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

Posts tagged “negotiating the relationship

Sex, Love, and Relationships: Dating Is A Bit Like Space Travel

space station flyover, creative commons usage

Dating is not my favorite thing. I like relationships. Of course, you have to go through a period of dating to get to know someone and see if there is a mutual adoration and physical/emotional fit. And sex too.

I have only had one relationship in the three-plus years since my divorce, and I’d have to say I learned some things that I had never known about myself. I also got to feel what it would be like if I were with someone who shared my love language. AMAZING.

There was one component missing from that three-month journey. For the first month, I tried to understand what was going on with my sexual desire because here was a beautiful woman who was admittedly crushing on me. In the second month, I addressed things more directly and tried to awaken some sexual chemistry between us. I mean, how could I not be… I mean what did that say about me? Was I in need of some kind of Viagra, at my age, for the first time in my life? Well, masturbation was still working, to some extent, so I learned it probably wasn’t that. In the third month I came to realize, that as much as she adored me, I wanted to adore her back. It was a circuit that was incomplete. She was amazing, and she deserved someone who could appreciate that in all it’s facets. Sadly, I was not that person.

And an interesting thing happened when we broke up. I realized how much I did love her, but I wasn’t right for her. We had breakfast the next morning, after “the call,” and I could truly see what an amazing friendship we had developed over the course of our courtship. There were no hard feelings. Perhaps a twinge of sadness for both of us. But we are still strong friends who encourage each other along our journey. Just knowing someone is out there who is thinking about you, is a cool thing.

And the messages came back in spurts and then long periods of silence. There were definite “yes” readings as well as “I’m crazy, back off” warnings.

A few months back I had a different kind of relationship. As my first relationship was about adoration, my second relationship was about sexual chemistry. It was a fiery six-month build up that had us both riled up before we ever had our first date. We had met over a year earlier, but things had begun to warm up between us on Facebook. She had gotten divorced. She simply said, “Hi.” And the dialogue/courtship began.

And on paper (or should I say, in the virtual world of texting and emails) we were a fit. And though I was not clear how old she was, she was a reach for a much more fit and sexual partner. It was sexual attraction first, we will figure the rest out as we go along.

Well, when we finally went on a date, it was sweet and touchy-feely and exciting. She was unafraid to tell me how she wanted to kiss me later via text. And the stage was set for our next rendezvous.

Then we hit it off. And it was a blur. I simply didn’t want to get out of bed and do anything else. We connected deeply in our desirous and unfilled centers. As we spent more time together, however, the differences also showed up. Lifestyle choices. Verbal acuity. What had been sort of open in the virtual world, was less easy in-person. (this poem captures a bit of the spirit: it’s just desire)

What I realized, pretty quickly, is while the sexual hunger and connection was hot, the rest of the relationship was not much of a WIN for either of us. It’s fine to sit quietly together and admire how fantastic the other person looks bra-less in a tank top. But there were not a lot of points of connection in our interests. I backed out as gracefully as I could.

But the emotional fallout was much more damaging than I was prepared for. Having ridden the high of the build and release of having this beautiful woman in my bed, I was devastated when it turned out that it was a fling and not the connection I was seeking. And there was one major wrinkle. She was a blog reader, she might even be reading this now. And one of the promises I gave her as we walked openly into a relationship, is that I would not blog about us while we were trying to figure it out. Turns out I didn’t feel comfortable blogging about/to her at all. I went dark and silent.

And dark silence is where I crumble and burn. Combine the chemical rush of the high and subsequent fall with the coming of the Christmas holidays, and my inability to write about what was going on, and it was a bad combo for me. I suffered in silence.

And I contemplated reconnecting with her. I contemplated reconnecting with my first and only girlfriend so far. And I did nothing. And I fell apart.

As I pulled my dating profiles off the web and contemplated my navel for a bit, I met a woman at a NYE party who held an amazing attraction. She was a tennis player, so that was a first, and a fantasy. But I didn’t pursue any connection as I knew I was unavailable and wounded. And I knew all hell was still in the process of breaking loose in my personal and financial life. So I admired her and retreated into my cave of silence.

And I stumbled along and went through my next transformation and started to pick up the pieces of my life alone.

A few weeks ago I had started using a tennis cardio workout as part of my physical and mental healing process. And after the 2nd class I realised I was thinking about the tennis player from NYE. Of course it was a long shot, and it was initially about tennis, but I sent her a message via a mutual friend. Her response was positive and immediate. We connected via txts and the flirting went off the charts.

How fun is that? A casual reach out that produces a willing and excitable potential.

And I began to notice the things that changed in my attitude and hopefulness about women in general. Just a little attention from this very attractive woman was enough to awaken my heart to the “idea” that I could have another relationship. And it seemed there was some of that process going on for her too.

And I noticed too that my heart and mind were beginning to accelerate towards her, like a spaceship being pulled in by the gravity of a large planet. And as I opened to her potential I also sent messages of all types, like some sort of electronic scan. It is amazing how much information we can exchange in a short period of time. And while txting might get a bad rap, there is something wonderful in the considered response. As a writer, I thrive there. And I listen with more intent perhaps than I should.

There are huge amounts of time that are simply waiting. And I can do a better job of allowing the “wait” to be peaceful and less demanding.

So as my life force and positive energy began to accelerate in her direction I also pulled down my defense shields. Even as I professed my ability and comfort with going slow, I was finding my daily thoughts starting to draw strength from my imagination of her and our potential. Of course, there was very little information to go on, so I pressed on all channels. I sent txts. We sent emails. I shared my music.

And the messages came back in spurts and then long periods of silence. There were definite “yes” readings as well as “I’m crazy, back off” warnings. I logged all of them, but I tended to put emphasis on the positive ones. And I leaned into the gravity and allowed my romantic aspirations begin to color my vision.

Today, it’s over. I have overshot the landing and catapulted right out of her orbit on to some unknown destination. The benefit I have is momentum and hopefulness. She shared and showed me how I could light up again. She also reflected back my obsessive and overwhelming transmissions. I used her pull to attempt a crash landing and bypass all the “dating” and “going slow” that might be more prudent and less dangerous.

So as I speed away from another “potential” I am trying to be aware of the great things I learned. And most of all, I hope to make use of the momentum her gravity and ultimate slingshot has provided for the path ahead.

I need to remember that space travel takes a lot of time. There are huge amounts of time that are simply waiting. And I can do a better job of allowing the “wait” to be peaceful and less demanding. And perhaps even less draining if I don’t expend so much energy communicating and listening.


The Off Parent

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image: space station flyover, by chris isherwood, creative commons usage

On The Planet of Over Thinking: Sublimating Desire

learning in relationshipsIt was a moment of frustration for her. I could see her facial expression even though I was driving. “What do you mean when you keep saying ‘over thinking?’ It sounds a bit like a criticism.”

This time we were not discussing the theory of adult relationships, we were talking about the concept of a mastermind group. (No relationship to the cultish pay-to-play Mastermind(tm) process.) In this concept I was sharing with her about how getting a couple “cherry picked” people together for mutual sharing and accountability can have a great effect on your growth. She loved the idea.

But immediately something changed in her version. And I found myself trying to offer different approaches and kept coming back to exactly what worked for HER.

Aside: Walking this morning Aimme Mann sang a line that really seemed to resonate with me. “I know love doesn’t change anything at all. I know love doesn’t change a thing.” And this line seemed to speak to something I was feeling about this “mastermind” encounter.

“Because kissing or sex leads to more time.” She said. “The desire for more time. And I guess I’m just not there yet.”

What I kept saying to her was, “The character of the group will define the goals and cadence. It’s fine to set up your goals and expectations, but each individual will come to the first meeting with their own ideas and needs.”

Some how she didn’t want to hear that.

“But Sunday is the only day that would work for me,” she said.

“That’s fine. And I do think you need to get your expectations and goals in place, but I don’t think you need to over think it.”


“What do you mean by that?”

And here’s the way Aimee Mann’s line struck me this morning, as I was reflecting on my explanation.

“Well, you can do your part to get your plans and desires in place. That is necessary for you to even want to attempt setting up the group. BUT, the group will be redefined by the people who show up. Each of them will have expectations and needs as well. I was saying to get your needs and ask in order, but then be open to the asks and needs of the group you assemble. Because everyone brings their own issues and ideas to the group.”

Somehow I felt like I was defending my position. Or defending the idea of “over thinking.” But that’s not what it felt like. In reflection today, what it felt like, is I was encountering an inflexible approach to relationships. She has a concept of how this mastermind group can serve her, and how it would fit into HER needs.


Perhaps that’s where I am with her. Seeing how I fit into her needs. If it’s Saturday that I can be worked in, if that’s all she has available, well, who am I to argue with that. I did use the word over thinking in our conversation the night before as we were comparing relationship notes.

In over thinking the idea of being in a relationship, I am beginning to understand a bit more about how this woman likes to control her life. If it fits for HER then it can happen. And at this moment, she’s not sure.

Sometimes you need to let go of the plans and strategies and just kiss. Or in the terms of the mastermind process, just convene the best group of people you can manage and see what happens. THE GROUP will have a dynamic and need of its own. As a relationship between two people is more dependant on the two people that show up and the MIX or FLEXIBILITY of those people, more than the PLAN or FIT in a schedule.

I seem to have been doing a lot of explaining, and sublimating desire to say how patient I am. And all we’re talking about is kissing. Sure, it’s the gateway to everything else, but it IS A BIT MESSY. There’s no plan or strategy that will explain or prepare you for the kiss. As there is no containing the flow of feelings when sexual passion gets ignited.

But if there’s a control plan that won’t let anything move forward without further investigation, well, maybe the problem is the investigation. In over thinking the idea of being in a relationship, I am beginning to understand a bit more about how this woman likes to control her life. If it fits for HER then it can happen. And at this moment, she’s not sure.

But it’s not just HER agenda that needs to be served.

I was trying in my subtle ways to say, hey a kiss is just a kiss. Let’s try it. See what happens. But she was having none of it. And she said something at the breakfast table about what she WAS looking for.

“Because kissing or sex leads to more time. The desire for more time. And I guess I’m just not there yet.”

Oh, maybe after the “400 dates“, or maybe not.

Um, maybe not. (Hello OKCupid.)


The Off Parent

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And here’s the Aimee Mann song with the line about love doesn’t change a thing – Phoenix


And another song about arriving at 31 as a woman, still trying to figure out life – 31 Today

caught some guy I knew
had a drink or two
and we fumbled as the day grew dark
i pretended that I felt a spark…