Searching for love in all the wrong places

So yesterday I decided to go ahead and meet up with the guy I’d been in touch with (Curvaceous Issues Guy – CiG). He phoned me again Sunday night and this time the call went on for three hours – again mostly with him talking non-stop. However on this phone call I got more of a sense of who he was rather than just his non-stop (frankly wacky) opinions about a range of things.

I found out that he has three daughters in their 20s each with children of their own. I asked about their mum at one point and he told me that she had died of cancer over 20 years ago.

I found out that his mum and dad split up when he was 8 and his mum bad-mouthed his dad so much over the years that he ended up disliking her.

We talked about my situation with the husband and he encouraged me to always put the children first and let them see their dad even if he leaves it to the last minute to ask.

I still knew that he wasn’t the one but I decided to meet up with him because sometimes you just crave that human connection and the novelty of going on a ‘date’.

When he approached me at the bar of the pub we’d agreed to meet at I had to do a double take because he looked nothing like his pictures. He actually looked about 15 years older than his main photo and ten years older than the one he’d put on to show his ‘ugly/hungover’ side.

I couldn’t help but consider the irony given his previous obsession with my appearance and just how honest I’d been with both photos and description. He was clearly very happy with the fact that I at least had given a truthful description of myself.

I’m almost embarrassed to say this but the date started at 2pm and didn’t end until 9.30pm (at his flat). That is mostly down to the fact that he just talked incessantly and there never really seemed to be a suitable point to end it. Come about 6pm I just cut in and told him that I was feeling hungry and would probably have to go. He seemed a bit annoyed that I hadn’t eaten lunch knowing that we were coming on a date. I told him I had eaten lunch of a bowl of soup and some yogurt at work at about 12.30pm (and obviously hadn’t realised that this date would go on for more than a couple of hours). He still seemed bemused by my desire to have an evening meal but I suggested we go somewhere – said I’d be happy with fish & chips and he offered to take me by the chippy near his home. I agreed – I just needed food.

When we got there he let me go in and buy my own food saying he’d just have some chips if there were any left over – apparently he had eaten a piece of fried bread and an egg for lunch and it was going to fuel him through to the following day (he has this dumb theory that essentially negates all received wisdom about how different food groups affect the body and swears by a sugar donut as the one thing that will fill you up and keep you full the longest. Go figure).

I found myself back at his place – the tiniest one bedroom flat with some tired looking furniture and a big flat screen TV. Again I’m not sure why I was OK with all this.

Earlier, at the pub, he had asked to kiss me and after letting him I felt like my teeth were clenched, I was shaking, I felt anxious. I told him about what had happened with the boyfriend recently and tears came to my eyes – I got quite emotional. He seemed compassionate and told me that there may have been a reason for the boyfriend to leave beyond what he had told me and that I would probably never know, but I should look on the four months we had together fondly as a lovely interlude in my life and then move on.

By 9.30 I realised that it was dark and late and I needed to go home (and have some peace and quiet). I’ve said it before but as an introvert its just so draining to be caught up in a social situation that you can’t get out of for hours on end. I felt so extremely tired but fortunately even he conceded that 7 hours was long enough for a first date and he drove me back to my car.

I was glad that I’d told him about the boyfriend and cried in front of him too because I knew that it gave me a plausible explanation to cut things off – it’s even true: I do need time to grieve; I do still burst into tears sometimes when I think about what I’ve lost; I am still so, so tempted to fire off a message and see whether I get anything back.

However it’s also true that I found some of the opinions CiG expressed to be anathema to my world view – his politics in particular. I didn’t find him physically attractive, and I felt he failed a bit at the ‘first date’ first hurdle by letting me buy the drinks and not offering to get my food for me (it was pretty cheap but it would have been a nice gesture).

His life and lifestyle seemed less than he’d portrayed – he spent a lot of time talking about various TV shows and documentaries that he watches and I think he must spend a fair bit of time vegging on the sofa watching ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here!’ and eating sugar donuts.

I told him I need time to get over the boyfriend and that I would be coming off the dating website in order to concentrate on being alone for a bit. I then went on the site and blocked him so I would become invisible. I have paid for another 3 and a half weeks on there and then I’m letting the subscription lapse.

Frankly it’s been a big disappointment – he is the only person who has replied to a message I’ve sent out (bar one sweet guy who had the decency to reply and let me know that he’s just started seeing someone else) and I’m not sure if people are put off by the thought of my kids (although I’ve only approached people who have kids of their own and come across as family types); or maybe they are already seeing someone, or they genuinely don’t fancy me. The point is I’ve sent messages only to people who have spent time crafting an interesting written profile and who have clearly got a fair bit in common with me so it feels that is pretty much it. Unless I want to trawl deeper and message people who live too far away, or who I don’t really fancy, what is the point?

I immediately start thinking about Meetup groups or some other way to meet someone but the point is life is too full right now – full of parenting, struggling with the co-parenting, work, catching up with friends and family, reading, watching movies and box-sets that I’ve missed, events I am booked in to attend, play dates, a bit of blogging and the occasional brainstorm about the book I will, one day, write.

I think that pursuing a relationship with anyone right now is just a daydream. I made the mistake of letting loneliness and the sense of rejection and plain desperation get the better of me before and I ended up spending ten years with the wrong man.

This is a time to re-group, consolidate what I’ve got and tackle any challenges head on without the need to keep relentlessly pursuing some kind of love interest. If it happens, it happens without me forcing the issue.

 

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To date or not to date…

So I did what I said I wouldn’t do and signed up to a dating site. I realise that I am probably inviting trouble back into my life but there is something in me that I can’t silence – this need for a partner – and it’s even stronger since experiencing (albeit briefly) life with someone who was probably the best partner I’ve ever had – kind, caring, generous, emotionally intelligent…

I’ve paid for a month (must remember to cancel subscription!) on this one site which seems to appeal to a more literate, liberal, culturally aware breed of person.

Unfortunately I think I might have just thrown £32 down the drain because only one of the 6 people I’ve messaged has responded.

On the plus side he ticks some boxes – he lives in the next town over, where I work; he’s four years older than me; he looks ok (as far as I can tell); he’s taller than me; he’s writing a novel and he is gainfully employed.

On the down side, having spent a while crafting a message that picked up on things he’d said in his profile and made the effort to get the balance right he eventually responded “hey, how’s you? :-)” which was a bit underwhelming but I forged ahead. It quickly transpired that he didn’t want to spend ages messaging and would rather speak on the phone. Fair enough. We exchanged numbers and I told him it would have to be after 9.30pm when both kids would finally be in bed asleep.

I also thought I might as well make use of the fact that my parents have got the kids Monday night and suggested that we meet up for a drink (particularly because the husband has me in limbo again with no listed dates for child contact going forwards). He agreed.

9.35pm and in came the call.

I’m sure everyone has this little fantasy in their head when someone with an ounce of potential comes on the scene: this could be the one; wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was the last date I ever had to have? You allow yourself this sliver of hope.

As soon as I heard him speak I knew that he wasn’t the one. Almost the first thing he said to me was something deep about how we’re living in an age where no one really expects to have a relationship for life and we’ll probably all just keep moving on. Bear in mind that his profile specifies that his potential partner/date should believe in “real fairytales” I have to wonder WTF is that if not a lasting relationship (with a real person, flaws and all)?

He then proceeded to talk at me for the following TWO hours 😳 during which I barely got a word in edgewise.

At one point, having prompted him a couple of times with questions about himself based on some stuff from his date profile he implied that I was a bit of a stalker to have read and remembered those things! I said isn’t that the point, that we use that information as an icebreaker and suggested that I was waiting for him to ask *me* a question.

For a minute I breathed a sigh of relief as he informed me that he had indeed picked up on something I’d written about myself. He wanted to know just exactly what I meant by describing myself as “curvaceous”. I immediately responded “hourglass” but it was no good he wanted a detailed discussion (one sided) about the ambiguity of the word “curvaceous” (which I might add, was something I got from a dropdown box). Apparently women who are maybe a bit “obese” sometimes use this word to put a positive spin on things. I pointed out that he had seen a photo of me looking relatively slim and fit but he wasn’t convinced that it was a recent picture. I assured him that it was taken just three weeks before.

In the end I had to talk him through my exact dress size only stopping shy of giving him my bra size! FFS!

It got to 11.45pm and I finally managed to break his flow gently suggesting that I may need to get some sleep before the kids jumped all over me in just over 6 hours time. He conceded and we had a brief discussion on where and when we would meet on Monday. It turns out the best option for him is for me to roll out of work at 1.30pm and meet in town then as he works from home and later on wasn’t really convenient.

Honestly it did occur to me that I could’ve spent last night watching 2 episodes of Walking Dead and perhaps my childfree time on Monday evening would be better spent doing something I actually enjoy because I can almost guarantee that this will not be one of those dates where you walk away with that buzz of satisfaction having met up with a kindred spirit. Who knows, we might have sexual chemistry and there might be that but is it worth it?

I did explain my situation with the kids and the “high conflict” ex and a recent relationship which didn’t work out so in theory I could just turn around and say I’ve decided I’m not ready for all this, but then it would be awkward if he saw that my little green light on the dating site was activated. What a minefield!

To be fair it’s probably for the best that it’s not working out because I had told myself that I need to give it a year, or at least 6 months, or at least until the divorce was finalised before putting myself out there because otherwise I would only be short changing any potential suitors (haha now I feel like a princess using the word “suitors”).

On the upside it is one helluva distraction/moving on tactic to get over the boyfriend/recent dumping.

Send wine, send help, send love…