Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time to Stop Wasting My Precious Time on an Unworthy Guy

Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
-Ben Franklin
I loathe wasting time. Life can be wickedly and deliciously unpredictable, and I want to use every minute I have. There are many things I want to do and people I want to see, which require scheduling; ever since I can remember, when I see an empty space in my calendar, I am inclined to fill it.

I consider myself fortunate to have a job that doesn’t require me to be on call, a couple of extra dollars in the bank that I can choose to waste on my entertainment, an assortment of awesome friends to hang out with, and a healthy body that can exercise (I really appreciate this since my knee injury). So, I can and often do pack seven days a week with fun/fulfilling/intoxicating activities.

This is how I do my life and it works for my type-A self.

With this understanding of my values and personality, I have been struggling a bit the past few weeks. I have been seeing this guy, Mike, and thanks to him, I have realized that being with new people, particularly when dating, means gambling my most precious commodity. Sure, sometimes it pays off, but what if the guy sucks? That time spent with him could have been spent doing something that could have been guaranteed enjoyable time, and therefore my time can feel wasted. I HATE THAT.

(Yes, with an attitude like this one, I probably shouldn't be dating anyone right now. But anyway...)

Gambling My Time with a New Guy

Admittedly, from the start I described Mike as arrogant and spoiled, but also seeming to have a very sweet and generous side. So, why not give him a few tries?

A couple of dates later I was bored of hearing him talk about how super he was. I decided he was a good kisser but kind of a dick so I wanted out. I told him thanks but no thanks. Well, his response was so sweet that I completely second guessed myself and said nevermind, let's keep hanging out! This was extremely unlike me -- I'm usually quite decisive, almost to a fault.

What made me start accepting that Mike was not worthy of my time was when being with Mike meant losing time with people I care about.

A few days ago, I was hanging out with Pete and his best friend Kyle. These two guys have the most genuine bromance you have ever seen, so I love hanging out with them. (As a sidenote, I have a killer crush on Kyle, but of course he lives seven hours away. But I digress.) We spent a Sunday drinking bloody marys, eating french fries, and telling stupid stories about each other and just laughing a ton.

But, because I'm a compulsive calendar filler, I had plans to see Mike that evening. After Pete teased the hell out of me for double booking my Sunday, I had to tear myself away from him and Kyle. 

As I drove to Mike’s, all I could think was how much I was enjoying my minutes with Pete and Kyle, and now I was trading those minutes to be with a guy I was lukewarm about.

I was right. My time with Mike was fine, but whatever. My time with Pete and Kyle was great.

I gambled and I lost.

I saw Mike last night. I could have come home after my volunteering commitment and written a long overdue blog entry. I could have read for book club. I could have thrown in a load of laundry, caught up on People magazine, or gone to bed early. I could have done a bazillion other things that would have made me feel happy and/or productive. Instead, I spent a few hours with a guy who wasn’t that good of a match for me. I am now certain he isn’t going to be my boyfriend. And he was totally trying to pressure me in to having sex. What is this, West Beverly Hills High School?!

Why the hell did I bother? In my gut, I've known all along this wasn't a person I should choose to share my time with.

Again, I gambled and lost.

I’m done seeing Mike. He’s not worth the gamble.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

When Your Ex-Husband Tells You His Girlfriend is Pregnant

My ex-husband, Max, has brown eyes and long, black eyelashes. (I always said those eyelashes were wasted on a man.) Through our eight years together, I saw his eyes light up with joy. I saw them darken with secrecy. I saw them dull with shock and denial.

This time, I was seeing something I had not seen before. Could it be fear?

Max stood in front of me, shifting his weight, fidgeting his hands. He stood seven inches taller than me, but felt smaller. What was going on? We have been divorced for two years. What on earth was there for him to say to me that could reduce him to this?

“Kat,” his voice quivering ever so slightly, “I have to tell you something.”

“OK…” I replied. “Go ahead. You can tell me anything.”

“Well, we are engaged…”

Engaged?! I didn’t even know he was dating someone. In fact, I had assumed he hadn’t even kissed anyone since me. We got divorced because of his lack of desire for sex, so it didn’t occur to me that he would even want to date. He was so resistant to working on himself when we were in therapy. But I guessed this was good, right? Maybe this means he was coping with his problems and moving on? I can be brave and make myself happy for my ex-husband.

But there was more.

“…because she’s pregnant.”

Oh god. No. No. No!

Everything started flashing. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach filled with ice.

We were supposed to have children together. We were going to be amazing parents. When he took away sex, he took away our shared vision of parenthood. How the fuck could he already be in a romantic relationship complete with physical intimacy? Seven out of our eight years together I was desperate for intimacy. Five out of our eight years together we were in therapy. I wanted him to want me, and for seven years, he rejected me. 

Now I’m 35, single, and unsure if motherhood is something that even makes sense for me anymore. All because my husband would not (could not?) make love to his wife.

And now some other woman is pregnant with the child that was supposed to be mine?! It was more than I could bear. Like a pipe filling with ice, I was on the verge of bursting, a flood of fury and sadness and longing and jealousy.

I dropped my head in my hands as vertigo set in. 

“This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real!” I shrieked.
I couldn’t tell if the words were firing in my brain or if they were escaping my mouth.

Then, I woke up.

My heart was pounding and tears hovered in my tear ducts. I was all alone in my bed

I was right. It wasn't real.

How do you feel about your ex moving on? Are you happy for him or her?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Do You Have A Five Year Plan? I Don't.

On their first date, my friend Tina’s now boyfriend asked her a big question:

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”


Much to her credit, she told him the truth, that she plans to be a mother, regardless of whether she is married.

“I knew I might scare him off,” Tina told me, “but I figured it would come out eventually anyway. If that was going to scare him, may as well scare him now!”

Very good point.

Anyway, this has had me thinking about My Five Year Plan. (More specifically, that said plan does not exist.)

Not being married certainly changed my perspective on the future. When I was with Max, it wasn’t My Five Year Plan, it was Our Five Year Plan. I thought that would include parenthood and getting dragged into a house (I’m so an apartment kind of person) and... ummm... I don't know. We'd do married stuff, like grow old together and talk about the good old days when we rented movies from Blockbuster and no one had a phone on the dinner table.

So much for Our Five Year Plan.

But now, I’m 35, unmarried, and living a pretty comfortable existence.

I have a stable job that I like. I own an apartment that I love. I love the town I live in; it’s the kind of place that allows for families and singles to coexist. I have solid, fulfilling relationships with my friends and family. I’m Putting Myself Out There. (I actually met two cool guys last week!)

Given the overall healthy place I’m in now, what should I be hoping and working for by the time I’m 40 in 2020?

Do I want to relocate?
Do I want to change careers?

Sitting here right now, my resounding answer is… eh, not really!

Honestly, I’m happy with how my life is today, therefore I think I would be happy if my life doesn’t change much. (Though, I would love to find love again.)

Based on the information I have right now, 

my Five Year Plan is for 2020
to not look at that different from 2015.

But, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Am I living a blessed, charmed life? Or am I not pushing myself hard enough? 

Do you have a Five Year Plan? What does your plan look like?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Have a Fun, Safe Booty Call... If You Can Handle It

My real life friends and today a Twitter follower ask me:
How does one do a booty call?

I admit to having a fair amount of experience in this area since my sexless marriage ended two years ago. No two booty call arrangements are the same, but they can be super fun, sexually exciting, and even a boost to your self-confidence – if you know the secrets.

Now, before I disclose my secrets to fun, satisfying booty calling, there are a two things we must establish:
  • My booty call companions are not Friends With Benefits because I have no idea how those arrangements work. If I’m friends with you, you don’t get to see me naked.  If you are my booty call, you are not my friend. (And I think I could end up with hurt feelings in a Friends With Benefits situation.)
  • This is very important: a person is not a suitable booty call companion if you might ever, even a little bit, hope for anything resembling a relationship with this person. You are not dating and, in all likelihood, you never will date your booty call. Be honest with yourself and make sure this is completely acceptable. (Now that you read that, please reread it. Seriously.)

OK? OK. Let’s move on!

My booty call companions have come from various places. Two I met at bars (like Zach). Two were guys I used to date until they bored me but they were good in the sack. One I thought I might want to date then I changed my mind (and I was absolutely certain of this when I changed my mind).  So you can find a booty call in a number of different ways; you just have to make it known that you’re receptive – but be subtle about it. You might be surprised at who else is game for this arrangement.

Now, here are my secrets to successful booty calling.


Single

First and foremost, you and your booty call must both be single. Cheating is not nice. 

If you’re not sure if your potential companion is single, ask directly.  If he says yes, that’s the end of the discussion because it’s game on!

Sexting

Sexting is a fantastic way to build up some anticipation to your hookup.

I had never participated in sexting until two years ago. (Yes, life after divorce has been interesting indeed.) Learning how to flirt and get a little dirty over text is really fun! I like that I learned about this with a guy where I had absolutely nothing to lose.

Sexting tip: if you are going to cross over from sexy words to sexy pictures, never include your face in the photo. As a woman, I have occasionally sent a picture of something like the side of my neck and my bare shoulder. It leaves something to the imagination and you can't see my face. (As a bonus, I can take a picture like that from my couch without changing out of my sweatpants.) Gentlemen, we don't like dick pics. Thanks!

Sober

Admittedly, I haven't always been totally sober when I have made or accepted a booty call. But there's buzzed, and then there's the kind of drunk where it's unsafe and/or going to lead to regrets. A dash of liquid courage might be OK, but not much more than that. Got it? Good!

Safe

You must completely go with your instincts on this one. If anything about being alone with the person does not feel safe, do not proceed. Don’t question yourself, don’t apologize, just stop it.

So let’s say you are feeling frisky and comfortable with the person. If there's even a chance of having sex, BYO condoms. Since my divorce, I have been utterly appalled by how many attractive single men don’t have condoms! Didn't any of these guys take Sex Ed? 

Sex

If you do have sex, again, be safe. A booty call companion has no loyalty to you and vice versa. This person could be sleeping with other people (hell, maybe you are, too). So, condoms FTW.

But, you don’t have to have sex for a booty call to be fun. I have been hooking up off and on with Sean for two years, and we have never had sex. He was great for my self confidence (he was the first man to call me sexy) and for practicing my other moves. I learned a lot about my sexual preferences and talents without ever actually having intercourse.

Sleep

No sleepovers. Period. Sleepovers lead to cuddling, and cuddling is for relationships. Cuddling can also get the oxytocin flowing, which can confuse you about the arrangement with the person who just got you off (hopefully).This person will never be your significant other, so once the fun is over, kick him out or get your ass home.

(This was extra important when a guy I used to date became my booty call.)

Do not confuse yourself or your booty call companion!

Silence 

A booty call arrangement is always temporary and can end anytime. You need to be completely fine with this.

Here’s the thing with booty calling – there is no real predictability. Sometimes you’re arranging to meet up often, and other times you might go months without communicating. Then, you might contact him and he doesn’t reply that night or ever again, or you might pull the same thing with him. Yes, this is acceptable behavior. 

Embrace the silence as freeing you from having to bullshit a friendship or feigning interest in dating when you really just want to get some nookie.

(By the way, you do not get in touch to see how the person is doing or chat about the weather or invite him out for your birthday. That's what friends do, and I'm not talking about Friends With Benefits. Communicate with one purpose: building up to or arranging your next rendezvous.) 


If these tips make  you think:
  • “Wow, I would never want to get it on with someone I don’t really know or have feelings for.”
  • “This is terrifying. What if I got murdered/kidnapped/contracted a raging STD?!”
  • “Kat is weird/secretly a dude/a little slutty.”

Then booty calling (and maybe my blog) is not for you. That’s OK, I’m not offended. Like a booty call, it was fun while it lasted!

On the other hand, if these tips make you think:
  • “Wow, this sounds hot and exciting, and all I can emotionally handle.”
  • “I haven’t gotten laid in weeks/months/years and I’m going to wear out my vibrator if I don’t do something about it.”
  • “The person I went on a few dates with last month but we had nothing in common with might be perfect for this.”
Then booty calling might just be the answer to your sexual needs when you're between relationships. Now go grab yourself a box of condoms and have fun!


What is your opinion on booty calling? A good idea or not worth the risk? Any fun booty call stories to share?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cards, Candy, and Booze: Why I Love Being Single on Valentine's Day

You don't need a valentine to enjoy Valentine’s Day.

I realized this in high school, and many crushes and flings, two boyfriends, and one (ex) husband later, it’s still true:

Valentine’s Day is best spent single.


When I’m single on Valentine’s Day (which has been the majority of my life), I focus on the good stuff about the contrived holiday:

  1. CANDY. I’m big on eating healthy but I have a huge weakness for seasonal candy. Red, white, and pink M&Ms. Heart-shaped Yorks. Conversation hearts. Red Hots. Crappy Russell Stover chocolates. Bring it on! Enjoy for two weeks, and then it’s over for the next 50.
  2. CARDS. I absolutely love paper mail, and Valentine’s Day cards are among my favorites to select. They are about expressing gratitude and love for all kinds of relationships, from lovers to grandparents. I can spend hours picking my Valentine’s Day cards. Ever since college, I exchange cards (usually ones with Winnie the Pooh) with my parents and my BFF Ali. My other BFF Sue doesn’t send me a card but she gets one from me anyway because I'm nice like that.
    Beyond these annual card recipients, I sometimes feel the need to remind other loved ones that I'm thinking of them. One year Nora was feeling blue and unlucky in love, so I found her the perfect card that told her how much her friendship means to me. This year is Pete’s first divorced Valentine’s Day, so Pete got a card.
    It truly warms my heart to give my loved ones written expression of my affection for them.
  3. BOOZE. I discovered in college that Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to go drinking with your fellow single pals. And, you know, I like drinking and I like friends, so let's raise a glass!

When I was with Max (my only significant other as a grownup), other than having an excuse to buy him a romantic card and eat candy, Valentine’s Day was lame:
  1. PRESSURE. This dopey holiday that had no particular significance to us put this pressure on us (well, mainly him) to be romantic. Max was a decent husband, but all in all, not the romantic type (with some exceptions, like how he proposed). And even though my expectations were low, I admit that I was usually disappointed by his lack of effort.
  2. RIPOFF. I’m very practical person who’s careful with money. Yes, I love flowers, but flowers on Valentine’s Day are way pricey, not to mention cliché. And yet, several times Max came home with a dozen roses. Red. Obviously. The real downer was that he didn't even seem excited about it -- this bouquet was just something he had to buy. So not only was he unoriginal and unexcited, but he just blew a wad of cash on a flower I don’t even love and that would be it until the next overpriced bouquet a year later.
    (Yikes, do I sound like a super brat??)
  3. SEX. Meaning, I didn’t get any. Not getting laid on Valentine’s Day (or, you know, any day) isn’t such a biggie when you’re single. When you’re in a relationship, there’s pressure to perform. If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know I was not getting my freak on, not on February 14th (or 13th or 15th).

This Valentine’s Day, I’m happy to say my four cards are in the recipients’ hands. I have already eaten my conversation hearts and pink M&Ms. I have plans to hit up half price wine night with friends on Friday AND go out for drinks on Saturday because I don’t mess around!

As the second anniversary of my divorce draws near, in all my single glory, I will revel in the love and friendship in my life.

(And perhaps I'll spend a little time with my battery-operated Valentine!)

What do you think about Valentine's Day? Are you marking it this year?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

“For what it’s worth, I think we could’ve been a cool couple.”

“For what it’s worth, I think we could’ve been a fucking cool couple.” 
I'm going to go tease my hair and
sing into a fan until I feel better.

And then we hung up.

But I know you want to hear more about The Talk, so let’s start there.

Last week, Ryan came over (finally) to discuss what had been going on with us. He had been pulling away, and I assumed – correctly – that the idea of a relationship for a man who says he’s never really had one was too scary/unappealing/boring/suffocating/fill in your own negative adjective.

We sat on my couch, the site of our first kiss, and we had a remarkably respectful and mature conversation. 

The exchange took an hour and looked something like this:

Him: I am fine with how things are.
Me: I know we are still getting to know each other, but I like the idea of being open to the possibility of things progressing.

Him: I know you’re looking for a relationship.
Me: I’m look for a relationship with the right person. I’m interested in the idea of one with you, not because you have a pulse, but because you’re you and I like what I know so far.

Him: I don’t think I’m going to get there. I don’t want to string you along and have it be two, three months down the road and nothing has progressed.
Me: Well if that is how you’re going to come at things, then that is exactly what will happen. I’m not in any rush for anything relationship-wise, but things cannot be stagnant either. I know you haven’t had much relationship experience. Other than being married, neither do I, oddly enough. So let me ask you: Have you been enjoying our time together, hanging out, talking, having sex, the whole thing?
Him: Yes, definitely. And when I go out, I’m not looking to meet anyone else.
Me: So, why not try doing things differently from how you’ve done them in the past? Why not trying on for size the possibility of seeing where things go with me? I have a life, so do you, and dating isn’t a threat to that. It could be fun!

Silence.
(Crap.)

After an hour of me making excellent points (if I do say so myself) and him essentially saying he doesn’t want a relationship, we agreed to take some time to think. Later, I texted him, thanking him for coming over and being honest. He responded that he would not play games with me, and I said that I knew he wouldn’t, and neither would I.

So, I asked myself: could I just leave things as they are? Like I said, I’m not in any rush to find me a baby daddy or anything. But, over the weekend, I thought about my other relationships.

I love people. When you are my family member, my friend, whoever, I want to just care about you. I don’t know how to express my affection for others under any sort of limitation, and that is exactly what I would be agreeing to with Ryan. I cannot do that.

Ryan and I didn’t communicate much over the weekend, and then on Sunday he suggested that we “touch base” on Monday. Dammit. That tiny unrealistic romantic in me, the part that is secretly sad when couples from The Bachelorette break up, was hoping that maybe by some miracle Ryan would come to his senses and realize how idiotic it is to walk away from a person you connect with on so many levels. But you wouldn’t make a romantic confession like that when you “touch base.”

So, on Monday, true to his word, we "touched base." We talked for four minutes while I cooked fajitas. I asked him if we had come to the same conclusion. He said yes, and reiterated that he didn’t want it to be two, three months down the road and I would feel like he wasted me time or led me on. (Interesting fixation he has on this specific time period.) I said I didn't know how to restrict the way I'm going to care about a person.

Then, I said this was disappointing, but I accepted it. “But, Ryan, for what it’s worth, I think we could’ve been a fucking cool couple.”

(Yes, I used to the F-word. Seemed to drive my point home.)

And then we said we would see each other around town. Bye.

I put my phone down on my kitchen counter and sighed.

I have known all along that this was a very likely possibility. He’s 44 and never had a relationship; by his own admission, he’s never had his heart broken. Clearly, this is a man who, for whatever reason, will not allow himself get emotionally intimate with a woman. For the past two weeks, I could see the writing on the wall, so this was hardly shocking.

But as I stirred my fajitas, I got that telltale lump in my throat. What the hell is this? A few tears slid down my cheeks.

What? I’m crying over a guy? Well. Isn't this interesting.

Of all the guys I have gone out with, through the various ups and downs and men disappearing, this was the first time I cried over a guy. Ryan was the first guy that I was actually floored at times by how much we had in common. Then I had wondered if he’d be too tame in the bedroom, and I was wrong – we were super compatible there too! I mean, this was finally a guy where I could really, truly see something happening.

Keeping it real with emotionally unavailable men in their 40s.
But nothing was going to happen.

Not because he didn’t like me – I could accept that better because I’m fully aware that I’m not for everyone and that’s OK.

Nothing was going to happen because he simply will not allow his heart to open that far.

How very sad.

So, I called Jen. With my mouth full of fajita and my tear ducts filled to the brim, I babbled for a few minutes, and like the good friend she is, she listened and assured me that I did nothing wrong, my time with Ryan was fun while it lasted, and it would be OK.

I wiped my tears away. Then I fired off a bunch of texts to tell the masses, and they all responded with the love and support I knew they would provide. 

So, I’m still feeling a little blue and I miss him already. But I’m OK because I’m proud that I stuck to my motto of keeping an open heart and an open mind while also keeping my eyes open. I saw the signs that he would probably pull away, and I didn’t pretend that they weren’t there. I didn’t downplay my readiness for a relationship just to appease him. I really enjoyed my time with Ryan, and when I’m ready to date again, the right person will be out there.

And in the meantime, I'll play some 1980s ballads and sing at the top of my lungs in my car. Total Eclipse of the Heart, anyone?

What was your last breakup like? How do you feel about the way you conducted yourself?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm Not Afraid to Walk Away From A Guy I Really Like


I am ready for a relationship, and I don’t apologize for it. Hell, I'm proud of it! It’s taken a lot of post-divorce healing/therapy/yoga plus a healthy dose of pointless – but fun! – dating. I know I’m ready and emotionally healthy enough to open my heart to a man… but he must earn and be worthy of something so precious.

I really like Ryan, the guy I've been seeing since December. I see so much potential for a relationship with him, more so than with anyone else I have dated since I got divorced two years ago. But for all the ways that Ryan and I are compatible in our personalities, lifestyles, and even sexual styles, none of it matters in the slightest if we don’t both want a relationship right now -- not eventually, not next month, right now.

Last week, after days of my doubting and questioning (and a long overdue trip to my therapist), I decided that maybe I’d been a crazy female. I needed to chill the fuck out and just enjoy.

So, when Ryan and I spent last Friday night together, it was lovely. We got takeout, snuggled, watched a movie, had hot sex, and slept together. He held my hand, he called me babe. The next morning, we got breakfast together (bagels!!!). I was loving it. All felt boyfriend-y. It felt nice and real.

But, I asked if he wanted to come to my friend’s birthday drinks that evening, and he said he had already made plans. That is fine of course, and actually very attractive that he has a life. But, it dawned on me that in all the weeks that we have been hanging out, he has never once suggested I meet his friends or coworkers. Not that I need to meet his best friend yet, but even a casual, “come meet us out for happy hour” type thing.

Then on Sunday, I asked if he wanted to just hang out, super low key, in a close the gap between Dating and Relationship type way. He said yes… then an hour later, he said no, he just wanted to chill (read: alone). The big "ouch" factor was that he didn’t ask when I would be free in the week.

We hung up and then I realized, I can do better than this. 

I like Ryan a lot, but I’m not interested in hovering in this almost-a-relationship-but-not-quite territory indefinitely. I do think he likes both my personality and appearance, but I have felt him slowly throw up a wall the past few weeks. I don't know why, and I'm not particularly interested in playing armchair shrink to find out. If he doesn’t want a relationship, I completely understand and respect that (I've been there!), but I also respect myself enough to walk away.

So, I called Ryan back. I said, “I’d like us to get together and talk about what’s been going on between us. Are you free tomorrow?” (Totally stole this approach from this article.)

He agreed, and we were supposed to meet last night, which is why I was holding off on this blog post. However, the faux blizzard hit our area, so The Talk is postponed until tomorrow Thursday.

I recognize that in all likelihood, this will be our kiss-off, which super sucks. But we need to talk so I can stop guessing, and we can either move forward together or go our separate ways.

The bitch of all relationships, whether platonic or romantic, is that you have to want the same thing at the same time for the relationship to work. I have learned that I must be loyal to myself, first and foremost. I don’t settle for subpar relationships with anyone, so why start with someone who I want to date?

(And next week, I'll obviously dish on what happened during The Talk.)

Have you had to walk away from someone you were enjoying dating but felt you wanted different things?