This Man

Miles away,
he sleeps.
My mind can’t rest.
Each smile and laugh,
each touch of his hand.
Can it be?
He calls me beautiful
and I’m blushing,
falling.
Arms tight around me,
espresso eyes on me.
He took my smile
and filled it
with laughter.
Each kiss,
each moment —
I am his.

This Christmas

It’s crazy how much can change in the space of one year.

This time last year, I was involved with Michael, looking forward to him flying up on the 26th and ringing in the new year together. One bout of pneumonia, two bouts of bronchitis, two attempted breakups, one successful breakup, a bit more personal and emotional growth, one fateful Halloween party, and one amazing man later, and here I am — MUCH happier, much more at peace, and much more content, plain and simple.

I learned to truly listen to my gut, which I had kind of tuned out for a year and a half. I regained my self-respect, and I decided, once and for all, to stop putting up with shit from people. When I was finally able to step out of my situation and see that it wasn’t working, that I was being played, and that I deserved much better, it was liberating. I became my own hero, rescuing myself from yet another dead-end relationship, and having the wisdom and nerve to walk away from a toxic situation. Initially, Michael tried to get in touch with me a few times. He left a couple of long voicemails saying he didn’t like where we were {sorry, sweetheart, there is no we anymore} and that he hoped there was some chance that we could get back to the way we used to be. I’m sorry, what way is that? The way I blindly accepted your bullshit? Or the way I let things slide even though I knew you weren’t being honest with me? Or maybe it was the way I kept taking you back, even though my gut was screaming at me to cut my losses and run in the opposite direction. His last voicemail was the day after Thanksgiving. He had texted me a random Thanksgiving meme, and apparently I was supposed to go weak in the knees and come running back. His message said he had hoped I would have called him on Thanksgiving. Honestly, I was thankful not to still be dealing with that clown.

I haven’t spoken to him in more than a month. I blocked his number on my phone so that his calls {there have been a few, but not in the past couple of weeks} would go straight to voicemail. I’m hopeful that he has finally gotten the message through his thick head and will leave me alone. It’s a blessing, actually, that he lives so far away because the chances of him showing up on my doorstep are slim to none, especially since he now has custody of his kids.

I’m looking forward to this Christmas with childlike anticipation, not because of presents, but because I’ve found someone who makes me happy in such a simple, good way. It’s not about money spent, but rather the time spent together, the joy of seeing each other, and the happiness of just being with someone I fit with so well. A couple of weeks ago, Rico came up for the weekend and we had so much fun. He actually met my parents, who both really liked him {I wasn’t surprised}. This feels more real every day. We spent the weekend cooking together, watching movies, introducing him to my favorite pizza place, people watching, looking at Christmas lights and displays, holding hands, and just enjoying each other.  I think, that’s what it really boils down to. We’re living out loud, in the moment, happy with each other and excited to see where this goes.

Finding Him

Last year, I wrote a post describing my perfect man. Since then, I’d have to say I’ve added a few more items to the wish list.

For instance, he’d have no problem telling people he’s involved with me. He’d be honest and not give me cause to question things he says. And he’d actually keep his word, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

Ironically, one year and one day after writing that post, I think I’ve actually met him. Rico, whom I met at a Halloween party last month, has exceeded any expecations I’ve allowed myself to have of late. We’ve talked every day {multiple times a day} since meeting a little over a month ago. I’ve gone down to see him once, and he’s coming up this weekend for his second visit. We’ve already made plans to spend New Year’s Eve together, and we seem to grow closer every day.

His kisses curl my toes and I smile every time his name appears on my phone. His deep voice is enticing, and it feels just right when I rest my head against his chest. He’s funny and sweet and so much like my carefully thought-out description from a year ago that it’s almost like I conjured him out of my blog and into existence. He’s kind of the anti-Michael, and such a refreshing change from what I’ve tolerated for the last year and a half. And from what he’s said about his last couple of relationships, I’m a much-welcome change from what he’s tolerated as well. My friend Ace apparently had it right with this one. We get along so well and laugh all the time. Rico is the perfect combination of sexy, sweet, sensitive, and silly. He very willingly posts pictures of us together on Facebook, has told his close friends and family members about me {and I’ve met some of them}, and keeps his word. I genuinely trust him, which doesn’t come easily for me. We fit.

I know the relationship is ridiculously new, but he has already made me happier than I’ve been in quite a while where romance is concerned. I think we’re off to a very promising start!

A Long Time Coming

As I mentioned in my last post, recently I finally ended things with Michael for good. I tried to end it two or three times before, but he always managed to keep me on the hook. The problem was, I had so many reservations about him and our relationship that I knew there was just no way it would ever work out.

First, there was the distance. He lives several states away and I truly couldn’t see any way he’d ever relocate up here. His kids, his job, his church, and his various activites were all there. My daughter is in the middle of high school, so there’s no way I was going to force her to move to another state right now. Plus my family and her dad are all here. That would be unbelievably selfish on my part to do that to her. I’m not one for ultimatums and wasn’t about to demand that he relocate. And I think, to be honest, I didn’t really want him to relocate.

Second, and most signficicant, was the dishonesty, which went on for most of our 16-month relationship. I put up with lies from my ex-husband for far too long, and I sure wasn’t about to put up with it again. First, he was dishonest about talking to other girls on Facebook {I knew for a fact that he had, on at least a few occasions}. Then he was dishonest about the Christmas gifts that supposedly got lost at the airport and arrived a month or more after Christmas.

He was supposed to come up for my birthday in July, but suddenly said he had to work. I don’t know of anyone who is able to cancel an airline reservation with such short notice and get any money back, but he claimed to do both. He said he had a gift and a card for my birthday, but even after he knew he wasn’t coming, he never put anything in the mail for me. I would have been happy with just a card, but nothing ever showed up. I was not in a great mood for most of my birthday because of it. I brought up the gifts he supposedly bought several times, but he never put anything in the mail. He claimed that the gift was still in his suitcase and that he’d bring it on his next visit. He did end up coming to visit over Labor Day weekend, and even though I knew it sounded petty and childish, I asked about the gift. He said he ended up bringing a different suitcase and forgot the gift. In my heart, I knew he was bullshitting me. I knew it was all lies.

On the last day of his visit, we stopped at the grocery store for a few things. When I was at the checkout, he said he wanted some pop and walked back to get it. I checked out and waited for him. As he approached the checkout, I saw that he had one or two greeting cards in his hand {I swear it looked like a yellow envelope and a hot pink one}. I didn’t say anything about it because he had bought cards once or twice for me before and left them in my room when he left. But after he left, I never saw any cards. I asked him about it, and he said he had hidden it {suddenly now it’s just one card?} and wanted me to find it. I looked EVERYWHERE for that friggin card… nothing. I asked him about it again, and he said that if I didn’t find it soon, he’d tell me where it was. I had this feeling there was no card in my house and told him as much. He insisted that there was one. After another week or so, I asked him to please just tell me where it was because it was driving me crazy. And he said he couldn’t remember where he had left it. My heart sank.

There was also the issue of him never going public about our relationship. He had a million reasons why he felt justified in keeping it private {or secret}, but it just felt to me like he wasn’t willing to publicly give up his bachelor card. At one point, he actually changed his Facebook status to “In a Relationship,” but he never specifically said it was with me.

This guy, this asshole, who claimed to be so in love with me and wanted to marry me, was doing nothing but stringing me along, feeding me lie after lie after lie, and I was overlooking it. I would hear myself telling these things to my friends and realized how outlandish it all sounded. I knew that if any of my friends told me the same things about guys they were seeing, I’d be thinking they were being played. So why was I putting up with it myself? No more.

I could feel myself becoming more and more distant, and I knew this just wasn’t going to work out. I think the final straw was when he went through some serious personal drama. His kids were removed from his ex-wife and put in foster care because his daughter had a {single, not plural} bruise from an argument with her brother. Michael was forced to move into a larger place, take a psych eval, and have supervised visits, even though he wasn’t even present when the incident occurred. It just all sounded extremely fishy to me. I wondered if there had been previous incidents because removing the kids to foster care over one bruise seemed so extreme.

He told me that on one occasion when he and his ex-wife were meeting with a counselor about getting the kids back, she wouldn’t shut up and kept running her mouth. He kicked her under the table to get her to be quiet. On another occasion, he was the one getting all fired up, and she tapped his hand to calm him down. That sure didn’t sound like the behavior of a divorced couple. Red flags were popping up all over. He said one day that he had called her to tell her off because he blamed her for all that was going on. I asked what her response was and he said she looked like she had been slapped. Looked. I asked if he had seen her in person since he said that, and he said that it was just a figure of speech, that he meant she had sounded that way. How do you sound like you look like you just got slapped??? The following day, he said he actually went over to her house to tell her off again.  I suspected that he was only saying that to cover his tracks about the previous conversation that had supposedly happened on the phone. I had heard enough. I flat out told him I didn’t believe him and raised all kinds of questions I had about the whole ordeal. He swore he wasn’t involved with her and that he really was divorced but I wasn’t buying it. Things were definitely coming to a head.

I finally ended things once and for all, telling him not to call me because I had nothing left to say. He has tried to call and text a few times, professing his love and saying he misses me. I haven’t responded. He even went so far as to say he had posted a few things intended for me on his Facebook page. Really? I dump you and unfriend you and NOW you want to post stuff for me?? Too little too late. It’s done. It needed to be done months ago, but I finally saw him for what he was — a slippery snake whom I could NEVER trust. Good riddance.

 

A Halloween to Remember

It’s been quite some time since I wrote anything, partly because things were very up and down with Michael {yes, I was still in a long-distance relationship with him}. But things have been kind of coming to a head for a while, and Halloween weekend was one for the books. I’ll have to write a whole separate post on the official {no, really} end of that affair. But for now, I have to tell the tale of the Halloween party.

Stacy and I go to it every year, and it’s always a good time. Usually, I have a hard time picking a costume, but this time I decided to go as sexy Freddy Krueger. Odd, I know. But I really liked the costume, complete with hat and claw hand. The party started out like any other, drinking a little, catching up with friends, etc. A guy dressed as a clown wandered over and started talking to us. He was very sweet and could actually hold a conversation {a rarity at many of these gatherings}. We talked to him off and on, and also walked around mingling with other people. Stacy noticed that one guy {who’s not even worth nicknaming} kept following us around. He’s given her trouble at parties before, following her and even grabbing her boob once {after which she kicked him square in the grapes, which he seemed to like}. Anyway, after he very obviously shadowed us for a half hour or so, I walked over to him and pointed at him with my Freddy claw and told him to leave Stacy alone. He played dumb, but I told him again to leave her alone, waving my claw hand for emphasis. I walked back over to Stacy, who found it quite hilarious that I was suddenly a badass when I was dressed like Freddy Krueger. Wouldn’t you know, within minutes of me telling him off, I think he left the party entirely, never to appear again for the rest of the night! I didn’t know I could be so intimidating with a plastic claw hand and some hard cider in my belly.

I'm a bit curvier than the girl in this pic, but you get the idea.

I’m a bit curvier than the girl in this pic, but you get the idea.

A little while later, I noticed a very good-looking guy in a cowboy hat. I didn’t remember ever seeing him before, and then I saw him talking to my friend Ace. I casually walked over and Ace introduced me to his friend Rico. As soon as I heard the name, I remembered a conversation from months before where I had asked Ace, if he was going to pick a guy for me, what kind of guy would he pick, and he had said that if his friend Rico was single, he’d be perfect for me. Hmmmm… I continued on my way, and a little while later Ace said he questioned whether Rico was still attached because he had only mentioned his kids, not his girlfriend. I asked him to find out if this gorgeous guy was single, and as it turns out, indeed he was {happy dance}. I asked him to put in a good word for me. Shortly after, who comes walking over but Rico, looking right at me and smiling. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk so we could talk. My feet were killing me from my high-heeled boots, so we ended up sitting on a couch in the lobby near the door to the party. We talked for a little while and he seemed like a really cool, down-to-earth guy. This was promising! He asked for my number, and I got his, and he left soon after, saying maybe we could talk the next day. I was on cloud 9!

I went back into the party and hung out talking to the clown {whose name turned out to be Jonah} for a while. A girl dressed like a devil wandered over and asked if I’d been to many of these parties. I said yes, I come every year. She said this was her first time, so we all chatted for a few minutes. She was telling us how she and her boyfriend had gone to a couple of other clubs before coming to this party, and she pointed him out across the room. She said he thought I was cute, and wanted to know if I was interested in joining them. Ummmmm….no! I politely declined, saying that really wasn’t my thing. She was very embarrassed and walked away. That was a new one!

I actually got a lot of compliments on that costume. Some people thought I had made it myself. One very drunk girl came over to me at one point saying she had been looking for me because she wanted to show her friend that “Freddy got a booty!!!” {She yelled that across the bar. Too funny.}

Anyway, fast forward to the following morning. I texted Rico to let him know we were getting on the road to head home, and asked if I could call him later that day. He replied back and said definitely. Later that afternoon, when I finally got home, unpacked, and cleaned up, I called him. We talked for an hour, and he said he was glad I called instead of texting because it seems like all people want to do these days is text. Later that evening, we talked for another hour. I was really digging him, and could see why Ace had thought we’d hit it off. The next morning, I texted just to say good morning, and we ended up talking and texting every day. As it turns out, my daughter was to be with her dad that following weekend, so Rico and I made plans to meet. I was really excited to see him, and he planned a whole day of things for us to do on that Saturday. No guy had ever done that for me before!

I drove down and spent an awesome weekend with him, getting to know each other, talking, laughing… It was amazing. We went apple picking, to a wine tasting, and out to dinner, plus splashed around in the hot tub and pool. He introduced me {as his girl — swoon} to his brother, his cousin, his sister, and his mom, and he even posted pics on Facebook of the various things we did. After one week, he was putting me out there, calling me his girl…a very welcome change from Michael and his self-declared privacy issues, who refused to do the same after nearly a year and a half! We talk every day, multiple times a day. This weekend he’s coming up to spend the weekend with me, and I can’t wait. Needless to say, I’m all smiles these days. Stay tuned…

Where Will the Nice Guy Finish?

Dustin is a guy I’m good friends with who is the eternal ‘nice guy.’ He’s good looking, sweet, and funny, and a good Christian with good morals, but he makes terrible choices when it comes to dating.

First there was Stephanie, a girl he met at work. They dated for a while before he decided to take the plunge and propose. He went shopping, selected what he thought was the perfect ring for her, worked up his nerve, and said those four little words so many girls would love to hear: Will you marry me?

Stephanie threw a fit.

She was appalled at the engagement ring he had bought for her. The ring that he had saved up for, carefully selected, tucked in his pocket, and nervously offered to her in exchange for her hand in marriage was apparently NOT what she would have chosen. She threw such a fit that he took the ring back and took her shopping for what she really wanted. Now, being the somewhat prideful person I am, I would have taken the ring back and kept walking. But no, Dustin loved this girl and wanted her to be happy. I knew right then that if they stayed together and actually did get married, that he’d be spending the rest of his life trying to keep this unappreciative brat happy. But he’s my friend, and I was trying to be supportive, so I kept my thoughts to myself. She lives about an hour from work due to custody issues with her son, so Dustin {who had been living 10-15 minutes from work} moved in with her and assumed the role of father and provider, taking care of household repairs, cutting the lawn, and anything else she wanted him to do. The day she found out he was Replublican was a tense ride to work. She’s a diehard liberal and couldn’t tolerate his differeing views. The day he told me, somewhat sadly, that they had broken up, it took everything I had not to jump up and yell, “Hallelujah!!”

He felt bad just up and moving out on her, so he stayed for another month or so, continuing to cut the grass etc, helping her with expenses, and sharing her bed. Yup. I don’t know if he was hoping they could work things out or what, but for some reason he had trouble completely walking away.

The next object of Dustin’s desire was a friend of his from high school, whom he’d always had a thing for. She found him on Facebook and they began messaging back and forth. She was in the very early stages of a messy divorce, but he was still willing to see where things went. He actually drove 10 hours to visit and see her in person, only to find out she was nowhere near ending her marriage and that her husband was a very controlling and jealous nut. Needless to say, Dustin hightailed it back here, safely away from any further drama.

Most recently, he fell for his neighbor, a cute little blonde who immediately caught his eye. They both had dogs, so they began going for walks together and getting to know each other. After several weeks, they began dating and he couldn’t have been happier. Unfortunately, however, things very quickly went awry. They had only been officially dating for a week or two when they went to a bar one night. His girlfriend excused herself to use the restroom, and he became concerned when 15 or 20  minutes went by and she hadn’t come back. He started walking around looking for her, and found her in the back room of the bar, sitting on some guy’s lap and making out with him. Oh, and she was totally drunk.

Now, if this had been me walking in on such a scene, I would have simply left. No argument, no discussion, no hysterics, no anger. I would have left her there to find her own way home, and that would have been the end of the relationship. But Dustin, being the nice guy he is, went over to her, said, “You’re drunk, we need to go,” and began escorting her out. When he stopped to pay the bartender, she told him she had put drinks for all her ‘friends’ in the back room on his tab, and he actually paid it! All $85 of it. Again, I would have paid for my own drinks and left her there to sort it out herself.  When he was telling me this whole story, he said that from now on they’d need to stay home to drink because she couldn’t handle her liquor. -sigh-

They dated for another month or two after that before he decided she wasn’t ‘the one’ after all, and he broke up with her. Well…technically. She was still his neighbor, and while they were dating he had given her his key so she could walk his dog for him during the day while he was at work. After they broke up, she continued walking the dog for him, and they occasionally spent time together, watching movies or God knows what else.

Recently, still-single Dustin started growing his beard. Initially, it was short and looked nice on him. But he began growing it into something of Duck Dynasty proportions. His boyish good looks are now partly obscured by hair, and I’ve heard more than one person refer to it as ‘girl repellant.’

He’s still a terribly nice guy and would gladly give any of his friends the shirt off his back. I’d love to see him find a nice, churchgoing girl whom he’d be proud to bring home to Mama and who wouldn’t walk all over him or screw around on him. I know that someday, he’ll make some lucky girl very happy. But first, Dear Dustin, that beard has got to go.

Worth Fighting For

Back in January, I ended things with Michael. I felt strong and empowered and sure of what I wanted and needed. I ended things, or so I thought.

His initial response was about what I expected. He was angry and hurt and didn’t understand where all of this was coming from. I blocked his number on my phone and removed myself from his Facebook. As far as I was concerned, this chapter was closed. What happened next, I did not see coming. After a few days of me barely responding to his e-mails, except to reiterate and justify my feelings, his tone changed. He began telling me how much he loved me and that he didn’t want to lose me. He went back to the beginning of our relationship and mentioned reasons why he had fallen in love with me in the first place.

At first, I was prickly. I stood my ground and wouldn’t let his sweet words break me down. I couldn’t figure out why he was so persistent and why he was wasting his time on what I thought was a lost cause. After a week or two, I read one of his e-mails, and something suddenly occurred to me. Michael was fighting for me. This man, who wasn’t getting much hope from my responses, wasn’t giving up on me, or on us. In my life, I’ve never had a man fight for me before. I was married for close to 20 years, and the only time my ex-husband did anything even remotely like fighting for me was when it was way past the point of no return. When he suddenly realized how much our marriage had deteriorated, it was too late. I had nothing left to give. I felt nothing anymore. Yet, here was Michael, a man I’ve known less than a year, texting me and e-mailing me every day. He was still calling and leaving voicemails, even though I still had his number blocked. This man loved me enough to fight for me. The walls began to crumble.

I unblocked his number and we started talking. We hashed out much of what had been bothering me and began to reconnect. Things haven’t been perfect, but I feel like we gained some kind of understanding through it all. We’re still not on each other’s Facebook, and that is still a sticking point, but we’re a work in progress.

He’s been amazingly sweet in the past few months. One night shortly after we started talking again, he surprised me by having 4 orders of chocolate lava cakes delivered to my house from the local Domino’s. He eventually did send a box full of Christmas gifts for my daughter and me. In February, he was told by flowers.com that there was no way to guarantee that anything could be delivered to me on Valentine’s Day, so he called directly to a flower shop near my house and made sure I would get flowers that day. And earlier this month, he knew money was tight for me and surprised me by wiring money to help get my daughter’s glasses, which I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford for a few paychecks. But it’s not all material things that have melted my heart. When I doubt myself, he shows me all the ways that he sees me as an amazing mom and a beautiful woman. He’s quick to list all the things I do, showing me that maybe I need to give myself more credit sometimes. Above all, he makes me feel loved every single day. No man has ever done that for me before.

You might think I’m an idiot for giving him another chance, and who knows if things will ultimately work out between us. But I think there’s something to be said for his actions. He could have easily said, “Screw it, there are other fish in the sea,” and deleted my number. He didn’t give up on me, and that means something to me. For the first time, I see myself as someone worth the trouble and I don’t feel so alone. He knows I’ve been through some things relationship-wise, and he’s understanding and patient. The distance is still an issue, but he’s coming back to visit in a couple of weeks, so hopefully we can make up for lost time, since his last visit was kind of a bust. He saw me at my absolute worst when I was sick, but he’s still here. That means something. For now, we’re taking baby steps, and I guess all we can do is see where it goes…

Cut to the Chase, Part I

This scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding is on my mind today. More and more in recent years, I have found myself being the chaser, rarely the chasee {or, if I was, the chaser was less than desirable and I was likely to keep running indefinitely}. Something happened last night that was both unexpected and yet somewhat predictable, and I don’t know what to do with the way I feel about it.

Charles is someone I met online a few years ago. I really liked him right off the bat and could see a future with him under different circumstances. He’s a family man, seems to really have his act together. Cares more about spending quality time with his family than going out and partying. He was a refreshing change to most of the guys I had met {and have met since}.

He lives here but works out of state, coming back and forth whenever his schedule allows. He didn’t look me up every time he was home, but did on occasion. I always wanted more from him but was somewhat content with what we did have. Even though I’ve gone on plenty of dates with other guys and have even gotten at least a little serious with a couple of them, part of me still held out hope that somehow things would work out with Charles. We’ve kept in touch, seeing each other very sporadically, but his genuine care and concern kept me from letting him go. Without ever meaning to, I began to love him. I subconsciously compared other guys to him, and they usually came up short.

Sometime last year, I found out he had serious heart problems. I can’t say I was surprised. He was under a huge amount of stress, working full time out of state and regularly driving back and forth eight hours each way to be there as the head of his family. His kids are here, as is his grandmother, who is in poor health. I was genuinely concerned for him, telling him more than once that he couldn’t continue like this. He was slowly driving himself into the ground in an effort to be there for everyone else.

Around Christmas, he told me he’d had quintuple {!!} bypass surgery on his heart and was in town recovering at his sister’s house. I was glad he’d had the surgery but it was still scary to think of him going right back into the same situation that got him there in the first place. It bothered me that he only just got around to telling me after who knows how many weeks here. Granted, he was recovering from serious heart surgery, but if I meant anything to him at all {other than a friend with benefits, which I strongly suspected was the case}, he would have contacted me much sooner.

Late last week, he said he’d be going back to work soon and wanted to see me. He didn’t say when, and I didn’t ask. After feeling like I’d been chasing him for the better part of our ‘relationship,’ I figured that if he really wanted to see me, he’d make it happen.

Earlier today, we were texting about Mardi Gras, and he asked if I’d ever been to New Orleans. I said that yes, I had been there twice and would love to go back because it’s such an amazing city. His response was that I should find us a nice hotel room and we should go. I was utterly speechless. Was he saying I was more than just a friend? You don’t just invite a woman to go on vacation unless she means something, do you? My mind was reeling. Finally, I said, “You really want to go on vacation with me?” He replied, “Why not?” {A confident ‘yes’ would have been nice, but whatever.} I decided to put it out there. I said that I had thought I was nothing more to him than a friend with benefits. He didn’t respond for an hour or more, so I said, “Maybe I’m just reading too much into it,” to which he quickly replied that yes, I was reading too much into it. Then he said, “We can even get separate beds if you want. I just want to go on a real vacation.” I felt like he had punched me in the stomach.

We’ve really shared some emotional times, like more than once when he was on the verge of tears over missing his kids, like when he was genuinely concerned for me at times when I was sick. On more than one occasion, his kids were there when I came over to see him. I thought that meant something, somehow. He has told me more than once that if he was working here, he’d want me to be his woman. But I guess all I am is a convenience to him. I’ve found myself in this position before…realizing I’m nothing more than someone to pass the time with. Why is that? Because I’m a nice person? Because I foolishly allow myself to become emotionally invested in people?

I think, where Charles is concerned, the blinders have finally come off. I’m forced to see things for what they are, and it hurts. I guess I’ve known all along there was a strong possibility that nothing long-term would ever come of this relationship, but I can’t help feeling like we might have been good for each other as more than FWB. I’ll never know. I can be his friend, but I won’t ever allow myself to drift back into that gray ‘benefits’ category. As much as I enjoyed spending time with Charles, I need to have enough respect for myself not to be convenient to him anymore.

On the bright side, something else is brewing that could {possibly} make this a moot point. When Charles first mentioned the vacation, I knew that had he brought this up a year or two ago, I probably would have jumped through hoops to make it happen. Now, I’m not so delusional, and I realize the grass is not really greener on his side of the fence. Stay tuned.

Letting Go

“I believe it’s time for me to fly…”
~REO Speedwagon

I officially ended things with Michael yesterday. Things just weren’t working, and the relationship wasn’t making me happy. I was feeling more and more distant from him, and part of me wasn’t really interested in reviving things. I told him I was feeling very distant from him, and he said hopefully we could reconnect when he came back to visit {he was due to arrive right after Christmas}. I wasn’t so sure, but I figured it was worth a shot.

The day he arrived, he said that one of his suitcases hadn’t made it and that we’d have to come back for it {the airport is an hour from my house}. He said the Christmas gifts he had bought for my daughter and me were in the lost suitcase. The first night was fine…we fooled around, and I had to admit it was nice to see him again. The next day, he wasn’t feeling very well. I knew he was a little under the weather before he came to visit, but he insisted he was ok for the trip. He said he had called the airport and that his suitcase still hadn’t arrived. I didn’t worry too much about it at the time. On the third day, I started to not feel so good, either. I assumed it was just a cold or a sinus infection, but it started getting worse. We were both cold all the time and exhausted. The rest of his visit pretty much consisted of us laying around and sleeping under piles of blankets.

Ringing in the new year is usually something I look forward to. I always buy a bunch of Elvis food and my daughter & I watch the ball drop, toast with sparkling cider, and shoot the poppers all over the living room. This year, however, I could barely drag myself out of bed to watch the ball drop. But we listlessly rang in the new year, had a few sips of cider, and went back to bed. What a drag! On New Year’s Day, he was scheduled to fly home in the afternoon. I was so sick and exhausted that I didn’t feel like I was ok to drive the hour there and back in a blizzard to drop him off. He finally {thankfully!} called a cab and paid $98 to get to the airport while I spent the day sleeping on the couch. Incidentally, his suitcase never did make it, so he flew home without it, assuming it would eventually reach him. After he got home, he said it had finally caught up with him and that he would mail our Christmas presents in a day or two.

After he left, I barely heard from him at first. I knew he still wasn’t feeling great, so I dismissed it. After a week or so, I mentioned something about how he must have other priorities since I wasn’t really hearing from him much. Suddenly he started pouring it on really thick, calling me “honey baby” and “my sweet” and leaving me voicemails about how wonderful I am. It seemed almost contrived, like he had rehearsed what he wanted to say, and I wasn’t really sure how to respond. I wondered if he was busy talking to anyone else since he hadn’t really been talking to me for all that time.

Two weeks passed, and there was no mention at all of the Christmas presents. Now, I’m not one to have a fit about something like that, but I really started to wonder if there were ever any presents in the first place. I had never heard him talk on the phone about the suitcase to anyone at the airport myself. It was always him saying he had finally reached someone when I was in the shower or not in the room. I really did a lot of thinking about the relationship, and it wasn’t sitting well with me. I thought about the time, a few months ago, when I said something that upset him. He had talked about wanting to marry me before, and said, “Well, that’s real nice. Tomorrow I was going to go pick out your ring, and here you are thinking blah blah blah…” {again with the shaming}. There was never any mention of a ring again after that, and I never brought it up. I thought about how he flat out refused to acknowledge our relationship on Facebook, despite professing his love for me and saying he wanted to marry me. I thought about how he got so defensive about unhiding his friends list. I thought about a lot of things that had really been bothering me, all of which I had discussed with him multiple times, to no avail.

I realized this relationship was doing the opposite of making me happy. I realized that it didn’t feel so good to be involved with someone who insisted on keeping me a secret, despite knowing how much it hurt my feelings. So I wrote him a long e-mail explaining how I had been feeling, and basically ending things with him. I removed myself from his friends list {and told him so} and basically said that I couldn’t do this anymore.

When he read the e-mail a few hours later, he had a fit. He acted like this came out of left field, like this was the first time he was hearing any of it. He didn’t like that I didn’t answer when he tried to call. He chose certain parts of my e-mail to respond to, and completely ignored other parts. He said that couples talk things through, they don’t just send e-mails and disappear. I couldn’t believe what a prick he was about it. He pretty much turned the whole thing around to be my fault. I responded to his e-mail and again brought up certain things, reminding him that we had, in fact discussed them before and that he had totally disregarded my feelings. Again, he ignored certain topics {namely, anything having to do with Facebook} and attempted to lay a serious guilt trip on me. Interestingly enough, when I woke up this morning, I was in a great mood, as if a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. I think that speaks volumes.

here we go again...

I admit, sending him an e-mail might have been the cowardly way to handle things, but to be honest, I’m much better at getting out what I want to say in writing rather than an actual conversation. There were no distractions and I was able to really think about what I wanted to say. As my friend Ace said, Michael didn’t like that I had taken control of the relationship from him and was having a tantrum. He didn’t like it one bit.

I just know that I can’t be in a relationship with someone I constantly have doubts about. I can’t be involved with someone who dismisses my feelings repeatedly. I was married far too long to someone who did that, and I won’t do it again. I told Michael I need a man who is proud to tell the world I’m his, who won’t insist on keeping me a secret. Apparently, Michael wasn’t that guy. Onward and upward.

Cuffing Season?

Looking back at my last few posts, I guess I’m overdue for a progress report. I’m still talking to Michael, and after some very intense conversations, I feel like we’re in a better place. I feel like he’s understanding my insecurities in general and I’m understanding his. He has since unhidden his friends list, which helped. It wasn’t so much that I had this burning need to see who he’s friends with. I just really have a hard time with secretive people, and me wanting him to unblock his friends list was more a matter of principle. If he was really serious about wanting a future with me he’d unblock it, and he did {I didn’t put it quite that way. I’m NOT one for ultimatums}.

We still talk every day and he’s talking about coming to visit again in the next month or so. I’d say things are going better. I think we both have emotional baggage we’re dealing with. When we first started talking, he said he was suspicious of my motives because he couldn’t figure out why a woman as attractive as me {his words} would be interested in him. We’re working through some things and I’m hopeful.

With that said, I’m suddenly finding myself getting attention from every direction and it’s so foreign to me. I’ve never been the girl with the guys chasing her, but now I’m hearing about this guy or that guy who’s interested in me. Huh. As far as I can tell, I’m still the same person. I don’t know what’s changed that’s got guys noticing me.

First, there’s Joe, who I had kind of a FWB relationship for a while. He’s probably the best cuddler I’ve ever known. He’s about 6’5 and his hands are as big as my feet {which are not little or dainty}. Joe makes me feel small and safe in his arms. Romantically there wasn’t much there, though. We fooled around a few times, but sexually I wasn’t really into him. For one thing, he referred to his package as his “li’l wee-wee” several times. I finally told him to stop it. I told him that’s not sexy. He’s not small {more like average} but I don’t know any woman who would be turned on by a guy calling his dick a wee-wee. Anyway, I haven’t seen Joe in maybe a year or so, but lately he keeps poking me on Facebook and texting me from time to time. Maybe he’s lonely, I don’t know.

Then there’s Finch, who messages me every other week or so, saying he dropped the ball and hopes I’m single soon {I had told him I’m talking to someone} so he can have another chance. I suppose I might be flattered if I didn’t know that he messages me after each failed attempt at a relationship with someone else. I see him posting on Facebook regularly, looking for women and referring to himself as a handsome chocolate teddy bear, just in time for winter cuddling. I don’t know if he thinks I don’t see those posts or what. I told him I can’t offer him anything more than friendship but he still persists.

Next there’s Freddy, who I talked to for a while and had a couple of meh dates with. He also knows I’ve been talking to someone but messages me every few weeks, I guess to remind me that he’s still there. There was no chemistry at all when we went out, and he had a weird habit of staring at my elbow while he was talking to me. At least, I think that’s what he was looking at.

Another one is Calvin, whom I met a year ago at my friend Keisha’s house on Thanksgiving. He’s a friend of her uncle’s who happened to be there. They were all playing Pokeno, which I had never played, so he was coaching me. Nothing at all happened with him, other than playing cards and laughing a lot, right along with everyone else. Well yesterday, when I was at her house on Thanksgiving, Keisha’s uncle told me Calvin was down in Louisiana with a bad attitude. I asked why, and he said, “Because he knows you’re here and he’s not.” I was really surprised. A whole year had passed since I had seen Calvin, and like I said, our interaction was nowhere near romantic in nature. But Keisha’s uncle said Calvin sure remembered me, and was not happy that he wasn’t able to make it home {he’s a truck driver}.

And finally, there’s Nate. If anyone is a temptation, it’s him. We became friends on Facebook within the last couple of months or so. He’s seriously good looking and we’ve had a few good chat conversations online {some flirtatious, some not}. He lives much closer than Michael does and told me he’s recently single and would love to meet me. Of course, REBOUND was the first word that popped into my mind when he said that, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a tiny bit interested in meeting him face to face. I was good and told him I’m talking to someone, but damn. He definitely caught my attention. That’s all I have to say about that one {for now, anyway}.

I suppose this all might come off sounding conceited or vain. But on the contrary, I don’t get it. I’m actually perplexed by it. I’m not overly flirtatious. I don’t wear clothes that show all my business. I don’t hop in the sack with every guy who smiles at me. I’m friendly…I pay attention when people speak to me…I’m generally kindhearted and I love to laugh. Maybe it’s just that Christmas is coming and people get sentimental when they don’t have a special someone. Maybe they’re just looking for someone to fool around with. Who knows? But I’m definitely not used to the attention, and I’m humbled by it for sure.

On this day after Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that I’m in a place emotionally and mentally where I can be selective about who I spend time with. I’m ok with spending an evening on my own and don’t feel the need to constantly find some random guy to validate me or to stroke my ego {or to stroke my…*ahem* never mind}. I’m grateful to have a good head on my shoulders and friends I can count on. The past few years have been quite a ride, but I see myself evolving, and I gotta say, I kinda like who I’m becoming.