Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery


this potential

lovers on fire

[from a coffee love letter – poetry]

i want her to be gorgeous and a rocket scientist
or a poet
nice shoes, not gaudy shoes
brown hair would be a preference, nothing more
i’d like her to see through my bs
to know that i’m not as confident as i pretend to be
and i’d like to be safe
letting her see that truth
would be a release

i want to let go
and to relax into her arms
to nap with abandon
and share the fruits and the labor
and to enjoy the play between naps and sleep

where is fearless love born
what is the heart of trust
that never breaks
nothing is more important than this
there are many variables
i have a range of preferences
but this is non-negotiable
to have been hurt and yet soar
to know disappointment and still reach for the stars

every great journey must start from here
if the epic quest is to find love
to know how to be loved
and to fearlessly ignite
and stand beside another’s flame
in awe and joy
at seeing a reflection of your hopes
at believing again in someone else
at losing objections
and laughing at obstacles between us

i hold you here
holding my own heart
as an outstretched hand
an invitation
to dance
something cosmic and unknown
to fearlessly let go of everything
to dream and lose the dream
over and over
until we have built
a bonfire of passion and burning of vanities
a stripping of defense
even desire becomes satiated
in you
in this potential of we
in us


Unavailable Women of Desire

unavailable womenWhy not lust after rockstars, movie stars, lesbians, and happily married women? My current path of ”availables” has yielded very little. WAIT! Am I getting discouraged?

Three times last week I fell in love with unavailable women. It’s almost like the early days, of hanging around with “the most beautiful girl in the world.” All the longing and desire are unrequited and unrequitable. But that doesn’t keep the desire from being sparked when in the presence of attractive and powerful women.

But what is it about my mating call that is not working?

1. Perhaps I’m still not looking in the right places

  • More church, yoga, hiking groups, meetups

2. Perhaps I’m not the star that I want to be

  • Fitness
  • Confidence
  • Spiritual mojo

3. I’m still too focused on the external desire

  • Rather than connecting with my own internal feelings of fulfilled desire
  • When I lose 20 pounds, I’ll simply be 20 pounds lighter
  • What needs to change?
  • How am I not loving myself enough?

4. My productive time is sacred, but I still waste it on Facebook

  • Facebook IS procrastination
  • Facebook IS NOT creative
  • Facebook IS TV

5. Time Spent at Craft

  • Butt in seat and writing (screenplay, poetry, blog, music)
  • Get the live music show on the road – singer songwriter path to performances (2 weeks – before end of June)

6. Time With Others

  • She will not find me sitting here in my house
  • How can I get introduced to more people unless I’m with more people
  • What ways do I want to spend time with others?

Update from this weekend. Had a nice long walk and movie with the remaining woman with potential. Time together. Still no kissing. What’s up with that? What does she want? When does she want it? Maybe it’s not me that she wants it from.

Today’s quote from Alan Watts struck me as particularly enlightening with regards to my way forward. I’m always so concerned with not pushing the river. In this quote he gives us permission to push the river if that’s where we feel the connection. The push is happening either way. Our job is to connect with the WOW of everything, rather than focusing on the striving we consider so important.

When I can no longer identify myself with the little man inside, there is nothing left to identify with — except everything! There is no longer the slightest contradiction between feeling like a leaf on a stream and throwing one’s whole energy into responsible action, for the push is the pull. And thus, in using intelligence to change what has hitherto been the course of nature, one has the realization that this is a new bend in the course and that the whole flood of the stream is behind it. — Alan Watts – This Is It


The Off Parent

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A Son’s Sadness on Father’s Day

brunch on father's day 2013Poking his sister in the head and pulling her hair were natural acts for my 12-yo son. And today at my Father’s Day brunch, things were no different. Except when my mom asked each kid to tell one thing they liked about their dad. I was supposed to tell something I like about “being” their dad. And my mom was going to tell what she liked about watching me be a dad.

A simple father’s day request, over brunch. My mom set up the question, my daughter went first.

“I like how my dad is always positive and supportive of us. And that he’s not like our cousin’s dad.”

Ah yes, easy to be a great dad when contrasted with a devil dad.

And with that, my son, who had taken extra time to come up with his appreciation, slumped into a tearful silence. He couldn’t go next.

My mom went next. “I love seeing how you support and love your children in everything they do. And how much they know you love them.”

Okay. All good there.

So I went next, as we were going around the table like a card game.

“I really love how each of my kids are excelling in their creative pursuits, both musical and non-musical. I am amazed by how creative each of you are.”

And with that, my son, who had taken extra time to come up with his appreciation, slumped into a tearful silence. He couldn’t go next.

My mom got uncomfortable and tried to ease off him and change the subject. I asked that we just give him some time to recover. That it was okay for him to be feeling some emotion. My mom gave me a worried look. He was fine. I did wonder what he was feeling so deeply at that moment. Was it connected with something I said?

He took some time. And the rest of us moved on and talked about various things. But I came back to him when he seemed to have regained composure.

“Not to completely let you off the hook,” I said. “Surely you can think of one good thing to say about me.” We smiled at each other. He was back.

He spoke clearly, “I like it when you try to help, even on things that you can’t help on. You still try.”

I liked it. I added, “Anything specific, right now, that I’m not helping on?” I smiled big at him, letting him know I was open for anything, but also teasing a little about anything I might be missing on.

“No,” he said. “Nothing comes to mind.”

It’s hours later, and the kids are back at the ex-y’s and I’m still trying to decipher what he was saying. And of course my interpretation is only MINE. I will have to wait until Thursday, when they are back with me, to see if I can gain any insight into what he was trying to communicate.

As I was coming home several things came to mind that would’ve made me sad at his age. AGAIN, these are about ME and MY DAD, and MY PARENTS divorce, but I only have my own story to reference.

  1. Sad that he’s not able to be with me all the time, or that we are separated so much of the time.
  2. Expressing his understanding that the divorce was not my idea, and that I tried to keep it from happening.
  3. Sad that the rest of his life isn’t as positive when I’m not around.

I don’t know.

My dad didn’t die until I was 20 years old, but he was unavailable to me the moment he walked out of the house when I was about six.

My son is a bit on the quiet side, when it comes to talking about emotions. (Duh, he’s twelve.) But in tender moments I stay close and don’t exit or let him exit either. I want to dig into this moment with him and see if I can get at any of *his* sadness and help him make sense of it.

In my parent’s divorce my dad exited in a big way. He was an alcoholic and when the divorce happened he went even further into his disease and married another alcoholic. They drank themselves to death.

My dad was unable to show any emotional connections except when he would get sloppy drunk and morbidly sad about the divorce. I recall him crying to Charlie Prides, “The Most Beautiful Girl” more than once. But that’s what alcoholics do. They suffer the self-pity of their own self-destruction and then drink more to make it less painful, and thus make it worse.

When the cancer treatments forcibly sobered up my dad, and he was dying, I finally got a chance to say to him how much I loved him. And he was able to hear me.

A few months before his last trip to the hospital, he was living at a golf resort about an hour from town. I spent the weekend with him. We watched tv, played cards, and had a few meals together. Nothing much.

As I was leaving to go back to town on Sunday morning, he said, “We haven’t gotten to do too much of this. And I want to do it more.”

“Yes, Dad. I’d love to be with you as much as I can.”

His last entry into the hospital he lost consciousness pretty quickly. He hung on for a week, but it was merely time for us to sit beside the bed, cry, and hold his limp hand as the machines hissed and beeped.

I am present for my kids. The divorce did not take me away from them, but it does limit the amount of time we have together. And as I continue to heal and get distance from my divorce, I am aware of how important my close and solid connection is with them. It’s the most important thing I do.

This father’s day, I give thanks to being a dad. And sharing those last days with my dad that remind me how precious every moment with them is. My dad didn’t die until I was 20 years old, but he was unavailable to me the moment he walked out of the house when I was about six. He drank himself into nightly stupors, first alone and then married. Already my kids have got a much better deal. Not ideal, but okay, survivable.


The Off Parent

And tonight…

my son is a gamer



Got my dad by my side – A video of Peter Gabriel and his dad by Peter’s daughter Anna Gabriel.

Tired of Kissin Frogs

girl of the summerAnd just like that: I’ve hit the opening of summer, alone.

All that potential stored up, and a little head cold that took me out of a potential date with the last remaining “woman with potential.” Oh well. Let’s re-assess.

1. OKCupid is dead. Once you go through and HIDE all the “no fkin way” matches there are about 8 women that are interesting. The one responder was fun, (SEE First Date Closure) but pursuit would’ve been an act of interest not inspiration. I don’t want interest. I don’t want kinda. I want fireworks.

2. Women with Potential. The overthinker has been removed. And the remaining woman, while AMAZING, is a slow mover. I’m taking the persistent but distant approach. She’s not been in a close relationship for many years. So moving anything along down that path with me will require time and patience. I’m fine with that. BUT… I’m back in farming mode. (Meaning, trolling OKCupid and generally opening up the universal box of wishes again.)

3. Self-Improvement. Probably the most important part of finding my next match is continuing to grow and build my own momentum. Over the last few weeks, stress and general business has led to less than stellar health routines. Less frequent walks, eating out a bit more than I would choose to, a Spring cold have all left me with a tad bit less energy and zip than I would like. On the creative side, however, I’m moving forward with some of my aspirational music plans and starting collaboration with a drummer to consider putting my live band back out in the clubs, locally.

4. Refining my roll. Cultivating my creative energy is critical to calling in the goddess of my dreams. If I’m not in full-bloom how will I attract a blooming beauty myself?

In this pause, I am returning to center. I don’t think I will pursue miss maybe from OKC. I’m going to stay home tonight rather than push so hard with “woman with potential.” There’s a relief at having a stay-at-home night. I’d prefer it to be WITH someone, but that’s still not in the plan.

I am tired. I’m going to leave the frogs in the swamp and not work so hard on finding her. I’m going to work harder on being the frog prince she might be looking for and taking care of my spiritual and creative needs so that I radiate with my passion.

It’s gonna be a hot Summer. And this is a marathon not a sprint. There’s no real hurry. And wouldn’t I really rather be with the NEXT ONE, rather than just SOME ONE?

At this moment, I feel the joy of being in a centered and emotionally content place.

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Concrete Bed – Nada Surf
“to find someone to love, you gotta be someone you love”

i could be back here in an hour

shaking off depression

 [from The Black Pages – poetry]

i am down but i was up just a little bit ago
feelin high singin songs smiling through the light in the hotel room window
but now i’m down, can’t find what’s on the ground in my mind
i’m underneath, in-between, i’ll be right back with who i really wanted to be tonight

if you’ll excuse me please, it won’t take but a day or two or a week

when i hit it just right
i could be back here in an hour
swimming in the pool
i could

but nothing is cool about this foolishness today
nothing is colder than the grip of icy fingers across the back of my neck
i won’t be down for long, cause i don’t play this way
but when i can, i let the time and the rest and the touching lead the way

just wanna be with me, wanna be talky or play a game?
ya wanna go fishing?
go somewhere different
we can have coffee in a new cafe, everyday, don’t ya think?

cause there’s nothing to be done for it that ain’t already be done
there ain’t no vibe that a kicking rock song can’t find an edge
something so pretty, something of sparkling bliss
that can pick me up, take me out of this state

i’m a bout half as tired as when i went to sleep last night
all the words and projects and figuring it out
never gave my gentle thoughts equal time
i’ve been like this before, and if i can move beyond the bum
i can sometimes find my way into fascination

fascination and creativity are doors out of this hole i’m in
singing connects all of my arts with word, soul, resonance, breathing…
performing for people sets me free, shows all of my parts


a poem, written fragment of hope before the demise…

This is a list of todos to help with my emergence out of depression was ahead of this love letter to myself:

seeing live music 
performing music
writing music 

The blue dots represent parts of my life currently reactivated today 5-27-13. With a little bit of effort and good fortune I could light up the other tasks shortly.

Dating and Romance: It’s Always About Time


Last night I began to get the picture.

I spent a casual evening with one of the women with potential. And the contrast could not have been more pronounced. There was no kissing, no driven agenda, but just spending time together.

When the desire is there, and the feelings necessary to connect, the next ingredient is time.

If both participants don’t put forth the effort to make time for the relationship to grow… That’s the answer right there.

I felt a bit of a loss. I was looking forward to accepting that kissing offer she put out after our first “date.”

Just this week, the smiling girl backed out of an opportunity. And even when I offered additional options, and texted her the next day. There were no plans to be made. I’m fine with being the initiator, but I won’t be the only one putting out the offers. It’s very telling when the other person stops offering ideas.

So she’s gone quiet.

And often I would be the one, like a puppy dog, doing somersaults to try and interest them in the “next thing.” But not today. If the mutual effort is not there, that may be the biggest tell of all. Once the effort is not mutually beneficial, the energy for making it happen gets lopsided. And it DOES feel like a game. A bit. This idea of not calling them because you put the last offer in and it got no response. BUT, it’s also a very subtle system of energy and intention.

  1. Smiling girl is quite a runner. She makes time, every day, for running. She is distressed if she misses a day in her routine.
  2. Our first meeting was facilitated because she was too tired to run, so why don’t we get together.
  3. We had some fun at our first date and second date, where we had lunch on Mother’s Day.
  4. She backed out of our next opportunity, because she was late getting back into town, and was feeling tired…
  5. The next night, I texted her around the end of the day, “Just saying hi, seeing what’s next…”
  6. We exchanged pleasantries. She loves to complement my humor. “Ha ha ha ha.”
  7. Nothing.

In my equation, she interrupted the flow. It’s okay, I was stretching to see if I could actually be with a beautiful but non-creative person. (The jury is still out on that concept.) But, I felt a bit of a loss. I was looking forward to accepting that kissing offer she put out after our first “date.”

But I am also aware, that I was ready to engage in less-than-100%. For some reason, loneliness, thrill, change of pace, I was willing to move things forward, even when I had my doubts about the real value of the relationship potential. I think I was infatuated with her neck. (grin)

Contrast this with the wonderful developments of the second woman with potential, who’s presented herself again, as interested.

  1. We had made casual plans to go out on Saturday night.
  2. Mid-afternoon, yesterday, Friday, she said, “I had something else come up on Sat. Sorry. But I’m available tonight.”
  3. She would contact me after a professional networking party she needed to attend.
  4. When she did contact me, we checked in. She had stated earlier that she was not too full of energy at the moment. We made plans, even at 9:30.
  5. I came to her house without pomp or circumstance. She had gotten a dvd of a movie she wanted to see. We sat on the couch. We held hands. We chatted, laughed, and enjoyed each other’s company.
  6. She walked me to my car at midnight, when I was heading home. We held hands as we walked.
  7. I mentioned my joy at the evening, “Massively casual.”
  8. “Yes.”

There was no need in my book to try and confirm or set up a future time together. The time with her was easy, close, and yes… casual.

“Because if it did develop into a relationship, there’s then going to be more demand for time. More desire for time together.”

I’ve said to her in several calls and emails, that while I’m intentional, I am not ambitious or driven to move things along with her. I’m more interested in being with her. Spending time with someone I like. I’m fascinated by her. That is enough.

She is responsive. She is private and protective of her space and time. And she has some magical combination of massive sensuality and creative writerly fantasy woman. DANGER! (I kid myself!)

It’s easy for me to imagine how I would/could fall in love with her. But the first step is just time. Time before the adoration sets in. Time doing simple and mundane things. Mutually arranged and beneficial time together. It’s easy to feel confident when the effort to find another time flows from both sides. If it’s only one partner, the balance shifts in some fundamental way.

It’s important to me that the reaching out is mutual. Last night while we were side by side on the couch, she also reached out and held or stroked my arm from time to time. It was non-sexual, it was awesome, it was just pure affection. I cannot generate that myself. I can draw it in, ask for it, and attempt to stir it up in her, but the reaching out (or reaching back) is up to the other person.

The other woman with potential said something in one our over-thinking sessions, “Because if it did develop into a relationship, there’s then going to be more demand for time. More desire for time together.”



The Off Parent

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 image: beautiful young couple relaxing, richard foster, creative commons usage

Here and Now: Touching Objects of Desire

kissing her neck

She’s talking and I can’t stop looking at her neck.

One of the women with potential is on the phone with me now (you can guess which one) and she’s talking talking talking about how much help she needs and how she doesn’t have time to get her stuff done. And she’s talking and talking. And I’m not that interested what she’s talking about. All this talking, no necking.

The OKC woman and I had lunch yesterday and I was watching her neck. I had a longing, as if I were a vampire watching the pulsing of her life. I could imagine the same pulsing when we were making love, this is the throat of orgiastic pleasure. She’s the one who sent me this text the day after we met for dinner.

thought you were gonna kiss me

I want to stop talking at some point. I want to be with someone and not have to talk about it. All the fking time.

There’s some talking that needs to happen, some goals and rules that need to be established. But if there’s no desire to kiss, it might be that there is very little kissing desire inside the person.

Case in point. I was with the OTHER woman of potential on Friday, during a window when both kids were away at friend’s houses, and we just hung out. But she was warm and touchable. She was close. She had cuddly all over her. Still no need to push in for kissing with her, but there was an implied closeness already. There was already touching.

If there’s no touching, it’s because TOUCH MIGHT NOT BE THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE, DUMMY.


And the fact that woman with potential number one really needs me to help her with a lot of techie stuff… Well, it’s starting to make me a bit tired. IF it weren’t someone I already knew, and if she hadn’t been making the connection effort (she is) then she’d be a goner.

As it is, I’m already cooling a bit on her prospects. She REALLY reminds me of my ex-y. Things need to be just right, or fit some perfect form, or comply to her schedule and will… Nope. Not gonna do that again.

So I’m not cutting her off. But I’m beginning to expand my viewpoint again. And what if this new OKC woman was a kisser and then nothing? Well, that’s okay. I’m chilling a little on the only 100% or it’s a waste of time.

The OKC woman is not an artist. She’s very much into her gym and running. And she’s cute as the devil and really easy to be with. So what if she’s just a cute and easy, nice girl? Do they HAVE to be writers? Do they HAVE to share cerebral gymnastics, or linguistic karate?

I’m fascinated with the shape and vibrancy of her neck while she’s talking. We’re exchanging stories about exes and parents. And when we get the check she asks if she can pay. She’s made it quite clear that she makes good money and is happy supporting herself and her two dogs. And all I can think about is how it would feel to make her neck strain with excitement. I’m hungry, but we’ve just eaten. It’s a good feeling.

And she’s cute as a button. Cute. Fresh. Easy. And she’s asking me to kiss her. Um. Except in broad daylight. “It’s gonna have to be a night date,” she said, half seriously. She had also let me know, after the txt above that we would NOT be kissing in a restaurant or any other type of PDA. She simply wasn’t into it. Okay, that’s fine. But she asked me, “But dude, wth? Thought you were gonna kiss me but you didn’t.”

She’s moving things forward nicely.


The Off Parent

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The Relationship Strategy: Moving Beyond Divorce

I’m kinda tired of writing about the ex-y. I’d like to walk away from this blog tomorrow and start the new chapter, the new symphony.

The other day, as I was waiting for one of the “women with potential” to show up, I wrote this Relationship Strategy list. Just like I would for an online marketing project I was taking on. Here I was, getting ready to hang out with this woman, and I’m designing the strategy for getting beyond dating and into relationship. I knew this wasn’t really just about her, it was a framework, that I was hoping would be trashed by passionate overtures. Um, I’m still waiting.

my relationship strategy outline


Let’s put these in text where you can read them.

1. Establish mutual connection
2. Spend time together
 - learn + listen
 - experience life
 - be yourselves
 - how does it feel?
3. Learn each other's relating style
4. Define love language
5. All good? Add kissing if you want to
6. Kissing may lead to lovemaking

That’s it. Pretty simple. The part that’s not simple is negotiating and navigating the process with someone who is terrified of moving down the list. Or maybe inexperienced at deep relating.

And a question I am asking myself in regards to the woman who is at least present is, “Can the crazy unbridled passion still be unlocked when kissing, etc. comes into play?” Because if it’s all cerebral and calm and calculated, I’m concerned she might not ever light up.

But I am committed to seeing this woman off the planet of over thinking and into something. I’m not sure it will be kissing me, but hey… I’m still interested. (stay tuned)

The second “woman with potential” has gone missing. We’ve exchanged messages and a few potential schedules, and she’s chilled them each time. I’m not surprised, as she seemed to have a much more complete life. I am about to ask her about “holding on loosely, vs. pursuit.” I have the feeling she prefers to be in complete control. And again, if I fit in, great. If not, she didn’t really NEED a relationship in the first place.

Are adults often stuck in this model of relating? I love the idea of independence  I’m just understanding the value and risk at giving up my solitude and semi-unlimited creative time. But it’s not where I want to end up. I aspire to be in a connected relationship. And part of that connectedness is having a partner who wants to be deeply connected as well.


The Off Parent

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Relationship Chemistry or Heat? Are We Losing Charge or Building Up Energy?


It’s a fine distinction, but I’m trying to understand the current pressure I’m feeling. There is an uncomfortableness that I’m starting to be aware of. When I am imagining is that my energy and desire is spinning up in some sort of charging capacity, that I am energized and looking for a connection to light up. The opposite might be true. Perhaps I am losing the glow and confidence of the connection with GF 1 and I’m starting to wind down and believe less in myself and the trajectory of patience and calm.

I confess, today I started a new OKCupid profile, with new pictures and a very simplified description and “seeking” outline. It was triggered partially by a conversation I was having with one of the two women on my current radar scope.

I was telling her, maybe trying to convince myself at the same time, how patient I was and how happy I was at building the friendship part before testing the kissing and beyond aspects. And then I listened to her response.

For a moment I imagined she was telling me why she was still looking on OKCupid. I don’t think that’s what she said, but what I heard was, I’m just not that sure I’m that into you, and I’m more comfortable getting to know you “over the next 400 dates before we move things forward. I don’t want to make another mistake.” She laughed as she said the “400” was just a joke.

She does not have the awareness of wanting to be loved. She’s just fine, take it or leave it, with being touched and affectionate with someone. Me, for example.

Then something remarkable happened. I took her to a party she was making an appearance at, I offered to accompany her there… And a woman there, again that ONE WOMAN IN THE CROWD, was so stunningly sensuous and alluring that I could’ve imagined trying one of those stupid stunts, “Hi, you are so beautiful, I’d like to …” But I didn’t. But I wanted to.

And something in my reptilian brain connected with that sensuous power and looked back at this beautiful and intelligent woman I was standing with, and I registered a miss. I don’t mind patience and pacing. In fact, my recent events have me quoting the idea rather frequently. But when I saw this woman, and I watched her speak to another woman, I was fascinated by her attraction.

What I seemed to connect with was the pull towards her, towards something, the idea of her. And what I realized with this woman I was with, I was really having to do a lot of talking about why the sexual pull or uncontrollable passion was a thing that could be dipped into at will, between two caring and trusting adults.


But there’s something missing with this woman.

She does not have the awareness of wanting to be loved. She’s just fine, take it or leave it, with being touched and affectionate with someone. Me, for example. It’s okay with her that we’re not really touching. I’m putting out my hand and guiding her in crowds occasionally, I’m touching her arm when I want to make a point about physical contact. But the “resonance” that I’m looking for is not happening. It’s not a cerebral thing. And the more I find I’m talking up a blue streak about how “taking it slow” is fine with me, the more I feel like I’m beginning to build up excuses for why she isn’t CRAVING anything.

I guess, I am beginning to understand that I am craving. I am hungry for touch. The kissing girl was an example of how open I am to letting the passion take hold. And while she was the wrong woman, there was a part of her that ignited my passion and she responded back with passion.

This woman is not not responding. But her responses are about calculations and “what she might be looking for.” I don’t know what it takes to light someone up, but if it’s not happening, it might not ever happen.

If we are two honest and centered adults, perhaps it’s possible to enter into a relationship and exit the relationship without anyone getting hurt.

I’ll pause here and take a breath. I’m not abandoning either of these aloof superstar women. (Uh oh, that’s a phrase that echos GF 1’s statement that I’m drawn to emotionally unavailable women.) But at the same time, I’m feeling the need to put the sail back in the air. And if the woman in the party today, were present at a function where I was not accompanied by a “date” I am sure I would’ve been compelled to make an introduction. Without the pressure of the pickup line, of course, but with a clear, across-the-room-attraction confidence that she just might have been looking for.

I have been very direct with this woman. I have told her several times where I stand. And today I found myself making the case, for an idea that came to me last night, again after an extended discussion about why-how-and-if we were heading towards a relationship.

I want it to be easy. If we are two honest and centered adults, perhaps it’s possible to enter into a relationship and exit the relationship without anyone getting hurt.

What I explained to this woman over breakfast was, “I’m certain that we will be friends for a long time to come, regardless of where this relationship stuff goes. And if you were to call me in six months to accompany you to a party or some other function, I would gladly go. Because I enjoy spending time with you, and we seem to have a mutual compatibility. My recent experience leads me to believe, that we could add “kissing” in at any time, to see how that fit.”

At some point you need to jump in and test the waters. Another point I made, “What if you spent all this time to “know” someone and when you finally got around to making love it was awful? That would really suck.”

We laughed.

I want heat. I want chemistry that becomes unavoidable. If this woman is so in control of her emotions and physical needs that she can be with me for hours and hours without finally wanting to cross the threshold of touch or kissing, well… Perhaps her love language is something else. Probably. (bummer)


The Off Parent

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image: green girls, vogue magazine, creative commons usage

Seeking, Finding, and Gifting the Spark of Love

finding the spark in another personIt’s a fragile thing, this spark we are all looking for. But it’s essential for success in relationship, I think.

So this “spark” we are seeking in love, it’s hard to find. And when we do find it, it’s even harder to keep. It’s easy to mistake sex or chemistry for spark. They are not the same thing.

The key to spark, however, is more than discovery. The key to spark, and sparking with another person, is how they carry and care for your spark once you’ve revealed it to them. You see, I think we’re hoping to GIVE our spark to someone for safe keeping and nurturing. We want someone else to see, love, and protect our spark. That little thing inside of ourselves we are proud of no matter what.

When you begin to wield your spark, many things happen. The other people interested in fire begin to show up.

In the last few days an amazing thing happened that helped me illuminate, for myself, a bit more about this concept of spark and what it IS and what it IS NOT.

I’ll take them one by one.

What we want is someone who lights up when they see our spark. And then we want to be lit up by their spark as well.

1. Kissing Girl imploded. In the process of telling her, my spark had dimmed in relationship to being with her. She bargained  she negotiated, she got mad. Kinda the stages of letting go, right? Anyway, what I saw in that change was how accurate this spark and spark awareness was for me. The minute I felt the spark was not in the right place, I brought it back home to myself, and the proverbial floodgates of confused communications began. She blew up my phone with texts and calls within 15 minutes of a potential agreed upon contact time. I can’t abide that. Sorry. You and your drama must go.

2. New Girl, of the poetic and aspirational heart, did a bit of a disappearing act. Not in action, but in presence, she became unavailable. A visiting friend, and then a scheduling conflict and then, “Have a great weekend with your kids.” It was only Wednesday. Easy handling here. No worries. No fear. We are still in the very early stages of “what if.” I have not given her any of my spark. I have begun nurturing a spark for her, but that is all. I’m saving the poetry for a future time. At the moment it is a projection of my spark on to something that might not be accurate. So we breathe and relax. “Yes, have a good weekend.”

3. Girl with Potential #2, from the previous post (Tilting the Planet In My Favor) texted and called me last night. It was a nice phone call. She was asking if I was available to join her for an event on Friday. I couldn’t go. But I was happy to express how willing I would be in the future for similar invites. And I was clear that I was happy to hear from her. It was a warm fuzzy. She had reached back to me. After a moment of pause. Again, she’s got spark potential, but it’s still undeveloped.

What we want is someone who lights up when they see our spark. And then we want to be lit up by their spark as well. When we are together our sparks have the potential to become a fire. But the process of bringing them together and being vulnerable and protective at the same time is something new and different for most of us.

I learned in my marriage to ex-y that passion and beauty can blow right over the spark. In the fits of desire, my own need, and my infatuation with her, I forgot, or missed, some core fundamentals that I should not have. No regrets. I have two beautiful children, and we soldier on as co-parents rather than parents. BUT… we could’ve had it all.

When you are aware of your spark, you can bring it to bear on a given relationship in a new way. As I am learning how precious my energy is, I am also aware that people of the fire are drawn to sparks.

In fact, we did have it all. At least, I thought we did. And while she was carrying my spark I didn’t even look at other women with the same eyes. I was DONE. I was HOME. I was COMPLETE. I was also misguided. But that’s a story I’ve already told here.

So in the current moment, I am well aware of my spark and the sparks building with PG#2 and NG. How fun.

And what I hope to learn, before moving too quickly with either of them, is how well our sparks fit together. How well we resonate, even in these very early stages. How easily does change get accepted and how stressful are the resets? We are in this next journey for the big finish. (That’s an idealistic concept, I know, but it’s an intention and not a truth.)

So let’s be sparking together. Let’s see if we like the feel of the other person’s personal flame. How can we support and champion their ideas?

Oh, and I almost forgot. I’ve killed my online dating profiles. Not in response to any of the above changes, but more in an attempt to simplify and be quiet. AND in that process, one final spark, OK-girl and I exchanged contact info. We’d been chatting on OKC for over a month. She was busy. I was easy. We were just being casual friends on OKC. But she was the only remaining spark. So I gave her a final ping with my email and cell number. And guess what? She texted me last night. And we had a funny exchange. And we’ll probably go have a drink in the next week or so.

That’s another learning. Hold on loosely. I learned this in spades with Kissing Girl. When they are TOO ready to engage or schedule, that might be a sign that something is missing in their lives.

And final thought. When you are aware of your spark, you can bring it to bear on a given relationship in a new way. As I am learning how precious my energy is, I am also aware that people of the fire are drawn to sparks. And, unfortunately so are the vampires. So as you bring your energy online and put the spark on your sleeve a bit more, beware of the baddies as well as the potential mates.

We’re all learning this together. Today I spark. And viola I have three potential sparkmates again. Like moths to a flame. Let’s see who circles without imploding, getting burned, or lighting up too quickly. And I will be listening for their sparks. What songs are they singing about themselves and their lives? And how does their flame make me feel?


The Off Parent

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Making Love to Parker Posey

imagining parker posey in my arms

So let’s say SHE does show up. The uber woman. Arrives fully outfitted for your bullshit and dressed to the nines. She’s unafraid, but she has some demands she needs to lay down first. In my mind, Parker Posey has some of the best and worst qualities you’d want in a girlfriend. Of course, she doesn’t want to be your girlfriend, or even acknowledge the relationship, and that’s okay, if that’s how she wants it.

The woman shows up, she’s ready to load her bags on to your train… and… wait a minute? What am I supposed to do about losing my reclaimed alone time, I talk so much about? What ARE the parameters you’re willing to move and compromise on IF SHE DID SHOW UP.

Even after all the searching and fretting and imagining, she has not yet shown up. The near miss this week, still being slowly put back in the “friends” box, was the first wake up call I’ve had since divorce, that showed me a new problem.


I’m not afraid to say it. I’m not ready for someone to ask to be with me on every night I don’t have my kids. I flat out, can’t do that. I suppose eventually I’d live with someone again, and that would be the result, but that’s not a goal of mine. In fact, some of the struggle in my marriage was between me and the ex-y around how much time I could spend writing or playing music. It was WE time I was sacrificing to make ME time. Now, with the rules all TBD, I’d best be considering the best case scenario, so I can guide my wishes in that direction.

My friend said, “She has a rich and full life of her own.” And that has some resonance. But would a relationship with PP be any fun? And it hit me. For the first time in my post-marriage relationship experience, I actually had to say to someone, “You need to slow your roll.” (Not in those actual words.)

A full circle from the first CONNECT in an online dating session that ended with the woman giving me her number and suggesting we could just “hang out” some time. I was thrilled. She was so easy. We talked and gazed across the margaritas dreamily. I went home and wrote down what I was feeling.

And then I shared it. (Oops.) It freaked her out. And not just a little. It freaked her out a lot. And she never agreed to meet me again. Ever.

Today I sort of get it. This woman, KG (kissy girl) is ready to usurp all available bandwidth. And it’s up to me to draw that boundary. While I’ve already decided that KG is not the next relationship for me, it was quite an awareness to learn that IF SHE HAD BEEN, I would not have been prepared. If it had been Parker Posey and she had said, “So what are you doing with the rest of your life?” I’d a flipped out.

Walking my kissing relationship back to no relationship is going to be a bit of a trick. I don’t like to be mean or misleading. And I KNOW that she is not going to be right for me. (See: The Church of Kisses) But worse would be to try and limp along without letting her know it’s a MISS for me.

I did talk to her on the phone today. She had begun to freak a bit that I hadn’t called her back by 11:30 this Saturday morning. I didn’t want to call anyone back. I was here doing a project with my son. I felt a bit of an intrusion from a woman I met a week ago who was now demanding that I call her back so we can talk about “What’s up.” ACK.

The good news, the saving grace, I think in this case, was that she had slowed the runaway train that was heading towards sex. The kissing was great. The sex… well, that’s part of the problem. I have no intention of making love to this woman. And that’s the part I need to let her know.

The conversation this afternoon went something like, “Okay, what’s freaked you out?” and “We can talk about anything. If you just let me know what’s going on.”

Um, a rude me would’ve said, “It’s not me it’s you. I just don’t want to make love to you, ever.” But I didn’t. I set a parameter around my time. Giving us some cooling off time. (I didn’t see her yesterday and won’t see her today or tomorrow.) By Monday, my intention is to tell her, I’m not moving forward with an US in any shape or form. I don’t need a friend. I don’t need someone else who’s interested in my time. I need the ONE PERSON who I’m willing to give my most precious asset to, ME.

The poem from yesterday (travel together) came from a chance lunch meeting with an old acquaintance. And you know what… I almost sent it to her. Talk about SLOW YOUR FKIN ROLL! I am so glad I didnt’.

Bottom Line: It’s okay to have wildly romantic fantasies. And it’s okay to project some of those into the marketplace of relationships. That’s what keeps us going in spite of the failures and long odds. And it’s really okay to fall madly in love with someone, when you vetted out as many of the “must haves” as you can.

My new must have: “How much time is enough? How much time am I willing to give? How will I push back when I need time alone?”

So this idea of always leaving them wondering a bit, hungry for the next contact, sort of makes sense. While NG (new girl) and I have known each other for 15 years or so, we’ve never really been friends. She illuminated that yesterday when she said, “We’ve been acquaintances, but not friends. You’ve never shared with me like you did today.”

And so the spark is present. Great. Now it’s time to take it easy. Don’t press forward into sex, or trying to define what’s going to happen or how it should be. Let it be easy. (I’m repeating this so that it works like a mantra to soothe the excitement in me, about crossing paths with NG at just this moment.)

Slow your roll. There is no need, during this initialization phase, when projections should be measured against reality, to hurry things along. Savor each step. Stop occasionally and ask, “Is this enough?”

Then when you see Parker Posey again, you can tell her how you’ve missed her, craved her, and wished you could spend more time with her. And she is able to say or not say the same thing. And that’s the dance. When the other person begins unpacking their bags too soon, even if the bags have magical treasures, it’s scary. And it’s too soon. Let the mystery unfold in time. Don’t rip at each other at the first chance. There are too many subtleties that need to be addressed BEFORE you MAKE LOVE or HAVE SEX.

Too many fantasies to balance against reality. If you’re already deeply addicted to the sex juice it’s going to be hard to pull back. With KG I think I caught my error early enough. With NG I hope I have not already pressed to far with my outreach via txt. Thank god I kept my poem in my pants.

She’s waiting. She’s thinking. I am a mystery. Let’s slowly unpack some of our things and compare notes along the way. We are complex systems. And for our constellations to align, it will take some delicate maneuverings  We don’t want to repeat the past mistakes. And in my case, I don’t want to let beauty overwhelm and bypass my fundamental requirements.


The Off Parent

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This April’s Fool: Today I Napped When I Should’ve Walked

I masturbated when I should’ve written. I ate well and then I ate a bag of popcorn. I watched television and played an iPhone game on the hammock in the front yard. I was April’s Fool today. I was full of something, unaimed and unfocused, I gave into the whimsy of the humor on Facebook. I forgot for a moment that I have a business to run, that I am trimming myself to attract a better mate. I forgot all this stuff and simply fucked around today.

I did pick up the guitar and I wrote a few lines of a song…

maybe the lover IS the goalyou’re who I think about, when I think about *uhhh*
you’re who I think about
you’re who I think about when I think about it
and I think about it
and I think about YOU

And I found myself thinking about the lover again. What about that proposition? Just walking around the grocery store I could see the beautiful taut bodies and think, hmmm, maybe if I said YES again… I’m conflicted. But masturbation is so easy. So quick. So soulless. It’s clearly why I went on Flight 7 a few weeks ago, just incase. In many ways I’m happier than ever, and in some ways I’m still alone. Full of myself, but alone.

Perhaps I talked too much today. I spent time on the phone with my male friend talking about her and it and what we were gonna do. And then I didn’t do it at all. I started out with a spark, but it faded, and today even the coffee and moments of inspiration didn’t carry me forward.

Alone I am able to listen to my heart. Sometimes I don’t want to. I had an offer to join someone for happy hour and hugs. But I was more comfortable being uncomfortable. I noticed that if I filled all my empty spaces with a relationship, I would have very little time for this empty, and yet important, reflection on myself. Myself being alone.

I point at how fast my ex-y jumped into the sack and now into the house with someone else. And I hold up some example of health and mental clarity, but here I am, alone.

What is alone, today?

When there are posts to write, music to sing, or poems to voice, I am like a romantic warrior on a quest. SHE is here, SHE is everywhere, SHE will eventually find me again. When I am bored, bored and alone, I have a different conversation. I wonder about what I want. I wonder about what it would look like if this evening, instead of dinner for one and catching up, alone, on Game of Thrones, I wonder what it would be like if that someone, if SHE was in the house waiting for me to come in and start our “together” time. And for a moment I have pause. I wait and savor the peaceful sunset in the hammock. I cook the salmon to my liking and give the rest to the cats.

What is difficult about being in relationship with an artist, from the artist’s perspective is how to balance the draw towards time with loved ones vs. time at craft. Without the “time at craft” the artist will become an idea rather than a practice. I am rediscovering the artist that has held his tongue for years. Hold that vibrant word inside no longer.

But what of that potential date? What draws me towards giving up this quiet nothingness of an evening? What warmth of company, of community, of skin and breath and angle of bone, is worth all the trouble of figuring it out? Last week I could not have told you. Today it was apparent, I wanted comfort. Not applause, or even sex, just company.

It is important to listen to the desires of the heart. It is important to remember what I am seeking and what I am willing to give up.

And on an April day it is occasionally okay to abandon the plan and camp out on the hammock and play games, fuck off, and day dream. Drive and direction can be picked up again tomorrow. There’s plenty of time. And in this time, this alone time, it is critical to listen to what the heart is longing for while being aware of what I am willing to give up in the name of resolving or filling that longing.


The Off Parent



She Would’ve Liked Me To Just Leave the House

divorced dad and kidsWhen the proverbial shit hit the fan, and she had fully articulated that she wanted a divorce, that she had gone to see an attorney to understand her “options,” that even our therapist had shown his doubts about our survivability, she wanted me to leave. She was incensed that I simply would not LEAVE THE HOUSE.

I made a declaration over and over as she kept raising the subject. “I will not bring this divorce full-force into this house until our kids have finished this year in school.” She was not happy. She used ideas like “trial separation” as enticements. No way.

But I was not willing to uproot the entire family, because the ex-y had come to a decision, had weighed her options, and seen an opening and a greener pasture outside my arms.

I was the survivor of a horrible divorce, when my parents started the kid wars that became my life. When I grieved my divorce, as it had been spelled out for me by my sessions with the ex-y, I was crying for my kids, not for me. Of course, I’m aware enough to know that my tears for my son were really tears AS A SON, who was losing his dad. I lost my dad, big time. When he walked out that door, the second time, he never came back. And our lives quickly descended into a living hell for years. My dad is not me. My son is not having that experience. Not by a long shot.

But I was not willing to uproot the entire family, because the ex-y had come to a decision, had weighed her options, and seen an opening and a greener pasture outside my arms. Our kids were in 2nd and 4th grade. It still makes me angry to think she was so oblivious to their needs and only focused on HER needs. Her needs for immediate separation and space. For her to get HER house. I guess…

I did not move out until the kids were done with school. It was two of the hardest months of my life. Knowing I was toast, that my wife was unreachable, and that I was more of a ghost dad than a dad. But I stayed my ground. Fuck her and her separation and space. And fuck if I was going to give her the house, just like that.

In the end, that’s what happened, she got the house, as my real estate friend who was experienced in several divorces said she would. “She’s gonna get the house, and your still going to be paying for it,” he said. And while part of that does not seem fair, it’s the way it is. Any whining about it is whining. Let’s move on.

I did not walk out the door that March. But in many ways, as June arrived and the kids completed their semester in elementary school, I suffered mightily for my decision. I think it was the right decision. As I said to the ex-y, it’s a business. We can’t just divorce overnight. There are a lot of details to work out. So what’s the hurry? Other than the fact that you want me out, you want to start whatever is next. And boy didn’t she. She was sexing it up within weeks of the divorce papers being filed. SHE WAS THE STARVED PARTY? What? That’s kinda funny.

…Being a great parent, and looking after the best interests of our kids even when it goes against what we want or think we need.

Okay, so I stayed and now I have my badge of honor and my heart-on-sleeve righteousness. But it was a hard two months. As we navigated sleeping in separate rooms and getting the kids ready for school, and coordinating the details of running a family. By June I was a basket case. I was depressed beyond belief, I was hardly functional, but hey, we’d done it. The kids got to finish 2nd and 4th grade without the sigma of their familial collapse.

I’m trying to take precautionary action this year, before June arrives with it’s regret and memories. The long summer. The death of my marriage. The real separation of my kids from me. And the last three summers have been very hard. I can plan, strategize, and keep meeting with my talky doctor, but to say I’m bulletproof heading towards summer would be a fool’s dream.

I am leery of summer now. I am a bit sad just now, thinking about how hard the past three summers have been.

I am also strong, rebuilt, and reoriented towards health, fitness, and being a great parent. And part of that includes looking after the best interests of our kids even when it goes against what we want or think we need.


The Off Parent

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Whole Adults Dating Again: Knowing Ourselves, Knowing What We Won’t Compromise


Last night I had the pleasure of eating dinner with an old friend from out of town and his new girlfriend. When he texted me that he was in town he said, “Down here with new girlfriend. Recently divorced but all good.” I was surprised but not all that surprised. Seems like this divorce thing is going around. And my friends and I are in the 7 – 11 year itch period where the rubber meets the road. So he was divorced and already travelling with his “new girlfriend.” Wow. Good for him.

So how can we enter into a new kind of relationship, now knowing what we know about ourselves? How will the mistakes of our past reframe what is and is not acceptable in our next relationship.

It was great to see my friend and his delightful new partner. She too is the survivor of divorce, with two kids who are a bit younger than my friend and I. We had a very interesting discussion about what we were doing with our lives.

You see, in addition to catching up with my friend, who I hadn’t spent time with in over two years, we were also catching up as a group of recently divorced people. I took the opportunity to explore some ideas I’d been kicking around.

Here’s what seems to ring true for all of us.

  1. We start marriage with a set of assumptions and a set of ideals.
  2. Over time, as we add mortgages, kids, and health insurance to the equation, we begin a long process of adaption and compromise.
  3. If we continue to compromise away from our true selves, we will eventually get depressed or angry. We will start looking for a way back to something more vibrant, more authentic. We want to get back to sometime more like the ME I remember.
  4. Divorce happens. Initialized by one of the party, and then the transformation begins.
  5. In the process of divorce recovery we either 1. jump right back into another relationship, failing to examine or learn from what failed in the previous one; OR 2. we take some time to rediscover our solo-selves.
  6. As somewhat activated solo-selves we are now able to reclaim our artistic passions, our authentic aspirations, our alone-wants and our alone-desires.
  7. In imagining and testing the concept of dating and relating to another adult human, we have new “non-negotiables” as part of our needs.
  8. We do not want to re-enter the path of compromise if it means a collapse of this newly rediscovered self.
  9. We are forced to create something new.

As the three of us talked about our dreams for ourselves, we were careful to listen to the other person’s dreams. I was sounding out, and exploring my friend’s musical aspirations. I wanted to hear about his new symphonic ideas. I was interested in the part of himself that he was rediscovering and re-establishing. And his new girlfriend was clearly in that same camp. She too was an artist. She had vision and drive. She wanted the musician in my friend to reignite and come alive.

So how can we enter into a new kind of relationship, now, with what we know about ourselves? How will the mistakes of our past reframe what is and is not acceptable in our next relationship. And ultimately, can we create a Relationship 3.0 that keeps our goals and ambitions as creative individuals at the forefront of the mix WHILE we are also negotiating the togetherness that we also want.

So in defining and finding a next relationship, what time am I willing to be flexible on and what time am I going to keep just for myself?

I am curious how much of relationship is about sex for me. And if sex was more a function of several “dates” perhaps I would not need a relationship so much. I don’t think that’s it. I KNOW there is much more about relationships than sex. And I know, recently, that sex without the deeper connection is much more like masterbation. But it is interesting to pull apart all the aspects of a potential relationship and see which parts of it are valuable, and which parts are limiting.

At the moment I am limitless. I am alone, yes, but I am the sole determiner of what I am doing tonight. (Well, I have my kids this weekend, so not tonight…) And then I can ask, and what am I willing to give up to be WITH someone. What would “tonight” look like if there were another person waiting in the wings to spend time with me.

Often in the early months of my courtship with the ex-y we would have breakfast on a weekend and make plans to get back together in the early evening. And off we would go to our separate artist studios. (For the most part, art is a solo endeavor.) These were some of our happiest times.

When she let the work and compromise of our relationship kill her artistic dream she became small and resentful of mine. I have never stopped trying to write songs, or poems and stories. It takes time. And for sure, time away from the relationship.

So in defining and finding a next relationship, what time am I willing to be flexible on and what time am I going to keep just for myself?


The Off Parent

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image: Lujuria/Lust, Gabriel S. Delgado C., creative commons usage

she is here – an incantation and poem


[from Making Love To Other Women – poetry]

A few Sunday’s ago I went to a progressive church service in my neighborhood. I love this church. I don’t go often, but it’s a very intellectually driven, chant and spiritual-teaching driven service. I like my brain to be stimulated along with my heart and soul. In a jest, I was asking a friend to go with me, another single man. I said to him, SHE is probably there.

He was baffled at what I meant. I was texting with him. “Who is there?”


“Well, if SHE is let me know if SHE has a younger sister.”

The awareness I was trying to cultivate was this.

Show up where SHE might be. (The SHE you are imagining. — insert HE if you are a woman.) If SHE is there, where you would imagine your type of person to be, then you too need to show up and be there as well. It’s just a matter of time. If you are hiding out, isolating, or burying yourself in your work or your kids activities, you might be missing opportunities, a lot of opportunities to me THEM.

So, on this Sunday in this very beautiful church as the minister began his “talk” my mind unlocked a flood of ideas about the SHE I was looking for. It’s almost a siren song. An incantation, to visualize the ultimate SHE I am projecting into the world.

As the words came, I chose not to control my mind, and I let myself fall into love with the SHE. Sort of a Rumi concept, “the beloved.”

This is my song to the beloved. SHE is here. I just have to make us aware of each other so we can meet and fall in love.


the preamble – notes

surround yourself in places she might be
who do you want to spend time with, what would you be doing right now, together?
how do you spend your time in the sacred currency of you?

minister says, “affirmations are doorways to new experiences of happiness”



+++ part 1 – warm up affirmations +++

she is solid, quiet, contemplative
she is natural, earthly, beautiful
she is touchable and lightly-scented
she is seeking god in her life
she is not afraid to dream and wonderleap
she is snugglable, helpable, rubbable
she glows w/o adornment or makeup
she can stretch and pull and compress
she can sing and play
she is alone
she is here

she knows breathing together as ecstasy
she can express love by holding hands

+++ pause poem+++

note: “was that an affirmation?”

minister says, “with god-like thoughts i bring a god-filled world into my experience.”

+++ part 2 – opening the floodgates +++

she is not afraid to believe in love
she is ready to go
she is willing to travel with me
she is aware of her ultimate power and beauty
she doesn’t need anything from me
she can express her longing w/0 fear
she breaks and cries and repairs
she can accept love even when sad or mad
she knows her disappointments are mostly hers
she is unafraid to ask for her needs and wants
she understands dirt, children, and pets
she can thrive in chaos as well as peaceful quiet
she can be still
she is flexible in body, mind, and spirit
she knows she is here
she may not be looking for me

she calls out the inspirational in me
she understands what joining means
she has sacred practices
she is expressing
she is not tired
she expects the best in everyone
she celebrates simple things easily
she is just out of my frame of view
she is near, she is here
she will not be a projection that I must create
she shows up fully-formed and empowered
she dances when she arises in the morning
she is gentle and kind
she does not call attention to herself
she is unimpressed

+++ pause poem +++

minister says, “i must be in-relationship with my source”

+++ part 3 – release +++

she has a warmth that is infectious
she makes me smile and laugh
she has ways of expressing herself
she is open, she is here
she cannot be captured or tracked
she is random
she is not what she seems
she strips me of my languages and tools
she is not afraid of big ideas
she is an intoxicant and a stimulant
she is self-aware
she comes in many forms
she is focused and fascinated
she is wearing functional shoes
she is an exploratory being
she is a happy camper
she is easy in the silences
she as left to go outside into the sun
she is no longer here
neither am i


here is the spoken word version of this poem: http://bit.ly/ZdfjEL

The Next Chapter to Write: Picture a Girl…

I’m looking to burn brighter while standing next to someone who is already burning brightly themselves.

the woman I want is ...

I can see her across the room. In a crowded restaurant on St. Patrick’s day (today). I can see the one woman I’d like to meet. How is it we can sense, taste, imagine so much into a person we’ve never met.

“And then she smiles and I know I’d be lost…”

It really is something beyond our comprehension, this attraction. It’s not entirely under our control. We have options and choices, but when the proverbial “chemistry” is right, everything else can fall away. Our expectations, plans, and maps can be blown away by the proper force of nature. And if you’ve experienced it, you know you can’t settle for anything less. There is no compromise in the heart. In my imaginings, this charge is what sustains us through the harder moments, that are surely to come.

In my first crush-to-marriage I was smitten by a dark and beautiful woman who challenged authority with great flair. And I was certain that I needed the fiery artist who could and would kick my ass. I learned that fiery is NOT what I needed. Turns out she had a rage inside due to early sexual abuse, that I was not prepared to defend against.

In my second marriage, I was smitten by a beautiful woman who I’d known in high school. I think now, with some perspective on things, that I let my crush obscure some relationship issues early on. Ultimately we had a good run, we have two amazing children together, and we’ve moved on. I do think that my attraction and intoxication with my 2nd wife allowed me to compromise on a few traits that are critical path for me in the future.


The Love Languages book does a great job of outlining the types of ways people feel loved. Unequivocally, mine is touch. When I enter a room and see someone I care about, I want to touch them in someway, to establish a connection. Sort of the way a dog will always greet you with a wet nose and a wagging tale.

Can express deep emotion.

Aside from anger, my ex-y had a hard time expressing emotions. We joked in therapy, as if we had done a complete role reversal, but it really wasn’t a joke. So she learned her emotional stoicism from her father. And in her love language, she felt the most connected when someone did something for her. Like a chore, or a home repair. (I’m not kidding.) This must have been the way her father coped with his emotionally damaged wife. And my ex-y learned that when things got difficult, you could always put attention on the house, or the bills, or the projections for next month.

I think that was most evident when there was a crisis. I would want to be held, snuggle, take a nap or make love. She wanted to look at the spreadsheet and try and calculate our options.

Another common issue with people who don’t express emotion very well, when she would drink, occasionally the emotions would bubble out and we’d have what I thought was a breakthrough. “Wow, if she could hold on to that idea and learn to be more like that,” I’d think. But it wasn’t a lasting effect and the epiphanies were usually only on my side.

So, back to tonight, in a crowded room I noticed my “match.” She laughed easily. She had a great smile and sparkly-curly dark locks that appeared still wet from the pre-party shower. And my projection would like to map all these wonderful things into her persona. A map, a caricature, a projection of who I want her to be.

Expressive of emotional trust and vulnerability. Love language: touch.

And a few other things thrown in:

  • financially stable
  • happy with their life/kids/work
  • okay with their ex
  • spiritually seeking
  • creatively inclined
  • low drama

Sure those are resume bullets, like an online dating profile. And they are merely a guide for the relationship I would like to form. And standing across the room with her friends, we knew nothing about each other. But the disturbance in the force was clear for me. There was one woman in the entire place that would work for me. And that’s something much more chemical and primal than all of these ideas of who or what I am looking for.

So I need that. The chemical buzz. The awakening. And then I need my priorities to remain in tact. TWO MUST HAVES: Emotionally expressive & Love Language of Touch. The two exact key misses I had in my relationship with the ex-y.


The Off Parent


 Note: As I am writing this post an email comes in from the ex-y. She wants to know about timing on this month’s check. You see, it’s perfect. She’s doing what she does, going to the spreadsheet, for whatever is going on in her life. And often, even when we were married, my current state, or effort, or situation, does not apply. You see, I got her the last half of February’s money last week. And it’s not enough to know that I haven’t missed a payment, she’s asking for when. And she doesn’t deserve the information about my car breaking down on Saturday, and my company comptroller being on Spring Break rather than writing me my next check. She doesn’t deserve that information, and in fact, she wouldn’t care. It wasn’t about emotional commitment, or what’s going on, it’s about checking the box, balancing the excel spreadsheet, and establishing the money first. She started the email with a “thank you so much for the money, last week…” Yeah, right. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Ah, she’s a step ahead of me in this whole process, again.


Heart On My Sleeve: How Could You Not Tell Me About This?

divorced dad, heart on my sleeveI’m a lot to handle. I get that. I’m asking for a lot in return for my investment. And could I actually dig into a deep relationship and not share this blog with her? I mean, I’m trying to be all honest and introspective, but… I’m a bit dangerous in the same way, right?

Would you date a man who chronicled his relationships? Would you knowingly kiss me if you knew I might turn around and say I didn’t like it, here?

In the prospecting I do not lead with this information. I think it would limit my options even more than my age or my school-aged kids.

And the question then comes up in my mind, “Am I limiting my options?”

An example. I like(d) a woman recently. She at least knew about the blog. We mentioned it during a night of wine and hopefulness. I was certain that this, badass, and I felt she had the BA potential all over her, was not afraid of a little self-examination. I mean, it’s anonymous, right?

But I don’t think it comes across that way. I guess it doesn’t. You’ll have to tell me.

I want a badass. I don’t want someone to kick my ass. I had that in my first marriage. I need you, her, to stand firmly on her own ground.

Any way, things with this friend seemed on the right track, hold on loosely. Being cool and opportunistic rather than adoring and available. And it seemed, for a week or so, every opportunity missed was answered with a “how about…” response from her. And then it all stopped.

The old familiar pattern of “if I don’t generate it, nothing happens” came back in to view. And so I laid back for a second. And she also stayed quiet. And here we stand. Sort of at a standoff. But my last two, “hey, how about…” messages got the “sorry, can’t” response with ZERO REJOINDER.

Loud and clear, right?

So, it’s too bad. Because there were some things, and some history to our friendship, that had potential written all over it. But something disconnected. Maybe me. Maybe the “information.” This information.

Okay, stepping back for a second, I try and see myself. The picture I paint, if you read this. Not 100% flattering. Transparent, but dangerous. And if I had read her blog, of simliar content and controversy what would my reaction be?

I don’t think I’d be saying, “Oh boy, she’s a great writer.” I would hope that I would. Or I might be saying, “Oh man, we’re gonna be HUGE IN SOCIAL MEDIA CIRCLES.” But that’s probably not it either.

So I have to wonder, what you might see in me, if you saw this FIRST.

I have to imagine my reaction to the beautifully damaged Emma Forrest, who’s book Your Voice in My Head: A Memoir , touched me deeply. A shockingly beautiful and successful writer, and there she is, as transparently tragic as possible.

AND I am drawn to her.


The woman to call out the next symphony. I guess those are pretty tall requirements. But that’s who she is.

My recent girlfriend, who has jumped the tracks back into the friend role (benefits when comfortable, perhaps), said recently, “You have a predilection for the sexually tragic woman.”

Huh? She was speaking to me about my questioning this potential married woman. “She’s unavailable, how interesting. Another sexually damaged woman.”

“You’re right. How gross. I don’t like that. But I am drawn to it.”

“Perhaps it keeps you from feeling or doing something. If she’s unavailable or broken you can suffer.”

“Oh great. More songs. More songs about longing. Ug!”

“Maybe. Or maybe fewer.”

“Fuck,” I said. She had nailed me. She didn’t even know about my passion for Emma Forrest.

So I have a predilection for sexually tragic and emotionally unavailable women? THAT SUCKS.

Is this blog a further dig into that hole? Am I showing myself to be a tragically damaged man? Chronically obsessed with his divorce? I don’t think that’s my MO. But I’m not so sure the entire picture is here either.

Here is the line from my current online dating profile: Creative, spiritual, flexible, easy going, hand-holding, badass.

I want a badass. I don’t want someone to kick my ass. I had that in my first marriage. I need you, her, to stand firmly on her own ground. If she reads this blog, she might say, “Yeah, fuck that divorce shit. Let’s put the divorce album away now and write a new symphony.”

Yes, that’s what I’m after. The woman to call out the next symphony. I guess those are pretty tall requirements. But that’s who she is. Her own badass, willing to weather and stand by my badass as we badass around this life together.

And I’m certain she’s out there. I can feel her.


The Off Parent

ref: When You’re Shrink Dies – On Emma Forrest
Emma Forrest’s Twitter Account: @GirlInterrupter

related posts:




woman to call out the next symphony

Flight 7, Bound for Destinations Unknown, Grounded

a flight of wine I guess it’s easy to be hopeful. It’s easy to look at an online dating profile and accept an introduction from a woman and not look very closely at her. I mean, look at her, to see her.

Tonight, for some lonely reason, the only excuse I can figure out, I met a “drive by” at a nearby wine bar. I was sadly disappointed when I noticed her from 30 feet away. I guess you could say the chemistry was off from a mile away.

Well, then I get back home and I open Match.com and try to compare notes, and there it is, right there. Easy to see. If I’d been paying attention. Picture #1 was a clue. Picture #3, a wtf was I thinking?

So my favorite flight of wine, the #7, and $50 bucks later, I’m no worse for wear. Get this, we didn’t even finish the wine. I guess even she felt it, what was the point. The energy miss-match was epic.

My call to action was not strong enough, I guess. This woman was no badass. She was a… Okay, I was about to get snarky, and that’s not the point. This date was about me. Something I was looking for. And then some pattern in me that allowed me to gloss over the obvious signs in her profile in hopes of … What? Seriously? No.

Okay, so if I knew from the start it was a non-starter, why did I ask her out?

Clear the palette from yesterday? Make myself feel like the process was still ongoing and hopeful?

I’m not sure. I had plans to go see a musician I know and love. Alone. No problem. But this woman contacted me. She whispered the magic phrase, “English major,” and boom my fantastical mind was off and running. AND cluelessly blinded. Not one thing she said after that was witty, or creative. Not one thing said BADASS other than the fact that she picked me, and she was not hideous. [With one beautiful exception, all of the women who have reached out to me from online dating sites have been more mature. As in, they looked a lot older than me.]

Well, I wonder what the experience is on the other side of the fence for women my age. Are the men in my category mostly rich and dark and thin? Or pale, pudgy and uncreative?

Two learnings. 1. Watch “why” you are going out. If it is not an exceptional opportunity, it’s something else. A WASTE OF TIME. 2. Even on a crappy date, I get 50% of the benefit in food and drink. So my $50 wasn’t wasted, it was just not as beneficial as it could’ve been.

What would I have spent that money on had I not gone on flight 7? What energy would be present had I gone to see the live music, ALONE, rather than venturing on this “date?”

Easy enough. I am also gentle with myself and my silly choices.

I am learning. I do not know what this season of my life looks like, I am discovering it.


The Off Parent

< back to On Dating Again index



Alone is Different Than Aloneliness After Divorce


There are hundreds of times during the day that I miss my kids. (The ex, not so much.) And on the days when they are not coming home to MY HOUSE, well…  I can choose to be sad about those days, or…

Alone I have all options open to me. My time is my own. While I still have to make money (and now, supporting two households, it’s even more than it was when I was still married) the time back, the time I would never have been able to negotiate during my marriage, is a great thing. When I’m up, that is.

When I’m down, all time away from my kids is sad time. However, I understand that a whole bunch of that is MY SADNESS, and probably has very little to do with my kids or my divorce.

When I’m DOWN, alone-ness is hard. The things I try to remember are:

  • It ends, I will feel better
  • If I can exercise, even walking around the block, it is better than moping
  • Eating is essential, and eating better is even more critical when you are self-medicating
  • I’m better off not sharing this deep and existential pain with my kids (they will have plenty of time to learn about it for themselves, and they can read my writing about it, LATER.)
  • Getting enough sleep is essential
  • Laughing (movies, games, social media) is good medicine for the mind
  • Waking up at your normal time (not sleeping in unless you are sick) and shaving and taking a shower is good for your body and mind

When I’m UP, well, there’s no lack of projects and activities that I want to get to. I do have to reign in a few things in my UP mode as well.

  • Getting enough sleep is essential (staying up one night in an inspirational fit is okay, two nights is a problem)
  • I still have to do my WORK and pay my BILLS (those things often bring me out of my dream-like creative state, but they must be done)
  • I have to prioritize my time (all play and no work, all fresh air and growth work without any billable hours will get me into trouble pretty quickly)

So today, Sunday, I am still balancing the creative big ideas and the need to get a few hours of work done before Monday morning. And that new guitar sitting over there looking quite pretty and seductive, will have to wait until I get my Dec. hours billed.

I’m alone, but not lonely. And I’m grateful for that. And that I know the difference has had a huge impact on my approach to the feelings of Alone-ness vs. Aloneliness.


The Off Parent

< back to The Hard Stuff pages

related posts:


image: loneliness, ktoine, creative commons usage