Fight for me: A lesson from my first love.

It’s been almost a month since my breakup, and I’ve been experiencing a fairly mixed bag of emotions. The first 2 weeks I was doing pretty well. I kept myself busy with my Everest Base Camp prep, and excitedly bought my hiking boots, my hiking pack and researched how to get in shape (side note, I have a long way to go). I threw myself into exercising and went for hikes, picked up a couple of books to read, and caught up on my Netflix. It was actually quite lovely.

But I experienced a distinct turning point when I attended a wedding 2 weeks after the breakup. A combination of alcohol and the general wedding setting brought back lots of memories, and I couldn’t help but think about how much me and the ex would have enjoyed the event. How much we would have marvelled at the gorgeous decor, the beautiful outdoor setting, how he would have enjoyed the old fashioneds they were offering, and how we’d have torn up the dance floor with his awkward, dorky white boy dancing.

During dinner at the wedding, the conversation somehow turned to the ups and downs that various couples had endured, including the bride and groom. We all chatted about the various relationship problems that my friends had gone through, and how with a little bit (or in some cases, a lot) of work, they had gotten their relationships back on track.

Hearing all this really triggered something within me. It made me sad and angry to know that other couples (who quite frankly, were incredibly incompatible with each other) managed to persevere. I heard of terrible fighting matches, couples treating each other horribly, nasty things said to one other in the heat of the moment. And yet, these couples stayed together. Whereas me and him couldn’t handle tiny little bumps in the road caused by a weakening spark. It angered me to know that despite all the problems that abounded in other relationships, and the comparatively minor nature of our issues, we were somehow the only couple who split up.

It then dawned on me that the difference between us and those couples wasn’t the severity of the problems at all. What leads to a breakup often isn’t how incompatible you are or how many fights you have.

Rather, the survival of a relationship truly comes down to how much you want to fight for each other. 

And with that, something clicked. I’ve alluded to my general inexperience with relationships before, and I truly am learning as I go. A key takeaway lesson I have now gained from my first love is that I need to be with someone who will fight for me. The fun moments and laughs are wonderful, and of course the baseline criteria is to be with someone you click with.

But I’ve learned that you also need something more than that. You need someone who will fight for you, who won’t give up so easily until every possible avenue is exhausted. Whether that means trying a new activity together, seeing each other more/less often, taking a trip, or going to counselling, they have to be willing to put in a fight before walking away.

Without that fight, the rest of the relationship becomes meaningless – as I’ve learned the hard way.

Recently I had a friend approach me with a relationship issue with her boyfriend. Without getting into details, she called him out on some bullshit behaviour he exhibited, and during that conversation, he couldn’t stop crying. He was so overcome with emotion and regret that he had to go throw up at one point. He emphatically said that he would work on things, and that he refused to let her go over this. In fact, I think he said something along the lines of “a breakup isn’t an option right now” (in another context that may sound creepy, but it was sweet given what was happening).

She came to me because she wasn’t sure if she should give it another shot or not. While I have some personal reservations about this guy, I admire the commitment he’s made to making it work with my friend. And that’s exactly what I told her; I stressed that unfortunately, it’s not easy to find a guy who will fight for you and try to salvage things when the going gets tough. The fact that he’s so in love with her and is saying he’ll make a serious effort is a big deal, and before ending things, she needs to be 100% sure that it’s the right move (However, this was all said with the caveat that if there were OTHER issues she had, that’d be a different story. But there don’t seem to be).

Of course, some problems don’t warrant a second chance, no matter how much the other person wants to fight to keep things going — the obvious examples being cheating, abuse, drug use. But failing that, as we get older (…yay), relationships get tough and problems more complex. If we are to walk away everytime the spark shifts and things aren’t as rosy anymore, it’s likely we’ll be doomed to an eternity of single-dom.

So with this realization, I’ve now added to my ever-growing list of qualities I need in my life partner — the willingness to fight for me. While that can certainly be hard to assess based on just a first date, I can try to be mindful of this and look out for signs to indicate whether a guy has more of a fight or flight instinct.

My emotions are still going up and down. The dust is now settling, and the excitement of base camp and working out are starting to fade. As I go about my life, little things remind me of him.

I was on my terrace the other day and was reminded of our barbecues last summer, and all the amazing meals he’d whip up. I went to a pub yesterday, the same pub that we used to always go to on Friday nights because of their cheap sangria pitchers and board games. We used to play Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit and try to out-knowledge each other. The other day when I got an itch on my nose, I reflexively wiggled it and remembered this horribly cheesy thing we did where we’d wiggle our noses at each other (the story behind this is so gross and lovey-dovey that I can’t even bring myself to type it out).  And of course, every other song on my ipod is tied to something we did together last year, whether it was an at-home dance party or our road trip (mental note: delete every 2016 song).

I had my first post-breakup hookup the other night with a former fling. While it was fun, I couldn’t help but compare the 2 guys, and think that the ex would do certain things better.

I’m doing my best to truly absorb my thoughts and emotions so that I can somehow release them and move on, rather than repress everything. I’m sure it will be a process but I’m doing my best. When I feel myself longing for him, I remind myself that he didn’t have a crucial quality I need in a healthy relationship.

I need someone who will fight for me.

Just keep swimming.

Just keep swimming.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few days now. I’ve put it off partly because of work — I’m at sessions all week so I need to be “on” and “focusing” the whole day; a stark contrast to when I’m normally at work and can write at my leisure during breaks.

But I’ve also procrastinated because I just didn’t know where to start. I didn’t feel like dealing with the smug I Told You So’s of people who will claim they saw this coming. And most importantly, I didn’t want to admit that the leap of faith I took didn’t pay off.  But here we go anyway.

I had a wonderful April, I truly did; this is evidenced by my Life Update post (which I admit, is quite embarrassing to look back on). I didn’t write that post in an effort to convince myself and you guys that I was happy — I honestly was happy and at peace. On the relationship front, things were going really well again and I thought me and my bf were finally getting back on track.

Then May hit.

I don’t know what happened or why, but I suddenly started noticing a shift with him. It was so subtle, so under the radar, and would have been imperceptible to anyone but me. There was the slightest shift in tone in the way my boyfriend would text me; slightly fewer emojis used; a small change in the way we’d interact and things on the whole just seemed more tepid. It would go back and forth; we’d have a day where everything was fine again and I convinced myself I imagined it, followed by another “off” day where things felt weird; and the next day it was totally normal again. I couldn’t make sense of it and hoped against all hope I was just being paranoid. I told myself I’d monitor the situation for a few weeks to see if the feeling passed.

Every day for those two weeks, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach and wondering how our interactions would be. He’d just text as often, and we’d see each other just as frequently, so on the surface all seemed well. But I knew. My handy-dandy mood tracker was colored green everyday — indicating Anxious (a 180 from my mostly-blue April, indicating Happy).

Sure enough, last week he asked if we could chat. And from that flowed a confession from him that he just wasn’t sure about us anymore, and that he kept going back and forth on whether we had a future. He admitted that some days he thought we were fine, and some days he’d be unsure again — completely confirming the up and down feelings I had sensed from him in the previous weeks. He also said that he felt the spark wasn’t there the way it was last year.

The big thing to note here is that he didn’t know why he was feeling this way, and I completely believe him. I can read him like a book and I know when he’s lying; he genuinely didn’t know why he felt unsure about us or why things felt off. He couldn’t give a single thing about me that irked him, or anything specific in our relationship that he had issues with.

The other notable thing is that nothing had actually changed with our relationship. I’m not naive enough to think that feelings can never go away (hello, just look at the divorce rate), but it’s usually because of something specific. Maybe the couple moved in together and found out they weren’t compatible; someone got a new job that caused stress or required longer hours; a big life event that took a toll on the relationship — SOMETHING. But with us, legitimately nothing external had changed. We had been together for a year and 4 months, and suddenly he just wasn’t sure anymore. And as he rightly noted, the very fact that he wasn’t sure served as the sign that we had no future together. After 18 months, if you still don’t know, then you’re not with the right person. We both knew it, and with that, we ended the relationship.

I know that 2017 has been up and down on the relationship front, and way too many posts these past 5 months have been about my relationship troubles. In light of that, I also know that there are many who will wonder if I’ll just get back together with him again. But I can assure you that is not the case. Things now feel completely different, and I know the love is gone. We’ve gone too far down a dysfunctional, back-and-forth path that we won’t recover from. On a personal level, I have no interest in a rekindling, because I know that he’s not the guy for me. I deserve someone who won’t have a second’s hesitation in being with me. I know my value and worth, and I will not take back a guy who didn’t see it when he had the chance. So no, there is no possibility of us ever getting back together (though I fully predict he will reach out in coming months. And I very much look forward to ignoring him).

But…..

That doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt. And that doesn’t take away the mixed bag of emotions I’m feeling right now. As I attempt to move on from all this crappiness, I’ll try to organize my thoughts in a somewhat coherent way.

I’m hurt. I’m hurt that he didn’t appreciate me or fight for me. I put in so much time, effort, energy and heart into this relationship, and I would have fought for him if things had gotten rocky. It kills me that despite the solid foundation we had, a switch just went off in his brain and he was able to check out of our relationship so easily. And in a matter of a few weeks no less.

One thing you have to understand is that our first year together was incredible. I hate myself for saying this, but it felt like magic. We had a full YEAR — count em, 12 months!– of dating bliss. We had no issues, no problems, no arguments or squabbles. And it certainly wasn’t because we were tiptoeing around issues or holding back to avoid fights. We were 100% ourselves and comfortable with each other — but our first year was completely smooth sailing for whatever reason. I may not have a ton of relationship experience, but even I know how rare that is. I thought that we built a solid enough foundation in our first year that we could handle any conflicts that came our way, and deal with the ups and downs that every relationship faces. So the fact that in Year 2, he felt the spark was shifting a bit and wasn’t sure anymore? That hurts. The fact that at the first sign of trouble and non-magic, he wanted to run? That fucking hurts. 

I’m angry. I know that in relationships, there’s never any guarantees. But things seemed to truck along so perfectly, and so smoothly. He and I both did everything right, and in the end, I have still wound up single. He asked me to be his girlfriend after a month and said I love you 4 months later; everything was moving at a lovely, normal pace and there was never any hesitation for so many milestones. During our relationship, we saw each other all the time; went on so many lovely trips; we met and got along super well with each other’s families and friends. We had bbq’s, picnics, went on countless hikes, cuddled up with hot chocolate while binge-watching our favourite shows. He helped me train for my half-marathon, cooked so many amazing meals for me, made me laugh in a way that no one had ever done before and made even the most mundane activities fun and exciting. He’d be there for me when I was stressed, upset or anxious and had this positive attitude that always made me feel safe, happy and at peace. If there was a formula for a successful, longlasting relationship, I thought we had it.

And out of nowhere, he “wasn’t sure”.

There is no rhyme or reason to his change of heart, and the fact that he himself can’t even explain it makes it that much worse. As much as I don’t want to become hardened, I can’t help but just feel angry that after everything we experienced, none of it mattered.

I’m annoyed with myself. Anyone who follows this blog and/or my twitter knows that we had a few issues this year. Webroke up only for him to request that we get back together after 5 days, because he was so torn up about everything. I gave him a second chance, and hoped that that experience would make us stronger. I also hoped that the experience of us being apart would motivate him to never let me go again, and to work even harder to keep things together. I KNOW there were/are many who thought I was ridiculous for getting back together, judged me for it, and assumed that we’d break up again.

But I wanted to take that chance and take a leap of faith. We had some heavy talks and genuinely were working through our issues to make major progress. For a while, things were good again.

But not even 2 months later, he gets these weird doubts all over again, effectively killing the relationship. With hindsight being 20/20, I maybe should have trusted that this was not a guy who is willing to fight for a relationship, and would run when there’s conflict. But I didn’t want to be that hardened, unforgiving girl, and I put my pride aside to give myself a shot at happiness. Except it didn’t pay off, and I can’t help but feel annoyed with myself.

Above all, I’m scared. This is the biggie. To reiterate, I’m not upset about not being with him anymore; he has shown his true colors, and I don’t want to date someone so wishy-washy. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m scared about what my future holds. I know this is the cliche thing every newly-single girl says, but I legitimately worry I’ll never find someone to spend my life with. This was my first serious relationship at the ripe old age of 28 (29 now). I never flitted from boyfriend to boyfriend growing up, and I was always the perpetually single friend. Apart from a trainwreck 4-month experience with a cheating ex (which frankly, wasn’t a real relationship at all), this has been my only real relationship. I never met anyone I liked (or who liked me back) during my time in school, and I online dated for 2 solid years before finally meeting my ex-bf (feels so strange to call him that now). That means 28 long years of never being in a relationship and feeling like a freakish outsider who no man wanted. And this was during a time I was allegedly in my “prime”! (And yes, I know your 30s are a magical time, blah blah blah — but you know what I mean).

The thought of having to start over again from scratch fucking terrifies me. If history is anything to learn from, it will be a looong time before I ever meet another guy, if it indeed happens at all.

On top of that, I am now scared that if I do meet someone, this same thing could happen again. Everything could be wonderful and then bam — he changes his mind overnight.

So at the heart of it all, I’m scared to date again, knowing that a once-solid, 18-month relationship could so easily unravel with no reason given.

I’m trying my best to stay positive and to not despair. I know that relationships tend to only happen when one is in a happy, stable place, and I know I need to exude confidence to attract a quality man. I also know that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself and worry about dating just yet — I need time to heal. But overthinking is kind of what I do best, so it’s hard to kick that habit.

I booked a trip to Everest Base Camp for October, so that will be something for me to focus on and work towards. And I have a few fun events coming up this summer, including a camping trip this weekend. I’ve experienced a horrendous breakup before, with the cheating Ex, and my post-breakup recovery actually went quite well (will need to reread that post of mine as a reminder!). Above all, I have an incredible support network, both online and offline. I know I can get through this, as long as I don’t go too far down the rabbit hole of negativity.

It’s going to be hard, and I know I will have days where I won’t be able to stop the tears. But as a wise fish once said, when life gets you down you have to just keep swimming.

dory.jpg

Advice or Sabotage?

A few years ago, I had a friend. We’ll call her Jamie. We met through work, and found we hit it off; we were also both single at the time, and our respective circle of female friends were coupled up. So naturally, we made a perfect pair for weekend shenanigans and could count on each other to be free for Saturday night bar-hopping.

Overtime we grew closer and closer; we chatted every single day, went out every single weekend and kept each other in the loop about our love lives, or lack thereof. I found myself sharing more of my online dating horror stories with her, rather than my friends who I had known for much longer. It just seemed like more of a natural fit to share these tales with Jamie; there was also a part of me that felt that my coupled-up friends either wouldn’t care, or would find my stories juvenile.

One night, we went out to a bar because she wanted to meet up with this guy she was chatting to on Tinder. He told her to come out and bring a friend – I happily obliged to facilitate this meet-up for her. However, that night took a bit of an interesting turn. She chatted with her guy, they went home together and she never heard from him again; something she was quite upset about for a while.

I wasn’t really into the ‘friend’ that I suppose was brought along for me, so I went and scoped out the bar on my own while Jamie and her man were talking. I went to the bar to order a drink, and this fairly cute guy beside me started chatting me up, commenting that we had ordered the same (relatively obscure) beer.

We got to talking and he ended up being a really cool, funny guy – we’ll call him John. After a few hours of chatting, I invited him back to my place; we had…shall we say, a swell time– but what makes this interesting is our story didn’t end there. He actually texted me the next day, and this all turned into a fairly wonderful friends-with-benefits situation for the next 4 months. We’d text here and there throughout each week (not very much, mind you, but it was enough for what we were – aka, not dating), and we’d meet up once a week for nice hookup sessions. “Nice” might be a strange word to use, but that’s what it was – we’d actually watch a movie or show together, have a drink and legitimately talk for a few hours before getting down to business. In the mornings, we’d often have a coffee and sit on the balcony for a bit before parting ways. It was a genuinely nice, sweet experience.

Now to be clear, we weren’t dating and there was a mutual understanding that this wouldn’t turn into a relationship. He made no promises of a commitment to me and as great as he was, he wasn’t the type of guy I wanted for a long term relationship with anyway, due to various factors. So we were both very comfortable and happy with things, and it was nice to get that physical contact and the feeling of a pseudo-relationship.

But let’s go back to Jamie. As I mentioned, she had been ghosted by her tinder guy, and she made no efforts to hide that she was pissed off that I had met someone on the night she was “supposed to” meet someone. If you’re finding her response juvenile and irrational – that’s because it was.

I noticed a major shift with her responses when I’d ask her for advice about anything guy-related. While before she used to give what I thought was good, thoughtful and fair advice, now just seemed sabotaging. It was as though her advice always had the end goal of me winding up single. And more significantly, her advice would be the polar opposite from what my more rational, balanced friends would say. Example:

  • Me: A guy from tinder hasn’t texted me back in a few hours, what does this mean?
  • Jamie: oh he’s probably not interested, you should just call him out on it (alternatively: block and delete him – Jamie’s response would vary)
  • More Rational, Balanced Friends: you’re being crazy. It’s the middle of the day at work, he’s likely busy—don’t read into it. (And almost invariably, they were right, and said guy would text me shortly after)

It all came to a head one night when John and I thought it’d be fun to set up Jamie with John’s roommate (though to be frank, this was something Jamie had brought up time and time again lol). We arranged to meet up on a certain night and it all seemed fine; throughout all this, me and John were still on good terms and continuing whatever it was with us. But our scheduled day, he texted me:

“Hey, so I have a big soccer game early tomorrow morning in X city, so I need to be up and out by 6am. Are you okay if we don’t do a sleepover tonight after the hangout?”

Now you should know that I myself have crazy, irrational, insecure tendencies (though I’ve gotten it more under control in recent years), and this message threw me off for no good reason. I was worried that he was losing interest in me, or that something was off or who knows what I was thinking. It just felt like a weird insult. I expressed this to Jamie:

  • Jamie: WOW that is so rude of him!! I can’t believe he’s just kicking you out, so weird! I’d be so offended if I were you!
  • Me: but when you think about it… if he didn’t want to hang out with me, why agree to this night at all? He could have just bailed on tonight to avoid the whole thing, rather than wasting his Saturday night. [side note to readers: this is the rational response that I should have listened to more closely]
  • Jamie: well, I think it’s because his roommate really wants to meet me, so John is probably just agreeing to help him out, so he’s probably, like, taking one for the team.

UMMMMMM. I was so dumbfounded by her response that I just didn’t know what to say and didn’t call her out for being a gigantic, self-absorbed, sabotaging bitch. God I wish I had.

I checked in with my Rational, Balanced Friends – this group is comprised of about 6 friends in different circles. But they all had the same responses:

  • Jamie is a bitch for saying that
  • There is no issue with John wanting to get a good night’s sleep before a game
  • If anything, it’s a testament to the fact that he enjoys hanging out with you that he’s still meeting up with you despite his early morning
  • It is FAR more likely that John wants to hang out with you as opposed to “taking one for the team” for his roommate who has never even met Jamie – related, it’s also highly unlikely that the roommate cares that much about meeting Jamie, a girl he knows nothing about.
  • Jamie is trying to make you feel bad because she’s still bitter that something happened with John on “her night”.

Looking back, it is so stupidly obvious that my Rational, Balanced Friends were right on all counts. Jamie didn’t have my best interests in mind at all, nor did she give advice from an objective, reasonable perspective. Everything she said had 1 objective: to get me to end things with John, or any other guy I was talking to at the time. She wanted me to push guys away so that she wouldn’t be the only single one and that I wouldn’t be in a relationship before she was.

It was an extremely valuable learning lesson for me, because I like to freely ask people I consider my friends for advice on everything and anything (as the Twitfam has probably noticed!). I perhaps do it a bit too willy-nilly truth, but I do think it’s important to get other perspectives. However, my experience with Jamie taught me that you can’t just ask anyone for their input – in my view, two key criteria have to be met when it comes to asking for dating advice:

  1. The person has to truly be thinking about what’s best for you, regardless of their personal circumstances.

This is obviously where Jamie failed. She couldn’t put her own unhappiness aside in giving advice, and wanted to make sure I didn’t progress more than she did in dating. Don’t ask for advice from people who only want to hold you down with them; they have to want to see you flourish, even if their own time hasn’t come yet.

Incidentally, I also have another friend in her 40s who is single, never married, no kids. I have noticed a distinct pattern with her advice too – she is significantly harsher about guys and much quicker to jump to “break it off” than my happier, more well-adjusted friends.

This of course doesn’t mean that all single people are underhanded in their advice. But you have to seek out advice from people who are happy and secure with themselves and their own lives; those that aren’t will only want to see you suffer along with them.

2. The person has to have the same kind of healthy relationship that you want for yourself.

It’s a huge mistake to think that the only qualified people to give dating advice are those in a relationship. Quite frankly, some of the wisest advice I’ve gotten has been from single people, because they refuse to put up with bs, and are also more adept at spotting the “good eggs”, having been in the dating game themselves.

But if you are asking for dating advice from someone in a relationship, make sure they value the same things as you and are in healthy, stable relationships. I have a friend who consistently dates awful men, and they inevitably treat her like crap and break her heart.

Unlike the Depressed Singles who always tell you to just break up with a guy, these Unhealthy Relationship-ers will always tell you to stick around. To tough it out, to “work on it”, because that’s what they themselves do. They don’t know how to stand up for themselves in a relationship, they are used to letting their significant others get away with everything, and quite frankly, they don’t know what it means to be in a solid relationship.

Having made this connection, I place much more value on advice coming from my friends who are in healthy relationships, not just A relationship.

When stumbling across a news article, we’re often told to “consider the source”; this reflects an understanding that the source of information can impact its validity. Similarly in dating, the source of the advice should be examined closely. Otherwise, you may very well find yourself in the same situation as the advice-giver, whether you want to or not.

***

Update: it has been pointed out to me that I never wrapped up what happened on that night with Jamie and John– I suck at storytelling! For those wondering, I stupidly let Jamie get into my head too much and told John that maybe we should just reschedule for another time. Unfortunately I didn’t check in with my Rational, Balanced Friends until the next day to get their thoughts, and they were all in agreement that I should have just gone that night and not made a big deal about it – John wasn’t saying or doing any ridiculous. The lesson from that night was to be careful whose advice I followed; in this case it wasn’t a big deal, but if it was with a guy I was genuinely interested in, I could have very well ruined something great if I listened to Jamie.

Me and John continued to hook up casually for the next couple of weeks, but then it slowly fizzled out, as I figured it would. He messaged me again after about a year but by then, I was over it and looking to be in a more serious relationship. But for many reasons, the whole experience was invaluable and eye-opening.

As for Jamie – I learned a lot about her true nature through this. I learned that a real friend will support you not just in bad times, but also the good; they will be happy and supportive of you when things are headed in a positive direction for you, regardless of their own personal situation. Jamie was not able to do that. If she couldn’t even be excited about a simple hook-up buddy (because let’s be real, that’s all John was), then how could I expect her to support me if I ever actually got a boyfriend, engaged, married etc? I didn’t want that negativity in my life. So I gradually let her into my life less and less; I didn’t open up to her as much or ask for her advice anymore. Overtime, our communication slowed down and then just dropped altogether. It’s been a long time since we last spoke, and I am all the better for it. Through cutting out the dead weight of our friendship, I’ve been able to move forward, surround myself with positive people and become an overall more secure and happy person.

Bad Dates, Volume 1

Let’s be honest – is there anyone who doesn’t start the dating process with hope and optimism? Is there really anyone who doesn’t get carried away with visions of meeting the charming Mr. Right within a day of signing up for a website? I remember thinking that surely, within a week of dating (or two if I’m REALLY unlucky), I will show up to a classy lounge for a date, a tall drink of water will stand up to greet me, and we will laugh the night away. Things will be effortless and light, there will be a firestorm of a connection; dates 2, 3 and 4 will ensue, followed by a prompt “I’d like for us to be exclusive” conversation initiated by him.

I was …..shall we say, a tad off.

After some time to mourn the loss of my dignity, I can finally laugh at some of the pitfalls and stories I experienced in my dating days. Dating is certainly not easy (not always fun either), but at the very least, some entertaining stories can be borne.

For your reading pleasure, here is volume 1 of my worst dates. Note: even though I hate using caps in my points (it’s what lazy writers do in my opinion)… I simply couldn’t help it as I relived some of these encounters. Ergo, MANY CAPS ARE AHEAD.

  1. The Ignorer

I met this guy at a bar – which really just proves that the weirdos certainly aren’t limited to the online world. I was out with some friends, and he was beside me while I was ordering a drink. He seemed cute enough, and we started chatting. He seemed funny and entertaining, and asked me for my number – I remember thinking, boy did I nab myself a winner! He said he’d text me to set up a date, and promised that the date would be really fun. (spoiler alert: HE BROKE HIS PROMISE).

After a few days of texting, he asked me to meet him at an outdoor square in our city. He didn’t say where the date would be, and I didn’t ask, assuming he had it under control (and in my naivete, wanted to be surprised).

5, 10, 15 minutes pass… I am not impressed. Finally, he shows up; I was determined to come off as chill, so I didn’t say much about his lateness. Then he proceeds to ask me ‘Do you know when 123 Albert Street is?” Huh? Uh…no. I am not a taxi driver with knowledge of every random address in the city. He says “That’s where we’re going but I’m not quite sure how to get there, and my phone’s not working. Can you look it up on yours?”

Oh boy, this is not a good start. Who shows up to a date not going how to get to the destination?? I was fuming at his lack of planning and organization. Also, this was before smartphones had really taken off, so neither him nor I had a phone that could look up directions. He asked a random woman if she could look it up on her phone (mortifying), and then we were finally on our way. Needless to say, I was not impressed but tried to make the best of things. But I could tell we were just not clicking – he was very all over the place, too hyper and too random for my liking; not unlike the Jazz Guy that Carrie dated on Sex and the City.

As we kept walking, it occurred to me to ask where exactly we were going. Response: “Oh, my buddy recently moved into a new place so I’m gonna swing by to check it out”.

EXCUSE ME?! This is the “fun date” that was promised me?? Checking out your friend’s sweet new crib? At this point, I should have just left but for some reason, I soldiered on (and yes, I fully realize that from a safety perspective, I should not have gone to the apartment with 2 guys I didn’t know). We get to the friend’s place, and I kid you not, they proceeded to spend the next 2 hours only talking to each other and completely ignoring me! They caught up on what each has been doing, they discussed their mutual friends, and made plans for LATER THAT VERY NIGHT (not inviting me, because why would they, I was only SITTING RIGHT THERE). Then they started playing random memory games on the computer (again – not including me or asking if I wanted to play). And I really should have left and not stuck it out so long; but partly, I was in complete shock that this was even happening and was trying to process it; also partly, the guy kept saying we’d leave in 10 minutes or so. But then it gradually became almost 2 hours. The entire time, I was live-texting my friends about this horrendous excuse for a date.

Finally, and mercifully, he says we should probably get going. I suppose in this little head, he thought this date was going swimmingly because he suggested grabbing bubble tea. At this point I replied, “No thanks, I’m really not feeling this”. He looked a bit taken aback, as though he couldn’t believe that someone wasn’t swept away by the romantic date he had planned. But then tried to play it off and said “Sure, whatever, I don’t give a shit”, and we parted ways. Good riddance, you socially inept creature. I’m proud to say that to this day, I don’t remember his name. Andrew maybe?

  1. The gun-jumper

I matched with the gun-jumper on tinder, everyone’s favourite app. He was VERY attractive, had an identical twin, and rode a motorcycle. He seemed normal-ish over text too, and I was pretty pumped to meet him. We arranged what day we’d meet, and he suggested (and I quote) that we meet “early to mid-afternoon” at X location. This is quite a vague time slot, but I figured we’d firm up the time closer to the date.

The day of, I woke up a bit late (around 12:30…don’t judge, I used to be a chronic sleeper) and strolled over to the shower. I then get a message saying “Okay I’m leaving now, so I’ll be there in about half an hour. I’m riding my motorcycle so won’t be able to check messages, so I’ll just see you there!” UMMMMM WHAT?! I responded IMMEDIATELY to tell him I wasn’t going to be ready by then, and if he could leave later. But no response, as I guess he was already on his bike.

I quickly texted “I’m so sorry, we didn’t confirm a specific time so I didn’t realize we’d be meeting at 1. I still need to get ready and subway there, so I’ll probably be about an hour, but I’ll get there as soon as I can!”

At first, I felt bad that I wouldn’t be there on time. But as I thought about it, I realized – FUCK HIM. Who did this guy think he was, randomly picking what time we’d meet, TELLING me (not asking) to be there in half an hour and not even think to wait for my response? He just assumed that I’d be there at the drop of a hat and had the gall to think that my confirmation wasn’t necessary.

So I raced through my shower, rapidly dried my hair and ventured to the subway (note: the subway ride in itself was close to half an hour). Even though I knew this situation wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t help but feel stressed and guilty.

While getting ready, he finally responded saying “it’s okay, I’m here now. We did say early to mid afternoon, but it’s okay, I’ll be waiting by X”.

Now I was REALLY pissed off. Not only was he unapologetic for getting me to hurry, but he was trying to turn it around on me, as though I had misinterpreted the very specific time slot he gave. Jackass.

With that horrible start, it was not wonder the date itself didn’t pan out. We just didn’t click, he was way too full of himself (suffered from short man syndrome if you ask me), and that was that.

  1. The chocolate bar guy

I will be honest here: on a first date, I do expect the guy to pay – especially if he chose the location. I think it’s a gentlemanly gesture, and in my experience, men who don’t pay on a first date always turn out to be immature, selfish pricks who don’t want to do anything for others. (Note: just because a man does pay doesn’t preclude him from being a prick, of course. But INVARIABLY, the non-paying guys are always selfish). I’m not saying my thinking if necessarily right, but it’s what I personally expect from a guy – we are all, of course, different.

Anyway, this guy I matched with on tinder and he seemed nice enough, and was an engineer who worked for the City – aka, not a deadbeat (that alone can be hard enough to find). He suggested meeting at a chocolate shop. It was a cute-ish place, but there was no room to sit, so he suggested grabbing chocolate and then walking around. So I perused the options, and picked out a $6 chocolate bar (the cheapest option, I might add). As we get to the register, I gave the fake “oh I’ll pay” line—to which he said, “oh, okay”. SERIOUSLY DUDE?! You are an engineer who works for the government, I KNOW you make bank and in any case – it is a first date and a CHOCOLATE BAR at a place YOU suggested meeting! So I fork over the money, fuming inwardly.

In 30 degree heat, we walk around aimlessly, my chocolate bar melting in my hand, and I’m getting increasingly more angry at the situation. (also, see here for why I hate “walk-around dates). I endure an hour of brutal, boring chitchat, but I knew I’d never want to see him again; I couldn’t get over his cheapness. He suggested grabbing a drink at the end, but I pretended I had to head home. No way was I getting a drink (that I’d likely be paying for!) with a stingy guy I had no interest in.

***

I wish I could say these are the only bad dates I’ve encountered. But as the title indicates… we are only at volume 1 my friends! Please share your bad date stories in the comments, or link me to your post! 🙂

Life update.

I am a bad blogger. I don’t really understand why, as I love to write and pride myself on having excellent writing skills (and I refuse to do the woman thing and downplay/apologize/be self-deprecating about my talent #dealwithit). When I started up this blog, I thought for sure I’d be writing away in cute coffee shops religiously every week, and my views would soon soar to the thousands (LOL). I even worried about how my identity would be outed, as SURELY my blog posts would go viral and my friends would be able to piece together the stories and my cropped pictures on twitter.

So I couldn’t help but wonder (is it humanely possible to write that without thinking of Ms. Bradshaw?)… why is it that I haven’t felt like blogging? I started to really think through this, and realized that I most often blog when I’m unhappy or stressed or need advice–usually a combo of all 3, really.

Which then led me to realize… I’ve been very happy lately.

I’m finally in a job that I love and feel passionate about, and I can feel myself excelling in it.

The start of this year was filled with way too many relationship issues, as you all likely know, but things have calmed down now and me and the bf have made real progress. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring myself out, analyzing what scared me so much about having kids, and why in general I’m so scared of change. It’s definitely an ongoing process, but I’ve made progress in getting to know myself better.

My bf has also been there for me along the way. Now that some time has passed, I really do believe that his reason for ending things was that he thought I didn’t want to have kids. Because kids are an absolute for him, he didn’t see the point in continuing our relationship if we weren’t on the same page on that front, and he didn’t want to “negotiate” so that I would agree to have kids. Having/not having kids solely for the sake of your partner is a decision that usually never ends well. And even though he handled the breakup very poorly (and I have been sure to tell him that and to work on our communication style), it seemed to come from a genuine place of thinking that we weren’t compatible re: kids.

As crappy as the breakup was, I do have an appreciation for the fact that he’s sticking around while I make up my mind about kids. In all honesty, if I had a friend who wanted kids but their SO was unsure, I don’t think I’d tell them to stay (especially if they were past 25 and time becomes more precious). I’d most likely tell them to break it off and not waste their time while the SO made up their mind. The fact that my boyfriend is willing to put in that time and wait for me, with no guarantees, is something I’m appreciative of.

Having said that, our relationship has generally been really good since getting back together. Things have gone back to the former happy, carefree fun-loving state that our first year was. We’re not exactly in that honeymoon stage anymore – of course there has been super minor bickering and disagreements on random things – but overall, we feel solid. We enjoy each other’s company, have so many laughs and it feels good. On the whole, we don’t seem to have many relationship troubles. Of course, only time will tell, but for now, things are good. I am suspecting that the tension and unhappiness I was feeling pre-breakup was because of the kids issue. There seems to be a phenomenon that when there’s one big looming issue, it manifests itself into other parts of your life and your interactions. I think that we were both so stressed and on edge about the kids issue that it spilled over into our relationship at large. That would explain why we suddenly became snippy and annoyed with each other, and stopped enjoying one another’s company – there was a bigger elephant in the room.

All that has genuinely changed now. With the weight of kids lifted (though we’re having proactive, healthy discussions on that), we can remove that from the equation and really focus on the relationship itself. And it would appear (knock on wood) that the relationship is still strong and worth fighting for. We’ve had great dates, went hiking, watched movies, had chill Netflix nights and dinner dates, and it’s been lovely. I’ve been subjected to watching playoff hockey, so in return he gave me “my day” where we watched and did whatever I wanted (on an unrelated note, he is now all caught up with the Kardashians). We seem like we fit again.

So to go back to my earlier point… I feel happy now. Just very content and at peace.

Of course there are still things I’m stressing about – wedding season is getting crazy and the expenses/bridesmaid obligations are getting to me. I’ve put on weight and my clothes no longer fit me – I’m not looking for sympathy because I know my situation isn’t dire. But it’s still been tough having to go full days where I am straight up uncomfortable because my bra, pants and shirt are all too tight. And I still have a niggling concern that some people are judging me for getting back together with my boyfriend and think I’m being too complacent. That’s something I need to actively push aside and remind myself that I need to do what’s best for me, regardless of how it looks to others.

But overall, I don’t have it bad at all. These are general life stresses that a) most people experience and b) are temporary. I am focusing on the great aspects of my life, and feel overwhelmingly touched and happy when I remember the great support network I have in my life (and yes, that most definitely includes my online family <3).

So what was the point of this post? I honestly don’t know lol. I guess it turned into somewhat of a life update (and with that, I know what to title this post!). I am happy right now, and very grateful for all I have.

The downside to this happiness? My blog writing has taken a massive hit! It’s almost as if when I’m content, I go into a zen state where I just want to relax and be in the moment, rather than write about it. It seems weird, but it’s the only explanation I can think of. Regardless, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to not neglect this blog. If you have any post suggestions, please do send them my way!

And I just want to say again… to those of you that have taken the time to read my posts/tweets, provide support and give your very wise, sage advice – I really do thank you and hope you know how much I appreciate you ❤

New perspective.

It has been a whirlwind week. I’m still processing everything and am excited (albeit nervous) to give you all an update.

All week I was very against the idea of going for coffee with my ex – I felt that I had nothing more to say, and we had already discussed everything. I was also pissed off that he seemed so quick to just walk away from everything just because it was getting difficult and we had a few weeks of bickering.

But on Sunday, I don’t know what happened – I woke up with a different feeling. I started to question if maybe he did have something new to say, some new perspective to offer. The breakup was so sudden and we had such an amazing, solid year before that. I chatted with a few friends who told me if there was a part of me that wanted to go, I should just go and not let pride get in my way. Regardless of the outcome, I wouldn’t be in any worse of a position – I mean, we were already broken up. And while I did want to save face, sometimes we have to put our pride aside in the interests of not wondering “what if”.

So as you all may have assumed, I did go for coffee. I went in wanting to have one question answered – is he willing to put effort into a relationship or will he just walk when things get tough?

After a few minutes of brutally stupid chitchat he got right to it – he started by saying, “I just want to clarify – the reason I ended it was because of the kids issue. I felt like I was putting too much pressure on you to decide, and I wanted you to come to that decision on your own. I was worried you were too influenced by our relationship, and even if you had said yes to having kids, there was always going to be that part of me that wondered if you really wanted that”.

And that right there suddenly changed a lot. It completely changed the way I viewed the breakup and his reasoning for it. All week I had been mad that he gave up because things got tough and we were bickering – but it was the kids issue all along that he was panicked about.

I brought up the stuff he said about the spark, but he said that wasn’t really the issue that at all. Yes we had been bickering (and we acknowledged that even if we moved forward and stayed together, we’d need to make sure we maintained a connection) – but his concern was kids all along. He was worried we were too far apart on that issue; and moreover, he felt that this wasn’t an issue we could “negotiate” on so he didn’t want to put pressure on me to decide. He felt that removing himself from the equation would help me come to my decision on my own. But he made it clear he did still really love me and wanted to be with me if we could sort this out.

I pointed out that this was not how the breakup was communicated at all, and he should have been more clear on it. I also told him that while I understood his concern that my decision would be biased (and I can’t say I disagree with this point, to be honest), he would have to trust me going forward that I knew what I was doing and would make a logical and rational decision.

A lot more was said – this conversation went on for hours. But once I saw that he still wanted to be with me, and it wasn’t a matter of ending it abruptly because things got hard, I thought to myself that maybe there is still something here worth fighting for. As I said myself in my other post – I wanted him to fight for our relationship. So maybe I should do the same too, knowing what his issues were/are.

We ended things with the decision that we would cautiously remain together but it would be balanced with my need to have space so I can figure this out on my own. So we’re not going to physically see each other as often (at least in the imminent weeks) because I think having time alone will help me assess what it is I really want. But we will still be officially dating and keep in contact and see where things go.

There is a part of me that wonders if I’m doing the right thing. But another part of me would always think that I ended it too soon if I didn’t give it another chance. And I look at it from a practical perspective – what’s the worst that can happen really? If in a few months, things don’t get better, we can always end it. But at least I will have confidence that we really weren’t meant to be – whereas to end it now would feel like we still left something on the table worth fighting for.

I don’t know how clear this post is. I’m sure there’s lots of gaps I’m leaving in my haste to get all this down (of course today ends up being a crazy day at work… can’t they just leave a girl alone to blog?!). I’m happy to continue this discussion but I thought it was important to get all this down, and as always, I would love your honest opinion and feedback on everything.

We discussed a lot more in addition to kids (he needs to be better about communication, our need to be open and honest – on both ends really, because on my part, there were things I kept from him that would have been healthy for our relationship to bring up). And I felt satisfied in my mind that what happened last week wasn’t a result of him giving up too easily. He just truly felt that if we weren’t on the same page with kids, we shouldn’t force it. And I think that if the situation was flipped and a woman wanted kids and the guy wasn’t sure, we wouldn’t fault her for walking away. That’s how he saw it in his mind too.

I did get cold comfort seeing how wrecked he was as well – he would repeatedly tear up and was very emotional about the whole thing. And he admitted that all last week he was in a horrible place and kept going through our old photos and my Instagram page lol. I will take this as a small victory!

So going forward – I will continue with my counselling and analyze my feelings about kids. He said he’d be happy to attend some sessions with me if he thought that would help, which I truly appreciate. And he’ll do some of his own exercises on this issue (I told him about one particular exercise my counselor recommended, and a book she suggested, and he’s going to look into both of them). So while I will explore this issue largely on my own, he will also be a part of the journey so that we can work together. It will be good for me to not just think about my feelings, but involve him in discussing my fears to get his perspective on why having kids is so wonderful (lol).

So that’s it for now – in a huge time crunch at work and this is all I can get out currently. The support of everyone on here/twitter has meant so much to me, and I would love for your thoughts – but please be gentle, as I’m sure this is not a decision many will support. But right now, I’d rather give it one last chance before walking away – just as I wanted him to do.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I went in wanting to have one question answered – is he willing to put effort into a relationship or will he just walk when things get tough? And it seems like he is, so for better or worse, we are going to try to move forward.

To go or not to go?

I’ve had time to process things now, and although I’m still frustrated at how quick he was to end things, I know it was ultimately for the best. We know historically from when we were On the Rocks that he is way too quick to jump to a breakup. It likely stems from his inexperience with relationships and not realizing that they in fact require a lot of work. It’s disappointing, especially when year 1 was so amazing and incredible – but I can’t dwell on that. He has proven that he can’t handle the speed bumps, and that’s something that is crucial. Better to know now, and all that jazz.

The way we left things was with him saying I had some stuff at his place, and if I wanted, I could come by on Saturday to pick them up and he suggested we could maybe go for coffee. So he said he’d text me Saturday about it (side note: if there’s one good thing about how he’s handled the breakup, it’s giving me a firm date I can expect to hear from him. It’s stopped me from checking my phone every 2 seconds or thinking it’s him when I get a message).

Anyway, my dilemma now is – should I go get my stuff and see him one last time? Note – I will NOT be going for coffee or engage in a final conversation with him regardless. I’ve said everything I needed to say and there’s no point having a final talk to wrap things up.

That being said – should I go to his place at all? Here are some factors I’m weighing:

  • I don’t really have any major things of value – mostly toiletries I left there. The only thing I specifically want back from him are sexytimes items to be honest. But it might be awkward to ask for it back even if I do go (it’s tucked away in his closet, so I’d need to ask him to go dig it up).
    • As a subquestion – if I do end up going, is it really weird of me to take the sexytime stuff back? Most of them predated him, and as we all know, this stuff ain’t cheap.
  • Despite not needing to really pick anything up, will I regret not going? It does seem like it would be too unceremonious and abrupt of an ending to not go. Will I regret not having “closure”?
  • On the other hand – our last conversation was very emotional and sad. In a way, I like having that be our last memory, because it shows our relationship meant something, and it wasn’t an easy decision to end it. On Saturday, it will definitely be way less emotional, since he’s had time to process everything. If he is acting all normal, it might upset me that our last interaction was so blasé.
  • However – my friend pointed out that in a couple of months, it won’t really matter to me what our last interaction was like, and quite honestly, at that point, it will be more important for me to have my stuff. That’s an interesting perspective – am I placing too much emphasis on having our last interaction be ‘perfect’? When in reality, down the road it won’t matter so much?
  • And lastly – this is a very minor factor but I’ll lay it out nonetheless. A benefit to going is I can return the shirts/shoes he left behind. I know it’s not my job to do so, but it’ll help make a clean break. If I didn’t go, I would simply just tell him that if he wanted his stuff, I can leave it with my concierge for him to pick up (and donate them if he didn’t). But my other friend said if I just give everything to him myself, I won’t need to worry about coordinating with him, or worrying about if/when he picked it up, etc. Again, this is a minor factor, with workaround solutions either way.

I am in dire need of advice here! For some reason, this is really stressing me out and causing anxiety 😦 Help!