another one down

I cut another one loose a week ago. We’d been casually seeing each other for awhile and it just wasn’t going to work out:  He described himself as a day trader who tried to live modestly (miserly). He wanted to travel the world, having never been much of anywhere by the age of 47. He didn’t text and communicated only by phone, often leaving messages that went something like this:

Hi, it’s Steve. Sorry I missed you. I just called to say hello. Hope you’re having a good weekend.

I know that sounds perfectly normal, except that when you’re a single parent, you kinda want they guy to call and say something more like:

Hi Beautiful, it’s Steve. Wanted to see if you’re free Saturday night — I’ve got some great ideas for dinner. Ring me back!

At any rate, he sounded a bit too much like Eeyore. I found myself screening his calls, waiting two or three days to return his calls and generally disinterested in seeing him.

So last week, I set up one more dinner. I think I meant to give myself one more chance to feel some magic. But I didn’t. He walked me to my car, then I drove him to his across the lot. And I let him know that I didn’t feel our relationship developing into anything serious. I thought it would be most respectful to do it in person. I thought it would be quick and easy:  he’d get out of my car and drive away.

But he wanted to discuss:  He asked me if there was anything specific he’d done or hadn’t done.

I repeated that I just wasn’t feeling it, that I was very busy with work and some remodeling projects and parenting…

He told me that, while it’s difficult to date as a single parent, people who want to work at it can be successful.

I said:

See, that’s just it:  I’m not feeling that special something that makes me want to work at it.

All the way home, I thought about how good-looking and kind he was, how nice it felt when he touched me and kissed me, and how auspicious the size of his extremities appeared to be. We always seemed to laugh when we were together. I wondered if I’d made a mistake, particularly since I hadn’t yet verified a correlation between the size of his hands and…well, you know.

Then, while telling a co-worker about it the next day, she laughed and said, “You mean you were just too nice to be honest! You had an entire list of things you didn’t like about this guy and why it wouldn’t work.”

All those things came flooding back to me. I realized she was right. And that I’d made the right decision.

touch starved

I get what I call “touch starved.” Meaning:  I can spend all the time in the world snuggling with my children, but it doesn’t fulfill a certain need. That loving, nurturing touch is great, but it’s not the touch of a lover.

This is what I was feeling when I entangled myself in the debacle of last fall. I was physically desperate and thinking I’d get my itch well and thoroughly scratched.

As you now know, I didn’t get what I’d hoped from the brief tryst, but I did equip myself with better toys. Now I’m not feeling nearly so needy.


In my last relationship, my boyfriend would look deep into my eyes, tell me that he loved me and that he wanted me. Sometimes he would repeat that last part, or ask me if I understood. Sure I know what it means to be wanted and it didn’t hold any particular importance to me, so I kind of shrugged it off.

I mean, I wanted to be loved and I felt loved. Further, we had a fulfilling and passionate sex life. But handsome though he was, I didn’t lust for him.

And now I get it. I suppose I should have known by how often my ex repeated and stressed that phrase that he longed for me to say it back to him. I get it because now, as I explore a relatively new dalliance, I get a jittery feeling of anticipation in my abdomen before I see this new lover. But there’s more:  a raw, primal desire to touch his skin, to kiss his lips, to peel off each other’s clothes and feel as much closeness as humanly possible. In other words, I want him.

So does this newish fella feel about me? Does he have this same desire? I certainly hope to find out!

deep thoughts

I’ve been away for a few days, my first fly-away girls’ weekend in probably a dozen years — for sure since before I’ve had children. It was relaxing, it was delectable, it was…a whole lot of estrogen.

And my deep thought for the weekend was…(drum roll, please)…penises are fun! 

That’s right:  I spent the weekend with a group of women and fantasized about spending it with a man. The scenery was spectacular, the food was wonderful, the entertainment was fun — and all of it was potentially romantic.

One evening, we gals sat around a fireplace and watched the silhouettes moving through the rooms of the resort around us. In some, we could see people getting ready for a late dinner. In one, we saw a couple as they got out of the shower, slowly get ready, start making out, start getting “unready” and then get ready again and leave their room. For a moment, we thought we might see some real action. (Note to self:  close the heavy drapes when getting ready in a hotel room.)

And I sat there in silent ambivalence, enjoying the company of women, but wishing a for a proper lay. I fantasized about my ex (boyfriend, not husband), about more-like-it, about men I saw nearby… perhaps tellingly, I did not fantasize about the man I’ve currently been seeing (not exclusively). Hmm…

I think perhaps it’s time I went out and found myself some fun…the penises are fun kind of fun.

modern day Delilah

In my twenties I had a boyfriend with long, blond hair that he mostly wore pulled back in a pony tail. I mean, his hair was enviable…a super model would have been jealous of his natural gift. But he was a man’s man and, while he kept clean, certain types of grooming were lost on him.

I volunteered many times to trim his hair with the pure mission of removing his split ends. It was weeks, if not months, before I was ever able to convince him. He was suspicious of my motives. He reacted as though he thought I was trying to change him, trying to castrate him, to weaken him somehow, as though I were Delilah to his Samson.

A couple of months later I again had to persuade him to allow me near his locks with a scissors.

But, after that, it seemed only a few weeks went by before he asked me to trim his hair again.

“Hmm. This is strange,” I thought, “It took weeks to convince him to let me near his hair the first couple of times, and now he’s practically begging me to trim it.”

So I asked him what was up.

He gave me some phony answer about getting lots of compliments and feeling good about it. Finally, though, the truth came out:  he recalled that we’d had mind-blowing sex after the first two times he’d allowed me to trim his hair, and he’d now made the association that we were going to make especially intense love after I’d trimmed his hair.

I’m not sure two instances are a valid foundation on which to adopt this sort of theory, but there’s a reason this memory recently came to mind:  This time, my guy would probably tell you it has to do with yard work.


getting to know you…

…getting to know all about you, getting to like you, getting to hope you like me… I love this song and the musical it’s from, The King and I. Dating is supposed to be about having fun and getting to know people — hopefully, eventually getting to know someone special.

So this may sound kind of weird:  I schedule the kind of dates with guys that are the most low-pressure, the least likely to have any sort of romantic element, that are…well…mundane. Frankly, I think that’s the best way to get to know someone, to see if they can make fun out of nothing, to see if running errands can be entertaining, to see how they navigate everyday life. I enjoy conversation, making fun with words and dialogue, and seeing how my date behaves toward clerks in stores and hospitality workers and strangers asking directions on the street.

I don’t think I did this “boring date” thing consciously at first…I mean, when you’re just getting back out there, you don’t give some guy you’ve never met your Saturday night anyway, right? But I’m starting to see other advantages to this preference.

Consider The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, for example:  put a girl on the island of Bora Bora and I can guarantee you she’ll fall in love with one of the attractive men around. The setting alone is enough to create a kind of euphoria, and then there are all these singles, who have nothing else to do but look lovely and woo… Everything is lovey-dovey until they’re off the island, off the show, and back in real life…where it all falls apart. These relationships — infatuations built on scenery and alcohol and candlelight and once-in-a-lifetime adventures — are destined to fail. So I’d like to have a slightly clearer view of reality before I let my heart get carried away.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the candlelight and romance and all, and I want those incredible adventures, too, in time. But I want it to unfold naturally, because it’s something we both want…not because of the scenery.

am I over-analyzing all of this?

It was recently suggested to me (by an attractive man) that I might be over-analyzing all of this relationship stuff… I suppose that could be a fair supposition for a reader to make. Here, I’ll share part of my response…

“Indulge me as I share a story:

When I was pregnant with my daughter and began (around the 7th month) to feel the sheer panic that comes with the realization that this lovely little floaty bubble of bliss would, at some point burst, and then a head the size of a cantaloupe was going to come out of (and would likely tear to shreds) a much smaller hole / passageway…I went to the birthing classes and watched the reality birth stories on TLC. One thing I observed was that so many women would, in a moment of contraction agony, utter:  “I can’t do this.” And I remember thinking they were ridiculous! I mean, we’re women, our bodies are MADE for this! I had my doula, my (drug-free) natural birthing plan, my body had been in the best shape of my entire life when I got pregnant, and — even though I was occasionally visited by the sheer terror I mentioned earlier — I was confident that I would be champ at labor and birth.

Fast forward to several hours into labor, when the pain got ahead of me and I could no longer ride it like a wave, and I could no longer relax or rest between contractions…this is the thought that came into my head:  “I can’t do this.” And I thought it for a bit, meanwhile putting on my brave face and trying not to clamp my jaws together on the nearest arm and finally I, too, like those women on the shows, uttered those words, “I can’t do this.” Predictably, everyone around me jumped in with, “Yes you can!”s and other encouragement…but words or encouragement weren’t what I needed. What I needed was to speak my doubt aloud, release it of its power and move on…

I guess my blog is kind of like that. I don’t over-analyze everything…I think it, write it, release it and move on. Yes, there are areas of my life in which I’ve tried to be intentional…and then released those thoughts out into the universe. I’m probably more introspective and self-aware than many, likely more honest and bare…and that’s what I needed to do with this — I needed to explore being honest with myself, being completely vulnerable and to commit to writing all the time. (Frankly, I’ve had enough of this failed relationship introspection already — I’m ready to get out and live again!) Meanwhile, this space is also a great venue in which to cop a bit of a diva attitude that I rarely display in real life. So…if you’re going to read it, please try not to read too much into the very limited view it might offer…

While there are certain things that I’ve shared here that remain true — e.g. I do, at some point…maybe a few years in the future… want to be in a life-affirming, committed relationship — what I think I’m ready for has changed constantly since I began writing about it. One day, I think it would be peachy to find a lover who is willing to explore and share new heights of pleasure, and who might also be a confidante. Another day, I find I’m holding back my natural sensuality because I don’t want to lead with physical attraction, I want to find an emotional connection. And at another time, I think the most lovely thing in the world would be to enjoy a conversation, maybe hold hands, maybe smooch a little (okay, not gonna lie, a make-out session sounds spectacular!). I want adventure! Or a little candlelight and some romance! I’m making peace with all of the different aspects of myself and integrating my energy. I feel lighthearted and playful and whole in way that I can’t claim to have felt in years. It’s wonderful…I’m living in the present moment. And I feel amazing!

My entire adult life has been lived in shades of gray, sometimes with too few guard rails… After being pretty lost for a bit, grasping for anything that seemed solid, while being conscious about what I’m trying to create, I am wide open to allowing things to unfold, to “let go to the mystery”…in fact, I’d prefer to be surprised. At this moment, I have no pre-conceived notions about what my next relationship might be like or how long it will last…I can only suspect (given my parenting schedule), that it’s likely to unfold slowly. And that’s okay with me. I’m navigating moment to moment… Whatever I think I might want in the long run, the only way to move forward is to take small steps — meeting people, going out, having fun…”

Then I wrote that I have fun with him…and to please not mistake reading the blog for experiencing / knowing the woman who writes it.

What do you think of that, my kind readers?

is the “instant relationship” real?

What sometimes happens for women when they begin to see someone is what dating expert Chris Carter calls the “instant relationship.” Women will begin to fantasize early on about what this new fellow might become in their lives. They see themselves holding hands, walking along the beach, kissing with this guy…

Sometimes women allow themselves to take the fantasy and run with it, getting ahead of themselves. Apparently men can sense this mental leap a woman has made, and it scares the daylights out of them. So they turn around and run.

For women who are emotionally healthier and more mature, this habit of visualization is more like a filtration process. If we can’t envision holding hands with or kissing a man, we’re not likely to want to go out with him again. It’s difficult to get excited about the possibility.

What do you think? Is this phenomenon real?

are my feelings finally growing up?

There are things I don’t reveal here …and maybe shouldn’t ever reveal. Not every entry lends itself to complete and full-on truth. It’s not a journal I’m writing here; it’s a blog. And I want to shape each entry, to create form, something like a chapter. So I give about 95% and keep just a little sliver to myself, to enjoy, to revel in knowing a secret — my own secrets.

But here’s something I want to be straight about that I wasn’t really before. I was really attached to the idea of Chi-guy for a long time. And then I met more-like-it. In one 75-minute meeting, all of that attachment to a man in Chicago was snapped completely.

Don’t get me wrong, the love is still there. It’s a deep, true, generous and heartfelt concern for a truly wonderful human. But I’m detached about it now. I’m in a more mature place with it; I have a more objective perspective. Sometimes when Chi-guy and I talk now, we joke about the naughty things we’re going to do to one another when we see each other… but we make no plans to see each other. And if we did see each other, I’m fairly confident that we’re both going to live in the moment and do whatever feels right with acceptance, compassion, presence and love, whether that’s talking or touching or crying or laughing or gettin’ jiggy.

So the thought has crossed my mind more than once that more-like-it is someone who came into my life solely for the purposes of breaking the Chi-guy spell, proving there are more options, reminding me that really awesome guys live in this city and — this is my girlfriends’ summation — reminding me what type of man is “in my league.” Maybe that’s it, yet…

All this talk about more-like-it could easily lead one to believe that I’m hung up on him. But it’s not really like that. What I’ve felt all along is more like intrigue, a general interest in spending more time (which I’ve enjoyed) to see if I like him. I mean, I like him…yet I don’t know whether I like him. I’m not sure yet…I’m simply drawn in, curious. There’s been no instant infatuation, just an undercurrent of desire to see what might be around the next corner.

And, maybe because it doesn’t feel urgent or intense, my own feelings seem more mature. It’s not the kind of thing that Elizabeth Gilbert so eloquently wrote in Committed, “puts me through the wood chipper.” Maybe that’s why I want to feel more of it, and why I’m open to noticing and experiencing that feeling, from whatever direction it may come.

I am not alone…real dating horror stories

I cannot report that I’ve been super enthused about my post-divorce dating experience. I’ve experienced flaky men, very little chemistry, awkward conversations and have met online one man who sparked my interest enough for me to genuinely look forward to seeing him again. As it happens, I’m not the only one going through an unsatisfying streak…

I recently enjoyed a morning with a younger, single (never married) girlfriend who is beautiful, fit, charming, delightful, intelligent and far beyond kind. She is the kind of girl a man would be proud to bring home to meet his family and, if he wasn’t a complete idiot, might recognize that he should throw himself at her feet and beg her to spend the rest of her life with him. And soon, before some smarter man figures it out. She is that amazing!

And she is having as shockingly bad experiences (or bad luck?) as I’ve been having on the dating scene…actually, worse!

I “get” my problems dating. I still feel like a fuck-up some of the time. More-like-it suggested I’m judging harshly — and I know I’m finding excuses to not get out and meet men. I’ve got baggage and am still working to become the kind of woman who draws spectacular, loving men to me effortlessly. And, frankly, my time is precious and so are my girlfriends. I’m more inclined spend time with them than take a chance on meeting some other guy from an online dating site.

But my girlfriend? Well, her time is precious, too, and she’s got an active social life with lots of great gals. She is the girl who taught me to meet men with a camera:  go up to a group of guys, and ask one of them to take a photo of you with your girlfriends — it’s an easy ice breaker and great way to start a conversation.

Here are some of the dating stories she told me during our time together:

She met a really awesome guy out one evening. They hit it off immediately and began talking, texting and spending time together. Suddenly, he didn’t call for a week. And then, when he did, he told her that his ex-wife (from whom he’s been divorced for eight months) wanted to get back together. Though she treated him horribly and initiated the divorce, he was compelled to give it another try because “it’s the right thing to do.”

With another man, she had amazing intellectual and philosophical conversations (not to mention some amazing make-out sessions)…until that night he told her he could really imagine spending his life with her, thus felt the need to lay his cards on the table. Dude is creeped out by buttons and fascinated by skeletal parts of small animals. Rarely wears suits (in fact, chose a career to accommodate) and collects the remains of small furry animals. No shit. Needless to say, her attraction evaporated pretty much on the spot. No more for me, thanks; I’ve lost my appetite.

And then there was the long-distance man she so enjoyed over the phone and via email…when they managed to be in the same city, he took her out for a lovely dinner and then suggested a walk. But before they went walking, he had to stop at his car so he could strap on his hand gun. What?! Ok, he was in the military and from a more dangerous part of town…maybe forgivable…until he began telling her this story:  from his apartment window, he heard a scream and looked out to see a man dragging a woman across the parking lot forcefully by her hair. He yelled at this man to leave the woman alone. The man told him to mind his own business. So he began assembling his semi-automatic assault rifle right there in the window, aimed the laser at the abuser’s head and cocked it… Wow! Gotta love a defender of women, but you could dial 911… or you  could whip out your semi-automatic assault rifle, right?

And there’s more!

She went out for lunch along the river with a man she’d met. At the restaurant, she ran into the proprietor (who she knows). Her date immediately said, “Great, I hope now we’ll get a decent table and not have to wait so long!” He also connected with her on LinkedIn and, within minutes, proceeded to make sales calls to her place of business. Ewww. She later learned this fellow is a notorious jerk with whom several unfortunate, but fabulous, women have had run ins.

I can’t claim to have had such fantastically bad luck as my girlfriend…yet, apparently these are not unusual stories among singles these days. Another girlfriend has shown up to dates who looked nothing like their profile photos — I mean they were outright using someone else’s pictures. One guy was of an entirely different race than his online photo! Just goes to show you, there are a lot of nut jobs out there…

What are your dating horror stories? I’m dying to know. Honestly, in the same way that watching The Real Housewives makes me feel grounded and serene, it makes me feel just a little less alone in this crazy dating world to know others are experiencing a little madness, too!