Fun


That surprise ending the other night might become a surprise beginning. I am so glad that I broke out of my comfort zone. Just a week ago, I was saying that I didn’t have time to date. There were no good men left at least ones that were compatible for me and then BAM!! Just like in Bambi, I am walking around minding my own business, I walk into a handsome face and am twitterpated. Okay, not that blatant or strong of feelings yet but for the first time in a LONG time, I feel that I may have actually found someone that is worth considering giving some time to. I am talking about the cute guy at the bar the other day.

We met for ice cream yesterday at 3ish, per his text. I am a very punctual person so i took that at three, I got to town early, ran an errand, sat in my car for a few minutes as I didn’t want to get there too early but I am a ten minute early or you are late girl. I get out of my car at about ten till and he is crossing the street to get there. He is PUNCTUAL. We had our ice cream and I told him that I had a movie date with a friend to see IT last night so was going to be in town alone until about 8:30 but no plans until then. We talked, we walked, we decided to have dinner and walk and talk some more.  We laughed, we had not awkward moments of silence. We joked. We learned that we have so much in common. He was a perfect gentleman and never even touched me. I was actually a little disappointed a couple of times that he didn’t hold my hand. He had plenty of opportunities. We ended up sitting on a bench for the last thirty minutes together listening to some music at the distillery across the street. He kept asking how much time until I had to meet my friend. I let him know that I didn’t expect him to occupy my time until then and that I always have a book if I have to wait for someone. He wanted to stay with me. The time came to leave, five hours after we met, and he walked me to my car. He gave me a great hug. He just held me so tight. It was really nice. He whispered asking if I would like to see him again. I told him yes and asked him if he wanted to see me again. When we were hugging, I realized that he is pretty tall and pulled back to ask him how tall (6’1″) and he kissed me. WOW. That was amazing. He pulled away and said, on that note, goodnight.

I have hardly been able to keep him off my mind. He is new to the area. Actually had housing with the summer job that brought him here and is looking for a place to live right now. He just started working for the city a few weeks ago and wants to stay here. I sure hope he does. I think this guy has potential. We talked about so many things and some were pretty important. He is a year older than I am but I thought he was probably about 5 years younger. He also thought I was younger. He is physically fit, funny, kind. We have the same basic values. We have not set up a second date yet but I sure look forward to it. I have a crush on him.

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I have been spending a bit of time with ex-bf/bff  lately. It has been so nice to have time with him alone. I have missed talking to him so much. I have mentioned that he and his girlfriend broke up the beginning of July and he also lost his dog the same week. I was worried about him for a bit but he seems to be doing well now. He has been going to some personal growth retreats and he is really working on getting over his baggage. I sure hope that someday he can truly find happiness with himself so he can find it with somebody else. I will always love him but, unfortunately, I cannot go back to him, even if he asked. We did fool around on my birthday. It was nice to be back in his arms and kiss him again. It would  have been easy to open my heart back to him but I refuse to. As I have said before, I believe that love is a choice. I won’t give my heart back to him at this point and I have told him that. I choose not to love him like that again unless he is ready to let me in. Even then, it would not be a given. I would have to really think about it. He would have to earn me back.  I love how honest we are with each other. I love that I can tell him these things and he tells me that he still worries about hurting me when he is with someone else.

Last weekend, we went on a hike to a natural hot springs. Yes, we soaked naked. It was so nice sitting next in the hot springs with the cold river flowing by.  We have talked so much about our growth since we split up. I know the things he has done and he asked me what I have done. He also thinks that some of what I say is just words because I still occasionally say that I want a man. I have explained to him that those times are actually few anymore. I like my space. I love my freedom. So many times, I hear couples on the street and think to myself how glad I am not to be in a relationship. Even as few as a few months ago, I would sometimes get sad when I saw a couple holding hands walking down the street. Now, I really feel nothing. Not anger and pity, like I felt right after my divorce. I was such a cynic and was sure that they were all making a mistake in trusting and loving. I also, not longer feel sad because I am alone. I feel happy for them and hope it lasts. I do sometimes wonder if I will ever find that BUT it is truly not a concern anymore.

So, what have I done to grow? I have been thinking about that since he asked. One is that I spend so much time alone that I can think. Most of my workday, I spend thinking about my life and reflecting. I also blog here. This is so good for me. Not only is it journaling but I get feedback and see my feelings are normal and others feel the same way. I read LOTS of books and blogs. I am exercising not just at work but weight lifting again. I have loved that since I was a teen and haven’t done for years. I love how it makes me feel mentally and physically.  I am also spending more time with friends and reconnecting with people. My birthday helped with that. When you are content with your life and yourself, a partner becomes less important.

One of the things that I thought about the other day is WHY am  I so content alone right now? Of course, there is the standard, I can do what I want, when I want, without anyone having any say or worrying about being criticized for my choices and feelings as I did for years. My big AHA moment came the other day though. I had been dwelling on this for days and it just popped into my head. For the first time in my life, I am taking care of ME only. I am 50 years old and don’t need to take care of anyone but me and my puppies. Of course, I am still here for my kids but I am my priority for the first time. It is such a free feeling. I can go hike with my ex-bf, get naked and sit in a hot spring. I can go have beer with a friend. I can sit on my couch naked and blog. I can go to bed at 7 or at midnight. I can have ice cream for breakfast or dinner, if I choose. I am fifty years old and feel better physically and mentally than I did at 35. I am healthier. I am fit. I am sexy. I am beautiful and strong. I am independent. I am not lonely at all. I plan to continue growing and getting better with age. We all should.

I had such a great birthday. The celebration culminated last night and now it is time to recover. The actual day was fabulous. I went to town and got my hair done. I like getting highlights and hadn’t done so in a long time to decided to spoil myself. Got a nice cut and felt beautiful. Afterwards, I went to Starbucks to get a coffee and read a bit when one of my friends that was joining me for dinner texted me. She had gotten into town early, too, and needed to blow time. We live in the adjoining town about 25 miles away. She joined me for coffee and then we went to Ex-bf/bff house for me to finish getting ready. The  fun was ready to begin.

We headed back into town to meet the rest at the restaurant. We get seated and are waiting for the rest of the group to show up when an older couple walk in, each carrying a yellow rose. They come over to me, wish me a happy birthday and hand me the roses. I had no idea who they were. Then someone else came in with a rose, then another. Eventually, I realized that my friend and his girlfriend (she had stayed outside) were doing this. I ended up getting 50 flowers delivered to me by random strangers on the street. I had not expected (nor really wanted gifts) but everyone brought something. Ex-bff gave me a backpacking tent. R came and brought me a bottle of one of my favorite wines. My girlfriends gave me a journal, candle, travel mug, and a flask filled with rum. My kiddo came in after work and brought in a Baskin Robbins cake. The crew paid for my dinner (also not expected) and then we all had cake. I was real surprised to have a friend that moved away show up unexpected. She was in town and did some stalking to find out where I was. I felt so loved. I realized that I will never be alone here. I have family that are not related. Next time that I feel down or lonely, I know that I can call each of those people and probably others. After dinner, most went home but four of us went out on the town. We hit a few bars and the pool hall.

The next day, I went to Ex-bf house and we went down the river in our duckies. I will admit that we did fool around a bit. I was tired and took a nap and he joined me. He wanted to give me the physical attention for my birthday, too. I fell in love with him on my birthday three years ago. I did realize that I am truly over him though. My romantic feelings aren’t there for him at this point. I do still love him and wouldn’t mind if we found our way back to each other but I realize that until HE is emotionally healthy that I do not want him.  That was very eye opening for me.

I have continued to celebrate all week. My mom and sister came down to bring my nephew his things and we had a great time together. We even ended up at the same restaurant one night and the bartenders had ice cream brought out to me and everyone sang to me. If this past week is any indication, this year will be a great one. A big part of that is my attitude. I love that I am finally comfortable alone. I keep turning down dates because I have something else I would rather do. I have come a long way in four years. My divorce was final August 23, 2013 so I also celebrate my Freedom day during my birthday every year now.

My life has been super crazy the past few weeks. I have a lot to share and blog about but right now my focus is my birthday. I turn 50 on Saturday. I don’t know why we focus so much on decades but we do. I have been thinking a lot about the last ten years. Ten years ago was one of the most difficult of my life. We had the year of the deaths and it was when my marriage really started falling apart. I got depressed again and really had no motivation to live. I changed jobs thinking it would help my marriage. It didn’t. I started drinking very heavily and was not sure if I wanted to go forward. My children did throw me a great birthday party for my fortieth. It is a great memory. They threw me a massive surprise party. I had friends and family from all over the country surprise me here at my house. We had a band, food, and overall a great time. That was my last good birthday as a married woman. My ex-husband was never much about celebrating birthdays so there were only a few even decent ones while I was married.

I now look back at the past ten years and remember all the heartbreak I had when my marriage dissolved and several more people dying that I cared about. It has been rough in many ways but, in others, it has been great. I now look back at my divorce as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It took me a long time to realize that but I sure have. Since the divorce, I have grown so much. I am now stronger and healthier and happier than I have been in probably fifteen years. I feel better than in years. I look great. I am stronger and in much better shape than I was ten years ago. I no longer feel like I need someone to take care of me. I find my own solutions to my problems. I have a job that a love, a complete new set of friends, and my kids love me. I am lifting weights again. I no longer have breathing issues or chronic pain. I am sleeping better. I have gotten used to being solo most of the time and it doesn’t bother me. I honestly feel that IF I end up with someone, they will be so lucky to have me. I am actually better emotionally than I ever have been in my life. It took fifty years to get to where I really and truly love myself and am confident and happy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was very sad that my birthday was coming up and I was going to spend it alone but now I am not. I had one girlfriend take the bull by the horns and now several of us are meeting at the local steakhouse. I will get 50% off my meal and then we will hit the town. My ex-bf/ bff is coming as well as several others. I am actually excited for my day again. I won’t be alone to ring in my next decade. I will be with people that love ME for me and accept me for ME. FIFTY is going to be a great year and I am like a fine wine, I am going to keep getting better with age.

Recently I wrote a post about The men in my life  since my divorce. One of the “what ifs” was The raft guide. He and I met on POF almost a year after my divorce. Our first date, he drove out to my town to one of our few bars and we met for drinks. As usual, I was a bit nervous. I hadn’t dated much at this time. I had never hung out at this bar previously. It is a bit of a dive and my ex-husband and I never went out anywhere. I will always remember our first date. Oh my goodness, I laughed so much. I had a great time and could not wait to see him again. We really hit it off. Our next date, we went out to eat and ended up making out in the parking lot a bit. We quickly decided that we needed to be a couple. I actually loved every minute we had together. We would go out at times. We would play on the river. We would cuddle on the couch and rub each others feet. He was very kind and sweet BUT there was an issue. I was so damn insecure. As an avid rafter, he had trips planned before he met me. At the time, I didn’t know how hard it was to get permits for some of these trip. They sometimes are planned a year ahead. I had no idea the protocols. When he got ready and planned for a long trip and didn’t invite me, I was hurt. I didn’t know that part of the permits are who is going. I thought that he just wasn’t that into me. I needed to be the center of his world. I was so damn messed up and clingy. I ended it with him and regretted it almost immediately. We didn’t speak for a long time. He ignored my messages that I would send occasionally. Over three years, I sent maybe a dozen messages, saying hi. There were a few that told him I was sorry that I handled it improperly. One telling him I got a ducky for the river. I apologized to him and knew he would never talk tome again. I was so sad as he was so much FUN. I never stopped missing him.

When I started this job, I would occasionally run into him on the street and we would talk for a few minutes. It was always nice but I still missed really talking to him.  I wanted to be his friend and knew I had probably hurt him. When I signed back up on the dating site, he sent me a message telling me that I really am a good person. We started talking from that moment. I have no idea what the future holds. He says he is not looking for a relationship with anyone at this time but I have the friendship back. We have spent some time together, including paddling down the river this past weekend. It is nice to be hanging out with him again. I wish I had been ready when I had met him and we had taken it slower. Who knows where things would be now. I will never forget his original dating profile. He said he wanted to find someone to grow old with. He said he wanted to be one of those cute little old couples holding hands. That is really what I want, too. I do wonder if I blew it with him but his friendship is more important. He is the kind of man that is a good friend. Only time will tell what will happen here but I am glad he is back in my life. I have missed him a lot in the three years we were not talking.

I have spoken about different types of men and the difficulties in dating them: Men that have had serial marriages and ones with young kids. Another one that actually terrifies me possibly more than the others is one that has never had a long term commitment. When I was on the dating sites, I realized that so many men had never had a relationship longer than a year or  two and  were in there forties. For me, I couldn’t help but wonder WHY they have never been committed to someone. Can they not make that step? Would a man like that be worth giving a try?

For me, everyone that I have met in this category seems unable  to  make the step. The latest is the glass cutter. We actually met on a dating site about three years ago. We talked about meeting and really hit it off. Next thing I knew, he was engaged to another woman and dropped me as a friend on Facebook. Several months ago, we finally met in person as we have mutual friends. He never married that other gal.

He is so much fun to be with. We enjoy each others company. We have not gone beyond friendship at all. We had lunch together a couple of  times and one date. He actually texted me and told me that he really liked me but got tongue tied with me and is intimidated of me. After spending some time together, he basically told me that it isn’t worth the risk of getting hurt. We have become good friends in the past few months and I enjoy his company but he has shown me that for at least him, I was accurate in my trepidation of trying to date a man that has never had a commitment.

One of the most difficult thing I have found about dating is dating rebound men. I have had so many dates with men that I was their first date after their divorce or break up.  The first few guys I went out with all fit in this category. One was so not ready that he quickly ran. Another wanted to go too fast though he said he would never marry again. Ex-Bf and I became serious and were together for a while. I am still friends with all of them. One is alone and drinking way too much the other two are in pretty serious relationships now.

After going out with a few other guys that I was their rebound date, I have realized a few things. One is that I do NOT want to be the rebound girl again.  There are so many issues to deal with. I do not want to have to guide another man through the learning to date process and sex with a new woman again.  I do not want to be the first kiss for a man after twenty years again. They all act sixteen. Yes, I like sex now BUT that is not  what I want with most dates. I am more picky than that. Besides, I have found that “stage fright” is not unusual for them.  I remember how awkward it was to be a first time dater. First date, first kiss, first time being naked with someone besides my husband after 23 years. It is difficult for everyone but I no longer want to be the teacher. The last few first dates with rebound men have stopped at that. There was one real nice man that I got along with real well but I could tell that he wanted to move much faster than I wanted to. I have noticed that with most men that I have gone out with. Statistics actually show that men tend to remarry more quickly than women do. They either are so commitment-phobic that they just want to play the field or they want you to be their girlfriend in a week. The one I met and dated last fall was like that. Clingy after a couple of dates.

I am glad that I have reached a point of contentment without a man. I have hardly been dating (except for R) I have been off the dating sites for four months now. I haven’t met anyone new since Valentine’s Day and he was a rebounder. I am not going out with him again. He was way to handsy too fast. I am going to continue on the path I am on now and see where life takes me but for now, I really do not want to be the rebound girl again. He needs to be ready to date but not desperate to find love. He needs to have confidence in himself but not be cocky. He needs to be over his wife and not tell me how much he still loves her on our date. Yes, I had that happen. He needs to be looking for friendship and a companion that a relationship can build and grow over time.  He needs to be ready for ME.

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