Confessions from an online junkie
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I rarely go back and read old diary or journal posts. Likely because the writing was for therapeutic and not literary purposes. I have, however, gone back and read many of my blog posts just to try to remember how I thought or felt about a person as compared to the present day, post dating/relationship etc.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I cringe – trying to recall what could have possibly led me to think or feel so strongly way towards someone whose name I can now barely recall. How many times I’ve come home from a date and in my school girl naiveté profess how much I love them! Not love of course, but think they are the shizzz. Instead of actually just being a shit head, which many turned out to be once the novelty wore off.
I also often wonder how I’ve remained friends (even close) with some men I’ve dated and how others simply dropped off the face of the Earth and out of my life. My scientific and curious side tried to find a pattern – like I only remained friends with guys I’ve never slept with…..or those I only dated a few times….or those that I never really had strong feelings for. But none of those were true or consistent. The pattern was…. there was no pattern. It’s a crap shoot with one exception – if a guy really hurt me, or screwed me over or lied to me or treated me poorly or disrespectfully, odds are we are not currently friends.
One reason that made me think of this recently was a somewhat related conversation I had with Male Me. He insisted that sex changes everything and that it is virtually impossible to have a friendship with a woman and have sex with her (while not dating her just to be clear). You know, friends with benefits…fuck buddies…..call it what you like. We are all products of our own experiences so obviously this hasn’t worked for him. I’ll agree there is a slippery slope when it comes to friendship and sex but I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe there is one specific formula that works and another that is doomed, but clearly if one party has feelings for the other and there is sex, and the other party doesn’t want emotional attachment….well, that’s usually a recipe for disaster.
So what changes in a person to allow this evolution? Time can certainly be a factor. So does getting to know a person. The guy who I thought was my soul mate after two dates suddenly moves to the category of ‘wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole’ after getting to know him for 6 months. However, what was once a crush can now be a deep respect and fondness that is shared amongst friends who have let their guards down enough to have a genuine friendship.
The only gray area in this scenario is what happens when one friend gets involved with a new romantic partner? Is there jealousy? Does the new partner understand or appreciate why their boyfriend/girlfriend is maintaining a friendship with an ex or almost ex? That’s where it gets sticky and sometimes friendships don’t survive when the new girlfriend/boyfriend turns into a wife/husband. A lot of men can’t juggle the girl “friend” AND the girlfriend and I’ve sadly cut off friendships when a male friend only has time for me in-between relationships. I’m not going to be filler for anyone, I care too much and I take my friendships (male or female) seriously.
I’m not going to say time heals all wounds, but it certainly brings clarity to most situations. Granola and I are good friends who occasionally sleep together. Facebook Guy and I are friends, but guarded ones. Male Me and I are friends again after a period of not speaking. I feel like we are in a good place and I genuinely care about him and enjoy his company with no remorse of what never happened or could have between us. It took time to get to this place, but I think we’re in the clear.
Still Married Guy is another story altogether.
I don’t talk about him to anyone as everyone around me (including blog readers) seems to think I’m an idiot for spending a millisecond of my time pining for him. I’ve actually received nasty and angry messages from readers calling me stupid and blind to pursue anything with him after being hurt and dejected. As if I’m the first and only person to do that! But the truth is, I think about him almost every day. And it’s been 6 months since I saw him, and almost that long since we’ve spoken.
I couldn’t read his Facebook updates they both enraged and saddened me. But I also couldn’t de-friend him either. I couldn’t cut the strings. I know he still checks my profile and looks at my pictures since he occasionally leaves a remark or thumbs up.
It’s amazing how one part of me can recall the hurtful things he said and did, not to mention leading me on and breaking my heart. But the other part still thinks about him even after 6 months and misses him dearly. I don’t know if I could ever just be friends with him – or if I’d care to. Saddest part is we could have been great friends had we never slept together. A fact that I think he knew and likely regretted from the get-go.
We could have been a great “something” together and now…..now he’s just somebody that I used to know.
For those of you wondering and enquiring where MY dating stories have gone, you should know it’s not that I’m holding back – I’ve simply been on a dating hiatus. Due to the fact I haven’t found anyone that interests me in this one horse town in quite a while, and that I have some personal/professional things happening that are more pressing, I decided to save my energy and time and cool down.
Sucks, but true.
I have been offered sex from Facebook Guy any time I’d like…..so there’s always that in my back pocket. Yippee.
Spent the day yesterday with Male Me. I still find it strange to refer to him as such since is clearly not, but let’s proceed. We’re friends, and I’m going to go out on a limb to say it’s only because we never slept together. We have fun and it’s not all that different from spending time with a girlfriend. Except he doesn’t shop, gossip or crave dessert. Soooo…… I guess it’s not quite as fun. We walked around the city and decided to have lunch outside on a gorgeous Spring day.
Within moments of being seated, this exceptionally chipper server approaches us with a big smile, how do you do and hey where are you guys from? We explained we were locals and I spent the rest of the afternoon pondering if I should be flattered or insulted by this remark?
The server returned about 3 more times, clearly bordering on too friendly/annoying and exceptionally attentive, before we placed our drink and lunch orders. I asked for a few suggestions and opinions on the tuna burger and he ordered the lobster roll without hesitation. I was acknowledged with a huge smile, thoughtful responses and repeated check-ins to see how I/we were doing.
After about 40 minutes of dining and sharing stories, Male Me looks over and says, you do know our server is totally into you right? I laughed immediately because I was sensing the same thing as well.
Let’s just say my glass was never more than half empty, we never longed for condiments and I was asked no less than a half-dozen times if everything was up to my expectations. This was more than good service, this was flirting.
Watch, I’m going to the bathroom and I can guarantee who will be sitting here when I return! I kinda waited to be pounced on myself in a nervous/flattering sorta way. But alas, being a man, he returned rather quickly, so there wasn’t ample time to test the theory. Shortly after, the server did return to chat and attempt to convince us into dessert before we just requested the check.
As Male Me was signing the credit card slip, he looks up and says , ya know, you could simply write your number here on the slip…..half-joking but secretly wishing I would, for his own amusement.
The catch you ask?
If you haven’t guessed yet, our server was a woman. Because if our server was a man this would surely never happen!
Times like this make me so jealous of my gay and lesbian friends who are so much more open and direct about flirting and showing interest. Male Me agreed and we both took 10 seconds wondering what it would be like to escape the God-awful world of hetero dating and experience what seems like the carefree, no bullshit, direct approach of gay courtship.
Then the 10 seconds passed, we laughed, said goodbye to our waitress and headed on our way.
Back to the drawing board.
As part of my research on dating, sex and relationships, I decided to read “The Rules” for the very first time. The controversial publishing and cultural phenomenon that got women thinking, Oh this is what have I been doing wrong! I went into it assuming I’d despise the entire premise with its archaic philosophies and recognize that surely I break every rule….regularly.
Keep in mind the book was published in the mid 90′s, before internet dating and Facebook became part of the norm. I’m surprised they haven’ t re-written a version just to accommodate all the new ways in which we can screw up; both more efficiently and with more people….all from the comfort of our own plush sofas.
Some of the rules such as “Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls”
“Always End The Call First” “Always End the Date First” and “Don’t See Him More Than Once a Week” seem a bit rigid and game-like. The admitted underlying theme is simple – men are born to respond to challenge. Take away the challenge, and their interest wanes. Who am I to say if men are that simple and shallow, I’m the first to admit the more I date, the less I know.
I was most surprised to learn the goal of the book was not to promote passivity or subservience, but actually female empowerment, pride and confidence.
“Don’t chase after anyone, you are special and unique”
“Look, dress, feel and act the best you can”
“Don’t pine for a lost man or relationship, pick yourself up and move on”
and most importantly…..
“Don’t fall for a man who doesn’t want you, you deserve to be with someone who is dying to be with you!”
Other rules regarding how much information and sharing you do, letting him take the lead and never telling a man what to do, seem somewhat obvious. Although I’m sure I occasionally fucked those up as well. I suppose if anything, it’s manipulative behavior, and certainly not putting the two genders on equal footing. The Rules also require extreme willpower (basically from talking and fucking) and great acting ability (you are always busy, dating other men, going out,etc.). My personal motto of being open, honest and needing to share and know the truth would likely horrify the writers.
So, what’s one to do when you’re exhausted by playing games and looking for your equal partner? Oh, wait, I know…..you become a lesbian! Seriously though, I’m not sure which sex is more demeaned by this simplistic view of courting. In a modern world why do we want to be treated like a prize that men receive after we successfully follow the rules? Not to mention, if all of this behavior and engineering of a master plan simply leads to marriage… what comes after that? He’s trapped and not going anywhere? I think not.Why don’t they mention the real challenge is just about to begin?
With all the regulations and forbidden behavior, I’m amazed how men and women ever get together to begin with. I would have loved to hear the men’s version of The Rules, I wonder if their’s is also based on us being the smarter sex. Actually, I just remembered the book “Why Men Love Bitches”…..no need to answer.
Yes, I’m still on the fence with Brainiac Cowboy. Yes, I’m still questioning if we are compatible, if he has what I’m looking for, if we are a romantic match, and yes, if he would mind terribly if I performed a radical transformative head to toe make-over. He has potential, maybe I should be grateful for that.
I invited him to dinner this week after a bit of trepidation. Am I ready to have him in my lair, my space, my zone? What’s truly interesting is that I’m never like this – so reserved, so traditional and perhaps even a bit conservative. I’m much more of a go with what feels right kinda girl and just knowing when there’s an unspeakable bond and chemistry. Nothing beats that, it’s amazing. Problem is, what are you left with when it wears off and the party’s over? The more hype, fluff and ass-kissing they do only leads to a much longer and steeper fall when things don’t pan out and I’m already hooked – as evidenced so clearly with Still Married Guy and Facebook Guy. I knew immediately that I liked those guys, we had so much in common and we were completely on the same page…..and look where that got me!
Besides being a bit enigmatic and odd/goofy, he’s giving me tiny breadcrumbs about himself so I can’t really make any clear judgements just yet. At times he’s aloof, not stalking or suffocating me which is good….then at times he seems so enamored with me I almost want to laugh. I feel this false sense that I can do or say no wrong, which will surely come back and bite me in the ass when I inevitably screw up by pushing the boundaries too far. I’m not looking for an brown-noser, that’s never been my style, but I am so accustomed to men either being one extreme or the other, that I have a difficult time trusting what’s genuine and what’s newness infatuation. I’m cynical because I’m a product of my experiences and I’m not going to defend myself for that. When I fall, I fall hard and there’s no time to turn back once my emotions are at the wheel. This is the time when I can be logical, critical and unbiased, and when I really do think with my head. And it doesn’t usually last that long, so I need to be alert and pay attention.
I find it odd that he prefers to converse via text than on the phone, strange behavior for anyone over 30 in my opinion, but I’m lazy so I acquiesce. Of course this opens him up to bad spelling and grammar which never goes unnoticed, but at least I don’t feel intellectually inferior knowing that Mr. Smarty Pants doesn’t differentiate between to and too and brake and break. Why are there no studies in the New England Journal of Medicine explaining why men are genetically inclined to be awful spellers and grammar challenged?!
I’m nervous. About the whole thing. But of course that’s what makes it exciting too. He is very sweet, thoughtful and charming and right now that’s enough for me to explore the terrain. If he’s smart, he’ll hold back a little, I don’t do well with being smothered. We are complicated creatures, I won’t deny.
Maybe if I saw him naked, sans the wardrobe, I’d be more attracted to him? Then I could visualize him in Ken Doll fashion of how I’d make him up and play with him in my Barbie Dream House and Super-Cool Convertible. We are little girls at heart after all.
That’s right, no scathing commentary on how this holiday blows or makes us feel inadequate, lonely or frustrated. What can I say to that effect that hasn’t been said a thousand times already? Besides, I’m in a “whatever” place at the moment – meaning I really and genuinely don’t care. But in a healthy way.
The analogy I used was that I felt like the local pond is dry, no more fish to find. They’re all caught, dead or gay. It’s a small body of water relatively speaking, but I truly don’t feel the need to keep pushing and exposing myself to meet men that aren’t right for me. I haven’t given up, but I’m concentrating on big picture stuff and let the chips (or the men) fall where they may.
As hard as it was (and still is) to cut off personal relationships, I know I am better for it to not allow poisonous people to remain in my life. I’d rather be surrounded by a smaller group that gets me, loves me and genuinely cares about me. So no more sour grapes. That’s my 2012 resolution. Oh wait...wrong holiday!
So on this St. Valentines Day, I will do what I would do on any other random Tuesday and not spend a moment of time thinking about what I do not have. Maybe I’m evolving, maybe the blue S.A.D. lamp I bought is working, maybe I’m just in a hormonally serene place. Which brings me to something sorta funny and yet sad I witnessed on Facebook last night.
A man I dated a few times (who is my Facebook friend) had some strange posts on his wall that popped up in my status bar so I went to his page to take a look. Well, what do you know, it was a tirade from his girlfriend blasting him for cheating on her with another woman in of all places – Barnes & Noble. She had a running conversation explaining all the gruesome details of this tryst right on HIS page for all his friends, family, co-workers etc. to read. I actually felt bad for the guy and almost wanted to contact him since he obviously had not gotten wind of it or would have removed the posts immediately.
I decided to stay neutral and let nature run its course. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned as they say! Yet another example of how dating in the age of social media has its ups and downs as well as immediate gratification….and humiliation. The digital equivalent of spray painting “little prick” on the side of his car. (Fast Times reference for those movie savvy readers).
…And all right before Valentine’s Day. I imagine she will be spending Tuesday getting drunk or burying her face in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Poor girl.
I have a date on Friday with someone who seems like a perfectly nice guy that I have zero sparks for at this point. Just to keep myself out there and in the game.
So wish those you love a Happy VD, and most of all – tell it to yourself. You deserve it!