Red Flags and Paying Attention…

Oops, I did it again. I didn’t mean to. It’s not like I was *trying* to end up in a familiar place once more. But life is cyclic, me thinks.

I encountered a sociopath. I know only because I did it once before and caused a nine hour standoff with state police when he knew he got caught in the intricate web that he himself had woven.

This time, it’s on me partially because I didn’t delete my OK Cupid account. I didn’t use it, but it was still in existence. I just kind of forgot about it. Until I got a notification that someone sent me a message. Six days ago. And I responded.

“No, not really looking. Forgot all about this account. Yeah, you’re right, friendships are fun. Wow, we DO have a lot in common. Okay, you’ve made me laugh a lot, and we’re similarly minded, and sure, I’ll have a drink and get to know you….”

And then began the signs I know all too well, and big red flags started waving in the hot air he was blowing all over the place.

Love bombing. Learn what it is so you never have to fall for it. It’s Stage One in the narcissistic play book. They all do it..anyone with any type of anti-social disorder. They begin telling you everything you could ever want to hear. They shower you with attention, praise, adoration, affection, you name it. They begin mirroring you. Everything you want…goals, hopes, dreams, passions…omgawds! That’s their desire, too! Politics, religion, movies, books, music, etc, you two are obviously meant to be because you are so strikingly similar. They point out repeatedly that you two are meant to be. You’re everything they’ve ever wanted and then some.

We met on Friday night. He wanted me to start bringing things to his place to keep there. Or he could just go out and get me a toothbrush, and here are some jammies for me to wear, and wow, I’m so adorable, and we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that, and everything became plans for a future he didn’t even build a foundation for, just plans because in his mind, we were perfect for each other and were obviously now a couple. I was even asked to be his date to a wedding party the following night. I didn’t go…

The red flags were there. I’ve been there before you see.  But I thought perhaps I was being too jumpy or paranoid, and I would talk to him about slowing down. I mean, gosh, I really AM awesome, so of course he was smitten, haha.

But the next night, I saw him after work, and he had been to the wedding party. And he was drunk. Ridiculously so. I agreed to watch a movie. I felt incredibly uncomfortable within a few minutes, though, when he kept going from slightly conscious to unconscious, and somewhere in between there started dropping the three terrifying words, “I love you.” He didn’t want me to go, though. He would rouse himself enough when I would attempt it…and you recall I’ve become a bit shell shocked. I know how quickly it can go from being lovey dovey to bat-shit cray cray.

So I got him to his bed, and as I was trying to get him into it, he pulled me literally head over heels over him and into bed. As he began to doze off, he began giggling, and he asked when would I marry him. He’d been waiting for me forever, you see.

I think at this point, I deserved a cookie for not literally shitting my pants.

When he began snoring soundly, I got up, let myself out, and went home. Somehow, I still wanted to make excuses in my head because maybe I’m overthinking things.I liked sober him. And I liked the banter. And I’m already damaged, so maybe my perceptions are off.

Yet, I knew those flags were there, so I decided to back the fuck off and proceed with extreme caution. Not to write him off completely. But I knew I needed to listen to my gut. I’m getting better at that. Besides, drunk gibberish isn’t necessarily how things would always be.

The next night, I heard from him, and he was ready to go to bed. Hardly talked the whole day which was fine by me. I told him to rest up and that I was heading to get my girls from Jinx’s house where they had dinner and watched TV, and his overly affectionate demeanor turned into an incredibly cold and jealous demeanor. I was asked if that was my fwb, etc. I was reminded that he wants my time…all of it. If he wasn’t so bad at hiding his tendencies, it would have taken me longer to see. But he ripped through the stages as if he doesn’t have any impulse control at all.

So that night, I decided I want out. Immediately. But a sociopath will seek vengeance and keep baiting you when you try to go before their ready. Really, read up on them. So I hatched my plan to keep myself blameless. That way, I could get out without worrying about the way they attack when you go.

I created a fake profile on ok cupid as a single woman with no kids who never wants kids and only loves her fur baby. I viewed his profile, then I logged out. I knew he would message me because sociopaths are always looking for prey to keep their emotional void filled. The next morning, while ignoring the real me, he messaged the fake me. I got him to say he was unhappy with the couple dates he had been on. He would *never* date a woman with kids now because they have such limited time. He doesn’t even know why single mothers are on there trying to date when they suck at it.  He said he wasn’t involved with anyone at all, and that the two he met were only trying to hook up. Then he proceeded to tell her/me that they were a rare breed and so on. I asked him how he would handle a girl who went through specific things I had gone through. He laid it on thick. I responded as the indignant friend and told him I was telling me. Confused yet? He blew up at fake me and started back peddling and telling her/me that he was excited about asking me to commit, but she/I had ruined it. “Good job.” Anyway, within a few minutes, I got a text from him telling me my friends are crazy and had hit on him and he didn’t want to hear from me anymore, so mission accomplished.

I deleted the profile and said that’s that. I got out without becoming the target in a different way, and I remembered that it’s important to delete your dating profile when you stop dating versus just ignoring it exists.

And that’s all she wrote…

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Patterns Make Pictures

Over the years, I’ve noticed more and more how patterns seem to abound. Most of us know the common-knowledge “this applies to everyone” types of patterns, such as, people die in threes, etc. But then there are the individual patterns we all follow. Those are the ones that intrigue me most.

Like, I had a three year run where I wasn’t hit on by a single man my age, but I was being hit on by men 15 years (or more) my junior every time the wind changed course. I finally said, okay Universe, I’ll play along, and after a three or four month liaison with a guy 17 years younger than myself, the Universe moved onto the next pattern. HOWEVER! The next pattern was already becoming established with the seriously way-too-young-for-me-omgawds kid.

It was the pattern of J names that I am still slightly stuck in.

So I met a guy named Keith and thought YAY! I’m finally moving on in the alphabet. And I wasn’t setting out to meet anyone because, let’s face it, relationships of the romantical sort are definitely not my forte.

That’s when I discovered my next pattern in the completely effed up journey of my not-even-wanted love life. It’s the “Well, fuck, he’s still invested in his ex even if he doesn’t tell you he is” pattern.

First, let’s cue Mr. Yesterday. He’s the one that told me I was not someone he needed to check qualities off the list for…I WAS the list. He hadn’t felt that way for anyone in years. “I claim you for as long as you want me. Every moment makes me want you more” blah blah blah it’s all lies blah blah blah guy. Yup, the one who suddenly did a complete 180 overnight and *GASP* suddenly had feelings for his ex and was reconnecting to her again. It lasted three whole weeks when they DID get back together so obviously it wasn’t the amazing fantasy he had playing in his head, but the bottom line is that he told me on the first date that there was no one else. So, yes, that means he LIED. And I was automatically in competition with someone I knew nothing about, and had he let me know he wasn’t truly moved on, I would have known better than to catch feelings. His name starts with a J.

Then there’s the Vaping Viking. Also a J name. Also in love with his ex still. He at least owns it, though, so I’ve known to not get too close and to not let my heart open up to him and to not invest myself and to not fantasize about some future that is completely unrealistic. But then, he’s the guy acting like we are in a relationship and wants to spend as much time with me as possible and wants to hang with my kidlettes and introduced me to his parents when they were in town and is now buying our tickets to the Nutcracker so his mother can come back to Pennsylvania and see my daughter performing with us. Which, you know, if I’m not mistaken, these are all relationship goals. And I keep referring to him as my FRIEND, and yet, I’m seemingly in a relationship that isn’t really a relationship. As soon as I figured out that he’s viewing us as something different than we are, I quit sleeping with him. He took me to dinner last night, and he is incredibly upfront about reading my texts when they come in and commenting on them, and I swear that’s something only a boyfriend who wants to know what his girl is up to would do. But…again…I am not trying to be in a relationship, and this is a pretty skewered version of a relationship if we WERE in one.

Next on my list…Keith. And Keith came on strong. Keith invited me and the kids to come home with him to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and be his date amongst his family. And he said the words which are now becoming a pattern, too, “I’ve finally found my sexy nerd girl. There’s no way I’m letting you go.” And flattery galore and good morning texts and good night texts and a million texts in between every day and good gawds, he acts like I’m the next best thing since cocoa beans and sugar chilled and watched Netflix and made a baby together. But…you know I can’t break this pattern until I am immersed in it and recognize it and face it head on. So yeah….

And he said NOTHING back! The dude who couldn’t stop texting me and flattering me and acting so excited over me who ALSO was the dude who kept bringing up his exes every single freaking time I turned around and saying things like, “Yeah, that’s what Genelle did!” or “Kate was like that. She would do A, B, and C, blah blah blah” every single time we were on any topic whatsoever had absolutely nothing to say in regards to my outright confrontation of the fact I am already in competition with a couple ghosts.

So I unfriended him on Facebook and am now analyzing why this is my pattern and hoping this pattern is now broken. I have faced it head on after recognizing it and have taken the healthy approach which keeps me from being a doormat and/or excusing behavior that leaves me as an option. I mean, if someone treats you like an option and can’t make up their mind, help them make their choice by removing yourself from the equation. It really IS that simple.

Aaaaaaaand now I’m giggling stupidly because the last two I mentioned weren’t even intended to be found or put into the place where I even give a flying rat’s ass. Yet, here I am. Because the Universe has absolutely no qualms with teaching you lessons that you really have no interest in learning.

And people wonder why I don’t want anything to do with relationships at this point.

Do Whatcha Gotta Do

Maybe it’s the hormones, or it’s the fact I’ve run a fever for a full week now, or perhaps it’s because I am lethargic and have a constant ringing in my ears and can’t remember the last time I was this sick…but today, I deleted my ex’s name from my phone’s dictionary.

His name popped up as soon as I opened a chat…right there…a recommended word…as if I had used it too much. Often, my autocorrect would change the chosen word I wanted for his name for no reason at all but to screw with me, I think.  And even though I was okay with the fact he threw me to the side again because someone came along, and I only matter when there isn’t someone there who matters more..I would see his name and roll my eyes a little at most. But today, ugh, today…I saw his name, and it pissed me off because my phone is like a Jewish mother telling me I need to go get that last train before it rolls away for good because I’m almost forty.

So I deleted his name from my phone completely like any rational woman would.

In other news, I am super sick and super over it. I missed school the past two days because I am too dizzy to stay upright for long. There’s so much congestion that my ears are completely stuffed, and I can barely swallow because there’s nowhere for the pressure of air to go. I literally gag myself by trying to swallow my own spit. As my kindred spirit Jinx said, “I know you must be dying because you’re an apple polisher. If you miss school, I need to buy a black suit for your upcoming funeral.”

He also told me I’m absolutely gorgeous…even with vomit spewing from my mouth.

That’s why I like him more than you.

I’m gonna go die a petty death now which is what petty girls who very pettily delete their ex’s name from existence do when they get sick. Much love…

Say What???

I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong. I don’t know how I could have possibly been any more wrong than I was.

There I sat beside the Vaping Viking…the guy who I don’t feel connected to and who does not feel connected to me. The Man of White Noise, blocking out the world with me here and there.

“I think it’s time I begin meeting your kids.”

(This is the part where I had a spontaneous asthma attack and blamed it on the weather and this flu bug that has morphed into what I can only presume is one day going to be named “The Death Plague Of Hell”.)

It turns out this is precisely what he thinks a relationship is. I guess there were signs, but honestly, what makes a relationship for me is toooootally different. Such as:

1) I know several of his friends. They recognize me on sight and joke around with me. I just presumed I was entered into his category of “friends” because there is no deeper level to us. We just exist without having to discuss existence. You know? But I suppose that means I have passed the friends test and didn’t even realize he was combining our worlds. Mah bad.

2) He wanted to take me and the kidlettes to the York Fair last month, but I declined simply because I felt like we were either just static together or, at best, tentative friends who sometimes see each other naked. That was his first attempt to start meeting them, and I didn’t want to let that happen.

3) I very seriously don’t want a boyfriend. This isn’t something I’m just saying because I have no suitors or whatever. I, in fact, have a plethora of men still trying to convince me to give them a chance. That’s why the Vaping Viking was my safe haven. He wasn’t trying to get to know me! He wasn’t trying to pin me down! He was comfortable enough without roping me in! Or so I thought. Meh.

4) This whole time, he’s just been a really bad communicator who isn’t on the same level as me intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or goal-wise. We see the world incredibly differently, and we interact in two separate manners. He thinks this is a relationship. He thinks we’ve been building up to permanence. He thinks we’ve connected. How could he POSSIBLY think we have connected in any way, shape, or form beyond “And now we insert the penis into the vagina or whichever hole we might want to use this evening and do some naughty things to each other before we have pizza and watch TV together.”?

But he does. He thinks we’ve been building up for the past few months. I didn’t think there was any way I was leading him on. I mean, how can we feel so amazingly differently? How can he be satisfied with what this is? I know my standards are high, but c’mon now.

So how do I break this all to him? I went home after my asthma attack subsided and have been sick for the past six days. So, yeah, I’ve avoided him like a mature, responsible, very grown-up adult. Ahem…

I want to be on my own. I am more terrified of dating and what that would cost me than I am of connecting to the wrong person and having to start over. I like who I am all by myself (omgawds, I seriously just started singing that as soon as I typed it…but, you know, only in my head since I sound like a dying drag queen right now). I don’t want a boyfriend. I don’t want expectations. I don’t even really want sex considering I still feel like I’m giving away more of myself than I want whenever my clothes get tossed across the room.

So now I have to have THE TALK (dun dun dunnnn) which makes me highly uncomfortable and will probably end the static I had as a distraction some nights.

But mostly, I have to acknowledge the irony that the ones I want the most find fault in me while the ones I didn’t want to snatch up keep getting tangled in a net I didn’t even mean to cast.

That’s some bullshit, Universe. Cut that shit out.

Freedom and Stuff

I’m growing tired of people trying to hook me up. Sure, they mean well, but the longer I remain unshackled, the more I realize how much I enjoy being single. I look back on past relationships and remember what they were like after the honeymoon period, and I can honestly say, it exhausts me just thinking about it. Of course, my last long term relationship ended in a nine hour stand-off with state police, and the marriage that I escaped from before that involved alarms on the doors to keep me in my place and to alert him to my every move along with some pretty severe abuse. Oh, but rape isn’t rape if you’re married.

And then you think of the tedious task of talking to one loser after another, and you start to think about all the things that you would lose if you entered a relationship. Even a good one! Not to slam the good ones, more power to y’all in one, but for me personally, I just know I am not in the place to go there yet.

I mean, I’m, lactose intolerant. If I’m sharing my bed with someone, I’d be remiss to down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in my randomly stained and bedraggled Spiderman shirt and a pair of Batman undies while laying in bed and binging on Netflix. I’d be terrified of what would happen within the hour of consumption. But not if I’m single!

And if I’m tired or sick or cranky or PMS’ing, I don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings into consideration! I can come home and shut out the world and spare the chance of casualties. I don’t have to explain myself or try to reign myself in, I can just be free to be me and whatever I am feeling in that very moment!

That brings us to freedom. Ah, sweet, sweet freedom. I don’t worry about checking with someone else over what I do, what I spend, who I am friends with, if I want to have one particular thing for dinner but they want another, and on and on and on. No one will pressure me to take it to the next level (and they all do eventually, male or female…if you’re together long enough, they’ll want you to commit). No one is that ONE PERSON I have to want indefinitely without being considered the bad guy because I bow out.

There will be no pointless disagreements. After that honeymoon phase passes, (And it always does. You won’t have butterflies forever) you automatically start having disagreements at some point. Or you’d rather have some down time and not text all that night. And you don’t want to feel obligated to always spend every single moment together, but omgawds, that’s a huge no no because you once loved spending all your time with them and so there must be a problem now which you must talk about and talk about and talk about and talk about some more. You feel the pressure to keep performing to a certain level that isn’t even possible or rational in real world terms. That’s what I’ve encountered, at least.

Plus, I have kids. I don’t relish the thought of integrating a new partner into my family. My kids have never met someone I’ve dated because that’s a huge level of commitment right there.

Guys want me to be less independent. I’ve encountered that far too many times. Something about not letting them be a man if I can take care of everything on my own.

And I’m weird. No, really, I am. My weirdness doesn’t like being checked, and you have to make modifications to yourself when in a relationship. Don’t tell me that the right person will accept everything about me because that’s hogwash. Again, that honeymoon stage. After that, you start to notice the little things people do when you’re around them all the time that are irritating as hell. Everyone does. Since it’s a fact, I’m sure it’s also science, bitches!

But being single, I can randomly flirt with anyone I want. That’s my automatic setting, by the way. I flirt without even thinking about it. I give most people pet names, and I threaten to hump legs like a rabid chihuahua. I also threaten to bite. It’s kinda my thing, this sexual/flirtatious personality that I greet the world with. And let me tell you right now, dudes don’t like it when their girls flirt with others. So as soon as you make it official, BAM! Now you can’t even innocently flirt with others unless you’re with someone who interacts the same way socially and isn’t the jealous type. I’m not about to lock up my phone or act differently in public when my beau is around simply because I’m taken and no longer allowed to be my silly, flirty, dirty-mouthed self. I like being this person. It works for me.

Let’s see…I don’t have to do laundry for anyone else but me and the kidlettes, I don’t have to put up with the bad moods of another person as well as my own, I don’t have to ask permission for a damn thing, I am completely in control of my own life and all the choices I make, I don’t answer to someone, I don’t have to discuss how I want my money spent, I don’t have to think about maintaining a relationship after the initial excitement wears off, I can flirt with whomever I please, I can eat all the ice cream in the world, and I never have to worry about doing things I don’t want to do just because I have a prerequisite to please the one I’m with lest they leave. Sure, sure, we could want a lot of the same things, but do you know how rare it is to find a person that likes everything you like and never will argue with you and will agree with all of your choices and is never going to start seeing the things about you that bugs them and works on changing those things because you’d be “oh, so perfect!” if you just didn’t do this or if you started doing that?

After everything I’ve encountered in relationships, and yes, they’ve been extreme, I must say I prefer singledom so much more. I see my friends and what they go through. I see how much a relationship would steal from me.

I don’t want to be claimed. I don’t want to be half of someone, I want to be magnificently whole all by myself.

I drove past the house I shared with my ex today, and many memories washed over me. And I started thinking about how I felt when I got away and how amazing life is with all these independent choices I get to make. I love freedom. I love MY freedom. And I don’t foresee a time when I’ll willingly just give that up.

So I’ll just be over here dating myself 😉

The In Between

Dear you,

I wanted to believe, so I deceived myself. I can’t be angry at you. I mean, I should have learned the first time I discovered how dishonest you can be. Fool me once, and all…

I was hurting, though. I was terribly hurt, you see. And to believe you meant to alleviate the pain. Until you were dishonest again. Fool me twice…

I think the complete detachment was all it really took this time. To see myself as I really am…The In Between. The momentary distraction that turns to a nuisance when the shiny baubles come along and hold your interest. I’m not shiny enough or interesting enough or maybe not even pretty enough. I don’t know which it is. I just know that I’m good enough for a time, then instead of honesty, there’s simply the feeling of being in the way again.

You can’t pick me back up again like a discarded toy when the shiny baubles become tarnished. I won’t let you. I don’t like living in The In Between. I’m so much more than The In Between could ever offer me. I get that you don’t see that. I know, and it’s okay. But, you see, when you use me to pass the time before tossing me to the side to chase something new only to run right back once your chase bores you, you treat me like less than nothing. I am just the girl in The In Between. That’s making me a shadow of a real girl. That’s saying I only matter because no one else currently matters more.

I thought for sure I mattered simply because YOU mattered to ME. Such foolish naivete. But it’s so easy to just drop me to the side without the slightest explanation. And it’s so easy to look annoyed and bored and anxious to escape because you’ve never seemed to have the willpower or upfront nature to say, “Hey, you know, I’d really rather not…”

I deserve more than that. If it can’t come from you, then it will (and often does) come from elsewhere. The only anger I have felt over this came recently, and it was simply because of the dishonesty. No, really, if I’m being honest, there was that moment where I was so angry that you just can’t see the value of me as a viable human. I know this to be so because we treat those we see value in with a certain level of respect and courtesy and honesty and tenderness. None of which is forthcoming from you when the light hits something that sparkles off in the distance.

Then the anger was redirected at myself. I mean, there’s that saying. When people show you who they are, believe them. But I chose to deceive myself. I chose to do this to myself.

So I’m moving forward with the knowledge that the next time we enter The In Between, I won’t serve the same purpose. I know that I see my own value and treat myself with enough respect for the both of us, and that will have to suffice. Because I just won’t be a shadow girl who helps you pass the time ever again. I’d rather not, thanks.

And I know I mean it when I don’t wonder for one second if you’ll miss that role I played someday. Because, quite frankly, it no longer matters if you do or not. It no longer matters at all.

I’m not a damsel in distress. I’m a dragon. And dragons don’t need saving, they figure out how to save themselves. Just in case you wondered….

Sincerely,

That Girl

We’re Just White Noise

I don’t know what I’m doing in this current phase of my life. I’m growing beyond my current stage by heading back to college, meditating, evaluating my life…and I’ve become so repulsed by the thought of dating that my only safe recourse is to become static with the Vaping Viking.

We get together, we watch movies, we go shopping, we cook together, we lay in bed and watch old episodes of Macgyver with limbs touching. We’ve slept in the same bed all night and gone for coffee in the morning. We send perfunctory texts.

“Hi. How’s your day going?”

“Great. Yours?”

And there’s nothing of substance. I know for a fact he doesn’t know my favorite color, my favorite food, my favorite book, my worst nightmare, my greatest fears.

But he knows what I feel like when fucking like bunnies since I finally gave up my abstinence because if I’m not waiting for someone to fall indescribably in love with me, why should I not at least feel physical contact with another? Oh yeah, that’s right. Because if there’s no connection, it’s not satisfying. Sure, sure, his technique was fine. He did good things that felt just hunky dory. Couldn’t make me cum, though, because I can’t do that without the connection. I hate that. I hate it passionately. I can’t find myself completely satiated physically unless I am completely satiated emotionally, spiritually, mentally…what a crock of shit.

He knows what I look like while sleeping and how ridiculous my hair is when I wake up.

And these are all such intimate things. Too intimate. Far too intimate for whatever it is we’re sharing. He doesn’t flatter me and look at me adoringly, but he’ll ask me to come over and make dinner with him. He doesn’t ask me about my dreams, but he’ll invite me over to lay in his bed and watch shows with him while playing on my phone. He doesn’t bother filling the silence with conversation, but he won’t give me in depth conversation when I ask him questions about his views on ANYTHING. He doesn’t walk me to my car at night, but he’ll meet me at it when I arrive. He tells me about his ex that he still loves, but then he throws his arm over me and nuzzles my neck in the next breath. He doesn’t think of me all day long, but he invites me on a trip to Atlantic City. I don’t connect to him. He doesn’t connect to me. It isn’t even a real friendship. It’s static. We are white noise to each other…merely blocking out the world for a time.

So what the fuck am I doing?

I miss feeling something. Anything. I miss smiling when a text comes through and laughing at a memory and looking forward to getting dolled up for a night out. I miss feeling like someone actually craves me. I miss touch, but not any touch. I miss the shivers and the longing. I miss the comfort and the feeling that I’m not alone with one, simple touch. I miss feeling like I matter more than the others.

I’m hungering for something that I’m convinced doesn’t even exist, and I’m filling that void with a shadow of the real thing. I know I’ve had something much more real than this on more than one occasion, and I am so desirous of that and afraid of that all at the same time. I’m involving myself in a non-involved situation to protect myself from/give myself some of what I crave the most. And I’m not sure what that says about me.

But rest assured, it says something.

So for now, I’m full of static. I’m white noise and shadowed hopes. Funny, but I think I’ve just described being a ghost of myself…neither vibrantly alive nor fully dead. Just whispers that are easily ignored.