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.

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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.

Out, Damned Spot!

It’s been a while since I thought of him. I suppose I went through the stages of break up, not necessarily in the correct order: anger, sadness, more anger, apathy, rebound sex, acceptance. I admit, I truly thought things would be different with him. Despite our near-constant bickering, there seemed to be something underneath that held us together — chemistry, amazing make-up sex, or some kind of shared brokenness that we both understood.

When we split up, it was kind of a relief. Being with him had stopped bringing me much joy and I had stopped smiling when his name popped up on my phone. Sex had become less about physical love and more about his own enjoyment and release. I lost count of how many times I was left unsatisfied while he seemed blissfully oblivious. His carefully chosen words in his last few texts were like poison darts, hitting each mark and digging in under my skin like little barbs. But I never responded. As much as it stung to read those words and to know he was deliberately trying to hurt me, I knew my silence would hurt him just as much.

Occasionally, I’ll see something that reminds me of him and momentarily forget that we haven’t spoken since Valentine’s Day. When the new Thor movie came out {swoon} I felt a little melancholy because we’d both enjoyed watching all of the Marvel movies together. I knew he’d probably be going to see it as well, and I wondered if seeing that movie or the new trailer for Captain America made him think of me.

Sometimes I do wonder if he’s written me completely out of his memory banks or if I ever cross his mind at all anymore.

But I do know that thinking of him at all feels unwelcome, as if he snuck in and whispered hello in my ear before dashing away. His presence is not welcome in my thoughts anymore, and it annoys me that he still has a place there at all. In a way, I feel the same about any reminiscing about my ex-husband. There were some good times earlier on in our marriage, but as the years wore on, I felt like my face was becoming the way Bill Cosby described his wife’s face after they had children, saying that the corners of her mouth had drawn down into a permanent frown.

Only it was my marriage causing that face, not my child. I frowned for way too many years during my marriage, and I felt myself becoming much the same way in this relationship. It had stopped bringing me any kind of joy and it had to go.

So why, if this relationship made me miserable, would I waste a single thought on this man-child? No, I don’t want him back. And if he were to come looking for another chance, he wouldn’t get it. Maybe because, as with my marriage, I was deeply hurt by someone I never would have thought would hurt me. I guess, like anything, it takes time to heal — especially with emotional scars. It takes time for those thoughts to fade and find their proper place in my distant memory. Until then, I’ll mentally scrub and scrub like Lady MacBeth in hopes that one day they’ll finally be gone.

The Catch

I recently read He’s Just Not That Into You at the suggestion of one of my friends. Before I was even halfway through it, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the book and some of my unsuccessful relationships/dates. What resonated with me most was that if a guy really wants to get in touch with me, he will. How many times have I accepted the excuses of how busy he was, or he was out of town, or he lost his phone, or he had poor reception? I pretty much stopped chasing people around when I saw the movie version of this book a couple of years ago, but reading the words in black and white really clinched it.

My friends have told me over and over that I’m a catch, that I’m just meeting the wrong guys {who clearly don’t deserve me}, and to have faith that there’s someone out there for me. It’s discouraging to get my hopes up over and over, only to realize I’ve been kidding myself. I’ve met guys who just didn’t find me worth their time, and I’ve met guys who just wanted a piece of ass. I’ve tried to give my heart to guys who tossed it aside like a crumpled piece of paper.

I think my problem is that I’m too much of a romantic. I listen to love songs and imagine that maybe someone might think of me when he hears them. I’ve read so many romance novels and watched so many romantic movies, where the guy realizes he loves the girl and comes through in the end, defying whatever odds — crowded airport, boat leaving the dock, impending wedding, etc — to get his girl. I WANT TO BE THAT GIRL!!! I want to be the girl the guy can’t be without, the one he will go through hell trying to win, the girl worth fighting for.

Am I being unrealistic? Do I need to lower my expectations? Or do I stand my ground and say that I do deserve that and that I am worth fighting for? I have to hold out hope {such a dangerous little word} that my other half is out there, looking for me, feeling like he’d be the luckiest guy in the world if he had me.

One can only hope...

One can only hope…