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Dating and Democracy

I love the area I live in, for the most part. It really is beautiful country, the weather is mild most of the year, and there are plenty of opportunities to do things outdoors whether you like the river, lake, mountains or coast. We have it all. The problem is when it comes to dating, there’s a dearth of  educated people.  There’s an even greater lack of people who have beliefs similar to mine and this is never more obvious than when we begin the discussion of politics. Read the rest of this entry

Irony

It isn’t supposed to work this way. Life isn’t supposed to be bad, really, really bad, so-bad-it-sucks bad and still be enjoyable.

So, go figure. My finances suck. We’ve been over that. My love life is non-existent. I just had a guy I supported walk out on me after two years. He gave me three days’ notice and he was gone. Haven’t heard a word from him since. After my two epic fails at marriage, I don’t know which hurt worse, to have the marriages end, or him walk out after I invested so much financially and emotionally for two.fucking.years. It is now all water under the bridge, but at times, it still stings.

I’m at an age and in a demographic where there isn’t much dating action, and if there is, it isn’t serious, nor is it even remotely authentic. Face it, after 45, there are so many obstacles to overcome, so much history to wade through, so many people’s scrutiny you have to undergo before a relationship can even be viable, let alone long term. I’ve given up on that area of my life ever being a source of pleasure or happiness. People who really know me, will know what a big deal that is. Most people tend to understand that it is the nature of the beast these days. Dating after divorce is, at best, a difficult thing, and unlike wine, this does not improve with age. Oh, to be 35 again. Before the wrinkles. Before the mistakes. Before the calendar reveals the stigmatizing number of years you’ve been on this planet (because you cannot lie about that).

In spite of all that, the little surprise I’m experiencing is this: I’m actually having fun. I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I’m happy, in spite of the fact that nothing (except my delightful children) is as I would have expected it and most of it reeks of pathetically miserable failure. I can’t keep a relationship. I can’t catch a break financially. I rent, on purpose, instead of owning. My car is ready to self destruct at any moment. I should sell the thing and try, if possible, to get some money out of it to put down on a more reliable car. But…how to do that? It’s crazy. I have more problems facing me than solutions. I have experienced more endings in the last year than beginnings. I have more reason than ever to despair, instead of hope. Read the rest of this entry

2:00 a.m. Laundry

I’m up doing laundry at 2:00 a.m. Yep. This is a first for me. The truth is, I am not really up just because of the laundry. The crazy cats are tearing around the house like mad, keeping me up. Why, in all of the 1800+ square feet they have to roam here, they choose to cavort in my room and on my bed in the middle of the night, I do not know. I figured since I was up, I may as well do laundry. After all, I only have about three or four loads left. Then I can take my wet laundry down to the corner laundromat at 6:00 a.m. to dry it all.

That’s right, to dry it, because the latest greatest thing that happened is my dryer stopped drying. It still tumbles. No heat. I looked on YouTube to see if there was a DIY video for this repair. There was. It seemed pretty straightforward until I tried it. Problem Number One: my one and only flathead screwdriver must have left with The Gone Non-Boyfriend. Problem Number Two: I couldn’t go any further without the flathead screwdriver. I gave up. Read the rest of this entry

Honesty & Three Sheets To The Wind

One of the people I’m corresponding with  from the sleazeball online dating sight has been pretty decent.  I can tell right now, without ever meeting him that he’s not going to be someone I fall madly and passionately in love with.  If there is chemistry of anything more than a platonic friendship nature, I will be astounded. The man’s really nice, intelligent, thoughtful, and maybe, if I weren’t so damaged from my history with men, I might be more interested in him as something more than “friends”.  I don’t know.

Anyway, I asked him what he was doing on said sleazy dating site.  He responded with a lengthy tale which included information about his divorce, financial situation, job history, etc. This just proves my theory that, “So, what is such a nice guy like you doing on a dating site like this,” is a perfect question to ask if you want to get some really intimate information from a person.  They usually end up spilling everything about their past and present to you. I got a lot of information, all of which reinforced that this is truly a genuinely decent guy.  None of which convinced me that he was my next Prince Charming.  So, of course, when he asked the question in return, I threw the game. Read the rest of this entry

Dilemma

I’ll cut to the chase.  I’m an idiot. Who signs up on an online dating sight at the most busy time of their professional and personal year? I do. Like I said…I’m an idiot.  I admit it. I have only one excuse. I was three sheets to the wind when I did the signing up. Yep.  Had one of those down days.  One of those days that proves living a block from the local liquor store is not necessarily the benefit you might think it would be.  I don’t know the particular circumstances.  I think I successfully drank them out of my memory.  I just remember it was one of those days, which, for whatever reason I was feeling blue about the whole situation that transpired in my life recently.  Actually, I wasn’t really feeling blue about that situation if the truth be known.  I was feeling blue that I’d wasted the last two years of my youth on the man. Okay, enough with the drama. It is also very possible that I was feeling happy.  I feel that a lot these days.  In fact, I almost get giddy with the lack of stress and the ease with which my family functions right now. No more walking on eggshells.  No more having to ask permission or wonder when the next derisive comment is going to come. No more worrying about money.  Since I’m not paying  his bills, there’s an extra amount in our coffers this month, and that makes me genuinely silly with the giddy factor. Read the rest of this entry

A Happy Man or A Sick Man?

Five, almost six, years ago, I left The Evil Ex. It was a devastating divorce and not exactly one I want to rehash here.  Suffice it to say, that I spent a number of months, just trying to survive: figure out the family budget, put food on the table, get to work and keep my job. These were the priorities.  Then one evening, my oldest daughter decided to create a profile for me on an online dating site. I mean, dating after divorce has to be okay if your kid is suggesting it, right?  Yeah. No.

I was in no place to be dating back then. I was just finalizing the divorce for a marriage where I was still in love with the person I was divorcing.  The reality was, he just did not love me, and never would.  While every relationship has it’s tough places, this one had more than most, and I needed to leave regardless of whether I really wanted to or not.  What I wanted was for things to change.  This was not going to happen.  I left in order to survive.  Needless to say, I was a basket case.  Insecure. Frightened. Totally unaware of the things you need to be aware of when online dating.  Yet, here I was, putting myself out there. (Honestly, as I look back I wonder that I am alive.  I made so many stupid mistakes.)

One of the first people I met was intelligent and fun. He was digitally articulate and his profile was interesting. He lived nearby and we arranged to meet up one evening after I left a Christmas Party I was attending. Yep, you guessed it.  Mistake number one. Dates occurring after 9:00 in the evening read one and only one way: booty call. Suffice it to say, I met up with the guy, had a couple of drinks and then went home.  Let’s just say it was a late night, but I made it to my own bed that night.  We ended up going out a couple of times and, though I found him intelligent and attractive, something out of my recent abusive experience told me to run. I did. I just ended up not returning his calls or emails, etc.  I think I finally had to block him from my phone, my email, any dating site I happened to be on…you get the picture.

Guess who contacted me within the first hour that I signed up on this dismal dating site? Yep. He contacted me the minute he saw my profile go up.  He’s trolling the new members.  He’s a desperate and lonely soul, or maybe he really is just a creeper. Here’s how the conversation with A Happy Man 4 U went:

Happy Man: Hey, is your name _____?

Me: (not realizing who might be contacting me) Who’s asking?

Happy Man: I’ll take that as a yes. You look like an Ex of mine from a few years back.

The conversation progressed to the point that I was able to figure out who this person was.  Happy Man is most definitely NOT a happy man.  He’s negative, has a victim mentality and it exudes from every contact he made with me.  5 years later, I am amazed that I didn’t see it.  But I didn’t see this poisonous individual, because I was in so much pain and clearly not in any place to be meeting others like this.  In the end, my conversation with Happy Man 4 U, ended pretty abruptly, but not before he referred to me as one of his “Ex’s”.  Yes, that is the word he used. Really?  I’m an Ex?  We went out three times, if that. I paid my way most of the the times.  Since he was referring to me as an Ex, I responded with the fact that he  didn’t sound like and of my Ex’s (from marriage).  Of course, I reminded him, I couldn’t tell because the only picture I have to go by is one of a forest stream.  (By this time I’m fully aware of who he is, and I suspect he’s on to me too.  Also, yes, he’s reduced himself to putting up a forest picture for his profile. It doesn’t show his face.  I’m not sure how he gets away with that.) I then said that I once dated a guy from his town who was bitter, negative and had a victim mentality.  I went on to say that because of these qualities, we didn’t date long, maybe three times, and certainly not enough to refer to that person as an “Ex”. He must have me confused.

He responded with “Yes, I must have you confused with someone else because my Ex was fun and nice.”  (Really?  She’s your ex and you’re not sure you even recognize her.  She was fun and nice…really…there was nothing about the way he treated me five years ago that indicated he thought of me as anything other than a potential testosterone release valve, let alone “fun and nice”.  Needless to say, I deleted the conversation…after a great deal of laughter.

The truth of the matter is, this man is not a safe person. He’s bitter, angry, and  unhappy and that is just not anything I want to be around.  Like I said, I made some mistakes.  Five years ago, not recognizing this man immediately, the way I could today, was one of them.  For a couple of dates, I thought he was decent.  When I wouldn’t sleep with him on date three and he loudly called me out on that in public, I got out of there as fast as I could.

A Happy Man or a  sick one? I think you’ve probably figured out by now that there is nothing about this individual that is happy.

Is it Love or Is It Something Else?

The following is a blog post I started a year ago, on September 27, 2011. I guess the break up with the Gone Boyfriend really was a long time coming. The post below isn’t complete. I’m posting it in this unfinished state, because I think it is a good lesson to me to go with my gut. I sensed something wasn’t right a year ago. Whatever was brewing inside the Gone Boyfriend was brewing for a while, and I was seeing something of it. I just was too afraid or unwilling to face it. My bad.

How can you tell if it is real love?

I find this a difficult question to address.

Maybe, because, before you can address the question at all, one must define love.  This is something I cannot do. Well, maybe I can do it when it comes to loving that little sports car that just drove by, or loving my job or not loving it, or loving my children…but when it comes to an adult relationship?  This is where I have trouble.  What is real love?  I don’t even know what it means to be really in love.  Moreover, I’m not sure, having been beaten by men either verbally or physically or emotionally and certainly financially most of my life, that I can even understand the meaning of love or what it would look like or feel like to have a man be truly in love with me.  Too me, it looks just too much like competition, or the lack of competition.

But, I’m currently in a relationship, and have been with a man for nearly a year.  Eleven months to be exact and, well, questions are coming to my mind.  Yes, they are keeping me up at night.  I am beginning to wonder if this relationship is really right for me.  Maybe, when I get done, I will come to the conclusion that my even asking the questions was the sign that things weren’t right.  Then again, maybe everyone needs to ask the questions periodically just to check in and re-evaluate what it is about the relationship that still is worth committing to.  At this point, I don’t know, but I am concerned enough about some things that I need to take a step back and ask, “What’s really going on here?”  That’s not the only question I’m asking either…obviously.

There were more questions like “What is true love? How does it behave? What does it look like at middle age?” and so on. I’m still asking some of those questions, but I’m certainly not thinking I should be so surprised that the Gone Boyfriend is gone.

The Company Picnic

Most people have one day a year that they dread.  For some, it is the day they have to finally own up and pay the taxes.  For others, it is the particular day of the holidays when they have to sit next to one of the least favorite outlaws at dinner.  Some dread the day they have to put a child on the plane bound for dad’s for the summer.  For me, it’s The Company Picnic.

My company is a rather large organization with 19 offices in three cities.  We serve over 13,000 clients annually in a personal face-to-face environment. Our clients receive services from us, some of them for over 20 years.  We also have affiliates in other communities nationwide. So, essentially, my organization is a large one.  But it is dreadfully small on Company Picnic Day. As long as I live, I will never cease to question how I can be in a basketball gymnasium filled with thousands of people and never see a person I know, yet, take that same stadium and fill it with thousands of people from my company on what we dub as Company Hug Day, and I can find The Evil Ex even if I’m not looking (and I always am, just to avoid him).  This year, not only was The Evil Ex present and accounted for, but so was his Wife, who apparently has now been hired by the company and working in the same office he is working in.  To add insult to injury, his son’s wife, a cute young thing was also there. Now, I have nothing against their happiness, or the fact that apparently there is some real nepotism going on which I don’t understand, because The Evil Ex is not even good at what he supposedly does for a living. Why would the Powers That Be hire anyone associated with him?  I don’t get it. (In fact, the company had grounds and could have fired him 12 years ago.  I know.  I was there.  They didn’t.  Instead, in a classic case of sexual discrimination, they demoted me (the more experienced and qualified female employee…and I’m not making this up or being bitter…I can prove I’m the more qualified and skilled individual) and promoted him.  And why?  Because I foolishly made the mistake to fish off the company dock.  (I was not informed that this only works out for the men in the equation.) I was also too fearful and intimidated to take on the legal battle.   What I take issue with is that it just seems unfair that those who are so inept, succeed over those who are more competent …or seem to.   Okay, the job situation ticks me off, but he’s also inept relationally.  How is it that he gets a relationship though he’s a jerk and I’m a decent person of good character and I can’t find a match that will last to save my soul???  Yeah, let’s not go there.

He is a creeper.  I had a restraining order on him.  He has less than the normal minimum days with our daughter. He should have been fired.  But that’s not how the world works. They retain the men. And fire or demote the women, essentially ruining their careers…especially if they get pregnant.

I guess I am still bitter about all of that.  It doesn’t eat at me…at least 364 days of the year it doesn’t eat at me…but on Company Picnic Day…when I see him representing the most prestigious office in our region (think monied clients and a comfortable corner office to work out of)…the injustice of it all floods my psyche.  You see, back in the day, before we decided to fish, before he decided to stalk me and later abuse me, I worked at one of those elite locations, with that elite clientele, with a very comfortable corner office, with windows, all done up in blue.  My life was made. Until he entered the scene.  And I’m not bitter when I say this, the man is incompetent.  He can’t handle his own personal matters, let alone those required for his job.  The deal is this:  he’s a great liar and pretender.  He can present himself to so many as something he really is not.  He has a way of lying about things so that, while preposterous, they sound believable.  For example, this summer he perjured himself under oath.  He told the judge he was still providing insurance for all of his children due to the fact that one’s children are now covered until they are 26.  The reality:  he has 7 children…not including the one we have together which makes 8. Of his 7 children, 5 of them are adults, and 4 of them are married, over the age of 26, and/or have their own insurance coverage. So, he told the judge he was paying insurance and covering all these people and what it shakes down to is, he’s covering exactly two other children (besides himself and his wife) and not our daughter. I was stunned.  I was not able to reply to this statement because I wasn’t given adequate opportunity. He lied.  He wins.  He puts himself off as this great man of character and of God, but then he doesn’t  pay his half of the medical expenses and he’s an asshole when it comes to negotiating the differences regarding our daughter.  In fact, there is no negotiation. He just does what he’s going to do and I am left dealing with the fallout.  That’s  how our marriage was.  Can I expect anything different in our divorce?

So, he won in the work arena.

He won in the court arena this summer.

And today, apparently, he’s winning in the Love Arena, because he was there with his wife and daughter-in-law, while I was there, completely, undeniably,  and obviously, ALONE.

And by alone, I mean really alone.  The last couple of years I told myself it didn’t matter.  And, really, it didn’t, because I didn’t have his wife and daughter-in-law in my face at close proximity. (Yes, our last names all end with the same letter so I must attend all the excruciating meetings with them.) But also, I knew I was going home to someone.  I knew then, at least, I was in the relational ball park.  Last year at this time it appeared I was winning or, at least, staying in, that particular game.  This year, it is a totally different story. I’ve been kicked off the island, or my partner couldn’t leave my island fast enough.  My inability to maintain a relationship over time is glaringly apparent to me, to the world, to the company and, worst of all, to the Evil Ex and his family who now, apparently, works for our company.

This does not feel good.

I mostly don’t mind being alone, but never having a significant other in my life was simply not what I ever wanted in life.  In fact, even more than kids, I wanted that quality relationship with another adult. I gained in the kids arena, but apparently I’m a complete flop in the relationship arena.  This just doesn’t always sit well with me.  In fact, at times, like today, when I am faced with my failure, it is incredibly painful.  I wonder why he gets the happy relationship though he never spoke to me ever, once, in six years, in his passive-aggressive abusive manner of dealing with people. He is disrespectful, unreliable, and irresponsible and all sorts of other things I don’t want to take up space with here.  How does he get love and I can’t find a quality partner to save my soul? He’s a taker, an abuser, and people flock to him.  I don’t take, I give, I deal honestly and fairly, and men use me up and move on.  No one stays.  What’s wrong with me?????

So I posted that video and post about being Alone.  I’ve made my peace with being alone.  I can handle it.  I’m content most of the time.

The truth is, I’ve lied.  I like being in relationship with a man. I like the companionship.  I don’t like being alone…in that way. I especially don’t like the idea that this is the end of the relational line for me (and the sad reality is that age being what it is, and men being what they are, it is the end).  Like I said, most of the time, this is not an issue with me.  I enjoy my boring, little life.  I have wonderful friends. I love my kids.  I’ve been blessed with four beautiful, intelligent, dynamic individuals as children, who are so successful, in spite of the fact that they had so many risk factors (divorce, poverty, etc.) working against them. I can’t take credit for that.  They chose that. The work I do daily matters, not just to the people I work with, but to the people they, in turn, impact.  It’s an amazing job and I am good at it. I’m grateful for that.  And if you asked any of my friends they would tell you and they do tell me that I am an amazing person.

But…

at the end of the day…

when the kids have gone home to their families…

the friends are busy with their own lives…

…and I can no longer work

…I am alone.

I don’t exactly want the highlight of my days to be my latest, greatest Facebook status update.

I don’t exactly like the idea of rocking alone on the front porch of the old folks’ home.

Apparently, I’m just not amazing enough.

I hate Company Picnic Day.

Dating

Online dating seems to be the shiz these days. Everybody’s doing it. More couples than ever before meet online. Half a decade ago when I left the Evil Ex, I decided to give online dating a try. I actually did this because my oldest daughter set up the profile for me. I later modified that profile and tried out just about every online dating sight in existence. I could tell you that the creepers stalked Plenty of Fish, that eHarmony was a rip off unless you are into long distance relationships and have a ton of frequent flyer miles saved up. Match.com seemed to have the most professionally employed individuals in my age bracket and, indeed, this is where I met The Gone BF. But, I met The Gone BF just as I had decided to give it all up anyway.

You see, online dating, or constantly meeting up, is downright exhausting. This isn’t to say, that it isn’t fun. I met a ton of fun interesting people, several of whom I remain friends with to this day. The problem with online dating is that you have to have your game on, you have to have this ability to be interested until you know you’re not, and you have to be aware that people are liars. Plus, it just
seems like every date is the first date.

I’ve also noticed that online dating tends to follow a pattern. I personally never make the first contact; my inbox is usually slammed with those seeking to make my acquaintance, or get into my other inbox. I attribute this to several things: I know how to write a profile that gets the guys’ attention, I pick effective and truthful pictures, and I was younger back then. I’m not sure I’d have the same luck today. I’m not sure I have the emotional energy to even try. But, I was talking about the online dating pattern of profile, contact, digital contact, phone contact, F2F (face to face) contact. Most of the time it ends up sizzling out about the third email. If it gets to a meet up, I’m usually disappointed. I’m figuring it won’t be the same game it used to be this time around, and I’m just not sure my fragile self-esteem can bear being passed over for younger gals with enhanced boobs and fewer laugh lines.

Now that The Gone BF is gone, never to return, I have wondered what the future holds for me. I can’t possibly envision another relationship. Not because I wouldn’t like one…eventually. I mean, the idea of rocking away on the porch of the old folks home all alone, doesn’t exactly appeal to me. On the other hand, giving over even one inch of my newly acquired closet or bathroom space is just as distasteful to me. (Yes, I’m going to need therapy just to mitigate my strong tendency right now to become a completely self-absorbed reclusive cat woman.) Getting to know someone takes time, effort, sometimes money, patience, and a whole lot of emotional fortitude…all, of which, I lack these days. Mostly, I just want to be left alone.

On the other hand… it might be fun to just see what’s out there.

Naaaa, I’m not holding my breath. Something about all the good ones being taken comes to mind.

Getting Voted Off The Island

When parents divorce in my county, if there are children involved, the parents are required to take a class that deals with the issue of helping children through divorce. It’s not a horrible class ,but it is required. The judge will not award a decree unless both parents take the class. I signed up and took the class as soon as I could after filing for divorce from The Evil Ex.

I remember the class well. I was there, fighting back tears and doing my level best to appear calm and well-adjusted, in spite of feeling like I might, at any second, dissolve into a liquid mass of human saltwater. I signed in, took my gratuitous paperwork, got some awful coffee, and found a seat near the side of the room toward the front. Shortly, after I sat down, a man entered. He looked like your typical geeky professor type. He strode up to the woman at the sign in desk and announced, “I’m being voted off the island, and I hear I have to take this class, so here I am.”

So much for feeling miserable. I couldn’t stop chuckling about it each time I thought of it for a good year afterward. Humor has a way of numbing the pain sometimes.

This week, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been able to work. I have a job that allows me a great deal of time off each year. This is not paid time off, but it is still time off. Because my job is so demanding and stressful during the rest of the year, I loathe working during these off times. This year, due to medical expenses from my cancer treatments and the gradual drain of the Non-Boyfriend on my pocketbook, I decided to sign up to work five weeks this summer. This week was week three. It’s been wonderful to have something to go do each day that helps me forget that I am being voted off my own island.

On Tuesday of this week, the Non-Boyfriend and I voted each other off the relational island. Later that day, one of my colleagues began sharing at break, how his wife of 27 years just voted him off the marital island this last May. (I did not start talking about my situation. He brought up the topic all on his own.) He is still reeling from the shock and surprise and grief that comes from being blindsided. I can relate.

I mentioned a few posts back how I changed my status on Facebook to single right after I realized that the Non-BF had been planning a secret escape from our crumbling island. It wasn’t long before I had friends commiserating with me digitally, offering their condolences. Many contacted me privately. Some of these folks are single eligible men. One of them is a person I “met” digitally about four years ago through a blog I was writing at that time. He lives on the other side of the country, and even though I’ve long since stopped writing on that other blog, he’s kept in touch through Facebook. We’ve never met in real life. He, too, was just voted off the island of relational bliss.

Yesterday, he mentioned flying out to see me at the holidays. We will both be sans children and negotiating a “couples” holiday season alone. Neither of us is looking forward to it. Now, I’m fairly certain this will not happen, but I do find it interesting how things in life can conspire to distract me from the pain I am dealing with. Random little interactions like this tend to be like the emotional epidural that completely knocks out the pain of the relational rejection I’m birthing. You can still feel the pressure, but the pain is not there. I’ve been voted off the island by one particularly unhappy individual through no fault of my own, really, unless finally saying no to mistreatment is a fault. Less than 48 hours later, I have people entering my life inviting me to visit their little island for a bit.

No, I’m not going to stay long on any of these islands. I will most certainly not even spend the night. I am not ready for that. But, I ask you what is the harm of stopping by someone’s island for an afternoon of friendship, sun, and maybe even some libations? Can anyone refuse an invitation to spend a day at the beach with fun companions?

I was voted off an island I didn’t realize was crumbling. Maybe it is time for me to realize that there are possibly much bigger, stronger, more enjoyable islands out there.

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