Slow burn continued

During the past 6 months I feel like I have really been putting into practice my “dating in the now” philosophy. Is it a philosophy or a mindset??

The steps I have taken have been;

1) focus on the behaviour of the person, not the words. We are really good at selling our best selves but it’s the follow through that is often lacking. Car guy told me when we first met how he wants to get back into skiing (I love skiing) but once we were dating he had zero time, and really zero interest. Which bring me to #2

2) Actually doing things that I want to do. No more focusing just on what the guy likes to do and then planning all our dates around that! I want to do my activities too! And this needs to actually happen..no more lip service. You like mountain biking as much as I do (or so you say to get me to agree to meet up), well guess what we are going to actually do on a date! Probably before we get to the sex! So many guys I have dated have stopped having interest in doing things that I wanted to do once they got what they were after. That’s all the dates seemed to centre around. Date me before you bed me is my new mantra!

3) Date in the NOW. I am not looking to start a family with someone, so their long term potential does not matter as much as it once did. I don’t know how long life is going to go on for so do I need to be assessing someone based on their long term viability? For me, no. Do I want a guy who is going to skip out on date 8, no, that would suck, but I’m not going to stress about the what if’s anymore.

4) which also means that I am not going to stress about how a guy looks “on paper”. By this I mean, does he make enough, is he in a profession that matches mine or my expectations (blue collar vs white collar). At one point those things mattered to me a lot. Especially when I was looking to build a life with someone and have kids etc. I did not want to make more money than the person I was dating. I dated one guy once who made less than I did (20 years ago) and I didn’t like it. Now, since I am dating in the now, how much he makes doesn’t matter. I am living on my own, paying my own way, and as long as his financial limitations do not impact dates and adventures we can have then so be it!

And this brings me to the Funny Guy.

On paper, he would be a definite no-go. Dude is separated as of a year and a half ago but not divorced. He moved into his parents to save for his own place a year ago and still lives there. The company he worked for, for 20 years, laid everyone off two months ago and he is without a full time job.

Jesus, I’m laughing as I type this because I truly adore him, but on paper he is a nightmare. Normally I would run for the hills. But rather than base my decision on all of these things, I instead decided to slow the f#ck down.

He had a job when we had our first date..so at that time it was just the living with the parents that kinda sucked. BUT he was so incredibly funny and down to earth and COMFORTABLE on our first date, that I knew I needed to see him again.

What is happening to me??

In my dating history I have found that I have a tendency to jump in hot and heavy. And once I like a guy, the more attached I get to him if I am under the impression that he likes me. If I see red flags I ignore them because, heck, he likes me! In my mind I start to envision a life with this person, things we could do together and events we could attend, places we will travel. I have an entire relationship with them in my mind by one month in. And then I am attached. I feel like it’s similar, for me, to the affair fog. If the guy breaks up with me while I am deep in this fog, this relationship building in my mind, I tend to feel over attached and devastated at the loss of the person. I believe this is what happened with the Fireman when we first dated. I was over the top attached to him after not really knowing him at all.

If the relationship lasts to about 4-5 months I have noticed the fog starts lifting and I am able to actually see the person based on their behaviour and actions and not what I have built them to be in my mind. I am able to see where my wishes and reality don’t match up. This is the time where I am the one to end the relationship if things are not as I would like them to be, if we truly are not compatible. In the case of FunTimesCheaterPantsAl, (FTCPA), he was super good at making his actions and my wishes align, so it was 6 months before I could see him for who he was. I do still miss the fun times and adventures though!

In the past 8 months I have felt in a really weird place.

I decided after my official separation that this year was going to be a year of doing things that bring me joy. Not things I thought I should be doing, or things that others think I should be doing, but things that really make me happy. Building memories with my kids is one of those things, so I have been taking them on more adventures. I’m trying to not over spend but I’m also not letting the idea of debt hold me back (still not in debt so things are okay!).

I’m also trying to look at my relationships for if they are bringing me joy..joy Right Now. Im tired of meeting men who are great at telling me who they are but suck at showing me. Men who say they are adventurous and like to get out and do things but then turn out to be too busy to actually do those things. I have no time for that in my new joy experiencing life!

With this shift in thinking I am also not looking at dating and men in terms of long term. I have zero desire to get married again. I feel it’s really pointless. I would love the honeymoon but one does not need to marry to celebrate being together with a lovely vacation!

I also have no desire to be a step parent or have someone else parent my kids. I don’t want to live with another man until my kids are grown and out of the home. My ideal mate would have his own place, we would spend our childfree time and together and some family time with our kids together occasionally. If we continue to enjoy each other’s company when our kids are grown then we re-evaluate, determine what would bring us the most joy at that point. Perhaps it’s buying a home together or buying an RV and travelling our beautiful country! Who knows! All that I know at this point is that I LOVE my home, parenting my kids on my own and doing things that I enjoy!

This is a far cry different from how I dated before. I would invest myself in finding out what made my partner happy and then tried to achieve that for them. Even with FTCPA, I enjoyed our adventures and the places we travelled, but really it was all about things he wanted to do and experience…I was just someone willing to go along. This time around I am in the drivers seat. But as much as I enjoy it, it’s also extremely unsettling. Now I just have to figure out why.

The slow burn

After the debacle with the drunk fireman, I decided to stay off the dating apps for a few months. I was moving into my new home and had a lot to do, so it didn’t bother me to be single and not dating in that time. I welcomed the peace.

When I did go back online I was not in love with the process. I matched with many, chatted with some and eventually accepted dates with a few. I am not wired to date multiple people at once anymore. I highly recommend it for most people…best to not put your eggs in one basket too early, but I’m enjoying my alone time more these days and don’t want to have to try to figure out how to schedule time for multiple people.

I met two noteworthy gentlemen in the last 6 months. I swiped right on both of them in the same day and both initiated conversation. The Car Guy asked me out first and I let the Funny Guy know a few days later that I had been out with someone and was focusing on just one person at a time these days and wished him well. He was super awesome about it and wished me luck with my dating. Two months later found me back online as although Car Guy was hot and heavy initially, he eventually had to admit he “didn’t know what he was looking for” (ie: really just wanted a friend with benefits and not real dates). So I wished him well (I don’t want to be just a late night FWB…I like going out on dates!!).

I thought of Funny Guy and wondered if he had any luck the previous two months, however I thought it would be rude of me to reach out as I didn’t want him to feel like Plan B. Realistically if he had not been so slow to ask me out it would have been him I accepted the first date from.

So I did not reach out and instead went back on the apps. In the second day on I came across Funny Guys profile and swiped right…we matched immediately. I sent the first message this time as I was eager to talk to him. When he responded he did so by text and said that he had kept my number as he hoped I would return. We talked briefly about the dates he had been on (I asked, I was curious). He quickly asked me out and noted the error of not doing this sooner the first time.

Our first date was dinner and a movie, which normally I do not do for a first meeting. Our time together was lovely, filled with laughter as he truly is hilarious. Little did I know that I was about to enter a weird phase of my dating experience and he would play a part.

An end of a marriage..

After things ended with FTCP ( Fun times Cheater Pants pt 2 ) I started seeing the The Fireman… again. He had contacted me while I was dating FTCP and we had managed to maintain a friendship. He professed that he wanted me back at one point, but I kept things platonic and he knew I was in a relationship. We had been in touch after I ended things with FTCP and so the Fireman invited me away for a weekend of ATVing with his friends. I loved the idea of getting to do something fun and outdoors with him so I immediately said yes.

When we were together the feelings of lust and affection returned and we soon considered ourselves back together. Over the months we talked about loving each other and wanting to build a home together. I decided to talk to J and let him know that it was time to either sell the house or (preferably) buy me out. I was going to live with the fireman and live out the pretend life we planned together. J was on board with this idea as he and his girlfriend were quite serious by this point and I am pretty sure he wanted to move things along in their relationship.

The fireman and I started to somewhat cohabitate with me living with him on my weeks I did not have the kids. I would bring my kids to stay at his home when it was my weekend with them and sometimes through the week. It was in this time of “pretend” living together that I was able to see what living with the Fireman would really be like, and it involved a LOT of alcohol.

All the plans of things we were going to do together never materialized. He was tired or wanting to put plans off for some reason or another. And then there was the silent treatment. If I did something that annoyed him or made him mad he would go for ages not talking to me. This I could not stand.

The final straw came after some texts I found on his phone from a colleague that really bordered on flirtatious. His reaction to my asking about this relationship really came as a surprise. He yelled, he swore and then he didn’t talk to me for over 24 hours. I moved my belongings out of his home the next day and started a search for my own home.

Within two weeks I found an adorable condo in an awesome area just 1 mile from the house where J still lives. The kids can bike and walk freely between both homes and they spend a week with each parent while still being close to their friends.

I really wonder if the Fireman was brought into my life to show me that I needed change and to give me the courage to move forward. I know one thing for sure that I learned about myself from this experience…I will never live with another man again til my children are grown.

Fun times Cheater Pants pt 2

At the 3 month mark he asked if he was going to have to write and pass an exam to officially become my boyfriend. I debated actually making up at test, but said that the real test was whether we would keep our profiles on the dating apps. In his many years of dating since his divorce 8 years earlier he has never taken his profile down while in a relationship.

We talked it over and decided to delete our profiles altogether. I didn’t ask him to or push him to, I let him know it was really up to him and I was good either way. I will still married after all. He showed me his profiles as he deleted them and realized he felt good with this decision.

When we had been away and I found the flirty text from his “just a friend”, I felt hurt and disappointed. He was the one that was pushing our relationship beyond the casual stage…so I didn’t understand why he would still be making plans with other women. He insisted he wasn’t.

On the way home from our weekend away we talked it over and I agreed to keep seeing him. We had so much fun together, had amazing chemistry and at that point the relationship was offering me everything I was looking for.

A couple more months went by. Road trips and many fun moments. We spent time with each other’s friends. As the kids knew that mommy and daddy were separated, I introduced them to and we spent a couple of times together with my kids.

One day I was working from my home and he was working from his. I received a text from my sister that said something along the lines of “hey this guy looks like Allan!” And she sent a screen shot of a POF profile. Sure enough…it was him.

My heart sank a little but I was not entirely surprised. He even sent a message to her, something funny about her profile but not flirty really. She didn’t respond.

I phoned and asked gently “hey when did you go back online??”. He attempted to act ask though he had no idea what I was talking about and I let him know he had reached out to my sister. He talked about being in a dark place the night before and needed a confidence boost so went online to get the thrill of matches. I could understand the draw and addiction that matching with people, and flirting, can bring but I was so disappointed that he couldn’t just be honest with me. I was in an open marriage for Pete’s sake! If anyone could understand what he was going through it would be me.

We talked through it and he insisted that he still wanted to be with me, he wanted to go on our trip to Vegas where he had a work conference. We had planned to meet up with some of his friends there.

I told him that I would still date him because we always had such a fun time together and we did so many things together, BUT we were both free to see other people. I told him that I had no desire to go back online, life was too busy and I enjoyed my free time with him, but that he was welcome to stay online, and date to his hearts content. I discussed that as long as he was making time for me, as I was for him, I was fine with us not being exclusive.

Two nights later we went to a concert together that he had planned for us to attend. Afterwards we went to his home and I asked to see his dating profile. He claimed he wasn’t on it but that he had not yet deleted it. I looked at what he had written and laughed that the description of what he was looking for was everything we had together. The only exception is that I have kids in grade school and he would like someone with older teens who are about to leave the home.

While in his phone, with him beside me, I clicked onto his messages and saw the name Christine, which I had seen pop up every now and then. I looked at their chat…again he was beside me and knew I was snooping…and was surprised by what I found.

A few weeks earlier he had been off to a conference in San Francisco. I didn’t accompany him as I was going to be attending the one in Vegas with him two months later. In his chat with Christine they are were discussing this conference and he offered to share his hotel room with her and she took him up on this offer. I asked him about what I just read and he tried to insist they were “just friends” and that they each had their own queen bed. I quickly reminded him that we had been texting when he arrived there and he sent me a picture of his room with a gorgeous king size bed. He didn’t know what to say.

I was done. The trust was gone. Had this taken place after we agreed to go exclusive I would have had no issue with it, but the continual lies were just too much.

Our relationship ended just over a year ago now. He still reaches out and we chat. I will always remember all the amazing fun times we had together. Through our time together I remembered how much fun it can be to get out there and explore. To try new things, new foods and to look for adventure. While our ending was disappointing I truly feel okay with how things turned out.

Fun times Cheater Pants…

In November 2017, while still in the (sexless) open marriage, I met a fellow on POF named Al. He was super cute and super handsome. 6 feet tall, good build, looked amazingly sexy in a suit and totally adorable in casual mode.

He was so fun to date because he actually enjoyed taking me out on dates. We hit breweries, played darts, tried to teach me to golf, took various rode trips to different cities. It was because of him that I asked J to consider us being able to have the kids every other weekend. This way I could spend alternate weekends with Al visiting places and having adventures!

On one of our adventures we traveled to a city to check out some craft breweries and also visited the local casino. Of course with our relationship also being highly sexual this had to include sex in the car at an empty church parking lot. I am surely going to hell.

On another day I took the day off work to accompany him on a 3 hour drive he had to make for work to get a contract signed. It was on this trip I declared the new “road trip rule”: every time he takes us on a road trip which leaves our city, road head would be involved. Of course he loved this rule 😜

While in new cities we would always search up the best restaurant for different types of food (pizza, shawarma, Italian etc) and we would go with that cities #1 rated choice on trip advisor.

He took me to a fun city for a weekend away to celebrate St Paddies day where we hung out and drank beer with the locals, attended a parade and also took on some fine dining. Unfortunately it was this weekend that things started to unravel.

While he went to the washroom a message popped up on his phone screen. “I’m glad you’re having a good time, I’m sorry I couldn’t come”. It was from a girl…someone he had maintained was “just friend”. I asked him what she meant by being sorry she could not come…did she know it was our weekend away?? Why did she think she was invited?? He tells me she didn’t mean anything by it…and no he had not asked her to come away.

This had me thinking about his other female friendships and the status of our relationship. As I was in an open marriage I could hardly complain if he wanted to see other people. BUT it was he who had initiated the exclusivity talk and who was asking when he could be considered my “boyfriend”. I had suggested we wait til 3 months before we decided to discuss the status of our relationship and just have fun in the meantime. He agreed…but once 3 months hit we had the talk.

Ch..Ch..Changes..

It’s amazing how much can change in the span of a year or so.

In 2015 J and I opened our marriage…in the fall of 2017 we told our family, friends and children of our plans for separation and decision to continue with cohabitation, and the fall or 2018 when J bought me out of our family home and I moved just 1 mile away into a condo that I couldn’t be more in love with.

Soon J’s girlfriend will be moving into the home and living with my kids 50% of the time. I, on the other hand, have no desire to share my home with any man and plan to live on my own with the kids until they are grown and all moved out!

At this point I cannot fathom letting a man move into my home. I intentionally left J with the majority of the furniture so that I could start my new beginning without dragging the old into my new life. I have bought furniture and decorated each room of my home exactly how I want it. The children each have their own rooms, which they have been able to decorate how they see fit. I do not want to have to make space for someone else’s stuff or for someone else to try to put their stamp on my home.

I also cannot imagine selling my home and dragging my kids to yet another location. I chose this location so that the kids would be able to bike between homes and walk to school from both of their homes. It truly is ideal and I feel that at this time I am living my best life…for myself and my kids.

The only challenge in my life at this point is figuring out this whole dating thing.

The Banker

Although J and I opened our marriage in the spring of 2015, I didn’t start online dating until the fall.  I immediately started chatting with two men. The first was The Banker. He was tall and very handsome. He was divorced 3 years and just looking for casual sex, which worked for what I was seeking at the time. Unfortunately something came up and I had to cancel. He was understanding about it and we continued chatting here and there but didn’t arrange another date. Soon enough I was dating someone else and deleted my Tinder profile. When that relationship ended I started and new profile on Tinder and again came across The Banker. We both matched again and quickly picked up taking again. Although we enjoyed catching up with one another we never arranged another date.

Fast forward two years and at least three times of me deleting my profile while dating someone and then recreating it. The Banker and I match each time and laugh about this as we play rounds of catch up with one another.  

Finally.. last month.. just after the break up with the Fireman, I have had enough of just catching up with the Banker and decided that I needed to finally meet this man, who until then, lived in my phone. 

I reached out to him via text and told him that we needed to meet. He was quickly in agreement and we were soon on the same page that this was going to be a meet and greet to also include a booty call if we both desired. 

We met at his home which was just as upscale as I imagined. He looked exactly like his photos..rugged yet endearing. He served me wine and told me that I looked and spoke exactly as he imagined after 2 years of text banter. We spent over 3 hours talking and laughing before he took me to his bedroom. His kissing was divine.. I adored his mouth.. but when his pants came off this was when I realized that he wasn’t going to be the FWB for me. 

I would normally argue that size doesn’t matter, that it shouldn’t matter but sadly it sometimes does. I know that the Banker enjoyed himself..his 10 minutes of hard breathing, rapid thrusting, grunts and groans suggested that he did, unfortunately it was not what I had hoped for. 

Some things really are better left to the imagination.

I have not heard a peep from the Fireman since our break up almost two weeks ago. Although I liked him more than he deserved I feel like I am managing well.

I have moments of sadness where I am over taken by memories of the good times we had together but then I use my training in CBT to do some self talk and change my thoughts (oh we seemed so right for each other) in hopes of changing my feelings (sorrow, heartache..the pull to avoid the pain) which then works to change my behavior (reaching out to him to remind him that we did have such good times). 

It helps that I have as many memories of shitty times with him as I do good…so it’s pretty easy to talk myself into not missing him. 

But those moments of missing him do still creep up on me.

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy by dating and having sex. It’s been entertaining and I will write more later in separate posts about my recent experiences. 

Right now I would like to focus on how hard it is to go through heart break while also helping your (recently) separated husband go through heartache of his own. And how weird it is when we are both not heart broken over one another. 

J has been super amazing while helping me deal with each of my breakups from the Fireman (we were on/off for months..it was ridiculous). As J and I are still sharing the house and coparenting the kids, he would run interference for me with the kids when he knew my heartache was impacting my energy and patience level. He never judged.. he was always so supportive. The only thing he said recently was “So I think that maybe this should be the last of the Fireman”. I had to agree. It’s not fair to my kids or to their understanding father for me to keep putting myself in a situation that causes such rise and fall of my emotional well being.

Recently J went through a break up of his own. A woman he had been spending a lot of time getting to know had decided to make things more official between herself and another man she was dating and thus meant pulling back from J. I could see what she was doing before he did and it broke my heart for him to know this break up was inevitable. 

I feel to blame for his sadness. I know that had I been able to remain in our marriage he would not be having to put himself out there in the dating world. I’ve been spending time now truing to manage the kids and the house more so that he can take time to heal. He just returned from a four day trip out west to see his best friend and he seems to have come back in better spirits, which is good as I feel like I am now slipping back into sadness over the fireman.

(I started this post last week..funny how emotions fluctuate in such a short period of time)

Given the pattern of back and forth with the fireman, my therapist suggested that I have a response prepared for if he reaches out again. His pattern has been to pull away.. I end things and then he comes back and wants to talk it out where he then assures me that he is the person he was in the beginning..only to pull away again a couple weeks later. My pattern has been to let him go but then readily accept him back when he professes his adoration for me and wants another chance. He and I are both equally a hot mess. 

So here is what I will say if he tries one more time:

I’m sorry, I just can’t. We both know how much I liked you and upon further reflection I don’t think I was treated in a way that I deserved from someone who claimed to like me.

When we first met I was truly and whole heartedly myself. I am fun and funny, honest and “cheeky” as you called it. I dont take myself too seriously and I like to have fun and joke around and be playful. That is who I am. That is who I was when we met and for the first few weeks but because of the way you treated me..I began to change and I don’t like who I became. She wasn’t me. 

When I realized that you were judging the things I was saying and using them as reasons to pull away from me without even talking to me and clarifying with me, I began to be more thoughtful in what I was saying and doing. I was trying to not be too affectionate because I learned you were not really as affectionate when sober as you claimed to be when drunk. I began to joke around less as I became nervous that you were judging me and finding me failing. I curbed my sarcasm so as not to hurt your feelings. I just wasn’t free to be myself as I was so focused on showing you that it was okay for you to be who you actually were. It’s pretty ironic that in my pursuit of showing you that I accepted who you are, I lost myself.

So no, I don’t want to have another talk or another “restart”. We tried enough and I was left hurt and feeling uncared for. I do not intend to be that girl again