Archive for the ‘ Dating ’ Category

The Unwrapped Present

Dodger and I had been dating about a month – we started the day after Thanksgiving. We had moved quickly – the adrenalin rush of a new crush that felt like champagne bubbles in your brain.

I had met his parents, even slept each weekend in his parents’ guest room (he was slightly old-fashioned, but they lived next door – so no major travel issues). He texted and called several times – wanting to be part of everything in my world.

Dodger had a small son, and was strapped for cash, so I had pulled in some favors and raided the prize closet at the radio station where I worked and was able to get some great gifts for him to give including a Phat poster that cost over $100 and some video games. His son was coming for 2 weeks to visit, so I knew our time together would be limited.

My mother went back to New England for Christmas, but I had to work, so I was going to be alone for Christmas. Dodge promised to come down after church on Sunday and would stay with me through Christmas Eve Monday.

I took my time and made a special dinner – and had it ready for the normal time he would arrive. I wrapped up some extra presents I had bought for Dodger – hand-picked out because money was tight, and I had shopped carefully to stretch my funds.

He arrived 3 hours late with no apologies, and I did my best to re-heat the now cold and soggy meal. He crashed in the middle of my queen-sized bed leaving me balancing precariously on the edge – over it in fact, as the rolled edge of the mattress made an angry red indent up the side of my body.

I woke up early and made eggs and pancakes and sausages, which he sniffed suspiciously. His eyes only lit up when I brought out the presents. I gave him first the gifts for his son. He looked at each one greedily, but seemed disappointed when they stopped coming. Then I gave him the 3 gifts I could get for him. One was a DVD he had said he wanted, and said “I’ll wait and watch this with my son!” – the next 2 he asked if he could return for something else for his son. I told him where I got them (he was annoyed I had not kept the receipts) and then he got dressed and got ready to leave.

I was surprised. “I thought we were going to spend the day together? Your son isn’t coming until tonight and you arrived so late yesterday . . .”

He made no apologies. “Sorry, babe – it’s Christmas Eve and I’ve got so much to do, I just can’t stay.”

Then he was gone and I was alone. It was only after he left and I was cleaning up the dishes that I realized he hadn’t even gotten me a card or said thank you. The evening was quiet – I drank a little wine, watched a little TV, killed some monsters online. I went to bed alone and awoke to a quiet house.

Fortunately, my job that year involved meeting the radio and TV crews as we handed a needy family a check for $1,000 dollars. It kind of put everything in perspective. As I drove home, I thought back on what I had and didn’t have; what I did and didn’t need. I sat down and re-read the list I had made of what I wanted in a relationship. It was like knowing who is naughty or nice. My decision was easy.

Two days later he called me. “Hey Babe . . .” he began.

I stopped him, and thanked him for the present he gave me. He was very confused. “I want to thank you – I was a little blinded at first, but I’ve realized you are just not what I need.”

“Are you. . . “He stuttered. “Are you breaking up with me?”

I thanked him again, and assured him that I was. He was dumbfounded.

I’ll call you in a few days after you have thought this over,” he informed me.

Sliced bread, meet Dodger.

He did call, a few days before New Year’s. I assured him I was starting the New Year as a free agent, and after he made sure I knew what I was doing a few times, he hung up.

I later found out that he had a date the next day, and that they did the same whirlwind courtship. In fact, he was a serial dater. I think he was an adrenalin junkie, in it for the rush, but not the long haul.

It would be nice to say that soon after breaking up with Dodger, I met the man of my dreams. I didn’t. I did eventually meet someone that brought out some of the best in me, and lead me to the path where I am today. Had I not broken up with Dodger, I would have missed some amazing steps in my journey. Sometimes reality is a great present – and no one even had to wrap it.

“So you guys dated, huh?”

I nod.

“Wow, I can’t picture you guys together.”

It’s a statement I’ve heard a few times. The Geek world tends to run in small circles, so it’s not uncommon to run in to ex-boyfriends or dating partners. My goal is always that if we liked each other enough to start dating, we can like each other enough to be friends or at least friendly acquaintances when we stop dating. I don’t need to be their best friend; I just don’t want to be their sworn enemy because we weren’t ultimately a good fit.

It’s easy to pick out the things that didn’t work when talking about past loves. It’s easy to make the other person the enemy or the fool. But the truth is, there was something good and attractive that started the whole thing off in the first place.

The way he smiled at me when I was feeling alone. The way he made me feel beautiful when I really needed to be attractive to someone. The emails he sent that gave me something to look forward to, that inspired me to be witty and whimsical when I replied. The help he gave me when I just wanted someone else to take over for a while.

Even though he may have been the wrong one, each one did enough of the right stuff to get my attention. Sometimes that’s enough to give things a try. Hopefully, I was someone who gave as good as I got – that made the world a little brighter for a while.

I admit it. I like happy endings. I want people to see me and smile; I want to see someone from my past dating life and feel like I can walk up and give them a hug. I want us to be able to be real with each other and encourage each other as we look for new things.

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward….”

I strive (even if I don’t always succeed) to view past relationships that way. Each wrong relationship shows me what does and doesn’t work for me; what I can and cannot contribute. And each wrong relationship was made up of two people, both who crave and deserve love.

So yeah, maybe to the outside world, our union doesn’t make sense. But for us, for a short time, it did. And I’m grateful for the good things each one gave us.

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

He contacted me again.

We’ve been broken up for a year, and yet he still is part of my thoughts. Some thoughts are kind, some . . . well, not so much. Sometimes I want to hate him, but what does that solve?

Today wasn’t one of those days. No, today he messaged me to say he found a few more things of mine as he was packing up his house to sell it. I waited for the usual adrenalin surge of anxiety– a normally crashing wave that retreats quickly but leaves me feeling the effects for hours after.

This time? Nothing. A mild curiosity of what other things may have been found. A little bit of a desire to text back and say, “wow, all these changes you said you would never make – and you made them all in a year.” But that would serve no beneficial purpose, and I’m better than that (or at least will continue to pretend to be until it’s true – “fake it till you make it” style.)

When I first realized that I wasn’t all aghast, I mused that it could be because I have someone who makes me happy right now. I’ve actually been very fortunate – each time he has contacted me, I’ve had, for however briefly, a potential romantic someone in my life. But I think it’s more than that.

I love the title of Sarah McLachlan’s album “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.” I just love that phrase. Fumbling towards Ecstasy.

I fumble for the bathroom every morning. Contacts stuck to my eyeballs, toes trying to avoid stubbing themselves on random shoes and clothes on the floor, fingers trying to find the light switch, hoping to make my destination before it’s too late. Fumbling, stumbling, eyes half-opened, trying not to fall. Unsure, trying to get there, lacking confidence or knowledge of the perfect path.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I’m a great fumbler. But to fumble towards ecstasy – well, that means that you are moving towards a positive. And although you might have to deal with some dirty laundry along the way, you are moving forward, trending in the right direction. Willing to reach out and feel it, knowing you might touch something you don’t want to in order to find something you do.

I don’t know what exactly I’ve found yet. But the closer I get, the warmer the sun feels, the sweeter the birds’ song in my ear. It could just be a rest area on the journey – but some rest areas have the best scenic views, don’t they?

A lot of my friends have been posting things they are thankful for this month. Well, this is one of mine. I’m thankful that today, I’m fumbling forward with good things ahead.

Dear Joey:

When do you think is the best time to give a potential boyfriend bad news?

Say you have to tell him you’re bipolar, or that you have an STD, that you’re on parole, or that you’ve have gender reassignment surgery. (Or something!)

Do you tell him before he gets to know you so that if he rejects you it doesn’t hurt as much and you didn’t waste as much time?

Or do you wait until you guys know each other better and then he may like you more and be less likely to reject you based on only a single piece of information?

I mean, for 2 of those scenarios, obviously you need to tell them before you have sex, but in general, is there a point at which it’s either too soon and not soon enough?

Potential Girlfriend

Dear Potential:

Great question!

Before I get in to what my thoughts are (your miles may vary) – I want to first point out that you have two different sets of information detailed here: things you’ve done, and things you are.

Things you’ve done that may be affecting you now are potentially bad news that may reflect negatively against you. In your examples, I would put the parole part right up there. The STD might fall there as well, depending on how you contracted it.

Things you are would definitely include being bipolar and being transgender. For the record, I would not count either of these as “bad news” – just facts. You are who you are are.

But I understand this is Earth, not Utopia, and people may react differently to you once they know these things. So instead of “bad news” – I think we need to discuss these as potential dealbreakers.

That being said, I wish there was a mathematical formula I could give on when the right time is to talk about stuff that could be troublesome, but there currently just isn’t. (I’m sure someone is trying to work on the algorithm, but for now we are just going to have to muddle through this.)

The Golden Rule of “do unto others” comes to mind. When would you want someone to tell you?

I tend to like the 3 date rule as a general baseline. Typically, the third date is symbolic for when you get more intimate with someone. The first date you are nervous and just trying to see if you get along. The second date you are checking out if this potential chemistry is a fluke, or if the lack of chemistry was due to nerves. By the third date, you are starting to see that this is going somewhere, but instead of just making this a physical mile-marker, make it a true intimacy moment and talk about who you are beyond liking baseball and thinking Kirk is better than Picard (or vice versa).

Things like the STD has a medical impact on your potential partner – you need to discuss it before sex, like you said. And if you are pre-op Transgender, that might be a bit of a surprise if you don’t discuss it before the clothes come off.

Any medical condition: being bipolar, having cancer, being allergic to bees – these are things you need to discuss if you are going to be in position where people around you may have to react. If you are going to spend the night or the weekend with someone, they need to understand that you have medication that you have to take, that you have appointments you have to go to, that you have an epi pen in purse.

But in reality, timing is something you have to figure out for yourself. What impact will revealing these things about you have on your ability to date? Is not telling someone going to prevent you from being yourself on a date because you are afraid of rejection? Then go ahead and get it out of the way – it may seem “too soon” to other people, but you are not other people – and you have to do what’s best for you. If someone will run after hearing that, it gets it out of the way.

As for other bad stuff in your past, like having gone through bankruptcy, or being a former nun or drug addict – I say, take that as it affects the relationship. This might not need to come up by the third date, but it definitely needs to be addressed before the 90 day rule – especially if the relationship has gone past casual dating to something potentially long term.

Again, just think about when you would want someone to tell you those things and use your best judgment. And remember that who you are is never bad news –it just might not be the right fit for someone unworthy of you.

Wishing you love and happiness –

–Joey

Do you agree with me? Give your opinion in the comments section. Have a question? Send it to Joey@JoeyWrites.com

It’s one of those thing I struggle with every time. Getting the first date situation, well . . . situated.

You chat along with someone, maybe transition to phone (or not) and then (yay!) decide to meet.

And then comes the choices: when, where, what to wear, etc.

I’m an equal opportunity dater – and I also hope that I’m an equal opportunity date planner. When I ask someone on a date, I usually have an activity pre-planned (get your minds out of the gutter ). So for me, I might call up and say – “Hey, I’ve got 2 tickets to this show on Friday – would you like to go with me?” or “I was thinking of going to this festival on Friday – would you like to meet there for coffee?”

But a lot of times with online dating, this doesn’t always happen.

More often it will be something like [this is not an actual, word for word conversation]:

HE: I think you are cool enough to actually meet in person. What do you think?

Me: That sounds great.

HE: Okay, so umm, uh, we should do that.

Me: We should.

HE: So what do you want to do?

Me: I’m flexible, what did you have in mind?

HE: I don’t know – what do you think?

Now, I appreciate that dating is just as nerve-wracking for guys as girls. And even in our age of equal opportunity dating, whenever you are the one doing the asking, it’s a little scary. But I just wish that we didn’t always have to dance to this song.

Because now I have to do some mind-reading tricks, and I let my membership to the psychic network expire. If I pick a place close to me, am I being selfish? If I pick a place close to you, am I starting a pattern of making things too easy? If I pick a place out of your price range, will you think me a gold digger? If I pick a place with a dollar menu, will you always think of me as your cheap date option? If I take too much control of where we go and what we do, am I emasculating you? If I offer to pay, am I emasculating you? If I don’t offer to pay and you are forced to admit you can’t afford this place, am I emasculating you? If you let me pay, are we starting a sugar momma thing? Because I am sugar-free for being the dough-re-mi donator, my friend.

If I don’t pick a place and just say, “whatever you want” am I going to send you in the same swirl of internal monologue? Am I going to frustrate you by being indecisive?

When I’m actually with someone I know well, I’ll respond back to the “where do you want to eat?” question by asking for 2-3 options. This lets them pick places they like that are in their price range and travel distance (those ankle bracelets have radiuses, y’know). But when it’s a first date, this can feel like a psychological test.

For example: We could meet at Starbucks, Golden Corral, or Texas Roadhouse.

If I pick Starbucks, that will be the cheapest option if he’s paying. But it could also signal that I don’t want to have to commit to too much time.

If I pick Golden Corral, it’s a meal. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of mega-buffets because of my food allergies – when I try to explain that, it could make me sound like someone who is high-maintenance, potentially hypochondriac, and maybe snobby of Middle America’s ability to keep the spoon for the cornbread stuffing out of the mashed potatoes.

If I pick Texas Roadhouse, I would be very happy (love Texas Roadhouse) but then I might be at the top of his budget – because I’m a girl who likes a ribeye with mushrooms and onions and if I’m at a steakhouse, I want steak. Good steak. And I’m happy to pay for my own. But if I offer to pay, maybe I’m implying something, emasculating my date, or y’know, setting precedents. But I really like steak.

So, we do the dance, we hem and haw, and eventually we stumble to a solution that I hope passes the muster without providing a Rorshach.

Of course, I can make it work whatever happens. And reality is that this is really a first-world problem. But I have a date tonight and this is one of those things I think about as we plan the when, what, and the where.

Carpet Creeper

On Friday, I received the following message from a guy who had no profile, just a picture of a square of gridded carpet. He was listed as my age and nearby. I present the following conversation to you without running dialogue or any editing (although the lack of punctuation makes me twitch) so you can experience this in the same way I did.

He: Hey how are you doing Sweetie? You are very pretty

You are very pretty

Me: Thank you. You are very waffle-like.

He: Thank you I will send you a pic

Me: That would be nice

He: Can I email it to you

Me: [special email for online dating inserted here]

He: Give me a few minutes and I will send u one Sweetie

U into stocky guys

Me: Yes

He: Ok cool

I am 5’10 290 short brown hair hazel eyes goatee

Me: Cool. No pic?

He: I am sending it.

Me: Ok. So I notice your profile says “available” not single. Are you married?

He: I am going through a separation

Me: Gotcha.

He: U still interested

Me: Do you still live together?

He: Currently we do not sleep together she is moving out after thabksgiving

U still interested

Me: I prefer to wait until you live apart.

He: Ok

What about friends with benefits for now

Me: Wouldn’t we have to be friends first?

He: That is what I am saying us be friends now and add benefits part til she gone

Me: Add benefits until she’s gone? Or after?

He: Til she is gone then we start a dating relationship.

Me: Wouldn’t that be a little backwards?

He: Not really

Me: So why did your current relationship end?

He: She does care about sex period and do not get along

Me: That’s too bad. How long were you together?

He: 10 years do u like sex

Me: I do like sex.

He: Good so do I

I love giving oral.

Me: Nice. So you are really just looking for sex, not a relationship then.

He: Yes I want both how about u

Me: I’m looking for a relationship

He: Would u concider on a first date

Me: Consider what?

He: Sex on a first date

Me: With the right person, maybe. But I would need to feel a connection first.

He: That is cool you like to receive oral

Me: If it is done right.

He: I know how to do it

Me: Still no pic

He: I will resend it

Me: Thanks

[I never received a pic. Big surprise.]

My Lucy, My Love

This exciting and totally plausible connection was made today:

Hi honey! My name is Lucy. I’m a business lady.
Unfortunately I spend most of my time working and have absolutely no time for my private life.
My collegues at a coffee brake gave me the site where I can find a person with whom I can date without any obligations.
I found your profile in Facebook and I consider you very attractive.
I just need a nice guy to spend a few hot weekends with.
Any offers are welcomed and money is not an object.

This seems legit, right?

What a Difference a Year Makes

It’s been a year sine I started posting here. What a difference a year makes. A year full of First Afters and struggles and joys and tears and then some.

I am not sure what I thought would happen. I think I hoped my Prince Charming would come bounding across Sharon Amity and rescue me. Alas, not so, fair maiden. I’ve had a couple of misfires, lost a little money and dignity, but I’ve grown too. I’ve definitely come out of this year with some amazingly awesome friendships I would never have had if it wasn’t for the breakup.

I’m reminded again of what I really want – not just a lover, not a sugar daddy, but a true best friend.

“Women say that a lot,”
Rocker said the other night. “What do women mean, a best friend?”

His question made me pause. I’d never had a guy ask me that. But it’s true, I hear a lot of my girl friends say that. It never occurred to me that guys might not get what that means.

“I guess,” I started, “well, I guess, it means that I want someone that I can connect with on multiple levels. I want someone that wants to experience life with me, that knows why certain things are funny to me, who gets to know me well enough that we can shorthand the back stories and go straight to the heart of the matter. Someone that not just wants to share my bed, but that wants to share my day.”

Rocker nodded, but I wasn’t sure if I had really cleared it up that much.

It reminded me a little of another November day in my life, the day that I picked up my husband from the airport and drove him to a restaurant to tell him I wanted a divorce. (I had the tilapia with wild rice and mango salsa, it’s weird the details you remember).

“I don’t understand what’s wrong with our marriage,” Grumpy stated. “I think it’s great just the way it is.”

Of course he did. He was unemployed, collecting severance while dividing his time with sitting on the couch watching football and porn, or going to the gym to flirt with married women and take them for coffee. I was working a temp job, trying to work as. Many hours as I could and then coming home to unpack more boxes and being asked, “what’s for dinner?” While listening to him y’all at the cats and the piles of paper that somehow didn’t organize themselves.

We are glorified roommates,” I tried to explain, “we aren’t friends, we are not lovers, we are two people living in the same house and occasionally doing things together. I want more than that. I want someone I want to be with, that wants to be with me.”

He sat there, staring at me. He didn’t get it. I still don’t think he does. (His older sister suggested later that maybe I needed medication. If I need drugs to stay married to you? Houston, we have a problem.)

But I know that love like that can exist. I’ve known couples that have had it and I want it too. And even though it means that my knight on the white horse might be gray-haired and slightly battle-worn, that’s okay. I’ll venture along with my band of awesome friends, or when needed, by myself, until the right one finds me or I find him.

Until then, Happy Anniversary!

Dear Joey,

I have been in love with a friend of mine for two years now and I hate it. If Friendzone was on Yelp, I would be the Duke of it. Any relationship I try to have to help me overcome this only works for so long before failing (as relationships do) and I know it’s not fair to them. I would do the whole “distance oneself from the problem” but we are both part of a core social circle and I don’t want to lose all of them too because of something I can’t get over.

Although my feelings have never been spoken outright, it’s probably as obvious as a tattoo on my forehead that I have feelings for them. However, I honestly have no idea. They are also single, have been for a while, and I think if there had been any interest, a move on their part would have already been made. I just wish I could make my feelings go away. It would be so much easier.

Help me, obi-wan Ke-Joey.

Sincerely,

Arms tired from carrying this damn torch

Dear Arms Tired,

Being in a one-sided love crush sucks. Literally. It will suck the joy and hope right out of your life. Every interaction gets analyzed for hidden meanings and glimmers of possibility. Every goodbye makes you miserable again. Surely they must know, right?

Maybe. But maybe not.

I talked a little about this in Whoosh Factor, but what may seem obvious to you may be totally unnoticed by someone else.  I’ve had guys tell me that they asked me out or hit on me, and I really had no idea.  Even when I feel like someone is flirting with me, I’ll often talk myself out of believing it – it’s easier to justify that they are talking that way because I’m the organizer of the function we are at, or that they know that I’m a natural flippant flirt, or some other reason.

If you have watched the web series “The Guild” by Felicia Day- there is an example of this in the very first season.  To online gamer Zaboo, his love for fellow guildmate Codex should have been obvious.  He gave her game gold, they exchanged winking smiley faces, he crafted for her and helped her level.  She should know they were in a relationship, and so therefore, not be surprised when he showed up to her home and planned to move in. She, however, had no idea.

In your case, you admit, you have carried this torch for 2 years – so now what?  Well, put down the torch, and throw down the gauntlet too.  You have to tell them – just to make sure they know.  They may not have made a move because they have been just as scared as you, and thought you would make some sort of move showing you were open.  Or they could be just oblivious. Stop guessing and just put it out there.

I did this recently – and even though the guy and I never went on a date – it at least purged it out of my system.  Once I faced my fear and just asked him out, and got his answer, the torture was over.

It can be as simple as an email.  That’s what I did.  I just sent him an email and said – “Hey – I just want you to know – I think you are cute as heck and would love to go have a drink sometime.  If you are not interested, that’s cool – no harm, no foul.  But I figured if I never asked – I’d never know.”

He originally said yes, then he cancelled due to work and didn’t offer to reschedule.  Fair enough – point taken.  I saw him again at the next group thing, we gave each other hugs, and just acted normal.  You have to fake it at first – but then you know.  And that makes it easier.

Don’t worry about your friends.  They don’t even have to know.  As long as you remain chill, and your object of affection remains chill, and operate “business as normal” if it is not a match, then things will go on as normal, or transition back to normal.  No true friend is going to fault you for making your feelings known.  And any friend that does, as long as you don’t go all Sting “Every Breath You Take” stalker mode, is not a friend worth having.

The group will survive.  Don’t let the group keep you from pursuing happiness.  If I was being honest, anytime I’ve used my friends or my position as a reason for not making a move, the real reason was just that I was (bawk bawk bawk) chicken.   Because holding the torch was better than being empty-handed. Not having someone to pine over, for me, meant that I would have to start again in my quest for love.  That can be daunting, can’t it?

I’m proud of you for recognizing that carrying the torch isn’t healthy.  That shows you are strong enough to find out the truth and move forward with whatever result you get.  Please let me know the outcome – I’m happy to be your sounding board along the way.  Us love questers have to stick together!

Wishing you love and happiness –

–Joey

 

Dear Joey,
My girlfriend has a male friend whom she has known a month longer than me. He lives [in another state] and has severe depression. He goes through these phases where he will get “needy” and constantly text or call her. I have expressed my dislike of this, since she really cannot be expected to devote all her time to him. A month ago he wouldn’t let her sleep with his constant calls. She feels that she is the only one who can help him through his suicidal thoughts. Before she met me she would cyber with him because he “needed” it. Now she won’t because she is with me in a relationship. He has starting asking for her to do that again and he has expressed a desire to have sex with her. She has pulled back some from him, not answering his texts as quickly and brushing off calling him unless he is really depressed. It is obvious I do not like the time she spends with him.

Here is the problem: she wants to go meet this guy. I am fearful what could happen. I don’t think she would integrally cheat on me, but with her depression, her mood swings and [other stuff] I don’t know what she might do. How should I feel about this?

What should I say?

Fearful Fella

Dear Fearful,

You owe it to yourself to be in a healthy relationship. You cannot forbid her not to be with this guy and the more he pushes her and she responds, the less healthy it is.

If she wants to go see this guy, she knows where it will go. This guy is an obvious user and that appeals to her somehow. You need to walk away until she figures this out. You don’t need to be the guy she’s physically closer to, but emotionally farther away from. Nobody wins that way.

(Before you walk away though, strongly suggest that this guy seek counseling and local help for his suicidal thoughts and depression. There are lots of free services out there he should be turning to, not to a girl who lives several states away. )

Please know that I think this guy is totally manipulating her. But distancing herself from him has to be her decision or else you are just going to end up with her resenting you or hiding it from you.

Of course, you may not listen to this advice because you may like broken, needy girls. Perhaps this is because you feel broken yourself. Do yourself a favor and become healed and healthy first – and look for others who are working on being healed and healthy too.

Wishing you love!
–Joey

Do you agree with me? Give your opinion in the comments section.