Given a Second Chance at Love, When is it Worth the Risk?

second-chanceI know I’m not really fooling anyone. At my core, behind certain walls erected to better protect me, underneath the heartbreaks and bruises, I am an incurable romantic. I believe in the trans-formative power of love; both to the receiver and the giver. And yes, I suppose there is a part of me that still believes that true love is worth fighting and waiting for, that it reigns supreme in the end. Yet I recently was put in the position to question myself: Given a second chance at love, when is it worth the risk?

Read more about how I fouled up the first time, what I think about do-overs in life, and whether I think second chances are really worth the risk over at Singles Warehouse:

What if Your Ex Had Been Your Best Friend—Can You Still Be Friendly

BeingFriendsWithEx-300x219Once the anger and frustration after the break-up dimmed, I was starting to actually feel good again. I was getting my groove back, dating again. One guy I had been on several dates with was starting to spark with potential. I was feeling happy and regaining confidence. So when the ex began showing signs of mildly reaching out in friendship again, I was up for it. In this one case, I thought I knew the answer to that age-old question: What if your ex was your best friend, can you still be friendly?

Find out what I have to say about the topic on Singles Warehouse:

In Online Dating, It’s a Small World After All


One of my favorite aspects of online dating has been the opportunity to broaden my horizons and open up the doors to a more diverse pool of potential mates. Through online dating, I have had love affairs with two Canadians and dated British and Polish expats. I’ve had a fling with a pilot, dated two sexy cops and a few men involved with the military in some form. I’ve been involved with a Christian rocker, a chef, a world-class track athlete, a videographer, a psychotherapist, a neuroscientist, a pathologist—and a pathological liar.

I’ve also found myself in relationships with men I’d previously considered to be swimming outside of my dating pool due to their “status”—while not taboo, they were not exactly most desirable to me either. These have included young divorcees, significantly older men with a lot of emotional cargo and fathers of young children or grown kids.

This mixed bag of men doesn’t even include the long cast of colorful characters I’ve simply had multiple conversations with through phone, text and emails. It’s definitely been a wild trip, and for the most part an adventure from which I’ve learned a lot.

Yet one of the most surprising things I’ve learned about online dating is how small a world it really is. Whether I find friends of friends, matches from other online dating sites, friends’ exes, my own exes or other faces from the real world, it can feel either like kismet or damn bad luck when my next match rolls around.

Find out just how small the online dating world can be over on The Singles Warehouse in my latest post:

What Happens When Your Answer Temptation’s Call

On Wednesday night, I went out with The Renaissance Man, which turned out to be a fun evening with mixed emotions. Everything has been different since last week’s re-emergence of The European. Part of it has been TRM finding himself busier and more distracted than usual, but a lot of it admittedly have stem from the silent but visceral signals I must have been emitting ever since I disappeared to Boston on Thursday.

As some of you might’ve predicted, temptation and curiosity got the better of me when The European finally committed, several weeks too late, to get together again. I don’t want to mislead here—it’s not like this invitation came completely out of the blue. We’ve been talking for weeks and he’s expressed the desire to get together repeatedly, but there were also excuses about being so busy with work, not feeling himself due to a lot of emotional things he’s been going through and just feeling out-of-sorts in general. Perhaps they were genuine reasons at the time, but they started to feel like excuses, so to protect myself from getting hurt and disappointed again, I just made the decision I wasn’t going to be. I was going to actively start seeing others again. The fact that TRM came along in the process was an unexpected and wonderful surprise.

Yet, a part of me was still tied back to The European. It didn’t help that we often still talked at least once a week on FaceTime, where I could see his face grinning at me as if talking to me made his day. He observed all my expressions and surmised my moods and concerns just as he always did when we were in each other’s company. It was unnerving, yet comforting at the same time. During those conversations, it was easy for me to remember why I had started to feel like I was growing to love this person back when I trusted him.

But I’d started to believe that that is all they were—conversations. I was a friend that he trusted, with whom he shared his deeper emotions. He had his activity partners, even people he could philosophically or politically banter with occasionally, but he could be more vulnerable with me. I was safe—from afar.

So it was a total surprise as we were wrapping up one of our FaceTime conversations when he blurted out, “So do you still want to come visit me in Boston?”

Yes. No. I don’t know. Should I? Does he even deserve it?

I wrestled with these questions for almost two days, even up to a couple hours before I finally boarded a bus to South Station. I talked it over with my friends and my parents. My mom was wary and protective of me. My dad, ever the romantic, saw a bit of his and my mom’s love story in us, remembered their miscommunications and emotional conflicts that nearly led to a complete destruction of their relationship before they even took off, and even later, led to them spitting, before they finally reunited for good.

I thought about how I felt. I wanted to know if what I remembered was the truth. I wanted to see if TRM had erased some of that fairy tale magic I had once felt in The European’s presence. I wanted to see if there was still hope. I wanted, if I had to, the opportunity to say goodbye.

The European shocked me by meeting me at the bus station. God, he looked so good. His hugs. That accent. The way his hand slipped into mine like it belonged there.

There was an insistent ring on the cell as we headed back to his place. He usually ignored calls in my company, but this one he answered. He spoke in rapid Polish then he hung up the phone. His hand returned to my leg.

His roommate warmly greeted me before we headed out for dinner. We picked a lively BBQ restaurant with colorful ambiance and delicious food. Afterward, we crossed the street to an Irish pub, with a front room featuring authentic Irish music and a back room with an ‘80s cover band. After a drink, boisterous conversation and lightly tender caresses, we made our way back to the livelier music and dancing.

Dancing with The European is always electric. He comes to life on the dance floor, and together we have an energy that draws people to smile and watch. He put his arms around me, and I could feel the heat. Yes, it was all still there.

I was awakened the next morning by the doorbell. The European’s cell phone sprang to life with insistent noises that sounded like alarms that required more attention. I tried to rouse his attention, but it was finally his roommate who came to the door. “Someone’s here for you,” he said gruffly.

It was 6 in the morning. After what felt like a half hour at least, he returned.
Was it a co-worker?” I asked. No. A friend? No. A student? No. You’re not going to help me out here…was it someone you’ve been dating—a girl?

Finally, hesitantly, he says it is someone he had been seeing on and off. I think you can imagine what was running through my head. Something along the lines like, fuck you, when’s the next bus out of here?

He fell back asleep while I stewed. Finally he awoke to my questions. He claimed they were not “involved,” that there was no commitment. He said he didn’t understand why she came over, why she was emotional, but everything was okay after he talked to her. He apologized for the situation, but he assured me there was nothing fishy going on, that I was wanted with him. She had feelings he did not reciprocate, but it was hard to have to let her down.

Hmm. Yeah right.

Unfortunately, he left me with key as he went to work. I couldn’t just slip out and leave. I stewed. I called friends and my parents again. My mom said to forget him and the key, just come home. Drop the key off at his work if you have to. My dad said, act cool. Wait until he gets home, talk to him. You can come home then or wait until the morning.

He came home from work late as usual, stopping at the gym for a long session. We did a teleclass on meditation together. It was hard to stay pissed off at him as he coached me through things and made sure I was comfortable. When we couldn’t stand sitting any longer, we tried meditating lying down, but he fell asleep. We hung up the call and decided we needed to eat.

With all his Easter leftovers, we cooked up a nice meal at home, with the idea that we’d go out and catch another band at the same bar we’d hit the night before. But by the time we were done eating, it was nearly 11:30 p.m. We were both tired after an early morning and a long day. He was still game, but I honestly was too full and not sure I was up for a couple hours of dancing, and his eyes were pretty red. We wound up watching animal documentaries instead.

The next day we slept until noon. I had decided I was going home that day. The European said I could come again, but I didn’t respond. I was expecting him to leave for work right away, but he wanted to snuggle, talk and enjoy me until it was time to catch the bus.

Sometime before I left we got involved in a serious conversation that stunned me. Basically The European expressed to me his hesitations getting involved too seriously when he knew he was leaving his fellowship before a year was up. Chances are very high that he’s returning to Europe. He told me that he felt that length of time was too short to know a person before marriage; he’d made that mistake before with his ex-wife. He didn’t know her well enough before he married her to move them to the States, and she’d turned out to have major psychological problems. He didn’t want to make that mistake again.

“I get the impression that you want to get married right away, right?” he said.

Wait, what? Back up a second. I corrected him quickly. “I’m looking to find the right person. I want to follow my heart, not let obstacles get in the way of getting to really know that person, spending time with that person, letting the relationship progress naturally, and letting love flow in its proper course,” I said. “I don’t want to rush marriage. I’m looking for a partner to love first and foremost and grow with.”

“You Connecticut girls are very wise, aren’t you?” he said, giving me a squeeze. As opposed to the Massachusetts girls he’s been dating? “I’m so glad we can talk about things so openly now. There’s none of this pressure and worry about hurt feelings.”

Hmm. That’s when I realized he wasn’t necessarily talking about me.

Later, he waxed poetic about a dream scenario, how work would be, how his routine would be less stressful and leave more time for fun, socialization, and relaxation. And then he inserted me into that scenario, included aspects about my home and the things he loves about the area where I live.

And I knew then he was just a dreamer. I would never really fit into his reality. And I also realized that with all of his issues and drama and emotional imbalances, maybe he didn’t fit into mine either as much as I thought he once did.

Leaving for home felt like saying goodbye this time. It wasn’t as heartbreaking as much as closing a door, waking up to the next chapter.

Yet still, the other night, out with TRM, my mind began to drift when I got the first text from The European since I’d left. I think it was a feeler text to see if I was out because he never responded back when I told him I was enjoying a delicious meal out. Later TRM and I went to a blues open mic, where we were entertained not only by some excellent musicians but also by a group of college-age swing dancers as well. They were having so much fun on the dance floor that I wanted to be out there with them too.

But TRM doesn’t dance. That would be The European’s playground. Still it was nice to just be a spectator this time, and I snuggled into TRM’s big, warm embrace.

The next morning came with it’s own surprises. At close to 10, I felt the buzz of my cell, and I looked over to see a text message from The Music Man. The night before, he’d also texted me with the sad news confirming he does indeed have cancer. This morning, however, he had a surprise of a completely different nature for me:

Icarus Vs. Goliath: Old Love or New Beginnings

Much to my surprise, things were going better than good with the new guy. The past weekend, our first unplanned sleepover had turned into a delicious entire weekend together full of comedy, music, lively intellectual and spiritual conversations, a long bike ride, decadent breakfast buffet and late afternoon at the beach. If I had any doubts that this man 16 years my senior could keep up with me, they were more than silenced by his joie de vivre and seemingly boundless energy—even in the middle of the night. On top of all that, this Renaissance Man turned out to enjoy inventively cooking and sweetly cuddling and had a wicked sense of humor that came out when I least expected it.

With all that goodness, I should’ve had my guard up for interference, which sometimes seems inevitable in my complicated love life. Because I was entirely unprepared for when The European asked me over FaceTime, “So do you want to come up to visit me in Boston again?”

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

What Truly Lies Buried in the Past

Once again, it’s you and I

In the convertible at the drive-in

I’ve got the transistor radio

Balanced on one shoulder

Precariously dialed into the station

Because to no one’s surprise

The one in the car isn’t working

Years after we finally buried us

It has me still pondering,

Was it you and I who didn’t work

Or YouAndI that could never last



It’s truly the end of the era

As we watch those final scenes of a series

Whose magic of storytelling

And beauty of friendship

You introduced me to some seven years ago

You have a similar, uncanny ability

To weave with your words

Flights of fancy or daggers that kill

And to rouse troops to battle

When most eventually disappeared

In the hardest fight for my life

You stepped in when I needed

Those shoulders of support the most

With food to nourish the body

Or words to feed the soul



We traded places from the days

When you looked to me for strength

For comfort and a virtual shoulder to cry on

During those final days of your sister’s life

The house that was once mine is not the same

As I walk through the door—and why should it be

You built a family here; your daughter’s clothes

And toys stake their claim in every room

Whenever you speak of her, there is a fierce pride

A miraculous new side of you that I don’t recognize

My leopard cat runs when he hears me call his name

It stings but I don’t blame him for changing loyalties

Would I have been so easy to forgive if someone

I loved with all my being left me so permanently behind

With you, it took years, more grief

Other losses and heartbreaks before

You would allow me to even hear your voice again

How easily we fall into old routines

Like actors jumping back into a well worn play

Yet bringing to the roles a maturity

New techniques we each have learned

On unfamiliar stages from foreign mentors

Later—limbs intertwined

Our breaths and Dave Matthews rising

From the old-school jukebox

Bringing back memories of those

Smoke-filled dens and the clack of cue balls

And your friends lining it up

For a sniff in the back room

It’s funny how time and distance

Takes the steam out of all that now

There is nor desire to relive those days

Nor do I regret the years that followed

But resentments lie buried in the past

What remains are the happy memories

And the new ones we create now

In the most precarious of friendships

Gravedigger, when you dig our grave,

Could you make it shallow

So that we can feel the rain?

Chasing the Shadows of the Past

This county isn’t big enough for all of us. Let’s face it—this state isn’t big enough to hold all of us. Me and my memories of me and you. And me and you. And of me and you.

I didn’t think you would follow me here tonight. A grown-up party at the science center, Liquid Luau, getting lei-ed, drinks, a DJ, a really good cover band, a man on stilts making ridiculous balloon sculptures with a really fun guy who isn’t afraid to let his dreads hang down and dance to the music by my side.

Watching the drunk-crazy couples boogying in front of us with absolutely no inhibitions reminded me of you, never afraid to make a fool of yourself dancing in front of me when we were at home.

What I called your puppet dance always had me in stitches because you moved like a marionette with your stiff hips, attempting to swing your flat ass like a stripper. Always with such a serious look on your face, “This is how the girls on X Avenue taught me,” you would say of the crazy girls of the streets of Hartford that you’d run into on the job.

How was I to know that walking into the rainbow circus of people would cough up memories of that? The KidSpace on the right was where you—Mr. Etiquette—your kids and I spent an obscene amount of time playing with Legos and trails of water, air tubes and plastic balls just 10 months ago. Seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago, all at the same time.

I miss them at the strangest times, those kids. We only had six weeks all together, yet it seemed so much longer with all the cherish-worthy experiences we packed in while they were here. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s going to feel weird when their time to visit here comes around and know that I won’t see them then, and that I probably will never see them again. Or you.

How was I to know that the best option for dinner after the Liquid Lounge tonight was going to be our place, V-Man? One of the few places still open outside of the city was the restaurant where you and I had our first date and numerous anniversary and non-anniversary dinners over the years. We sat in a different section of the restaurant than you and I usually sat in. I ordered my usual though. I found myself asking for no sour cream, since you hated it and always assumed I must too.

After tonight’s he and I got scammed out of $40 at a completely empty club wooing us with the empty promises of reggae rhythms (seriously, it was as if we had walked into a really bad ‘80s wedding reception before anyone from the wedding had arrived), we drove through the city. I passed the familiar fork in the road that I took so many times during those two years I taught out there. Crazy times. Have been thinking about them a lot these days, especially after watching that documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman’.”

And then I saw your old building. I remembered that day when the cell phone rang and you told me to look out the window, and there was your grinning face, waving at me from the work SUV as we passed each other by. I remember the times we’d park in that garage when we’d come to hang out on the weekends. Can’t forget that time you had to stop in the station, when it was completely dark, and I tripped in my heels, trying to keep up with you zooming through, and I fell flat on my face.

Then, tonight we hit the highway. That familiar music filled the car. I know I left us in California and Pennsylvania. Or in Las Vegas and, a few towns over from mine now, in that house that felt like our home for such a long time, until the last time I visited in March, when even “our” cats felt like strangers.

Everywhere I go, there you are. I can’t even go to a grocery store without thinking about the foods you especially liked. I was always grabbing a dessert or Coronas or something as a surprise treat for you. And when we went shopping together, so many, many times, the trips were nothing special. But it was just all those shared moments with you, forever seared in my mind. I almost felt tears spring to my eyes in the middle of Stop & Shop last weekend while shopping with my mom. How dare you still cause me any emotion at all?

How can I build new memories when all of your shadows are haunting me at every turn? I try to write you out of my heart and mind. To sing that painful melody so many times, I get sick of it and the lyrics start to mean something else entirely.

If I really am stuck in this geographical place with no end date in sight, then I am going to need a heart transplant, a brainwash.

"metamorphosis--the dryad" by aselclub

I need to hit that reset button. Someone new deserves to make his own unique memories with me without anyone else overshadowing or overlapping.

It is time to be reborn. My parents named me appropriately. The story of my life is about the power of being reborn—again and again and again.

I deserve to no longer live in the pain, confusion or regret of the past. I want and need to feel all that joy and surprise of the newness of today and tomorrow in all its magical fullness. Ii is time to taste that juicy, sweetness of a fresh start.

What Happens When Your Ex Finally Meets His Match—You!

Berkeley PhD and I had a great second date on Friday, with a night out in the “city.” We met first for dinner at a Thai/Malaysian restaurant that served up delicious dishes. I had a dish with chicken, eggplant, potatoes, tofu, snap peas and Malaysian yellow curry, topped with a half glass of Shiraz.

Afterward, we hit a bar nearby that had a DJ spinning a mix of 80s classics and today’s R&B/hip hop hits. The crowd was an interesting mix of people in their 40s trying to grab a drink and a chat before the place starting hopping and girls in their 20s with dresses that literally just barely covering their ass cheeks.

The most interesting character by far was a slightly stooped man in his late 60s or early 70s who was canvassing the place. Berkeley PhD said he was tempted to go talk to the guy to see if he had any sage advice on “picking up the ladies.” We sat at a table in the bar area people-watching for a bit before taking the long walk down to the bar with live blues music.

The night was fun, and I almost felt healthy again, young and vibrant. Berkeley reached out for me a bit, but I wasn’t expected it so I think I reacted oddly. Perhaps my body knew before my mind realized that as much as I liked and respected him and enjoyed his company, I didn’t feel any special zing. I was already putting him in the friend category.

With the exception of Berkeley PhD, OkCupid has been shooting blanks for quite a while. As I was taking more initiative with other areas of my life, I decided to try again. I’d had some success in the past. That’s where I met Mr. Etiquette. That’s what brought the V-Man and I together.

Speaking of the V-Man, when I awoke this morning, logging into Match to read an email from a new potential suitor, guess who popped up in my Daily 5?

It’d be funny, sort of, if I wasn’t thrown for a loop. Yes, I officially told him adiós months ago. And last week, he finally called me back, after the gazillionth unanswered text message and email and several phone calls. He told me he wasn’t avoiding me specifically. He just didn’t want to be bother—er, disturbed by anyone the last couple months. He just wanted to be by himself, work on the house, etc.

He asked me why I didn’t call. Um, hello? Had he not noticed the dozens of attempts to try to make contact? Then he proceeded to have a typical monologue conversation, mostly about things I didn’t care about and didn’t bother to feign much interest because, screw it, I no longer had the obligation.

I was glad we had the talk. It just confirmed to me that I hadn’t meant much to him in quite some time. I knew romantically things had puttered out in February, but for some reason I thought a semblance of friendship after four and half years would endure. Now, no longer being uncertain about this, knowing there was no longer any connection between the two of us anymore brought an odd type closure, as imperfect as it was.

So it was a kind of a kick in the head when V-Man showed up as one of my matches today. Especially, I saw this in his profile:

I have been waiting patiently to find someone special to share my life with. I am hoping to find someone who loves to laugh and enjoy life. I’m the type of person who will do anything for my friends and family. I’m loyal, caring and when I’m in a relationship I give all of myself to that person. I am hoping to find a woman who will give me the same in return.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

With whom had he been sharing his life during some of those years up leading up to this point? Someone to kill time with before someone special came along?

And who is the person saying he’d do anything for anyone? Yes, the V-Man begrudgingly, with a big piss-and-moan fuss, does things for his mom, but he really isn’t there for his friends, and I talk more to his best friend who moved away than he does.

He gives when he’s not too into his projects, and the surprises (a hike, a day trip somewhere) come once a year or so. I gave so much of my emotions, time, energy and everything else to this guy for years. He knew there was a time when I would have given him everything if he let me in further. This was the man I called Peter Pan because he said he was scared to have more, scared of the thought of progressing further—i.e., moving in, getting married, etc.

I quickly dashed off this email to him:

Wow, when I signed up for match again the other day, I thought in the back of mind, what if [V-Man] is on here. And look here you are. Just like I thought…it wasn’t that you don’t want a relationship, it’s that you don’t want one with me. 😉 Hope you find just who you are looking for on here.

Followed by the text:

Well irony of ironies, you popped up on my Daily 5 on Match. Why was it so hard to just say you wanted to move on? I gave you so many chances to months ago!

I just don’t get it. I have broken up with this man more times than I can count or remember. Each time he put the effort to ask me to stay. Or if it had been many months (in one case over a year), he would ask me to come back, saying things like “we would still be together, but you believe all these things that aren’t true about me, or half-truths.” This is the man who took me to NYC last December for my birthday. I thought he did these things for me, because I meant so much to him. Now I feel like I was wrong about him all the time.

When I talked to him on the phone today, I could hear the ooze of lies in his voice. “Someone’s having a joke with me,” he said, with a fake laugh. “They’ve put up profiles for other people before.” Okay, well, how did they get a copy of a photo I took on your personal camera of a place we went to early last year? Laughing again, he said, “Really, I didn’t put anything up there.”

He said he’d call me later because he was in the middle of something at work. I said, yeah, I’m sure you will. Inside, I thought, Don’t bother. Go take a flying fucking leap off a high cliff into shallow water.

But honestly I’m not that angry with him. I’m so angry with myself, for clinging in some way, shape or another to a connection with this man for long. My instincts told me so many times to just move on, that he wasn’t the man I really wanted in my life, nor was he even the man he usually acted around me. My family and friends knew it too and told me so.

Yet he had redeemed himself in my eyes when I got so sick. I won’t even take a guess as to why he did all the things he did. I just know I was a fool not to have kept moving forward when I broke up with him so long ago. One day I will have to learn to forgive myself for such a foolish mistake.

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.

The Kiss Off

It’s been more than four years that we’ve been playing this game. First we finally established a committed relationship that lasted for nearly two years. Eventually I broke up with him, thinking we weren’t moving any farther forward. There would be no next step—no marriage or kids definitely, but not even moving in together, though I spent four to five nights of the week there, and was spending most of our time together remodeling his house. I had met a lot of his friends, but he kept his flashy work life separate from me—to maintain his cool bachelor status. I never met his mom, who literally lived 10-15 minutes away, and once when she made a surprise visit to the house, I was asked to hide in the bedroom.

The year and half we weren’t together, we remained friends…sometimes with benefits. We still had this bond between us. We still enjoyed spending time together in small doses, and whenever I saw him unexpectedly, it made me light up.  When I was terribly sick, he was always there, never ashamed to take me out in public, even with my embarrassing (to me) ailment.

So fast-forward to almost a year after he started the talk about how he felt I had misconceptions about him and what he was all about in the relationship department, we tentatively decided to give it another try. Some things have been great and wonderful and had me thinking this reconciliation was totally worth it. He was more affectionate. When he was home from work and spending time with me, he truly wanted to be spending time with me, not his projects and gadgets.

Other things made me think he had gotten even worse in selfish independence. He’d go for two weeks or more without wanting to see me—and he called me high maintenance for wondering what the scoop was. Was it too much to think that a man I was exclusively dating would look forward to seeing me and put me as a priority?

Apparently, to him, it was too much.

The biggest disappointment, though, was this past week when I was at my sickest and loneliest, he didn’t call. He didn’t text. He had no idea I had to be taken to the ER for a second time. He didn’t know the medical treatment was kicking my ass. He didn’t know my doctor was removing me for my work duties for much longer than I anticipated because my treatment was going to require that much out of me.

It’s not as if I wanted to focus on all this. I knew how to be upbeat and talk about the other good things going on in my life. He always talked about his work too, the projects he was working on, his sick, elderly cat, whatever. It would have been nice to just hear whatever he had to say.

By Friday, I gave in.  “Are you living?”

Later that night, “How doin’?” he asks.

“Is that a rhetorical question, or do you really care to know the answer?”

Next day we text back and forth about how even old friends I haven’t talked to since before high school were reaching out to me…yet he hadn’t. He replied that he was busy with projects, works, etc. “I figured you were doing your own thing,” he said.

What? Doing my own thing like losing some of every meal, collapsing on the floor at least half a dozen times a day, having random moments of unconsciousness? Sure I’ve also tried to at least have a hand in the news publication that it still mine but I can’t officially be writing for and running right now. I’ve been catching up on Netflix and reading.

But yeah, I would welcome a phone call from the guy I was dating.Everybody is busy, not just him, yet they still carve out a minute of their time just to say I’m thinking of you.

So yesterday, after telling him, I finally get it—that he just doesn’t think enough to phone or text to see how I am (whether I am sick or not), I wrote an obvious kiss off. He tried to ignore it today, asking, “how are you feeling?”  I ignored him.

I am done. He can go try to find someone more perfect. He can find his dream girl, Spanish “chick.” I am done with his shit, and I getting off this bus for good this time.

I may not be a high priority to him, but I am one of the highest priorities to myself.

Next blog, remind me to share what happened with my police officer…now, that’s a funny story.