July 2011


It seems as though, at any one time, I know at least a half a dozen women who are pregnant. And all it does is further solidify the fact that I do NOT want kids any time in the near future, if at all. All it takes is one woman to talk about heartburn, shoving a baby out of her hoo-ha, or the complete lack of sleep to make me shake my head in disbelief that people actually choose to go through the process of pregnancy and raising a child voluntarily.

I’m always happy and congratulatory when friends and family members have a child, but it is so not for me right now. Everyone knows that I feel this way. My roommate and I even have contests on who wants kids the least!

(I’m telling you this to preface about the weekend I had and the information found during said weekend.)

The guy I mentioned in my previous post and I spent almost the entire weekend together. I picked him up from the airport and we went out to dinner. We spent a lot of time alone this weekend, giving ample time for more personal, intimate discussions…

However…

During those times, we never talked about previous relationships. I mention this only because I’d been involved with him for about a month and I had yet to tell him I’d been married. I’ve been on first dates where that’s come up, and it’s really not a big deal for me to tell someone about it. So I found it strange that he had yet to know this pretty big detail about my life. Also, I hadn’t gotten an answer to the burning question of why he is 36 and single.

So when we were out for a walk on Sunday morning, there was a lull in the conversation– so I took the opportunity to bring up the question I’ve been wanting to ask since our second date (where I learned how old he was).

Boy what a big mistake that ended up being. Well, not a mistake, per-say… but definitely a shock.

I casually asked “so, I just have to ask, why are you 36 and single?” I guessed he had been married, since statistically, it would make sense. What I wasn’t expecting was his response after his awkward “I was hoping to talk about this over dinner or something. I was trying to figure out how to bring this up.” Yeah, that sure put me in a calm state…

He then informed me that he had been married… oh, and by the way, he has 3 kids! GAH! I stood there on the sidewalk, slightly stunned, as he told me that he hadn’t been lying to me, but wanted to try to find the best way to tell me he was not a confirmed bachelor, but in fact a DAD! to THREE KIDS!

You guys, I just can’t seem to process this. It’s no wishy-washy thing to me about kids in my life. I have no desire to be around them, care for them, and I sure as hell don’t want to raise them.

He told me that he has them 50% of the time, so when he doesn’t have them, he pretty much is a childless bachelor. We talked for almost an hour last night (after I’d spent the entire afternoon thinking and processing this– and what to do next) about it, and he asked me why I couldn’t just date him for him and leave the kids out of the equation.

Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t know if it’s possible for him to not have the kids factor into our relationship at one point or another. I like this guy a LOT and if it was some casual fling or I was feeling so-so about him, I might be able to just hang out with him when he’s in town and leave it at that. But I, unfortunately, do not function that way– no matter how hard I try to. When it comes to dating, I’m either black or white– I like you or I don’t. It might take a few dates to figure out how I feel one way or the other, but as soon as I have it figured out, I’m either wanting to take the relationship to the next level (of at least being exclusive…) or not seeing each other any more. I either let people in (and open my heart up for possible heartache) or I don’t. I can’t sit in that middle stage of liking someone and letting them in, but not having any sort of commitment or definition.

So, in light of that, I can’t possibly date him casually and let myself fall for him even more than I have when there are children on the horizon. IF we were to continue our relationship, being a part of his kids’ lives is definitely a reality. And then I’d have to make an even harder decision down the road.

I’m sure you’re all reading this and saying to yourselves, “take a chill-pill and just enjoy the relationship. Why are you thinking so far ahead?” And I’d have to agree with you. But for whatever reason, I just can’t let that “what if” go. I can’t compartmentalized our relationship to Denver-only encounters without seeing the looming heartbreak in our future.

And I’m already heartbroken about this relationship… which totally blows. But when I think about it in the long-run, it’s for the best. I NEED someone who is in the same life-stage as me and I also realized with this long distance thing that I really need someone who lives in the same city as me. There’s just such a loss of connection when your only communication is via text messages and phone calls.

But as my roommate’s boyfriend pointed out, this whole experience showed me that there are men out there who can really excite me and I can be truly interested in. So at least there’s that.

Back to the dating pool I go…

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Okay, my new (and some old) friends, I need your insight/input and maybe even your personal experiences with a current dilemma I’m having:

I have been dating this guy for the last few weeks– I met him when he walked up to my table at lunch and started talking to me. With how random our meeting was, we’ve surprisingly hit it off– we have a lot in common and there is definitely chemistry there 😉

It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way about a guy– my roommate has been making fun of me with how giggly and excited I get when talking about him. I believe the word to describe my feelings is twitterpated. I’m falling hard and fast for this guy, which is a whole different issue in and of itself, but I can’t help but look to the future…

The more I get my heart involved in this relationship, the more vulnerable I feel. I hate being vulnerable, so my feelings for this guy are making me freak out a little bit. But if I keep my emotions in check and my daydreams away from the sound of wedding bells, I should be fine.

Regardless of how much of a connection and chemistry there is, there is a BIIIIIIG problem with the relationship– he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota… and I live in Denver, Colorado (a 14 hour car ride or $200 plane ticket away). So to add insult to injury, not only do I have to deal with my surfacing insecurities about letting myself truly fall for a guy, but I also have to deal with the prospect of a long-distance relationship. He comes to Denver about every other week– he has friends who live out here, which is how I met him in the first place– but I’m not sure that’s enough for me.

We text every day, talk on the phone every few days, but it’s just not the same. It doesn’t seem like he’s eager to move to Colorado any time soon, and I sure as hell don’t want to move to Minnesota (seriously, humidity? YUCK!). So tell me, am I taking this too seriously and should just enjoy it when he comes to town and forget the long-distance thing? Should I turn and run and not even be involved with him because it’s long-distance? Or is there some possibility that this could actually work out, regardless of it being long-distance?

Please help me, friends! I’ve never dealt with this before… What’s a love-struck girl to do?

*Update: This issue is no longer a pressing concern. The revelation of the existence of 3 kids kind of put a damper on the relationship… fun times! However, I’d still love to hear anyone’s insight about this topic!

The Roommate and I have traveled similar paths in regards to relationships (although she had the smarts to NOT get married/divorced from a total loser), so we talk a lot about our experiences and compare notes. We talk about dating and relationships constantly.

During one of these not-so-rare discussions about first dates, The Roommate posed this question to me: at the end of a date, what is the one thing that you always will have brought up or mention, no matter what?

Hers was that she always would mention that she’s a pretty hard-core feminist. While she and I share similar views on that topic, I realized I’ve NEVER had that come up in conversation on a first date, or even the first few for that matter.

Instead, I stay to the one topic that I can (and do) talk about for hours: food. I will ALWAYS talk about food– my love of it, my passion of cooking it, and my experiences at various restaurants. I will always talk about food even if we’re not eating, and even if the date is going terribly.

Food is my comfort. It’s my passion. It’s such a dynamic topic– cooking, baking, regional/ethnic food variations, traveling, wine, restaurants… the list just goes on and on and on.

With how many different men I’ve dated, the one trait that is so incredibly important to me is a passion about food. If when I mention shallots, or crème brûlée, they better be able to keep up in the conversation! They don’t necessarily need to be good cooks (although major bonus points if they do!), but to know and appreciate good food is an absolute must!

The Roommate and I have an ever-growing list of the different restaurants we want to try in and around Denver. I read food blogs, email recipes back and forth with my mom and The Roommate, and I will plan my nights around what’s for dinner. If a guy can’t keep up with that and appreciate it on the same level as me, I honestly don’t know if the relationship can continue– because, believe me, I’ve tried and it’s hard to get someone motivated to go to a fine-dining restaurant when they’re content eating turkey sandwiches for every meal…

So, What about you? What is the one thing that you will always mention on a first date?

I’m unashamed about the fact that I am/was seeing a counselor. I believe in the power of good counseling– I was studying to become one in school for goodness sake! I’ve seen it work wonders on members of my family and have witnessed the healing power of it during traumatic times in friends’ lives. I know it’s not for everyone, and most people scoff at it and scorn it, but, honestly, I think everyone could use a therapist now and then 😉

I literally ran to see my counselor before the dust even settled on my ex moving out. I knew that I had made the biggest mistake of my life by marrying him, so I wanted to do any and everything to prevent it happening again.

During our final session last week, we talked through all the lessons I’ve learned over the 2 years I’ve been seeing my counselor. It’s been a life-changing transformation and I know that I could not have done it without the patience and encouragement from her.

I’ve become stronger, learned to trust myself and my instincts, what a bitch shame can be, and above all else to see (and run away from) the RED FLAGS! I cannot tell you how much heartache I could have saved myself if I had just listened to my instincts and let those red flags wave goodbye as I ran as fast as I could away from them… but alas I did not…

It’s a strange sensation to not have my counselor to go see every other Wednesday night at 5:45. I’ve been seeing her for 2 years solid and now I feel strange without something to do on Wednesday… Is it weird that I’ll miss it a little bit? She and I agreed that I’m at a point where I don’t need to come in any more, and that for right now, I’ve learned and processed everything I need to learn and process. I know my weaknesses, the traits in the opposite sex that I need to be on extra-high alert for, and I know my tendencies towards trying to be “perfect.”

But I can only process that so many times in my counselor’s overstuffed couch.

I need to go out and live to test and push myself. I can’t learn to stand up for myself if I don’t actually go out and face people who just might try to tear me down. I need to risk getting my heart-broken by letting a guy in– keeping them at arm’s length will only continue to remind me just how good I am at building walls. I need to practice and become more comfortable with stepping through the walls and put myself out there– and take the risk of pain with the reward of pleasure.

Counseling has enabled me to become the woman I want to be and am continuing to grow into. If it weren’t for her, I’d probably be with another Voldemort, letting him leach off my life and my happiness, all the while trying to change him and make him a better person while I let myself disappear.

NEVER AGAIN!

Never again will a guy be able to take advantage of my low self-esteem, manipulate me into doing what he wants, and above all else, I will never let a guy into my life who does not love and respect me. Before counseling, I would have nodded in agreement that those words sound inspiring and wonderful… but not possible. Now I see that they ARE possible, that a life with a man can be fulfilling for both people, that I can be happy on my own or with a significant other– that being in a relationship with someone does not have to mean I have to lose myself in the process.

Thank you, L, for all you have done to help me find myself and learn to stand by myself, learning that I have something great to give other people, and trusting myself will continue to take some work, but it will pay off big time in the end.

This is a weird addition, but I feel that I need to add it: Along with counseling, the single most influential thing I read when I ended my marriage was Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends by Dr. Bruce Fisher. If you, or someone you know, has recently ended a serious relationship, I cannot recommend this book more! The book was recommended to me by my boss and have been an advocate for it ever since. Throughout the entire book, it was so reassuring to know that I was not alone in how I was feeling or thinking.