Friday, June 29, 2012

Needles and haystacks

I'm quite certain Engineer is getting sick of hearing me complain. But he's a good friend, so he keeps listening.

The other day, I was sharing some of the things I've always found frustrating about the people you meet on dating sites. Engineer kindly reminded me that men on dating sites are looking for:
  • A date
  • A one-night date
  • Their ex
  • A green card
  • Someone to support their video game habits
  • Someone to help them move out of their mom/dad’s house
  • Someone to have on the side
  • Money
  • Someone to relieve their male urges with
  • Someone to “help” them
I sincerely hope he's not all right. I reminded him that he has been on dating sites before - and asked him which of those guys he'd admit to being. He instead admitted that there is a small percentage of men on dating sites who are sincerely looking for a relationship - or at least, to meet people and maybe seeing where things go.

I guess it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Good thing I like a challenge.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waiting for uncertainty

Part of the reason that I'm undecided about this whole online dating thing, is the waiting. I'm not sure I'm built to just sit around and wait for love.

Well - that's not entirely true. It's not really the waiting that gets to me - it's the uncertainty. I've always said that I don't care how long I have to wait for something to long as I know it's going to happen.

I know this isn't a very popular point of view for the strong, independent, single gal, but - I love love. I like the idea of forever. I like the idea that there is one person out there for everyone - even if it does take some of us longer to find him than others. I want that it my life.

There - I said it.

That said....I don't mind waiting for my life to be ready, to find that perfect guy. Sure I'd like it to happen sooner rather than later, but I can totally understand if it just isn't time yet. The problem isn't that I have to wait.

The problem is that I'm waiting for something I can't be sure will ever happen.

No one can tell the future, and maybe this is where my faith in God comes in to play. Maybe I need to find a way to remind myself that if I trust in God's plan, then I do know it's coming - I just don't know when.

Sounds easy enough - but there's this uneasy feeling that creeps up now and then. It makes me wonder if maybe God's plan doesn't include someone special in my life. If that's the case - will I just keep meeting the wrong people, and getting my heart broken over and over? Or will I eventually just close myself off to protect my heart, and stop meeting people at all?

That's a scary thought. Between you and me - it's the scariest thought of all.

I recently saw a post from Pastor Joel Osteen, who I learned about from Trooper (irony) who said:
God wouldn't have put a dream in your heart if He didn't already have a plan to bring it to pass.
I'm not sure how Mr. Osteen would feel about me applying his very deep, meaningful message of faith to my online dating world - but there you have it. If God didn't have a plan to bring love into my life, he wouldn't have put it in my heart.

Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A dating guarantee?

"You need to date like it's your full-time job."
That's something a friend of mine once told a whole table-full of women, when she was talking about her (now) husband - who she met on
"Just go through and click 'wink' to anyone who looks remotely interesting. You're bound to get a hit."
Another friend suggested that strategy over a year ago. It's how she met her live-in boyfriend - also on

I don't mind telling you - the very idea depresses me.

Yes, I get that relationships take work. But shouldn't the work come after you're in the relationship? Is all that effort really necessary just to find a date?

What's interesting is that even the professionals at say that the successful dater is one who approaches it like a job. If you're willing to make the commitment to stick to a "schedule" - and willing to pay the increased monthly fee - they will give you the Six Month Guarantee.

Just what is the guarantee?
Everybody knows somebody who's found love at - It works so well, we guarantee it. If you don't find someone special within 6 months, we'll give you an additional 6 months free.
Notice they don't guarantee you'll find love - they guarantee you'll find someone special. I searched the terms, but did not find a definition for "someone special." Figures.

In addition to creating a truthful, visible profile, with at least one visible picture (rules I think are very fair), you also have to initiate or respond to at least five emails to unique members through the site each month. If you don't meet this criteria*, the guarantee will not apply.

Do successful daters really make all this effort? Or are the best relationships those that happen naturally?

I think the answer is yes - to both questions. Based on what I know about successful relationships (which is obviously based more on observation than experience), it seems to depend on the people.

I know people who truly believed in dating sites, and followed all the formulas, and did all the work - and met the love of their life. I think it's the nature of online dating to require that much forethought and effort. Sure, you can sit back and wait for people to approach you - but really, is that why you signed up for a dating site? You spent all that money to wait?

If a person doesn't believe in online dating sites, she's naturally not going to put as much effort into meeting people that way. How likely is she to meet the love of her life online? Not very - but that doesn't mean she won't meet him. It just means that she probably won't meet him online.

So where do I fall in all of this? I'm still not sure. Yes, I signed up for the site (I couldn't resist). This isn't the first time I've tried online dating - but it is the first time I've seriously tried a paid site. I met Big on Plenty of Fish, and Trooper on OKCupid - both of which are totally free.

Part of me still thinks using an online site at all might be forcing it too much. Another part of me wonders if maybe I need to change it up - after all, I can't keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result. That's the definition of insanity (and, it seems, dating).

But part of me couldn't resist the catchy commercials, or those real-life success stories that I know personally. I couldn't resist the idea that love is something I'm meant to search for, not wait for. I couldn't resist the idea that nothing good ever happens to someone sitting at home, not doing a darn thing to bring that good to her life.

So, I'm trying. I'll be sure to report back.

* There are more rules, but they have to do with terms of use, payments, etc.; see for those details.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Investigate your date

Though it remains to be seen how long my most recent online dating endeavor will last, or how successful it will be, it does stand to reason that I'll at least meet a few people, and maybe go on a few dates. So it's interesting that not too long ago I received an unsolicited email about On a whim, I visited the site, and have to admit - it's some interesting stuff. I was particularly interested in what goes into a background check, especially because I know one was recently run on me by organization with which I'm volunteering.

Since this is a dating blog, the original email linked me directly to this post about online dating. Of course it includes some basics - using facebook and sites like to search for information, as well as checking sex offender registries, and Department of Corrections websites.

Looking Up Your Internet Date

Presented By:

What I found most interesting were some of the statistics about lying in online dating profiles: 
  • Men's photos are, on average, six months old; women's are eighteen months
  • 81% of all online daters lie about their age, height, and/or weight
  • Most daters think these lies are OK
I can honestly say I've never lied about any of these things. OK - so I'd never admit my actual weight...but I always describe myself as curvy, or a "little extra" and always make sure to include current photos, at least one of which being a full length shot. 

I mean - the goal is to eventually meet in person, right? So why tell lies that will be so readily apparent when you do?

Anyway, I also liked the bit about how to detect a liar just from his online dating profile.
  • Liars use more negative words (like "not" and "never")
  • Liars use fewer negative emotion words (like "sad")
  • Liars user fewer first person pronouns (speak about themselves in the third person)
  • Liars write shorter personal essays

Tips noted for future online dating endeavors.

*Please note, I received no compensation for this post, and am not recommending the site or services. Just looked interesting, so I thought I'd share.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Third time's the charm

I know I said I wasn't sure if I would return to online dating - but part of me always figured I would. And I was right.

After I'd completed my thirty days, I updated my profiles at free sites like Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid, where I've had success before. I also joined Match - a paid site - for a few reasons.
  • I thought it might be time to try something new.
  • I was curious if what they say is true; are the people on paid sites really more serious?
  • I personally know three couples who met on Match.
I'm less than two weeks into what is really my third endeavor into the online dating world. I haven't really been taking it seriously, and obviously these things take time. 

Time will tell. Maybe the third time will be the charm. Either way - this may actually be my last online dating endeavor. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day Thirty-One

Officially, my love cleanse started on Friday, May 25. That means that Saturday, June 23 (tomorrow) is officially Day 30. (In actuality, my 30 days started mid-may; if you've seen posts on twitter or facebook, you know that I have started dating again. More to come.)

So - it's okay to start dating again. But before I talk about that....

What did I learn?

I learned that I need to stop holding on to the past, or worrying about the future. I put too much emphasis on breaking up my life into segments - before and after a relationship, for example. I need to start looking at life as a complete series of ups and downs. Yes, I was up. Yes, right now, I'm down. Yes, I'll be up again. Stop looking at the before and after. Worry less about what was, and concentrate on what is.

I learned that it's okay to be sad. That there's a process, and it takes time to grieve when you suffer loss. I learned that I'm strong enough to pick myself up - and that I have amazing friends who will help me when I can't do it on my own.

I learned that it's okay to let him boost your ego a little - it's even a little normal. But at the end of the day, you really need to be able to remind yourself how fabulous you are. Turns out - I'm pretty fabulous. I'm glad I took some time to remind myself.

I learned that sometimes, it really is about the other person. That no matter how much you love someone, or how hard you try, if that person doesn't want to work on a relationship - it wasn't meant to be. And that's okay, even if it does hurt to accept.

I learned that I have pretty good instincts, and I should probably listen to them more. I really need to trust when I see a red flag, and learn to speak my mind about those concerns.

I was reminded that just because a relationship didn't work doesn't mean it was necessarily bad, or that he was a bad person. It just didn't work - and that's okay.

I learned that sometimes, you need to embrace your baggage; make it work for you instead of against you. Use it to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. In the end, your baggage can help you build a good relationship, not ruin one.

I learned that no matter how tough it is to be alone, sometimes it's exactly what you need. I was reminded that being alone isn't the same as being lonely. When you fill your life with love and laughter and purpose - you're never lonely.

I expect I'll go through this again; I don't think I'm done with this journey called "being single" or "dating." Will it hurt to have my heart broken again? Yes. Do I want that? Absolutely not - and I don't want to break any hearts, either.

But I learned that I want to be in love. I want a relationship; someone special with whom I can share my life. I learned that looking for that can be painful - but it can also be absolutely wonderful.

And I'm not afraid to try.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dating dilemma

As I write this, I am not active on any dating websites. But it occurs to me that eventually, I may want to be again. Which brings me to my dilemma.

Online dating sites are by far the easiest way for me to meet dates. My social circle is made up of people who are in relationships. My friends don't seem interested in fixing me up with their single friends (which is fine; I completely understand). Meeting people at work isn't an option.

I can certainly join clubs and other organizations, and I do. Thing is, while joining a club pretty much guarantees you'll meet new people, there's no guarantee any of them are a part of your dating pool. 

With online dating, I can choose the criteria for the guy I'd be looking to meet, hit search, and - BAM! I get a list back with all the guys in the area that meet those criteria. And guess what? They're looking to date (or presumably I wouldn't be finding them on a dating site). 

Is it a guarantee? No. Does it always work? Obviously not. But it is as good a method as any, and it is just one more way to meet people. If meeting people is the name of the game - why would I shut down a perfectly good method of doing that very thing? 

But as I think about the decision I've made to have some faith, and put some trust in God's plan for my life, it occurs to me that, if I'm meant to meet someone, he'll come into my life when it's time. If I keep trying to force things, I may just be setting myself up to continue meeting the wrong people.

On the other hand, sitting back and waiting for God (or the universe or the Easter Bunny - whoever is in charge of such things) to drop a boyfriend in my lap feels....well, passive. And weak. 

In any other area of my life, anyone would tell me I can't just sit back and wait for something to happen. Want a career change? Figure out what you want to do, and how to make it happen. Want to lose weight? Time to make some lifestyle changes. Want to get rich? Plan a budget. Nothing good comes to people who just sit around waiting for their life to improve - you have to do something about it.

So if all the other positive changes in my life require me to take action - shouldn't finding love work the same?  

Or is that the one time I am supposed to just sit back and trust that things will happen in their own time? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Baggage check

I keep saying I know there are lessons that I can learn, and ways I can improve myself - and those are the positives that come out of a failed relationship.

My counselor even said to me, "Everyone has baggage. The trick is not to let it work against you. Make it work for you. Learn from it; and use it to figure out what kind of relationship works for you."

Makes sense, right?

He also told that, based on my description of my relationship with Trooper, there wasn't a lot that I did to "drive him away." Friends have also said that this particular breakup seems to have more to do with him, than me. That would be good news, except that it also leaves me with a question about what I should be learning. I refuse to believe there isn't something I should be learning, that might help me in future relationships.

I have baggage. I know this. We all have baggage. You don't make it close to 40 over 30 years in this world without packing some stuff away, and carrying it with you.

A lot of mine comes from my marriage. First, let me say - X is a great guy, and one of my best friends. If I ever needed help, or someone with whom I could trust my life, he would be my first call. He was a good husband, and I like to think I was a good wife. At some point, things got broken, we started to grow in separate directions, and couldn't get back on the same page.

Something that always stuck with me, though, was the fact that I didn't always handle stress in our relationship all that well. My own struggles with anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression made me doubt when I shouldn't, ask unfair questions, and get more upset than the situation warranted.

In other words I overreacted. A lot.

As a result, I think I'm overly concerned about acting that way in a relationship. When red flags appear, I constantly question whether I should bring them up, or if it's just a case of me being too sensitive. Or I wait to say anything, trying to talk myself out of being upset, because I don't want to come across as bitchy or angry.

More than one friend has said to me, "But you're not a mean person - you won't sound mean if you just mention it!" But those friends have never seen the way I can react if pushed. Even though I've addressed those problems, I'm still worried the old me will rear her ugly head.

So I rationalize the problem away, and let it go. This was actually a running theme in my relationship with Big, and I didn't even realize it until after we broke up. I was much better about this with Trooper. There were plenty of times that I felt like I needed to say something, and I did. I was never afraid to speak my mind with him.

Maybe I improved...but just not enough. Maybe I need to figure out a way to trust my instincts more, and when it feels like something's wrong, I need to just say so. Maybe I need to start being a little less worried about upsetting or hurting the other person, and more worried about what's on my own mind.

Maybe I need to trust that I won't hurt or upset the other person because, the truth is, if he's the right one for me and he's ready for a relationship, he's ready to hear whatever I have to say.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

End of a relationship

The other day, a friend and I were discussing how men and women seem to handle things differently when a relationship ends. Men always seem to take breakups in stride. They bounce back, almost immediately, while the woman is left in tears, wondering what went wrong. Most of the time, that's the case even when the woman is the one who ends things, which is strange.

The very next day, Baking Suit sent me this picture, which I believe she found on facebook. Seems to sum it up nicely, don't you think? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Good guy - bad relationship

Remember when I told you that I'd never say anything bad about Trooper?

That's still true.

Reading my own words back to myself, I realized when I fully disclosed a few red flags, it might have sounded like I was saying something bad about Trooper. I wasn't - and I wanted to make that clear.

Those red flags were more about me noticing that the relationship wasn't working the way I hoped. He wasn't as into me as I thought, or over time, I just became more invested in the relationship than he did. Whatever.

Sometimes, I think we tell ourselves the person who broke our heart was a bad guy, or flawed, or had issues, just to make ourselves feel better. Clearly, we're too fabulous for anyone in his right mind to have left.

But it doesn't really matter if the guy had issues, or if the relationship just wasn't working. Either way - that's OK. Sometimes, things don't work out. It sucks; but you heal, you learn, and you move on.

That doesn't mean you're not fabulous. And it doesn't mean he's not a great guy. It also doesn't mean that neither of you will never meet anyone, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Maybe one of you will. Maybe both of you will - just not with each other.

That's okay too.

I think when we look for red flags, it's important to look at the relationship, not the person. Focus on yourself: Is this what I want; am I okay with that answer; am I happy with this arrangement? If the answer is no, say something. It'll work out, or it won't, but at least you're not ignoring the red flags.

Just be careful to remember that those red flags are a warning that the relationship might be bad for you. They don't mean he's not a good guy.

Friday, June 15, 2012


You know how people say dogs can smell fear? I think men can smell vulnerability, or sadness. Or maybe they have radar. You know - like bats.

Bats also have cooties, so I may be on to something.

Within days - literally - of my breakup with Trooper, I got an email from a guy with whom I went on one date 18 months ago. He asked how I was doing, and if I was seeing anyone. I explained I'd just been through a breakup. He thought we should go out and have a few laughs.

I disagreed.

I respectfully told him that I'm just not ready, and plan to take a break from dating for a while. He was nice; said he understood, and to get in touch with him if I changed my mind, or just needed a friend.

But then...

I got the text I knew was coming. Since we broke up in October (a process that actually started in September), Gardner has contacted me about once every other month. Just a quick text, to which I'd send a brief response, and then it would be over for another 60 days or so.

So I had a feeling a text would be coming. He asked how I was, I said fine. He asked if I'd gone on vacation (he knew I had plans), I said yes. He asked if me and my boyfriend had a good time.

I cringed.

I hate lying. First - I just don't like to do it. Second, I don't like feeling like it should be necessary. It feels like I'm being forced to play a game, and that just seems unnecessary. I should be able to say to a guy that I'm single, without him automatically assuming that means I'm interested.

So, I said to Gardner, "That vacation was not with him, and he's no longer my boyfriend."

His response? "Should I be happy about that?"

Huh? How should I know how you feel about something? Or why you'd even care in the first place?! Sheesh. When I asked that question, he said he was just inquiring who broke up with whom. So I was honest.

"He ended things with me."

Gardner shifted gears, sent a couple more brief texts, then went away. I was hoping he'd go away for at least the normal 60 days. He didn't.

A couple days later, I got a text inquiring how I'm doing. Then the following week - the same thing. And they continue....

I don't want to be a bitch. This could just be his effort to be a good friend. Maybe he just figures I could use a friend right now. Possibly he just wants to stay in touch, and he does this with all his friends now and then.

But if the past is any indication - his hope is that this will turn into us going out on a date. I don't want that. I'm not ready - and even if I was, he and I broke up for several reasons. My guess is, those reasons haven't changed.

So what I wanna know come his radar doesn't get that signal?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Be helpful

There is a certain excitement you feel when something new comes into your life. Meeting someone new is full of promise and hope and new things to get excited about.

I know I'm not ready to date, and don't expect I will be for a while. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't have anything new to get excited about, right? And obviously, that doesn't have to be a guy.

So I've decided to take on some new endeavors. My job is...a pay check. And that's fine - a pay check is an important thing. But I need more than that. I have a lot that fills my life, and that's also exciting - but it's not new.

So I've decided to try volunteering.

I contacted a few organizations that have missions I fully support, and started the process to get out there and lend my time and talents (whatever those are).

I'm excited. The idea of looking forward to something new fills me with a hope that's hard to explain. It's like I'm taking something bad and turning it into something wonderful. Not to sound too corny, but it also makes me wonder if I might not find a greater purpose for me. That's truly something to be excited about.

Not to mention, it will keep me plenty busy, and filling my time with obligations guarantees I won't bail. If people are counting on me, I won't want to let them down. This way, I know that even on those days when I don't want to face the day - I will.

I won't have time to think about how sad or lonely I might be feeling. And the truth is - how can you be sad or lonely when you know someone (or in some cases, a lot of someones) are counting on you?

So I'll be distracted and busy, and feel needed and accomplished - all while being helpful.

I think we all need that. When we feel let down, and we keep asking, "Why me," or "Why now," or "Why that?" over and over - finding an answer is helpful.

I really think this situation will turn into a win-win. I'm just not sure who will be helped more - me, or them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Full disclosure

The whole point of this blog is for me to share my experiences. Through sharing, others will hopefully see that they are not, in fact, crazy. There is at least one other person who understands where they've been and how they feel.

If I'm not 100% honest - that just isn't going to work.

So in the interest of full disclosure....

When Trooper first suggested that he and I take a vacation together, I freaked out a little. I specifically remember saying to my best friend, "I don't want to drop any money until I know he doesn't plan on leaving me."

About a month before we broke up, I told Engineer that I thought something was up with Trooper. The week before we broke up, I said the same thing.

A little more than a month before we broke up, I met a friend of Trooper's, who also happened to be his ex. I asked him why they never worked. Based on his response, I started to wonder if maybe he was the sort of guy who dated someone for just so long - and then walked away before he had to fully commit.

As recently as the day before he broke up with me, I found myself wondering if Trooper wouldn't eventually do the same with me. That maybe what we had at that point was all he had to give, and I wondered if it was enough for me?

Don't get me wrong - the breakup was still a complete surprise. All of these 'wonderings' were more abstract. I had no idea that anything actually was wrong, and I never saw the conversation coming the way that it did.

My counselor said to me, "It would be nice if everyone showed their red flags on the first date, but it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes, we don't see them until after the relationship has ended."

Hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, I can see the red flags were there. I noticed them - and I rationalized them through other things that Trooper said or did, or by telling myself it was just me being over-sensitive, or hearing my friends say I shouldn't be worried.

I guess something I need to learn is to trust my own instincts and listen to my heart a little more. Apparently, it's a lot smarter than even I realize.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Here's a question....

How does the girl with the dating blog write about dating when she's in the middle of a love cleanse...and therefore, not dating? 

Fair question. As for the answer....

By talking about the lessons she learns during the love cleanse. Being single is a part of dating; it goes along with the territory. Being comfortable with yourself is part of being single. The love cleanse will help you be comfortable with you....and will eventually make you a better dater.

See how it all comes together?

So, the lessons I learn, and the observations I make about dating while completely on the outside looking in, will improve my dating game.

I guess that's the thing about life. We're never done learning.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How *not* to behave

First, I'd like to clarify that Engineer knows I'm writing this, and I got his permission first.

I went out with Engineer a couple weeks ago, to the place where he originally met the woman I now affectionately call Twin Flame Girl (or TFG). He told me she would be joining our group, and I couldn't resist because...well, I'm not dating, and I need dating disaster stories from somewhere.

We met for karaoke at a local hole-in-the-wall type place, with decent food, a nearly-friendly bar staff, and okay acoustics. TFG joined us a little late, immediately found a seat next to Engineer, and started searching for a duet. Awwww....

We had a group of six. This is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone. So, while Engineer was paying TFG attention, he was also interacting with other people. At one point, he sat down next to me, looking at the song sheets, trying to coax me into singing. He chose a song and she said, "Oh, I knew you were going to pick that one!"

You know - because they're Twin Flames and all, so they're in synch. Right. 

A little while later, TFG left the bar. No goodbye, no explanation, no nothing. I didn't notice right away, because I was tweeting. When I realized what the three guys were talking about, I asked, "Did she leave?" Engineer wasn't sure, and said he was going to text her to find out.

I thought about trying to stop him, because right then it occurred to me what she was probably doing, and him texting was exactly what she wanted. But either I didn't think or act fast enough, or maybe I just didn't want to get in the middle. Either way, he sent her a text, and she responded by saying she'd left because "he didn't seem to want her there."

I told him that's a classic passive-aggressive manipulation. I shook my head and said that was ridiculous, and he deserves better. Now - just so we're all clear and before anyone jumps down my throat - I'm not judging her. I'm sure she's a very nice woman, and she is attractive enough, and seems friendly and smart.

My observation of "passive-aggressive manipulation" is just that - an observation made from experience. I've behaved this way before, so I know. Of course - I was 13 at the time. But whatever.

"You realize she's probably out in the parking lot," I said. And, in fact, she was. She stepped back into the bar, and came back to our table to talk to someone else, while Engineer performed "Creep" by Radiohead.

I found that funny, in an ironic sort of way. It got even funnier when he got to the line in the song that goes...
She's running out the door
She's running
She run, run, run
....And even funnier when the whole bar started singing the lyrics right along with him.

She's running out the door.

I could not stop laughing. Engineer's friend was trying to get me to shut up by gesturing that TFG was standing behind me. He doesn't know me well enough to know I just don't care. [I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course.]

As if this train wreck wasn't already perfectly timed, what do you think happened next? Well, while TFG is talking to Engineer's friend about (whatever I couldn't hear, but presumably Engineer-related) - the two of them were called to sing their duet.

They performed their song [Cruisin' by Smokey Robinson - I think], with her making sure to use his mic instead of her own so they'd have to stand close, and whispering in his ear just before the song started. She managed to turn it into a big production - which I also thought was a way of manipulating the situation. They came back to our table, and she sat down as if all was good.

I excused myself - saying goodbye to everyone at the table - and headed home. While I like a good bit of (someone else's) drama, I'd actually reached my limit.

Here's the thing.... Engineer admits he likes the attention, and I think he probably also legitimately likes this girl. Like I said, she is pretty, and seems nice enough. I get it. If you ask me, all three guys from our group probably like her a little bit. So obviously, she appeals to guys on some level with which I'm just not in touch. That's cool.

But in my opinion (which I've shared with Engineer) - he deserves way better than a passive-aggressive, manipulative, immature woman. I just have my doubts that someone who behaves this way knows herself well at all, or is in a position to have a healthy, constructive, long-term relationship.

I also worry if things don't work out, how she'll react if Engineer ends things. Can you imagine?

P.S. - Should I, at any point, start behaving this way, you all have my permission to call me out on it, then ground me.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thirty days

"Take your time, don't rush into anything."

"Maybe you just need a break."

"Take care of yourself."

That's some of the advice you might hear when you tell people you're going through a breakup. It's sound advice. Many of us want to find love so badly, that when one relationship ends, we rush right into the next.

That's usually a mistake. It's one I made after Big. After the guy I started dating soon after (who, by the way, lived in the same apartment building) broke things off, I decided enough was enough. I decided to do a "love cleanse." Not sure what that is? It's not as intimidating as it sounds, believe me.

I first learned about it from The Single Woman. She wrote about it at her relationship blog. She actually got it from Mastin Kipp, who has written about it over at Huffington Post. In case you don't feel like clicking those links, I'll sum it up.

A love cleanse is a thirty day commitment to yourself. No romantic entanglements - no sex, no kissing, no flirting, no dating, no trolling dating sites (or your exes facebook page). It's basically a time to just focus on yourself, get to know what you want, what makes you tick, and what makes you happy.

It probably sounds unnecessary. Like, does it really need a name? Can't you just call it a break from dating?

I don't think so - and here's why.

We don't just wrap ourselves up in others when we're dating. We do it when we're flirting, we do it when we're working on our online dating profile, and we even do it when we're having "casual sex" with our friend with benefits. Those are all situations where another person's feelings and opinions take precedence over our own.

A love cleanse eliminates those other entanglements. It sets firm guidelines, with a firm time limit, and firm goals. There's no wishy-washy, "Well, it won't hurt if I just peek at his twitter feed...." Yes, it will. Why? Because you promised yourself you wouldn't - and you're more important than him. And if you do that now - you have to start all over at day one.

A love cleanse takes all the energy you would give to someone else, and redirects it back to you. For thirty days.

One month.

Who can't devote at least that amount of time to herself?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fabulous enough

Without a doubt, my biggest self-esteem challenge is my looks. I just don't think I'm especially pretty. I'm cute enough...but not the kind of pretty that guys follow around a bar or anything. So when a guy likes how I look, and makes me feel attractive...and then all of a sudden, he doesn't...I always wonder - will anyone else? Or was that it, and I just messed up my only chance?

"Um, well if he did...why couldn't someone else?" My friend asked, right before she smacked me upside the head.

Yeah, okay, I get it. Not only is that line of thinking unfair - it doesn't even make sense. I mean - he thought I was pretty or sexy (maybe even both) or whatever, and that didn't change. He didn't end things because he suddenly realized he didn't like my nose, or wished I was taller, or that my jeans are a few sizes too big.

I'm as pretty today as I was six months ago. So the challenge isn't finding someone who finds me attractive - because they're obviously out there.

The trick is finding someone who is ready to accept me into his life.

I'm not saying that's easy - but when you look at it from that point of least the problem isn't mine.
I was always fabulous enough - and I still am.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Already fabulous

It takes time to rebuild your self-esteem, especially after a rejection. No one is perfect, and even though we may tell ourselves that the other person's opinion didn't matter - it did. It's always an ego boost when someone tells you you're beautiful, or that he's happy you're in his life, or that he can't wait to see you. Anyone who says those things don't make her feel good is lying - either to you, or to herself.

Let that ego-boost go on for a little while, and then take it away. I don't care how strong your self-esteem is - it'll take a major hit.

Your friends will try to help. They'll say things like, "It's his loss," or "You're way too fabulous for him!"

Bless their hearts. You know they mean well....but at first, you won't be ready to hear it. It sounds a little contrived, like it's just something to say. They're your friends, so of course they're rooting for you to feel better. You love them for that - so don't you dare get upset with them.

In fact - even if you're not ready to hear all that positive mumbo-jumbo just yet - don't discount it. Store it away. Maybe write it down. Eventually, hearing someone say...
I don't think you're easy to leave. That's why the guys stick around, even after they know they should probably end things. You're just too fabulous to walk away from, until they know they don't have a choice....
will mean so much more to you than doubting yourself or questioning your own worth. It'll mean that, no matter what he came to think, you are fabulous. If you weren't, this absolutely phenomenal person would not be sitting in Panera with you, watching you cry in your soup, while she says these wonderful things. She just wouldn't.

Eventually, you will start to realize that he didn't make you fabulous - you already were fabulous. He didn't make you into the person who attracted him in the first place - he was just a great reminder of how great you already were.

You will be that great again. Actually - you already are. You just need to find a way to remind yourself.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Easy to leave

Less than one week after Trooper ended things, I had this conversation with X.
Me: Please be honest. What is it about me that makes me so easy to leave?
X: Jackass... We're divorced. After all we've been through, do you honestly think I'd be sitting next to you, in a movie theater, at midnight on a Thursday, if you were easy to leave?!
Fine, I'll admit - dude's got a point.

But, as I explained to him, it still feels like I'm easy to leave. Big did it - he said I was wonderful, we had fun together, he thought I was "a great catch," blah, blah, blah - but he still left. Trooper said he meant all the stuff about wanting a relationship, and being happy to have met me, etc. Then he left.

So, if people can meet me and have those feelings - what is it about me that makes it so easy for the feelings to just go away? Sure, the guys still want to be friends (which, I pointed out to X, is all he and I are). Everyone wants to be my friend.

[Believe me, I'm not discounting friendships. They're important; in fact, at times, your friends are the most important people in your life.]

But that doesn't answer my question. Others find love, and happily ever after. Others find a guy who can't stop thinking about her, who won't go away (even if she asks), and who will do anything to be with her. All I'm looking for is the same thing other people have found.

Is that too much to ask?

If I'd answered that question a couple of weeks ago, I'd have said that yes, obviously, for me it is too much to ask. I'd have told you that I feel like maybe I'm just not meant to be happy. Maybe I'm just not good enough. Maybe I've blown the only chances I'll ever get.

Now - I'm not so sure I'd say the same. I'm getting to a point where I feel more...hopeful. Like maybe, as wonderful as this relationship was, something even more wonderful is just waiting for me to be ready. After all - in the weeks after Big left, if you'd have told me that a year later, I'd meet a man who was a thousand times more wonderful, and find a relationship that made me happier than I ever thought I could be - I wouldn't have believed you.

Maybe my friends are right. And if they don't find me easy to leave...eventually, maybe I'll meet someone else who feels the same.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sorry, not my problem

I just knew someone would make a comment like this in response to this post.

I knew because it's a very reasonable comment, and Anonymous made his point very well. I expected someone would make this observation because it just makes sense.

The day before that posted, I talked with my counselor about that very topic; all the doubt that a failed relationship can raise - both in yourself, and in others. His goal is to encourage me not to doubt myself because, especially in this case, there really wasn't anything I could have done. Trooper's feelings changed. End of story.

I totally understand and respect that. Like I said in the post, I know Trooper never lied to me. Let me also make it clear that I know he never intended to hurt me.

But like I said in my reply, when you're dating, I feel like not intending to hurt someone just isn't enough. When you're dating, you aren't only playing with your own feelings - you're risking someone else's. I think people owe it to each other to be more responsible.

Listen, Anonymous makes an excellent point. No one can tell the future. You do the best you can with what you know at the time. You meet someone, and feel like you could be falling for her, so you act accordingly. As time goes by, you start to have doubts. Eventually, you realize you no longer feel the same, and it's time to end things.

Her feelings are probably going to be hurt. While that's unfortunate, it is also unavoidable. It's one of those inherent dating risks we all just have to live with. It's a risk that she should have been aware of, and prepared for, before she started dating. If she wasn't - that's not your fault or problem.

But I'm not talking about that situation.

I'm talking about how some people jump into a relationship without knowing themselves well enough to even be aware of those feelings. Or, they behave as though they're sure of their feelings, even when they know they have doubts. In both of those cases, one person has more information about the relationship than the other. That's not a good relationship. Relationships are mutual, and involve communication. A good relationship happens between two people - not in the mind of one person.

So, if you're having doubts - you need to share how you feel. Yes, that's going to be a difficult conversation. No, it won't be enjoyable or comfortable. Yes, you're taking a risk that she won't be willing to work through your doubts, and you may lose her.

But guess what? That's also an unfortunate, but unavoidable, risk in dating. It's a risk that you should have been aware of, and prepared for, before you started dating. If you weren't, that's not her fault. But you've just made it her problem.

Simply saying, "Ooops, sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings," is enough if you've done all you can to avoid hurting her feelings. If you could have done more - you haven't done enough.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Twin flame

This post has nothing to do with me, Trooper, or a breakup. How's that for a change?

Engineer still has a girlfriend, but that didn't stop another woman from striking up a conversation with him when a bunch of us were out not too long ago. He was just being friendly; she took it to a whole other level.

So over the weekend, he told her that he wasn't interested. He did this via text - which, you'd think, would be enough to send her running. Not this girl - she said she understood he needed time, and she's perfectly happy to give that to him, because she knows he'll be back. What makes her so sure?

Because she believes Engineer is her "twin flame."

I beg your pardon?

In case you don't feel like reading that whole thing, let me sum it up for you. Your twin flame is like a soul mate. The idea is that you were once one soul, and at some point, you split and have been reincarnated as separate souls over and over, waiting until your souls are ready to reunite. Ideally, you'll reunite in what will be each of your last earthly lives, so you can ascend together. (For the record, I'm not sure exactly where you're ascending, since I thought people who believed in reincarnation didn't believe in the other thing. But that's what it says.)

A twin flame is a very spiritual, karmic relationship. The connection would be deeper than any other relationship you'd ever had. Signs that you have met your twin flame include an overwhelming sense of love and attraction, finding yourselves in complete synchronicity (calling at the same time, buying each other the same gifts), feeling so close that you almost feel related, and the ability to contact each other through meditation.

I very nearly choked on my Memorial Day hot dog, I was laughing so hard.

Engineer has known this lovely lady for about a week, and she's already certain he is her twin flame - even though, as far as I can tell, none of those signs has appeared. He says she feels they must be connected because they have similar interests.

"What interests?" I asked. His answer? Music.

Wait - what?! You can't infer a deep, meaningful connection based on the fact that you both like music! Everyone likes music, for crying out loud!

Engineer is my friend; he means a lot to me, and has been more than good to me through my whole breakup, depression thing. I want him to be happy; and I want him to have someone who is kind, and loving, who appreciates him and brings good to his life. He deserves at least that much from a relationship.

Given my options, at this point, I think I'd prefer the girl who doesn't want to approve his facebook request.