Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

Spring and singleness in a new city May 5, 2013

Filed under: Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:03 am
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After a long hiatus during which I got married, then separated, I’m back to being single in a brand new city: Toronto.

I’ve made it a priority to focus on finding someone I could have a family with. My standards are higher, but the drama is the same: the same mix of unsure men; liars; emotionally or physically unavailable dudes; players. The difference in Toronto is that most people are forced to conform to the Canadian mould of “being nice.” It is an enforced space that makes it hard to distinguish the asshole from the genuine nice guy–an experience which I learned from the hard way recently after dating a seeming “nice guy” who turned out to be a lying jerk. Unlike in NYC, I couldn’t see this one coming at all, and am still shocked at how good he was at hiding his true nature.

Meanwhile, I’m starting to fall for Mercurial, who’s leaving for Russia in a week. And doesn’t know when he’ll be back.

 

Back at the start. Again. And again. April 18, 2009

Filed under: Dating,frustration,Loneliness — datehazard @ 1:15 am
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I honestly don’t know how many times I’m supposed to be back here. Once again, someone who seemed promising started to distance himself. Then finally reveal that his ex is coming to visit him soon, and that they “just” broke up. More than 6 months ago. And that he doesn’t think anything might happen.

Doesn’t think so? How about knows for sure? How about that?

I am sick and tired of the games and the drama. When will this end?

Why is it so goddamned difficult to find someone to date?

 

Corporate Lawyer got laid off March 12, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Exes,Not about dating — datehazard @ 11:34 am
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I don’t even know how to start this post. Corporate Lawyer texted me that he just got laid off.

There’s really nothing intelligent or helpful I can say in response to that. I asked if he wanted to meet up tomorrow, if not this evening.

 

Goodbye, Corporate Lawyer March 11, 2009

Filed under: Adjusting,breakups,Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:22 pm
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One of the things I’m starting to learn is how important friendships are to me.

I spent the evening hanging out with The Artist in her studio; we had a great time chatting about nothing in particular while she did some repetitive work on an installation.

I had originally intended to go to yet another networking event, but decided against it after I realised I’d rather spend time with my friend. Just random, plain, unstructured, lovely, friendship building time. I don’t remember the last time I allowed myself that luxury.

I realise there are a lot of things I’ve omitted or let decay while I was in a relationship with my previous boyfriend — so much so I didn’t even realise what I’d let go, and how one-dimensional I’d gotten. You can’t have this kind of time with a friend, when you’re in a committed relationship, really. There’s always something couple-related to do: some schedule to follow, some compromise to fulfill, somewhere to be.

Talking to The Artist made me realise that I needed to face the Corporate Lawyer and call it what it was. So, I met him for a late dinner (he’d just come off work), and told him that I’d prefer if we stayed friends, but that I really liked him and did mean friends. Not just sorta occasionally hanging out. And definitely not fading into the woodwork, or into the distance. Or whatever metaphor you’d like to pick to suit your mood.

He was worried about his job and really thinks he’s going to lose his position in his firm this Friday; or if not this Friday, then some other week. He looked dejected when I told him that generally most layoffs do occur on Fridays, not the middle of the week. He also told me about the argument he’d had with his sister and the annoyance he’d felt at his friend, a fellow corporate lawyer. He was going to say something really mean about her, but stopped himself, just as I intervened and tried to gently direct his attention elsewhere. I could see the stress and worry on his face. But I think that he’d be fine if he lost his job. He has good skills, works for one of the best law firms, and has done interesting work. It is definitely hard, though, and I felt guilty for giving him the “let’s be friends” speech given his current stress level.

But I certainly don’t think that giving him the speech would be better if I’d waited. There is really no good time to say “I’m sorry, I’d like to see other people.”

And now I’m off to bed. It’s been a long day.

 

The Topography of a breakup (III) March 4, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Exes — datehazard @ 9:02 am
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So, my examination of the emotional processes involved in a breakup continues (part 1; and part 2 here).

This time, my case study is myself.

My ex just called this morning to wish me a happy birthday. It was premature; my birthday isn’t until later this week. But we managed to have a conversation anyway, and he told me he’d started seeing someone and things were getting a little serious. Honestly, I wasn’t that surprised. His patterns are familiar to me, and I thought he’d rush into someone’s open arms after the last conversation we had, when he once again declared his undying love and said he’d like to give us another shot. At that time, I’d replied that the only way that was going to happen was if he embarked on some major work on himself. I wanted him to demonstrate to me that he would do what it takes to really show me how he could take the initiative on a regular basis. When we were together, I’d put all of the work into the relationship, from making all of the meals to arranging all of our outings, and despite my repeated complaints, then surly silence, then depression, he never lifted a finger. Instead, he’d started to ignore me, and then started to belittle me. Even while he actually admitted to me that he agreed with my assessment of the relationship. And so eventually I decided I’d had enough. Between struggling to focus on my work and plan the next steps in my career, I had very little time, energy or patience to devote to acting like this guy’s mom.

And so we come to stage 3 and 4 in the breakup. Stage 3 is where you still miss your ex, but you start to think a little more clearly about what happened. The good times are still there in your head; the bad times don’t seem so bad. You still want to get back together with them, and decide to call.

Oh no!

You’re reminded all over again of what the bad times were, and realise, “right… this is why we broke up.” It’s a good thing, but it makes you sad. Nevertheless, the thought of them dating someone else is really horrible, even as you do want them to be happy. You hope that you find someone else before them, and maybe even go on some dating sprees, like a crazed sniper, trying to make a connection with as many people as possible. A few more bouts of sadness and/or depression ensue when your targets don’t really pan out. You blame your ex and revert a little bit to stage 1 or 2.

Stage 4 is what happens when you don’t even notice. It’s when you realise that you genuinely want the other person to be happy. When it doesn’t matter whether you’re seeing someone else, or what’s happening in your life. When your ex calls, and you’re actually encouraging them, genuinely, to pursue their own happiness. When you remind them that looking into the past is just so much of an invitation to self-pity. When you tell them that horrible cliché that life is for the living. And actually mean it.

And that’s what happened this morning.

I think Stage 5 is when you actually see them again, and realise, after some rapid and pretty superficial back-and-forth between Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, that you actually do mean stage 4. And that you might even want to enjoy their company again, from time to time.

As the friend they always were.

 

Studies in dating February 28, 2009

Last night I was out with The Artist, The Grad Student and another friend, having a few drinks in Brooklyn. We were enjoying some cheap drink specials and having some great conversation. And then I thought I’d have a little fun.

I noticed a good-looking man at the bar, dressed in a grey knit vest, white shirt and a tie. He was chatting up a woman who had short, black, curly hair. She didn’t seem that interested in him, but she wasn’t brushing him off. The flirting vibes the man was putting out were unmistakable. He leaned in to talk to her, moving in so close that the woman would be able to feel his breath on her ear. His body posture was possessive: his arms practically encircled her at some points while he gesticulated in his conversation. He did everything to be physically close to her. But he didn’t touch her.

He noticed me looking at him. I didn’t look away. I was a little tipsy at this point and was wondering how he might react if someone else were to flirt with him. So I smiled a little, and kept looking at him.

Mid-conversation, he stumbled, noticed me looking at him, looked away, kept talking, and then darted glances at me to see whether I was still looking.

Game on!

Eventually he excused himself and walked towards the door, right by my table. I tracked his progress, watching his gait, observing his choice of shoes, his long fingers and veined hands, the careful manicure. He studiously looked straight ahead, until he reached the door; at which point he turned, ever so briefly, to look at me. It was too brief of a moment to reciprocate my acknowledgement, but I smiled to myself at the nervousness he displayed. Clearly he was enjoying the attention.

Then he was outside, and I could see him through the bar’s picture window. He struck up a conversation with another man outside, and smoked a cigarette. He talked enthusiastically, his angular face animated, his eyes darting about and his hands gesturing, dancing in the cool night air. He turned to look at the window, and I looked away. I wasn’t sure if he could see me, but this time I didn’t want him to notice me.

He eventually left with the woman he’d been talking to; as they left, he placed an arm lightly at her back. She was completely oblivious to what had been happening; her back had been towards me the entire evening, and she seemed preoccupied with some other matter. At no point did she seem that interested in the man. She was relaxed, calm, almost lazy in her movements. Her clothing choice was of a casual Bohemian chic which belied its probably overpriced cost. One can always tell a woman’s clothing budget by the choice of her bag. She may dress like a bum, but if she sports an expensive bag, it’s most likely that her seemingly careless appearance is the result of the opposite kind of commitment. It probably took hours for her to decide on just the right amount of visual insouciance.

He didn’t look at me as he left, but he didn’t have to. As he walked closer to my table at the door, his gait stiffened remarkably, his look became unwavering in his linear path. His jaw set. And then he turned his head, ever so slightly, his eyes darting in my direction, as he held the door open for his new date. I smiled to myself after he left. He was awfully cute.

My party left shortly after. The Grad Student and the Artist and my other friend headed in one direction, I, in another. The Grad Student and the Artist live on separate subway lines, but tonight they were going the same way, determined to spend the night together.

I walked cheerily on my own, thinking of finding a bar and striking up some conversation with a handsome stranger, unencumbered by my friends. As is usually the case for me, my initial bravery wavered, then evaporated altogether as I passed a dive bar, a rowdy college crowd, and then the perfect dark, jazzy bar. By this point, the streets were starting to fill with people coming up from Manhattan, or Queens, or New Jersey. Girls dressed in long, tight t-shirts and lycra leggings talked loudly, “OMG” peppering their excited speech. Young boys stood on street corners, baggy pants around their thighs, gesturing jaggedly and smiling broadly, teasing each other, posturing. Checking out the girls in t-shirts going by. The night was taking on a carnivalesque atmosphere from the number of people emerging seemingly straight from the earth. Loud, happy, anxious people poured out of subterranean subway exits.

I was one of the few to enter, instead of exit, the subway. The platform was practically empty save for a few subdued people who looked like they were headed to house parties, or home after a day’s work.

And as I stood there on the platform, observing the dirt and grime caked into the mosaic “B” of the subway stop, the flourescent light seemed suddenly harsh, and the air had a sudden overwhelming density. My nostrils were assailed by the smells of a combination of human sweat, the damp night air, ozone, and that unmistakeable New York subway perfume of machine and human grease, vomit, dust, and stale bodily fluids.

I was lonely. And acutely aware of my singleness. The light and the smells around me seemed to accuse, outlining my solitary state, unrelenting. I hugged my coat around me tight, feeling its short wool fibres with my fingertips. My red cashmere scarf caressed my neck and cheek. I shifted my weight anxiously from left to right. Now I was standing, now pacing. Now leaning on a studded vertical iron pillar, now standing straight.

The train finally arrived, much to my relief. I managed to find a seat and blended in, anonymous with the crowd.

I started to doze off, comforted by the car’s rocking motion, its steady onward progress.

On one of the occasions when I blinked awake, I noticed a young woman sitting across the way with her profile to me. She was obviously talking to her boyfriend, who was blocked from my view by a standing passenger. Her face twisted in pain, a mix of anger, hurt and disbelief flitting across her face. She looked at her boyfriend repeatedly, her body lurching towards his, then withdrawing in pain, only to reach to him again. She would alternate between cajoling and pleading with him as she leaned toward him, to pulling back abruptly, sulkily. And then she would dip briefly into depression, her face contorting in pain with the effort of trying not to cry.

I was wide awake now, watching her.

Eventually a seat opened up next to her, and she patted it immediately, inviting her soon-to-be-ex to sit next to her.

I saw a young man with a spotless white baseball cap and baby blue shoelaces get up slowly, reluctantly strut towards her, and sit down.

His hands did the talking for him.

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“This is just the way it is.”

“I can’t do anything about this.”

A shoulder shrug. He looked toward her, but missed her face entirely, addressing the space above her head. He turned away rapidly.

His arm was placed awkwardly over her shoulder. Unlike the previous man’s possessive stance, his was one of obligation. I don’t want to touch you, but it would make it worse for me to act on that impulse. So I will try to comfort you as best as I can.

She leaned in heavily toward him, her whole weight bearing down on the side of her boyfriend. She placed her head on his shoulder, her long curls spilling over into his lap. Her face contorted, emotions now travelling more rapidly across the stormy landscape. Anger was quickly replaced by a wheedling, puppy dog face. She was trying to guilt him into staying. Her hands gripped and strangled a black plastic bag in her lap. I worried that she would throw up into it. She looked nauseous.

He became alarmed. His dangling arm now sported nervously caressing fingers. He stroked her cheek, touching with a minimum of pressure, hurried in his motions. I saw the anxiety in his face as he pushed her head onto his shoulder. She leaned over awkwardly, pressing her full weight into him. She seemed determined to bury herself into him.

As he continued to touch her nervously with the tips of his fingers, spider-like, she doggedly set herself to finding comfort in his presence. Her face became more serene; her weight, more natural.

But even she knew this was false comfort.

And she would break out of her daydream with renewed hurt. Her grip on her black plastic bag grew ever more violent.

And then the doors of the car opened, and they left. He, walking ahead and taking her hand; she, trailing behind, sulking.

Sleep overcame me after they left, and I awakened with a start at the stop before mine. Then I stumbled home, and tumbled into bed.

 

Walking away from The Charmer February 23, 2009

So, I wrote an e-mail to The Charmer this morning, saying that I was walking away.

It came out of my realisation last night that we are just looking for two different things. He wants someone who can be as morally free as him, and who can let him indulge in whatever sexual pecadilloes he chooses, and it was making me sad. I cried as I fell asleep last night, in the realisation that I couldn’t be with this man in the way I’d like. It was a mixture of exhaustion, self-pity, self-loathing and acceptance.

I told him that, strange as it may sound, he was one of the few people in my life I’ve ever met who I was immediately and strongly attracted to; the kind of person who I just cannot get enough of. It’s been many years since I’ve felt this way; in fact, other than when I was a teenager, I don’t remember the last time I felt like this.

If nothing else, that sense that my heart has awakened, and reminded me of how strongly it can feel, is an amazing thing. I’ve spent the last year in a haze, unfocussed and numb. I never thought I could feel this strongly again.

And now it’s over.

And life goes on.