Trinity: She said Yes, then said Goodbye*

Hello everyone,

I know it has been quite a while since you last heard from me. I’ve been rather busy; still trying to find a job, recovering from hand surgery, and spending a lot of quality time with an amazing woman, Trinity, whom I asked to share my life with.

I haven’t been posting about her because I felt like I might jinx things if I share them here online. But I guess that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue now. I’ll try to keep this as short as I can and update your more on her and our time together later.

Things with Trinity, as I’ll call her for numerous reasons, were going great up until about a week ago. I asked her to marry me in July and we were planning a wedding for early Spring next year. We had our wedding and reception venues reserved, and were going to book our hotel guest room contract. We had sent out the “Save the Date” notices to our friends and family. I was on cloud nine with her.

Then a week ago Thursday (10 days ago) she called me before going to bed (as she did every night) after her regular Thursday night dinner with her best friend. Out of the blue, she told me she was feeling very stressed about all of the wedding plans, to include our finances because of my lack of a job currently and her lack of income from a rental property she hasn’t had filled for months, along with other personal concerns. She said she felt rushed a little and wanted to postpone the wedding date for a while until we had things established a little better. I was totally supportive and had even told her that I had considered that us getting married next Summer right after school restarted would probably be a much better time to get married.

You see, she wanted to incorporate all of our children in the ceremony and my son gets back from visiting his mother for the summer in mid August right before school stats.

Everything had been OK since then, but she was still acting a little weird. And I was still adjusting to the news. You can’t expect her to drop news like that on me without it bothering me a little bit. Though I was supportive and understanding, the fact that the change was bothering me didn’t set well with her. And then my normal joking, flirty ways – that she originally fell madly in love with – began to annoy her. It seemed I couldn’t say much of anything substantial (especially something related to my feelings) without her getting upset or irritated.

Then Friday (2 days ago) we met for lunch and discussed things further. I started feeling much better after our talk, because she was reassuring me that she still loved me, I still made her happy, and her goal of marrying me and spending our lives together has not changed. We spent the rest of the day texting like normal. Then after her kids went to bed, she called me and dropped the bomb on me.

None of it really makes sense. Yes, we had bumps in the road just like everybody else. Yes, she likes to shut down when she gets stressed and isn’t the best communicator. But none of the issues were remotely close to “relationship killers”, hell, not even the sum total of the issues were enough to terminate a serious relationship like this.

This issues definitely seemed to be the stress of combining our households and her maintaining her free time, and a few smaller issues which we had dealt with early on that seemed to linger. But again, nothing that couldn’t be resolved or worked out.

I tried reassuring her that the wedding plans were not the priority – that her happiness was – but she insisted I was just saying that, but wouldn’t give me the chance to prove it. And several of her “issues” were easily explained away or remedied, but she made sure to say that it wasn’t going to change her mind. She finally ended it by saying she was going to return the ring to me. I reiterated that it didn’t have to be this way and we deserved more of a shot than this.

Since Friday, I have not heard from her (as I’ve mentioned). I’ve desperately wanted to hear her voice or just tell her the usual nonsensical things that transpired in my day. I’ve had to fight from texting her good morning or calling her before bed every day.

Everyone I’ve talked to says I just need to give her some time and space. If I try to reach out too soon, it will just make things worse and push her farther away. I definitely don’t want that. I hope they’re right. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

How much time? How long do I have to wait before I can reach out to her?

She still hasn’t removed me or my family and friends from her Facebook. If you knew her, you would know how serious keeping her Facebook private is to her. She only has about 35 friends and family on Facebook. She’s been on Facebook numerous times since Friday night, so if she was going to do that I figure she would’ve done it by now. I can’t help but hold onto that as a small glimmer of hope that she isn’t fully committed to terminating our relationship.

And though everyone is telling me that I will hear from her and she might come back, because they all saw how great we were together and can’t imagine someone throwing it away so hastily. I sure hope they’re right, but I’m not getting my hopes up and am doubtful I will hear from her anytime soon. That’s why I have the asterisk (*) in the headline.

I’ll definitely keep you all updated on things as they transpire – if anything does happen. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions you want me to address about in my next posts, or if you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to drop me a line. I’m especially curious to know if any of you have taken “a break” like this and how long it lasted.

And as always, thank you all for reading!

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Ariel: I Made Her BFF Cry

For starters, I was going to wait until tomorrow to post an update on things with Ariel, but changes in circumstances have freed me up to write an update today.

She called a bit ago to tell me she’s sick – “throwing up sick”. However, she has not officially cancelled all of our plans, she just wants to see how she feels and sounds optimistic we’ll still see each other tonight. However, it remains to be seen how much of our plans remain in tact. We were originally going to watch “The Best of Me” (Nicholas Sparks, chick flick), I was going to make chicken flatbread pizzas (she doesn’t like red meat) and then watch the Super Bowl together.

So, on with the update.

This week was full of major dating milestones. I picked her up at her office for lunch earlier in the week. She invited me up to her office to meet her friends/co-workers. We even waited around for her cubemate to get back from lunch so I could especially meet her. That’s a pretty big step. Intentionally introducing me to friends and co-workers isn’t something you do with just some casual date. Sure, it happens when you might run into someone you know while you’re out on a date, but this was intentional. To top it off, the first thing she did once we stepped into her office was kiss me, a serious kiss not just a peck. That surprised me somewhat. After the last time I dropped her off at her office and she was a little concerned about showing too much PDA at the office, I never expected to kiss her there, I figured that would wait until we go to the car. So that was another pleasant surprise.

After we had lunch and she returned to her office, she was texting that all of her co-workers we all raving about me. Several of them even commented on how good I smelled – which was literally the first thing Ariel said when we first met. They asked what I wore because they wished their men smelled that good. I refused to share my secret and told her I didn’t want other guys walking around smelling like me, especially ones she knew. Playfully of course.

Ariel is not a very flirty, or complimentary. She doesn’t use pet names or anything like that, or even say “babe or baby”. That’s totally fine. Which is why when she does say things like she’s excited to see me the next time, or calls me wonderful, or whatever, it really resonates. She’s not like others who jump into things like “I love you” too early.

Things all week were very positive, nothing questionable. Conversations and texts were solid, fun and enjoyable. She even called me one night because she was working on the Match profile for her good friend’s 22-year-old son. OK, ya, I was like why is a 22-year-old on Match? Turns out he’s a little nerdy (plays video games and Magic the Gathering) and has never been kissed (or had sex obviously) at age 22. So he’s trying to find somebody. So she asked me for help and advice on putting his profile together. First thing, this kid’s expectations were out of whack. In his present state, he’s looking for a 20-something supermodel. OK, who isn’t? Dial down the expectations into the realistic zone there, son. I thought that was a positive sign, involving me in this thing she was doing.

Then Friday, we were going out with her best friend in the world, Darma. No pressure at all, right? She had plans for Saturday with all of her sisters and girlfriends coming over to her house, so Friday was my night.

We met up at this quaint little place they both like to frequent. We talked about everything from my son, my military background and even that I am a gun guy. Darma was just so enthralled, continuous saying that her fiance and I would get along so well. They were making plans for us all to go to their favorite winery together, among other plans for all of us – like date nights at the range.

At one point, Ariel dismissed herself to go to the bathroom. You know, the old “I’m leaving for the friend to ask the tough questions” routine. As soon as Ariel was out of ear-shot, Darma started in. They were all pretty tame and straightforward, I didn’t have any problems with answering them. We even discussed how my ex-wife and Ariel’s ex-husband are so similar, and how Darma “hates” her ex. The only question I struggled with was the question about my feelings for Ariel. I didn’t want to say too much, but wanted to definitely convey I was very interested in her. I was in the middle of trying to explain something when Ariel returned, so we stopped in the middle.

You see, the majority of people who know me (friends, family and colleagues) will refer to me frequently using such words as stoic, robot, emotionless, and intimidating because I don’t talk a lot and am very quiet. Now, I have no problem socializing, but I’m generally very quiet. I warned Ariel about this from day one. However, I haven’t shut up from the moment I met her. People also know I never smile. I always hear complaints about pictures because I will smirk, but never smile. But my face hurts after all the smiling I do around her. She just brings that out of me. I can’t explain it any better than that.

So a little while later, Ariel brought up my not talking and not smiling, playfully calling me a liar because she has no idea what I’m talking about because she’s never seen this side of me. I even warned her I’d probably be nervous and quiet around Darma. Again, I wasn’t. So I playfully jabbed back about airing all of my business out to her friend the first time she met me.

That’s when Darma asked me about me allegedly being quiet and not smiling. I told her I could provide a laundry list of people who could back up my story, especially my ex-wife (who to this day attacks me for never showing her much affection when we were together, but I didn’t tell her that part) who could easily confirm I’m an emotionless robot, and never smile.

Then she asked me to explain why I’m not that way now. As we discussed it, I basically repeated something to the effect of “I don’t know, I really can’t explain it” while subtly pointing at, or glancing at Ariel while I said, to suggest it has something to do with how I feel when I’m around her. I really wish I could recall exactly how the conversation went in order to properly convey it.

But when the conversation was over, she was in tears – good tears. We wrapped up dinner and went our separate ways. Darma gave me a big hug and said she was glad to meet me and we’ll all have to get together soon. I think I passed the BFF test.

After, we went to see “The Choice” (yes another Nicholas Sparks chick flick) and then back to her house. It had to be an early night because she had a major workout session early Saturday morning at the gym.

I was fully intending to just walk her to her door and head home, I didn’t want to try to push things when she made it clear she needed to go to bed early. But she invited me in for a while. We talked for a while and I checked out her paintings. She’s a painter, a very good one. I was really impressed.

But then we started kissing heavily. After a while, I suggested that I wasn’t going to leave, she was going to have to kick me out if she wanted me to go. We kissed more. Again, I said, look if I don’t leave soon, we’re going to be up very late and she wouldn’t be happy in the morning. We kissed even more. However, I was looking for any sort of sign for something more, but never got it. No suggestive touching, no leaning, angling or moving back toward the bedroom, and definitely no more overt gestures of grabbing my hand and leading me in that direction. As much as I wanted to drag her into the bedroom, I just couldn’t help but think it wasn’t the right time and definitely didn’t want to spoil things by moving too fast for her.

That brings us to today. Last night, she had her friends over and she was up past midnight drinking Crystal Light vodkas (dangerous) and eating pizza (regular pizza, not healthy pizza), which both seem to be the contributing factors to her feeling ill. I know it all too well. Once I started eating healthier, any fast food or junk food (especially KFC) made me feel totally ill.

And I don’t think she’s using it as an excuse not to see me. I know some people do that. But she at least called me to tell me and explain, so I could hear her voice as she told me. Not just texting it. She’s also called a few times to update me. She still talks as though she’s hoping to better so I can come over at some point. If she was just trying to use it as an excuse to cancel, she would’ve cancelled right away.

So hopefully today is not a total loss. I bought all the supplies for dinner tonight and a few other things, and would hate to see all of that go to waste. She definitely sounds like she feels genuinely bad for altering our plans. I’m not too upset, but I am definitely disappointed.

Our next scheduled time together is next Saturday, but I’m sure we’ll see each other at least once before then, probably for lunch during the week. And if she does cancel tonight, I get the feeling she’ll ask to make it up to me tomorrow night.

I’ll keep you posted. I guess it’s a good thing I posted today and didn’t wait until tomorrow. This was long enough.

And, as always, Thanks for reading!!

p.s. please follow along on Twitter as I will post some more causal updates along the way, instead of waiting for a big post update like this.

The “First Five” of Dating

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not dating expert. I’m still single three years post-divorce and in my 40s. But one thing I do have is experience. And that experience seems to help others a lot more than it helps me.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be talking about what I call the “First Five of Dating.” These are the First Five milestones of any dating relationship. We’ll cover each one individually and in depth, but we’ll go over each one here real quick.

The First Five of Dating are the:

  1. First Contact
  2. First Date
  3. First Kiss
  4. First Sex
  5. First Time Saying “I Love You

First Contact is the first time you reach out to your prospective date, whether in person or online. It sets the tone for everything else to come.

First Date is, obviously, when to set the first date, how to prepare and what to do and what not to do.

First Kiss, again, is obvious, but it’s still something we need to discuss.

First Sex is a bit more tricky than the previous three. We’ll talk about how long is appropriate to wait, how to read the signs, how to test the waters, and more. No tricks!

First Time Saying “I Love You is a much more delicate and patient step. It could take weeks, maybe months, but we’ll discuss when it’s appropriate and also how to read the signs so you don’t scare your date off.

While putting this together, I had debated – and even had it recommended – that I also include the “First Fight” in this list. But I want to keep this positive. Developing a strong relationship should be based on positives. Yes, there are going to be disagreements, there always are. But that doesn’t belong here. Maybe I’ll address the “First Fight” on it’s own another time.

So please stop back and follow the discussion. You can sign up for email updates by clicking the “Follow” box in the right column, or follow me on Twitter. Please send any questions you have about each discussion ahead of time and I will try to answer or address each one, if I can. And please make sure you join each discussion.

As always, thanks for reading, and I will see you all again soon.

Staci Update: Was that intentionally unintentional or unintentionally intentional?

I know some of you have been anxiously waiting for an update on whether I’d hear from Staci again or not.  Well, I did, but (maybe) I didn’t. 

I checked in at the airport, getting ready to head out of town for the holiday weekend. That’s when I noticed I had a missed call from Staci. No voicemail, no text, just a missed call. I waited to see if a follow up would come through via text or voicemail, but nothing did. 

So I texted her asking if she meant to call or if it was just an accident. She responded with a coup,e of apologies, supposedly not even realizing she did it. I told her it happens and there was no need to apologize. 

Then she asked how if I was doing and said she hoped I was doing good. I said I was fine, and that we were leaving for our trip today. We exchanged a few messages about her break from work and her upcoming trip.  I finally said I hoped she was doing well, too, and only got a 🙂 in return. 

I contemplated making a few failry innocent comments to test the waters to see if there was anything more behind this supposed misdial. But I didn’t. Really no reason to. If there was something more, I shouldn’t have to pull it out of her. 

That’s where it ended. But I’m curious if there was something intentional about her missed called or if it was truly a mistake. I’m not going to lose any sleep over this. And I sure won’t attempt to contact her again. 

But I guess we’ll see if this is truly where it ends. I thought it ended on that Tuesday. 

We shall see, and as always, thanks for reading!

[posted from the airport while waiting for my delayed flight. Great job Spirit Airlines. ]

Tuesday (and Staci) are gone with the wind

I was right. I say that way too often, and it always seems to be regarding things I don’t want to be right about.

And if you don’t get the headline, you can catch up here.

She met with her ex-boyfriend for dinner tonight. I really didn’t expect to hear from hear tonight. But a little after 9pm she called me. I was rather surprised.

She was straight to the point – after a long awkward silence following the initial pleasantries – I give her a little credit for that. She came right out and said, after talking, they decided to try dating again.

She apologized profusely and said it wasn’t anything to do with me, there was nothing wrong with me. She just felt she needed to follow her heart. And when I pointed out that these things never work out, she admitted that she didn’t feel that way otherwise she wouldn’t have considered getting back together with him. All girls who consider getting back with their ex-boyfriends always think this guy is different, even though she would’ve told her friend to stay away from this guy.

And her friend Amy (from the other posts) – is also NOT supportive of this move, to dump me to go back with her ex. And she didn’t listen to her best friend either. Shocking.

Instead of getting upset and badgering her for (what I thought was) a horrible decision, I took the high road. I said I hope – for her sake – I’m not right this time and that things work out for her (even though I don’t see it lasting more than a month or two). I want her to be happy. I told her she deserves to be treated better than she was previously with this guy. And she said he had a lot to live up to because I set the bar pretty high. Then I asked her “then why go back with him if you’re admitting that I was better for (her)?”

She said (again) she needed to follow her heart, and it wasn’t fair to me that her heart wasn’t completely into it with me. She apologized and said she felt bad, I bluntly told her she should and emphasized that I wasn’t joking.

She commented on how well I was taking things. I said I had a week to prepare for this, so it wasn’t like some sucker-punch to the heart. Plus, what good comes from getting mad or angry? None. It doesn’t change anything and it doesn’t make anything any better.

I told her I hope she doesn’t reach a point where she regrets making the wrong decision and passing on Us. Because if she did end up changing her mind, I wasn’t waiting for her and was moving on with my life. I tried to maintain a level of civility, and was rather blunt numerous times pointing out where I think she was wrong in dealing with this like she did.

Again, she tried to tell me that she had no intention or preconception that they would get together after meeting tonight. I don’t buy that for a second, and reiterated to her that I saw this coming for a week now and had plenty of time to prepare myself for this. So even if she is honest about not having any intention of getting back together with him, I apparently know her better than she does because I saw it coming a week ago. Then again, with the way she was acting this past week, it is obvious to see that she was distancing herself from me for a reason. It wasn’t just a coincidence.

It was short and to the point. I finally asked her if there was anything else she needed to say, and she just repeated her apologies. So I ended the conversation by again wishing she finds happiness and that I would never want her to get hurt again, no matter how much I disagreed with it or how much it hurt me.

And that was it. I immediately set her ringtone to the Star Wars Imperial March and her text tone to the Chewbacca roar (as I do with all ex-girlfriends). And yes I keep ex-girlfriend numbers in my phone for a while, so I know exactly who’s calling me. I don’t memorize their phone numbers, so I don’t want to answer a regret-filled call on accident. After a while, like a year or so, I go through and purge my phone of numbers I haven’t used or talked to in a while.

So now onto bigger and better things. This chapter is over. Time to open a new one.

Thanks for following all of this madness, and as always thanks for reading.

It’s Tuesday, someone cue the Lynyrd Skynyrd

It’s Tuesday …

That’s all I’m going to say about it. It’s Tuesday.

It started off fairly normal (well, that’s possibly a total lie, but I’ll get to that later) and I’ve got the Lynyrd Skynyrd cued up ready to roll. Sing it with me …

Tuesday’s gone with the wind, Tuesday’s GOOONE with the wind ...”

If you’re not familiar with the song, check it out, then you’ll understand the full meaning of what I’m talking about.

Have a good Tuesday! See you on the other side.

The Ex-husband makes things extremely difficult

I know dealing with Ex-anythings in a relationship can be difficult. But this is just freaking ridiculous.

I already discussed the stepmother (his wife) a bit in my last post, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to be a part of this situation with them involved.

From day one, it has been a struggle. Early on, it was not my place to get involved, but now that we are almost a year-and-a-half into this, my position on keeping my mouth shut has changed.

Olive’s ex-husband is very controlling, manipulative and emotionally abusive to her. On top of that, his new wife (the stepmonster, as I will refer to her henceforth) piles on and will actually lead the abusive attacks most of the time.

The one minor silver lining in her (the stepmonster) defense, is that she is the only parent in that household. The ex-husband is a deadbeat. He “claims” to only make $8/hr (when he actually has a lucrative consulting business) in order to pay the minimum amount of child support possible. Since he works from home and does not maintain proper business accounting, Olive has no real way to prove he is cheating the child support system. Yet, they live a very lavish lifestyle. She actually stays involved in Olive’s son’s health and school issues – almost too much – in the place of her husband, who really could care less. Plus, they routinely find ways to cancel or cut short their visitation times in order to do personal things. I could go on and on with stories, but I hope you get the point.

One other note about the ex-husband and the stepmonster: he was cheating on Olive, having an affair with the stepmonster and married her in Las Vegas less than a week after the divorce was official.

Moving on … Over the years (long before I came along), the established order of things was set. The ex-husband does something, Olive complains, the ex-husband and stepmonster gang up on Olive until she gives in and is left sitting in a pool of tears. Olive is not a very strong person when it comes to standing up for herself, nor is she well-skilled at debate or verbal confrontations. She is very unsure of herself, always second-guessing, and assuming the worst. She was this way before them, and all of the arguments don’t help.

So the routine is simple, berate Olive until she just gives in. This fosters an attitude of them thinking they can get away with whatever they want. Whether it is nickel and diming Olive over prescriptions, medical costs, school supplies and clothes. The owe her hundreds of dollars in costs they said they would (or are supposed to) reimburse her for. But they never do. She continues to pay for these things because she thinks they will try to use that as ammunition against her for not taking care of her child. Yet when she confronts them about the money, they just berate and bully her. She is afraid to take them to court for the money, afraid her ex-husband will try to take custody away from her. I have seen enough out of him to know (1) he really doesn’t want custody because it would interfere with their social and personal lives and (2) it would take an average lawyer 5 minutes to prove how unfit he is as a parent. Plus, during their divorce, the stepmonster actually took care of all the details and paperwork for him. He’s way too lazy to be able to do what it takes to fight for custody.

I’ve tried to be supportive. But I can only stand by and watch so much. I’ve tried giving advice, recommendations, tactics, etc. But that just backfires with her getting mad at me because, according to her, I’m just trying to get her put in a position to get bullied again. So she does nothing … except cry, bitch and complain.

My personal opinion is if you aren’t willing to do something about it, then accept it and stop complaining about it. And I find it very hard to stand by while continues to be a punching bag. But when I say something, it only makes things worse.

Like I mentioned in my last post, how would it be if we were married or living together? There is no way I’m sitting there watching that like a spectator ringside at a UFC fight. I’m stepping in. I’m putting an end to it.

I need a strong woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, who can take care of herself. And the aggravation with this constant issue is almost to the point of boiling over.

Now, she is to the point of sharing very little of what is going on with her and them because she knows how I feel about it. We’ve had numerous discussions about it. So that only adds to the continuing gap of things between us and the further distancing of our relationship.

I would really hate for the ex-husband to be a reason why this doesn’t work out, but it is really beginning to look that way. It’s a good thing I don’t see him very often, because I swear the next time I see him, it will be all I can do to not punch him in his fat face.

Enough ranting for one day.

Thanks for reading, and I will see you all again back here soon!