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Drowning in the Dating Pool

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Now that I have poked my big toe back into dating pool to test the waters, I have just one reaction.

I hate dating.

There I’ve said it.

I mean I reeeeaaaaallllllyyyyy hate it.

I never was very good at it.  And, unlike a fine wine, it hasn’t gotten any better with age.

The whole process is nerve-wracking.  I meet someone.  We chat on-line.  We text all day.  We talk for hours on the phone.  I am witty.  I am charming.   Everything in going swimmingly.  Everything is clicking.   We decide to meet in person.

*gulp*

The big day arrives.  We text about how nervous we are.  How excited.

And it goes beautifully.  I am witty.  I am charming.

“You are so amazing!  Why are you still single?,” I am asked.

“Such a good question,” I reply as I flash my brightest smile.

The evening ends.  Things feel kinda good.  My head is above water.  I’ve learned to not get my hopes up, but…

More texting.

Discussions about meeting again.  We try to work around kid schedules.

Texts start to get farther and farther apart.

And eventually nothing.

And I know I am about to have to go through this all over again.

This is my cycle.

And frankly it makes me want to get as far away from the dating pool as possible.

It is exhausting to have to go through it over and over and over again.  My psyche is blue and shivering, longing for a thick warm towel to wrap around my shoulders.

I know several people who do not know how to swim, and don’t care to learn.  So, they just avoid any situation where they might be surrounded by water.

So, to continue my metaphor, perhaps I should just remove myself from the pool.  Get far far away.  After all, I can’t drown in the dating pool if I don’t get in.  But, I am not sure that is how I want to live my life.

I’ve already learned to ease my way into the water.  I no longer cannonball off the edge.

Maybe it’s just that I have forgotten how to swim and I need to put back on my floaties.  Or, get a swim instructor.  Or find a new pool.

Somethin’.

Because right now, I hate dating.

Really I do.

Homeownership vs. Dating…

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I have had a love/hate relationship with my house since the summer after we moved in.  Ten years ago.

My ex-husband and I bought the house when The Middle Monkey was just about a year old.  We were living in a two bedroom/one bath/1,000 square foot house.  It was cute, and it was on almost half an acre.  But, let’s face it – it was a TINY house.  So, we figured we had two choices.  1.) build on to the existing house, or 2.) buy a new one.  We decided that since we had an infant and a not-quite-3-year-old, it made more sense to buy a new one.

So, we put the house on the market.  THEN we started looking for a new house.

We looked for MONTHS.  And nothing was “perfect.”  But, we thought we had time.

That is, until an offer was made on our house and we had a month to vacate.  Suddenly, we had to find something new AND FAST!

When we toured this house, we fell in love instantly.  Four bedrooms (sure one is really closet sized, but we only had two children at the time), two and a half baths, big fenced yard (necessary as Duffey was still around).  Perfect!  Oh sure, it needed some work.  But, it didn’t seem like things I couldn’t handle.  (I love my ex-husband with all my heart, but a handy man he is not.)  Oh and, sure it had been a rental property for eight years.  No problem!  This was it.  Our HOME.

We moved in on a cold February day.  It was during the school year, so I didn’t have time to really work on it.  Until summer rolled around.  I decided to tackle the yard.  The huge mess of a yard.  And I have been working on the house and the yard ever since.

As I have been tearing up the yard, it occurred to me that the lessons I have learned about owning a home, I could apply to dating.  No, really.  Just stick with me here.

So here they are, Susan’s Lessons on Homeownership and Dating…

  1. Beware of love at first sight.  As I said, it was love at first sight with the house.  And love at first sight usually means you are not thinking rationally – and you are seeing things with rose-colored glasses.  Had we REALLY looked at the house, we might have seen the problems.  The same holds true with dating.  ‘Nuff said about that…
  2. Watch out for “fixer-uppers.”  Yes, I knew the house needed work.  But, my thought was, “with a little bit of elbow grease, it will be FINE!  I can make it PERFECT!”  Ok, now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s admit it.  We’ve ALL said that about someone we have been interested in.  Every last one of us.  And what happens when we can’t “fix” them?  Or they don’t WANT to be fixed…
  3. Bigger is not necessarily better.  My house sits on a BIG corner lot.  I have a front yard, a big side yard, and a back yard.  It’s like a yard and a half.  Seriously.  Oh, sure.  It LOOKS good.  And it really seemed like an ideal situation.  Lots of room.  But, really.  It is just a whole lot of work.  Smaller would be easier.  And how does this fit in with the whole dating thing?  Well, ladies…I am sure you get my meaning behind it.  And gentlemen?  Think about it.  😉
  4. Things may look great on the outside, but watch out for hidden problems.  Jumping right in on the dating part here.  Haven’t we ALL dated someone who on the outside looked PERFECT?  And WAS perfect.  For a while.  Until the CRAZIES come out.   Same with the house.
  5. Problems that you THOUGHT were taken care of, may come back to haunt you.  When we moved into the house, the whole backyard was COVERED in English ivy.  It slopes and until we took out 5 trees, it was very shady.  Our first summer here, I started pulling out the ivy BY HAND.  Yanking it out of the ground.  It was backbreaking work.  And you know what?  It STILL COMES BACK!  I am still pulling up ivy from the yard.  I hate that freakin’ ivy.  And in relationships, haven’t we all had to deal with a re-visited issue?  (“Yes, damn it!  I got upset when you said we were just having fun.  I had been drinking.  Let it go!”)
  6. Just below the surface there are roots to some long dead things that is damn hard to get rid of.  In preparing the backyard to seed with grass, I have been clearing out a bunch of stuff.   Digging in the dirt.  Smoothing things out.  I’ll dig down just a bit, and find a root.  To what?  I have no idea.  There is nothing near it.  Absolutely nothing.  So, I start pulling up the root.  And pulling.  And pulling.  And pulling.  And the next thing I know, I have pulled out an inch thick, 12-foot long root.  Oh – and there’s another one.  And another one.  What the hell?!?  I have dated men like that.  Scratch the surface and there is a loooooooonnnnnnnggggg root to some long dead relationship.  Whomever messed them up REALLY did a job on them.  And no matter how much I try to pull out that damn root, there’s another one I have to contend with.  It is unending.
  7. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, you might as well just walk away.  Homeownership and relationships are both HARD WORK.  You really have to work at it.  Period.
  8. Once you have everything just right, you have to make sure you maintain it, or everything will fall apart.  I hate cleaning my house.  I really do.  With a passion.  It never fails, I ignore it for a bit, and all hell breaks loose and I have to spend DAYS cleaning it again.  Ugh.  Same with the yard.  Relationships also need maintaining.  When things are going smoothly, we tend to slack off.  Next thing we know, someone feels neglected.  And you start arguing.  And well, all hell breaks loose.

And while my house makes me nuts, and I hate it at times (like now…my hot water heater just died), I continue to have faith that ONE DAY it will be exactly what I want it to be.  Kinda like the hope I have that ONE DAY, I will find a relationship that is exactly what I want it to be.

Optimist or delusional?

You be the judge.

Texty McTexter

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Daily Prompt: It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

Ok.  I’ll admit it.  I’m a texter.  And an IMer.  I love texting for the EASE.  Need to quickly ask the Monkey Daddy what time he will be picking up the kids from my place?  No problem!  Just a few typed words, and VOILA!  An answer.

And IMing!  Wow!  What a concept!  When I am alone in the house, I am not actually alone, because I can be carrying on conversations with as many people as I want!  Word to the wise, though.  Make sure you know WHICH of the conversations you are currently responding to.  It can get BAD to write the wrong thing on the wrong conversation.

My former love and I spent the first two weeks before we even went out together messaging until the wee hours of the morning.  And even after we started dating, on the evenings we weren’t together, we were “chatting.”

There are a couple of reasons I like texting/messaging.

1.  You can say what you want to say when you want to say it.  Like I said, need to ask the ex a quick question?  Send a text.  And when you just want to tell someone you are thinking of them and hopefully bring a smile to their face – well you can do it.  Right then.

2. There is a bit of anonymity to it.  I have found myself being very much more open through the written word than I would be face-to-face.  I don’t have to worry about SEEING the reaction of the other person.  Both positive and negative.

3.  I have time to think about what I have to say – and I can rewrite if necessary.  I have a bad case of verbal diarrhea.  Particularly when I am anxious.  Or nervous.  Or excited.  Or my ADHD meds have worn off.  And I can ramble.  On and on and on and on and on.  I can easily say too much – WAY too much.  Or I can suddenly get so shy, I don’t know what to say.  So, I have a chance to re-read what I have written and THEN send it.  Not that I haven’t hit send and then thought, “CRAP!  Did I really send that?!?”  Because I have.  As I have referenced before.  Besides, I am ever so witty with the written word…

There are drawbacks to using the written form, however.

1.  I am VERY sarcastic (or as I say, I am fluent in three languages, English, sarcasm, and innuendo).  And SOMETIMES the tongue in cheek way I MEANT for it to come out, isn’t how it is reflected in words.  Needless to say, I rely on the “winky face” emoticon… AND CAPITAL LETTERS!

2.  There is nothing worse than not getting a response!  Particularly when you have just made a big emotional reveal.  It gets my mind all swirly.  I start to wonder if they saw it.  Or if they are ignoring it.  Or OMG…WHAT IF THEY ARE IGNORING ME!  WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER ME?!?!?!?  And then the crazies start to take over.

Yet, even with the pauses in messages, it still doesn’t seem as bad as the uncomfortable silence you sometimes have when face to face.

Technology.  Love it or hate it, things just aren’t the same without it.

Moving On

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I heard once that the one way to truly get over a former relationship is to move on to the next one.  How strange.  And how seemingly unfair to the next person.  To be used for the purpose of getting over someone else.  My question is, how, exactly, do you know when you are really emotionally ready for that?

Yes, I understand that there is only so long you can HOPE for a reconciliation – particularly if the relationship ended amicably – or if there are some unresolved issue.   I mean, it’s not like the love disappears overnight.  It is still there, right under the surface.

Take my relationship with my former love as an example.  There is no doubt in my mind that I still love him, even though it has been seven months since our “break-up.”  And no, not just because I am sitting around feeling sorry for myself that we are no longer together.  Well, that’s not overly true.  We are still “together,” but in a different way.   We have managed to remain friends.  Close friends.  Our relationship has moved on to a different phase.  But, if given the opportunity, I would welcome the chance to try our relationship again.  There were far more goods than bads.  It was right. Full of joy and love and happiness.   99% of the time.  But, the situation is/was so damn complicated, we never had the chance to have it be about US.   He and I have said that if our relationship had begun THIS April instead of LAST April, things would have been completely different.  If we had simply waited until his past was truly in his past and no longer in his present.  But, that isn’t how the story of us played out.  Unfortunately.

The fact of the matter is, it HAS been seven months since we ended what we had been.  And the fact of the matter is, he has “moved on.”  He is in a new relationship.  (It is even “Facebook worthy.”  He changed his relationship status.)   I gotta admit, I was surprised it happened so relatively soon.  There are times (only a few times) when I will doubt how “real” we were – because he has moved on, and I don’t quite seem ready to do so.  I mean, was I really that easy to get over?   God knows he hasn’t been.  But, in my heart  I know that what we had been was incredibly real and special and unique…which makes it even harder for me to stop looking longingly upon the closed door.

About a month ago, I fessed up and told my former love that I was still in love with him.  I felt he needed to know.  Not that I thought things would change.  Admittedly, I was pretty sure they wouldn’t.  But, I felt he had to know.  And not by reading my blog  – and deciphering the metaphors from my poems.  Just point blank.  I am still in love with you.  I do not regret saying it.  It came from my heart.  And I also know that no matter what happens in the future, I will always be in love with him.  It’s just how things are.  Relationships like ours don’t come along every day.  After all, it was one of those great loves that if you are fortunate enough to have one, it will change you for good.  Forever.

letting goBut, even seven months later, there is a part of me that feels as if I am betraying him – or us – if I were to move on.  How could I say I still love him, if I am ready to see someone else?  How could I say I would step right back in to what we had if I were to move on?  And would that be fair to the next person?  Knowing that in my heart I am still conflicted?

Who knows.

But, something happened this week that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I might be just about ready.  You see, I saw a former crush.  A wonderful, kind, sensitive, compassionate, creative man I had a MAJOR crush on for a couple of years – before children – before my ex-husband – before his ex-wife – before I had even met my former love.  And for the first time in seven months, I actually felt a little giddy at the thought of seeing someone.  You know.  Made sure I looked cute.  Tried my best to be witty.  Smiled a lot.  And I felt that old familiar feeling of my heart going pitter-patter.  Not that anything will happen – other than us getting together to chat about everything that has happened in the seven years since we have seen each other – but, it felt good to see  him.  Really good.  And I realized I had missed him.  So, it made me think maybe, just maybe, I was just about ready to move on.

Not that I suddenly don’t feel conflicted.  Because I do.

Not that I suddenly don’t love my former love.  Because I do.

Not that I suddenly stopped feeling a little guilty about thinking about moving on.  Because I do.

But, maybe it is time.

Maybe it is time to stop staring longingly at that closed door and see the ones that might open for me.

Maybe it is time for me to realize that it’s not that I don’t still care for my former love, but that I can’t control the fact that he has moved on.

Maybe it is time for me to take control and open a few doors.

Maybe it is time to move on.

Just maybe.