Friday, December 31, 2010

Shiny New Year

Here's to you, 2010!!

All in all, 2010 was not a bad year for me. Sure, the whole Big thing was sad - but a lot of good came from that bad. I've been lucky enough to see it, even through the occasional tear.

I'm not 100% over it - but I know one thing for sure: I will find my shine. So, bring it 2011. I'm ready.

Wishing all of my friends a shiny 2011!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where I am happy

It probably seems like all I talk about is dating. Which is true....technically. I created this blog to talk about one particular person. Then I realized, it was pretty convenient to keep my dating life safely mostly sort of hidden over here, instead of baring it for the world under my real name.

With that in mind...I'm listing some dating-related resolutions for 2011. Why the explanation? I don't want you to think that all my resolutions are dating related...I have a life, ya know. ;)

  • I'm done looking for love; I'm going to let it find me.
  • If love finds me, I won't resist it; but I'm not going to let it quiet me, either.
  • In the words of a very smart, very special friend who knows me better than anyone:
I'm going to follow my heart, and go where I am happy - not where I think I might, or should be, happy.

Your turn. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Playing games

"Why are you seeing that other guy?" That was the question a good friend asked me on Thursday night. The night after Mr. 28-Year-Old gave me a very thoughtful Christmas gift. It was nothing fancy - but it was absolutely perfect, showed a lot of thought and was just absolutely sweet.

The "other guy" to whom my friend was referring is a guy I met online about a month ago. We've been on three dates. On paper, he's exactly the guy I'm looking for: early 40's, educated and smart, very successful, good with money, interesting, gets along with his family, etc.

He's a gamer (so that will be his nick-name) - meaning things like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic, Battletech, etc. are his thing. Totally fine with me. (I can actually visualize some of you shaking your heads as you read that!) Here's my thing: Any hobby is better than no hobby. A person who is interested in something is usually more interesting to spend time with. They have something to talk and get excited about. Something to share.

When we first started chatting, he told me that his gaming had been a problem with other women he'd dated. They'd complained it was an "immature" hobby for a guy his age. I could see that, but, as I told him, it really wasn't a problem for me.

But I'll tell you what was...

It's slightly more than a hobby. It's all he does. Which means that when it comes to making plans/dates, he's at a loss. He has nothing to suggest because he doesn't do anything other than play games - and since I don't play (and have no plans to start) that's not something he can suggest. What's more, he's new to the area, so when we make plans, he always leans on me, saying, "Well I don't know the area." It feels like a cop out; I'm his date, not his cruise director. New or not, I don't expect to have to do all the work. That's tiring - and alarmingly like spending time with family.

His gaming also means that I'm flying solo for for certain date-nights. For example - every other weekend, he goes out of town to visit his mom and spend time with gaming friends. I was matter-of-factly informed that he has a standing engagement for New Year's Eve, playing a game with a group of friends.

Is it rude of me to be upset about that? Maybe. It's also possible that I'm looking for excuses. As right as this guy may seem, it's discouraging when I'm given a list of dates he is not (and never would be) available.

I also found that, while he is always nice to me, he's not always nice to others. For example - waiters. He complained to me about the service in both restaurants where we've eaten -  and was passive-aggressively rude to our waiter, but didn't say anything constructive. In my opinion, there really wasn't anything to complain about anyway.

My friend suggested that it might be time to cut this guy off (three dates, no improvement). Maybe I should focus on Mr. 28-year-old, who seems like a genuinely nice guy, and who is always making me smile. I'm told it's pretty obvious that I like this guy - a lot.
So, I'm back to thinking about Gamer. When I break things off, he's going to think that my problem is the gaming. Do I just let him think that, and be done with it? Or do I explain?

It makes me think of the line in the movie Social Network, when Erica Albright breaks up with Mark Zuckerberg. She says to him, "You'll go through life thinking girl's don't like you because you're a nerd. I want you to know that won't be true. It will be because you're an asshole."

Maybe I should just send him that video clip?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jewelry under my tree

Have you experienced this phenomena involving lovey-dovey couples showing off their happy selves at holiday time? If it's after Christmas, it usually also involves the woman showing off a stunning piece of jewelry.

I thought hosting a Christmas dinner would exclude me from this disaster, so there I was on Saturday - cooking and cleaning like a happy little home-maker. I took a break around noon, and signed into facebook, and....


There it was. "Best husband, best Christmas ever!" was the first status, accompanied by a picture of a 5 kt diamond tennis bracelet. A little further down, "Well, this is unexpected..." with a picture of a black-diamond ring. Sigh. I guess even my laptop isn't safe.

Now, don't get me wrong - it's not the jewelry. I have all the jewelry I want, including a diamond tennis bracelet. It's that feeling you get when you open a gift like that on Christmas morning. A feeling of complete and total love and appreciation. To someone - you are the most important person. That feeling can't be beat.

I sighed, shook my head and closed my laptop. I finished cooking and cleaning just in time. My family arrived, we had a nice meal - and then we opened gifts. I noticed a couple of looks between my cousin and her husband. You know those glances - where he's saying, "No, not again" and she's saying "You be quiet - be happy and like it?" I remember those "conversations" - and the private conversations that followed later.

Suddenly, it was okay that there was no jewelry under my tree.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seems Sad

I told you Big sent me an email to tell me he found the blog. But I never did tell you what he said, did I? Curious?

To his credit, he didn't seem angry. In fact, all he said was that, having read the blog, it seems to him we had different perspectives of our relationship. He said, again, that he's sorry for hurting me and for having been inconsistent. He was polite and friendly.

Still, I gotta be honest; when I first read the email - I was mad as hell pissed off a bit upset. This is probably the third time Big has apologized. The thing is - I think he's apologizing for breaking up with me. Which is silly. No one should apologize for how they feel - it's like apologizing for the truth, which makes no sense.

Big doesn't seem to understand what he did that hurt me. It wasn't the break-up - it was leading me on; setting me up, knowing the whole time that this thing between us really wasn't going anywhere. Maybe he didn't intend to hurt me - but he also didn't intend to look out for my feelings. I feel like I was a good friend to him, and I deserved better than having my feelings ignored for his convenience.

He intimated that he told me I wasn't pretty in order to just end things, and not have to discuss it further. If so - does that mean that also wasn't the truth? If that's the case, then Big has yet to be honest with me - about anything. Which I find ironic, given that he believes himself to be a very honest, forthright person.

After reading the email a couple hundred of times, I started to wonder if maybe Big really had (or has) no idea how much I cared for, or loved him. Maybe he thought I was just being "that girl" because I tried to talk to him after he felt we had closure. I'm not sure.

It seems sad to me for Big to be unaware of how much he really meant to me. I hope that he eventually figures that out; even if it happens through reading this blog. The truth is - he had a huge impact on my life. I appreciated that while it was happening, and I think I appreciate even more now. I hope he knows that; and I also hope he knows that he deserves someone who appreciates him that way.

For Big to not realize that, would be the saddest thing of all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's a major award!!

May the soft glow of electric sex warm your hearts this holiday season!

Merry Everything and Happy Always! 

Girl's Got Shine

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Holiday for the Rest of Us

Yup, it's Festivus! Time to get out your pole and prepare for your feats of strength. My favorite part of this holiday is, of course, the airing of grievances.

The thing is, airing grievances is like the Christmas spirit of goodwill, caring and compassion. We shouldn't need a special day set aside; it's something we should observe all year long.

In that spirit, instead of using today's post to air my grievances, I'm going to show you a few places where I go everyday to do just that. It's about sharing, so I'm sharing my favorites with you. You're welcome.

I just found this site, which is all about bad dates, the online world, and how to make the best of a bad situation. It's written from both perspectives, and is full of awesome. Check out Dating a Lemon.

We've all been in relationships that didn't work. It takes a lot to share your story. She freaking rocks - Simply Stella Sage.

Sometimes, she writes about love. Sometimes she writes about food. Sometimes she writes about the interwebz. Whatever she's writing about, it's done with humor, smarts and buckets of goodness. Dri:1 Humanity:0 For The Win!!

Dating in your 30's is tough. These ladies do it with class and style, and share their ups and downs with all of us. I bet you'll love Sassy Singleton and My Devina as much as I do.

They write what the rest of us are thinking. The Super Blogettes will rock your world.

Dating isn't everything. Sometimes you need a photo break, some perspective - and knit hats never hurt anyone. Check out my friend Cute~Ella for all things wonderful.

If perspective and knit hats don't do it for you...he's got it. I promise. Detention with derryX has something for everyone.

Style and class? Look no further than Ms. Amanda Talar's blog. She's class and style wrapped up in cool and told with smarts and humor.

Just cause I like it, check out This is Not the Life I Ordered.... Most of us don't figure everything out the first time around.

Blogs are about community. They're about sharing and interacting. Like it or not, not everyone agrees - but hey, that'd be boring anyway, right? For a great community, check out On The Edge by Kristi Gustafson. I'm there everyday , although I (technically) don't comment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's the point?

A couple of months ago I met this guy (we'll call him Curly) online. We had some pretty steady email conversations going for a while - then, nothing. I started focusing elsewhere, and just assumed he'd done the same.

Fast forward two months. Last week, I get an email from him that says, " Sorry I've been out of touch. Guess I was working too much." For two months? I happen to know he's been online - the website is designed to show you who is online, and who isn't. I also know that during that time, he created a profile at a different dating site, where he had also been online.

My immediate reaction was that it was a lie; that he'd met someone and had been working on that relationship, which failed, and he was using me as a backup. To be sure I wasn't being too cynical, I asked my tweeps what they thought. I got several responses (thank you to Cassie, Cute~Ella, Kriskaten and Grumble) all in agreement that my instincts were probably right.

Oddly enough, something similar happened to me last year (pre-Big). I'd been chatting with this guy for a while - then, he disappeared. I assumed he met someone, and got on with life. Fast forward to last month, and I stumbled on his profile, so I sent him an email. He replied saying he'd missed me, that he didn't know what he'd been thinking or why he'd lost touch with me, and he asked if I'd like to get to know him again. He even remembered where he "owed" me a dinner.

So, I emailed him my personal contact info. And I haven't heard from him since.

Of course someone more interesting can always come along. It's one of the pitfalls of online dating - it's so easy to meet bunches of people and it often happens all at the same time. Naturally, a person only has so much time, and you have to make choices; we've all done it.

But to blow someone off and then try to use a lame-o lie excuse to get back in? Wrong.

The enthusiastic "I've missed you so much" also boggles my mind. If you don't feel that way, couldn't you just say so? Or ignore the email? Why the pretense?

What's the point?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

And Then...

[The best scene from an awesome movie.] 

You laughed, didn't you? You're welcome.

So, now that Big knows, I've been asked if I will keep writing this blog. At first, I thought - no way. It would be mean, and a little unfair. Then I thought - wait. Big knows about the blog, and he knows he's Big - but (most of) you don't know who he is. You're here to read about me and my perspective; hopefully you laugh a little (or a lot) and maybe you even learn something.

I started this blog to learn about myself. I truly believe that it takes two to make any relationship - and two to break it. If things didn't work, there have to be some things about myself that I need to improve. I also wanted to mend my broken heart by focusing on what I gained from my relationship with Big, instead of dwelling on what I had lost.

The whole "If I'd done this, would he have stayed?" or "If I'd been prettier/thinner/taller/smarter/dumber he'd still be here," is a trap. That's never true; you can't control how someone else feels. You can control how you react; you can improve your perspective; you can learn to see the good in your life.

That's an excellent message. It's something we all have to learn (usually the hard way) and that we all need a reminder of every now and then.

So I will keep writing the blog. It doesn't matter who I am (or who Big is). At the end of the day, we're just a guy and a girl who fell in love liked each other who loved and lost. It's something everyone everyone's been through.

It's definitely worth sharing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Secret's Out

I got an email from Big. Seems he found Girl's Got Shine. In the immortal words of my friend, "Oh fuuuck!"

After I picked myself up off the floor of the mall (I read his email on my phone), I decided - given this new turn of events - now would be an excellent time to point out a couple of things out about this blog.

I'm not ashamed of my feelings, I'm painfully aware of my flaws, and (aside from adjusting - not changing - some revealing details) I've been 100% honest in this blog. I'm not anonymous to protect myself. It's strictly out of respect for Big.

The point of this blog isn't to bad-mouth Big (or anyone else). I tell the truth, as I know it, in an effort to sort through my feelings, help me see more than just my side of things, and (hopefully) get some insight from people who I trust and respect. Whatever conclusions people draw about Big, me, or anyone else are their own.

I have learned that breakups happen because perspectives change. In a successful relationship, people are on the same page; when they disagree, they constructively share their point of view, and either come to an agreement, or agree to disagree. Hopefully, the disagreement isn't big enough to end the relationship.

When it is, a side effect is that you relinquish the right to share your perspective, and to learn that of the other person. You don't have to agree on why something happened, or who was right and who was wrong. The decision to end things (whether it's mutual or not) is an agreement that you aren't going to agree on what caused the end. You've agreed to disagree.

I'm sure when Big read the posts, he recognized the facts (the whats, whens and wheres). I'm also sure his perspective on those same events was much different than mine. He probably thought he was being a nice guy by making me comfortable in his apartment; being polite, a good friend. Maybe he didn't think it meant anything to suggest I join him when he stopped at his parents' house. Maybe he didn't realize that I never wanted to roller blade with him; that I only invested the time, money and risk because he asked, and I assumed that meant it was what he wanted.

The truth is, I'm really not sure what Big thinks. He's told me, but he's never been consistent. First he liked me; then he wasn't sure. Then he wanted to spend time with me - but not a lot. Then he wanted more time; then he wanted me comfortable in his life (and offered the keys and hair products to prove it). Then he preferred time to himself. He acted as though he found me attractive - then said he never did. He said he liked spending time with me; then he moved right on to the next person within a week, like he never even knew me.

I think maybe Big was never sure what he wanted. There's nothing wrong with that; part of life is figuring that out. The problem is - I did know. I figured out what I wanted before I dated Big, and before I let anything come of what was between us.

I guess we were on different pages from the very beginning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Small World

It's ironic that things like twitter, facebook and blogs make our world bigger, and at the same time, show us how small it really is. 

In my "real world" life got weird a couple weeks ago on facebook, when I discovered a long-forgotten connection with a "new" friend. 

In my dating world (aka The Big World) I recently found out a couple of things about Mr. 28-Year-Old.

I suspected he lived near Big. I was disappointed to find out they actually live in the same complex. I was mortified to find out they actually live in the same building. Crap.

I (obviously) knew that Mr. 28-Year-Old also knows Big (through twitter). What I didn't know was that the whole reason I met Mr. 28-Year-Old was because Big suggested he follow me. Oy.

How's that for a small world? And you thought your life was awkward.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Changes, Lessons and Trends

It's funny how different love and dating is today, compared to even just five years ago. My friends are amazed that pretty much every date I've had since my divorce has been with a guy I met through a dating website. Now that I've met someone on twitter - they really don't know what to think.

But it seems like I'm not the only one. According to this article, which I found from the Your Tango twitter feed, mobile dating (accessing sites through smart phones) and meeting through social networks like twitter and facebook will take off in popularity in 2011.

Interestingly enough, the article also says that many singles will abandon online dating in favor of match-makers - and couples will introduce social media bans and/or limits into their relationships. *shudders*

Some other trends the article predicts?

Smarter sexting (thanks Brett Favre)
A return to traditional gender roles (oh, dear)
"Deal Breakers" will become a thing of the past

Personally, I have already abandoned my "deal breakers" in favor of a more open-mind. Not because I'm settling, or care more about financial stability as the article suggests. I've grown up a bit in the last twelve months, and it turns out - my deal breakers weren't really all that good.

I'm all for smarter sexting (or, none at all, if that's the smartest route - which is often the case). Traditional gender roles, though? If you know me in real life, I think it's safe to assume this will not be one of my trends in 2011.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Work it out

As angry as I was with Big, I couldn't help but make note of all the good that was coming out of this breakup. Personally, I'd already started to notice the relationships and connections I was building.

Unexpectedly, some professional changes started to occur as well. I started spending time with a family member who is also a small business owner. I basically created a new job for myself, blogging and helping her with her website. To further this goal, I started looking into classes and free groups to joint where I could network and get advice on how to help her - and learn for myself.

It turns out - this whole breakup thing might be the change I'd been looking for. I'm...less than enthusiastic about my day job. But writing and blogging is something I love to do. I'm working with an independent publisher on an idea for a book, and I've started blogging elsewhere with some earning potential.

With all these positive changes, I've had less and less time to think about the hurt - or how much I missBig. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I've been totally focused on myself, and what I want out of my life.

Maybe everything really does happen for a reason.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Gonna Lie

I really was trying to focus on the good - new friends, renewed connections, and some other new opportunities (more on that later) were all positives, that started happening as a result of my breakup. As time went on, it was easier and easier to focus on those things, and slowly push out the negative. But I won't lie. I am only human, I do have feelings. Sometimes, they were really hurt. 

Other times - I was plain pissed off.

Who did he think he was, anyway? If what Big had said was true, then he was lying to me the whole time we were together. Not flat out telling me lies, no, but pretending to have feelings that he really didn't have. His pretense led me to make certain choices, and do things I never would have done had I known the truth. 

He set me up for heartbreak. He knew the whole time that I would probably fall in love, and then get hurt. He could have prevented that. He said he was my friend, and that I treated him well. Yet, he repaid me by letting me walk into the fire, knowing the pain it would cause me. What kind of  friend is that? 

People kept saying to me that maybe Big wasn't telling the truth. They questioned if a guy could realistically fake feelings, or attraction, to a woman for a year. Maybe he really was afraid to commit, so he rationalized his feelings by saying he really didn't have any? 

I suppose that was a possibility. However, that would mean that he pretended to be a guy with his act together; who knew what he wanted, and wasn't afraid to go after it. It also meant that he was a guy who let his fear stand in the way of something good, and who let it hurt both of us in the end.

So what did that leave me with? Big was either a liar or a coward. Which guy would you rather be with? 

Monday, December 13, 2010


I started to think about why the whole "Big" thing had happened? Surely, I wasn't meant to be sad and lonely, and surely I wasn't being punished with the heartbreak. I like to think that everything happens for a reason - and I really wanted to know, what was the reason for all of this?

I started wondering if maybe I was meant to learn a lesson. It occurred to me that, since things had picked up with Big, I had let some things in my own life go. My finances were (are) atrocious, my work was slipping and I wasn't really making any changes. I was behind in my own "stuff" - my house, my gardening, my writing; all of it was suffering. To a certain degree, so were some of my friendships.

I'm not making excuses. I was in love, and if we had been able to work things out, I know I would have found a way to incorporate my life with Big with the rest of my life. But maybe it wouldn't hurt to look at this change as a wake-up call; to refocus my energy. Maybe it was time that I learned that love would find me when the time was right, and it was more important for me to pay attention to myself, and what I wanted.

It was killing me to not understand what had happened. I did (and still often do) wonder how things could have seemed so right, and still gone so terribly wrong. It was making me question everything - most of all, myself and my ability to recognize a good thing when I saw it.

The toughest thing was getting over the fact that I wasn't "pretty enough." Men would ask me out, and friends would say, "See - he thinks you're pretty." I would respond with, "Yeah, and at one time, Big said he did, too." I just couldn't get past that.

Admittedly, I rely a lot on the opinions of others for validation, especially when it comes to my own beauty. Maybe all of this was happening so that I would learn to find my own beauty, without relying on anyone else.

Friday, December 10, 2010


This will be my third Christmas in a row that I am completely single. Fourth, if you count the one where I was married, yet completely miserable.

In some ways, being single for the holidays is a little sad. I'll most likely be at more than one holiday party where I'll be surrounded by happy, affectionate couples, and the woman will be flaunting a beautiful gift from her SO. {sigh} I confess: Sometimes, I miss that, even just a little.

But there are some things I won't miss. Like, deciding whose family/friend party to attend; coordinating exit strategies; or awkward looks and comments if you're stuck at a party after having an argument.

Maybe there are some things about single-hood that I need to embrace. The relationship we have with ourselves is pretty important; it's a good idea to make sure to work on that every now and then, too. Not to mention - think how much more I'll appreciate the person I'm with, if I know what it feels like to be without.

I'm going to do my best to embrace being single. But don't get me wrong. I'm still looking for love; for my butterflies. For all the inconveniences and frustration that can go along with a relationship, at the end of the day, I'd still like to have someone to kiss under the mistletoe.

I just want to be sure it's the right someone.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Friends Make Your World

My friends all told me that the only way to really get over someone is to find the next person. A guy I already knew asked me out right away (again - seriously, do men have radar or something?). I wasn't particularly interested in him - and also, it felt wrong to use someone to get over my heartbreak. I felt used by Big, to be honest - like he'd kept me around until something better came along. I didn't want to do the same to anyone else.

So, I kept to myself. I cried an awful lot. Being told I wasn't pretty enough was a huge hit to my already-wavering self-esteem. I spent time with my friends, and I dove into writing. I was writing anywhere I could - emails, text messages to friends, even a (different) anonymous blog.

The one place I was avoiding was twitter. Which, to be honest, really bummed me out. My twitter family is a great bunch of people with whom I like "spending time," especially during my workday. But I'd catch little messages and innuendos, and it really hurt my feelings. Especially since a lot of what I saw suggested that she really didn't like Big all that much. That just plain made me angry - to think that someone who had what I wanted, and didn't know enough to appreciate what she had.

After a little time passed, I started to notice something. There were friends that I had, even through twitter and blogs, with whom I was able to connect elsewhere. Email, facebook - even real life. It was amazing to find all these new people in my life, who made feel wanted and like I mattered.

Then something else amazing happened...I reconnected with my mom. She's been amazing, reading my emails and responding every day, even though I know she's busy. She's listened, and offered advice and comfort in exactly the way that I needed it most. 

I started to realize that my life was very full, and I had so much to be happy about. My friends had shown me that there were wonderful things that would be coming my way. The sadness I felt over Big started to pale in comparison...

"Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world." William James

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Online dating is just like anything else - it has its ups and its downs. It's really just something a single person does in today's dating world. It's another option. If you're looking for love (or even just a little like every now and again), why would you rule anything out? 

Meeting people online can feel a little...forced. I've found that when I meet guys, they often jump right in to "relationship mode." I met a guy a couple of weeks ago who seemed really cool. We went on one date, and I really enjoyed myself, so I agreed to a second. On that date, he whined when I said I was going away for the weekend (to see family) and actually wanted to come along with me

That wasn't the first time something like that has happened. Do I just attract that kind of desperate, lonely guy? Maybe (I certainly wouldn't rule it out). I also think the online meeting might be a factor. 

When you meet online, you both know (or think you know, anyway) upfront that the other person is looking for a relationship. I think a lot of people assume that the fact that you met online means you can just skip all the courting steps that a couple would go through if they met, say, at work. First get to know each other...then become friends....then date....then a relationship.

The thing is - that's all part of building a relationship. Relationships should always be organic - they should always be allowed to develop at their own rate. A profile can't replace the important connections that you build while getting to know someone and becoming their friend.

So take it slow. Let it happen; there's no reason to force anything, if it's meant to be, it will work out on its own. Don't wish away the courtship or the romance. You know, that feeling in your stomach? The butterflies.

We all want our butterflies! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This One's on Me

Do you remember when I told you about the friend that Big met after work, right before the stuff hit the fan? Remember I said I knew her, too? I did. Do, actually. Remember I mentioned twitter? You guessed it. We're all friends tweeps.

I actually found out about the whole thing by accident. "She" tweeted a link to her blog. The post title had nothing to do with dating or relationships, so I opened the link, never expecting to read what I did. I was at work - and very nearly got sick, again. I started crying so much, I had to leave work early.

I never would have expected this. She's very different from me - and, I thought, from Big, too. This made even less sense than anything else so far.

My friends, of course, all had great theories. She's a very pretty woman - so maybe Big was just impressed that a woman like that was showing interest in him. Maybe it had been going on for a while, and he'd finally gotten the nerve up to say something. 

But I've been down this road before. The truth is, if a relationship is strong, a third person can't break it apart. Sure, they can cause problems - fights, even. But in the end, a third person is really just a symptom of a larger problem. 

The truth is - if Big had ever been really into me and invested in our relationship, there's nothing anyone could have done to break us apart. 

So the break was really on him, and on us....and on me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reality Check

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I had done wrong where Big was concerned. None of it made any sense. We had chemistry; we laughed together; we communicated well and had great conversations. We had fun together. He had wanted to spend time with me - pushed for it, even. 

I probably could have understood him changing his mind. But wrapping my mind around the idea that he'd been pretending the whole time? I couldn't do it. Not only did it seem impossible that a person could (or would) pretend that well for that long, but Big is an honest guy. He'd never put on a pretense, or misrepresent himself. He didn't have it in him. 

My friends rallied around me. From people I've known my whole life to friends who I had just met - even people  who I've only met through twitter or blogs - were right there to help me. Of course, people say the darndest things when they're not sure what to say, don't they? 

"Maybe he's confused; he just needs some time, and he'll come around." 

"It's his loss." 

"He probably has commitment issues." 

I was stubborn. It wanted to know; to understand what had happened. I wasn't willing to just accept that it was his issue, and I should move on. This was right, damn it, and I wanted it fixed. 

While my friends supportive words meant a lot (and still do; even more, now) what I really needed was a reality check. And I was about to get one...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Number Game

If you follow me on twitter, you know I often tweet about dating - mishaps, questions and, yes, occasionally even one that goes well. A couple of weeks ago, I put a question out there to my tweeps: What do you think about women dating younger guys?

I have always considered myself very non-traditional when it comes to all things, including relationships. But for some reason, I've always had this hang up about dating guys younger than me. I used to think it was because I was only attracted to older guys, so it didn't come up. Now I'm wondering if my hang up might be influencing my choices, and closing me off from other possibilities? It's that whole chicken vs egg argument. {sigh}

The whole thing started because I met this guy. He's sweet, funny, cute and smart. All good things, right? But he's eight years younger than me - so I immediately put him in the do-not-date list. Then we started talking more and more, and I started thinking...does he really belong there? If it wasn't for his age (or mine) - would I feel differently?

The general consensus among my tweeps (and assorted other friends) is that age is just a number. That if both people are interested in each other, want the same things, etc. - it should not affect the success of the relationship. It was also pointed out to me (by more than one person) that a man's maturity level has zero to do with his age. Which is true - Big is several years older than me, as was my ex-husband. They both made some very bone-headed, immature, silly choices that one would have thought they'd outgrown.

So, I started thinking - maybe age really is just a number. If I met a guy who was smart, cute, sweet and funny and didn't know his age, I'd be interested. Why should the number on his driver's license change that? 

Of course, I don't know yet if Mr. 28-Year-Old is interested in little ol' me (pun intended). But the fact that I'm willing to find out is a pretty big step in this game.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Get a Life...

....No - Seriously.

I left those online profiles out there, figuring they could do the talking for me for a while. I've met a few guys that, on paper (or monitor), look great. But when I chat in person, it's a whole other story.

I've met two guys who are in similar situations. One already holds a masters degree, but is pursuing a second masters that will certify him to teach. He goes to school full-time and works an overnight stocking job to pay his bills. The other is pursing a masters full time and does not work at all; he lives off student loans.

You would think men who are in school would have something to talk about, right? They're learning everyday! Wrong. A typical conversation (text, phone or IM):

How are you? I'm well! You?

Okay. How was your day? It was good. I did [this, this and this] and now I'm doing [this]. What did you do? 

Nothing. Let's talk more about you....

Men, please listen: Women do not always want to talk about themselves. Yes, we want you to listen when we do want to talk. Sometimes, we want your input; other times, we just want to vent. Yes, we expect you to know the difference. 

But that's usually after a relationship has been established. I'm in the middle of trying to get to know these men - and they have nothing to say. One actually said to me, "I wish I had something more to say." Great - so say something - anything!! 

I'm not the most exciting person in the world, believe me. I'm a basically normal 30-something; I have a job, hobbies, family and friends. I have a house. I have two cats. I have a car. 

I have a life, and that's what I talk about. I expect the same from guys. It doesn't have to be exciting or glamorous. It just has to be real. It should be whoever they are. 

That is, after all, what I'm trying to learn about.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Now What?

I was completely heartbroken. I cried - all the time. Everything reminded me of Big. I even had to change my route to work, because he lives so close to my office that my regular route reminded me of driving to his house. 

I felt foolish and stupid for being that upset. I was constantly talking to my friends, and I really do think I was driving them nuts, but they listened (Thank You)

I think the hardest part was that I just didn't understand. I didn't get how Big could have behaved like he felt one way - and now he was saying he never had. What's more - he made it out to be my fault. We'd only been romantic because that was what I had wanted; he'd only done those things because he was trying to please me.

Could this have been all my fault? Had I pressured him, or pushed things? I thought long and hard, because if I had, I felt terrible. I would never want to force a relationship on anyone. But, I truly couldn't come up with anything I had done that pushed the relationship. Sure, I'd invested - I'd even introduced him to my family. But that was a reaction - to him. 

I was pretty sure I'd let him take the lead on everything. That should have worked, right? This wasn't a classic case of "girl traps guy." The whole relationship was in his hands - and now he was saying that he'd never wanted it; that he'd made the whole thing up because he'd wanted to want it. And he did - but not with me. 

None of it made any sense. What had I done wrong?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Shine

October 2010

"Well....I've been feeling a little confused...."

I really felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach. I truly had not seen this coming, because until a week earlier, everything had seemed fine. We hadn't had a fight, as far as I knew there wasn't anyone else - nothing had changed. So why was Big telling me that he was confused, because he didn't feel a "spark?" 

That night, it was all I could do to not throw up on my own steering wheel. So, I went home - and stayed in bed for two days. Finally, I got the courage to talk to Big and see if I could at least get some understanding. 

He explained that he wasn't sure how he felt, other than to say that his life was better with me in it, that I treated him better than anyone ever had, and that he loved spending time with me. [If you're confused at this point, please note that I'm omitting some of Big's own personal details. They're his story, not mine. Also note that if I told you everything - you'd be even more confused.] We talked about "us" twice more after that conversation. Via text, mind you. I have not seen Big in person since that night. 

During the first conversation, Big told me that in hindsight, all he'd ever felt was friendship. That he'd only let it become romantic because he knew it was what I wanted. During our second conversation, Big informed me that he doesn't find me physically attractive; and it's as simple as that. 

Everything else was fine; perfect, in fact. I'm smart enough; I'm funny enough; I'm kind, and independent; He loved spending time with me. I'm the right age, successful, I want the same things and am prepared to give him all that he wanted. 

I'm just not pretty enough.  

And just like that, I let him take my shine away.

[And yeah, even after all this time, typing that made me cry. I guess some scars don't every really heal.]

Monday, November 29, 2010


September 2010

Big was acting strange. But, every time I thought I should say something, he'd go back to normal. He even introduced me to a friend from work, and was very open about the fact that we were dating. He was affectionate with me in front of his friend, and everything seemed good. 

Late in the month, he had a business trip. While away, he posted a personal blog about being uncertain of some feelings. He didn't come out and say what or whose feelings he was talking about, but I'll admit, it made me pause. When he returned from his trip, I wasn't sure how to bring it up, or even when I would see him. 

But Big did surprise me. The day he got back, he asked me to have dinner with him. We had such a nice time. We talked and laughed over dinner, and when I dropped him off at his apartment, he gave me the longest, sweetest hug and kiss goodnight. 

I didn't see him for a few days. That was a little unusual. What was even more unusual was, when we did have plans, he stood me up. I don't think it was intentional, but he met a friend (a woman) after work because she needed someone to talk to. I knew her as well, and knew she was having some problems, so I let it go. 

A couple other little things happened. Finally, we spent a nice Saturday together. We went to lunch, did some shopping, went for a drive, had dinner and then went to a concert. When I dropped Big off at his apartment that night, I said to him, "Is everything okay? You've been acting different the last week or so." 

"Well....I've been feeling a little confused...."

Friday, November 26, 2010

If It's Not Broken....

I came across this video the other day: Interviews with guys about, well, guys. Specifically, why they break up with women who seem like a keeper. In other words, a woman in whom they seem interested, things are going well, and then - BAM! They end things. 

The video actually raised more questions for me than it answered. So, I'm hoping you, dear reader, can help me sort through some of them. Especially the guys - please and thank you.

The top reasons discussed in the video are:
  • Timing is off
  • He's not done playing the field
  • He's really in like - not love
  • He has commitment issues
The timing thing actually makes sense to me. If you meet someone and they are about to move 600 miles away - that's just bad timing. There's not a lot you can do to control that, and I don't think that's really a guy thing. Sometimes, things happen during a relationship, and you do have to make a choice whether you're committed enough to work through the obstacle, or if the relationship isn't that important. 

The "playing the field" and "in like, not love" sort of seem the same to me. Either he doesn't feel a connection, or he does, but isn't sure she's the one. 

Now, here's my question. The connection - isn't that something that you either feel, or you don't, right away? How would you get to a "breaking up" situation? If there's no connection, or physical attraction, within the first couple of dates, isn't the conversation more like, "I'm not interested, take care," rather than, "We need to end this." 

Same thing applies to the whole playing-the-field issue. If you're not sure that this is the person you want to be with - or worse yet, that you want to be with just one person - why are you letting things get exclusive? Maybe it's me, but that just makes no sense. 

I've read that "commitment issues" are just a myth; an excuse to avoid a woman who they know isn't the one. Is that true? Or can men (and women, for that matter) find what they want, only to get scared of having it - which of course, presents the risk of losing it? 

It seems to me that's something that could scare people. It almost sounds scary to me - and I love a good commitment! 

So what do you think? 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have awesome friends.  

I have friends who I've known for 30 years, and cousins who are like sisters to me. One of my best friends is someone who I've only known a few years; and I have some great friends who I've just met.

Every one of them has helped me through this breakup in some way. Some of them may not even know the difference they've made. None of them owe me anything - they're there for me simply because they are my friends. 

"Friendship isn't about who you've known the longest. It's about who came and never left your side." I don't know who said that - but it says an awful lot, don't you think?

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Family Affair

August 2010

Big casually mentioned that he'd be going to a family birthday party out of town one Saturday. He did not invite me along, and I did not ask why. I figured there could be a million reasons why a person would not invite someone to a family party. Particularly a birthday, where he would know that I would feel obligated to bring a gift. 

Without prompting from me, Big explained to me that I wasn't invited because there would be some members of his extended family at the party with whom it wasn't easy to get along. He felt, and I quote, that "when you meet my family, you should do so on my mother's turf."  

I'll admit; I caved at this point. I really, really believed that Big saw us in a relationship. We were together all the time. I felt like Big must enjoy that time together as much as I did, because more often than not, he was the one making plans. That had not changed. In fact, when Big expressed concern that he was neglecting some of his projects and friendships, I suggested we could spend less time together. I left it up to him entirely, and he continued to spend most of his time with me.  

So, I felt confident enough to invite Big to a family event. Big had met my father, and a couple of family members we'd run into when we were out and about. But this was different. My entire family would be at this party. It was a big deal to me. Anyone who shared in this day needed to be someone who was going to be around. If that wasn't the case with Big, I would have been fine going solo.

Big went out of his way to dress-to-impress, to dance with me at the party, to meet all of my family and make a good impression. I remember thinking I'd made the right choice. It certainly seemed like he wanted to be around...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Answer Key

July 2010

My birthday month. My day was sandwiched in between a weekend trip Big had planned with his friends and me leaving for a week-long vacation with my friend and her family. It would be the first significant period of time that Big and I would spend apart. I was interested to see how we would handle that, and I was a little worried that Big might forget my birthday. 

Can you guess what happened? Not only did Big not forget my birthday - he celebrated with me for two days, and he bought me a present on his trip. So there I was - out of sight, but not out of mind.

My vacation plans changed, and I came home a few days early. I'd texted Big that I was on my way, but it was late by the time I pulled into my driveway. It wasn't worth the risk that I would wake him just to announce my safe arrival. As I grabbed my bags to go inside, there was Big. He was texting, well after midnight on a Wednesday, just to be sure I got home safe. Again, I felt like I was on his mind.

He messaged me the next morning. We chatted, and made plans for the weekend. He had something going on with friends Saturday afternoon. I woke up and hung around while he got ready, planning to head home when he left his apartment. 

Big thought I might prefer not to have to rush. He thought maybe I'd like to shower and relax before heading out. So, he was offering to let me stay at his place without him there. As if that wasn't enough to knock me off the sofa, he offered me a key to his apartment, so that I could lock the door behind me when I left.

I didn't take the key. Instead, I left when he did. As happy as his offer made me, I didn't want to press my luck, or put any pressure on our relationship that it wasn't ready to handle. I didn't make a big deal of that to him, I just let it go.

I considered this some pretty big personal growth on my part. I was so invested in him, and in us, that I was happy to wait before taking the next step.

It seemed like Big was happy to take that step with me when we were ready....

Monday, November 22, 2010

On the Move

June 2010

Roller blading? Ugh - I can't roller blade. I wonder if he'll just go on his own...

...Was what I was thinking. In reality though, when Big asked me to make the financial (and physical) investment of joining him in his favorite summer past-time, I couldn't say no. I mean, he could have just gone on his own - but he was choosing to spend time with me. When he suggested I learn how so that we could still spend that time together, it seemed like the natural thing to do. I mean - he did sit through the Sex and the City movie for me.

The thing was, my joints are shot. Injuries and surgeries as a kid have left me with problems that make that type of exercise tough on me. As a result, I couldn't just buy whatever equipment, I needed some specialized stuff to keep safe, and make this work. It ended up being more of a financial investment than I wanted to (or really should) make - but that's part of a relationship, right? 

I asked a couple of people, and they all agreed that it was very cool that Big was looking to share his hobbies. It was also a personal growth opportunity for me. Big had already inspired me to try some new things - I was listening to new music, I was joining new groups. I'd even gone on a hike with my girlfriend, which was something I never would have previously tried. 

I wasn't sure why, but Big really inspired me to fear less and try more. I was using the words "I can't" far less since meeting him. Now, here he was, presenting me with another chance not only to grow and try more - but to share something with him. 

It was part of a relationship. I was starting to feel ready, and it was starting to feel right....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Super Shiny

Here's my official ruling - boys have cooties. I have determined that, dating or not, I need to find my own happiness. I found this article the other day on Your Tango's twitter feed. It's amazing - seriously, stuff we should all learn in high school. There should be a class. I need this way more than I've ever needed trigonometry. 

"Wanting someone who doesn't want you back is a reflection of your own lack of self-love." Right? Because, as the article points out, when you love someone, you want them to be happy, even if their happiness doesn't include you. Besides - if you love yourself, then you know you deserve to be loved in return. So why would you want someone who doesn't love you? Genius.

"The dull ache and longing is more predictable and safe than the risk of finding something true." So we avoid letting go because that would mean we have to move on, and risk not find something? Yeah, I can see that. It's hard to move on; even harder to do so knowing that you'll have to do it alone. Who will I wake up with on Saturdays? Who will I kiss on New Year's? Who is going to give me a Valentine's Day card? But - until we let go... we won't ever find the person who will do all those things. So we're just hurting ourselves.

"Surround yourself with people and experiences who lift you up. Make a commitment to yourself to take care of you." Brilliant. Last weekend, I saw some things online about Big that really upset me (more on that in other posts). That same night, I was supposed to go out and meet a new bunch of friends - people I knew through twitter and blogs, but whom I had not met in person. I almost didn't go. I was crying and upset and, frankly, scared.

Then it occurred to me - why? Who put him in charge of my happy? No way. It's my happy, darn it - and I want it back!! So I went. You know what? I had an awesome time! Same thing the following day...and then later in the week, I did some great things. Not in terms of men, or dating - but in terms of me. My happiness.

My shine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big Step

May 2010

"So, we'll stop on our way back and drop this stuff off at my parents," Big said to me one Saturday morning.

After I picked myself up off the floor, I assessed the situation. I had fully expected that he would need to stop there this weekend - something about birthday presents and fixing something at their house. What I assumed was that he would suggest he and I get breakfast, then go our separate ways. His parents don't live close by, so going there was an all day event. 

Instead, what he suggested was that he and I drive out their way, which is a nice drive, and do some shopping and have lunch. On the way back, we would stop at their house. Which is a perfectly reasonable plan.

Except... I'd never met his parents before, and he was dropping this on me out of nowhere. 

I thought fast. After all these months, I'd learned that Big wasn't exactly quick to open up with his feelings. I didn't really want to go - I hadn't been planning it and I certainly wasn't prepared to dress for it. But did I really want to risk saying no, and putting that rejection out there for something that should be a fairly big deal? 

I decided that no, I did not. So, I nodded, and went into the bathroom to get ready. While quickly texting my circle of friends and getting their input. Again, it was unanimous - this was a big step. 

All of these steps were now prompting questions from those closest to me. Were we official? Had we talked about where the relationship was going? I would panic a little when people insisted on referring to Big as my "boyfriend." I wasn't in a hurry to "discuss" where things were going. I mean - we were both happy, and things were progressing, and he was doing all of this at his own pace, which was fine with me. 

So what was there to discuss, really? It was all good...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baggage Check

Last spring, I met this guy. Well, no - that's not actually true. I knew this guy because he was a former client of mine through work. But last spring, we discovered that we had mutual friends. Those mutual friends were a couple, and they decided they were going to try and fix me and Mr. New Guy up on a date. Except, at that point, I was dating Big and wasn't interested. I told them so, and the conversation ended.

Fast forward to just after the end of things with Big, and this guy appears out of nowhere. Seriously - do men have radar? Or some underground network that alerts them to these sorts of changes? After he presses me about how I'm doing, I (stupidly) admit that I'm going through a breakup. 

His response. "Well, it's his loss." While I appreciate the sentiment - at that moment, that was not how I felt. I also didn't appreciate when he started telling me how stupid Big must be - because now, of course, all I can think of are all the reasons why Big isn't stupid, and how it's not his loss. {sigh} I really didn't need that. 

New Guy said he'd like to take me out, and I politely declined, saying I wasn't ready. He said we could just hang out as friends, to which I responded by saying that I preferred to spend time alone because I wasn't good company to anyone. 

He pressed. He texted, IMed. He emailed. Way too much pressure. Plus - there was the baggage:
  • He is a former, and prospective, client. I'm iffy about mixing my business and personal lives. 
  • After the aforementioned mutual friends split earlier in the year, he briefly dated my good friend. I've always felt like dating a friend's ex is a no-no. Even under these circumstances.
  • He has some addiction issues - specifically alcohol and gambling
  • He has two ex wives and four children. 
I'm certainly not perfect - but I did spend a lot of time working on my "issues" so that when I started dating, I wasn't making my problems someone else's problems. I sort of think we owe that to ourselves, and to each other, you know? It was one reason why I didn't want to date New Guy too soon - I was afraid I'd be using him to rebound, and that seemed unfair. 

We all have baggage - I know that. But this feels like more than just baggage; more like a whole cargo jet! So, what to do about New Guy? 

Thoughts, readers? 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blow Me Away

April 2010

You remember those signs were were talking about? Well, he was about to send a big (pun intended) one my way.

Since we were spending so much time together, especially on the weekends, I was often spending one (or sometimes more) nights a week at Big's apartment. Normally, not an issue - but if it meant driving all over the area to get changed and get ready for the day, it could put a cramp in whatever plans we had. 

One Sunday, we were hanging out, and Big teased me about the baseball cap I was wearing. Normally not my style, unless I'm going to the gym or the beach - or I have no way of doing my hair. I laughed, "Well this is what you get when I can't go home." 

"Why can't you fix your hair here?" Big wanted to know. Such a guy.

Obviously, not having the proper products and accessories was the issue. If I knew ahead of time I was spending the night, then fine - but if not, then I was out of luck. 

So what did he do? Went out, bought all of the stuff I would need and then made a place for it in his bathroom. 

Talk about stunned? You really could have knocked me over with a feather. Talk about happy? I was ecstatic! I texted my three best friends (including one guy) for confirmation. The unanimous vote was that Big was stating, without stating, that he wanted a relationship. 

At this point, we were spending so much time together that neither of us could have had time to really date anyone else. I was comfortable, happy and very content with where things were. I wasn't about to push anything - this whole "just let it happen" strategy seemed to be working. We were both happy and relaxed. 

As far as I was concerned, things were going along nicely...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Adventure

March 2010

Know what Big did? He introduced me to twitter. No - not Girl's Got Shine. I had another twitter name (all me, all the time) that I used to make a lot of friends. Some of you might even know what name I used, and therefore have figured who this shiny, classy gal is that's doing all this talking. If you have, and especially if you also know who Big is, thank you, thank you - THANK YOU - for keeping me masked.

Know what twitter did? It introduced me to blogging. [Which, according to my logic means that this whole Blog is Big's fault. If he ever does figure it out, he better not complain. Right? Right.] I started a fun little blog that has a fun little following. My mask prevents me from linking you there, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

So, I was finding new ways to make friends; some on my own - and some, I was sharing with Big. We were having online, public conversations. He would initiate them all the time - even making plans to go to the movies, eat out, etc. Totally public - and easily viewed by the growing number of "tweeps" that we shared. All because of him.

I've read that a guy won't "show you off" unless he's into you. That same source says that a guy calling, making plans and being unable "to keep his hands off of you" are also signs that he's into you.

I believed his signs. I figured, we were spending more time together, and when we did, we were both always laughing and having fun. More and more he was going out of his way to include me in his "adventures" - even when adventure didn't amount to anything more than a movie and a walk. I believed that he wouldn't do that unless he wanted me around.

For me, everything with Big was an adventure, because I was constantly learning about him. Then, I realized I was also learning about myself. For a long time, I believed that I had no sense of humor and that I was not fun at all. I'd been told as much by an ex. If you hear something enough, it becomes your truth.  

Big appreciated my humor and personality. I was finding new outlets and friends that fit my style. I was finally learning who I really am. What's more, I was starting to like her...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Logging Off

So, I'm in the middle of this breakup. I'm heartbroken; but not dead. I go from really sad to really angry to really over it. Sometimes all in one hour. (sigh)

In one of my angry moments, I feverishly started updating my online dating profiles. You know, add some details, update photos - and get myself out there.

For those who don't know, dating sites are driven by activity. Users with the most recent login are moved up to the front of the line (so to speak). So, if you've been logged in recently, yours is the profile that's "matched" to other users, it shows up first in search strings, etc. 

If you're active on a site, this is normally what you want - yourself, front and center. But if you logged in as part of an I'm-so-over-you, you-don't-deserve me kind of moment - sometimes the added activity can create chaos. Or confusion. Or headaches. 

Or excellent blog reads.  

The first email I got was from a guy who was 22. Now, I'm a 30-something, but I don't really look my age. So, I chalked that up to just a mistake; maybe he sent the message based on my picture and nothing else. But then there was another...and then another. At this point, I double-checked my profile, thinking I'd accidentally shaved a few years off my age; nope. So what gives? 

Finally, I hear from a guy who seems almost normal. We exchange a couple of emails - and in his last message he sends me a couple of links to getting pregnant after 35 - how to conceive, carry a child to term healthy, etc. Yes, you read that correctly - he sent that after we had exchanged a few emails

It occurred to me that logging off these sites was probably the best idea at this point. You know, for my own sanity - and the general safety of the male population. Clearly, meeting people is just not going to happen right now. Which is probably for the best. Things really do need to happen in their own time. 

But no worries....there's plenty more stories where these came from.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Finding Happiness

February 2010

It was time to celebrate Big's birthday. I texted him a week ahead of time and told him I wanted to take him to dinner and a movie the following weekend. It wouldn't be for his exact birthday, but I was trying to not be presumptious.

Then, the weirdest thing happened. On his actual big day, I texted to say happy birthday, and he responded and actually made plans with me. For his birthday. Wow. I thought that was a pretty big deal.

We still weren't seeing each other all the time, but when we did spend time together, it was mostly him that would initiate our dates - and he was doing that more often. I still wasn't totally sold that he wanted to be exclusive or that he really had feelings for me. I had decided to end things with everyone else, mostly because I wanted to see where this was going. Also, this relationship was teaching me what I really wanted - and those others weren't going anywhere. Plus - I needed more time to myself. 

Towards the end of the month, something very cool happened. We were at the mall, waiting for a movie, and we ran into a friend and her husband. They came over and I introduced them to Big. This was the first time he was really meeting anyone to whom I was close.

The next day, I got a text from my friend's sister (we're all close). Apparently, my friend had called to tell her about seeing me at the mall, and about meeting Big. She commented that I "looked happier than she'd ever seen me."

That comment stayed with me. Was that possible? I was married for a long time, and this person had known me all those years. The truth is, I was happily married at one point, but by the end, things had changed. I remember worrying that I would never find happiness again. Maybe I finally was?   

I, of course, attributed this to Big. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I was finally finding my happiness...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just Enough

January 2010

After my cowardly email, we really didn't see each other for a while. I'll confess - things picked up with another guy. I was seeing him a lot, and not really seeing Big at all. But towards the end of the month, Big and I finally made plans. 

He was all nice and sweet. He seemed happy to see me. I let the "where do we stand" conversation go; remember, I was just letting things happen. We really weren't seeing a whole lot of each other. Big was protective of his time, and I had other things going on.

The thing was - every time I met another guy, I found myself comparing him to Big. Big was better looking, Big was smarter...Big made me smile, Big didn't try too hard. It was becoming more and more clear to me what I wanted; and with whom I wanted to be. 

I firmly believe that everyone in our life is here with a purpose. Maybe to teach us a lesson, or help us through a difficult time. Some people are meant to be in our life forever. 

I was starting to think that maybe Big was in my life to help me figure out exactly what I wanted in a relationship. He seemed to want me around, and to like me - but it also felt like he was holding back. It never occurred to me that he was here to be in my life permanently; I figured I'd learn my lesson, and then he'd move on. 

It's hard to balance letting your guard down to learn a lesson, while still keeping it up just enough to prevent the heartache....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Helpful Advice

I've gotten a lot of advice on how to survive this break up. I've been through a divorce - but that's a different kind of break up altogether. There's more than just the emotional change; you have legal and financial worries, your family dynamic is shifting, etc. 

This most recent break up is different. Our lives were not intertwined; we didn't share money, a home or property. We just don't see each other anymore. Still - I love the guy. We had fun together and I miss him terribly.  

One thing I've learned is to never discount the advice of friends. Even if someone hasn't been through your exact situation, she might be able to offer helpful advice or insight. As silly as they might seem, self-help books can be useful, too. There are also a ton of internet sites that offer advice, and communities where you can find  people who relate to your situation.

I found some really helpful sites and blogs that I thought I'd share here. 

Some of them a pretty current; others haven't been updated in a while. But broken hearts are as old as time, aren't they? Something that someone went through last year might help you now. 

The point is, we all hurt. We all suffer loss. All of us deal with change in a different way, but it's stressful for everyone. Never be afraid to ask for help, or to tell someone you're upset. If someone asks how you're doing, and you're sad - tell them. Be honest. 

You never know where you might find a new friend. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Can We Talk?

December 2009....

I wanted to know where we stood, but I was afraid to bring it up in person. So, I went with the twentieth century, full-blown coward approach: I sent an email. 

I basically just told him that I really liked him, that it seemed like we were good together and I was wondering where we stood. Big's response? His feelings, while there, weren't where mine were. We agreed we'd keep seeing each other, and just see where it went. 

I figured Big and I would just continue to see each other casually. You know - "let things happen," as my friend Matt would say. I figured this was a good lesson for me. I was always planning everything, and trying to control how and when it all happened.

Although my friends thought I was crazy, I wanted to keep seeing him. I liked him a lot; I enjoyed the time we spent together, and I didn't want to give that up. So, advice from friends be damned - I decided to stick with the just let it happen idea, and see where it went. Worst case scenario, I thought, maybe I'd learn a little about myself and what I was really looking for in a relationship. 

Maybe I would finally learn that everything doesn't need an agenda...

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Break from the Breakup

So, you've probably guessed that I created this blog primarily to get over a break up. Because - well, because break ups suck. 

From time to time, though, I'm going to take a break from the breakup. Partly because I don't want to bore you, dear reader. Partly because it's not all about me. Mostly because life is full of other stuff and who wants to be so wrapped up in heartache that we miss anything? 

Based on my name, most of my followers are girls gals strong women. But I picked up a guy follower the other day (go me!). So, in your honor, @Chasetophers, I'm posing the following question, and am hoping for a guy's perspective (as well as the gal's; sorry, but no - I'm not asking about BBQ):

How do you define a lie? 

Is it just what a person says? Or is it also how she behaves? If someone acts like they're your friend, then talks behind your back - is their friendship a lie? Or is that just human nature? 

What about in relationships? If a person (guy or girl) pushes a relationship, acts affectionate and caring - and then turns around and changes their mind - was that a lie? Would your answer change if you knew the person admitted that he/she was "forcing" their feelings? 

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, both in the context of my own life and the lives of several of my friends. I'm basically upfront with others; I say what I mean and I mean what I say. No one ever has to guess where they stand with me. 

But not everyone is like that. Some people are just more guarded and careful. So is that just part of your personality? Or is putting on a pretense the same thing as lying? What if it misleads another person into saying or doing things she might not have otherwise?  

Is it wrong to form expectations based on the way someone acts? Is it only a lie if they actually say something - regardless of what they do?  

What do you think? 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shields Down

November 2009...

So we kept seeing each other. We went to the movies, dinner, and shopping. We went to a couple of cheap concerts, and hung out on Halloween. I was really enjoying myself - although, I will confess, I was still dating other people. We never talked about being exclusive, and I wasn't sure it was what he (or I) wanted.

Still, if I wanted to go out, it was usually him I would ask. If he asked me to go out, I almost always said yes. I just wanted a sign of how he really felt. 

Around Thanksgiving, we spent a day together, just hanging out; movies, lunch, etc. I found out that he spent that whole day with me, walking the malls and through parking lots - all on an injured foot. So, he suffered that whole day just to spend time with me?

I remember thinking - wow, this guy must really be sincere. Why would anyone put himself through that just to spend time with someone, unless he really did have feelings?

I'd been burned before by someone rushing the relationship - and then deciding it wasn't what he really wanted. But it had been almost two months with Big - and things were still going well. I wanted to believe that he was as honest as he claimed to be, and that he had his act together. The guy he was showing me would never put on a pretense. Plus, he had no reason, right? If he didn't like me, he would just tell me so, and we could both move on.   

If I didn't take a risk, I might lose my chance. What good was protecting my heart, if I never opened it up to anyone? I decided to let my guard down....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An Online Meeting

October 2009...

I had just about given up on men. I'd dated this one guy for about a month; and then we were "friends" for another few months. All the while, he was into someone else and just using me to the pass the time. In his defense, he never led me on. But I let my heart get way too involved, so when he started dating her and it was really over between us - I was crushed.

Following that guy was a series of terrible first dates, and a few online chat sessions that were so bad they never even turned into dates. Seriously - I could write a book.

One night, I was completely bored and lonely. So, I sat there on a dating website and sent message after message to guys that looked interesting. My criteria was strict; must have a nice photo; must have a well-written profile with some humor and some intelligence - and in the name of all that is good, no grammar or spelling errors. 

I got several responses. One of the guys who wrote me back was Big. [I love Sex and the City] We had excellent email correspondence for a couple of days, and we decided to meet for dinner one night after work. It went so well, that we met again that Saturday. He texted me the very next day and asked me to go for a drive with him, to do some outlet shopping. My best friend told me, "You should marry him. Any guy that offers to take you shopping on a date is obviously made for you." 

So we did. Then he asked me to go out that week; then the following weekend. All him, mind you. I was all about going slowly, because in my previous relationship, the guy jumped in with both feet and then pulled away. I was gun-shy and didn't want to let that happen again. 

But this guy really seemed to like me, and I had a lot of fun spending time with him, too....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

A couple of years ago, I got divorced. I'd been married for ten years - and then suddenly, I wasn't.

It was a tough transition, but I made it through. About a year later, I met a wonderful man. We laughed, smiled, kissed, talked and generally had fun together. We wanted the same things, and we were good to, and for, each other. 

Or so I thought.

A year later, I learned that not everything is as it seems. I lost him; and I made the mistake of letting him take my shine as he left.

I'm taking it back.