Monday, July 28, 2014

The Need to Know

Our need to know what is or will happen is astonishing. I say “our” because I’m assuming you have it too, but I definitely have a strong drive to know. I can’t stand the gray area, I like to know if I’m in the black or the white.  I see it at work at company’s where senior management is secretive and doesn’t maintain transparency into company strategy or changes. Employees become suspicious and gossipy - forever speculating on what might be unfolding. It’s a loss of productivity that could be avoided if they understood the strategy and surrounding events and knew how their position contributed to the big picture.

Obviously in my life, I see it most with guys. I can’t stand not knowing where things stand. And even when all of the evidence points to an answer, I second guess it, citing that things could turn on a dime in any second.  Maybe it is fall out from my the shock of the affair or the 3 days notice I had to the end of my marriage, but the constant need to know what will happening (to control the situation) is boundless.

I’ve written aboutthis need to know/need for control many times and I still struggle with it to this day. Pema Chodron has developed an entire series of books that help people stay with an emotion in the moment but release the story line. Everything doesn’t have to be explained. Staying in the gray is just fine. It may be uncomfortable but action doesn’t need to be taken to escape the discomfort.

I, for one, am impulsive. I impulsively act on the discomfort. Which then, ironically, leads me to more discomfort. Rather than refraining from action and waiting to see what unfolds, I impulsively react, thus forcing a situation forward, perhaps to a conclusion that I was not hoping for.

I wish I had the answer of how to stop. I suspect Pema Chondron does, as well as Jack Kornfield - probably even Oprah.  Right now all I have is the awareness of my thoughts. And some tools to help slow me down. Running or meditating every day to bring me back into the present moment. To maintain a sense of myself. To learn more about myself.

As I sit here writing this all down, I have a ball of anxiety in my belly. Wondering what is going on, what is going to happen next. Will the new guy text me? Does he like me? Will we hang out again?  I have the urge to text every friend I have, looking for their insight and predictions of how a situation will unfold. Surely someone has a crystal ball to tell me what will happen.  But I’m trying to refrain. Refrain from seeking their reinforcement that a positive outcome is on its way. Refrain from seeking their soothing that there is no need to worry. I’m trying to just acknowledge the anxiety for what it is - uncomfort in the gray area. And remember that in this moment, I’m still breathing. I’m still typing. I’m still me. And nothing that will happen will change that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

"Flaky is a good attribute... for a croissant"

In continuing with the truly entertaining article by Emily Bracken on the Huffington Post “10 Things Only People Over 30 Know about Dating,” #5 also resonated with me:

Flaky is a good attribute... for a croissant.
I've noticed that a certain age men's habits become ingrained. Sometimes they're good habits, like remembering to put the toilet seat down, and sometimes they're bad habits, like saying he'll call and then doesn't. I always thought this was a reflection of how a certain long-standing crush felt about me. But then I came to see that his indecision was actually his way of showing me that he wasn't ready to make me or my needs a priority. This didn't make him a bad guy, it just made him flaky -- which, while a good attribute in a French pastry, is not so much in a boyfriend.

Saturday night guy sent mixed signals. He never fully signaled disinterest but he never fully signaled interest. And in the end, he was flaky. Is there a better line than the one above?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"One day he will treat you like the waitstaff"

One of the things that feels so ridiculous about feeling rejected by the guy from saturday night is that he already got on my nerves when we were out. I already knew this wasn’t going to go anywhere serious because he was high maintenance in certain ways. For example, he gave the bartender a very hard time, over and over, about the beer he was ordering, to the point that even she looked annoyed. I thought ‘what is wrong with this guy? don’t take everything so seriously!”

I came across a brilliant post by Emily Bracken in the Huffington Post today, entitled “10 Things Only People Over 30 Know about Dating”.
3. One day he will treat you like the waitstaff.
I went on a few dates with a guy who, while adoring and attentive to me, was short with our waiter. He never said thank you or looked him in the eye. It was if my date was Cleopatra, and the waiter was simply there to wave him with a palm leaf. And it bothered me. Then about a week later, we got together after work. He was in a bad mood after a long day, so I offered to pick up dinner. His retort was short, brusque and entitled -- just as he'd been with the waiter. You can tell a lot about a guy by the way he interacts with his mother and the elderly. But pay particular attention to the way he interacts with people in the service industry, because when he's feeling off his game, that's how he'll treat you one day.

I know I dodged a bullet with this one, because he would be picky and high maintenance about things that just aren’t a big deal and it would eventually be directed at me. I picked up on it then and I love that the author of that post articulated this phenomena so well!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Dirty Truth About Why I Did It

After mediating to clear my mind, I sat down with pen and paper, determined to answer the question “why did I do it”? Why did I hang out with that guy all night on Saturday.

I wrote and wrote through knotted explanations, hoping that if I explored without judgement, only with curiosity, that I would get to the truth.  And I did. A dirty truth that I hate to admit. One I was too scared to admit to anyone, much less on a blog for all to see.

I wanted validation. I wanted to prove that he could like me. I wanted to prove that “a guy like him” - one I put on a pedestal to be cool, just like I did with Chap - would like me.  I wanted to prove I could get him, and that’s how I was with Chap. So infatuated with the idea of him that I overlooked obvious egregious crazy person violations of normal dating code.

I needed to prove myself worthy.  I wanted his validation to feel worthy.  Worthy of someone who I deemed better that myself. But he wasn’t . His validation doesn’t count!  Chap’s validation never counted. Not him, or him, nor him my boss, or him at at the bar, not her who pretended to be a friend, nor her who claimed to be genuine but was judging the whole time.  Their validation doesn’t count.

And I know this. I know this.  But I forgot. Or I didn’t “know it know it” in the recesses of my heart. Because I decided to do it. Next time I hope I remember - because no matter what I do, who I date, how long it lasts, his validation doesn’t count. Mine does. 

"Did you do it on purpose....?"

I relayed the tale of the guy from the weekend to Little Buddha. Her immediate response was, “Ok, soooo – first question, did you do it on purpose so you could beat yourself up a little since lately you haven’t needed to and you feel guilty because you don’t feel guilty?”

Ironically, I entitled that blog post “Oops I did it again”.  Maybe she is on to something.  Could it be that I’m not sure how to be content?  If I go by the ‘three questions to guide all decisions’ (otherwise summed up in one very persuasive question, “What would the awesome version of me do?”), I wouldn’t have hung out with him for the whole night. I would have realized I was settling for hanging out with a guy who is less than what I deserved.

So why did I decided to screw it & let loose and let the night unfold?  Is it that I don’t know how to just be content?  This is a level of mindfulness that I never considered...that I have not yet reached.  Do you find yourself doing things that you know underneath is not what the awesome version of you would do, yet you choose to do it anyway? Have you ever NOT regretted the decision?  I know I always regret & feel guilty after.  Just as I am now.

The "5 things you know about me" challenge

I’ve been trying to decide what to do about Helicopter guy - who came on too strong and was sickenly sweet (like over the top make you squirm sweet, i.e. he called me ‘Diana Pants’).

While he’s doing all the right things in terms of making it easy for me, letting me know he’s interesting, something doesn’t sit right.  The sweet stuff is too much too soon, but what really bothers me is that he doesn’t really know me. He doesn’t ask questions about me, my life, my likes & dislikes and he hasn’t once asked about Grace.

Switch to guy from the weekend - who I hung out with and had a great night - and then didn’t hear from the next day. He also doesn’t ask about me and definitely not about Grace (although admittedly, I usually don’t expect someone to ask about her until we’ve hung out a few times).

So basically, even though one runs too hot and one runs too cold, neither could pass the "name 5 things you know about me" challenge (besides saying 'dresses cute'). So it's time to move on.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Taking it personally...again

Oops, I did it again. After weeks of feeling emotionally void instead toward everyone except Grace & my dog, I met a guy who I thought was pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve mentioned him yet on the blog, but I met him in a Philly bar and we had a great conversation. We texted for the last 2 weeks and then agreed that my friend & I would meet his friends out Saturday night. At one point we even broke off from the group to sneak away to a little bar nearby that we both liked.  It seemed like a great night and ended with a great make out.

Here is what I knew about him: he is really into his life. Pretty self absorbed. Yet kind of an odd duck in many of the ways I am so he’s easy to be around.  

Although I already knew how self-involved he was, after a fun night together, I did not expect it to turn into some big romance, but I did at least expect to get a text the next day such as “hope you got home ok, it was fun hanging out”. But nothing. Against every instincht and all wisdom that I have, I texted him last night to say hi & ask how his dog was (I’m a concerned individual!). And he wrote back about his dog! Not even acknowledging me!  Not acknowledging our hang out.

And I’m taking it personally. The same way I always do. Taking it to mean more than it does. In my head it means I’m an unlovable freak that no great guy would ever go for. Instead of realizing that no great guy would be completely self-absorbed and blind to everything and everyone else around him.

Just once I’d like to meet the guy who has the fun night, and is looking forward to seeing me again. I’ve met some before. Plus the one that was insane (Chap). But lately I haven’t felt the slight bit interested, and the one time I am….it’s an epic fail.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5...Make That 4 Dates in One Week and the Best Date Was…

After 5...make that 4 dates in a week (5 scheduled, 1 flaked), the best date I had all week was the one I had with myself.  When date #5 flaked, I found myself with an entire Sunday afternoon to myself. I gave my car a deep cleaning, bought some plants, ran some errands and generally improved my surroundings in one way or another. By the time the evening arrived, the house was in order and Grace returned just in time to go to a free outdoor concert. As the sun slowly set, it softly soaked into my skin, gently warming me as I watched Grace dance freely with glee to the sound of the acoustic guitar and expressive singer. It was a purely blissful day. And it left me with the lingering question: Why am I wasting my time trying to meet someone when the best dates I have are with myself?

Monday, July 7, 2014

What I Know For Sure on My 4th Ex-Wedding Anniversary

What I know for sure on my 4th ex-wedding anniversary:
1) Grace’s father grew up and is a better father as a result of the divorce.
2) I know what it means to feel content.
3) I know what it means to feel free.
4) I know what it is to feel true joy.
5) I never knew I could feel as close to someone as I do to my daughter. 

Too Much Sweet Can Make You Sick

I went out on date #3 with Helicopter Guy. Although I was not really feeling it, my friends persuaded me that it was in my best interest because “he obviously likes you.”

However, there is a reason why people say do not come on too strong or you will scare someone off -- after I asked him to tone things down, he immediately asked for date #3. It took me 2 days to say yes and ask what he had in mind to which he replied “anything you want Diana Pants!!” followed by a smiley face with hearts as eyes.  My stomach turned. I felt like I barely knew him, yet he was sending sickenly sweet messages.

Looking back over our conversations, I had taken the tactic that is a sure-fire guy pleaser, ask a lot of questions and give them space to talk about themselves. Everyone likes talking about themselves, heck I even write an entire blog doing just that!  But in a dating situation, it should be good and take. Ask, answer, and throw another question back. He didn’t ask, not about me, not about my daughter, my dog, my life or my interests. He would be hard pressed to give you 5 concrete facts about me.

I wanted to give him a fair chance so I replied “maybe hold back on calling me “Diana Pants” and any emoticons with hearts.” If he didn’t get the message then he really was on another planet.

Saturday rolled around and I went on the date against my slightly woozy stomach.  To his credit, he really tried to tone it down in person. But at this point I am so turned off by the lack of interest in me as a person (as opposed to my apparently “good looks”) along with the sickenly sweet messages that I need to say goodbye.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tinder Date 5.2: Coming on Too Strong

I went out with Helicopter Guy (aka Tinder Date 5, #2) last night. He is the nicest guy with a very goofy personality. In the 2 days leading up to the date, I received many cheery texts, filled with emoticons. I didn’t know what to make of it. I appreciated his positive comments, but when they were turned toward me, they began to feel like pressure.

So at the end of the date, I told him that I need things to stay toned down when I meet someone so that I can get to know them without feeling nervous. He said ok...and then stumbled and asked for more information. It was clear that he had no idea that this consistent communication and overly cutesy comments were scaring the daylights out of me!  So I said that sometimes when people come on too fast, I get nervous and that gets in the way of me really getting to know them. He immediately apologized and said the last thing he wants to do is to send me running for the hills (did I mention he has an entire arsenal of midwest colloquialisms? Cute!).  Though once he got home, he texted and asked me out for saturday.  Normally I would be jumping for joy at such an invitation but so far him coming on strong has translated into pressure and has made me uncomfortable. So I’m not sure of the next step. I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get to know someone who consistently makes me laugh with his goofiness and who takes things lightly so that you remember to take the world less seriously. But I also don’t want to feel any pressure or anxiety as I’m getting to know him!

Help!  What do you do if a nice guy comes on too strong?