Category Archives: dating

The Things We Do For Love

There is a time, well, a period of time in any relationship when “I” and “I” become “us” and “we”. Each person adapts themselves, their behaviours and lifestyle to accommodate the other person so that they can live together without killing each other or a minor disagreement dissolving into a red – faced screaming match at eardrum shattering volume heard by everyone within a 500 yard radius.

Before I met my sweetheart I had been living alone for around six years. I don’t count the five weeks I lived with my previous girlfriend when between rentals as that was more a case of me bringing a bag and having somewhere to shower and sleep. There was absolutely no way we were going to live together, as her place was even smaller than mine and in no way suitable for two people. Over those six years I had developed a number of habits that didn’t affect anyone else and made my life simpler. For instance, I had the habit of leaving clean pans on the drying mat, leaving clean laundry in the basket until I either needed to wear it or couldn’t cram any more in. I will admit that I would often leave my clothes lying on the bedroom floor for lack of anywhere better to place them, and of  course, as a guy living alone, I didn’t bother to close the bathroom door.

This particular habit had it’s uses, though. The downstairs powder room opened into the living/dining room, so if I was watching a movie or a football match I didn’t need to pause the action in order to take care of business. Please,whatever you do, don’t think about that image. When it comes to living alone, we all fall into routines that make our lives easier and at some point we just don’t see them any more.

Then it happens: you meet someone special and you do your best to create as favourable an impression as possible: the kitchen counters are spotless and uncluttered, the bathroom is neat and clean, the bed is made. The list is endless and well known. Of course, after a while the charade is dropped and the process of actually living returns to the fore.

Of course, most of the early part of the relationship involves short stays at each other’s home, so in reality not a lot changes as first, as a weekend isn’t really long enough for things to become annoying, but eventually you decide that it makes sense to live together and then the process really gets under way. For us this happened rather quickly: I moved in four months to the day from our first date. Yes, I know that is rather quick, but it very quickly became apparent that it was  the right thing to do, and as we are both adults, why wait?

I will admit that at first I felt like a visitor and that the place wasn’t really my home, but  this feeling soon passed and  settled in to what was now my normal routine. My main adjustment was in the kitchen. You see, my sweetheart is paranoid about her kitchen counter tops, as she readily admits, and swoops on any sign of moisture or food as soon as she sees them. It took me  a while to get used to this, as I didn’t really care too  much about the Formica in my old kitchen beyond the desire to avoid getting charged with the replacement cost should I have damaged  them. I’ve become more conscientious about spilling on the stove top, but I still leave shreds of cheese scattered around from time to time despite  my best efforts.

In my former life my bathroom counter was littered with toiletries of various sorts, including those left by the kids, largely due to lack of  storage  space, but now  everything except my toothbrush it’s recharger are tucked  away under the sink.  I will admit that this took a bit  of getting used to, but now I find that I prefer having an uncluttered counter, and appreciate the much tidier appearance.

Lest you think this is a  one  way street, it isn’t. My sweetheart has accepted that I will leave clothes on the Ottoman, and in one respect she has changed completely. When I first moved to the U.S. it took me some time to adapt to the habit of taking  off one’s shoes upon entering the house. This was a totally alien concept to me, but of course, it makes sense and now I do so without thinking. My sweetheart, on the other hand, left her shoes on, this despite the fact that she lived in Japan for some time and must have been accustomed to this habit. I found it rather odd, to be honest, and even though it is her house, she quickly consented to remove her shoes once indoors. I know this sounds a bit weird, but  I just don’t understand why anyone would leave their street shoes on when coming indoors, even though it was an alien concept to me.

I suppose that we all make changes to the way we behave over  time. Some  of them are forced, some of them are difficult, awkward or uncomfortable, but I suppose  that it is all a part of life, and as long as it makes the other person happy, it is all in a good cause. My Sweetheart has now even started watching English football with me, something I never expected, so I guess she has made some sacrifices too. Let’s all hope Liverpool have a good season next year!

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Filed under dating, lifestyle, love, soccer

Love Comes Quickly

As the song from which this blog post takes it’s title “Just when you least expect it, just what you least expect”. There’s no need for me to rehash the last couple of months, just suffice it to say that the last thing I expected at my age was to find myself truly in love. For the full(ish) story, see “Ring My Bell”. Anyway, things progressed much faster than either of us had imagined and we very soon found ourselves texting at every opportunity. Indeed, my sweetheart very quickly made a point of coming to visit me most days, usually on my second break, so we could at least spend some time together, even if only for ten minutes.

I have been staying at her place on a regular basis, usually heading over there after work and returning home the next morning in order to get ready for work. I know it would be easier if I got ready for work at hers, but I might otherwise be tempted to drive straight to work rather than walk from my house as I’m such a lazy git.

To put things into perspective, she went to Portland for the first week in February to meet up with some old friends from law school. No big deal, as this had been on the calendar long before we met, and although we texted, I made sure to give her enough space for her to spend time with her friends and not have me texting her every five minutes. Of course, no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell’s bookstore. Had I been with her, there is no doubt that I would have spent every spare minute and penny in the store. Having said that, she texted me to let me know she was there and asked if she could pick a book out for me. I immediately suggested anything by Kenneth  Feder or Jeb Card, and very shortly after, she offered me two options. I went for Feder’s  “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries”. Along with Card and Sara Head, he’s one of the co hosts of  the  “Archaeological Fantasies”podcast, a show I’ve followed from the very start and just love. Of course, I started reading the book pretty much as soon as it was put into my hands, and I loved every page of it. In fact, I couldn’t read it without hearing Ken’s voice in my head.

This alone was enough to make me extremely happy, so imagine how I felt when later that day she announced that she was at Voodoo Doughnuts, and would I like her to bring some home? Do I have to tell you my response? I went to see her on the Monday and as well as the book and doughnuts she’d also bought me a beer glass at Powell’s as well as a coaster. The glass makes sense, as she’s a wine drinker, and having your own glass kind of means you have standing, and the coaster because she’s big on protecting her tabletops. Not because she thinks anyone would deliberately damage her furniture, but mainly because it’s a sign of civilisation.

Before you get the wrong impression, I’m not the sort of person who equates how much someone spends on gifts and how much they love you, far from it in fact. I mention it because she went out of her way to find gifts for me on a weekend away with friends she hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Not just that. She also put thought into the gifts and asked me for my input rather than picking up some random gewgaw in the hope that I would like it.

Lest this become a litany of gifts, I want to make it clear that we have grown very close in just two months. I can state with all sincerity that I’ve never felt this way about anyone before, and I include my ex wife of 20 years and my ex girlfriend of five in that statement. My sweetheart and I see each other pretty much every day, we text constantly and can’t bear to be apart. We don’t even have to be doing anything. Simply sitting on the sofa holding each other is enough to make us happy. I know that may make us sound like a pair of soppy teenagers, but it’s true. I never expected to find true love at my age, or indeed at any age, if I’m being honest.

It’s a truly weird feeling, to be so totally in love with someone that they are constantly on your mind. This must be what neurotypicals feel a lot of the time. I’m just now beginning to realise what I’ve been missing all these years, and I want  it to last.

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Ring My Bell

I had intended to make my first post of the year to be an account of the Christmas period, but on reflection, it was pretty much the same as the year before, except for the choice of film and the amount of alcohol consumed. Instead, I thought I’d regale you with an uplifting and heartwarming tale of how my life took an upturn.

I won’t rehash my recent return to the world of online dating, but just after Christmas I received a message via a dating site from a woman saying she was finally in town, and would I like to meet for dinner? To be honest, I’d forgotten about her as I’d sent her a message a couple of months prior to this to be told that she was on the east coast, but in the process of moving west, and would be in touch when she arrived. Of course I took this as a kiss off and thought no more about it. Hence my surprise when she contacted me.

She lives nearby and suggested she drive over so we could meet at one of her favourite restaurants, conveniently located just ten minute’s walk from my house. She was already seated when I arrived, so there wasn’t even the opportunity for a greeting hug, still, we chatted as we waited for our orders to arrive and quickly found common ground. It soon became apparent that we were on the same page politically and shared a wide range of opinions, perspectives and experiences. We had a great time, even though we were both on our best behaviour, as is normal on a first date. I mean, you don’t want to ruin the evening by saying or doing something stupid and ruining the chance of a second date.At the end of the evening we parted ways, agreeing that it would be nice to meet again.

To my surprise, she agreed to another date just five days later, and so I dashed home after work, changed and drove to meet her for dinner. After a very pleasant meal, the night still being young, she asked me if I had any plans, so I suggested a drink at a nearby bar. So far, so good, I thought. She hadn’t fled at the first opportunity, and the chance for a quiet drink and casual chat certainly appealed. I still wasn’t able to judge how she felt about me, and although I really wanted to kiss her at the end of the evening, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, so again, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

During our chat she mentioned that she had just bought a video doorbell, but not being much of a handywoman, it was still in the box. A couple of days later I texted her and asked if she’d found anyone to install it for  her. Receiving an answer in the negative I offered to install it for her, if she so wished, seeing it as my chance for a third date. She accepted, and so two weeks after our first meeting, I gathered up my rather pathetic collection of tools and set off for her home. The installation was a doddle, the hardest thing being downloading the app onto her phone. We shared a bottle of wine afterwards and spent quite some time getting acquainted on the sofa during the evening.

Before you ask, I went home that night, as she told me that she’d had bad experiences in the past by moving forward too fast. I certainly wasn’t going to push my luck, so I accepted the situation, actually very much in agreement, as I really didn’t want to spoil what was turning out to be a wonderful relationship. We agreed that I would come back in a week, and I offered to cook dinner, an offer she accepted with much grace. Purely due to good fortune, I went back a few days later after work, and it was at that point that she decided that I should stay over on Sunday night. She had been unsure up to that point, but apparently I had make a good enough impression to warrant us moving on to the next step.

I arrived mid morning, and we sat chatting, drinking wine and watching a film until it was time to cook. After dinner we resumed talking and enjoying a very nice bottle of Garnacha. Of course, I’m not going to go into detail, but even before we went upstairs I was pretty damn sure that she was the woman for me. I’d already removed my profile from the site, a revelation that both surprised and encouraged her.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never felt about anyone the way I feel about her. Seriously. In just three weeks we have achieved a level of comfort and understanding I’ve never experienced with anyone else. I know it sounds corny, but even just sitting on the sofa and holding each other makes me happier than I have ever been, or truly deserve.  What’s even more, she feels the same.

As she had to pick up a friend from the ferry yesterday, we left together and she followed me home and spent a few minutes in the house, untidy as it was, as she wanted to see my place. We texted a couple of times during the day, and I set off to deliver oranges to a friend, after which we went for a beer, not  having seen each other since New Year’s Eve. His wife and our other partner in crime duly arrived when I received a text from my new love informing me she had just dropped her friend off at the boat. On impulse, I invited her to join us, which she did. Thankfully, she liked my friends, and they approve of her. The fact that her dog got to meet some other dogs helped, but the time came for her to head home, so we kissed  and said our goodbyes. I stayed for one more beer, sending  her texts as I sat at the bar, only for her to invite me over for the night.

We had been texting about how much both of us didn’t want to have to sleep alone, so it was a no brainer for me to head past my own home on my way to hers. I honestly don’t know how we’ve grown so close and so attached to each other in barely three weeks. The phrase “Whirlwind romance” sounds trite, but I think that for the first time in my life I’m genuinely falling in love. This isn’t just some physical drive, I am drawn to her intelligence, wit and charm, and even though I only came home about four  hours ago, all I can think about is seeing her again on Thursday evening. I’m smitten, I’m in love. Truly, madly, deeply.

 

 

 

 

 

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I Know It’s Over

As you are now all painfully aware, the five year relationship with my girlfriend ended a few weeks ago. See “Five Years” for more details.  To use a narrative metaphor, after the climax of a story comes the denouement, the extra couple of minutes at the end of a film, or the last few pages at the end of a novel that bring things to a nice tidy conclusion. In the case of relationships that denouement involves returning all the stuff that has been left at the other’s place over the years.

Even before our final phone conversation I had started to bag up all of her stuff: more toiletries than I had realised, assorted personal items, shoes, a table lamp and lots of clothes – in fact so many clothes that I now have significantly more storage space. We arranged a time and place to meet and I loaded all her stuff into the boot of my car in anticipation of our meeting. There was one thing, however, that I didn’t load. You see, my ex girlfriend has a pet Tenrec.  As it’s a  nocturnal animal, it’s a good fit for her, as she can be at home when the animal is active, something that drew her to Tenrecs, having previously owned a pair of Sugar Gliders. The Gliders weren’t travelers, but she wanted to bring Couscous with her, so she bought a smaller habitat to leave at my place.

I asked her about the “Country House” and she said that as she had nowhere to put it and didn’t need it, I should keep it. I assumed she’d want it back in order to have one for her next/new boyfriend’s house, but apparently not.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, she called me a week ago yesterday to let me know that she was on the boat, so I prepared to head down to meet her. Except that the car wouldn’t start. I’d had some problems with the battery previously, but now it was dead. There was no way the trickle charger would give me enough of a boost in the half hour I had, so I texted her, explained the situation and asked her to come to the house. Wrong move.

She said that she couldn’t take the time to come over as she had to be back in the city in the early afternoon and accused me of playing games. I explained again, and was very annoyed that after five years together she wouldn’t even spare me one hour for this. She told me that I’d have to come over to the city as she’d made a good faith effort. I eventually got the car going and bought a new battery at Costco, (texting her a photo of the receipt and adding the message “See?”) which my son helped my install the next day.

Fast forward to yesterday: We had agreed a time and place to meet in the city and I duly set off and drove up from the ferry terminal to meet her. I couldn’t find it. The name of the establishment was nowhere to be seen, and as Capitol Hill has a bastard of a traffic plan I ended up driving around in squares, occasionally pulling over to read her texts and reply. I found the place almost by chance due to the fact that I was driving north along the street and caught a glimpse of the restaurant she’d mentioned. It was in an above grade mini mall and totally invisible from the other direction.

She’d driven to what she regarded as an easier location, so I had to hang around until she came back as I didn’t fancy another 45 minutes driving around the city. She turned up a few minutes later and took the space next to mine. She was reasonably friendly and we began swapping our gear. I was over the fact that our relationship was over, but I did feel somewhat resentful of her choice, asking “A place that’s impossible to see, you call that a good location?” Her response was to say that decent parking is difficult to find in the city. I can pretty much understand her not wanting me to come to  her house, even though that would be the easiest thing, but I find it hard to believe that a mini mall parking lot apparently built on top of a supermarket in a busy part of town was the best place for us to meet.

I will admit that having such a hard time finding the parking lot and her refusal to compromise a week earlier had put me in a bad mood and I’m afraid it showed. There was one thing I couldn’t get off my mind, so I said ” Just one question, who is he?” she replied “There’s no one else, there’s no one else.” “It always pays to have a back up” I replied, then got back in the car and drove off.

I suppose I could have dealt with the situation better, and in retrospect I do feel somewhat bad about how it all ended, but  I just didn’t have it in me to wish her all the best, good luck, or anything like that.

So, that’s it then, I suppose. Five years of relationship down the Swannee. All those vacations, presents, nights out, nights in, dinner parties, movies, concerts, all now just so much electricity zipping around the neurons of my memory. I suppose I should have seen this coming. She’d been pulling away for a few months, our sex life had pretty much come to a halt as she’d been sick for a while and as a result of going through “The Change” she’d issued a Diktat about how sex would be in the future, which is not exactly the most romantic text I’ve ever received, to put it lightly.

We were never actually going to live together, as she won’t live anywhere except in a city, and I’m not going to move away from the kids. The time we did spend together was almost entirely on her terms: my home had to be adjusted to meet her needs, and my needs had to be adjusted to meet her home. I’m pondering all this as I type, and I do have to wonder if I’m actually capable of being in a long term relationship. I mean, my interpersonal skills are far from the highest order, I’m neither the tidiest nor the most thoughtful person in the world, and even after all these years, I can’t seem to break myself of the habit of keeping secret things that don’t really need to be kept secret.

It really makes me wonder if I’m just wasting my time on dating websites and if I should just give up. My recent form doesn’t really give me much cause for hope, but I simply can’t bear the thought of being on my own for the rest of my life. I realise what an apocalyptic statement that is, but let’s be honest,  my performance in the relationship field has been less than stellar.

Once again, I don’t have a snappy ending for this post as it’s not really that kind of post, but if you have any single female friends, bear me in mind the next time any of them mention that they’re looking for a date. A boy can dream, right?

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Big Brown Eyes

This is yet another post I had hoped would turn out differently. Let me elaborate. In the post “(Just Like) Starting Over” I mentioned meeting a very charming Mexican woman at a taqueria who, after a very promising start developed a case of cold feet. Well, about a week  ago she contacted me, saying that she really liked me. Hmm. I was pleased and perplexed in equal measure  about this, and we texted quite a bit that day and had another epic phone call before agreeing to go on a date the following weekend. To say that the prospects seemed good is something of an understatement. I won’t elaborate, but I got the distinct impression that I would have to pop home prior to going to work on Saturday.

Come Wednesday we were still texting, and I mentioned that if I was going to pick her up as planned, she’d have to give me her address, and asked if she’d given any thought to where we would be going. Answer came there none. She could only text sporadically while at work, so the lack of a response wasn’t too disheartening, but come Thursday my hopes were fading. True to form she cancelled on me again, claiming that when she gets home on a Friday she just doesn’t want to leave the house. To be knocked back twice with patently lame excuses didn’t do my mood any good at all, and I was unable to hide my annoyance from my co workers, although I did put on my public face when helping customers.

This made me wonder why women don’t just come out and tell the truth. Why not just say “I don’t think we’re a good match, I don’t want to go out with you”? Would that be so hard, ladies? Feigning illness is a dog lame way to exit and just doesn’t convince anyone. Maybe women have been so conditioned by societal norms to not make a fuss and not upset men that they have no option but to weasel out of situations for fear that the guy will retaliate. It doesn’t say much for us as a culture if women really do have to treat the male ego like an eggshell, but it’s about time men got over themselves and just dealt with it. I really don’t know. Maybe some guys are like that, but I know I’m not, and would much rather just hear the truth.

I salvaged something out of the evening by meeting up with a couple of friends for a beer at my local watering hole and ended up having a very nice evening after all and was in fine fettle for Saturday’s shift.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I received a text from my erstwhile correspondent saying that she wasn’t dating anyone else, and that her knee ( on which she will soon have surgery) has become so bad that it drains all her energy and she felt it wasn’t fair on me. I replied, saying how much I appreciated her for her honesty and that if she feels better after her surgery that I will still be here. Despite all my efforts, I’m not dating anyone else either, as readers of this blog can attest. It did give me some hope that we might get together again and raised her in my estimation as she had the decency to let me know the real reason for her cancelling on me at such short notice. I only wish she’d let me know before I went to Rite Aid!

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Oops I Did It Again.

“Did What again?” I hear you ask. Well, fucked up big time yet again by misreading a social situation. let me start by saying that I’d hoped that this post would be titled “The Sweetest Girl”, partly because Green Gartside has one of the most wonderful voices of all time and Scritti Politti never got the acclaim and recognition they deserve. How this post ended up bearing the title of one of the crappiest songs of all time sung by one of the least talented performers of all time is a cautionary tale.

During the summer I came into contact with someone new. Somewhat younger than me, outstandingly beautiful and very sweet and friendly with a smile that could melt through bank vaults. Over the course of several weeks she was very attentive and we had a number of interesting conversations about a number of subjects including our kids. On one evening we spent a couple of hours getting to know each other and she seemed very comfortable having me around, something I took as a good sign.

For a couple of weeks she was in Europe and had agreed to send me a postcard, and even texted me some pictures from her trip. Just to backtrack a little, a week or so prior to this she had tried to give me her phone number, but being a knucklehead I missed the (alas misinterpreted) cue and only later realised what I’d done and had to scramble frantically to find a way to give her my number. One would have thought that when a woman tries to give you her phone number for no explicitly stated reason, or under some other pretext she must be interested in pursuing some sort of relationship, or at least be open to the possibility.

I ran the details past two friends of mine, one male, one female, and both agreed that based on the evidence it would not be unreasonable to assume that the young lady in question was interested in me, so I took heart from this and waited for her return from foreign shores.

A couple of nights ago I took the opportunity to see her ( lest you get the wrong impression, this was in no way a date, but rather an opportunity to meet her).
We talked for quite a while about her trip and various subjects and as I was about to leave I said “I’d really like to take you out to dinner”. I have never seen so many conflicting emotions cross one face in so short of time as her brain tried frantically to process what I’d just said and clawed frantically at the air, Wylie Coyote style to regain the cliff edge of sanity: confusion, shock, alarm, confusion, panic, dread, confusion, realisation and a number of others.

It was then that I learned the truth. I had been led to believe that she is divorced, but although she was divorced, she is also married. Naturally this took the edge off my good mood as well as giving me the experience of being overwhelmed with a tsunami of conflicting emotions, so I suppose that made us even. The weird thing is that she then apologised for giving me the wrong impression. There was no need at all for her to apologise, as I made quite clear, explaining that I’d come to a wrong conclusion based on faulty and incomplete information. I made my apologies and left suitably chastened.

This is a situation that I have faced before but with different details. One effect of being on the Asperger’s spectrum is lacking the ability to read subtext. It now appears that I lack the ability to read text as well. You neurotypicals have it so easy and you don’t even know it. Seriously, the ability to read between the lines is something you do all day every day. Imagine how much harder that is for someone who doesn’t even realise that the lines are there in the first place!

I guess I should have known that a woman like her wouldn’t be interested is someone like me even if she was unattached. In fact I’m pretty sure that if she and I were the only human beings to survive the apocalypse she’d spend all of her time digging through the rubble searching for fresh batteries. Ah well, you live and learn, well, you live, anyway.

As I’m now single again this incident doesn’t bode well for the future. It was bad enough the last time and seeing as I’ve decided to stay this side of the water I’m looking at a much smaller pool of potential dates. Actually, it’s not so much a pool as a small puddle to be honest. One other thing to bear in mind is that unless I change my social situation completely I’m going to run into her on a regular basis. I really don’t want to do that and I hope that I won’t have to. One thing in my favour is that at no time did I actually hit on her in any way. Our conversations were always on safe topics and at no time did I make any gesture or movement that could be interpreted as threatening nor did I ever take the conversation anywhere near any mildly risque subject. Something else that may make life easier is that I apologised for my misreading of the situation and am not the sort of person who blames someone else for my ineptitude.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person she’s had to disabuse of his perception of the situation and with luck and some delicate footwork I may avoid any awkwardness in the future.

 

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(Just Like) Starting Over.

Editorial: My last post, “Numbers”, resulted in me acquiring five new followers. Thank you to those of you who have just started following me, and welcome aboard. In all honesty I’d really like to know how you found my blog.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

It may come as no surprise to those of you who read “Five Years” to learn that only three days after my ex’s “On a break” phone call I reactivated my online dating profiles as I’d already decided that we were done and saw no reason to sit around moping and wasting time. I did have some trepidation over the whole thing. I’m six years older than I was when I last entered the dating pond, am actually pretty much the same weight as I was then, but I’m a little greyer around the chin and my dating skills, poor as they are, had been rusting for the previous five, like a lawnmower left in a drafty shed.

I also remember how expensive the whole undertaking was, especially when ferry fares were factored in. I therefore made the decision to only date this side of the water, a decision that severely limited my options, but with my work schedule, commuting just wasn’t an option. I duly updated my profile, answered some more of the endless series of questions and began looking. My main fear was that my inability to read social cues as well as general awkwardness around new people would put off potential dates. As it was a choice between biting the bullet, trusting to luck or just giving up, I chose door number one.

I do have to ask, ladies, why the reversion to silence? I can understand not responding to an initial message from someone who isn’t your type, but why just stop sending messages after a few exchanges? Why not say “I don’t think we’re right for each other, good luck in your search”? It would make life so much simpler, and I wouldn’t spend three days waiting for a reply that will never come. Ah well, such is life.

Naturally, I had little response to my outreach and I have to say that the programmers really need to work on their algorithm. Many of the women who popped up in my “Daily matches” tab were most definitely not my type in the slightest. What is the point of filling out a profile and clicking boxes only for the site to send you alleged matches that are totally unsuitable? However despite all this I engaged in a conversation with a woman who lives nearby. We had a mutual interest in a number of English new wave bands and decided to meet for a drink. I will say that I really don’t like the endless game of message tennis that seems to form so much of online dating, as I’d much rather just meet and get it over with. As I said in the dim and distant past, at worst, you’ve had an evening out.

The meeting seemed to go fairly well, and we ended up leaving as the bar was closing. My date’s occupation of “alternative healer” sent my woo detector up to 11, especially as she said she’d developed the regimen she practices. Oh boy! Don’t get me started on hippie wellness woo. In fact, head over to Skeptoid.com and take a look at all the bullshit that litters the field of “Wellness” and you’ll get some idea of where I’m coming from.

My instincts turned out to be right when she said she’d be going out of town on a retreat when I suggested we get together again.  I know what I said in the paragraph above, but she was tall, athletic, interesting and funny, so why not see where it led? Of course, when I texted her to ask when she’d be back, answer came there none. Ah well. I will, however, be visiting the bar again soon, as their IPA was very nice, if slightly too hoppy.

A few days after the date I received a message from someone who did interest me. One of the sites I use is aimed at people in my age group, and although I get messages and views on a regular basis, none of the women have raised my attention. This one was different, though. I won’t give much away, except to say that like me, she’s an immigrant and  has an accent. English is her second language, but not that that matters. We sent messages, then texted and agreed to meet for dinner at a local taqueria. I’d never even heard of it, despite living around here for some time, so it made no difference to me. She arrived before me and was waiting in her car when I parked. She seemed really sweet and her pictures didn’t do her justice.

I know I’m suspicious but I did wonder about her choice of venue. As she talked with the cashier I couldn’t help but imagine that she was saying something along the lines of “This is our first date, if this Gringo gets out of line, can you have Manuel come out of the kitchen and beat the crap out of him, please?” Anyway, intervention was not needed. We sat and chatted for over two hours, she telling me all about her awful marriage in great detail, and me telling her about my less horrendous but equally loveless one.

We certainly got along well, and began texting each other multiple times a day. Five days after our initial meeting she asked if we could talk on the phone. I was home at 7.30, so once I was fed and changed, I called her. We had a 3 1/2 hour conversation. Seriously. I had intended to watch the Liverpool V. Cardiff match once I was settled, so I had to push it back to nearly midnight. I’m not complaining, especially as the following morning we had a long text exchange that I will admit touched on certain subjects that don’t often come up before a second date.

Mind you, a 3 1/2 hour phone call during which we both had a drink, sherry for me, tequila for her, could, I suppose, count as a second date. Things went well, and we agreed to get together the following Sunday, which was yesterday. On Thursday I hadn’t heard from her by mid morning, and it came as no surprise that after contacting her she responded, saying she had pink eye. Hmm, I thought, more like cold feet than anything else. Her later texts announced that she didn’t want to date as her Seasonal Affective Disorder makes it hard for her to be around people, and she hates Christmas. Great. Just fantastic. I knew it was too good to be true, so I left it at that and went back to my routine.

Imagine my surprise this evening when she texted me! She apparently had had second thoughts, and as she’d just eaten, is an early riser, and it was getting a little late, the chance to get together right away had slipped by. We texted for quite some time, and it felt like we just carried on where we’d left off. She likes me, and has said so, so I don’t know what to think. We’re meeting for breakfast tomorrow, as she’ll be up early anyway and I have a late start.

I’m thoroughly confused but willing to see where this goes. I know where I’d like it to go, but I’m certainly not going to push my luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Years

About two weeks ago I received a text from my “On a break” sweetie asking if we could talk. I put her off for a few days as I wasn’t really in the mood to talk to her and had already decided that we were done. I did think about sending her a text saying as much but decided not to. By this point I had already been on two dates (of which, more later), having reactivated my dating site accounts about three days after her telling me that we were on a break.

I had already bagged up all her toiletries, but left her clothes in the closet as I don’t really have a better place for them. As you can see, I’d already moved on, having realised that I  was the one making all the effort and getting very little in return. When the phone call did take place, it was all over in about two minutes. Of course, she had decided that we were done, no surprise there, and from my text agreeing to the call, she had reached the same conclusion regarding yours truly.

We had always joked to people that if we did ever split up, there’d be a custody battle over the espresso machine, but as it turned out, she said that I could keep it. Too bloody right, I was keeping it. I know it was given to us by a friend of hers, but she’s pretty much given up drinking coffee, except for the occasional purchased breve, but she also has nowhere to put it in her kitchen as it is too tall to fit in the space between the counter and the cupboards. I told her that I had intended to keep it anyway, and she didn’t argue. She would have been a real dog in a manger to do so, and we both knew it, so it ended there.

I told the kids about it last night, and my daughter claimed that she had “Sort of seen it coming”. I’m not convinced that I believe her, but she is a very astute girl, so I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. It seems a bit weird that a five year relationship should end with such a sudden whimper, but I guess I had seen it coming too.

To be honest, not having to schlep over to Seattle every other weekend either directly from work or very early on Sunday morning has been very refreshing. I’ve enjoyed long lies in, had time to myself, done some cooking and been able to watch the Liverpool game without the need to balance a laptop on my knees and wear headphones. I know the above sounds selfish, but when you have no time to yourself, life can be a little wearing. To be honest, the first weekend I had to myself this year was in mid June when my now ex sweetie was away in Fiji and the kids were in Hawaii. Six months without a weekend to myself. Seriously, is it expecting too much to want some time in one’s own head and not have to fit housework, shopping and all the rest around other people’s schedules? I really don’t think so, at least, not for a single guy. Marriage is a full time commitment, but at least with marriage you have a partner with whom to share the load. Usually.

A lot has happened over the last five years, most of it good. We took several trips, including a week in Hawaii, I’ve learned a bit about wine, been introduced to the music of The Old 97s, seen films I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, visited new restaurants and had my horizons otherwise broadened. I’ll go into greater detail in a later post or two, but my recent dates have been quite encouraging, one of them extremely so, and that gives me some hope. I mean, I’m now five years older than I was at the start of my most recent relationship, and one does wonder about one’s shelf life, especially at my age. I will admit that I’ve lost some weight this year due largely to my decreased drinking, increased walking and improved eating habits, but still, there’s always an element of self doubt regarding one’s own attractiveness to others.

I do also wonder about my ability to maintain a long term relationship. Maybe my Aspergers and general selfishness and lack of empathy mean I’m not going to find someone with whom to live out my years, but that way madness lies, so I’m not going to think about that too much in case I go into an emotional death spiral.

I do wonder, however if she had started seeing someone else before we ended it. She took herself off for a weekend a few months ago, to “Think things over” and I did wonder then if anything was going on. She didn’t travel on her own for the first four years we were together and I admit that I examined the picture she sent me very closely for any sign of a second person, but that may just have been my natural paranoia.

I don’t have a snappy ending for this post, maybe because the end was so anti-climactic and unemotional. However, having made the decision to move on, I feel much better in and about myself. Details to follow.

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Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.

My Dad usually visits from mid June until Late July so he can be here for the kid’s birthdays, however this year his medical appointments meant a later than usual visit. This wasn’t a big deal, as I’d much rather see him than not, obviously, but this meant that his visit would overlap with our fifth anniversary, which my sweetie and I had intended to celebrate with a trip out of town, as is our tradition. Not to fear, though, as I arranged for him to spend several days with the kids and their mum, giving him extra time with them, even though the school year had started and they would be out of the house most of the day.

After some confusion, we found a place, made arrangements and were anticipating a quiet weekend in a cabin with a great water view. So far, so good ( that’s called foreshadowing, folks). We planned to be back in the city on the actual night of our anniversary and I fully expected that as usual we would go out to any one of several very nice restaurants for a meal as eye – wateringly  expensive as it would be delicious. In light of this, my dad gave me $150 to put towards the cost of the meal as a way of assuaging his guilt over forgetting my sweetie’s birthday. A very nice gesture, and not one I expected, although characteristic of him as he regards birthdays as something he should remember, and the two of them get on very well.

I trousered said cash in the knowledge that I’d be able to cover the cost of the meal myself, and would explain all when the bill arrived, the surprise winning my Dad some bonus points into the bargain. We had a relaxing trip and duly headed back to the city on the Tuesday morning. We stopped for lunch on the way home and I asked my Sweetie what she wanted to do about dinner expecting to hear the name of some swanky eatery. Imagine my shock and surprise when she said that she wanted to eat in. Naturally I was disappointed, but didn’t want to force the issue, so I let it go and decided that I would put the cash aside and that I’d take her out to dinner the next time I was in the city.

We had a quiet night in and I headed off to work the next morning thinking nothing more of the situation, apart from a sense of disappointment at not having had the opportunity to dress up for an important night out.

Fast – forward to the last weekend of my Dad’s trip. He announced that he’d like to take us out for one last meal as a way of saying thank you for hosting him, and providing a neat end to his trip. I knew what was coming, but held my counsel. Dad is not a great lover of Mexican cuisine, largely because he doesn’t like rice and never developed a taste for spicy foods. Bear in mind that he grew up in a culture, time and place where turnips were considered a spice! There are no shortage of Mexican restaurants around here and we’d visited quite a few during his trip, so he was pretty much burned out on the idea

He wanted to revisit a restaurant in a nearby town to which my ex had taken him. Sure. He would be picking up the tab for all five of us, so he most certainly got to decide where we ate. This put my sweetie’s nose out of joint as she doesn’t like the town in question, being very sensitive to her surroundings and despising the very thought of malls, be they mini, strip or indoor. She also hates anything that appears “Corporate” even though we’d be visiting a standalone restaurant.

I’d told my Dad about not having a celebratory dinner and my intention to have one at the next opportunity, and during our dinner he made one of his signature stupid jokes, saying that I hadn’t taken my sweetie out to dinner so I could pocket the cash for my own use. Stony silence. Pluto at night cold. Nice one Dad. Seriously, very, very well done. Needless to say, nothing I said made any difference and the funereal atmosphere on the way home persisted. Dad went straight to bed, realising the damage he’d done. My sweetie sat at the table studiously ignoring me as my Son gave her some technical tips regarding her laptop.

Just after my son retired for the night she told me that she was heading home in a tone that left no room for debate and with a look that made Medusa’s stare look like a major come – on. Her final words before driving away were “We’ll talk about this later” in a tone that was all threat.

Not the best way to end an evening by any means, but there was nothing I could do to make her see reality. I explained what he’d done to my Dad the next morning, and he was suitably abashed. Of course, I was very angry with him, but kept a lid on it as his words hadn’t been malicious. On the way to the airport two days later I asked him to write to my sweetie once he got home and explain, but put little faith in it doing much good. With this in mind I sent my sweetie a text asking if we could talk, and the next day we had a very tense conversation during which she steadfastly refused to believe my explanation over my Dad’s joke. I have to say that this has been par for the course over the last few months, as she’s been willing to believe the worst about me and has been drawing away for some time.

Let me give you a brief example: I went over to her place a little while before my Dad arrived and found her in bed. Of course, I joined her, got comfortable and in the way you do, started to make my intentions and affections clear. Her reaction? “I haven’t seen you for two weeks. Sex is the last thing on my mind”. Direct quote. WTF? I mean, seriously, WTF? That put a veil over the weekend, I can tell you.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, she told me that we would be “On a break” , meaning that we would have no communication until she had decided whether the pluses of dating me outweigh the minuses. Well, to quote Agnes Brown, most famous creation of Irish comedian Brendan O’Carroll, “That’s nice”. If you’ve ever seen “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” you’ll know exactly what that means.

I went through the five stages of grief pretty quickly considering we’ve been together for five years, and I have come to the conclusion that no matter her decision, we’re done. I’m done. I’ve had enough of making all the effort, always being the one to make compromises, do all the commuting so we can spend time together, putting up with all her proscriptions, dislikes and biases, always having to justify working retail and my work schedule.

So with that in mind I’ve reactivated my online dating profiles and am once more back in the pool, as it were. I’ve already had some promising responses and had a first meeting with someone last night. I have also met someone through my social group and I have to say that I’m very taken with her, and even though I read subtext about as well as I read ancient Greek, I think she likes me. This particular situation, however is one that I will be approaching very cautiously as I think it will take time and a subtle approach to avoid messing up in my usual spectacular manner.

Anyway, that’s how things stand. I have yet to hear any sort of response from my now former sweetie, so I will just have to wait and see. I wonder which of us will be more surprised by our next conversation.

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Take The Skinheads Bowling.

Whoever invented the calendar deserves a bloody good kick up the arse. Whoever invented the calendar for the Galaxy III phone deserves  two. Let me explain. Recently my sweetie and I sat down to synchronise our calendars and I mentioned in passing that as the kids were away during spring break I would be having them for a couple of days outside the regular schedule. Icy stare. And I mean icy. Icy enough to make a White Walker reach for an extra cloak.That’s how icy it was. My sweetie had had a dreadful week at work and was not ready to hear that our planned weekend together would not be happening. I’m a guy. Hard as you may find it to believe, I am a guy, which means that just because you tell me something and I’m looking at you, it doesn’t mean I actually heard or remembered what you just said, let alone put it in my calendar.

At this point, my mind was scrambling desperately to find a solution so I wouldn’t end up with two ruined weekends instead of just one. Picture Wile E. Coyote trying to claw his way back to safety having just realised that he has run off the edge of the cliff. With me? It was then that I came up with another brilliant idea. “Another one?” I hear you ask in a voice composed of equal parts incredulity, surprise and contempt. Yes. Another one. You remember that idea I had about wearing underwear on the outside to save on laundry bills?

“Why don’t you come over on Saturday like we planned and we can all go bowling?” Phew. Just managed to grab the edge of the cliff with my fingernails. So that is what we did. The kids got a taste for bowling at a friends’ birthday party, and I’d asked them if they would be interested in going again as I’m always looking for ways for them to have a fun weekend with me. They both like my sweetie ( see “We Are Going To Be Friends”), and she and I had been  bowling, so I had a fair belief that the day would work. We all duly piled into the car and headed off to the bowling alley. My son, tech head that he is, set up the scoreboard and away we went.  It was interesting to watch the interactions, as my daughter insisted on showing my sweetie the game in the arcade that she really likes while my son kept track of our combined strikes and spares. All went well, as I expected it would, and I was pleased that the kids took it as read that the four of us would be having what amounted to a family day out. Lunch at a local hostelry followed, giving us more time to chat and the kids to get comfortable with the situation when I got a text from my ex regarding my daughters’ softball uniform pants. The original ones didn’t fit, so she would drop the new ones off so my daughter would have them for practice the next day.

I was futzing around the house when the doorbell rang. I answered it, expecting a quick exchange when my son announced my sweeties’ presence and insisted that the two of them meet. Awkaaaaaaard! Naturally this was unplanned, but both were civil to each other, and at least it answered my question about whether the kids had talked about our museum visit.

I have to say that it was nice to see the three of them spending the day together and getting along with each other, and how the kids just regarded it as a perfectly normal day. I’m really happy that things are working out and that I can expect future visits to be just as successful. Only slightly happier than I am about those three consecutive strikes I got in our second game.

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