10/7/15

Diddle, Rinse, Repeat: The Monotony That Is My Middle Aged Dating

Snap on those latex gloves, ladies, and join me as I perform the postmortem on my latest fling. Yes, this one has run its course, now all that's left to do is analyze it and him and me, assign the moniker and file it away along with the others.

I like to dissect these so-called "relationships" because I am that hopeful fool who thinks there's something to be gleaned, some deep lesson to be learned from each one. And this one didn't disappoint, as far as education goes. I'm going to share with you the most valuable nugget of information I took from it:

If someone tells you they're an asshole, believe them.

Like, if they actually put it out there, in, say...a text: "I'm an asshole." There are many ways we, as women, are hardwired to respond:

The Affirmer: "Oh no! No! You're not! You're awesome."
The Nurturer: "I'm sure you're just woefully misunderstood."
The Trumper: "You're an asshole? Well, I'm an asshole AND I'm crazy! LOLOLOL"
And my personal favorite:
The Fixer: "Challenge accepted."

Ladies? There's really only one proper response to that proclamation. You say, "Thanks for the heads up" and then you walk away. Thank them for whatever they've given you, along with such a fair warning. Thank them for the dinner or the drinks, for the tingly orgasms or the flirtations that made you blush, for the compliments and the whispered sweet nothings. Thank them and then, girl, you hightail it away from them as fast as freaking possible.

Sometimes the scooter cannot drive away fast enough.



Our time on earth is limited and one of the suckiest things about life is how late in the game we realize this. It's one of the reasons we try to placate ourselves by doing things like trying to see each timesuck as some sort of after school special. It's why I sit here on my morning off, writing about yet another disastrous trip down Lover's Lane.

Because I am, like everyone else, running out of time, I've decided to take the advice given to me by two of my favorite humans. Both of them have stood by me, one physically, the other figuratively, while I've tiptoed through the minefield that is post-divorce love.

The first person is, of course, my best friend Danielle. My moral compass, the one who knows all the dirt and still talks to me. I look to her for guidance because she's managed to not only remain married and still loves her husband despite all of their differences- but also because she tells it like it is. She won't soften blows to avoid bruising my ego, and she is absolutely my fiercest defender and my loudest cheerleader.

The second person is a guy. A friend's husband, actually, whom I've never met face to face but has become my go-to for a guy's perspective. I told him I wouldn't name him here but just for shits and giggles I'm going to give him his own moniker: Casey Jones. I owe his wife a drink and quite possibly more, because she has allowed me to borrow her husband's brain for my picking pleasure.

Danielle and Casey have almost always given me similar advice. The one time they differed was (and still is) in regards to my quasi-relationship with The One Without A Moniker...the guy I trysted with off and on for five long years and decided to stop seeing at the end of 2014. Yeah, that guy. We'll get back to him in a bit.

When this latest fling began a couple of months ago, both of my advisers were pleased. Danielle met him and gave me the thumbs up. Enthusiastic thumbs, no less. She found him to be funny and smart and charming, like I did. Casey Jones was all guy-like, wishing me fun times, good sex and lots of laughs. Both of them supported the venture.

When my gut started telling me this fling was flung, they both advised me to wait a bit. To bench my cuckoo nature and just go with the flow. When it became so completely and hilariously apparent that once again I'd cast my net into yet another shallow, silty pond, they were there with consoling words and encouragement to just keep on trucking.

Both of them also told me this, and it's taken a while for it to finally begin to sink in:

I'm worth more. I'm not saying this most recent guy isn't a worthwhile person. He's not a bad man. He's not evil or icky. He threw it all out there for me right at the beginning with that one little sentence (remember, the one about being an asshole) but I was too blinded by butterflies and the reverberations of my freshly tickled ivories to really grasp it. Like so many women in my sensible but well-worn shoes, I lug around this tattered bag of hope wherever I go. Life has proven to be less than kind but we optimists...we never give up on that little girl fairytale dream. Someday my prince will come. Someday he won't leave right after he does.

Getting back to the other guy, the five-year-long one night stand? Yeah. We had decided, mutually, to stop doing that as of last year. December 30th, if you want the exact date. It was hard to quit him, not gonna lie to you. He is funny and smart and tall and dare I say, dashing. But I did it. I stood my ground and he stood his and we avoided each other for a nice long while.

We slipped up in May. And then in July. And then again on my birthday which was just a couple of weeks ago. By that time I had realized the Ivory Tickler was done tickling and when I got the message from Mr Five Years my martini-filled belly did those sick flipflops and BOOM there he was. There I was, too, reveling in his dash and his arms and all the excitement.

Until the next morning, when I fessed up to Danielle and Casey Jones. Danielle finally let me have it. She didn't mince words and when she was done I was, for one of the first times ever, speechless. No words but plenty of tears. And then I read Casey's response. Cut to me, standing over a birthday cake shoving spoonfuls of marbled goodness into my mouth while sobbing. Not exactly the way I wanted to usher in my 49th year but pretty much nailed it.

Why the tears? They weren't shed over the most recent lovah. Not one salty drop lost there. They weren't trickling down my cheeks due to remorse over the previous evening's tete a tete, either.

Nope. I was crying because my friends were trying to tell me something and despite all of my resistance, I was finally hearing them.

I know a lot of you are in the same gross boat as me. We are women of a certain age. Our bodies are not what they were the first time we went through this insane dating ritual. We have worries and kids and jobs and so little time to take care of them, let alone ourselves.

We've been hurt. Betrayed by loved ones and some of us are more healed than others but we can all still feel the pain. We love big but we're also terrified of what happens when that big love leaves our grasp, when we stand there on the grass and watch it float away into the clouds. Sometimes it comes back to us intact, but there are times we get nothing other than shreds in return.

If you're like me, you feel ruined by the past. My wholeness is gone, and I don't know if I'll ever get it back. The men I choose to let into my life are so obviously not the right ones, and yet, there they are. And me complaining about it is akin to a fisherman bitching about no bites when he keeps going back to the same barren lake.

My girl Danielle made me cry because she loves me so much it actually makes her sick to see me making the same dumbass choices over and over. My guy Casey Jones made me cry because he managed to sum up, in one Facebook message, what my problem is. Three different therapists have taken a crack at my crazy but only Casey Jones managed to hit it out of the park. I'm going to cut and paste his words here. Obviously they are meant for me and my whackadoo situation but I think there are many of you out there who would benefit from reading them too. With his permission, here it is:

I look at you and Big Daddy, and I see you comfortable in your routine, in the life you two worked hard to construct...but I see him dissatisfied with his lot in life, having given marriage and fatherhood of 4 little ones a half-assed run and found it wanting, leaving him vulnerable to the wiles of Secretary (whom, I'm certain, finds him equally boring nowadays). That's fuckery on a grand scale, to do that to your wife and children, and inexcusable. But what I see sometimes are harsh thoughts on your behalf that you could have done more, should have done more, to prevent the dissolution of your marriage. I can tell you all day long that once BD made that decision, there wasn't a damn thing you could do about it, and I think to an extent you do recognize that cold but honest truth, but I still see you being harsh on yourself at times.  

Where I'm going with this is, because of that fuckery by BD, it's inhibiting your ability to find and maintain a healthy relationship, and leaving you vulnerable to exciting but assholey men without substance and commitment. And I'm thinking that you are OK with those relationships... because you feel like that's all you deserve. And I can tell you all day long that you deserve better than that and be uplifting as your friend, but YOU have to believe it, too. I have faith that in the fullness of time, you'll come to believe it, and you'll find it.


I'm starting to believe it. Look, I'm no prize. I'm filled to the brim with anxiety and insecurity. Even after years of practice, anything over two cocktails turns me into a hot mess with limited bladder control. I'm poor and I drive a hooptie-type car and I'm going to have to work full-time until approximately ten years after my demise. I have a front butt and ham-hock arms and despite good intentions I'll probably always be the "before" picture.

But all of that doesn't mean I'm not worthy of good. Good luck and good friends and good fortune and good love.

Like Casey Jones said, I deserve better. And so do you, my friends. Believe it.













41 comments:

  1. Sister - you deserve better! Rootin' for you! Keep writing cause I enjoy reading it.

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    1. Aww thanks anon :) I appreciate your sweet words!

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  2. They're right. Listen and believe and work at it...because it will take work, to fundamentally change the way you think about yourself. No small task, that. But it's worth it. In fact, is there anything else more worth it?!?
    ((internet hug))

    -LMM

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  3. "bench my cuckoo", "tattered bag of hope", "I'm poor and I drive a hooptie-type car..."

    You are f&cking funny and a good person. And people relate to you because you share your thoughts like this.

    "Some people have a way with words...and other people... not have way."

    You have way. <3

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    1. Aw shucks. Thank you so much. I don't have much control over what spills out onto the keyboard. Thankfully some of it makes sense :)

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  4. You DO deserve better....tell yourself that every morning! Take stock, look at what you have to give and tell yourself what you deserve and then don't settle.

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    1. Thank you Gigi! Damn. It's harder than it looks, isn't it??

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  5. OMG, Casey Jones NAILED it!! Jenny, I've just had this nasty hunch going on, with practically every post you've written about a guy you dated, that while these men might seem great to the casual observer (or the gal dating them)...they really aren't, at heart, and don't deserve you at all. And, I know you well enough to know that, like Casey said: because your loser ex effed you over so royally, you feel like you aren't worthy of anyone better. (That, and I am guessing certain shitty treatment you got from men in your past -- including your mother's loser of a 2nd husband...abuse tends to make a person feel they aren't worthy of good treatment. It sucks that way.) I'm glad to hear my hypothesis confirmed by a solid, smart, and trustworthy guy like Casey. But on the other hand it breaks my heart because you haven't believed you are worthy of so, SO much infinitely better treatment than you've gotten from guys you've been involved with. I still vividly remember a letter my cousin Susan wrote me when I was in 12th grade, and lamenting how none of the guys I really liked had similar feelings for me in return, and weren't especially nice or sensitive about letting me know it. She wrote "You are beautiful & kind & caring, & unfortunately not everyone else is, AND dating in general can be the pits." Her point was that it is self-destructive at best for any of us to settle for a jerk because we don't believe we deserve better. So I want you to do like Gigi says: that you really ARE beautiful, kind, caring, smart, and a whole lotta other good stuff, AND you deserve ONLY to be with a guy who will recognize this about you, love you for it, and treat you accordingly!
    I am so glad you have Danielle to set you straight about this too. And, whatever I can do to remind you that you are worthy of ONLY. THE. BEST, I will!! Hugs!

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    1. Oh Jenzi, you are really so sweet. Thank you. I know that the abuse from the past also plays a role in all of this, men haven't exactly treated me like gold. It makes one fearful and untrusting and that sucks.

      I thank my lucky stars every day to have so many good friends. You included.

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  6. First, he must be a hell of a guy to earn that nickname. I'm guessing you're a TMNT fan? It says a lot to hang a name that big on a friend, about his loyalty and just good nature.

    You ARE worth more honey, and you've got to convince yourself of that. Your friends are right. You're smart, funny, and not afraid to tell it like it is. That's worth something. Don't let anyone fool you, especially not some idiot who didn't even think enough of his own marriage to take the time to end it before dashing off after a fling. (gag. Nothing worse than a cheater, amIright?)

    I'm living it, too. I get lonely and sometimes it sucks but like you, I'm extremely fortunate to have a "Danielle" in my life. Without her I might have fallen for a second player - one whom I recently learned has a second FB profile, I suspect specifically for the purpose of keeping his lady admirers safely compartmentalized. :-/ Ugh.
    We're better than that, me and you. We deserve better. Personally, I'd rather be alone than be someone's second choice on a Saturday night.

    Hang in there. ((hugs)) Mama. You are enough.

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    1. Mary, that's so funny about TMNT. I didn't even put the two together. Casey Jones is a railroad guy in real life and I thought he'd enjoy the nickname. But the badass character is good too.

      Gross re: the double facebook guy. There certainly are a large number of frogs out here in Singleville.

      And yes, I hear you. There are nights when all of my friends are busy and my kids are out living their lives and I look at the dog and think, "Well, this is okay I guess." But part of me really wants someone solid and good to sit next to me on the couch. If that means waiting it out alone for a while longer, that's okay.

      I'm done being the second choice. Thanks for the kind words, Mary. So, so appreciate them!

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    2. You know what I'm gonna say!!! :) Sex clouds the issue big time. Wait. Preferably until married. "Solid" and "good" men (to use your adjectives) will be inclined that way, too.

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    3. BECKY. I have no idea what you look like but I swear I can see your face sometimes, with a look of disapproval, LOL.

      I'm trying, my friend. I'm trying.

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    4. That's me in the photo, at about 12 or 13 or so. I'm 59 now, married 19 years ago to the greatest guy ever, after 13 years of giddy freedom from my cheating first husband. I had made up my mind to wait, and not repeat the mistakes of that train wreck. My dear husband totally respected and understood that. And I'm happy to serve as your Disapprover ... as long as you realize it's because I love you and want the best for you. My face, God's love! :)

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  7. Wow!!! Exactly what I am doing/going through. Brought tears to my eyes.

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    1. Unknown, I'm sorry you can relate but happy you know you're not the only one.

      Thank you so much for reading!

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  8. Ah....I'm ashame to admit I was "the Affirmer" 😥

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    1. I am SUCH a "Fixer" - wow.

      So glad your birthday is bringing hard-won affirmation. You DO deserve better - I don't know you in person at all - just a reader - but your spirit and sense of humor are SO beautiful. You've been through hell and back, you've earned your scars, and you speak with such a depth of understanding. I always look forward to reading your posts and they always make me laugh or give me something worthwhile to think about.
      Thanks for sharing your light. *HUGS*

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    2. Oh Natalie. We're all guilty of this stuff sometimes.

      Muddled, thank you so much. Your words made me so happy. I can feel the love, thank you!!!!

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  9. I need to read this post over and over and over again!!!

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    1. Oh dear. Is that good or bad? LOL.

      Thank you so much for reading. I'm feeling the love in these comments. Life is hard and confusing sometimes, isn't it?

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  10. Very well written, entertaining, but let's cut to it. You have to find something to get you over your codependency with intimate relationships and the way your picker is off. I've been in a particular 12-step group for 29 years which has taught me how to have relationships successfully; both intimate and friends. Each time I picked a new mate, I got one better than before. It took me at about 15 years of this program to meet my current mate. He's the best one so far. I'm not saying a 12-step group is what you should do. I'm saying please find something to help you see how wonderful, valuable, and the truly gifted person that you are. Stop settling for someone with the basics; working genitalia, a drinker, has a job. Get deeper into folks. Lots of people love you! You deserve the best!

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    1. Forgot to mention, congrats on realizing all this stuff about yourself and what you want (need) to make yourself happy.

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    2. Oh Gail! You're so sweet. Sometimes I think there isn't much I can do about my broken picker. And then sometimes I think my picker is a lot like me: trying so hard to find the good in everyone. Thinking that maybe it's true, leave no stone unturned and all that because who knows where you will find love.

      The thing that kills me is, my friendships are SO GOOD. So strong and fun that it's hard to believe that can't be transferred onto a relationship.

      Working genitalia will always be a plus for me. But you're right: I need to dig deeper.

      Thank you.

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    3. Friendships and intimate relationships have some big differences. Intimacy brings out things that a friendship might not,. Being vulnerable in that way, for people who have unresolved issues (most everyone does), often brings up negative shit from childhood.

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  11. Know your worth. Never, ever want something so bad that you'll give away your worth. (Advice from a super chump here.) I don't have any good advice here -- I know EXACTLY what that particular trench looks like, those dates, and that bad picker. I lived it. And the only saving Grace I had meeting my husband was I recognized a Good One when I met him. Even though it was hideously inconvenient and he lived in God forsaken Texas. Good for you for dumping Mr. FWB. Good for you for running away from The Asshole. It's huge progress and you are Knowing Your Worth every time you do that. No need for tears. You're mighty. You're doing something many, many people do not do -- acting on your integrity and standards. You're refusing to spackle. You're refusing to accept less. It's scary. Do it anyway. Keep doing it.

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    1. Thank you Tracy. In particular, the FWB has been toxic. It's made all other potential relationships seem small and trivial because the FWB is such a player and says all the right things and dammit, makes me laugh SO HARD. He's not the right one though and I knew that from the start.

      Stories like yours give me hope. Thank you.

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  12. I am also 49, divorced for almost 2 years (after being married for 27) so I haven't ventured into the dating world yet...at all! I want to eventually but I feel like I need to be a little more emotionally healed.

    Anyhoo, I participated in a "chump meetup" a couple of months ago and a fellow chump recommended the book "It's just a fucking date." (Same authors that wrote "He's just not that into you." I would have to say the book seems to be written for the "typical" dating aged ladies but I think the principles can be applied to anyone.

    They speak to "knowing your worth" and they are big proponents of not "giving it up too soon." It's pretty dang funny too so maybe it's worth checking out for you. I often get caught up in thinking that time is running out and I have to go out and find someone fast, but I think it's better to be alone than wind up with another asshole. Just my humble opinion anyway.

    You have loads to offer and the right man will appreciate that!

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    1. Oh man. Welcome to the club. I am totally going to check out the book. He's Just Not That Into You is one of my favorite Sunday afternoon movies!

      One of my biggest problems is, indeed, giving it up too soon. I'm very man-like in that way.

      Getting caught up in that ticking clock thing is the hardest. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think to myself, "It's only going to get worse." I need to change that mindset to something like "This is pretty awesome and someone will love it." Or some other kind of Stuart Smalley-ism.

      Thanks so much for the advice and the kind words. So appreciated!!

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  13. This song may have been written just for you. If you haven't heard it, hope you enjoy:
    "Someday You Will Be Loved" by Death Cab for Cutie

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    1. Oh how I love this song! Thank you anon. I hope it's true.

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  14. Great post! As Maya said to Oprah "when someone tells you who they are believe them the first time." Much easier said than done, I know! Every time Mr. Wrong comes around I remember this! People usually tell you who they are pretty quick but like you said we find a million reasons not to believe them. Hard lessons! Keep on keepin on! Love the blog!

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    1. I was wracking my brain trying to remember who said it. MAYA for the win, of course.

      And yes, yes YES they do tell us who they are right away. Sometimes it's covered up with some appealing camouflage but it becomes very apparent soon enough.

      Thanks for your kind words.

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  15. Would I rather be an over weight, over worked, under paid woman who worked my ass off to raise four children from diapers to young adulthood with little or no help, who can't seem to find an adult life for myself and at times feel totally defeated...or.... a woman who traded her vagina and soul for a POS married man, who gave no thought or concern for the pain that she would gift to four innocent children and change for the rest of their lives who they will be? No contest, who the hell wants to be a slut. You can put lipstick on a pig, even dress it in couture, but it's still a pig......Keep it up Jenny, you are loved.

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    1. Oh anonymous! You always know what to say. Thank you.

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  16. You.Deserve.Better. Believe it, damnit! Many of us don't "know" you, but from your posts, you resonate a person with a good heart, a dedicated mother, someone who has a LOT of love to give your kids, friends, & possibly a mate. Don't sell yourself short, please! I always told myself, "I'm gonna be happy by myself rather than married to some asshole & miserable!" So, waiting until I was in my late 30's to marry for the very first time for a guy who I not only fell madly in love with, but who I really really liked! 17 years into it, I still know, He was well worth the wait! I'm telling you, you WAIT for someone just like him! Keep looking! He's out there - looking for you! :-)
    You DESERVE to be happy.
    LOVE YOURSELF
    Don't settle for an asshole.

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    1. I'm so so so so late in replying here!! I'm sorry!

      I love this comment for a bunch of reasons, the biggest one is because you're so right!! God I wish I had said those words to myself: "I'm gonna be happy by myself rather than married to some asshole and be miserable!" But I got pregnant so there's that.

      I am so happy for you and CONGRATULATIONS on 17 years of happiness. You grabbed the brass ring, my friend...many have tried but precious few have succeeded.

      I am in a definite holding pattern now. Just waiting...

      Thank you so much. Belated smooches to you.

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  17. It's so easy to give the advice to others "You deserve better!" and then have a hard time seeing it for ourselves. My friend, I'm going through something similar... feeling my age, in a relationship that I'm told is moving forward by my man and yet hearing the nagging voice saying, "Um, it's actually in the same place as it was last year, which was a place with no certain future." It's hard to let go of something that is currently comfortable, familiar and OK in favor of the unknown and potential for being alone or with an even bigger asshole. But, because I care about others more than myself sometimes, I will say, you absolutely deserve more and I do believe there is a lid for every pot, so to speak. It's about compatibility and TIMING.

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    1. Oh girrrl. I'm just catching up on comments I neglected to answer (or answered in my head and not via computer...that doesn't work so well).

      It's been a couple of months, I hope you are in a good place re: the relationship?? I totally get what you mean about not wanting to leave something comfortable. Something OK! I'd actually settle for comfortable right now. OK sounds good.

      Thank you for your wonderful support.

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