Why married people shouldn’t touch a single person’s phone

This past weekend I took a few days to get away from my crazy life and hang with some of my favorite people in sunny California. We spent three days laughing, eating, supporting, and best of all drinking away our woes. On the first morning, we went to have Second Breakfast after going to the farmer’s market, which of course included bottomless mimosas.

While waiting for food, my friend Lily asked to see Tinder. Her wife raised an eyebrow and told us to both be careful. I was a bit wary of anyone messing with my account…but what could possibly go wrong? And it would be fun if they recognized any local women in my matches. I handed over my phone and told her to not touch the screen.

What did she do?

Swiped right on the first person that appeared.

I hadn’t been paying attention and her wife and I were chatting away when we heard her screech and drop my phone and exclaim that she “may have done something bad.”

Lily’s wife’s face was a perfect “I TOLD YOU SO.”

I investigated the damage.

Someone I would never swipe right on stared back at me. She looked angry in all her cat photos and her tagline is literally, “Dating sucks let’s skip straight to divorce,” and she makes fun of people with nut allergies.

Could. Not. Be. Farther. From. My. Ideal.

I snatched my phone away and then immediately relaxed. If I was in Cali, then my matches would be from here and I wouldn’t have to deal with running into her or her following up.

But no…upon further investigation I noticed that my location hadn’t updated and she was indeed from my home city.

Fuuuuck.

By now, Lily was laughing so hard she was crying, and her wife joined her in that state once she checked out the profile.

Nope, happily married people, you are NOT ALLOWED NEAR MY PHONE.

But thanks for the blog post 😉

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Second Act

So this story comes from a few years ago, with someone I would go on to date for a while. We had known each other for a few months by the time we started dating, and it was one of the few relationships that I have had that didn’t spring from the internet. Ok, well…it mostly didn’t. I met him through a former partner that I met through the internet…so maybe everything does stem from Tinder? Kinda feels like there are about three degrees of separation from Tinder. It has Kevin Bacon beat.

But anyway. I think I bring up the fact that we had known each other for a few months because that should have made dating less awkward, right? But, yeah, no. because dating makes EVERYTHING awkward.

For our first date, we went to a local art gallery. Neither of us had been there before, and our hopes were high. Until we walked in and realized that things were a little too abstract. Like, we thought we found the storage room…and it was an exhibit. Conversation was a little awkward, but overall we were fine. And we had a very sweet kiss at the end of the date as I hopped on my bike in the rain but I pedaled away feeling like it was a sunny warm day.

Second dates are the WORST in my opinion. I think they are waaaay more stressful than the first. The first date is known to be a shit show and so many first dates don’t have a second act. But on the second date, it feels like there is more at stake. This is where you decide about a third. Or a fourth. Or if you are going to get rejected again when you put yourself out there. And a second date tends to be where you are supposed to open up a bit more. And get into the opinions and feelings stuff that makes for a reason to have a third date. While I of course want a partner, it’s scary to open up and to trust someone with your emotions…and to me the second date opens up that door.

This guy seemed to also feel that way. So, to make sure it wasn’t awkward, he did the most awkward thing I could think of: he brought a list of questions to ask someone on a date. Like, had it printed off and not just a ref on his phone or something. And the conversation wasn’t even that awkward when he whipped it out—he whipped it out prematurely. (The list. Not his stuff. Mind out of gutter.)

It was actually one of the most endearing things anyone has ever done.

He barely looked me in the eye, and said that he was nervous and doesn’t date much so didn’t want to mess up. I was torn between hugging him, kissing him, or laughing in absolute relief that finally I wasn’t the one who was the most nervous. I refrained from doing any of these things because I didn’t want to overwhelm him. Instead, I made myself as quiet and relaxed and as safe as possible and asked him to read a question.

He asked something about who my hero in my family is.

At that time, I was in a difficult space with my family for various reasons, and wasn’t doing much in the way of communicating with them. So this was a hard question. I wasn’t ready to divulge any of that muck just yet—it wasn’t even sorted out in my head yet. I pondered the question, and then my answer surprised me. I responded that my dad is. My dad and I traditionally have a strained relationship. But it is because we are SO similar. We are both stubborn, highly intellectually intelligent, traditionally not super emotionally intelligent (though I am really working on this!), and highly competitive. So I talked about that, and how my dad worked his ass off for his family even when we didn’t all get along that great. Even if this wasn’t the space I was currently in, I was actually oddly grateful for him for bringing up this thought process.

Of course, I wasn’t going to say much of this out loud until much later.

So I decided to ask it back to him: who is your family hero?

He responded that he hates his family and hasn’t talked to any of them regularly in years.

Wait…so you asked me and pushed me to do all this digging and processing and threw me into this weird spiral…and you can’t actually answer it?

Well played, my friend. Well played.

Maybe I should have just been honest. For my most recent long-term relationship, she and I dove into our family dynamics on our first date and I found so much I could relate to and feel so not alone about. But I guess you just need to evaluate where you are in life, where you are in your self progression, and how much alcohol is in you.

Missed Connections

So for my writing group, we are working on individual pieces on connection. Which is a perfect topic for me to tackle. Dating and relationships are all about connection: having it, or (more entertainingly) not having it.

We need to find someone we connect with to be able to start a relationship. Someone who makes us feel safe and trusted and taken care of. It always amazes me just how unique that combination has to be for everyone to work. Like, I adore many of my friends’ partners.

But I’ll never date them. Or even want to.

Because I know that we won’t connect in the right ways. And to me, connection is key.

But what works for some may not work for others even though they are friends. Like this aaaamazing situation my friend recently witnessed. She was at a party, and one of her friends decided to bring the woman he had been dating for a few weeks with him. Let’s call them Joe and Sara. They made the rounds, and Joe was introducing Sara left and right. At one point, his best friend (let’s call him Steve) walked in a bit late and came over to say hi.

Then things got awkward.

When Joe went to introduce his date, Steve got awkward and so did Sara.

Why?

Because Steve and Sara had gone on a date. That clearly went terribly. And now she was dating Steve’s best bud…and would be stuck dealing with a guy she clearly didn’t like.

Yeah, this is terrible for them. I mean, awkward city, and a truly difficult sitch.

For the rest of us?

Hilarious. And many of us have either been in that exact situation, or something similar enough to relate and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not them in this position.

Because with the advent of online dating, you date a lot of people. A LOT of people. And even in a city, it’s still a fairly small pool, so you date pretty much all the same people. My friends now show me who they are going on dates with and odds are I know one in five of the people they will show me.

Yikes.

But also…good fodder for this blog!

Like the time I was dating this dude for a few weeks. I thought we were becoming exclusive. He clearly didn’t. And started sleeping with someone my roommate was good friends with. My roommate informed both of us and I was given the pleasure of dumping him before she got to.

Guys, free tip: girls talk and they all seem to know each other.

And as a free tip in general:  be careful who you piss off or brush off. Because you may have to continue to deal with them.

And then it works. J/K. LOL.

Well…I’m officially back to needing to look at Tinder again. Because even when it works, it’s not always forever.

And that’s ok.

Or at least it will be.

Three weeks ago I was unceremoniously let go. In the middle of the worst time of my life. Because of course.

But at least it’s blog-worthy :).

On February 2, my uncle died unexpectedly. He was one of my favorite people. My ever-faithful supporter, my cheerleader, my encouragement. The world lost an incredible human that day. And my heart will always have a hole in it.

On February 9, I took an abusive ex to court to get a restraining order. Our relationship was abusive, and after he broke up with me, he just couldn’t leave me alone and continued to stalk and harass for years. I finally got fed up and took his ass to court. And won.

A few hours after that, I found myself on a flight to my hometown to say an incredibly painful goodbye. And start putting my life into a new frame without one of the most important people in my life.

During that time, I realized I was no longer supported by my person. I reached out multiple times and barely got a text back. I’m dealing with one of the biggest losses I’ll face…and nothing. Are you fucking kidding me?! Imma guess you’re done…but she never said anything. So I just went along thinking she was distracted by some stuff in her life and I was honestly too devastated to deal with it at that time. (spoiler alert:  she was…she just wasn’t fessing up that she was distracted AND was done with me.)

Upon returning home, I was greeted with news that my dog has a terminal condition. My faithful partner through everything. I made the painful decision to just keep her comfortable until the end. She deserves that dignity in her old age. No drastic measures; she doesn’t need to be put through all of that. Just the two of us loving each other till the end. Whenever that is.

On March 1, the night before the one month anniversary of my uncle’s death, I moved into a new apartment. We decided to celebrate and sit and eat pizza and drink beer. I didn’t anticipate that I would leave that celebration single, but I did.

One. More. Thing.

One more thing to heal from. One more loss. One more rejection.

And the realization: I have to date again.

Fuuuuuuuuck.

Two days later, my friend took me out to eat and drink my emotions away.

Remember that entry on allergies? Where I said that I have a life-threatening allergy to nuts?

Yeah. That fucker decided to rear its head. Or, rather, the waiter decided to be a dickhole and not ask about ingredients…after I asked him to. I was assured my cheesecake would not kill me.

But it almost did.

As I laid in the ambulance in a busy city center, pants around my ankles for everyone to see while I got an injection just south of my ass, I had a moment of amazing clarity.

It could all end now. And after that past month, I think many people would have considered letting it end.

But not me. Not this time. Not this way.

In that moment, I realized I wanted to survive. I want to see what’s next. I want to see who else I meet. I want to see what else I do. I want to see what I accomplish. Who I help. Where I wind up.

My friends, life is amazing even when it sucks dusty donkey balls.

Sometimes, you get handed some serious SHIT. But…if you look closer, you’re also handed a clean slate disguised as some serious shit.

I get to start over on so many levels. I get to use what I learned to not make the same mistakes again…or at least recognize when I’m headed down that road again. And that is a fucking GIFT.

So I’m going to take some time to heal, some time to create some hilarious new memories, to look back on this past month and start framing it as ‘this one time some serious crap happened and I survived and thrived,’ some time to LAUGH and to LOVE those incredible people who held me while I sobbed and who painted my new apartment and who refused to bring me food because they are scared they will be the next one to almost kill me.

And then I’ll start dating again. And I’ll keep you posted. Because you know it’s gonna be a shit show.

And I can’t wait.

And then…

…it works.

When you’re not looking or expecting or even believing in anything anymore.

You are aimlessly thumbing through Tinder in a jaded distant fashion and you see someone’s picture and you just know to check them out. You like them. And a few days later they like you back. You hesitantly start a conversation, not really hoping for anything anymore.

And you find connection. You make a plan for a date. It starts out shyly and then before you really know it, you’re spilling some of your deepest secrets and your deepest pain and your deepest desires. You’re still holding back so much but you realize this person…this person sees you. And you feel safe and like they are safe to share the rest of your deepest parts with. Something sparks in you and Pandora’s box opens up to release all of the bad inside you and hope flits out hesitantly.

Hope isn’t something you recognize at all anymore. Well…I guess that’s not true. You recognize it, but you are terrified of it. Terrified of hurting again. Terrified of trying again. Terrified of feeling again.

And yet. You let go.

Slowly at first. Shyly. Quietly. And something beautiful begins to unfold. You start to realize that all of these stories and bad dates were leading up to a release from someone who would hold your pain and be the aloe for all of those burns. The pain slowly fades as you discover that there really do exist people who let your past be your past and don’t judge all the bad and weird and exploratory decisions you made.

Slowly you realize that this person isn’t going to land in this blog as one of the eyeroll or laugh out loud crazy stories. You promise them early on that they won’t be one of those stories–because you know early on that they won’t be. You hope that one day you’ll be writing this very post.

The post to close the chapter on reliving past moments that, while hilarious, are tied up with pain and rejection.

This blog has been one of the most freeing things I have ever done. To publicly share intimate moments. To publicly share vulnerability. To publicly share loss and rejection.

To publicly share hope.

My friends, it’s time to hand the reins over. These stories are all out there. Well…ish. There are some stories that really cannot be made light of. They are just painful and should be walked away from. They don’t deserve the light of day. Because when other people put their pain on you and you make it yours, it just needs to be released. Bear that in mind:  if someone is putting accusations on you, it’s almost guaranteed to be them talking to themselves. Walk away from that sooner than I did. But if you don’t, I only hope you meet someone like I have who eases that burden and pain.

I wish you all the best in your ventures. I wish you all the best in finding your person. The unicorns along the way will light your path and keep your fire alive. Because, for me, it turns out that my person isn’t a unicorn at all. She’s ethereal, it’s true, but she’s also too real to be a unicorn. She is my present and she keeps me present. Look for that. Look for the person who you feel safe being seen by. Look for the person who you feel safe being the truest form of yourself in front of. Look for the person who makes you laugh, holds you when you cry, and is the person who flashes through your mind when you have a serious accident and think it may be the last breath you take. Because that person, when you survive that bad accident, will be the one who will hold you together and not let all of your pieces even think of falling apart. And they will make you feel, for the first time in your life, like you are beautiful and worthy of love.

You are worthy. You are all worthy.

And I pinky swear promise that if you can just claw onto that all and keep from spiraling and giving up and settling, you’ll find your person. You’ll find yourself not even caring or angsting over how long it’ll last–you’ll be present.

And it will all be as easy to move through as all of those jerks who have found their person say it is.

Getting back out there

So as I have alluded to, I have had one very long term relationship. One that lasted from 17 – 25. It involved years of love, a deep friendship, a Canadian divorce, and a called-off American wedding. Needless to say, that took years to recover from, and may explain some of my bad attempts at a relationship.

That formula of it takes half the relationship to recover? I actually believe that’s pretty close.

Anywho. As you may imagine, getting back out there for the first time was rough. Like, really rough. I hadn’t dated since I was 17…and I wouldn’t exactly call what I was doing at 17 actual dating. When I took the plunge back into the crazy world of dating, I was am American living in Canada. Normally I think that’s pretty innocuous. But…this was during the Bush years, so Americans were pretty hated up there. Naturally, I tried to date a Canadian.

My first date came from Plenty of Fish. When I tried match.com, I literally had zero matches…and my standards were LAX. PoF it was! The guy was cute, outdoorsy, and seemed genuinely nice.

Turns out, two out of those three were true in real life. Guess which one was missing?

Nailed it: the cute part. Turns out his pics were about 10 years old. Kinda makes me think of the entry that started this whole blog venture!

Our date was to a movie. I can’t remember what it was, but it was supposed to be a comedy. We both laughed a lot.

At totally different parts.

Hmm. I was a bit wary of this situation. Were our senses of humor THAT different?

Also. He laughed like a fucking hyena and I wished for no more funny scenes after about 20 minutes in.

Afterwards, we decided to go to dinner. Back in the day, I actually ate meat, so we went to a BBQ joint. We awkwardly talked until dinner arrived and I dove in. And by dove in, I mean it—I soon had sauce running down my chin. I was a bit embarrassed so asked him to hand me a napkin while I kept my chin covered with my hands. He teased me with the napkin, saying that he wouldn’t give it over until I showed him how messy I was. At first I thought he was joking so I laughed and said no, please just give me the napkin. Then I realized he really wasn’t going to hand it over until I moved my hands. This really annoyed me but I kept the outward annoyance to a minimum and just scarfed my food so we could get out of there faster.

The ending was abysmal. He asked for a hug (after, I kid you not, making several anti-American jokes in a row and hyena-laughing his ass off while I just did small smiles). My response to the hug request was to say ‘that’s all you’re getting.’

But he didn’t get the hint (or I guess blatant spelling out of we aren’t going anywhere).

I realized I would indeed have to spell this all out. So I typed up a message over PoF saying that I was too recently out of my relationship and that it’s not you it’s me and blah blah blah good luck with life. My bestie then walked over to my apartment and we headed to Dairy Queen to commiserate on how much dating sucks.

On the way over, I got a phone call. From the guy.

Dude. SERIOUSLY?

My friend looked at me and said ‘so you know you’re letting that go to voicemail…and then we are going to listen to that on speaker, right?’

Duh.

She then got her ab workout for the week listening to his high pitched voice squeak out that he couldn’t believe our relationship was over and he would do anything to make it work and can we pretty please with a cherry on top at least be friends?

Facepalm.

Facepalm.

Facepalm.

The kicker?

I came home to a desperate email that echoed the voicemail.

Here’s some free advice: after one date, if you’re not both on the same page by a lot…let it go. Do you really want to spend the rest of the relationship chasing?

Does rejection suck? Hell yes. I should know. If even my dog looks at someone else for attention, I feel rejected. So believe me, I get rejection and being sensitive. But sometimes you just need to let things slide, especially that early on.

Because when it works, it’s easy and it’s the most perfect thing you can imagine.

And we will all get to where we need to be with that feeling.

Cockblocked.

We’ve all been there. Of, if you’re into chicks, you call it pussyblocked. Or is it a beaver dam? Your choice. I’m sure you know what I mean. 

It’s that moment when you’re steaming straight ahead to Funkytown and there’s a fatal error.

And you find yourself (insert appropriate genitals)-blocked.

Take for instance this moment in my life. I was out bar hopping with my favorite month-long fling from last year and we were having a grand time trading raunchy stories and sending inappropriate drunk texts to various friends (if you’re reading this and were a recipient, sorry/ not sorry/ you’re welcome). We started to end the night and found ourselves making out while leaning on my car wishing we had a more convenient hook-up location. He pulled back slightly and with a sly grin said that he worked around the corner and he has a dream of sex on the conference table.

I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

We hurried to his building, giggling like idiot teenagers the whole way. We stumbled up the dimly lit stairwell and into the open-space office design…only to find…his loser co-worker pulling an all-nighter.

Cockblock of all cockblocks.

With the open office design, there was nowhere to get any privacy, and the co-worker was looking pretty suspicious of my date’s fake rifling through papers and mumbling of “uh I forgot to grab…uh…something.”

We looked at each other and realized this would be the end of the evening.

On the way out, I heard my date mutter “well I’ve never liked that guy, so at least now I have an actual reason to hate that guy…so…bright side?”

Yes?