Stepping Back

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

After months of disastrous dating, I think it’s time for me to give it up- at least for now.  See, it’s one thing for guys that don’t know me to reject me.  But when someone who knows the person that I am- who has read this blog for years- pursues me, then immediately drops me, telling me that the idea of me was so much better than the reality of me (via text no less- the modern equivalent of the post-it breakup), I think it’s time to hang up my dating shoes.  Maybe some of us were not meant to find a partner.  Maybe the whole “there’s a lid for every pot” adage is a lie.  I know I’m wallowing in self-pity here, but I think I’ve just finally had enough.

In the last 9 months, I have dated the following: 2 men with glaring “married” red flags, a psychopath with definite anger issues, a guy whose definition of “monogamy” was shaky at best, 2 men who were very clearly not ready for relationships, an egomaniac, and most recently someone who said I have no substance- which is especially hurtful when that someone knows all of the things I never show dates- all of my deep, dark secrets.

Maybe I don’t make very wise choices as to who to let in.  I’m a very honest and up-front person; and being so up-front about who you are makes it very difficult to keep a wall up and protect yourself when someone seems to accept you for the person that you put out there.  After all, putting a wall up is not who I am.  I’m someone who dives in head-first.  

But, maybe I do need to step back and learn how to protect my heart a little more.  All I know is that I am too sensitive to keep letting people reject me based on who I am.  It’s one thing when the person knows very little about me.  But it’s another whole issue when I let that person in- I let them see my vulnerabilities- THEN they reject me.

The problem is that I don’t know how I can still be me and not be vulnerable.  It’s part of who I am.  And if I construct a wall and not let anyone get too close, can I really find someone who is truly right for me?   


Be Mine?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The decision to exclusively date someone has always been a mystery.  Maybe I should rephrase that.  The timing is what baffles me.  I've read on numerous sites that the time line is somewhere around three months.  Personally, I think that's a bit too long.  But given my afore-mentioned inability to "juggle," it's not surprising that I prefer to date only one person at a time.

Of course, it all depends upon your specific relationship.  If you and the other person only see each other once or twice a month, I would consider the three-month timeline accurate.  However, I have always preferred to take myself off the market when I meet someone with which I see any potential.

That being said, I've made the mistake of jumping into that decision way too quickly- like after the first date.  Big, BIG mistake.  Why?  Because when you inevitably realize that you don't really know that person, or that they drive you insane (or any other variety of reasons you've realized your mistake), you have to have that uncomfortable conversation.  And, being that I am essentially chicken-shit, I tend to lean toward the "I'm not ready for this" cop-out.

The standard answer is "when it feels right."   However, if like myself, you want it to feel right every time you like someone, it's hard to know the difference between the situation "feeling right" and my desire for it it to feel right.  That is, I tend to convince myself that something is right because I want it so much.

There is also the fact that, in an age where you typically email and IM someone quite a lot (assuming you have met this person online) before even meeting.  You get to know the person before you even meet them.  This throws off the traditional custom of using the first several dates actually getting to know the person. 

So how do you decide when to become exclusive.  Damned if I know.  And I still have yet to master having that conversation without sounding like I'm asking "would you like to go steady?"


Very Superstitious

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In recent years, I’ve become more and more superstitious when it comes to dating.  And my (single) friends seem to be as well.  We now have this unspoken rule that when we go out on a great date with a guy who has actual potential, we don’t talk about it.  The conversation typically goes as follows:

                              L:        “what did you do last night?”
                              Ash:    “dinner date.”
                              L:        “who? how was it?”
                              Ash:    “it was good. end of discussion.”

It has become our rule that the better the date, the less we discuss.  I personally think that the more you discuss the date in those tender beginning stages, the more likely you are to jinx the situation.  Of course this presents the issue that none of us knows about the good dates that have been had (a price I’m willing to pay to avoid ruining a potentially good situation).

Whether you believe in superstitions or not, this one does have some validity.  After all, the more you discuss a new potential relationship, the more excited you become about it.  The more excited you are, the more that person is on your mind.  And given my propensity toward neediness, thinking about that other person too much tends to lead to me scaring them off by contacting them more often than I should.

But this does present one problem: at what point is it okay to tell your friends that you met someone you actually like?  This is usually where I fail.  See, my friends and I all love wine.  And I’m a talker when I drink.  So, of course, I usually end up spilling the beans way too early.  And when things eventually end before they got a chance to really take off, I then have to deal with the friends asking, “how’s what’s-his-name?”


Ch Ch Ch Changes....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I finally had that "aha!" moment last night.  You know the one where you realize that you are a grown-up.  One would think that I would have had it by now.  I mean, I've been shopping for a condo and have made a few offers...all of which was terrifying to me.  That alone should have caused that "wow, I'm an adult" moment.

But no.  What caused it?  Well, I left work yesterday, walked to my car, turned the key.....nothing.  The car wouldn't start.  Now, in the past, that would have caused me to get upset, thinking, "why me???! I can't afford any repairs!"  At which point yours truly would start crying.  Yes, I know.  I'm a big baby.

I'll admit- I did have a brief moment of that.  But then I paused and took a deep breath and realized that, while inconvenient, this certainly wasn't worth getting worked up over.  I knew it was either the starter or the battery.  So I got back in the car and tried different electronics.  While the lights came on, the radio wouldn't.  Voila- not the starter.  And, thanks to previously having had the requisite POS car, I carry jumper cables with me.  I flagged down the first guy I saw who looked like he knew where his hood latch was and asked for a jump.  Car running, I thanked him profusely, got in the car, and headed to a garage to buy a new battery.

While I was waiting for the battery, I started to wonder why I used to get so worked up over things.  I know part of the change is maturity, but the biggest part is money.  It's great to finally be in a position where replacing the battery in my car does not equate sacrificing groceries for the week.

Of course, that may change when I have a mortgage.......



Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'm sure I've mentioned my OCD before.  In recent months, due to (of course) a lot of self- analysis, I've realized that most of my relationship issues (at least the ones on my end) can be boiled down to not having the OCD under control.  More specifically, the few days every month that I don't have the compulsions that are a part of the 'disease' under control.  The obsessive thoughts rarely lessen.  However, for the most part, the compulsions that are sparked by those obsessive thoughts are something I am typically able to keep myself from acting upon.

For those who don't know the "what and why" of OCD, in its most simplest form, it can be boiled down to a need for reassurance.  Those of us who "check" things do so out of a need to "make sure."  Even if I tell myself (mentally or aloud) that I unplugged the toaster... even if, as I'm unplugging those things, I say, "toaster is unplugged," nine times out of ten, I will need to go back into the house after leaving, just to "make sure."  There is the fear that if I do not double-, triple-, or even quadruple- check, I may have been wrong about unplugging the toaster and the house may burn down.  It's the same with curling irons, hair dryers, you name it.

Normally this isn't something that interferes with my life.  It is, at most, a minor inconvenience and annoyance. Except when it comes to personal relationships.  That need for reassurance  most certainly translates into a disaster when dating... especially in that oh-so-important nurturing phase in the beginning.  That need for reassurance almost always becomes that ever-dreaded "neediness."

The thoughts are always there: "does he really like me?"  "why didn't he respond to my text right away? Did I do something wrong?  Has he suddenly stopped liking me?"  And while the thoughts are there, I can almost always talk myself out of them.  I can answer myself with, "hello...he has a life...just like you do.  He's not sitting by his phone waiting to hear from you.  Knock it off."

With the exception of a few days a month.  On those days, no matter how many reasonable arguments I give myself, I sometimes can not stop it.  I pick up the phone, go to the messaging screen, and ask, "did I do something wrong? " or "are you mad at me?"  And the entire time I am typing the message, I know it is the wrong thing to do.  There is a voice in my head screaming, "DO NOT SEND THAT!!  STOPPPPPP!"

But I can't.  For whatever reason, this illness means that I need the reassurance of hearing, "not at all."  But that doesn't happen.  That is, 99% of the time, the point when the man either stops communicating altogether, or sends me the uncomfortable "I don't think we're suited for each other" email.

So how do I keep myself from scaring away any man who is interested in me?  The simplest answer is medication to control the OCD.  But for the most part it is under control, so I'm hesitant to take that approach.  And there is some part of my brain that thinks that, while medications are not only okay, but are a must for some people, and there is not a single thing wrong with that; I hold myself to a far more unattainable standard then I do for everyone else.  I feel that there is something wrong with me if I need that help...even if it's only for a few days a month.

I guess the other option is to avoid the potential suitor for those days.  Of course then I would be accused of playing games.  I guess I'm not any closer to an answer than I was when I began this post.


With this Ring.....

Monday, August 02, 2010

Lately, I've noticed an increase in married men on dating sites.  Are they admitting to being married?  Nope.  Are they emailing me, claiming to be single, chatting with me, meeting me, leading me on, then disappearing?  Yep.  How do I know they're married?  Well, my friends, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Let me explain.  (And I'm also crossing my fingers, hoping that there are women out there who are experiencing the same thing).  On four separate accounts, I have met someone online, chatted with them for several weeks, then been either unceremoniously dumped via email or had the always fun "disappearing act" pulled on me.  After analyzing the progression of events, I then realized that the guy was married.  Am I assuming? Only in the case of the most recent guy.

Before I get to this most recent one, let me tell you about one of the ones for whom I have marital confirmation.  We met via an unnamed free dating site.  And, my being a logical person, I assume when someone posts their picture and lists their status as "divorced," that they are being honest.  Guy #1, we'll call him Mike (which may very well be his real name- *wink*).  We began chatting months ago.  He claimed to have been divorced for 3 years.  He (of course) had an anynomous email address and would not share where he worked (understandibly....being a blogger, I tend to be very careful about these things as well).  After two weeks of IM-ing, emailing and texting (never in the evenings- which should have been hint #1), he asked me to lunch (hint #2- if a man does not want to meet for dinner, something is typically not on the up-and-up).  Unfortunately for him, at the time I was still in the hotel industry and therefore only got a 30-minute lunch break.  So instead, he suggested what at the time I thought was a fantastic first date idea (also winning him bonus points).  He taught a beginners karate class on Friday nights and suggested I attend one of the classes.  We could then get a drink afterward (hint #3- he plans dates around times when he has other activities).  The date went well and we seemed to hit it off, however, he had been checking his watch quite a lot.  I even remarked "am I keeping you from something."  His response was that he had karate class the next morning. 

He said that he wanted to see me again, and the following week we chatted (always during the day) quite a lot.  We finally set up a second "date," where we met for ice cream one evening after his karate practice (see hint #3).  At the time, I thought, "strange- he wants to meet at Coldstone, but there is a Maggie Moo's much closer to where we both live."  But again, I ignored yet another glaring sign (hint #4- he does not want to meet anywhere near his neighborhood). 

After more chatting and emailing, I finally pressed him for a weekend date.  That's when he disappeared.  When I told the entire story to a friend, she simply said, "honey, he's married."  So I did a little research, and sure enough- married.

Guy number two and I never met.  We chatted and sent texts for almost a month before I finally said "enough."  I should also mention that after two weeks of chatting, we had set up a date- for lunch (of course).  On the day, he canceled, claiming to be sick.  But like I said, after a month of chatting (always during the day), I finally said "either we meet or that's it.  I'm not looking for a chat buddy; I'm looking for a relationship."  He got angry; I got angry; we left it at that for the day.  The following day he emailed me and said "you're really fantastic, but I want to see someone when I can see her and when I cannot, I cannot."  Upon some reflection, I'm thinking he was married as well.

So now I'm seeing the pattern:
#1- he only chats during the day
#2- he wants to meet for lunch
#3- he plans "dates" around existing events in his schedule
#4- he does not want to meet in his neighborhood
#5- he gets angry when you push him for a weekend/evening date/chat/phone conversation

Is anyone else seeing this? Or do I attract married men for some reason?


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