Homeland Security. Sorta.

 

I’ve been pondering writing this post for some time now, ever since the Harley man and I started seeing each other, and started dating.  I never was clear as to how to put it into writing, because I didn’t want anyone to think, well, that I was crazy.  (Not that I care, but you know…)

I’ve been plagued in the past with extreme jealousy, and it turns out, I had it with good reason.  Those of you who’ve been reading this blog know the back story, but suffice it to say, I am usually in the dark about someone’s faithfulness.  I never think they will be dishonest or cheat, so I’m usually blown away when it happens.  Because it usually does, in one form or the other.

Lucky for me, I meet Harley guy, who is one of the most honest people I know.  We are also adults, so both of us have had prior relationships, marriages, children, LIFE.  And I know and he knows that we are not immune to outside influence of other men and women…In addition, we never say things like “You’re the only one I’ve ever loved”, or “I’ve never felt like this”, or “This has never happened”, because when you’re in your 50’s, you probably have experienced great highs and lows in love, and as such, you’re not a wide eyed 20 year old.

We’ve come up with a system.   I like it a lot, and in response to SingleMommyHood’s post today,  I thought I’d share it…plus I got Harley Guy’s permission in hopes that it could possibly save a relationship. 

The system is much like the terrorist alert system of Homeland Security…except that those aren’t terrorists.  The only way it works, however, is if you are aware of the people in YOUR life that threaten your relationship.  They are other people.  It works like this.  You see attractive men and women everywhere.  If you have had a problem with jealousy or envy or faithfulness, this will help you determine how safe other people are

·         GREEN:  A person who is coded green is safe.  You are not attracted to him, nor he to you.  It’s maybe like the history teacher who’s really nice, but you have zero interest or flirting or attraction.  He is green.  He is the safest of the group.

·         YELLOW:  A yellow is someone who is interested in you, but you are not interested in them.  Yellow is someone who might wink at you, or pour you a cup of coffee at a meeting, or has made suggestive “water cooler” type comments.  “You look really nice today”, is an example of this.  You have zero intention to them, but they are sort of…interested.

·         ORANGE:  It’s imperative you understand this.  Orange happens when YOU have some type of attraction or interest to the person whether or not they feel the same back and this is the person you find yourself drawn to…you’re making little jokes, flirty comments, etc.  You are convinced that nothing would ever happen, but if you were available…it might be a different story. 

·         RED:  Red alerts are scary.  This is someone with whom you’ve had prior intimate contact, or someone who alerts you so strongly that you know you shouldn’t be alone with him.  Like ever.  Reds are people who continue to come after you even though you’ve told them to stop.  When I told an old boyfriend of my new Harley guy, he kept emailing me saying “He’s not for you.”  Clearly he had other intentions.  But, he was RED. 

The system only works if each partner takes responsibility for the alerts.  You don’t get on a plane without going through security, and you should be aware at some level that people you deal with on a daily basis can be threats to your relationships.  My problem was that I never thought of other women as threats.  “They would never do that to me.”  Well, they don’t.  They do it to themselves.

The goal of the Alert System is to be present.  To be aware.  To be real.  To know your limits, and take responsibility for security measures.    I guess if you want your relationship to be secure, you need to know that you are not immune to terrorists of any sort. 

To answer the question, how do you know!!??  You don’t.  You only know your level of honesty.  That is what is in your control…

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Wherein Online Dating Is Taken Off The Plate.

It’s been a long time.  He moved out in February 2007, and although it took me awhile to untangle from him, okay 3 years…I have finally accepted the fact that I am moving into new territory.  Dating.  Real dating.  Not the “hey let’s have a coffee” thing.   But, actually considering going out and spending an evening with someone. 

Now, I was given strict instructions that I should wait a year before dating.  Okay, it’s been 3.  I’ve done dinner and movies with my girlfriends TO DEATH.  And, I just feel like it’s time to MAYBE get some male energy into my life.  Starting last summer, I thought I was ready for this, but I wasn’t. 

So here’s what’s happened.  I joined eHarmony.  I did.  For about 5 minutes.  I met someone who lived in a nearby town, but I really COULDN’T meet him because he was a farmer.  And I am in a small farming community, and while I’m clear writing about it on the blog could leak out much faster than town gossip, I’m willing to put it on here.

Because.  It’s a really funny story.

Long story.  Succinct.  I meet this guy, and BIG MISTAKE I ask my ex husband if he knows him.  “Linda, we went to school with him at Fresno State”.  I panic.  Why did I even tell the ex?  I keep forgetting that no.  We are not friends.  We have two kids together, but I can’t be around him more than an hour until I’m reminded of the reasons that we are not together.  So, I go off of eHarmony.  I’m too afraid to get in a dating pool so close to home.  I had already gotten word that the guy had closed the match because I had no picture. 

Then I start thinking.  Hey, why don’t I go back on, put on a picture, and wait for this guy to be matched with me?  Okay sounds like a great plan.  I even use a different name.  In the interim, my ex husband goes to an ag meeting, and asks an old college pal of ours how this guy is doing.  I hadn’t told ex that I found him on eHarmony, just that I heard *D* was single, etc.  I’m quite sure that he would skewer me over hot coals if he found out I had tried that.  Even once.

So. The guy and I are matched.  We start the process.  I pay the money.  $45 for 3 months.  I say to myself.  I’m only going on there for this particular person.  So, we exchange must haves, can’t stands, questions, etc., and he finally sends me an email.  I’m thinking this is going along smoothly.  Until I read the email. 

Hi L!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How are you??????????????????

Goooooooooooooooooood morning!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you getting the picture?  I looked in horror at the email.  I thought perhaps he really was excited is all.  Until I get the next one.  And the next one.  There is an over abuse of punctuation that even I cannot stomach.  Finally, I call him…and this is where the story ends.  During the course of the conversation, I realize that he is on eHarmony because he wants a relationship.  And, I don’t.  I don’t.  Not yet.  Not until I am different.

I was able to say no thank you.  I was able to bow out gracefully.  He continued to send me an over abuse of punctuation.

Let me know if you want to have coffee…………………………………………………

And, while I know that I start sentences with “and, but and because”,  I’m no over-punctuator…and I can’t have one in my life.  However, the truth is this:  Online dating is not for me.  It’s not.  Because if I’m attracted to anyone, I can make all your faults work, and you mine.  Getting a recipe for matching doesn’t work for THIS girl, because I am outside the box.  I can’t even really explain myself. 

His last email:

I’d love to meet just as friends if you want to get together.  Let me know.  Just call me.

Very little punctuation.  Just like I like it.

I contacted eHarmony.  They gave me a one time pass on paying the last two installments.  I call this, my $45 experiment.  The next time I meet someone, it will have to be random and sporadic and nonsensical.  Non linear and not rational.  Because…my heart…my heart just doesn’t fit on a profile.

I thought it’d be different

Sitting here on a Saturday night, planning tomorrow’s 12 miler.  Baking banana bread.  Doing laundry.  Dogs sleeping somewhere in the house.  Christmas decorations still in the garage, ready to go in the rafters.

And somehow, I thought it would be different.

I thought I would spin out yet another relationship.  Meet, Marry, Repeat.  Because.  I was 30 the first time I divorced.  The world was my smorgasboard.  The men were prolific.  Silly, fun.  Still young enough to wear tank tops and go braless, and flip flops to the market.  I was the kind of teacher who could take a week off with her current boyfriend to just go…and do what you do when you’re able.

So, I am two weeks shy of a 3 year separation.  And.  I thought it would be different.  I thought I’d be dating.  I thought a new man would suddenly appear, and I wouldn’t have to go to one of those dating sites because you know…GOD should put him in my path right?  (Sidenote, eharmony said I was *stable*, after I took their test.  I knew then that it was bullshit) I would be getting ready to go out to an adult date.  Whatever that is.  Whatever adults do on dates.  Opera? Line Dancing? I have no idea.

The fact that there are 2 boys involved here make it so much less easy to try to get *out there*.  I don’t want to disparage their dad.  I don’t know.  I don’t want them to have to pick.  To have a step-dad or step-mom’s boyfriend or whatever it’s called. 

I walk through my house some days…the house that I’m losing, and I think I need to stay here.  I have put so much into this…but there are ghosts.  Marriage voodoo, leftover bad mamajama in certain rooms.  No amount of sage & praying will remove the room where I confronted him about the affair he said he wasn’t having.  Or where we had countless arguments about how I couldn’t move on.  About how I couldn’t let go.

There are days that I want the house.  And days when I can’t wait to leave.  Wherever we go, we have a lot of baggage, furniture, a room full of old toys and books that my boys can’t bear to give away, no matter how many trips to Salvation Army I beg them to take with me.  I have their college fund in Thomas the Tank Engine.  We have dogs.  Expensive, fence eating dogs.

But, I thought it would be different.  That I would have moved on, moved in, or established something new.  I thought I was 30.  Twenty years later, divorce is different.  For many reasons.

So, I bake my bread for brunch with the girls tomorrow.   I fold laundry and watch a movie, and take the time to wash my hair after the spa. 

I’m not waiting for a man to complete me.  I’m complete, and happy.  I’m just ready.  Where is he?

I do not know how to date.

 

Well, what am I supposed to do? You won’t answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I’m not gonna be ignored, Dan! *

This is the psycho woman who lives in my head.  Flicking the lights on and off.  Feeling insane.  Feeling out of control and powerless.  And, while I’m not going to be cooking anyone’s bunny, I certainly feel the kind of fear that paralyzes me.  and makes me act out in ways I can’t describe.

No one has ever really said no to me.  Ever.

He said maybe, I said maybe.  Then I said I love you and he said we have too much history, and I’d like to date others, and my brain said panic, and my heart said ouch.  and he said i have to sort this out.

My legs started walking, and he said goodbye…and we made plans, and I don’t know how to do this.  and we talk about our kids and our schedules and bring the kids to the half marathon and let’s get a babysitter and i’m just telling you how i feel.  the truth.  and i told him my truth too.

and we made another date.

I have never dated.  I’ve had relationships.  Lots of relationships.  Married twice, lived with twice, serial relationships, never losing a baton in the pass.

I have no baton. 

And it’s been 2.5 years, and I still have no baton.  And, what do people do who have dinner and a movie?  I do not know how to do this.  Two weeks after i met my first husband, we were engaged. 

I keep telling the little girl inside of me that she will not be left.  And, it’s getting quite painful.

It’s not about the man or a man.  It’s about power.  And, how I don’t have any.  And for now, it will just have to be okay.

This isn’t the usual topic on my blog.  But it’s my blog.  My life.  My heart. 

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*Glenn Close, in Fatal Attraction, as if you didn’t know.

The Buffet Table

Warning:  This is about dating.  And, no, I’m not naming names or going into detail.  I have no job, I have no prospects.  I’m like George, on the show where the girl digs him because he is doing The Opposite.

Dating: I’m using robman’s analogy on this one. 

I think it’s time.  Not to have a relationship, but perhaps…to go on a date.  Maybe.  So, a man fixes me dinner at his house the night before my Half Marathon.  A man I met at an AA meeting, built, a mountain biker…sober a long while…And I go there, thinking that maybe just maybe I can have a normal conversation under the heading “Getting to know you.”

I don’t like it.  Not the being with a man thing.  The hello-here’s-who-i-am thing.  Just the vanilla version.  I’m sick of myself already!  I have a bazillion credentials, some letters behind my name, and kids and house, and all that…sober, blah blah blah…

No.  I don’t like it.

I’d much rather be with the man who fathered my children…because he knows all the details of who i am.  He knows the pitfalls, the good stuff, what to expect.  We spend time together.  I go a little psycho on myself, because IS THIS IT?  Oh my god.  I think way too much.

Robman, my best male friend.  No scratch that.  It matters little whether or not he’s a male.  I told him everything, my insanity.  My crazy head.

We talk about my ex-husband and I dating.  He says.  Linda, you can’t go to the Buffet table with a dirty plate, that it’s not a good idea….that perhaps I’m all psycho because i can’t let go and i want him to push ME away.  Because I’m too much of a chickenshit to do it myself. 

Please, for the love of God.  I love therapy…with friends, or the paying for kind.  I love how this pal of mine can straighten me out.  In a minute.

My ex-husband and me?  Light and easy, and taking it slow.  Like any new person you would date.  Non-commital, and it’s not about the kids.  It’s about if this man, who I’ve known for 30 years has changed…or if I’ve changed.

Is it possible to take a clean plate to the buffet table, and get something different? 

((And, just like that, this blog now has a *dating* category.  Because, at some point, I am going to do that.  I am.))