The Power of Love to Transform an Embittered Heart

brokenheart-300x257Over the years, I’ve learned not to give up on the power of love to transform an embittered heart. I’ve seen too many instances that contradict that timeworn saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The latest example that turned this adage on its head: My former FWB has ditched his list and has fallen fully in love.

Ditch The Dating Checklist?

You know The List. Your potential mate checklist. Chances are, you’ve had one of your own at some point in your dating life. You may very well still have it. If you’re still unclear what I’m talking about, let me give you an example: he must be at least 5’11”, athletic, not bald, never been married, no kids, well-educated, make more money than I do—you get the picture.

Find out how my former FWB finally dumped his cynicism, ditched his dating checklist and found the light of love on the other side in my post on Singles Warehouse:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2013/01/the-power-of-love-to-transform-an-embittered-heart/

Dumping the Drama, Keeping the Guy

For years, I wondered: Is it possible to be in a passion-filled relationship where drama isn’t a necessary byproduct? After getting an abrupt reminder of the crazy train of relationships-past, I was relieved to realize that was no longer my daily reality.

Recently, the Warrior Poet and I went to a party where we witnesseddrama 300x238 Dumping the Drama, Keeping the Guy two major instances of couples blowing up at each other. Each remembering the wild relationship hijinks of the past, we exchanged grateful glances. “Thank God that will never be us,” he said, wrapping his arms around me.

Read how I finally learned how to flush out the drama, but find myself in one of the most passionate and pleasurable relationships of my life on The Singles Warehouse in my latest post:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2012/06/dumping-the-drama-keeping-the-guy

You Triple The Risk For Burns When Old Flames Come In Threes

A couple of years ago, I came up with a theory about old flames: Like sneezes, bad news and abysmal Hollywood sequels, old flames seemed to pop back into my life in threes. Depending on the timing and the circumstances, this has been either comical and fun or just plain too much chaotic drama to rock the boat of an already teetering current relationship.

So last week, when The European waved his tempting flag of invitation in the air after the lovely budding of a new relationship, I wasn’t overly surprised to also hear from The Music Man. Ever since we broke up a little more than two years ago, after a tumultuous six months of dating, he has shown varying degrees of regret for not being fully appreciative of us in the moment.

Yet I was completely unprepared for what he lay on me as I blissfully enjoyed a hot fudge brownie sundae at the restaurant we’d agreed to head to once he realized I was not going to cave in and get horizontal with him.

Find out how it all went down over on The Singles Warehouse in my latest post:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2012/04/you-triple-the-risk-for-burns-when-old-flames-come-in-threes/

When Texts Promise Hugs, Life Hands You Babies

This morning when I logged into Facebook, one of the first things that scrolled down my newsfeed was a photo of an adorable newborn child. My eyes and brain did a double take when I read who had posted it: Harlequin Hero. Surely it’s not…

“Congratulations, buddy!”

“Congrats to the new Papa.”

“Since when were you having a kid?”

As I read through the comments, two things became crystal clear: One, my former flame who has slid in and out of my life for years was now the father to a baby. Two, I was not the only one who was thrown for a loop by the news. It was just a couple months ago that he had announced officially to FB that he was “in a relationship.”

The last time the Harlequin Hero and I crossed paths in November, I ran into him in the bar where we first had met three years earlier. I was with the Gentle Giant at the time…you remember him, the guy who talked like my boyfriend and acted like my boyfriend, but a couple months in claimed he wasn’t my boyfriend—no, not the European man of my dreams who is texting me to FaceTime as I am typing this right now; the other guy who did that when it didn’t hurt me as much as befuddle me.

Anyway, back then GG and I were a cozy couple still fairly early on in dating, snuggled next to one another at a table at the bar/restaurant while watching what would be the first of many New England Patriots games together. I got up to go to the bathroom at the back of the bar when I saw the last face I expected to see back in that place: Harlequin Hero’s.

His hair was long and hanging in his face again. He had just turned 40 and retired from motocross, which came as a surprise after our talks about his desires to come back with a big bang before he was too old to continue the sport. Still, I supposed it was rounding that time in his life, and he’d had some great successes in the last year.

HH kept giving me big hugs, though he was clearly distracted. He said he had just run into a childhood best friend he hadn’t seen in decades. He kept exclaiming with surprise how great it was to see him and how little he’d changed to me, his mom and stepdad and the others with him at their table. Then, he’d pull me in for another hug. I kept wondering if GG could see me from that far away and what on earth he would think of this.

I remember there was a woman with them at the table whom I had never seen before. In her late ‘30s, probably, with short hair, typical closed-off face of the small-town girl who hasn’t tasted much of the outside world, I remember thinking. (Hey, she didn’t smile at me when I smiled at her.) I wondered what her deal was, but as I hugged HH’s mom, I wasn’t introduced. She definitely didn’t look like she would be HH’s type just from a surface glance, but clearly, what did I know. After we’d had our tender fling way back when, he’d gone back to the fiancée who had stomped all over his heart in the first place.

It turns out that this girl whom I thought wasn’t his type is now the mother of his child. I typed a quick line of congrats on FB, but I couldn’t get over the news while I was taking my shower. Was it really just a couple months ago that we’d exchanged texts about his need for a SoloAt30 hug?

Last December he texted me about a random UConn game, asking if I was there. When we dated, same time of year, we watched several live, college basketball games together and he knew from FB that GG and I had seen a game together recently. He said the girl singing the anthem reminded him of me.

Three days later he texted me: “What’s up with that branch over your driveway?” It had been dangling precariously over the driveway since the bad October storm. “86 that thing already!”

Teasingly, I replied, “Are you really driving by house just for the chance to see my lovely face? Haha. You are going to have the branch issue up with my dad.  :)”

I went on to say something more about how whether he still thought this was only powerful attraction, that I though he was cheating himself out of the potential for more by not even keeping up the friendship we’d rekindled when his sister’s life tragically ended two years ago. He’d eventually moved back home permanently, buying a house less than two miles from mine. We’d christened the futon in his garage after he painted the walls of his house.

Later in that crazy blizzard of a winter, he shocked me by showing up with his snow blower and start clearing away the driveway, simply asking for a hug or two or three in return. There would be texts exchange about what was it we had between us. It wasn’t simply physically chemistry, was it? And we both finally seemed to be looking to move forward to something deeper and more permanent in our lives.

Yet in the end, as always we were off on the timing. Either he wasn’t ready or I assumed he wasn’t so I moved forward in frustration. He was always leading a separate life regardless.

And then, the momentum was lost.

“You will be satisfied to know The Branch is gone,” I wrote him in January.

“No I won’t,” he said. “No hug.”

Laughingly, I wrote: “You can come suck up the saw dust?”

“Perhaps.”

And that was it. Nothing since then. No mention of his girlfriend or their child to come. I asked him today if he had also failed to mention a wedding. He said no bells.

My mom wonders if this is like the situation my ex, The Bulldog, got into. After we broke up and he ran into me and my new boyfriend six months later, he was extremely upset and hooked up with our neighbor whom he accidentally got pregnant. They did their best to try to make a relationship work on-and-off-again for three or four years for the sake of the child between them, though after I found out the news, The Bulldog told me in tears that he still loved me and didn’t know if our story was even done yet. I firmly told him he needed to focus on this new relationship and this new life that they had planted if they wanted any hope at trying to make it work.

Years later, The Bulldog came calling back to me for emotional comfort and physical release, of course, and his ex told me she now understood all the craziness I’d left behind.

src: lozalicious.blogspot.com

But I suspect HH sincerely wanted a baby. He is 40 now and feels it’s time. It is also that same time of year that he lost his sister and a year ago, his other sister had twins around the same time. I know it’s not a coincidence that his family is bringing new life in this season as part of their healing.

And it really seems like this woman could complement HH, and she is leagues better than his former fiancée. I just find it curious he didn’t marry her before the baby was born, why the child has her last name, when she seems to be at least somewhat a part of his wonderfully close-knit family already. But then life is full of surprises.

Facebook Confessions…When an Old Friend Reveals His Crush

Src: thadotspot.blogspot.com

During the first half of my freshman year of high school, I had a crush on the cutest junior in school. Now he wasn’t the most popular guy. He wasn’t the coolest. He wasn’t what you’d call a stud. Yet everyone who knew him liked him—no one had a bad word to say about BlueEyes. He was kind, sweet, funny, and he had a killer smile, which would flash at me the entire duration of 6th period study hall.

He, one of the most popular guys in school, and I would hang out almost every day during study hall, frequently playing chess—yes, even we jocks know the game. There would be constant conversation, teasing and plenty of flirting. Mr Popularity was constantly teasing BlueEyes and I about the chemistry between us, but I didn’t think much of it. I was a lowly freshman, and we were just killing time during study hall.

Then one day my good friend Michelle told me that BlueEyes talked about me all the time at church, saying how much he liked me. I did a double take. First, I never knew they were friends. And two, BlueEyes was talking to other people about me? I had gotten the impression he was shy around women, which Michelle confirmed. So I decided to build up the courage to ask him out myself.

Src: sportspagemagazine.com/

Shortly afterward, there was a big basketball game that we all went to. I was sitting there with a group of my friends when a rumor went around the group that a tall girl in my class who I wasn’t particular fond of had asked a junior out. Guess who it was? BlueEyes. They didn’t even really know each other! Not like he and I did, but he was naturally flattered. She was tall, athletic, attractive and obviously had more moxie than I.

The sad thing about this story is not that BlueEyes and I never had our moment in the sun. Even in my senior year, when he was in college and dating a junior, he was at my prom, and he came up to me and chatted with me just like in the old days, wanting to know how I was and where I was going to college and all. That friendship still lingered.

The sad thing is that this is the course most of my romantic “relationships” took during high school. Attraction. Heavy flirtation. Friends carrying messages of deeper romantic interest yet nothing more surfacing. Pseudo dates. Study dates. Babysitting dates. Movie dates. Proms. I don’t know if it was because I seemed like I didn’t care, that I didn’t play the game enough. My eyes were instead on the prize of getting into one of the best universities, being the queen of extracurricular activities, excelling in sports and putting my heart into music, singing and musical theater.

Src: racialicious.com

I don’t know if it was because I was “the exotic” in a sea of lily-white suburbia, oddly mixed with redneck country. Most parents loved me, but I realize people could talk, and I am sure they did. It happened to my brothers, though they never opened up about it to me.

One of my “best friends” in high school told me a guy I really liked, who obviously cared for me, too possibly wasn’t asking me out because his parents were prejudiced. This came as a surprise to me, especially when his mom invited me to go into his bedroom during a study session. But you never know. What bothered me more was my so-called friend planting the seed in my head.

I hadn’t thought about high school too much in a way until last night when I got a completely random Facebook chat message from a guy I’ve known since maybe 4th or 5th grade, but hadn’t actually conversed with in more than 16 years. He told me he’s been trying to think of something clever to say to me for a long time.

Redhead said:

So umm i managed to notice some important [SingleInMy30s’s] facts via facebook

Well, one you look great

and umm, shit I can’t think of the other

And um I remember you as smart too.

He admitted to be being drunk and challenged me to guess the song he had just played three times in a row. I joked Lady Antebellum, knowing even after all these years, that would be completely out of his listening circles, haha.

src: amiright.com

He added it was by a white duo from the late ‘70s and ‘80s.

“Hall and Oates?” I guessed.

“Yes! Nice! Private eyes,” he said.

“Are they watching me, watching me?” I teased.

He randomly went onto the next question about the only real pub/restaurant in town and asked when I frequented it. The last time he’d been there was a few years prior.

“I dont remember seeing you,” he said. “I probably would have made a point of making an ass of myself if I had seen you.’

We went onto talk about real stuff. Where we were living now, what we did for a living. Talked about what happened to us since good old high school, of course. I told him to send me a poem he had written.

When I showed signs of logging out to go to bed, he said this conversation might have been perceived as hitting on me.  “You know I always admired u back in the day.”

He wanted me to ask why, answering that I made everything look easy—grades, sports, being hot.

“I most definitely was not hot in high school,” I replied. Kinda cute perhaps, I thought to myself.

“ha but u know u were,” he wrote.

“But thank you,” I said with full sincerity about his comment that I had made everything look so easy. “I played the part. I went through the steps.”

He said:

exactly

i mean its all so much nonsense, but still u excelled

and u turned out to be good people

He reminisced about things we remembered about high school and middle school. Me in my blue track shorts. My brother calling the Lakers winning a game, but the Bulls winning the NBA series. Entertaining everyone during recess with my tumbling gymnastics. Remember his mother’s face when we were kids. My sixth grade boyfriend and I dancing at middle school dances, while Redhead was dancing with someone else.

He added:

I dunno, i think u were the standard for hotness.

well done

u would always dance the last one, very nice

“You’re awesome,” I said. “My inner teen self esteem just boosted 100 pts tonight.”

He replied:

ha im not trying to be nice

im just saying

that is what happened

“Very, very few people took the time or chance to tell me things like this back then,” I said. And it was so true. My best girl friends, of course, did. Guy friends, even the ones who liked me, rarely did.

“Well we were all like 15,” Redhead explained away, forgetting all the others around us getting it on like rabbits.

I eventually ended the night because I was already half asleep when we first began talking, but I realized how powerful our conversation had been for me. Not because a guy from my youth admitted crushing on me, but because someone had actually seen me, appreciated me, admired me and the way I lived my life “seemingly effortlessly” from a distance.

All that work to get to where I wanted to be, done joyfully, paid off in more ways than one. And years later, it was still remember and acknowledged. Sometimes those out of the blue conversations with people from the past can be just the boost to the spirit you need to propel you into another exciting future.

Summer Lovin’ Ended So Fast

Canadian Love by awesome_anime_lover

The topic for this month’s Insomnia Club? The end of an affair

I was 19 years old when I fell for my first Canadian. He was 26, and everything about him was beautiful–his brilliant mind, his sense of humor, his beautifully angular face and body…and, yes, that accent. To this day, if I hear someone say ‘aboat’ or ‘soarry’ or “zed”, my mind flutters back to him and the year of ‘97.

My Canadian lived in the country’s geographical equivalent of Nevada, while I was living in the northeast of the U.S. But in the summer of 1997, we came together in Toronto, a city I had never been to and one he had only been to once as a young child, where we had one week of fairytale bliss.

This is our story of how that beautiful summer love affair came to be.

This is also a story of how it came to a screeching end, and how, for the first time, my heart was shattered into a million, splintered pieces.

There were many things I learned during my first quarter of college, and as you would expect, most of those lessons were gleaned outside of the classroom. For instance, I learned what a mudslide was thanks to my neighbor, a senior who had a mini fridge stocked with every alcoholic beverage you could imagine. I also learned that there were tunnels under the buildings of campus that students explored like spelunkers. And, in the year 1995, I learned of the wonders of the Internet, how it could connect you to people all over.

For someone who now lived 3000 miles away from home, being able to keep in touch with my old friends and my boyfriend was a godsend. Thanks to my roommate Whitney, I also got turned onto this odd invention, where you could have a live digital chat with someone across the country, or even outside the country.

I wondered what my roommate was thinking when she began conversing with strangers, but soon I began conversing with another college student who lived far from his loved one. For the most part, however, I spent time trying to reassure my long-distance boyfriend that I was still thinking about him—my daily letters weren’t enough.

A year and a half later, I was living back home, attending the in-state college after months of feeling guilty for trying to have fun away from my boyfriend, while also feeling terribly homesick for all the things that were familiar to me. But by 1997, I was starting to also feel trapped.

Over the course of my time back home, I had made numerous friends all over the world through list-servs for my favorite singer/songwriters. We exchanged emails, snail letters and glorious mixed tapes of music I would have never discovered otherwise. And then I found myself curious enough to check out this new MSN program on my folks’ computer. There were chat rooms for every topic imaginable.

Sometime in spring, I kept coming across a guy with a wicked sarcasm for the ridiculous people trolling the chat rooms, witty retorts for people spouting idiotic opinions and, inevitably, our paths crossed. Our conversations went over people’s heads, and soon we made our way into private chat rooms.

Our conversations moved from several hour IM chats to several hour computer phone calls. We’d share our days, our childhoods, our philosophical and spiritual ideas, and hopes and dreams. I’d chat with his roommates and best friends, sing to him my latest original songs and inevitably, we grew more and more in like with each other.

Eventually we began to tentatively talk of meeting. It was a brave and ridiculous idea. We lived more than 3000 miles away, in different countries. The one photo I had of him revealed bleached blond hair, shades and other people. Somehow none of this seemed to matter.

We picked a city: Toronto. We picked a general time frame. After I jumped in and bought a plane ticket, he realized I was serious.

A couple months later, I was in the Toronto Pearson International Airport, having forgotten my passport at home. At customs, I remember having to call my mom to ask her to fax a copy of my passport, but somehow they allowed me through with just my driver’s license.

That's what I call a kiss scene by Bird_Of_Fire

I arrived first, waiting with several others just beyond his terminal’s arrival area. Not knowing exactly what my Canadian looked like, I knew he would spot me first. As people of various size, shape and degree of attractiveness passed by, my heart was thumping in my stomach.

Finally I glanced to my left and saw a beautiful man with brown spiky hair, grinning at me and walking quickly in my direction. Before I knew it, I was being wrapped in those arms, backpack in all. Finally I released my backpack, and was literally swept off my feet.

I wish I could remember all the details now. For a year afterward, I rewound and replayed them over and over again in my mind. There was the ride to his godmother’s house in the rental car, where I played navigator, while he shared stories of his childhood. There was trying to keep quiet in a squeaky four-post bed. There was the very adult, dinner party with wine that turned his face red, and a gorgeous photo of all of us taken.

There was visiting the SkyDome and splurging on a room at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel (not sure if that was its name then) in the place overlooking where the Toronto Blue Jays play. There was getting red streaks put in my hair since he was dyeing his own hair. There was the big market and fair where we saw a horribly inaccurate fortune teller before getting rained out on my gorgeous, silky smooth hair. There was the glorious bubble bath that night where I couldn’t stop my 19-year-old, naïve girl self from saying, “I think I’m starting to fall in love with you.”

There were tight hugs and tears when we parted ways at the airport. Tears is an understatement on my part, but I saved the blubbering for after he was out of sight.  I went back to Connecticut. He went back to Alberta.

I remember the sweet, nostalgic phone calls and emails exchanged at first. Yet when I made the right choice to return to university back to California a couple months later, things were different. Though we technically lived closer to one another now, the correspondence had petered off. I’d occasionally hear from him—he mentioned that he was thinking of going back to school, and my school was one he was looking at—but eventually the tenderness died out, and the hope was lost.

I couldn’t believe it was over. He’d felt that magic too.

I was still clinging to the last strands of beautiful memories into the next year. Finally, he sent me an email saying he would call me, that he had something he wanted to tell me. He didn’t. Instead he finally sent an email saying he had started seeing someone else a while ago. As in, months ago.

I was livid that while I had been pouring my heart out, he was falling in love with someone new. He knew how I felt, yet he didn’t say or do anything to let me know that he’d moved on completely.

I wanted to fly up there and punch him in the face. I wanted to slap my own face for being so naïve. Why would this man with a wild social life want to try to build a future with a girl living so far away?

It’s funny to think of it now, as I see his face every day on my Facebook news feed. We went through years where we didn’t talk. Several years afterward, he found my first Internet journal, leaving a sweet message on there for me. After answering him, I of course wrote a post on my surprise of hearing from him after all that time. A week later, he disappeared.

Again years later, I heard from him via email. He said he was so glad to find me. He had taught English in Korea. He was a born again Christian (and apparently in AA) as he poured out this incredible apology for treating me so terribly 8 years earlier. I told him he’d already been forgiven for years, but I appreciated the gesture.

Is it crazy that it wasn’t until receiving that email that I finally let go of any lingering thoughts of him once and for all? I’d had two, long, committed relationships and been in love several times over. Yet a little part of me still had carried some torch for my first passionate love affair.

Pitiful? Probably. Yeah.

-http://www.extremefunnypictures.com

I can’t remember who found whom on Facebook this past year. He still looks pretty much the same. He’s finally finishing college at the age of 40, is it? He’s no longer a born-again Christian, and he drinks again. He’s not married, though at one point, he was pretty close before bailing out five or six years ago. He’s in an “it’s complicated” relationship currently. He’s still incredibly brilliant and very political-minded.

He’s also a big dork. If I could share with you a recent Halloween costume to prove his dorkiness, I would. I bet he watches The Big Bang Theory and loves it.

We exchange messages now and then. What do I feel? Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. I feel fondness for an old friend…and gratitude for a brief period of incredible, precious memories—before I lost my innocence.

Stay tuned for more posts from my fel­low Insom­ni­acs this month:

The Urban Dater – Taking a Dump
Women Are From Mars — My advice on The End of The Affair… or whatever.

11 Lessons in Love From 2011

I realize that it’s not even halfway through 2011, but I would like to impart 11 lessons from my love life (admittedly not the most healthy year of dating I’ve had) that I have learned thus far this year:

1. On dating sites, I have picked up on some interesting things along the way that may be helpful to other online daters. At least from my experience, a majority of the guys who identify as those who “rarely” drink are whom I would consider social drinkers. Those who are “social” drinkers are frequently heavier drinkers. Some drink daily, some often can’t sleep without a drink, drink when they are depressed and lonely (which is at least several days a week) and will constantly try to get you, a non-drinker, to drink with them so they don’t feel “guilty.”

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have anything against drinking in general. Even without the medical reasons why I can’t drink right now, I have a low tolerance but I enjoy a mixed drink now and then. But a 40-year-old man who feels like he needs to get piss-drunk several times a week, with people easily more than 10 years younger than he is, or else he feels like he’s missing out on all the fun in life just strikes me as sad.

2. In the same vein, of those who identify as non-smokers, at least 40 percent of them are daily, fairly heavy smokers. I’m not sure why they think you won’t figure this out within the first couple dates unless you’ve completely lost your sense of smell, so guys, honesty really is the best policy when it comes to stating whether you actually smoke.

3. A stoner is a stoner, whether he is a 5’5” stoner from 2004 or a 6′ stoner from 2010. Stoners don’t always self-identify, but if he has to toke up before he eats, before he has sex, before he goes to bed, before he goes for a drive…chances are, he’s a stoner. In which he case, no matter how much he may fall in love with you, you will always come in second to sweet Mary Jane.

4. If he asks to borrow money on your first date, it’s probably not a good sign of his financial well-being. However, with gas prices being what they are, if he’s driving really far back and forth just to see you, it is polite to pay your share now and then.

5. Regarding exes: Trying to hang out with/casually date/hook-up with an ex that you were in a very serious relationship with for three years and lived with for more than two years is not recommended. Even if you were the one who left. Maybe especially if you were the one who left. Of course, if your ex now has a child, who was conceived shortly after he saw you with a new boyfriend, which drove him into a hurt and angry fit, this complicates things a hundred times more.

You will be faced with confusion, guilt and anxiety when you realize what you mistook as a friendship finally being able to spark up again is re-framed into something more for your ex. You will be bewildered when he starts calling multiple times a week to spend time together, even under the guise of just “hanging out,” texting throughout the day, and suggesting you come with him to get-togethers with friends…just like the old days.

fairytales coming true

6. Getting back together with your ex after more than a year apart may seem like a great idea at the start, and it may even feel even better than the last year of your two-year relationship, but inevitably what was wrong that made your run before will make you run again…most likely sprint without looking back. And hey, maybe that’s a good thing.

Now you’ve learned to stop looking back with this ex who has managed to still have a pull on you throughout the year-and-a-half apart. You can stop the “what-ifs” on this relationship, which should have had the door closed and fully locked on long ago.

7. If you are disabled/unemployed/live with your parents/don’t have a license/etc. and feel un-datable in your present life status—and perhaps others have told you this—you may be surprised. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are completely out of the game. I’m going through chemo, on health leave from work, previously been sick to my stomach four to five days out of seven, struggled with walking the last several weeks and been mostly bed-bound. And yet…I have exes who are still chasing after me, okcupid users who still want to pursue me and I finally went out on a date with someone new this past week and he’s ready to call us in a relationship already (moving a little fast, no??). Your illness doesn’t define you, unless you let it.

8. Even though some guys hate when you do this, use your (clear-minded) friends, and possibly family members, as a sounding board when you need to. If things don’t feel or sound right, it helps to talk it over with someone “impartial” because the more you talk it over in your own head, the more prone you are to rationalize certain negative behaviors. “Well, he hasn’t asked to do anything with me in four weeks because he knows how sick I am, and he wants me to get better.” Um, no. Last year, that made no difference—he was right there by your side, and you weren’t even dating.

9. Listen to how a guy interacts with his friends and others in his life. It’s a good indicator of how, one day in the future, he probably is going to interact with you. Pay special attention to how he does or does not interact with his female friends and his mother. And if he doesn’t have anyone he interacts with, that also tells you something important.

10.  Don’t settle. Seriously. Even if you’re feeling down and lonely, you deserve the best. You deserve exactly who and what you’re looking for. If you find out that cool guy who is tall, cute, “sporty”, aspiring writer with whom you felt you could have great, long conversations with until 4 a.m. is also a stoner, still hung up on his ex-fiancée, works 2 or 3 days a week so he can stay on unemployment and describes himself as “lost”…and there is also an attractive, athletic, driven and ambitious guy who is family-oriented, successful in his career, loves to travel, ready for commitment and doesn’t want to rush things, who addresses struggles and pulls himself back up in healthy ways….well, like I said, don’t settle. And you’re perfectly within your right to choose neither of the two.

11. No matter how sweet the words that come out of his mouth, if he talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, you have permission to run the run.

Adiós, The Brit; Bonjour, Confusion…Again

I know that several of my readers were rooting for The Brit. We had a really nice date a few weeks ago, and I assumed he was eager for another date as he had been the previous few weeks, but then he basically disappeared into thin air. Now I usually take The Fade in stride, particularly if there is no serious emotional investment, but the sudden backing off of The Brit surprised me. At first, I attributed it to the end of the summer course he was teaching, that he must be busy with grading. And perhaps he was also really into researching and writing more for his next book. I’d get a couple texts now and again, but then he’d fail to respond for a while.

To be honest, with all the other men in my life, The Brit was not at the top of the list. He’s intelligent, funny, a decent kisser, and we had fun all the times we hung out. Yet he really didn’t blow me away with his personality or his looks. I write about relationships and health. He is obsessed with the psychology of politicians. This isn’t to say we didn’t have plenty to talk about, but his status updates on FB were all about which British political figure was doing what, along with his acerbic analysis; mine were about feelings, links to my YouTube music videos and my other blog articles. Then there was the fact that he was a vegetarian (because of a recent ex).

Still I was very curious what had changed to the nights of snogging in the car to infrequent polite texts. So, I asked him. He never picks up the phone, rarely texts, but he’s been on FB very frequently this week, so I decided to send him a message. Here’s how things went down.

SingleInMy30s July 18 at 10:40pm
did i do or say something that completely put you off me? Or have things just run the course “dating”? I’m more curious than anything else, so please don’t feel like I’m upset, just intrigued. :)

Hope you had a great weekend

The Brit July 19 at 4:03pm
Aw, it’s not that SingleInMy30s. You haven’t done or said anything. And I am attracted to you. It’s just you seem to really like me, and it seemed unfair to keep seeing you regularly.

SingleInMy30s July 19 at 4:06pm
That’s funny. I thought you were the one who really liked *me*. I don’t know you well enough to really like you, and I have in fact been seeing other guys besides you. So no harm, no worry.

It’s funny how this exchange made me feel: relieved. One less guy to worry about, without worrying I might be hurting his feelings.

I’m still pondering whether it’s in my best interest to get back together with V-Man. We spent Saturday night together. It turned into that all-too-familiar routine of him working on house stuff while I assisted when necessary. We didn’t eat dinner until 9, and we grabbed The Hangover from Redbox. He really enjoyed it, which wasn’t surprising (I’d seen it before). Yet as soon as it was over, he picked up the damn iTouch I bought him a couple months before I broke up with him the last time, and was busy perusing eBay for bike parts, his latest obsession. Things in the bedroom are still fun, exciting and passionate, but lacking tenderness. After doing more house work Sunday morning, he dropped me off, and simply said, “Thanks for all your help.” Not exactly what I am looking for from the man I’ve been considering getting back together with.

I realize things haven’t really changed a great deal. His best girl friend got engaged last weekend and he refused to go their celebration. He keeps “forgetting” to call or text her a congratulations. His house will always come before people. And he will also frown on marriage–don’t blame him, since he has very poor examples of positive marriages, but that doesn’t bode well for my future with him. I don’t want to be one of those girls who has to drag her man to the altar after a ridiculous number of years dating. I don’t think he’d want that either because that would just prove him right about “how everyone woman just wants x…”

Mr. Etiquette is still calling and texting, trying to prove his love. I appreciate the romantic gestures, the backing up he did when he I told him I needed space. Yet I still carry that pain that he wanted to go back with FMG, despite her treating him like shit for so long, and despite the fact that he had the kind of woman offering just the kind of relationship he wanted right in front of him but let go of, however temporarily.

And of course, Harlequin Hero is back in town, moving into his new house. He texted me the other night, asking when I was coming by. He doesn’t really understand the concept of invitations still, does he?

Is it really too much to ask for a love life that’s easier and more fulfilling?

When An Ex Waxes Nostalgic, It’s Music to My Ears

The Music Man never fails to blow me away with the sheer perfection of his physique. Chiseled arms and legs, ripped abs, plus the tanned skin and perfect hair of a man who pays a lot of attention to his appearance. Even during my “man, this guy is a total jackass”-phase, I have never looked at him and not thought, “Wow, he looks delicious.” But his unchecked words, with their timing and delivery, still manage to catch me off guard.

Last week, he had promised we’d get together soon in the coming week, but it’s been months since we’ve actually been able to follow through on getting together. So this morning I woke up to a text from him asking if I wanted to get together at noon. On the drive to lunch in his gorgeous red Mustang, he informed me what he had been up to this morning. “Remember those sexy photos I have of you?” he asked, giving me a sideways glance. “I was jacking off to those this morning.” What? I didn’t know if I should choke him, or if I should be flattered. Later, I wound up doing both.

Before all this though, we somehow ended up talking about relationships and feelings, The Music Man’s second favorite topic behind, naturally, music. During our relationship, he over-analyzed everything, to the point where I, the typical feelings female, was like–”please give it a rest.” Today,  as he talked about the women he was dating, he commented on how much work dating these three women was becoming. I couldn’t help adding, “Like it became work when I got sick?”

He frowned at me and protested. “It was absolutely not work when you got sick. I wanted to be there for you, and I was happy to. You know we had our bigger issues far before you got sick.” I nodded. It was true. That was really what was behind why I broke things off with him, after all. When I was sick and he was at home playing the guitar by himself when he used to play so often for me, he said, one afternoon he just broke down crying. “I never did that over my ex-wife or even the ex-girlfriend. I was really sad and upset in those cases, but over you, I literally lost it for like sixty seconds.” He told me how he would always have a loving feeling for me because of how beautiful and caring and sexy a person I was and am.

I was touched but didn’t really know how to respond. Of course he asked, “What do you think about all that?”

After lunch, we went to the park and walked for a bit under the scorching sun. We quickly made our way to the shade of the trees and just lay on a sheet for twenty minutes relaxing. The Music Man reached out to put his arm under my head, and he pulled me in for some passionate kisses, but mostly we just talked. It felt good. I did miss our talks. As shallow as he sometimes appears, when The Music Man get below the surface, we always have great conversation.

When he drove me back to the house, he asked if I wanted him to come in. I gave him a quizzical look, but I remembered the sexy photos he showed me that had roused him earlier that morning. He reminded me then and there that there had been some passion in our relationship after all, that it hadn’t always been a case of me failing to live up to his fantasies and porn-style expectations.  He reminded me that yes, there had been too, in his odd little way, love.  He also reminded me that I was irresistibly sexy, just as I am, in this very body. All these things were beautiful to remember.

Steamin’ It Up, Old-School Style

“How do you always get mascara all over your face?” my mom asked coming out of her bedroom when I came in tonight from my third date with The Brit. “Maybe you should stop wearing any mascara at all.”

“It’s raining out,” I said. She gave me a look that told me she wasn’t buying it. “And I’m always rubbing my face,” I added, which is true. It might also be because I just spent the last half hour making out in The Brit’s car in our driveway, I thought, but I knew to keep that one to myself.

“This is a bit dodgy, isn’t it?” The Brit commented, as we paused for breath, in the close quarters of his VW Bug. “D’ya think your parents are going to get upset that we’re basically parking in their driveway?” It was a good question. But his car wasn’t too big, it was dark and raining, and we were safely tucked under the cover of some lush tree branches in the side driveway. “Your dad’s not the type to come out here with a bat or anythin’, is he?”

I responded by leaning in for another kiss. (No, Jaysey818, it turns out we didn’t need a lesson at all this time.) And no, Dad wasn’t home. Otherwise, he’d have the binoculars and flashlight out the window, recon-style.

After a lovely dinner at an Indian restaurant that The Brit likes–my stomach was totally fine, thank you very much, you guys–we didn’t want the date to end quite yet, but we didn’t know where to go. it was raining, otherwise we could go for a walk. Neither of us felt like doing any drinking. The Brit thought of taking me to his place, and I could meet his cat, but he said it was embarrassingly messy right now. Most of the stores would be closing soon, but we decided we’d pop into the nearby Marshall’s just for something to do.

The Brit looked at a few shirts, asked my opinion, and then the store announced it was closing. Not wanting to be pressured by time into a sale, The Brit left without any new clothes. We shrugged, restless but lacking too much imagination, so he ended up taking me home. I did notice he parked the car in the side driveway instead of just pulling up idle behind my unused car, so I smiled as he came in to kiss me. I wasn’t prepared for how much we were going to steam up the windows.

“Perhaps we should have gone to the park for a proper parking after all,” he mused later.

This of course reminds me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, where Bridget tells Mark Darcy: “Wait a minute…nice boys don’t kiss like that.” His reply, “Oh, yes, they fucking do.”

The only unfortunate incident of the night is that I started talking about blogging. I wasn’t even drinking, I tell you. I was talking about my health blog, which covers a range of health topics, from unusual disorders to alternative medicine to nutrition transformations in schools to traveling while disabled. This was all well and good until I started babbling about my other blog; yes, this very one.

“Am I in it?” he asks. Then throughout the rest of dinner, he tries to throw in, so you talk about x in this blog, which is called y? Fishing for the name, which I refused to give. I told him there is nothing negative to report about The Brit. However, it’s too soon for him to see this side of me, or to hear way too many details about my messy dating life. If he ever earns that right, or if I ever get up the cajones to share this blog with anyone in my personal circle…that’s because I will have reached the stability in my romantic life where I feel free to be completely open about my past because it is…in my past.

I did say that I may copy my personal guide to having great sex and email it to him, however. Though I do personally (through pseudonyms) mention previous lovers, which is not a good thing. But that can be easily edited.

Speaking of previous lovers, Harlequin Hero of course informed last night that he’s coming back up here at the end of the month. Don’t know how long he’s staying but he said of course he wants to see me. And it should surprise no one that Mr. Etiquette called me while I was on my date. I ignored the numerous buzzes I received from various people during the date, but I just knew one of them was from him. He surprisingly didn’t leave a message, which only leads me to conclude he knew I was on a date. T must have told him I was “out.” Screw him and his jealousy. He only calls when things are bleak with Sara, which of course is frequent lately, especially now that we’re talking again. Might need to cut off this “friendship” deal completely.

The Brit brought up a wedding in Michigan he was invited to go to this summer. He is friends with the groom, met the bride once, but knows no one else at the wedding. He feels terrible if he says no to it, though. I was wondering if he wanted my opinion, or if he was putting out feelers if I might want to go so he’d know someone else at the wedding. Seems a bit early for him to ask, since he’s a laid-back, average-paced guy. He brought up getting there via a road trip, asked my opinion on whether I thought it’d be a decent ride, etc.  Probably was just asking since I know this part of the U.S. better than he does. The groom’s not a best friend, so I honestly think it could be fun if we were still seeing each other, but whatever. I won’t ponder it further unless he specifically asks me.