history and his contact information. It’s a move meant to cut the cord for my own emotional health and self preservation. And my heart still aches to feel that feeling that, in more than a decade, I’ve only felt when with him. And, perhaps even worse, I wonder what is wrong with me that I can’t move on?


a man’s gotta be able to drive

…and by that, I don’t mean a car, necessarily, although it certainly helps in these parts. I mean he has to be able to grab hold of an opportunity and take forward action — not this lateral, side-stepping nonsense.

So, recently, when the magnum asked me when he could see me again, I replied to his text with “not sure. what do you have in mind?”

He replied:  “wine. dinner. beer.”

Me:  “ok. ask me on a date, then.”

Him:  “ok.”

Days later, I had heard nothing and I thought to myself:

  1. This doesn’t feel good to me. I want to be wanted, at least a little…pursued, if you will.
  2. I don’t like the way we communicate. Not once has a text or conversation between us stimulated my biggest erogenous zone, my mind.
  3. We’re in different places. I’m feeling myself again, enjoying my single life and thinking about being in an actual relationship with someone who’s also looking for a committed, life-long conspirator. The heart wants.
  4. It’s a terrible sign when a man doesn’t take the lead. Just think about being stuck in a relationship with someone who constantly leaves all the relationship-related work to you… Ugh! That was my first marriage! (My wasband actually said — without a moment’s hesitation — to a marriage counselor — when asked who was in charge of our relationship that it was me. Not us, as should be assumed in any relationship involving two or more people, but me, the person he expected would always take care of everything.)

A little more context:  the last time we’d seen each other, I mentioned that my ex and I were switching weekends so that my upcoming weekend was free — and, based on what he’d told me before, our child-free weekends were synched up. So he’d already had an open door to ask me out…if he’d wanted to. Over it.

So, if you’re reading this and you’re a guy, here’s your take-away:  a woman wants to be valued, asked out, planned for, picked up (if you know each other well enough for her to be comfortable with that), taken someplace special / thoughtful — where you have, of course, made reservations.

It sounds something like this:

“Hi, this is Chuck. I’d really like to take you to dinner Saturday night. Can I pick you up at seven?”

And your love interest, who will be exceedingly more intrigued by this powerful approach than the lame “when can I see you?”, responds positively and then you come back with: “Great, I’ve made reservations at [restaurant] at 8, and I’ll be wearing jeans and a sport coat, no tie.”

You’ve now told your date that you value her (or him) enough to plan ahead, pick her up and give her an idea of what to wear. Kudos. Great job! A winning approach.

It’s entirely true that I may not be representative of all women and not all women may be turned off by a lack of good communication. Some women even like to take the lead. To each her own…

And my own is not to waste more time where I don’t feel cherished.


i’ve taken a lover…a magnum lover

I know it’s a bit abrupt to start off just like that…because, after all, I haven’t really been forthcoming about what’s gone on for the past several months of my life.

Here it is:  I was in a relationship with a man who was kind, decent, generous and who wanted to make me happy. And I simply didn’t feel we were right for one another. Which I guess is to say that, where relationship work needed to be done, I didn’t have the passion for us to step into the ring and work it out together. With no detraction to him (or me or anyone else who feels this way), I wasn’t in love with him and I never felt as though he was in love with me. So I ended it. After probably letting it go on a bit too long.

And right around that time, someone who I’ve known a while and who has pursued me in the past and with whom timing or other circumstances has never aligned reached out and asked me out for dinner and a drink. We met, we talked and ate, and I cannot claim to have felt much. Even now, several weeks later, I am still processing my past relationship and the bizarreness of having such different emotional experiences for him and with him. But we’re talking about the new guy now…and that’s what you really want to know.

So I’ll tell you… We both have children and my ex, especially, has been a bit of a pill lately and not holding up his end of the parenting bargain, so we have a tough time finding opportunities to see one another. But, one night, after a particularly horny few days, I invited him over and he walked in and immediately pulled me to him, kissed me, began caressing and undressing me. It was fun to have someone want me in such a primal, unbridled way again. And it allowed me to feel sexy and uninhibited, as well. And practically virginal. That first time he felt so huge and I felt so tight and it was lovely, even as it was sometimes uncomfortable.

I’ve seen him just twice since and he still has that very primal desire going for him. Despite only a negligible age difference between us, his bedroom manner is young and coltish. He has technique but not exactly finesse. I know he would wish for me to tell you it’s the best sex of my life and, while it’s quite good, it’s not that. Please don’t think I’m complaining — I like that it’s a young, primal, animal energy and that it makes me feel so desired. And I love that he’s so take charge, yet listens to my feedback (or commands).

I also like that I’ve gotten more up close and personal with the wand making all the magic:  it’s larger than average in every dimension. The difference is most notable in my mouth, where I can’t possibly consume his entire shaft or even accomplish some of my signature tongue work while my lips are wrapped around him. My suspicion was confirmed when he pulled out a box of Magnum prophylactics. Safety first.

So what is this? It’s exactly what I need right now. I want a relationship, yet am entirely unready for a relationship and this fellow is not giving me a relationship. So what he’s giving me is some magnum-sized magic when I want it and making me feel like a total babe in the process. And it’s liberating.


early imprints

I didn’t mean to come back only to be absent again for nearly two weeks. Truth is I was a bit distracted by a funeral for a family friend last week, and it affected me perhaps more than I anticipated.

You see, the gentleman who passed was a contemporary of my father’s, the same age, and someone who was as close to me as an uncle for many of the formative years of my life. Several of those who stood up to talk at his funeral described him as unfailingly kind, loving, open and generous. And it dawned on me then that, while I thought he always treated me as special as a child (we joked about my being the only daughter he never had, because he sired only sons), he treated everyone else with the same kindness as he treated me.

I remember getting to ride in his Corvette as a young girl, occasional gifts and even calling him to borrow money as I was just beginning my adult life:  Too proud to call my own father, I asked for a loan of $500. He overnighted a check for $750 and then, after I’d paid back the first two payments of $250 each, refused to accept any more. He once loaned me a box truck from his business to move apartments. And his wife of 45 years once took me shopping and attempted to buy me a beautiful pink Angora sweater…at exactly the wrong point in my teens, when it would have been colossally uncool.

But those early memories made a big impression on me about success, having enough and what it all meant. I was reminded of how much I strive to be like him:  to provide for my family, while always being generous with what I can; to keep an open mind and heart; to live well and do good. Beyond the connection I shared with him, I am in awe of the 45 years he and his wife shared, and of how poised she was as she talked of their 45 years of partnership. It takes a gentle soul to achieve that…two gentle souls.

So I came home after that and tried to explain to my boyfriend of a few months how much this man had meant in my life and how much it meant be reminded of all those wonderful things about him, and I told him I wished that for my own life, too.

I wonder if it’s something we’ll embark on (or continue, I suppose, depending on how one views it) together?