Onwards and Upwards

f0a5be0ee4bb08ce41affef2eeed9045I’ve been thinking lately.  And feeling. My Wise Woman and Heart have been very active. Not in sync of course – let’s not get crazy! But they haven’t been battling like they once did, it’s been more of a civil negotiation. Together trying to sort out a situation for the past couple of months. And each took their turn at driving my bus. Kind of a cool thing actually.

Several months ago, I unexpectedly found myself faced with the decision to give someone another chance. I was assured things had changed (a laughable concept,I know). I gave a cautious Maybe.  But time went on and my walls started to come down and Heart opened itself up to the possibility. Yes, to hope. And as I’ve said before, hope is a Heart thing.  I decided to finally say yes to a relationship.  Turns out once I was standing in front of him (let’s call him the King of the Grand Gesture), he backed off emotionally. And thus the weeks went by.

Being true to my no-regrets nature, I kept trying. I knew I had to give it a real chance. For my own peace of mind. And I did.   I also made it very clear what I needed from him and expressed I wasn’t getting it.  But it still didn’t happen.  I truly believe that he’s not a bad guy. Something was just stopping him from jumping in. Fear I think.  And honestly, that’s okay. I get that. And it’s just the way he is. I accept that. But it’s not what I need in a relationship. So I called it quits on the relationship.  Was there another grand gesture? Yes of course. Did Heart want to say yes? Of course. But Wise Woman stepped up – completely aware of the pattern of this situation – held Heart’s hand, and said no. It was too late. I’m worthy of effort.  And honestly, for me, there comes a point where accepting the pattern is on me. And it’s my choice to continue to accept it or not. As difficult as that is.

And yet, today, I feel calm. This type of situation isn’t the disaster it once was. It doesn’t send me spiraling like it may have in the past.   Despite my heart being bruised, I feel empowered by my ability to see a situation for what it is, know which part of me is taking the lead and act on that.  I’m not saying I won’t slip or that I’m super woman – and if I do slip, that’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  Because I’m doing my best. And throughout it all, I think I still act with kindness and honesty. With others and with myself.  And I’m really proud of that.

So I look forward and I see possibilities. A friend asked me recently what I am open to these days. My response? Anything.  In theory anyway.  But I haven’t been able to say that in a very long time.

And that, my friends, is what I call progress.

Are You An Asshole? Just say so. Really.

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Remember when that famous golfer’s life blew up? Stories of numerous indiscretions kept coming to light, one after the other. I remember thinking that his handlers did it wrong.  If I had been his PR person, I think I would have handled it differently from the start. Why pretend that you are a family man if you really just aren’t? I guess there is pressure to be a good guy. But what if you aren’t?

I spent almost ten years with someone who pretended to be someone he wasn’t.  And I think he may have done it for my sake because he believe that’s what I wanted.  It may have been the case way back then, but I could have saved myself a whole lot of heartache if he had just been true to himself from the start.

My friend and I recently had a conversation on this topic. I’m of the mind that if you are an asshole, I would really rather you just said so.  Come clean. Truly. That way I can make an informed decision.  It’s not great to be an asshole but at least it takes balls to admit it.  With where I’m at in my life right now, I actually don’t mind if you are an asshole. There are limits of course (don’t be a liar for example). But generally if you are fun, funny and honest about who you are, I can handle that.  I may choose to spend time with you anyway because I know what to expect.  (Sidenote: granted, this is likely not true if I’m looking for a serious relationship.)

That’s why I don’t mind meeting men in bars. I know what that’s all about. And I get to decide for myself how I want to proceed. If you fawn over me and pretend it’s something it’s not, that I’m not likely to buy.  And what I really don’t like is the men who pretend to be nice guys and then treat you like shit and fuck you over. Now that’s a real asshole to me.  And it’s dishonest, which I hate.  I suppose I understand why people cover up their dark sides. It’s not as socially acceptable. And yet, on the flip side, I have several “real nice guy” friends who just keep getting passed over (that’s another blog post!).  But I would find it refreshing if a man just said to me “I’m kind of a dick and here’s what you can expect in terms of that.”  As I type that, I have to laugh because let’s be honest, that’s not ever going to happen!

But please – and I suppose this goes for both women and men – when dating, just be who you are.  Live it. Be it.  Warts and all. The people who don’t like it won’t want you in their life, and that’s okay.  And those who make the choice to tolerate it or even like you for who you really are, well they are going into it informed.

So if you wear an asshole merit badge on the inside, how about you bring that sucker out to the front and see what happens?

Hope – A Heart Thing

hopeHope.  It’s hard to come by sometimes. Especially when you feel like life keeps kicking you down. But I believe it still lives in us – sometimes in full bloom, sometimes a small flicker. It’s not a head thing. It’s a heart thing.

I have found myself in a bizarre situation lately.  I became good friends with someone I was dating last year. It ended in January when I thought he was leaving town for good. We had a great time together and I had a lot of respect for him. It turned out that we stayed in close contact, became good friends and still saw each other several times over the last few months. Somehow, he ended up being in town more often than we thought and despite all the obstacles (distance, and an ex girlfriend who resurfaced and was coming back to town), feelings started to grow.  It really surprised us both. It was completely unexpected.  And despite going in with my eyes open, I got blindsided by our feelings. He did too.

So, yeah, somehow I found myself in a love triangle. Not my scene. You know this. I don’t know how it happened. But it did. And it became a question of him making a choice.  Which he struggled with – so I bailed.  Let me be clear that he’s not a bad guy (the situation is of course more complicated than I’m sharing here – although I’m sure that’s what everyone says). But I deserve to be the only person someone wants to be with.   I’m worth it.  My Wise Woman knows that walking away was the right thing to do. But my heart had already let him in (also unusual for me).  Damn.

Heart had started to hope. Hope that maybe I could be happy. Maybe that I could love again and be loved back.  Heart started to build up little fantasies of the future, even though I was scared.  I showed him my soft side. Being vulnerable feels uncomfortable to me but honestly, it was nice to not have to be so strong all the time.  But I had to do what was right. And doing what’s right can be hard. And I’m pissed off that I was the only one to have any balls in this situation. And thus my hope was extinguished. And I’m feeling that loss.  And the loss of him.

So I’m sad – again. And frustrated.  I guess I’ll just sit with it and hope that one of these days, I’ll have a happy story to share here. I’m sick of always being strong. Sick of all these learning experiences.  I’d like some easy for a while. I really would.

How To Be A Stellar Wingwoman

th_WingWomanI’ve been mulling over the concept of the wingman. You know what I’m talking about.  The guy at the bar who takes on the “friend” so his buddy can land his target.  I’m wondering how to spot the wingman. How do you know if you are the one being managed by the wingman. I don’t have the answer – so until I do, I figure let’s not be so sexist about the whole concept.  Granted women are much more likely to not have a problem hooking up if they really want to.  But for the sake of the sisterhood, if you want to help your girl (maybe she’s shy?) land the object of her desire, here are my top 10 tips to being a great wingwoman.

1. First it’s critical that take yourself off of the market for this scenario. Be very clear (mostly to yourself) that you are doing this for your friend, NOT you. So do not enter into the situation being too awesome. Your goal is to shine a light on your friend.  Remember this. And then remember it again.

2. It helps if  you don’t have the same taste in men.  We like attention and if you are both attracted to the same guy, it’s much more likely that you will screw up your wingwoman duties. Back to  #1.

3. Don’t judge. Let your friend pick the guy she wants to talk to. Don’t raise your eyebrows and shout “what?? that guy? really?”  Not cool. She likes who she likes. Don’t be a hater.

4.  Give a good pep talk.  You may need to boost your friend’s confidence. You are likely friends with her because she’s great. Remind her of that.

5. Initiate contact but don’t flirt.  Walk up to the group of guys and  be friendly but be careful, especially if talking to the guy your friend wants to meet.  Engaging too much will only make the guy think you are interested. If a guy thinks you are into him, your plan is immediately shot. So strike a balance between nice and aloof enough. Note – no touching him.  This will only send men into a “she wants me, I’m getting laid tonight” misguided frenzy. Let your friend do the touching when the time comes.

6. Talk up your friend. But don’t be too obvious about it. Here’s a scenario:  guy- “I really like this song”; you- “oh my friend so-and-so loves it too, you have to talk to her, you will love her!”  That’s not the way to do it.  Besides, with that awkward move, you’ve likely been spotted as a wingwoman.  Try this instead: guy- “I really like this song”; you – “it’s not really my thing but my friend so-and-so saw them in concert last year and said they were great live.”

7. Don’t be too overprotective.  Your girl knows what she likes, let her have it. Unless there’s a clear safety issue (or she’s way too hammered), let her make her own decisions. Don’t tell the guy you will hunt him down and stab him in the eye if he hurts her.  That will just scare him away and your friend will be thanking you for nothing.

8. Give them some space. If you know your friend is comfortable, and their conversation has started, take a bathroom break or maybe start talking to someone else before checking back in.

9. Know when to bow out. Once you know your girl is okay and you have gotten the “it’s cool” signal, you are free to leave.

10. Stay by your phone. Women check in with each other via text. Constantly. I always let my girls know what’s what and where I am. That’s how we roll. This way you know if she’s okay and having fun or if you need to go back downtown to save her.  Or maybe she will text you in the morning to ask to meet for brunch to share all the details.

So who says men are the only ones who can play the game? I don’t think women have to take one for the team the way men do. I could be wrong here but I suspect not.  But sometimes, you gotta help a sistah out!

A Stumble

3923bf7fc1056717def54cad656a0bcaI jumped. And it didn’t work out. Things ended with my tattooed boy. It was only five weeks together but we really liked each other.  And still do. It didn’t end because of that – it was more because of lifestyle differences, uncertainty of how we fit into each other’s lives and perhaps we were at different stages and ultimately looking for different things. In the end, it was a mutual decision. It’s probably best it ended now before we got in any deeper.

The five weeks were really lovely. I felt excited and happy. He is a good guy. And I jumped. A big deal for me and I did it. I don’t regret it. Not for a second. In fact, I’m glad for it. And we ended things well; with compassion, honesty and affection.  We may even be able to be friends. And so my harem of good guy friends keeps growing.

Yeah I’m sad. It’s unfortunate that my leap of faith didn’t pan out. But it wasn’t fruitless. Yet again, I’ve learned things about myself. I’m still brave and I can push myself out of my comfort zone. I’m open to trying something different and I may be one step closer to learning what I want and need in a relationship.  I thought that moving into more exclusive dating would be easier somehow but it’s not. Not just from my end of things but from theirs. At this stage, I think I’m going to need a man who is strong and confident in himself, who is patient and who can ride out my crazy while I still figure all this out and continue my healing.

I was also told by yet another man that I have a lot of rules. I’m thinking about this. It would appear that I draw a lot of lines in the sand with men – regarding the time I make for them, the role my friends play in my life, keeping my daughter separate and yeah, sex.  I don’t make a lot of room for someone.  I put them in a box, don’t integrate them into my life at all and I “manage” it all very closely. But I know why that is. It’s all about protection.  And I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing – at first. But eventually I will have to make the space, or at least let them know there is the potential for that. Once they have proven themselves to me. Harsh but that’s how I feel right now.  It’s something to look at though.

I have also come to realize that I still put all my shit out on the table right from the start. I like to manage expectations (there’s that “manage” word again). Kind of like – here it is buddy, now you know what you are getting yourself into, I’m scared and I don’t trust easily, if you can handle that, bring it. I always want to people to be straight with me and I need to know where I stand. And I offer up the same. But  I can see how that seems intense, intimidating and perhaps seen as more limits.  I won’t compromise honesty but perhaps I can present it differently.  A guy friend told me recently that I was all chainsaw and no scalpel. This may be true.

I know I have prickles.  They are there for a reason.  But I also have wonderful qualities and a lot to offer. I’m worth getting past the prickles. And they may eventually dull down.  So these are all the things I’ve learned and thought about during this experience. But most of all, I know I can take a chance, have feelings for someone, be weird and wonderful at the same time, and my fear is less than it used to be.  Those are all very good things.

I do miss him already but that’s okay. I feel unsure and uncertain of where to go from here.  But it’s early days yet. I’ll be okay.  I stumbled but I haven’t fallen down…

Rolling The Dice

c77caa95e43d3d90fe883c828a524641 Well I guess the time has come.  I’m rolling the dice and we will see what happens. I’ve met someone new. Someone emotionally available.  I know, it’s unheard of for me. Crazy! But there it is. And I’m taking a chance.  On a lot of levels.

He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever dated before. Completely different – in the way he looks, type of job, his history… everything.  But he seems open, communicative, honest, kind and funny.  And he’s covered in tattoos. Which as it turns out, I like.  A lot.

I’ve already had to readjust the way I think. I don’t like to admit it but I was brought up to believe certain things about blue collar men. I hate that. And I don’t actually believe that I’m better than someone who has a different life than I do and yet it’s there in me, somewhere deep.  In terms of someone I date anyway. So I’ve had to look at that.  And that’s a good thing.  He tells me he’s never dated anyone like me either. So it’s new for both of us.

Also new territory for me is spending time with someone who may want something more from me. And that’s scary.  Really scary. All the men I’ve dated in the past year and a half have been casual situations. Great guys but non-committal all the same. And that’s been my choice. It’s worked for me. And I’ve learned from all of them.

But here I am, on the precipice of taking a big leap of faith. My trust is very fragile. I know this to be true and I’ve already experienced it with him.  It’s going to be a challenge for me.  I may bolt. He may think I’m a nut job. But I have to take a chance. He’s said he will wait for me and earn my trust. We shall see. I don’t trust men to not screw me over or lie to me. Hopefully this experience will help me stretch in this area. So here’s to hoping he’s not a douche and just telling me all the things I need to hear. No snake eyes please.

So I’m going to jump….or try to.  And hopefully those nice tattooed arms will catch me.  And if not, I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep walking forward.  And try again.

Moving The Needle

203013895673449024_ZFcYAJ48_c Life changes. Things never stay the same. I’m keenly aware of this concept and have become much more adept at navigating the windy road and rolling with the punches.  I haven’t written much about my dating life lately but it’s time for an update.

In October I wrote about juggling men. It was an interesting – and exhilarating –  experience but as suspected, it didn’t last too long.  I just couldn’t manage it. Which kind of makes me laugh because I am a stellar multi-tasker. I didn’t know how to move forward on an intimacy basis while dating more than one guy (but that is another post!) So the men were whittled down to one – I wish I could say it was all my conscious choice but in reality it was circumstance. And I’m okay with that. I ended up with the best choice. The guy I started talking to online last summer.  So overall we spend about five fun months together which included a lot of really great dates and  good memories.  And I say memories because it’s over now.  Again because of circumstances.

True to form, I picked someone non-permanent who wasn’t looking for a commitment. He was always going to be in town temporarily and we actually never dated exclusively. But it worked for me. He’s a great guy and we have a lot in common.  And honestly I think knowing that it wasn’t long term allowed me to let him in more than I usually do and not get scared.  I was able to show him a variety of sides of me and always be honest about where I was at. He gave me the space to do this safely and he was always really cool about it.  Through this relationship, I was able to grow and I’m really grateful for that.

So now it’s done and I feel confident that we will stay friends. I’m a bit sad but generally okay.  I’ve moved my emotional needle and that’s a big deal for me. I think that now I’m more open to trying something with someone where it’s not casual.  Exclusive dating? Say it isn’t so!!  But yeah, I may be ready to try that.

I know that I’m still not ready to jump into the deep end but I’m going to try to not hang out solely in the hot tub with the guys who look good on the outside but who don’t have much to give. Okay, let’s be honest, I’m sure I’ll still visit the hot tub from time to time. When I’m cold….you know? I mean, really, the hot tub can be awesome. For a short time.

So yeah, I’m glad for my time with this guy. I got a lot out of it. I think he did too. And I’ll allow myself to feel the sadness that it’s over but I’m definitely going to smile that it happened. And continue to move forward.

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