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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healing, Next Steps and The Difference Between Male and Female Rebounds

Healing one's heart is a process in trial and error; it's trying new things, stepping outside of one's own comfort zone and finding what works and what does not.  One acts out in pain, anger and rejection and finds that it isn't healing but, rather, destructive.  One then decides to step back for some space and perspective only to find that distance begets longing and nostalgia, and then reinforced loneliness.  One then moves on looking for distraction, sympathy, optimism and comfort with new faces only to find that there is no distraction from heartache, sympathy from strangers, optimism in the midst of despair or comfort in the arms of the unfamiliar.  

These have all been my next steps, my trial and error.  In the end, I keep coming back to home base: acknowledging that the healing process cannot be manipulated or rushed.  That heartache still exists, that loneliness cannot be filled with distraction and that longing will make it's long overdue stage-left exit when it is damn well good and ready.

I met a lovely woman recently.  She is everything I'm looking for: mature, intelligent, feet on solid ground, fun to be with, enthusiastic about life and really easy to talk to.  A year ago, I would have been beside myself to have met her.  And despite all that I am feeling and processing through now, I really like her.  But I know that my heart is still so tragically chained to another.

Here's the difference I've found in my last two dates: one male and one female... The Irishman, while sweet and generous with me given my current state of mind, kept persisting.  After I unceremoniously blew him off, he checked in again wanting to get together for some "no strings attached fun".  And when I refused him by telling him that it just wasn't a good idea, he said he understood.  And several days later, he checked in again!  "How are things going now?"  Look, I get it.  You want a hook up.  I'm flattered but you should know that when a girl says no, you should just walk away.  Trust me when I say that neither of us would enjoy this as much as you think.

My new lady friend, on the other hand, takes a much more mature and thoughtful approach.  After our first date, which was simply lovely by the way, she sent me a sweet text message:
I just got home... you home safe n sound?  I had a great time, thank you for dinner and the laughing (YOU crack me up!)  I sense you have a little more healing to do before putting your heart out there again.  I'd love to hang out again sometime.  No pressure.  Just fun...
Beautifully played.  Beautiful indeed.  She acknowledged that I need time.  She respected the space that I'm in .  And yet, she still threw her hat in the ring... on my terms, with ZERO pressure.

So I thanked her for a really lovely date and agreed that I do, in fact, need time to heal.  This lady has real potential if I can get to the space where I can be ready to give my heart away again.  So I asked her if we could go one... slow... baby... step... at a time.  I would like to see her again, continue to get to know one another and to see if there is real potential if and when I'm ready.  And she graciously agreed: one slow baby step at a time.

I would love to get to a place where I can offer more of myself than just a dinner and some amusing stories to another person.  I even think that she could be that person.  But I also know that that isn't even a possibility until I recover my poor shattered heart from the Lost and Found section of this fucked up amusement park located somewhere between "Heartbroken" and "Have you seen my long lost fiance?"

Bloody hell.  I really miss my old life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Amusements of Online Dating

Wow - I nearly forgot how much fun online dating is! (Insert sarcastic font here.)  Less than one month back into online dating and so far, I've come upon five types of online daters: "I didn't bother to read your profile, I just looked at your pictures", "I don't know how to pick up women", "Thoughtful and Enticing", "I'm not really smart, but I'm trying to impress you", and my personal favorite, "Perverts".

I didn't bother to read your profile, I just looked at your pictures
Are you a vegetarian for moral or health reasons? I believe some animals with higher intelligence and sentience are persons; thus, for that matter they have rights.
wow you look amazing in your pictures!
Hey there, you seem like out of the box person. I love it. 
Care to talk and meet at some point? Let me know - hugs

I don't expect much from an introductory e-mail from people.  I really don't.  I'm often crippled by writer's block when I start an intro e-mail.  But please, for the love of god, know who you're e-mailing before you press the send button!  (I am not, nor have I ever made claim to be, a vegetarian.  And what exactly is an "out of the box person"?)  If you expect to get a reply, I want to know that you've actually read my profile, are interested in me and didn't use your standard templated intro e-mail that you send to every girl with a pretty face. 

I don't know how to pick up women
Hi there,
How are you?
Morning ;)

A little more to work with, please?  Seriously?  Do you think that "Hello" is actually going to get you a date?

Thoughtful and Enticing (readers take note!):
Well I thought I'd give it a shot. You sound amazing complex and funny. Fear of fish and fear of the dark? I'm guessing that deep sea diving is probably not on your bucket list :). Rafting this summer I saw a bunch of river rats like myself on boards like that. They were amazing! I'm more comfortable though in a raft or a kayak. In all fairness I haven't tried the river board yet (is that what it's called?) Anyway I'm rambling. I'm curious what is your name? 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your profile. It looks like we have quite a lot in common. NOT however the fear of the dark or eating dead fish, I’m pretty ok in both circumstances lol. So curious… what is the unique name? Well that and much more…are you an SF native, what do you do for a living? If you are interested in chatting more I’d love to hear about you and your world. 

I don't think it's any coincidence that these are the only two e-mails I received from women.  I mean, really, I AM rooting for you gentlemen, but you make it so tough when there are thoughtful women out there putting you all to shame. 

I'm not really smart, but I'm trying to impress you
explore a potent(ial) magiConnexion? :) 
you sizzle!!! :) but you already know that... :)   besides, your sparkling eyes and easy smile betray the fact that you are... 
...delightful!!! :) ...which happens to be the trait i most cherish in an adult homo sapien! everything else would simply be superfluous, yet appreciated...
i find your passionate, energetic and sassy nature to be very attractive. it is obvious to me that there would be other significant levels of resonance between you and i as well... which i shall disclose in due course of time if/when the oft-grumpy "romantic chemistry" gods seem inclined to showering us both with their elusive blessings, perhaps. :)  so... if you might indulge me, missy, with an opportunity to discover - slowly, gradually, deliciously :) , perhaps - what makes you tick oh-so-gloriously... all amidst an ineluctable abundance of joyful raillery, of course! :) ... won't you let me know?  ciao, miLovely! 

Hi.  Would you mind closing your thesaurus and writing an email in plain spoken English?  I find "real people" speak far more appealing.

How often do you masturbate? 
An image of you a few times a week…

You like honest? Here is honest: I love tall chicks who love to kiss for hours. All I seem to be able to think about is romancing you, hugging you, kissing ....swooon. Wow, you, me, hot tubs, hot hot hot. 

Not coincidentally, both of these e-mails came from short, balding men.  *sigh*  Again, gentlemen, does this really work with women?  Why don't you try thoughtful, witty or earnest on for size?  Trust me when I say, it's refreshing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

Breaking up is exactly that.  My emotions are ever shifting, ever changing and ever contradicting one another.  And boy, are those shifts and changes motherfucking intense.  I vacillate between feeling hurt, self-pitying, strong, in control, out of control, angry, disappointed, sad, and then I start all over again.  It's unpredictable; one mood doesn't naturally follow another.  The cycle changes, the duration of each mood changes and I'm always caught off guard when I move from one strong emotion to an entirely contradictory one less than a minute later.  Just when I think I know how I feel and what I want, it moves and shifts all over again.

Here's the thing:  I know what I want.  I am certain of it.  And then... when I least expect it... what I wanted has completely changed...  Again.  And it'll change back...  And it'll change back again.  What the fuck, Me?  This would all be so much easier if I could get my heart, my mind and my soul on the same page, but not only are they not on the same page, they're not even reading the same fucking book!  All three want something different and I struggle to reconcile these ever-arguing, ever-opinionated and ever-changing motherfuckers.

I know, I know. "Time heals all wounds".  "This too shall pass." and yadda yadda yadda.  Believe me, I'm giving it the time it deserves, and I know that this state of struggle won't last forever... I just wish I could press fast-forward on this bitch of a situation because I'm getting so weary.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

When Someone Shows You Their True Colors, Don’t Turn a Blind Eye

Love is blind.  That’s what they say, anyway.  I don’t know if it makes you entirely blind, but I know that I’ve been blind to a lot of things.  So when my former love began dropping subtle hints about who she is and what she was feeling during our relationship, I don’t know that I was fully listening.  Granted, she was highly secretive and carrying on a double life while we were supposedly “in love”, so it wasn’t just that I wasn’t paying attention.  And because I was in love, I took her entirely at face value and na├»vely trusted that she would be forthcoming and truthful if our relationship wasn’t working any longer.  But she wasn’t forthcoming and I can’t help but think in hindsight that I should have better listened to my instincts and her subtle clues.  Hindsight’s a motherfucker, isn’t it? 

Here’s where the blindness really reached out and bit me in the ass: I was completely willing to forgive her indiscretions and try to work out our relationship because I believed her when she told me that she truly regretted her mistakes, that she really did love me and that she wanted to be with only me.  So imagine my surprise that while I’m working on rebuilding trust, trying to meet and speak face-to-face, trying to get past all of the hurt that we brought upon each other and, at the very least, become friends or at least friendly, that she said to me she has no regrets and that she won’t say that she made any mistakes.

Wow.  Just… Wow.

All this time, I thought I knew who she was.  I believed her when she said she was sorry.  I believed her when she said she didn’t know how she would ever begin to forgive herself for hurting someone she “loved”.  I believed her when she said that she still loved me (even after reconciliation was taken off the table).  But how can I believe that any of that is true if she has no regrets and doesn’t believe she made any mistakes? 

I can thank her for taking off the blindfold now.  I’m no longer sitting around wondering ‘what if?’ or waiting for her to realize that she made the biggest mistake of her life and try to make it right.  I’m moving on.  I’m stronger.  I’m wiser.  And this Mr. Magoo has a new pair of eyes.

On a brighter note, while I haven’t been on any new dates since meeting The Irishman, I have been getting lovely messages from new and interesting people.  So my prospects are looking up.  I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lessons in Vulnerability, Shaming Yourself and Loved Ones, and Who the Fuck Have I Become?

When your whole world has been rocked, your heart has been broken and what was once held as true is no longer so, where do you go from there?  How do you begin to put the pieces of yourself together again?  How do you reconcile what your heart desperately screams for while listening to your mind that yells, 'move on! pull yourself together! you deserve better, more and stronger!'?

My friends have been amazing.  It's gotta be torture for them... to see me in such a state of despair, to field my telephone calls and text messages of, "I miss her.  I miss our life together.  You don't know what we had and I want that back.  I hate what she's done.  I hate what I've done.  I love her so much."  And on, and on, and on.  But, like the protective, loving and support folk that they are, they hang in there.  They remind me that I am loved, worthy and strong.  I am blessed.  I know that I am blessed.  But no amount of protection, love and support has been able to pull me out of this loneliness, hurt, desperation and melancholia.

I struggle with asking for help.  I'm "the strong one".  I'm the shoulder that everyone leans on and that is a most comfortable role for me.  So reaching out to my friends and loved ones makes me feel vulnerable and scared.  But I also know that I can't do this alone.  And I know that vulnerability is trust.  And trust is real love.  So I have to put my faith in that my loved ones will be there to catch me when I fall, and continue to fall and continue to fall.

I'm reading a wonderful book right now by Brene Brown called "Daring Greatly".  In it, she writes about living your life with vulnerability and opening yourself to others with love and compassion. I am the type of person who loves with her whole heart.  I never hold back and give it everything I've got.  I am vulnerable in love.  Brene Brown (to summarize) writes that with great vulnerability comes great risk, great rewards and great loss... all of which I've experienced with my love.

The opposite of vulnerability is not strength, is not invincibility and is not power.  No.  The opposite of vulnerability is fear, shame and cowardice.  And in my darkest moments of anger, rage, jealousy and insecurity, I exercised fear, shame and cowardice.

When I lost my fucking mind, I used every weapon in my emotional arsenal to wound my love.  I shamed her publicly and in the most humiliating way.  I betrayed her vulnerability to me and I publicly shamed her by airing all of her dirty laundry for our friends and family to see.  Some might say, "well, she betrayed you, so she had it coming."  And that is the exact rationale I used to hurt her, but it was vindictive, cowardly and completely lacking in compassion.  All of the qualities I never thought I possessed.  And in the end, what purpose did it serve?  I wasn't true to myself, my character or who I want to be in this world.  I pushed her away for good (which I never wanted to do).  I pushed her straight into the arms of "The Other" (which I never wanted to do).  I burned every hope of reconciliation, forgiveness and friendship for good (which I never wanted to do).

And when I realized the consequences of my actions, I begged forgiveness.  I pleaded for a face-to-face so that I could apologize and convince her to trust me again.  But how could she?  When one makes themselves completely vulnerable to another, only to have that vulnerability turned around on them in a most publicly shaming way, how can one begin to trust again?  So I'm left with knowing that, despite the fact that she may still love me (and I believe she does), we will never be able to trust each other again and move on towards reconciliation.  She betrayed my trust and I betrayed her vulnerability.  Two wrongs certainly don't make a right.

So who the fuck have I become?  I'll tell you, for the last few weeks, I've become a wounded animal.  I've become desperate.  I've become vengeful.  I've become frightened.  And I've become my own worst nightmare: a vindictive scorned lover completely lacking in compassion and maturity.  Fuck.

But with self-discovery and a new self-awareness, I am forging on.  Aware that shame destroys vulnerability and that vulnerability is love and trust.  Aware that compassion feeds and nurtures vulnerability.  So I'm learning (again) to exercise compassion; compassion towards myself, compassion towards my love and compassion towards my friends who have stood and continue to stand by me, fielding my late-night phone calls and text messages.

And I am learning to Dare Greatly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love, Mistakes and Moving Onward

Greeting friends and readers!

A lot has happened since my last posting.  After having, what I felt like, a beautifully, heavenly and soul-stirringly great love, that love has ended.  Or, rather, that relationship has ended.  My love still continues on.

Life was beautiful.  Life was brilliant.  Life was perfect.  And after months of beauty, romance and love, after listening to my love express her poetic love for me and her deep desire to marry me one day, I took the leap and I proposed.  I proposed in the most romantic, heartfelt and loving way that I could imagine: at the Magic Fountains of Mont Juic in Barcelona, Spain.  And she said, "Yes!"  The ring was perfect (and designed entirely by myself with the help of some jewelers).  And for a brief time, I thought all of our dreams were coming true.  This was the start of an engagement, a wedding, a home and a family.  What could be better than that with the woman of my dreams, the love of my life and my best friend?

But shortly after we returned home from Barcelona, I was heartbroken.  My love had fallen in love with another, completely unbeknownst to me.  And I was broken.  And I am still broken.  Though she loved me, and I still believe she does, and though I loved her and I still do, I asked her to leave.  She needed time to search her soul.  So she left and we agreed to keep reconciliation in mind for our future.

But in the end, I felt like she may have wanted to explore her feelings for "The Other".  And I lost my fucking mind.  I said and did horrible, horrible, hurtful things to drive her away for good.  And the thing is, I made a monumental mistake.  Because the truth is that I didn't (and still don't) want to drive her away for good.

You may be saying to yourself, "Is Miss-Adventures fucking crazy?!"  It's ok.  I've wondered that myself.  But the truth is that from the outside perspective, no one understands or could begin to understand the relationship we had, the love we shared or the strength of our bond.  Yes, she made a huge mistake.  And yes, I've made huge mistakes.  But love and relationships are never black and white.  There are more shades of grey in love than a Pablo Picasso masterpiece.  And what I always have felt was a "deal-breaker" turns out to not be so.  The capacity to forgive and move forward is as great as my love for her runs deep.

But, as she begins to move forward with her life, her love and her happiness, so shall I.  And so, with great trepidation and absolute unpreparedness, I have decided to give dating another try.  I won't lie; I still hold onto hope that my love will return.  That she'll return with the same willingness and fortitude to mend our broken relationship that I still possess.  But I know that those chances are very, very slim.

And so my long list of mistakes may grow longer still.  I don't know that I'm ready to date again.  How much can one offer a person when her heart is so chained to another?  But here we go...

I had my first date with someone new just a few days ago.  I've decided to open myself up to dating both women and men this time around.  "Men?!",  you may be asking.  Yes, men.  Because why limit the possibilities that I could be made happy by someone simply because I've spent the last eight years with women?  And so, my first date was with a very sweet man.  "The Irishman" was flirty and confident, silly and confident, and persuasive and confident.  Did I mention that he was confident?    I told him that I was unsure about dating again because of my very recent heartbreak and because I am still utterly devastated over my breakup.  And The Irishman offered me a date AND a shoulder to cry I agreed.

We met at a cafe and spent about an hour talking and getting to know each other over coffee and tea.  He was cute, charming and had the most adorable dimples I've ever seen on a grown man.  After coffee and tea, we walked back to my house where we sat talking and listening to music.  He was easy to be around and very comforting.  And I let myself be comforted by a man who knew nothing about me, except for my emotional torture over losing the one person who meant everything to me.  And then he kissed me.  And, as much as I wanted to let myself go and let myself be carried away from my grief by someone who desired me, I could not.  We kissed and cuddled for hours but I could not get my love out of my mind.  I kissed him but pictured her.  I wanted to be swept away from my pain and loneliness but I only felt the guilt of those lips on mine not being her lips.  So I apologized and politely asked The Irishman to leave.

I don't know what the future holds for me.  I know what I want, and that is for my love to return.  I also realize that those chances are as slim as they can possibly be.  And so, with great trepidation, uncertainty and even panic, here we go again...

Say a little prayer for me, won't you?  Wish me luck?  And join me on this journey again.  Heart in hands, like the romantic I am, vulnerable, hurting, heartbroken and grieving my lost love... Here we go again.