Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

Random thoughts about adjustment May 16, 2009

It’s funny. When you’re looking so hard for something, sometimes you don’t know what to do when you get it.

Things are going well with the Camera Technician. In fact, they’re going really well. So well that it’s freaking us both out a little bit. So well that everything is flying along at a breakneck pace and we’re suspending decision-making and rationality and living in an alternate universe where utopia is possible, unicorns are sighted with common-enough frequency that sightings aren’t worth comment, and where love and romance rule the day.

It’s that heady time at the start of a relationship.

And it’s also that time for the hard light of reality to shine, just a little, onto this utopia.

I had made summer plans before meeting this guy, so that I would be out of the country. Meeting him put a wrench in my plans and made me reconsider my options. Was there some way I could remain in New York? Should I forego my summer plans? Can I work around them somehow to include this guy? What are my options?

I started to look around for other opportunities in New York, and he did too. And we both realised that what was available was pretty slim and rather bleak. New York is an expensive and hard place to make a living, especially if you’ve just arrived. It’s not the kind of place that allows you to simply plug into some setting and hit the ground running. Eventhough there are expectations and pressures to do exactly that. Which is also what adds to the toughness of living in this city.

Meanwhile, back in utopia, CT offered me the chance to stay in his apartment, over the summer, as an option.

At first glance, it seemed like a great idea — here was the problem of space answered, I would sublet my apartment as I’d intended to anyway, and we could spend the summer getting to know each other. What could be more perfect?

But slowly the cold light of reality has started to creep in. I have a lot of catching up to do professionally and need to do some uninterrupted research — which I was planning to do this summer. I also had some plans to include some fun activities. And an expectation of feeling a little more grounded by being in familiar surroundings, amongst friends.

All of this means I’m probably going to go ahead with my summer plans and be out of the country after all. Which doesn’t bode well, necessarily, for a burgeoning relationship. Most relationships are rather fragile at the beginning. Adding stressors and qualifiers from the start tends to break a relationship, or handicap the necessary gentle space.

Once again, the chaos of my life gets in the way of sustaining a meaningful relationship. It would be tragic if it weren’t so banal, and so common. I can see it now, the next blockbuster Hollywood film titled, “The Tragedy of Timing.”

Right.

 

What does the “e” stand for in “eharmony”? April 27, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:00 am
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An idle thought: what does the “e” stand for in “eharmony”?

My poet friend and I were debating this crucial question the other day. I offered the general assumption: “electronic” (like, “electronic mail” for “e-mail”), and we both started laughing.

Seriously? Electronic Harmony??

How funny is that?

So we suggested other possibilities. I said, “Electrifying!” And he rebutted with “Epileptic!”

The conversation dissolved into laughter at that point. I ended with, “maybe elliptical?” — as in, being entirely tangential.

Let’s hope. It’s certainly better than “electronic” as a start for possible romance.

 

Dating Dhervish March 14, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Desire,frustration,Singleness — datehazard @ 10:57 am
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Last night I went out on a first date with the Hedge Fund Trader. I almost called it off, I was feeling so tired from partying a little too hard two nights ago. I’d gone out with the Grad Student and his gay former roommate, and ended up stumbling home after a series of gay bars filled with cute, uninterested men, at about 4 in the morning. Yesterday was pretty much a write-off in terms of work.

The date with HFT went well. But I felt no spark.

I am seriously getting irritated with what exactly it is that results in that heart-fluttering reaction anyway. If someone can bottle this, I will pay them for it, for the chance to spray it on a Suitable Nice Person like HFT so that I can reciprocate his affections.

Because he was seriously digging me. I mean, he didn’t lose his head and say something ridiculous, or promise some kind of everlasting love and affection, but I definitely got the “I am interested in taking things to a more serious level with you, if things keep going the way they’ve gone tonight.”

He’s a nice guy; intelligent; funny; attentive but laid-back; not too bad to look at; and a great kisser. And not at all interesting to me.

Meanwhile, I am really looking forward to seeing The Analyst today: the guy who seems reticent, a little depressed, lonely, and probably more in need of hobbies and finding personal fulfillment than getting a girlfriend. But he’s exactly the kind of person I always go for. When men make me work, I chase them. When they chase me, I’m skeptical.

It would be great to have a rational, orderly relationship, but chaos, heartbreak and comedy are generally the order of the day.

And I’m STILL obsessing about The Charmer. We never met this week because he was too busy, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m leaving it up to him to get his stuff together and get in touch with me. Even as I’d like nothing better but to call him and see how he’s doing. Crumbs from this guy keeps me going for days. It’s humiliating, and embarrassing. And I’m doing it to myself.

 

Loneliness

Sometimes, I hate romantic movies. Or romantic scenes in movies. They bring up that aching, yearning sensation for intimacy, physical and emotional, which is generally present in most romantic relationships, even if the relationship’s going off the rails.

Yesterday afternoon I spoke with The Grad Student, who told me that he’d had a rough night, dreaming about his ex. He dreamt that he asked her why she just left, instead of telling him or talking to him. He’d awakened, angry and disappointed, and called me to talk about it. We went through the usual “why are you in this spot, what do you need to move on” stuff, but something he said made me think about the way that loneliness is so hard to delimit. It’s one of those things that just seeps up in quiet moments, a nagging lack.

Work is a good distraction, but no one can work all day, all the time. Friends are great, too, but the conversation ends, and echoes of that intimacy slowly fade into the emptiness.

 

Mental health day February 22, 2009

Filed under: Singleness — datehazard @ 11:58 am
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Today I’m taking a mental health day. I’m also feeling a little under the weather. My low-grade sinus infection that has been developing over the last few days has nicely bloomed into a medium-grade state.

This is always my body’s cue to get me to slow down and to stop stressing about the small stuff. Like whether The Charmer will want to see me when he gets back. Whether he’s thinking about me at all. Whether anything can happen between us. Honestly, I started to get depressed, thinking about how he just doesn’t seem to be that into me. And yet, he keeps texting me and asking how I am and what I’m up to. Why do I put myself in this position? Why can’t I just delete his contact information and stop checking my phone? I am worn down and sad.

Meanwhile Indie Musician got mad at me for not calling him back. I’d been hesitant because I thought he’d lied to me about his age. When we met, he apologized for his lie–which actually turned out not to be a lie. He thought he’d e-mailed me his fake age, but actually had been upfront with me. We spoke on the phone and I said that the sense of unease and a bad first impression still remained. He had to rush off to his job, but he said he’d call later.

I honestly don’t have that much of a hope for this one, since I tend to hate liars. I had one bad experience in the past with a liar and he turned out to be quite the liar: a coke addict, who slept around with prostitutes and was a cross-dresser as well. And I found out all about that when I returned from a weekend away. My last boyfriend also lied; our relationship opened up with him lying about checking other women out on an online dating site. He hadn’t slept with them or gone out with them, but it was a rude shock, since he’d declared his undying devotion to me. Just before I found out. Needless to say, I’m a little gun-shy when it comes to people who lie, even about small shit.

So I’m taking a mental health day today. I’m still in my PJs, I’m going to eat some nice food, I’m going to call some friends and chat about nothing in particular, and maybe see a movie on my computer.

Corporate Lawyer wants to see me this evening but I am disappointed in him. He’d taken his visiting friend out to a performance yesterday, put on by another friend of his from high school. I felt like the unwashed FWB: never good enough to date publicly, but good enough to have in bed, and out as arm candy.

Ugh. Enough negativity! Time to rock out to some tunes and get on with it.

 

The Dating Tutor February 21, 2009

Sometimes, when you don’t know what you’re doing, you need to talk to someone who’s been there, done that.

Like one of these fictional ladies.

Been There, Done That

And that’s exactly what I did last night. I ended up having a 3.5 hour conversation with my friend The Toronto Journalist. We haven’t spoken in months, and I figured it was time to give him a call. Especially since he’s from New York and lived here for most of his life.

The hours flew by and I dished to him about my most recent adventures, and my current fixation with The Charmer. He, in turn, told me about his current dating woes and the problems he’s having with his long-term girlfriend, The Box. The Box works in the medical field, and she Does Not Like Many Things. She’s also apparently super-private.

When The Toronto Journalist told me he’d never even met The Box’s friends, in the 1.5 years that they’ve been together, I was shocked. The Box liked to tell my friend, by way of explanation, “I’m sorry, but I’m just a private person.” Uh… Ok?

She also does not like taking photographs, and until The Journalist maneuvered her into a compromising situation (friendly to normal photography), with her brother and her family members’ help, he did not have a single photo of her. When he’d try to explain to her that it was important to him to be able to see her face while at work, or just to have a memento of her while she wasn’t around, she would reply, “Well, you can always just see me in person.”

Trouble in paradise. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, he gave me the same advice I’d been giving myself: when it comes to The Charmer, the only way for me to be in this situation is to step back and see what he does next. If he’s really interested, he’ll let me know.

And he gave me an earful of information about men in New York City — the way most of them do indeed play the Seduction Game and string women along, and that most New York women understand this and also have their own game of manipulation. He did say, though, that when these men recognize or realise that they’re dealing with women who aren’t from the city, they usually drop their game and try to be real.

I wonder if it’s really that easy. I mean, if you always play a game, it becomes second nature. You don’t even know you’re still doing it.

Meanwhile I really do have to tell Corporate Lawyer that I am no longer dating just him. I know he’s dating around, and assumes I am too, but that doesn’t mean I have no responsibility to him.

And Non-Profit Guy and I are going to a play today. Purely as friends. In that “WTF??” way. I will keep you posted.

 

What to do when you’re lonely February 15, 2009

Filed under: Adjusting,Desire,frustration,Singleness — datehazard @ 10:48 pm
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One thing I’ve found that works really well is to do some work. Work that is intellectually stimulating but also possibly brings you into contact with other people. This evening, after feeling blue all day, I met up with a group of fellow writers for our regular get-together. We discussed the assigned writing for the week, went through what worked, what needed help, and ate some lovely snacks.

It was exactly the kind of push I needed to stop wallowing and fixating on my upcoming conversation with the Charmer. He is out on a date, and offered to call me at the end of his evening. I suspect that would be some time early next morning, if at all. Why do guys make offers that they have no intention of keeping? He’d also let me know that last night he’d escorted his “colleague” (his quotations) to a work-related get together, and ended up sleeping at her place as a result of “too much wine.” Right. I’m sure the wine played a very small role in the reason why he slept over.

I want to talk to him to tell him that I’m not interested in having a casual relationship with him. But at the same time, I’m really wondering whether that’s a good decision. I remember how attracted I was to him, and it confuses me. When my feelings override my reason, I always become confused. And probably spend too much time thinking about what I should do next, instead of making a prudent decision.

In any case, the point is moot, since he hasn’t called, and I’m starting to feel more inclined to giving Corporate Lawyer a chance. We’ll see. At this point it’s too difficult to make a decision one way or another. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to starting my next writing assignment. I offered to submit my work for the next meeting, in a genre I haven’t practiced in over 10 years. It’s an excuse to practice that form, and I could use the challenge. And the excuse to shift my focus from something I have little control over.

 

Oh and no Sunday outing

Filed under: Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 12:20 am
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I decided not to bother going on the Sunday outing I’d been looking forward to. I really don’t need to add more possible dating partners to my roster right now, and frankly, I’m exhausted. All of this focus on emotions is also seriously starting to get boring.

Between me trying to figure out what my dating partners are doing and trying to be supportive to my newly single friends, I don’t have much space for daydreaming, brainstorming, or planning anything else that generally keeps me happy. So. Back to my shell. And back to the comfort of work.

 

The Breakup (Part 2) February 13, 2009

Filed under: Adjusting,breakups,Drama,Exes,Loneliness,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:23 pm
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Another friend I know is also going through a breakup. Hers is fresh, though; the wounds are barely accounted for, and the shock hasn’t really had time to sink in yet.

So she’s in the early stages of Step 1 I wrote about before.

We spent some time talking on the phone this evening, after I got back from my supposed date with Indie Musician. I thought he’d stood me up, so I was pretty bummed. Turned out it was a miscommunication problem, mainly on my part: I thought I’d given him my cell number, he thought my home number was my cell, he’d changed the venue and called and left messages on my home phone… And we never met up. And both thought that the other had stood the other one up. The conversation didn’t go too well at first, and I got a little mad because he started blaming me. But more on that later.

My friend (who I’ll call the Artist) and I had been planning to hang out tomorrow, doing what singles do, because I felt that she needed some cheering up. She launched rightaway into talking about how she wants to write her ex a letter, expressing her desire for him, the fact that she thinks their breakup is premature, that this decision has to do with fear and that they should spend some time talking things through. She’d mentioned the letter before, and I’d cautioned her about that, saying that I thought she needed to wait some time before sending something like that: to write it out, but not send it rightaway. She said she was sure that she wanted to send it out rightaway, but that she’d sleep on it and think it through. She’s going to be seeing her ex on Sunday when she has to go pick some things up at his place.

She’s going exactly through what I mentioned in Step 1: hoping that she can find a way to make the relationship work, somehow. Negotiation, I think is what this phase is called. And there’s no deterring it. Nothing anyone else can say would make that “I really have to be convinced that I’ve done everything humanly possible” feeling go away. It just has to go away on its own time. I’ll try to see how long it takes for her to have this feeling diminish somewhat. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’ve offered to take her out for a nice day of eating cheap, delicious food, walking around, spending the whole afternoon just talking about whatever she wants to talk about, and getting some time to really just unwind and let her hair down. She’s not sleeping and she’s not eating. It’s the least I can do for a friend who’s just gotten her heart broken.

 

The topography of a breakup February 12, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Drama,Exes — datehazard @ 12:35 am
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It’s always easier to observe the process of a break-up when it’s not happening to you.

My friend, let’s call him Grad Student, was talking to me today about his ex. He’d been talking to me for quite some time about her. In fact, I mentioned him here in an earlier post. He was pretty hung-up about her, since they’d reconciled over Christmas, and things were back on again. But not really. It was one of those things. He was struggling with trying to figure out how to get over her.

Today, we happened to ride the train back home together, and he started telling me that she’d called him out of the blue and that they’d had a conversation. He started talking about what she said, and characterized her conversation as being an entirely selfish one: she spoke about herself, and herself only. He said, “She’s always been like this. She always just talks about herself. I just listened, and she didn’t even ask me a word about me.” He’d recently had a cold, and when he told her that, he said, “She didn’t even say, ‘oh, I’m sorry to hear that, how are you feeling now?'”

I felt uncomfortable about him telling me so much information about her (he told me that she has an eating disorder and some other personal information that I didn’t really need to know), and I stopped him from getting more into the specifics. I said, “I just don’t really want to hear about her; I mean, I feel weird — what if I happen to meet her some day? I’d know all this stuff about her and it would be really weird and awkward.” I mean, I know the chances of me actually meeting her are slim to none, but it still made me feel like too much of a voyeur. Besides, as I said to him, I wanted to know how he was doing and what he was feeling. It’s always easier to blame someone else and not look at one’s own actions or position.

And then it occurred to me, as I pointed out to him: what’s changed in this conversation is the critical distance I was seeing in his behaviour. He didn’t try to get into a fight with her, point out her selfishness, try to correct her behaviour, as he would have done in the past. In fact, he even spoke about her in an almost detached way. There was still heat there, but it was less intense. The fire was more of a simmering heat, instead of a pressurized steam.

So. Step 1 in a breakup: talking endlessly about one’s ex. Blaming them 100% for the ending of the relationship. Arguing endlessly about their faults. Being sensitive to friends asking what your position was in the relationship. Refusing to take responsibility. Secretly waiting and wishing that they’ll come back. Blaming them for not fulfilling one’s secret wishes.

Step 2: Still blaming the ex for the breakup, but starting to see their behaviour with some distance. Refusing to react. Taking the time to think through one’s possible reactions. Still talking about the ex on a daily basis, but perhaps even down to 4 times a day, instead of every 10 minutes.

I’ll update the rest of the steps as I see my friend the Grad Student go through them. And remember to thank him for his insights and for sharing his process with me. I don’t think he realises that sharing the process of going through a breakup is helpful for those who have just recently done it, too, if for no other reason than to remind the other person that all breakups — in general — tend to share similar bends and curves.