Friends, Dates, ???, FWBs, Exes.

I was slammed (socially) this past weekend and I’m still paying for it. I did dinner, trivia and bar hopping Friday with some friends, brunch with my parents, date with the teacher, game night with friends, brewery lounge on Saturday and Sunday I took a day trip to the beach with some friends to check out a street festival.

You’re probably wondering, “why do you do this stupid shit?” and my response would be, “because you only live once and I’m a dumb ass.”

After having quite a stressful week at work, I really wanted to focus on fun with friends, where I felt I could be completely relaxed and at ease. My plan was not to go on any dates, but the teacher seemed fairly persistent, so I finally took him up on the offer. We met at this public garden where we walked around for about an hour before my allergies started to go crazy and we dipped into a brewery right down the road (actually the one we met at on our first date). I really appreciated his planning. He knew I had, had a hellish week and wanted to take me places that would ease my mind. We even did dinner after downing a few beers (and I was good and lit).

The teacher has kind of been a dark horse in all of this. He’s a very kindhearted guy, makes his intentions fairly clear and has no problem showering me with compliments and support, all while giving me “space”. I think he “really” likes me and while I enjoy hanging out with him, I’m not sure if I feel those same romantic feelings towards him and I’m not sure how to handle that. Hes fun to talk to (I guess), but I’m having a hard time forcing myself to dive into the pool of infatuation and I’m not even sure if the urge is going to come. Part of me knows I’m not going to have those feelings (for him) no matter how hard I try, but the other part of me wants to know why that even is…? Am I just not attracted to him? He’s not bad looking necessarily…Maybe he’s not “bad boy” enough.

Anyway, after date time with The Teacher, I met up with friends for game night and brewery lounging before calling it an early night around midnight so I could get up to drive to a friend’s house for our day trip Sunday.

My friend that I was meeting up with recently bought a house about thirty minutes outside of town (in the country). This is the friend that I reference in the flake post. Anyway, since it had been so long since she, my other friend and I had hung out, we decided to take a day trip to the beach (from her place).

We had an interesting conversation on dating, relationships and love in our two hour car ride. We all kind of opened up about past situations and how/what we learned from them. We talked about how difficult it was to date in your 30s and how all of us thought online dating in particular was extremely draining. Over the last few months, I really haven’t opened up much about my “love life” in that way. I mean, I’ve vaguely mentioned that I’ve been regularly seeing someone (because another group of friends want to know why I’m missing events here and there), but I haven’t elaborated on how that situation or any past situations have made me feel. I haven’t talked about my fears or insecurities in dating. Or how sometimes I get tired of having to decode things. For some reason with these two friends, I felt compelled to really open up to them about everything going on. I told them about Babyface and how I was sort of at a crossroads with him because my feelings towards him lately have turned into more of a physical convenience than anything else (he’s adorable, funny and nice, but very little of that phases me these days). I told them about my ex and how damaged I felt right after our breakup and how I had been taking precautions in dating to never end up in that situation again. I even told them about other misc relationships, like with blast from the past and how the current state of our friendship is at times strained due to him cheating on me so many years ago and never directly apologizing about it. Overall, the trip really put a lot of things in perspective for me. We even had a conversation about what dating was to each of us and my one friend decided that he probably wasn’t “doing dating correctly”, because dating should involve effort form BOTH parties, it shouldn’t necessarily be one person pulling all of the weight.

We ended up having a fun day at the beach and on the way back, my friends suggested that I refuse to make any plans with Babyface because they thought he was being extremely lazy in never (fully) planning any of our dates  minus our very first one and half of our last one (though one of them said he might just be “shy” and afraid I might not like all of his suggestions–he is not “shy”). Earlier that weekend, Babyface had mentioned getting together the following weekend (this upcoming weekend), but as usual, never provided any details or thoughts as to what he wanted to do or what day/time he wanted to do said things. Per the suggestion of my friends, I sent him a text message Monday night in response basically saying:

This weekend is fine. I’m going to step back and let you figure it out though. You just tell me the when and the where.

*crickets*

As I took breaks to type up this blog post, he responded, but not really to my statement. He sent more of a “good morning, how are you doing, how was your trip,” text. Can I say that is another form of text messaging etiquette that bothers me? Like, he blatantly ignored what I said. I know he has to have somewhat of a reading comprehension to have made it through college…

Maybe I’m just annoyed with Babyface because I’m PMSing and  craving some back breaking action from him specifically–ha, sort of just kidding…but seriously, I’m tired and I don’t want to plan anything. I think I deserve a break on that. We could do pizza on his/mine couch for all I care…just plan it.

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K is for Kindess

I had a chit chat the other day with the ex concerning a potential health scare (that I think I have) that I know he’s been dealing living with for more than 20 years of his life . If you knew him, you’d forget he has this issue because he doesn’t allow it to define him.

Conversation wise, he could have very well ignored me, told me to fuck off or simply dismissed my concerns as being “ridiculous”…but he didn’t. He treated me with genuine respect and kindness. He listened to what I had to say, comforted me through my anxious thoughts (because, anxiety!), shared his perspective on how he deals lives with this health issue and sent loads and loads of information on the matter as well as his specialist’s contact information.

That was super nice of him to do any of that, especially since it required him to do some some googles. After thanking him for the advice and apologizing for the interruption in his day, he said:

Don’t be :). You deserve compassion and kindness, you really do. Keep your head up, (name retracted). Please keep me updated on what you find out.

The kid’s alright in my books. I wish more people would practice kindness in this way. Hell, I wish I was able to be this kind more often. Maybe I should try working on that.

Actual Factual Advice

I’m still riding that wave of being (mostly) at peace. After all, I’m not perfect by any means and there is still a itty bitty part of me dusting off emotionally, but I’m so much better than I was, omg! It feels amazing to want to get up, to want to be social, to be able to focus on other aspects of my life that I had been neglecting for months. Most importantly, it feels nice to have the courage to “get back out there” and KNOW that this person nor that situation “ended” me. While I’ve been hurt or a little sad about ended relationships before, this was my first substantial heartbreak because I was so emotionally invested.

I don’t think being “emotionally invested” is a bad thing. It means that you believe in that person and your connection with them. It means you’re putting faith in things and giving it a go and you’re being vulnerable. A lot of risk comes with that and before this relationship; I realized I had never really been that vulnerable with anyone, even with guys that I *thought* I “loved”. I was always overly cautious, which led me not to be emotionally connected or invested in any past exes. Even one I was with for about a year. I deserved so much better than that.

Not to sound “cheesy”, but this whole situation reminds of a scene in the Black Panther movie where T’Challa (Black Panther) is laying in a bed of snow (he is near death and feeling defeated. While in this coma like state he is speaking to his ancestors who are inviting him to join them in the afterlife) and one moment he’s clinging to life and is powerless and then the next moment he realizes he has unfinished business to tend to, regains the “Black Panther” strength and emerges more powerful than before. I wish I could find that image online, but I’ve searched for about ten minutes and I have other things to do…

Anyway, it’s amazing how when you’re “heartbroken” the world seems like it is ending and the advice everyone gives you goes a little something like this:

“It will get better”

“You’re better off”

“He was a/an [insert insult here] anyway”

“Everything happens for a reason”

“You’ll find someone new/better”

“Smile. It will hurt less.”

Just don’t *think* about them”

“Go out and rebound”

“Maybe you’ll get back together”

 

Let’s be honest, none (well, most) of these things aren’t sinking in to your brain, which is diluted with negative energy and sadness by this point. You are exhausted and you can barely think about tomorrow, let alone “the future”. I really wish when I went through this painful experience I was told:

“It’s going to really HURT and for a while. Like physical pain level of hurt.”

“It’s going to suck and there are going to be days where you feel like you can’t function, but over time you will feel better.”

It’s ok to cry and to feel sad. You’re in mourning. Actually go through the stages of these emotions. Allow yourself to feel this raw emotion.”

“Don’t hold things in. Talk to loved ones or professionals if you can.”

“Blog it out.”

“You’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions. Some days you’ll feel a little better and then several days later you’ll feel sad again (sometimes without reason), but as time moves on you’ll have more good days than bad days until eventually the majority of your days are good again.”

“You’ll long for your ex and even act on seeing them. That’s normal. While reuniting (even on a friendly basis) sounds like a good idea, it’s not (shortly after a breakup) and will set both of you off course emotionally. Wait six or more months and if you’re able to have a genuine platonic friendship, go for it, but keep your boundaries in check.”

“Cut communication as much as possible. Even if you’re cordial to one another, it’s just not necessary to be “in touch” right after.”

“Go out and find new hobbies, experience new things, travel, make new friends. These eventual distractions will prove to be pivotal in your recovery.”

“If going to a certain place reminds you of them, don’t go to that place if it is at all humanly possible. Protect your peace.”

“Stop re-reading their text messages, emails, listening to their voicemails, making googly eyes at photos of them (you both as a couple counts too), in fact,  remove the photos from your phone, or at the very least place them in a “hidden” folder or store them on a hard drive. Social media wise, hide their updates and hide yours from them too. If absolutely necessary (wasn’t for me), delete them from your social media pages. At least for now. Protect. your. peace.”

“When you do dust off and get back out there again, try not to date someone just like them. Try to date someone different from your ex. They might surprise you (in a good way). You will naturally compare your new bae to your ex, but don’t be too critical.”

“Take things slow in your next romantic encounter. Consider the reasons why you and your ex didn’t work and strive to not repeat those things moving forward. Be logical and tell your heart to pace itself.”

“Take your time and only get back out there when you feel as though you’re all better. Don’t date with a revengeful heart or even for the purposes of rebounding or making your ex jealous. Those situations will never end well and might potentially hurt the other person in the crossfire of your selfish behavior.”

“You’re probably going to date a lot of cornballs [see guy #1] and fuck boys post break-up. Go out, have fun, keep an open mind and know your worth. Eventually, your “prince charming” will come around.”

“You may have days where you are not your ex’s biggest fan [2]….EVEN if you guys ended things mutually or in a very peaceful way and they treated you like gold while you were together. That is OK. It’s natural to have a bit a resentment, try not to act on it though.”

“There will be times where you’ll be worried about them. Wondering if they’re ok, if they’re lonely, if they feel guilt, if they have second thoughts, etc. Yes, they probably do indeed have these thoughts and go through these things, but it’s not your job to “protect” them anymore.”

***

I could easily go on and on with this, but what is most important is that I made it through the worst of it and I am on the other side now with a renewed sense of self. I don’t regret meeting my ex or even being in a relationship with him, not for one second. I’m glad I let my guard down and took the chance to let him into my world. Imagine had I not let my guard down, I would have potentially missed out on having someone really amazing in my life. I would have missed out on truly understanding what it feels like to have someone love me unconditionally and to meet my effort 110%. I cherish those moments that we shared and I feel honored that of all people, he chose to share those moments with me. I wish him all of the success and happiness in the world, I really do.

One of the best gifts he gave me was learning how to truly love and trust and ALLOWING someone to love and trust you in return. I just hope that moving forward I can approach love in that way with someone new, which I’m sure I will in time. And if I never do, at least I can say I did have the pleasure of experiencing it.

Jaded & Empathic

Well, it’s another sunny day in my world—being most sarcastic of course, but it was a mildly interesting day to say the least. We got pizza at work and I ended up explaining my ex’s vasectomy to my mom (don’t ask).

Today, I received a peculiar response from a guy that I had been messaging on an app. He seemed “shocked” that “someone like me” would have been interested enough to respond to him *clutch to pearls and stop the press right now*. He eagerly wanted to know why I responded.

Like…is that earth shattering? I mean, up until now you seemed normal?

I told him in reading his profile he seemed nice and down to earth. He asked me if that was rare, to which I replied, “yes, a lot of guys up here seem to be really jaded and bitter.” Well, I must have touched a sore spot because he sent me a novel in response. I’m not even going to write everything he said because it was stupid. I’ll just summarize:

He basically said a lot of guys have been hurt really bad by women and they were tired and didn’t believe in love anymore. They were so hurt in fact, that they just couldn’t take it anymore and I should feel empathy for them…because poor them. He also went on a tangent about how he knows guys are “sleazy” and he *tries* to take that into consideration with women and tries to make up for the “sleazy” guys they’ve dealt with.

WHAT?!

Y’all exhaust the fuck out of me, I swear. I had to read his message back twice.

In the grand scheme of things, I understood what he meant, but it still didn’t explain or excuse these same hurt men referring to all women as, “spineless, backstabbing bitches”, which I explained to him. He back pedaled a bit, but still advised me to understand, assuring me that HE was not one of these guys.

Omg, go away.

He concluded his soapbox speech asking me how I was doing and how work was going for me today. Well, deputy dog, I’m doing just dandy now that you mansplained who and what i should feel empathy for.

Moral of the story, if you ever read or see a guy in extreme distress calling all women, “spineless, backstabbing bitches”, open up your heart and empathize with him. He’s had a hard life.

Fin.

 

Waves

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I spent the past weekend “off the grid” and out of town with family, taking a break from social media (including blogging), texting, email, etc was MUCH needed. Constantly checking, tweeting, posting, reading, absorbing, replying was starting to trigger my anxiety. It was nice to have a few days to just enjoy family time and live in the moment (which I did).

I still haven’t really spoken to my family about the breakup in specific detail, but I just haven’t felt like I’ve been in the best place emotionally to dive into that yet (until semi recently). I basically left it at, “we decided to take an indefinite break because our expectations no longer align.” I assured them that I was ok and we were on good terms (which is sort of a half truth/half lie or whatever). I never told them how he came over 2-3 days before our cruise to end things or how our fragmented communication/outings since have just further pushed back the healing process, how there are still days (less days now) where getting out of a bed is a struggle, how running into him/seeing him around town is triggering (we essentially live in the same “suburban borough”) or even how he was previously engaged. I’m not sure if telling them any of those personally specific details even matters at this point, because that was my relationship and not theirs. Ensuring them that I am fine is really my only worry at this point. They have surprisingly not asked me a ton of questions about it, so that helps…but I know it’s coming.

Speaking of ol’ dude, I’ve managed to go the whole year so far without intentionally being in communication with him (that’s like 16 days, but that’s still an accomplishment). I don’t even feel anxious about it, nor do I feel like there is anything to “share” with him. No longer do things really “remind” me of him (minus this past Saturday when I went into a store that had an entire Green Bay Packer’s clothing section and last week when I passed by a bridge that overlooks the city where we would frequently go after dinner at our favorite fancy upscale pizza spot—eh, such is life I guess). Occasionally, I’ll log on to fb messenger and see that he’s “active” or I’ll login to IG with the app listing him as a “Friend” to “nudge” about joining IG (I don’t care if he joins IG, I just know I don’t plan on being his “friend” there). I’ve hidden all of his updates on FB (not that either one of us ever used FB like that anyway) and placed him on a list of people that will see very limited and basic updates from me.  I still have his number on “Do not disturb” on my phone, with the last text he sent me unread and unreplied to…. and of course, I’ve removed all photos of him from my phone. I haven’t even read past text messages from him so far in 2018. The only thing I haven’t done is remove photos of him (us) from my IG account. I thought about deleting or archiving them, but then realized those photos were a part of my life at that particular time, so I left them. My IG is my way of capturing aspects of my life through photos. Since he’s not tagged in them (doesn’t have an IG anyway), his real name is not used, I only referenced him as my “boyfriend” in ONE photo (on national boyfriend day), my IG account is PRIVATE and I so rarely shared ANYTHING he and I did on social media anyway, I felt it was ok to just leave them in the past and leave them alone (for now). The people I’ve been super selective about allowing access to view my IG are close friends anyway and I’m sure they understand. I’ll revisit that if I ever find myself in a “serious relationship” again. Besides, anyone that scrolls back that far on my photos has a problem.

Like I stated before, I don’t think we won’t EVER speak again, but right now is delicate state of recovery for me and I’m serious about getting better. To be fair, I did hint to all of this (keeping my distance and not really being in communication) the last time we seriously spoke.

While continuing to move past him, I’ve been a little more open to date again. I’ve really only been on a handful of dates both online and offline (with guys I’ve quickly realized were not for me), but at least I’m making an effort to keep an open mind. I have yet to meet a guy so far that gives me that same jolt of excitement I got in the initial stages of getting to know my ex—before he and I even had our first date actually. I’m not sure if this always needs to happen in this way or if in some situations this jolt comes later? I guess I’ve dated guys or been in relationships where it came over time, so maybe that’s ok too? I have been more particular about who’ll I’ll date and per the suggestion of my old co-worker, I’ve started to treat this as a project or business meetings with specific “goals” and “outcomes”. It sounds silly, but it saves me from wasting a lot of time.  I know mostly what I’m looking for and I’m really serious about “deal breakers”. Here are some of mine:

  • Drug use
  • Financial instability
  • Lack of goals/motivation
  • Inability to carry on an intelligent conversation
  • Lack of a sense of humor
  • Lack of education
  • Lack of transportation
  • Lack of hobbies

So ok, some of these things are kind of “givens”, but you’d be surprised what you find out about people even after talking to them for a little while. Some of these things start to float to the surface.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough in this post. Hopefully things will continue to be on the up and up. I think I’ve had enough downer days to last me for the better part of a year.

Girls Night. Girls Talk.

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I admittedly don’t have a ton of female friends that I feel close enough to regularly hangout with, but I am working on this. The ones that I DO have and ARE close to are amazing though.

Tonight (Thursday — I’m queuing this to post a few days from now), I met up with some of my girlfriends after work for a happy hour at a fondue place not far from our jobs. I’ve never been to a fondue place (outside of a date with a guy (where I can’t even remember his name now–perhaps it was John?), so I was excited for what the evening had in store.

Per usual, we ordered cocktails and got the evening started. Since we don’t see each other super frequently, we caught each other up on what’s been going on in everyone’s life. This conversation sent one of my friends into this 30 minute tangent about online dating and how draining it had become to her. She told us about all of these dates she had been on and how the guys would weird out or turn out to be something that didn’t appear to be online. She even shared a story of how she dated this one guy, who until a few dates in, didn’t even bother to tell her that he had recently gotten a divorce and she was the first person he had dated since the divorce. Hmmm…sounds quite familiar.

Anyway, she went on to say how weird the guy eventually started acting and how he seemed to be in and out in terms of communicating, which lead her to believe that perhaps he jumped the gun too soon and wasn’t ACTUALLY ready to start dating like he thought. She talked about how annoying this was, because dating someone right out off of a divorce, broken engagement or serious long term relationship adds an additional layer of difficulty to things because of the baggage that often comes along with it.  You end up either having to hear about their ex, dealing with someone who is emotionally unavailable or someone who dives in too quickly.  You want to pity and treat their heart with care, but you also want to make sure the person is emotionally stable enough to even commit to you on the most basic level.

Her entire rant reminded me a lot of the situation with my ex and how I think if I had known he came from a broken engagement a few months prior and I was the “first person” he dated since coming off of that engagement, I might have approached the situation quite differently. I might have suggested we talk about that and whether or not he was truly ready to start something new. I might have been more cautious, I might have asked more questions regarding his emotional state. Perhaps I could have saved myself some emotional trauma by approaching things a little more logically (even though I initially approached them logically and got “lost in the sauce”). Because if it’s taking me this long to *fully* get over that relationship, I can only imagine the work and time it would take to get over something like a broken engagement. Hell, he might  not have even (or will ever) really been (or be) over it by the time he met me and dived head first into whatever it was we were doing because the excitement of possibly being in love again consumed and overwhelmed him in a way that caused him to act a bit irrationally and irresponsibly. As I’ve mentioned, that’s pretty reckless (emotionally), but we’re all human and I guess I understand.

While maybe he benefited himself by getting back out there after a period where he didn’t think he could ever love or find happiness again, he left my heart black and blue in the process. While I was knocked down for a few rounds, I’m starting to dust myself off and get back in the ring. I have realized that I am much stronger emotionally than I could have ever imagined and he will not break me or my spirit.

The more I think about it though, the less angry I feel. If anything, I sort of have a better understanding of it all. Not that I’m giving him a pass for that (because he essentially dragged someone unknowingly into his whirlwind of emotions–and by unknowingly, didn’t disclose that information to me), but it helps me to understand his perspective a bit more and maybe to understand that it wasn’t intentional.  It was still wrong, yes, but I don’t think he meant any ill will. Maybe he really did wake up one day and reality hit him and perhaps he realized he jumped the gun a bit before even processing the situation at hand? Would have been nice if he had thought that way as we were meeting, so I could have skipped all of this trauma, but  It happens. Should it continue to happen forever and always? Well, no. Lessons should be learned from this on both sides. I certainly learned mine. I just hoped he took something away from this.

Anyway, my friends and I continued to exchange dating stories for the rest of the evening and I found myself feeling like I wasn’t alone in this crazy thing called life. I’m not the only one getting over a breakup and attempting to dust off and “dip” into the dating pool once more, knowing I’m going to have to weed through a ton of idiots before finding someone even worthy of actually dating on a more serious level. I’m sure when I’m ready and the time is right, that person will come along. Until then, I just have to trust that things will get better and focus on feeling better so that I drag none of this bitterness into my next relationship. Also, so that I don’t hold any (deeply rooted) resentment towards my ex specifically.

We’ll see. In the meantime, talking to friends and going out more has been instrumental in this healing process.

Traffic, Commitments & Following My Own Advice

I spent the weekend over his place. We hadn’t seen each other since the 4th of July, but we’ve managed to stay in touch via text and phone calls, which is cool.

I had been looking forward to our “reunion” for a few weeks, especially since we had a false start or two with him promising that he would be here for work only to have those plans fall through and him never bothering to inform me until I asked. Read More

A Favor/Advice 

Do yourself a favor and remember this bit of advice :

Anyone who values you and genuinely wants to get to know you/continue a relationship with you (friendship/otherwise), will make it a point to stay in touch with you without you nudging/asking them to do so. Period. Don’t entertain anyone who is not willing to make that effort and invest their time in you. You matter.