Sunday, February 6, 2011

J: What's Next?

Well…we had talked about continuing with our stories on this blog. But since I’m officially done with the challenge and both Elle & Sheila are happily tucked away with their men, it’s seeming like we’ll have less and less to write about in regards to the “Date of the Month”.

I’m still out there on the dating scene but Mr. December has made a surprising comeback!

That man has played his cards right! In mid-January he texted me letting me know that so far, he pretty much likes everything about me and that he wanted to take me out on a serious date.

And, (surprisingly) instead of freaking me out, his text made me smile.

So we had a ‘real’ date: a seriously fancy dinner (hands down, the nicest I’ve ever had) and then some seriously hokey country dancing. We hit both ends of the social spectrum…and I couldn’t have had more fun. Our next date is set for tomorrow and already I’m looking forward to seeing him again and can’t wait to show him around my neck of the woods.

The thing is…I’m just so comfortable around this guy. We can (and have) talked for hours about everything from sushi to religion. I was a bit worried about the friend-to-potential-boyfriend transition. But so far, it’s gone quite well. And thankfully, he’s taking this very slowly. Since I learned my lesson about rushing last year, I’m extremely appreciative about that…but also a bit impatient. Which is delicious. (Again…another sign that he’s playing this game the right way.)

If you would like to keep following my story, check out the blog that I’ll be participating in this year with a new group of ladies. We’re calling it “Well, you know how women are…” and we’ll be covering a range of topics from general themes like “love” (this month) to more ummm…touchy issues (like last month’s “What do you do if you walk in on your son/husband looking at porn.”) We’d love to have you join the dialogue. You can find us here.

Thanks, again, to everyone who’s been reading! It was without a doubt, a year I will never forget!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

E: So Happy Together

2010....what a whirlwind year! My wrap-up is way overdue, and I hope we still have some readers out there. Nevertheless, I will re-cap. I left you hanging back in October, with my question of whether or not a Mr. October would need to be found. You see, April #3 had swept me off my feet and we had been together until September, when he got weird and decided we would be better off apart. That lasted for one whole week, after which he came to the realization that we are perfect for each other and that he would do whatever it takes to prove that to me, if I let him. So, I took some time to think about how I really feel about this man and the proposition of letting him back into my life...

My conclusion was, that I undeniably love him and always have. And I do think we are perfect for each other in so many ways. In the big ways (same outlook on religion, kids, etc) and in the little ways - the ones that seem to count the most to me. Those little ways that make me smile, give me security in the relationship, and know he's for real.

We have a compatibility, chemistry(!), and deep love that I haven't experienced in over 10 years, and quite frankly, had given up on ever finding. And let me tell you, it was worth waiting for!

Thank you, And thank you Jane, Sheila and Date Club Challenge! I can honestly say that this challenge forced me to get out of my comfort zone and take charge of my dating life. Without it, I would not have had the urgency to get signed up with yet another online dating sight, and Mr. April #3, well, he just might not have met me. And I might still be out there going on dates with men who have boils on their back, want to whisk me away to Vegas after 2 dates, or just plain don't like me because I threw up on their shoes. xoxoxo -Elle

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

S: The End and Everything After

The year of dating has ended, but I’m not sure I can say I completed the challenge. I only went on 5 of the 12 required dates. But it feels like I completed an entirely different challenge. I fell in love twice.

Me. The Spinster. I fell in love twice in one year. Something I wasn’t sure I was ever capable of doing again.

I suppose I get a little credit for that.

When I started this challenge a year ago, I had absolutely no interest in finding someone. I was happy to be on my own and had decided that I just wasn’t one of those people who was destined to end up with a “the one”. This didn’t bother me, it was just a fact of life.

I was doing the challenge for Jane. And for something to blog about. I had no dreams of finding a mate. I didn't even think I'd find someone who would make me want to drop out of the challenge to date for a while. I thought I would go on 12 rather unremarkable dates, if I could manage to get anyone interested enough to go out with me, and at least have a year of practicing my awkward conversation skills. I thought I'd come away with some blog material and a few amusing date stories.

Never would you have been able to make me believe I would end up falling in love…twice, let alone finding someone I can’t wait to permanently commit myself to.

I knew that at the end of the year of dates, I would not want to keep going on dates. I did not know that it would be because I had found someone who makes dating a thing of the past for me.

Overall, I’d say the challenge was a valuable experience. Yes, I got my heart broken this year because of this challenge, but that’s not the point. I had the guts to put it out there to get broken. And then I survived it. I survived it in such a big way that 1. I now feel quite sorry for the moron who broke it and 2. Having fallen in love when I thought I couldn't, I felt strong enough to get back to the challenge right away and leave myself open to fall in love again.

And this time with someone who knows himself and what he wants. Someone who knew right away that he wasn’t going to let me go. Someone who is patient enough to give me space and let the relationship progress at my pace. Someone who believes I'm worth it and who I believe is worth it. Someone who loves me because of who I am, not in spite of who I am. Someone who makes me extremely happy and who is extremely happy with me. Someone who fits me quite perfectly.

We were set up by a friend, so maybe we would have met and gone out eventually. But without the challenge, I would not have started dating again so soon after getting my heart broken. I would not have let my friend fix me up with someone just going through a divorce. I would not have tried so hard to get us on that first date.

This means we could have missed each other. We definitely would have wasted a lot of time not being together. Maybe he would even have started seeing someone else and the timing would never have worked out.

So a huge “thank you” to Jane for dragging me into this. I may have missed some heartache without it, but I would have also missed something amazing that I thought I would never find.

What I learned from this challenge is that I am one of those people who gets to have a “the one”. And that people are right about finding someone and just knowing. That it can be simple and obvious and not feel like an uphill climb or an obligation.

I know that if you stay true to yourself while being open to love, you can suddenly find yourself very very happy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

S: What Happened to December

Holy Sped Up Month, Batman! Where did December go? I think I blinked and missed it. And I’m already halfway through blinking away January.

But what a good month December was. Well, there was still the usual 2010 crap, but somehow none of that matters anymore now that Mr. November is in the picture.

And he’s in the picture in a big way. For good. Which means he deserves a name. How about Joe? That’s a good, solid, man name. Very appropriate for a good, solid man. Who is not really named Joe. Or is he?

Mid-month, after a couple of weeks of official dates and extra-curricular, random, I-can’t-wait-until-Friday-to-see-you get-togethers, Joe and I had a our 3rd (and final) “just dating” date. It was a very fun night full of spontaneity and trying new things that culminated in a long and open conversation about all the baggage we aren’t supposed to talk about on dates. I needed to know where he was in his divorce healing process and he needed to hear about the things that made me trepidatious in this new relationship.

It was a perfect night and began one of those weekends during which we were never apart. We spent 2 days together, just us. We skipped social engagements. We weren’t concerned with our appearance. We stayed in. We just wanted to spend as much time as possible together. We fell in love.

My favorite picture of us came out of that weekend. It’s a perfect representation of our relationship and how it began. And nobody will ever see it. The moments were shared just between us and so should the picture be.

Here’s what I learned in December:

It doesn’t have to be difficult.

I had no idea it could be so simple and obvious. I didn’t realize that the right relationship wouldn’t have me always struggling to dig myself out of a hole or change the way I am to make it work. I had no idea that the right relationship didn’t have to feel like an obligation…what I’m “supposed” to do.

Finally I’m with someone who both matches me on paper and for whom I have feelings. And, even though the timing may have been a little off (he having JUST gotten divorced and me still getting over Guy), we both feel lucky to have fallen into this so unexpectedly.

The other update I have to provide for December has to do with closing the Guy door. I finally had to tell him that I was in a relationship and he and I were no more. The week following my weekend of Joe, Guy had a few beverages at a work party (I was warned of this by a friend who works with him…and I fully expected to hear from him that night).

Sure enough, the texts began. He was friendly and then made a request for something I could no longer provide. I responded that it wasn’t going to happen because I was seeing someone and it’s a pretty big deal. I told him he got his wish and that I had moved on.

He replied that he was happy for me and that it was his loss. He then wished me the best and said that he knew I would move on before he did. My response to this was that he knew we didn’t belong together and ended our relationship, so I believed he had moved on months ago. He said that, yes, he had ended it, but he hadn’t moved on or else he wouldn’t still be texting me.

He then told me that he had just been telling his friend that night what an idiot he was and that he had made his own bed and now had to lie in it. I replied that I didn’t want him to feel bad. He did what he had to do. He wasn’t ready and I wasn’t the right person.

At this point, I now feel like I’m helping him through this because I am completely over it. Now that I see what it can be like, I know that it wasn’t right and shouldn’t have gone on forever. And I’m glad it ended when it did so I could be available to move on.

I heard from him once more right before Christmas. He began texting under the guise of helping me clear snow off my driveway. Fortunately I had already done this, so I could honestly refuse his assistance. By this time, things had gotten serious with Joe and I wasn’t at all interested in hearing from Guy.

Eventually the messages moved to the territory of “are you home alone…no one should be home alone tonight…” This was danger and I knew it. He was feeling lonely and I was feeling sympathy. For a moment I thought about taking him a piece of homemade pie that I had, but I couldn’t even imagine trying to explain that to Joe. So I told him that I had to stay away. That things were going really well with Joe and he was too good a person for me to screw it up by putting myself in a “dangerous” situation with Guy.

He said he understood. And, because I felt bad, I apologized to him for not being able to be there for him.

I don’t know why. He gave that up months ago. He doesn’t get to have me there for him. I’m not sure why I would still feel obligated to do so. Most of the time I’m too nice.

I think he got the hint though. I thought I had been clear before and this time the message was the same. We’re done. No more text beck-and-call. No more get-togethers when one or both of us is feeling a need. It’s really over. Whether he’s ready or not.

And that feels perfectly fine to me. In fact, I almost feel silly for being so hung up on him now that I know how much better it can be.

I just didn't know.

And so, despite everything, I can’t complain about 2010. Finding Joe has been such an amazing way to end the year that I can’t remember how bad the rest of it felt. The topsy-turvy is gone and I feel settled and stable and unbelievably happy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

J: A Date! A Non-Quota Date!

I. Am. SO. Excited!

I have my very first eHarmony date tomorrow and I CAN’T WAIT! This is the first time in a very very very long time that I’ve actually been this excited about a first date!

It's a whole new game!

I’m not going out with this guy just to meet a quota. Not even subconsciously. After all…there is no quota! Yay! This date is not about going out on a date because I am required to go on a date, it's not about quantity…it’s about quality. Or at least, I think he’ll be quality! I certainly HOPE he’ll be quality! Out of over 250 eHarmony matches, he’s the one that I’ve been the most intrigued by…and the most excited about.

From all that I know about him through eHarmony's fancy “guided communication” process and from our open email banter, I genuinely like him and am truly excited about meeting him in person! And with their “29 Dimensions of Compatibility” surely we’ll at least get along long enough to finish a drink or two, right?

So, tomorrow’s the big day.

Now...if only I wasn’t stuck in my uber-geeky glasses due to my upcoming Lasik surgery…and if only I wasn’t so self-conscious due to those extra 5 holiday pounds…and if only I didn’t have to meet him RIGHT after work, dressed as “Corporate Jane”.

Aaah well…I’ll just plan to suck it in, stick out my boobs, wear extra mascara and smile a whole lot…and maybe I’ll throw in a hair-flip or two.

Wish me luck peeps! I'm trying really hard not to get too excited about something that could ultimately disappoint.

But…you never know, right? It’s a new year…anything can happen!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

J: 2010-CHECK!

Wow…how this year flew by! It seems like just yesterday I was tentatively tiptoeing into this challenge. I really didn’t have very much hope, and certainly didn’t expect to be nearly as successful as I was.

But is “successful” the right word? I’m not sure.

Yes, I accomplished what I set out to do. Every single month, I went on at least one date with someone new. Some months I even went out with more than one guy.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. I became comfortable with the dating process. I now know how to respond when a guy buys me a drink. I’ve tried internet dating and 8 minute dating and blind dating. I’ve asked guys out, myself. I’ve learned the perfect way to respond to an awkward text. I’ve learned how to reject (and be rejected!) I’ve learned not to let my heart get too involved too quickly and I’ve learned (the hard way) why it’s so important to keep it guarded. I’ve dated more guys in this one year then in all of my previous years of dating combined and have had more experiences than I ever expected.

So, if you judge success by those measures, yes, I was 100% successful.

But what I really, really, in my heart of heart wanted from this year was to NOT be successful. I wanted to meet someone who wiped this challenge from my mind, completely.

I wanted to be Elle…who met someone early on and is still in love with that same man, today.

I wanted to be Sheila…who let her thick walls down, got hurt…but bounced back and ended up meeting her Mr. Right.

Towards the end of the year, I met someone special too, yes. He filled me with hope and made me believe that I could kiss this challenge good-bye as well. That didn't happen. But through the experience, I remembered what it was like to be in a relationship. I realized how much I truly want that in my life…despite the fact that it isn’t always rainbows and roses.

Most importantly, however, I learned that I’m not willing to settle. I wouldn’t accept a one-sided relationship. What I was getting wasn’t good enough and I deserved so much more. In spite of what my heart wanted, I had the self-respect to get out of the relationship and to take a chance, heading out alone (again) in search of something better…something more real…something that will make all these years of waiting worthwhile.

And that, itself, is something to be proud of.

So, the big question is...will I keep up this challenge into the next year?

Probably not.

At least, not with a quota.

This year, I found myself accepting quantity instead of quality, over and over. I went out with guys that were convenient verses guys that I was truly interested in getting to know....always hoping that maybe I’d be pleasantly surprised. Usually, I wasn’t.

So, for me, 2011 will be about dating guys that I truly want to date instead of focusing on sticking to a timeline & constantly checking the calendar.

And after this year of experimenting, challenging myself and stepping out on that limb, I can go into 2011 with confidence and a better understanding of who I am and what I truly want and need out of a relationship.

A huge "Thank you" is due to my femmebuds; Elle & Sheila. Without you, I might not have been brave enough to fully step out into this challenge or to stick with it for an entire year (let alone write about it for the world to read!) I’ve grown closer to each of you through this year and through this challenge. And if nothing more was accomplished, the growth of our friendship has made it worth the journey.

Thanks to you, readers, for travelling with me on this journey. It wouldn’t have been the same without all of your comments and advice.

It’s been a crazy year, full of fun, stress, excitement, heartache and joy, laugher and tears, longing and surprises, elation and disappointment ...and (if I’m telling the whole truth) I’m SO relieved that it’s over!

On to 2011! Maybe this will be the year “he” shows up.

Maybe not.

If nothing else, 2010 and this challenge has proven that this single gal will be fine either way.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

J: Still

Here it is, two month later and I still go back and forth about whether I did the right thing by breaking up with myself for Mr. September.

Still, I wonder if I made a mistake.

Still, I wonder if I was too impatient. I wonder if I should have given it more time.

Still, I wonder if I should have relaxed more…to let it just be what it was.

I still miss him. I still wonder what he did for Christmas Eve…for Christmas Day…for the time that we both have off work. I wonder whether he has plans for New Year’s Eve. I wonder if his kid had a blast on Christmas morning. I wonder whether he made it all the way through the LOST series, what he thought of the ending and whether he actually bought that wetsuit and is still out on the lake, despite these chilly temperatures.

It’s ridiculous. I know. It’s also pathetic…we’ve now been apart for longer than we were together. And, at this point, in my head, I realize that it’s probably not Mr September himself so much as that little taste that he gave me of that meaningful relationship that I’ve been trying so hard to find.

When we first started seriously dating, we became friends on facebook. When we broke up I kept him as a “friend” but to keep myself from obsessing I blocked him from showing up on my feed. It still takes everything in my power though, not to check out his wall to see what he’s been up to.

He, on the other hand, has obviously not done the same thing. Within the last month, he’s “liked” my status no less than 4 times.

The first time it happened, I was thrilled…maybe it was a “sign”. Maybe he was still interested? Maybe he was reaching out? Obviously he’d been watching what I’d been up to! My friends who I freaked out to about it all reassured me that it was just a gesture of friendship…he probably just honestly liked my status. Still, immediately following the “like” I hoped for more…a call…a text…anything. But I waited and…NOTHING.

The next “like” did the same thing to me, to a lesser extent.

By this most recent “like”, I was just pissed. Is he really so clueless?

If this keeps making me so upset I should do something about it, right? But what? Defriend him? No way! I left the door open when I broke up because I LIKE the guy. I didn’t want to shut off the opportunity for anything more, if he would ever come to his senses and decide I was worth dating after all. Defriending would be slamming that door closed.

Defriending would also be saying “you hurt me so badly, I can’t even handle seeing you show up occasionally, electronically.” My pride won’t let me do that either.

Yet all I wanted for Christmas this year (other than
being able to complete this challenge: CHECK!) was a call from him, asking me out because he has realized that he wants me in his life. I think that I just want the opportunity to try again. I want to know, beyond a doubt that I did the right thing by giving space. But...I also want to be liked back. I want to be truly cherished. I deserve that.

And since that’s obviously not happening, wish #2 is to figure out SOME way to get over the guy once and for all.

Yes. I know. Pathetic. I'll move on, people, I promise! I won't keep posting about this guy. This will be the last time for me to go on and on about this pitiful stuck state that I can't seem to escape.

I guess Christmas just made me nostalgic for something that I thought I had that never really existed.

Aaah...well. It's way past time to be moving on. Bring on the next one...and Santa Baby, make him a good one this time, okay?