left on scene

On our last date, Brad and I toured my neighborhood, stopping for drinks and small plates at a few of the local establishments. As always, we had fun talking and touching. We ended our evening making out on my sofa, and he thanked me for a fun and relaxing evening once he’d arrived safely at home.

The next day, he texted me “Good morning, sexy!” Then later, one of those strangely detached messages about hanging out at Best Buy while waiting for one of his children to be done with practice.

And then nothing.

It’s been two weeks. A girlfriend admonished me to Google him to ensure he wasn’t injured in a car crash.

But I knew.

I told my son he hadn’t been texting me back. He said, “Mommy, he’s busy with work and his kids; I’m sure he’ll text you.”

I told my daughter I’d been ghosted. She said I’d been left on scene. I guess that’s what the kids are saying these days.

It’s easy to see looking back that he wasn’t really emotionally in it. It’s easy to revisit and recall the exchanges we had in which I was looking for a connection, but got detachment in return. Along the way you wonder what it means; and whether something will change and evolve. It never does. You’d think I’d have learned that by now. And it still hurts.

The worst parts are:

  1. Having to put on a sad movie to watch with my son so that it would seem normal that I was crying during our usual Friday night family time.
  2. I miss him.
  3. Dealing with the anger that’s been boiling up. Seriously, there are compassionate ways to end relationships, and this was not one of them.

my last first kiss

It’s just occurred to me that, if I’m really ready to meet my life mate and future husband, one of these fellows I meet and connect with could be my last first kiss. And when I think about it, that’s kind of an awe-inspiring realization… Would I be cool with knowing that, say for example, “Brad” (about whom I wrote in my last post) is the only man I’ll kiss for the rest of my life? I think yeah.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand just how fraught the whole concept of monogamy is. Just look at the Ashley Madison doxing scandal, with the fallen moralists, suicides and wounded spouses — it’s nothing if not a complicated issue. But I want that. I want to believe that it’s not just possible or some sort of life sentence, but that a healthy committed partnership can be fulfilling for decades — including sexually. I don’t imagine it’s easy, as I’ve never had a relationship that lasted more than a dozen years. I want it anyway. I want to believe in it anyway.

Furthermore, as much as I love the excitement and newness and exploration of a relationship in early bloom, you’ll recall I’ve written that I loved plain old perfunctory vanilla missionary married sex. I loved the efficiency as much as the intimacy, and it didn’t bother me if it was over in ten minutes, because I also love me some sleep!

That said, if there is a chance that one of the fellows I’ve already met is my last first…well, there’s only one with whom I’ve had epic make-out sessions. I mean practically high school-ish in nature…which, for me, meant lots and lots of kissing and touching with firm boundaries about where his hands or mouth were allowed. Arousal is a wonderful part of it, rather than an urgent imperative that must be immediately satisfied. It’s funny how lovely and freeing it is to have firm boundaries and, for perhaps the first time in my life, not let my libido get ahead of me.

In fact, last evening Brad took me on a picnic in a park near a creek, where we listened to the water rush over the rocks, serenaded by crickets and frogs. We sat on a blanket and snacked on veggies, crackers and cheese while sipping wine and talking. We kissed and it was as though time stood still. We’ve relaxed into these moments of discovery and, damn!, I’m having fun!

Pretty sure he is, too.

as predicted…

…Forty Days of Dating, to which I alerted you in my last post, is to be made into a movie (according to some article in my Facebook news feed).

While I loved reading the she said / he said versions of forty days, I was disappointed that these two humans weren’t able to break out of their typical patterns and learn some new relationship tricks. I am, of course, mostly talking about him, because it was he who behaved quite badly toward the end (and I won’t give away the details for those of you who aren’t yet finished). It was interesting how seeing each other for forty consecutive days forced a level of intimacy that resulted in…well…I’ll let you read it. It was a grand and engaging experiment, and made me to feel like a bit of a voyeur.

Still, the predictability of it all should be a lesson to us:  We should pay particularly close attention to those early signs and signals as we begin to get to know another. Maya Angelou is credited with a quote along the lines of this:

“When someone shows us who he is, we should believe him the first time.”

(Pardon my use of the male pronouns in this example; it is, after all, a man I seek.)

With that in mind, I’ve been dating like a fiend and trying to simply let go of any expectation and enjoy myself. The challenge in this is, invariably, that I would quite simply rather be at some other stage than I am in any given moment. For example, when I last had a bona fide boyfriend and he wanted to deepen our level of commitment, I simply wanted a boyfriend to date:  I wanted to keep him to myself a bit longer, not have to think about introducing the children, etc. And now, when I desire more than anything a husband who wants to love and cherish me for a lifetime, I am engaging in what seems an endless stream of first and second dates.

Someone else said that the journey of a lifetime begins with a single step. (Can you tell I’m feeling too lazy to go about looking up these quotes or articles and doing the research tonight?) I am trying to keep that in mind as I hope that one step will lead to another and eventually to forty and then on to a lifetime.

Wish me infinitely more luck than Jessie and Tim found with each other! (I do wonder how they’re getting on these days?)

a declaration to the universe

Sometimes I need to remind myself why I’m putting it all out there — and this is one of those times:

I believe that truly loving and truly being loved is the greatest freedom we humans can achieve. (Contrast this with the attitudes portrayed by singles in the media, that marriage “ties us down” or we “give up our freedom..”) To come home to a place where someone is committed to loving, committed to partnership and where one is emotionally safe to express oneself fully seems healthier and even more natural to me than living singly, even if it is a lot of work. (Dr. Phil calls this “a soft place to land.”) The specific challenge is finding someone matched both in compatibility and desire to create that sort of relationship. “Met and matched,” as a relationship counselor might say.

Further, I believe that creating this safe, supporting home environment is what’s best for our children. So, even as I am trying to be the best parent I can be, it strikes me that the greatest single positive change I could make in parenting my children is to remarry a loving man, create a family and demonstrate an emotionally healthy, committed relationship.

I continue to work toward readiness for that kind of love and partnership — not because I believe I need to be perfect to find it — or even better than I am now, for that matter, but because I think trying to be our best, most loving, most devoted selves is what separates us from the beasts. Without this sort of seeking, what is the point or purpose of our lives?

So, even as I confess to being completely smitten with a fellow who planted his lips on mine a week hence, I continue to keep my focus on what’s important:  finding the man who demonstrates that I am, and a relationship with me is, a priority. To be honest, I don’t automatically suspect this fellow will do that, but I remain hopeful and open to the possibility.

not on my knees

Not long ago, I told one of the guys who’s meandered in and out of my life for the past many months that we needed to have a “come to Jesus.”

He asked hopefully — and via text, I might add, as so many of our important conversations take place these days — if that meant I’d be on my knees.

And that’s exactly the issue with this fellow; he cannot be taken seriously. He claims to have serious interest in me and then, when we eventually start putting together some plans, he texts me that he’ll be over around 11:30pm. That’s booty-call-thirty to most of us.

Men and women can have a few different types of relationships:  they can be siblings, friends, co-workers / colleagues, casual lovers or two people with mutual love and respect who want to grow old together. I realize that some of these types of relationships — and by no means is this list comprehensive — can take place on a sort of continuum. Yet I suspect the type of relationship I’m looking for — long-term, committed and rewarding — is unlikely to begin with an 11:30pm visit to my place.

So our “come to Jesus” conversation was a series of texts over which I basically told him that, if he wants to be taken seriously, he’ll need to change his strategy. Ultimately, I’m no soothsayer; I can’t predict the future, so I might be open to a booty call…one just couldn’t possibly expect it would turn into anything deeper.

This fellow knows me well enough and for long enough so that, if he’d been taking notes, he’d have an entire list of possible restaurants to which to invite me on dates, activities I enjoy, music I’d like to see in concert, etc. to show me that he values me as a human being (and not just a piece of ass). He’s likely to know that I think the best relationships begin as friendship. Hell, he’d probably have the first five years’ worth of birthday and Christmas gifts covered if he’d been listening.

I mean to say I’ve made this easy. I’ve practically handed out written instructions for how to win my heart, in the event he was interested. That’s why it floors me that he wants to come over and “give me a back rub” late at night while proclaiming he views me as the “total package” — brains, beauty, breasts. The most important of those is wasted entirely at that time of day.

At any rate, this last go-round, he ultimately declined to come over after this “discussion,” so no booty call for me. Now he claims he’s going to come over and help me do yard work one day, which is much more likely to win me over…

I may have my fingers crossed this fellow can manage some follow-through, but I won’t be on my knees.

what goes unsaid

As I’ve mentioned, my ex boyfriend and I have been a bit chatty lately, occasionally meeting for coffee and such. It’s certainly pleasant to reconnect, but there’s more:  hearing his voice, spending time with him — it does send my imagination to spinning.

Probably he senses this:  after all, he’s a smart man. And so he goes on, telling me of his happy new relationship — the milestones, the shared experiences, how crazy she is for him…

The one thing he’s failed to express is how crazy he is for her.

Do you reckon that’s to spare my feelings? Or for some other reason…?

another door closes

Not that it was open, or anything…but I’ve recently learned that Chi-guy got remarried. How did I come upon this fascinating tidbit, you might ask? Facebook, of course.

It’s funny when someone who was once in your life (remembered fondly, probably because we were never more than flirtatious friends) moves on in very real way. I can’t deny feeling a twinge of emotion — not because it didn’t happen for us, though perhaps because it’s happened now for one of us. And that one wasn’t me.

I wish them well, blah, blah, blah… Truly, I hope that he’s learned to be a better man in this relationship than I observed him being when I last visited him. And her, too:  there was a distinct moment that struck me as very “I will not be ignored, Dan!” (picture Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction). Perhaps I am being unfair. And perhaps that long ago visit was exactly the catalyst they needed to get over a relationship hump and move forward.

…for that, newlyweds, you’re welcome!

Just kidding.

baby crazy

Today I’ve learned that another of my girlfriends is pregnant. She’s the second wife, and he will have grandchildren older than their coming arrival. And I can’t help but feel just a bit surprised.

Sure, this happens all the time. But, given their lifestyle and such, I guess I’d just assumed that they’d talked before getting married and decided to be wonderful aunt and uncle and grandparents. But, oh, what a wonderful treat to have a baby!

I met another friend and her one-year-old for brunch over the weekend. My children sat bored and restless, playing with electronic devices, while I, smitten, cooed over the darling little girl. My girlfriend was 39, nearly 40, when she had her daughter. Another girlfriend has just undergone IVF…fingers crossed.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve got babies on the brain. I suppose it’s safe to confess that I’m baby crazy!

Would I have another? I’ve gone back and forth many times since my youngest was born (now more than eight years ago), even considering becoming a surrogate to give another couple the joy of becoming parents. My son even remarked a few years ago, “Mommy, I think you’d have another baby if you could.” Last week, I saw a profile of three children waiting for adoption and wished I were capable of bestowing such miracles on my own. I’ve often thought about hosting exchange students or taking in foster children…if I weren’t a single, that is. (Even as a single, I may yet do such things as my children grow a wee bit older…)

Ultimately, with my other roles as parent and provider, such musings have yet to come to anything. And today, while I’ve counted myself for some time among the well and truly finished, unwilling to go back to wee-hour feedings and diaper pails, I think I might just be open…if the stars aligned…if the man and wind conditions were right…perhaps if I could stay home at least part of the time…I might be open to considering it.

My children are, of course, dead set against this. But they can be bribed. Further, they are not in charge.

Ultimately, my conclusion is this:  I have an open heart and an open mind and many, many gifts that might be shared in any number of ways. For the moment, I’ll revel in being an honorary aunt to my friends’ babies — and someday, sooner than if I had a newborn, a social life.

Peter Pan

Somehow I’ve always managed to attract a certain type of men:  When I was not yet thirty, the fifty-year-olds were drawn to me like white on rice, like moths to a lamp. Lately, it seems to be guys who don’t want to grow up, who want to live in the moment, who don’t have any kind of vision for the future. Or is it just that a disproportionate number of the available men out there are single because they aren’t interested in commitment?

In any case, I sometimes wonder whether I should be concerned about the trend, concerned that maybe I’m giving off a “fantasy” vibe, rather than “marriage-potential” vibe.

I’ve been clear about what interests me, and I’ve aligned my behavior to my long-term interests, eschewing easy dalliances. After all, I’d hate to end up back in a relationship with a man who ultimately required as much parenting as my children. A man (by this age) ought to have some sense of self, strong core values and a clear understanding of the expectations of commitment. He ought to be mature enough to behave with integrity and conduct himself with a certain amount of dignity.

My latest six-month romance was with a man who bucked the trend:  he was dignified and intentional (though he would have said “deliberate”) about living a set of values. In fact, he may have been the most mature man I’ve ever dated. It goes without saying that these are qualities I admire.

So I’m going to bless that chapter of my life, express my gratitude for the experience and know, with confidence, that I’ll recognize such qualities when I next experience them.