Tag Archives: dating

Delusions of Insignificance

Delusions of Insignificance

The Boyfriend Candidate is really cute but he so exhausts me.  We got into a rift.  In truth he got into the rift by himself while I painted my toenails.

As I’ve mentioned before, my guy is a problem solver.  I don’t mean with the admirable skill of analytically attacking a challenge.  I mean he cannot function without a problem.  And when there isn’t a problem, he can always make one up.

The problem he was making up was not original:  job dissatisfaction.  this is one of those unsolvable problems that keeps him invigorated and me drained.  On cue, he asks for my advice.  I always say the same thing:  fix it, live with it, or get out.  If you can’t change the company from within, then you must accept one of two things; learn to live with it by appreciating a less than perfect situation OR look for another job.  I mean just look around because often times by looking you realize what you have ain’t so bad.  But wait, my advice might actually solve his problem leaving him problem-less, so it’s ignored.

He went off on me for being dismissive.  I rolled my eyes; I’m so bored with this.  He likes being the underdog, the disenfranchised.  Having the odds against him helps create focus.  So, in fact, he is exactly where he needs to be in order to excel.  I told him that too.  I’ impressed with his creativity an his ability to manipulate a situation to his advantage (jeez, I even managed a compliment).  But I wasn’t getting sucked into some made up drama that he had no real intention of relinquishing.  I continued painting my nails and tuned him out.

He looked completely rejected — probably because he was.  Only a sick woman would indulge his delusion of insignificance.  I’m not that woman.

And he was disappointed.  That’s kinda sad.

The problem solver with no problems

The problem solver with no problems

The Boyfriend Candidate is starting to unnerve me.  And it boils down to this: he is a problem solver and I really don’t have problems for him to solve.  Of course, there is a touch of control freak in there too – but that’s for another day.  His solutions end up being the only solutions.

There was a time when I was a walking problem factory.  Those days are gone and what’s left is your garden variety, typical functioning single mom.  There are all the typical things, but nothing extraordinary and nothing I can’t handle  Alone.  By myself.  With absolute confidence.

A few days ago I had a rough morning with the boys.  I gingerly, with some apprehension, mention this to the BC.  I want to talk about my feelings, frustrations.  And he says to me, with sincerely earnestness, “Well, it’s not surprising.  Your life is shit.  You are alone.  And those boys know they outnumber you.  You have no power.  Of course you feel that way.”

Uh… wtf?

Then he tried to solve my problem.  The problem he made up, defined and identified.

“What you need are better parenting techniques.”  Then this man with zero children expounded upon the many techniques I could endeavor to apply.  “Have you heard of something called ‘time out’?”  Oh jeez.  Or this one, “I’ve read that positive reinforcement can provide a road map to better behavior.  A child told what not to do may not know what to do.”  For crying out loud.

And my feelings were never discussed.  I realized then that I almost never get what I need from this man.  He’s a wonderful man, but he hands me a chainsaw when I need a Band-aid.  It’s interesting, the rush to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, all the while an opportunity for intimacy is waiting.  Let’s talk about my vulnerability and disappointment… in my own children.  That’s big.

The ideal response from the BC would have been something like “You’re feeling under-appreciated.  I appreciate you and one day your kids will too.” I probably would have cried and believed that he saw into my soul.

Nope, the moment passed him right by.  But he managed to walk away self-satisfied.

I love you; you disgust me

I love you; you disgust me

I consider my Boyfriend Candidate one of the funniest guys I know.  And intelligent.  It’s a hard combo to find.  There are some notable exceptions, but most of the time I find the funny guys are hiding their stupid behind their funny.

Nevertheless, my guy crosses the line a lot into vulgar and disgusting.  Lately I’ve noticed it crossing over into really gross and embarrassing.  I went to his house last night.  He bumped into a neighbor who had been sailing that afternoon.  Basically, my guy said, “How was it?  You got any women with you on that boat?  Serving you drinks or anything else?”  I audibly groaned.  I don’t know that guy.  That was just awkward.  Later, I said something about a hair’s breadth away from something.  He then chimed in with a story about units of measurements in aerospace engineering.  He heard these presumably competent engineers, say something was as narrow as a gnat’s eyebrow or a c**t hair.  He thought that was hysterical.  I had no need for that to be in my brain.  And I’m sorry I just put it in yours. I was disgusted.  Am I a guy in a locker room?  Do men in locker rooms really even talk like that?  I suspect not.  Somewhere in there I told him that humor like that only served to reduce my opinion of him.

This hints at a larger issue.  He should feel free to say whatever, to disclose and dream.  I want him to share his unspoken ambitions and dark sexual fantasies.  But I don’t want him to cross that line into grossing me out or being perversely, publicly rude.  And where is that line?  I can’t say I just know it’s there.  So we talked about it.  He thought it was an interesting dilemma.  He definitely didn’t want me to be disgusted by him so he would try to self sensor a little more.

Two hours later.  We’re at a bar chatting it up with the cute young bartender who is going to cosmetology school and is a hair stylist.  She said there was a lot of money in simple blow outs and in Brazilian blow outs.  I bristled.  I knew it was coming.  She said “blow out” and she said “Brazilian”.  Double whammy, it was too much for my guy.  “Hey, I didn’t think there was any hair in a Brazilian!” and a couple minutes later “And how is that Brazilian blow job different from the regular kind?!”  Our girl looked like she was going to throw up.  I put my head down on the bar.  No one was laughing.  “Hey, what’d I say? I thought it was funny.”

He’s working on it.  We’ve got a ways to go.

Incidental family

Incidental family

When my landlord decided to lease the guestroom in my house, Gaefan became an incidental member of our family.  When he moved into our lives, I was one year into the divorce process, one year into a job hunt, I was way behind on rent and I was shouldering $80k of credit card debt my ex created by secretly supporting his failing business with my credit cards. Since he used my cards, I was also dodging the phone calls from Citibank.

My parents were retired and lived inTexas.  Still do.  My father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  I was working six part-time jobs and still not able to pay the bills.  I had also started dating a guy fairly regularly.  He was employed, good looking, crude and probably an alcoholic.  Some of my best stories have to do with the Boyfriend Candidate.  He was and is quite something.

So basically, I was busy and panicked.  I had relationships going and coming.  I was trying to keep the lives of my three boys normal, at a level of privilege they had gotten used to, but was impossible to maintain.  The days of immediate gratification and spontaneous generosity were over.  I came up with an empowering action list.  I love lists.

Option 1. Get a job.  I had been a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom to my slightly autistic son.  That would have to end.  He started brick and mortar and I started pounding the pavement.  I submitted my resume to over 500 companies in the 8 months I was out of work.  I had temp jobs that floated me.  I transcribed.  I participated in surveys, and I dated for dinner.  Best of all I started web and blog writing.

Option 2. Get remarried, quickly, to man who would make all our problems go away.  It could happen.  I figured I’d fall in love again one day.  If that day could be today, that would be really convenient.

Option 3. Prepare to move back to Texas.  If 1 and 2 didn’t work out, singularly or in combination, that would be all that was left.  Me and my three would be moving into a three bedroom with my elderly retired parents, one of whom was suffering from dementia.  These are not the warm fuzzy grandparents that I hear other children have.  My mother takes no prisoners and my dad is a mystery.  So finding a job or finding the love of my life was really critical.

So into my very ordered, yet unpredictable life comes Gaefan.  He was all hippie auras and holistic transcendence.  He was so far out there he looped all the way around, back to self-righteous and had no idea.

When I met Gaefan, it was late at night.  I opened the door to a much older man, shaved head, energetic.  I didn’t get any kind of a vibe off him so he seemed safe.  Not a child molester, not a gay pedophile, not hot for me.  No flags.

He was British and had the accent.  Clearly delightful.  I gave him the tour.  We have a yard; he had a dog.  I told him then my children were allergic to dogs so his would need to have limited range.  He seemed ok with that.

And he was in.

We need to talk

We need to talk

My Boyfriend Candidate texted me this morning, “We need to talk.”  At which point I asked myself, why didn’t he call if he actually watned to speak?  But not one to get hung up on details, only distracted by them, I texted back “cool”.  THen four hours went by.

I don’t know about you, but when my guy says he needs to talk, I go into red alert.  Guys don’t want to talk at all ever, if he needs to talk now, that’s some big shit, right?  So, I literally sat there staring at the phone waiting for it to vibrate.  Finally, I couldn’t take it any more, I was starting to stress eat the last of the eggnog yogurt covered almonds, and I texted him that I needed to know the next move.  He then says he’s under radio silence: he’s taking a yoga class.

Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

We finally get together.  The confrontation required negotiating and careful manipulation, the details of which I won’t bore you with.  He basically says that he feels that he can’t talk to me about my life.  That whenever he has a suggestion or advice, I’m not open to it.  OK.  First of all, giving me advice is quite the opposite of having a discussion about my life.  For men, they want to problem solve.  For women, we want to be heard.  I know at this early stage of our relationship that the BC doesn’t get that yet.  When I start to talk about my life, I just want to be empathized with.  I know what needs to be done.  I’ll do it.  I just need to talk.  Do not solve my problems for me. . . unless I ask.  All women work this way.  In any case, no, I don’t want to hear whatever from you about my life.  You don’t know me well enough and it makes you look arrogant instead of simply galant.

Also, he is a control freak.  My way of controlling the control freak is to shut him down.  He starts to opine about what time is best for me to check the mail or best ways to teach table etiquette to my sons and I change the subject abruptly.

The fact is, we are too old for this.  He is a mature man of a certain age who knows with certainty what is right.  I’m a certain woman of a certain younger age who feels the same. We often times don’t agree.  I’d rather not even talk about it so, guilty as charged, sir you win.  You are right, you may not talk about my life.

I’m glad he’s confident, self-assured and reticent.  And for better or worse, he found a woman who is the same way.

Shower me

Shower me

My Boyfriend Candidate went nuts this year and gave me a bunch of gifts.  Not individually extravagant, but as a whole, it was an investment of time and consideration.  I gave him a set of wine glasses – which he really didn’t need.  It was nice, minimally thoughtful, and looked kinda puny next to his pile of generosity.

I have such a problem with this.  Being new to dating protocols – after 20+ years of being with my now ex-husband –  is the gift giving suppose to be equal?  That’s unrealistic considering our difference in income and the fact that everything I have rightfully goes to my children.  Still, I’m uncomfortable.  I want to show him materially that I care – it’s just not practical or even possible.

It doesn’t bother him at all.  As a matter of fact, when I mentioned it, he was put out.  He said it was his opportunity to be a little extravagant and spontaneous, and if I was going to tie his hands with a budget aimed at achieving equality that would take all the fun out of the holidays.

I believe too that this gift-giving addresses a sort of fundamental difference between the sexes.  I suspect men want to contribute to their women in ways that show character traits and promote their desirability while increasing their market value.  The gifts from my BC showed me that 1) he has a sense of humor, 2) he notices my decor/nesting and can purchase an item to match, 3) he notice my stress and wants me to relax, and 4) that he can pick tasteful fashion jewelry which complements my style.  These gifts all say “I notice you.”  I suspect there was no budget in play.  Or at least he wanted it to look that way.  I learned a lot about how he feels about me and how he wants me to perceive him.  Considering his inability to have a discussion about his feelings and intentions, he accomplished that very thing he avoids through the gift giving.

Or maybe he was at Target and just picked up a bunch of stuff.

 

Next time I go naked

Next time I go naked

I went to the Boyfriend Candidate’s house the other night.  I think the relationship is getting stale, and I’m concerned.

I walk in his door, granted the three kids are in tow.  Also I must say, he was sick and I was having neck pain.  We are old indeed.

I call out, “Hello?” And the three kids start calling out his name.  We go to the living room.  Empty.  The playroom.  Nothing.  On to the kitchen.  Here we find him.  He is reading the Economist, glasses at the end of his nose.  He delivers this heart-felt welcome.  “Oh hi.  I didn’t hear you come in.”

I have problems with this and if the kids hadn’t been bouncing around the kitchen, I would have called him out.  Not hear us?  We are a herd; that’s not possible.  There was a time when he would have been sitting on the front porch looking for me, waiting for me with some anticipation.

He didn’t even stand up.  It was disappointing and hurtful in the way you would expect, but I immediately went to the bigger picture.  Do I want to come home to a guy who doesn’t stand up and embrace me?  My marriage degraded over the course of 20 years into that kind of nonchalance and mutual apathy.  What does it say that that the BC and I have already hit that mark?

Then again, I know I should give him a break.  He’s sick.  I’m edgy.  The children can have a numbing effect.

Next time I may have to walk in naked and check his response.  Then I’ll know if I’m really in trouble.

The anti-girlfriend

The anti-girlfriend

So I announced to the Boyfriend Candidate that I would never be his girlfriend.  When I start thinking like “girlfriend” I start thinking like a twenty-something and putting all those expectations on him that just don’t matter to a forty-something.  He was oddly disappointed.

He said he liked to think of me as his girlfriend and didn’t understand the issue with semantics.  But whatever.  I should do what I need to do if it means we can still hang out together.

And ever since then, he’s been acting like a boyfriend on steroids.  I’ve never had such a great boyfriend at a time when I especially am not looking for one.  Right now, he is in the other room nursing my sick 12 year old, tolerating my 9 year old’s need to watch South Park and politely telling the 6 year old not to pick his nose.  It’s an interaction that any mother could relate to, but not a mere mortal of no blood relation.

The BC actually left work early last week to check on my sick son.  I was at work myself and couldn’t leave so he checked it out.  He brought my son a sandwich and stayed with him until I got home.  My ex-husband during our seventeen years of marriage never did anything like that.

I’m confused.  If this is “boyfriend” then maybe I should be his “girlfriend”.  If this is “man trying to convince me that boyfriend is not such a bad idea therefore I should be his girlfriend then after he proves his point he goes back to being average guy”, then he can never be my boyfriend.

It’s all so confusing.

Forget it; he still won’t be my boyfriend.

Hello, goodbye, repeat as desired

Hello, goodbye, repeat as desired

The Boyfriend Candidate and I broke up not too long ago.   Again.  We do this about every three weeks, and we’ve each totally lost credibility with each other on the break up front.  This time I was picking on him — pretty much all day — most likely as a result of general frustrations with the relationship.  I was indirect, provocative and uncommunicative.  So we got in a fight.  He called me an ugly name.  And then defended it when I graciously gave him a chance to retract.  I was done.

So a week goes by and in that week I’ve been really asking myself hard questions about why I’m dating in the first place.  Are my frustrations with the relationship because it doesn’t serve a purpose relevant to my life any more?  I think I’m on to something.

I’m 46.  I have three small children who deserve my time and energy.  Now that I’m working, which means I can provide everything I and my children need, I’m not looking for a man to save me/us, to be the responsible party or to fund us, if you will.  I’m in bed weeknights at 8pm because I’m up at 4:45am.  When exactly am I suppose to nurture an adult relationship anyway?  So seriously why am I dating at all?

Sex is an obvious answer.  Adult companionship generally.  To be adored in that way a man adores you has particular attractiveness to me.  And you know I got all those things from the Boyfriend Candidate.  What I didn’t get that was frustrating me was “traditional marriage material.”  He isn’t that Prince Charming.  He’s a salty old curmudgeon, truth be told.  I don’t want to be with him every day.  I don’t want to live with him.  I can’t imagine the nightmare of merging lives.  But you know, I don’t think I really need that.  If he gives me the adoration, even part time, might that be enough?  I think anything more is an old dating paradigm from my early twenties that has expired.

I can reinvent the adult relationship now.  So I’m taking some time to figure out what that will look like at this point in my life.  Naturally I spoke with the Boyfriend Candidate and, as usual, we’re back together.  This time I am relieving him of those traditional expectations which aren’t relevant (or possible) any longer.  Maybe I can be more tolerant.

Honestly, he never thought we split up which slightly irks me.  I did make a dramatic exit.

Leave my ass alone

Leave my ass alone

Seriously:  what is it with men and women’s asses?  I have to think it’s not just me.  My mother completely commiserated with me about this very issue not too long ago.  My mother who is a woman of a certain age and married for 48 years to my Alzheimer dad – he still can’t keep his hands off her ass.

Last night I exploded.  Enough already.  The Boyfriend Candidate doesn’t grab my ass in some sexual, erotic or even remotely intimate way.  It’s more like a lift and jiggle or a grab and shake or even a poke like you would a water bed to see the ripple effect.  I loathe it.  I’m not some thing, some object, here for perverse entertainment.  I’m certainly not a bowl of Jell-o setting in the fridge waiting for the test poke.

My mother tells me that when she hears Dad walking into a room behind her, she tenses and tries to turn before he can get to her ass.  I know this feeling.  She’s been coping for almost fifty years and can’t get him to stop.  And she can be mean.

I finally told the Boyfriend Candidate last night, “How would you like it if I grabbed and jiggled your package just to watch it flop around?” And I demonstrated in case he didn’t get the picture.  He accused me of hurting him.  Duh.  That’s my point.  There is hurt with this kind of objectification by the person you adore (but seem to be adoring less as each instance occurs).  I was confident I made my point.

Until an hour ago.  He scared the hell out of me by doing a peeping Tom thing in my office window.  I screamed and started crying.  I was precariously close to peeing myself.  He came in and was obviously concerned the joke had gone too far.  He opened his arms, tenderly embraced me, wiped away my tears, and jiggled my ass.