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

Posts tagged “woman with potential

Drifting Apart: The New Girl Becomes The Muse

Woman With Potential Becomes The MuseShe went from “woman with potential” to being one of the “women with potential” to being the remaining woman, and only woman I was seeing during my summer of Every Other Saturday Night. And then something changed.

She went up East for a summer break, like she does every year. Before she left, we had a nice date with a walk a movie and dinner. It was a tender and nice evening. Several times she said, “I’m really going to miss you.” It felt good to hear these things. And I affirmed my lonely August as well.

And she was gone. We exchanged a few pings on Facebook. I even got a “I miss you,” message about a week before she returned home. And while I looked forward to her return, I was already reassessing the state of affairs.

So, if a woman doesn’t have a history of long-term relationships, in fact has a history of zero relationships, what does that tell you?

She even said, early on, “Maybe I’m using my daughter as an excuse not to date.”

But she was an aspirational beauty to me. So I cuddled and didn’t ask for more than a hug and peck as I left each date. I kept saying to myself, “I’m happy. It’s enough. She’s amazing.” And I kept leaving, wishing I understood what might tip the tenor of our romance into something sexual. At least a good run of kissing. But it never happened. And I never pressed.

I really wanted to ask her, “Don’t you sometimes just crave sex? What do you do when you feel that way?”

She arrived home and let me know she was back a few days later via a Facebook message. I wrote, “I’d love to see you, soon.”

And nothing.

She let me know via another Facebook message a few days later, that her schedule was crazy, that she was working on deadline and would be heads down for the next week. I got the message. It was flex. I was flex. It was no big deal.

But that was the point. I’d already resolved the miss from my side of the equation. If someone dates you for three months and nothing is happening sexually, even kissing, then… well, that’s probably the way they like it. It’s not a must-have for them. Or they’ve figured out a way to do without, to be self-sufficient and self-satisfied.

But I wasn’t wired that way. I wanted, I would’ve wanted, the girlfriend who was returning from a three week vacation away, to WANT to see me. To make a moment and event available to get together. I could’ve made a date happen. But I was clear in my mind that the New Girl had transitioned into The Muse. She was beautiful. She was cuddly and wonderful to take to an art opening or a movie. But she wasn’t really interested in an intimate relationship.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Every Other Saturday Night: Dating After Divorce

OFF-dating-devil

If you’ve got kids and you are divorced you’re most likely on an every-other weekend schedule like me. While it affords plenty of opportunities for self-improvement and creative endeavors, it’s hell on dating. AND if your “date” is also divorced with children, chances are their schedule is exactly opposite from yours, if they’re on the SPO prescribed by the state and enforced on 80% of Texas men, for example.

Okay, so you’ve got approximately two weekends a month to do as you please.

TIME is what we need to figure out how compatible we are. TIME is what it takes, for me, to understand adoration and appreciation, apart from the drive to have SEX or be in a relationship.

In trying to move a  significant love interest forward (I’d place the remaining woman with potential in this category) it is hard not to press for some commitment. Some indication that we are in a relationship. We’ve snuggled. We’ve hugged goodbye and had the occasional closed-mouth kiss. And then we’re off to the static silence that is the rest of the week in a busy single-parent’s life. She has a 16 year-old daughter, and that entails a lot. AND… of course we are both hyper-committed parents. For me that runs a staggered schedule, for her, with the father no longer in the picture, it’s 24/7 mothering.

So rather than asking for some sign, I’m looking at the time. There is not much time to be together. And the joining takes effort and intentionality on both of our parts to make it happen. Why do I need some profession, some major milestone (a passionate kiss, lovemaking) to confirm our relationship? Do I? It might just be my longing and desire for those things, rather than some insecurity.

In terms of my available weekend nights, this summer, I have two Saturday nights a month. (I take my kids THU/FRI during summer vacation.) And now, with a little imagination, I can establish “dates” on those two nights and make the most of what is available.

I kept thinking, “Well, she’s really busy.” But it’s ME that has the time. And for real relaxed socialization, the weekend offers the most return. So Saturdays it is. Every other Saturday.

That’s not a lot of time to get time together. And today, at this moment, I’m okay with that. I admit to getting restless and desirous and checking my OKCupid profile for any “visitors” who might look interesting. BUT, in general, I think this developing story serves me well.

  1. I am busily working on my creative craft (writing, journaling, playing music)
  2. I am reinvigorated in my fitness and slimming quest
  3. I have an engine of passion and longing in imagining “being” with her (and this serves the love poem, and love song output quite well)
  4. And with things still being OPEN, I have flexibility and opportunity to explore whatever whims happen to arrive

TIME is what we need to figure out how compatible we are. TIME is what it takes, for me, to understand adoration and appreciation, apart from the drive to have SEX or be in a relationship. I want those things. BUT, I’m clear that my mistakes of the past will not foreshadow my next relationship commitment.

I can use every ounce of energy to improve MYSELF and MY VISION, and continue to dig into the wacky meanderings of my mind and my past/future mistakes. Most of all, I can stay present.

When I jump in, this next time, I intend to jump in feet first. Both times I fell head-first in love and married some of the fundamental parts of the relationship mismatch had not been revealed. (Of course, with hindsight I can imagine I would’ve seen them, but I was blind with passionate love.)

It’s enough right now to know someone is out there, someone I aspire to, someone I adore and appreciate for herself, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, without ever having passionately kissed. (I can say this, today, tomorrow might be a different tune.) She is showing me what ADORATION looks like when it grows and moves slowly.

Sure, I’d really like for a woman to take a shine to me and light up like a Christmas tree. And maybe that will happen, maybe this pause, and calm/steady snuggle artist is just what I need to prepare me for what’s next.

And I can use every ounce of energy to improve MYSELF and MY VISION, and continue to dig into the wacky meanderings of my mind and my past/future mistakes. Most of all, I can stay present.

All of this self-examination is fine if we don’t ruminate on the past or future. I feel, today, as if this writing has allowed me to shed the pain and disfunction of my divorce and explore my life as a happy single person, again. And GF #1 showed me that I know how to be open, honest, and truthful in relationships. She showed the way to what’s next. It is my job to stay present, and not rush into anything (for any reason) unhealthy. TIME is my most valuable currency. When planning my two Saturday nights, I’d be wise to choose with intention.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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image: me, nick, and marie, richard riley, creative commons usage


Dating and Romance: It’s Always About Time

OFF-happycouple

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.”

Yes.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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


Finding Adoration

sex is spiritualBringing sex into the picture can really complicate things. And when it’s an animal drive rather than a move of adoration, it’s something else. I’m not looking for animal sex with someone I don’t crave. I want to make love, the next time, to someone I simply adore. That’s the highest form of connection and adoration I can give. And I want to feel the loop going both ways. Like a circuit; there is a connection that lights up both people.

I was listening to a Doyle Bramhall II song in the car today when the lyric hit me.

You and me, we’ll wait to see the day come down.
Don’t go, sit here girl, let’s have a drink and watch the day come down.

Something about the longing in his voice and knowing that this record was a victory lap on his marriage to Lisa Melvoin, (of Wendy and Lisa fame) just struck me as appropriate. I want to watch the day go down with a woman, just be. Time together being relaxed and not pressured to do anything.

And then I imagine the sex becomes part of the passion and adoration that grows between us.

It seems to me, I’ve been trying to hard to FIND a girl friend. And what I learned yesterday, having a couple of hours hanging with the MIA woman with potential, was: it really is about the quality of the time together. The “feeling” you get. The unstoppable glow that wants to be fulfilled through the ultimate act of intimacy.

Sex is a spiritual act. And engaging in it should be a form of beauty and expression. When it becomes mechanical, or there’s a hint of boredom or duty, it’s done. I aspire to actually make love next time I’m with a woman. And until then “friends” are just fine. Now, kissing… That’s a bit less intimate and should be an indicator of the sensuousness in the relationship. But the intention should be there as well. So woman with potential might be over thinking, or she might just be really spiritual and going slow.

100% or just don’t waste your time.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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+++ a Doyle Bramhall II song, live from my home town. The woman on the left, singing is Lisa, Doyle’s wife at the time, now divorced. Wendy is playing bass.


Love and War; It’s all Here – Seeking Love and Peace

Love and War, Love and PeaceA contrast and comparison of the two most powerful letters I’ve written this year.

1. Love letter to the silent “woman with potential.” (partial) Responding to an email she sent me about why she hasn’t been able to see me over the last two weeks.

+++

Sweet [woman’s name], (i like the sound of that)

I completely understand.
If the moment is casual and easy and without expectations, maybe it would be easier to just include me in an activity you’re already going to do. No prep or primp, just “hey J I’m going for a walk at 2, wanna go?” (Imagining some of the resistance is merely the additional effort required to include someone else, someone who’s “checkin you out.” But that’s an easy one to interrupt, right? Just time together, that’s my goal. Intentionality is useful in many situations, but here, I’m easy and free of expectations.
And me:
1. I can be more invitive (invite-y), but I feel this adds pressure rather than enticement. And thus patience and peace of mind is my repose.
2. Thrilled with the idea of [woman’s name].
3. Happy.
4. Intentional when it makes sense.
At the moment it appears it doesn’t fit. That’s okay. I can imagine you are frazzled and adding ONE MORE FKIN THING, even if that thing is magically delicious, is too much.
Here I AM. As long as it’s okay for me to ping you every now and then to check-in, I can mind my own mind. And when there is an opening on your end for more… Well…
Final thought: I loved, love, will love, getting your messages in the future and I will respond in kind.

+++

2. Declaration of Independence from the Ex-y’s continuing drama about money.

+++

Money.

What I can tell you.
1. You are going to get every penny you are owed. Any language from you about “collecting” or “enforcement” now makes me laugh rather than get mad. It’s absurd. Maybe it’s your dad speaking, but there is no DEFAULT on my child support.
2. If there is a perception, from the kids that money is flowing, it’s a misperception, maybe due to my joy in life at the moment.
3. After my mortgage and base necessities, you and the kids are my first priority.
4. Work is good. And it does look like I will get several new pieces of business that should speed up my catchup.
5. A month that I am able to afford a house keeper is a good month. But that $100 has no bearing on your payments.
6. I am not spending ANY money on myself, after food, shelter and internet.
What I cannot tell you.
1. Timing or schedule of my payments through the summer. I simply don’t have the information myself.
2. Exact amounts you can expect through the summer.
If you have doubts about me ever getting caught up those are based on fear and not reality. I will do my best to inform you of when money is coming in, and what portion of every income event you can count on. But until the check is in my hand from my other clients, I will not guess at dates and schedules.
There will come a day when the money and schedule are easy and predictable. I am working towards that with 100% of my efforts.
That’s the best I can do.

+++

Maybe I could do more, better, try harder, but I don’t think so.

The real story is that my life is good. In spite of being in arrears with Wells Fargo and the ex-y. I am working plenty. I am landing new business. I am keeping my head out of the gutter of depression around the pressure of money and lack of money.

Here’s the rub.

When we were married I worked as a freelance consultant for years. I was successful and then 9-11 took the prosperity right out of my self-employment. What ultimately forced me to seek FTE (full-time employee) status was 1. the need for my family to have robust healthcare coverage; 2. the ex-y’s unwillingness to get a full-time full-pay job herself. Of course in the early part of our kids lives, that was by design, but towards the end of our marriage, it almost felt like defiance. Case in point, the last full year of our marriage she actually had a negative income after taxes and expenses were taken out. How’s that for escalating the stress levels. Of course, the party line, was it was me with the “employment” problem.

Now, however, in divorce, the ex-y must have full-time employment. And with that comes the opportunity to put the kid’s healthcare on her policy. Still bill it to me, but the access to healthcare, that “these days” still requires a FTE status to acquire. As a result, the opportunity to become a self-employed consultant is possible for me again. She really doesn’t have any say about that.

I would’ve liked to have provided enough financially for her not to work at all while the kids were in elementary school. We did the best we could and she averaged 15 – 30 hours a week for a good portion of that time. But as the kids got older, the expectation was that she would start contributing to the overall household growth again.

And the most amazing thing. When she decided she wanted to divorce me, she created a job with a firm that was owned by some personal friends. When she was required to work, she was very good at it. And when her desire required her to go to FTE status, it was a quick and decisive event.

Today, when I’m working my flexible schedule, I wonder how it would be easier if we (my child support) were not paying on two houses. How we might have both enjoyed a more flexible lifestyle had we stayed together.

That was not the choice we made. And today she is the FTE. And while I am paying the healthcare costs, and the equivalent of two mortgages, (and I will get caught up) she is still in some sort of crisis about money. Seems like this was a pattern in our marriage too. She was in crisis about something most of the time.

I am not.

And yet the contrast could not be more obvious.

She: has 30K or more in her retirement accounts, little or no credit card debt, and equity in the marital home in the neighborhood of 50k – 70k.

Me: spent all of my retirement savings to live and gain access to home ownership again, have no credit cards and bad credit, am behind of my mortgage.

Yet still. I am very happy and optimistic that I am pulling out of this. And I am trying to reassure her, just as I did when we were married, that there will be enough. “We’re gonna be fine.”

And she is stressed to the max, thrashing against me for money, and convinced I am the answer and cause of her distress.

I can maintain my neutrality. I can try and respond with kindness rather than anger. I will continue to focus on the happiness and wellbeing of my kids. The happiness and well-being of my ex-y was not something I could manage then, and I certainly cannot manage it now. The good news is, now I don’t have to.

UPDATE: How do you think my message went over? To deaf ears. More saber rattling, more demands for a plan or a schedule. Okay, so I’m putting the ex-y in the bill pile with Wells Fargo. And I’m taking the emotion out of my response.

“Talk to the hand. You’ll get it as soon as I get it. I’ll let you know in real time as I know more.”

Sincerely,

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.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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