Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I'm Screwed Up: A Brief History of My Sexual Partners

I’ve never had an adult relationship that had both sex AND emotion in proper proportion. Yup, I’m 34-years-old and I don’t remember how to care about a guy and also have sex with him.

I realized this on the first anniversary of my divorce and tears filled my eyes. It was five days after Aaron and I had sex for the first time. 

The more I thought about it, the more I had trouble remembering a time when I had meaningful, lasting sex with, well, anyone in the past decade or so.

Let’s attempt to break down my sexual past and see why I'm screwed up.

Dave – I lost my virginity when I was 18 years old, the summer before I left for college. My boyfriend, Dave, and I were madly, adorably in love with each other. Unfortunately I wasn’t entirely sure I lost my virginity because it was over so fast. (By the way, I doubt I was a good lay either.)  

Random guys in college and into my early-mid 20s – There were kind of a lot of these. I’m not proud of it, but whatever. If nothing else it meant I was super fun to have breakfast with because I had ridiculous stories. For example:
“You guys, I seriously thought about jumping out the window so no one would see me leaving his room. Do you think I would survive jumping out the third floor window? I might’ve tried if it weren’t for this hangover. I probably would’ve barfed on myself on the way down.”

If I remember correctly, and I probably don’t, I think these encounters were always one-time only occurrences. What can I say, I never had a boyfriend in college, and this girl has needs! (Bear in mind that I didn’t discover masturbation until last  year.) Miraculously, I never got attacked or mugged or contracted an STD. 

Dan – I dated Dan for about four months when I was in grad school. He was smart, sweet, and sexy, and definitely more into me than I was in to him. I held him at arm’s length emotionally because we would be going our separate ways after graduation. But that didn’t stop us from having some pretty decent sex. He was the first guy I slept with regularly since Dan. The next one wouldn't come until Max, two years later.

A few more random guys. For example, the guy whose name I didn't know.

Ivan – Ugh, I hate to even tell you about this experience. Ivan was emotionally manipulative and knew exactly what to  say to break down my walls. He sensed my insecurities and made me forget about them. We dated for six weeks when I was 24 and I fell head over heels for this joker. (So embarrassing.) We had sex once or twice and then he dumped my ass like a bad habit. While he was dumping me and I was a blubbering mess, he actually told me that the next time he had sex with someone, he would make sure that he really cared about her first. Uh, thanks. Glad you have that plan in place. I felt used and stupid.

Max – The first year we were dating, I fell in love with him. I was 25 years old and I embraced being completely vulnerable with a man for the first time. I loved how Max smelled, how he wrapped his arms around me, how his hands felt on my skin. I loved being held afterward as we had those talks that can only happen in that precious space after sex. For the first time -- but only for a short time -- I truly connected sex and love, and it was intoxicating.

But, as you well know, this time was very, very short lived. After the first year, our sex life was never normal again. For the next six years, it was infrequent and eventually non-existent. Sex stressed him out so he always seemed to be biding his time until I would orgasm one time and then roll off of him. Sex was no longer a way to show love for each other, but rather a source of pain, rejection, and conflict. 

If this wouldn't screw with your head and heart, you're a much stronger person than I am!

Cheater – Desperate to get laid after no sex of any kind for three years, I had sex with a guy who I knew had a girlfriend. (I didn't know him or her, but still. Yuck.) I completely removed emotion and went for it. I am proud that I never cheated on Max, but somehow I was fine with being The Other Woman for one night because it was Just Sex.

Jason – Sure, I liked him in the beginning, but he was always my Mr. Right Now. Once I dumped him, I viewed him as my sexual plaything. It was kind of amazing how I could just turn off any semblance of emotion I once had for him. As a result, I realized Incredible Sex was turning me into an asshole.

I'm not so great at math, but I would say I've only had something resembling feelings for about 12% of my partners. Hmmm. A little depressing, no?

Now my sexual past is impacting my sexual present.

With all of this in mind, I think it's safe to say I’m dating Aaron. We have gone out to dinner and to the movies (Frozen!) and last week I met some of his friends. We have stayed in and cooked and watched movies and drank wine. All normal dating things, right?

So here’s where I get FREAKED OUT. (Don’t tell him I get freaked out – I’m hiding my crazy on this one.)

I don’t know how to have sex with someone I like. 

Well, I do, because I am, but I am so unsure of everything! I have no clue how much sex is expected when you’re dating. Do I want too much? or not enough? And is it OK to talk or text about it? or do "nice girls" not do that? Is it normal for me to get really into the sex or am I supposed to be more subdued and gradually show my real sexual self? It’s almost like I don’t understand how I can like a guy AND have hot sex… can the two actually go together?!

You guys, I’m a grown-ass lady but this realization made me feel like a Cosmo-reading teen or something. For a flash, I bitterly thought, “Thanks for fucking me up, Max.” And with that, I shook it off and emailed my therapist to set up my first appointment in months. We’ve got some work to do!

Did you have trouble adjusting to allowing sex and emotion to go together after a hard breakup?

See also: 8 Reasons Divorced Sex Is So Much Better Than Married Sex

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One Year Later: Why I Love My Divorce

It’s been 365 days since a judge asked me if I really wanted to dissolve my marriage. I answered yes. Not once in the past 365 days have I wavered or questioned if I answered that judge correctly.

Without the burden of trying to save my marriage, I have had the rare and beautiful opportunity to rediscover and redefine myself. In the past year, I have learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined.

Divorce, something I never thought would happen to me, something I thought was for quitters, something that was "not an option" (quoting myself in 2011) is now something I’m almost proud of. 

Here’s why I love my divorce and the lessons it has taught me:
  • My divorce proved that you really can love each other but you cannot stay married. My ex-husband never made me doubt his love or devotion. It was maddening and insanely hurtful that he wouldn’t be intimate with me, but I did know it was his deep-seeded issue and not a reflection of his love for me. I am fortunate that I still believe in love.
  • My divorce showed me that I have a strong support network. I felt so alone and humiliated as I protected Max and my relationship disintegrated. Once I knew the relationship was over and I started revealing the truth to my inner circle, no one made me feel judged. When I needed love or encouragement, it was a matter of which incredible person’s support I wanted to pick. I will never forget this.
  • My divorce is a reminder that divorce doesn’t have to be cruel. Max and I lived together for six months after the divorce was final, and we learned how to be respectful of each other’s space while slowly cultivating a friendship. We continue to work on our friendship.
  • My divorce awakened my sexual self. I bought a vibrator. I started hooking up with a guy seven years younger than me. I slept with someone’s boyfriend (will not repeat). I had peel-me-off-the-ceiling Incredible Sex for months. My sexual self is awesome. I’m pleased to remake her acquaintance.
  • My divorce means I got to meet you, dear reader, through my blog and Twitter. Your stories and comments have helped me sort through my mess of complicated emotions. I am so grateful!

Most importantly, my divorce symbolizes taking control of my future and my happiness. I felt trapped and miserable and terrified of the D word. I changed all of that. And my life is better because of it.

Thank you for readership and support of Surviving and Thriving in the First Year of My Divorce. Let’s continue the ride and join me for another year! 

Epic Mommy Adventures

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Week of Men: A Disney Date, a Plea For Another Chance, and the End of Incredible Sex

You are not going to believe the past couple of days. In the wise words of The Weather Girls, it's been raining men.

Let’s go through the parade of guys day by day, shall we?

Friday, January 31 -- featuring a new guy, Aaron
After a fun non-date the previous week, I had my first real date with Aaron, another guy I met through OKCupid. We did drinks and dinner, then he walked me home and kissed me good night. SWEET.

Sunday, February 2 -- featuring Aaron
Aaron invited me over for the Superbowl. I popped by his house for just one quarter – too soon to hang around any longer. He kissed me goodbye and I got weak in the knees. Damn, we are definitely kissing compatible.

Monday, February 3 -- featuring Aaron and a horny 26-Year-Old
A snowstorm made me work from home. Aaron went into his office, conveniently just a few blocks from my apartment. At 11:30 a.m., he asked if I’d like to have lunch. Duh, of COURSE I would. (Side challenge – what to wear to a last minute lunch on a Monday when I’ve been working from home? I decided to change out of my brother’s middle school football sweatshirt from 1994 in favor of an oversized sweater and leggings.)

That night, who texts me a racy pic? The 26-Year-Old. Just when I think he’s gone, he’s not! You have to love that I don’t hear from him for weeks, then he just sends a pic without even a “hi” first. He looked hot though, so it was cool with me. He almost came over… in hindsight, I’m glad he didn’t.

Wednesday, February 5 -- featuring Aaron and Jason, Mr. Incredible Sex
Aaron and I hung out again. We got a bite to eat and just missed a showing of “Frozen,” so he came over to Watch A Movie. Just like when I was 16, this was code for Come Make Out On My Couch. When he left my apartment, I had one of those big stupid “I just smooched a cute boy” smiles. Yay!

Of course, while I was out with Aaron, Jason was texting me. UGH. I ignored him, which prompted my last blog entry that the Incredible Sex must stop, and I mean it this time!

Thursday, February 6 -- featuring John, who dumped me a few weeks ago
And then other times...
he actually is that into you.
I checked Facebook in the morning, and I had a friend request from John, the guy who discarded me almost three weeks ago. Huh? Interesting timing since I’d just recently cleaned out my contacts and deleted him. Totally baffled, I ignored the request.

When I got in to the office, I received a text from an unknown number asking if he can call me that night. Based on my powers of deduction, I knew it was John. I text back yes, he can call me. 

I went back to Facebook and discovered a message from him that he had sent along with the friend request the night before. The gist of this was this – he had acted rashly when he decided to stop seeing me and wanted to see if I would be open to seeing him again.

WHAT?! You guys, this is the crap girls always hope will happen and it NEVER does. I was definitely bummed when he gave me the boot, but when I didn’t hear from him within a few days, I figured our opportunity has passed so I licked my wounds and looked forward (meaning I went back to online dating).

So that night, I talked to John. It was nice to hear his voice again. He did indeed explain why he felt he’d made a mistake. Wow.

I told him I was surprised to hear all of this. I continued that I knew we had a good connection and I would like to see him again, but I was just starting to talk to another guy. To make sure I wasn’t being sketchy with anyone, could I get back to him over the weekend so I could just process all of this? 

He said of course, and that he would love the chance to take me out again, even for Valentine's Day if I'd like. But yes, take the time I need to think.


Saturday, February 8 -- featuring Aaron and Jason
Aaron and I had yet another date. If there were ever a date where a guy is setting things up to get lucky with me, it would’ve been this date. 

First, we saw “Frozen” (which was awesome). He held my hand throughout the movie and he actually liked the movie too. He started racking up the points. 

Then we went grocery shopping together to get stuff to make dinner at my apartment. This was a big challenge for him because I’m a vegetarian, but he was totally game. We headed back to my place. I opened a bottle of red wine and put on some Billy Joel. So there we were in my kitchen, and Aaron is chopping and measuring I was the one needing to step aside. Unbelievable! Guys never cook for me, and certainly not in my kitchen! (Well, unless you include the brownie fiasco.) I was LOVING it. In between the chopping and measuring was lots of making out. Our dinner of improvised eggplant parm, spaghetti squash, and baguette was lovely, followed the monkey bread he baked. 

So did Aaron get lucky? No. (You guys, someone give me a freaking medal for my self-restraint.) 

I told him I didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves, etc., so I didn't want rush into sex. He understood and agreed. With sex off the table [only temporarily, I hope], he still slept over and it was awesome. We hit that amazing combo of both sweet and hot. 

I’m cautiously optimistic, but it seems like there could be potential with Aaron. The conversation is good and we certainly seem to be sexually compatible. And he’s definitely not “too square” for me. 

And, of course, there was a text from Jason. Bah! Go away! I’m trying to focus on the ones that actually have boyfriend potential!

Sunday, February 9 -- featuring Aaron, John, and Jason (really?!)
I'm not exactly Marilyn, but let's just go with the visual.
After kissing Aaron goodbye, I made my to do list for the day. 
1. Practice yoga.
2. Buy groceries.
3. Tell John thanks but no thanks.
4. Tell Jason we cannot be fuck buddies anymore.

With the first two items done, I geared up to call John. Clearly things seem to be going well with Aaron, but even if I weren’t seeing anyone, I couldn’t give John another shot. Regardless of the back story, I know myself and I wouldn’t be able to get past the fact that John already had a list of my faults or whatever lined up in his head. Also, in the weeks that have gone by, I’ve reflected and I think John might be a little too much like Max – a good guy, but a little “too square” (John's exact words) for me. I truly applaud John’s guts for trying though, and I told him so. The conversation took three minutes, but he was gracious and mature. He totally understood and wished me all the best. What a nice guy. Too bad he wasn’t the right match for me.

Jason texted me to see if he could come over, which didn’t surprise me; history has shown that when he can sense me disappearing, he gets much more clingy. First I tried saying I needed space, which he mocked. He was all, we’re just fuck buddies, why would we need space? I wanted to say, BECAUSE YOU’RE TEXTING ME EVERYDAY AND YOU KEEP ASKING ME OUT!!!! But I didn’t. I attempted the high road. I wrote back, “OK I’ll put it this way. I’m not comfortable with the fuck buddy thing anymore.” I’ll spare you the details, but he was a condescending little shit.

Note the stark contrast between John and Jason: John was an adult about getting turned down, and Jason was an immature brat. All Jason did was confirm that I’m done with him and his shit, and yes, that means Incredible Sex.

So, this is my several days of boy craziness. Classic case of when it rains, it pours! I made all good choices the past few days, so I’m proud of myself. Stay tuned for what happens with Aaron. I am so curious to find out!

Why is the old cliche true that when it rains, it pours? Have you had this happen?
elleroy was here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Incredible Sex is Turning Me Into an Asshole

I only want to use you for Incredible Sex!
As you know, I’m still sometimes having Incredible Sex with Jason. And that makes me an asshole.

It’s possible for someone to be a hookup buddy only (for example, the 26-Year-Old and I have been hooking up off and on for a year with no emotional fallout whatsoever). In November and December, I thought that Jason could handle us just screwing, but I’m realizing that he can’t. He keeps getting attached. I know it, so I should stop talking to him, but moreover, stop having sex with him.

In the past few weeks, he has asked me out to dinner, if there’s any chance of us getting back together, etc. I have said clearly and firmly, that no, there is no chance.

One night, Jason confessed to me that he has considered trying to just fully change himself to be the guy he thought I wanted. I looked him in the eye and told him he should never, ever do that, not for me or anyone else. He would end up hating me (or whoever), and he should be true to himself.

“I hope this doesn’t sound too weird,” I said quietly, “but I know you would be a wonderful boyfriend. I’m not the right person for you and you’re not the right person for me, but that girl is out there for you.”

He knows I’ve been dating. In fact, during my brief stint dating John, I told Jason I was starting to see someone so no more nookie, as per our agreement. But what did I do the night that John dumped me? I texted Jason. Because I'm an asshole!

I don’t let Jason sleep over. We don’t really cuddle post-sex. We don't kiss hello or goodbye. 

So yes, my words are (mostly) clear. But I keep having Incredible Sex with him. That is confusing for Jason (even though it shouldn’t be…right?). 

I know Jason is confusing sex with emotion,
and I’m such an asshole that I don’t care.

Wow. That really stings to see in print.

Jason texts me asking to come over and about 50% of the time I say yes. He still texts me that I’m beautiful. Hell, last weekend I had what I was calling a date with my four-year-old nephew (we saw "The Nut Job" and got dinner at Friendly’s), and Jason texted me asking if I would ask my nephew for tips – “Tell him I keep trying to land a date with his aunt.”


(I must point out that for all that he wants to date me, Jason continues to be very self-centered and needy for attention, so he only talks and thinks about himself. Not sure where I fit in to that equation. He never asks me about me. Like ever. He doesn’t ask me about work, my friends, my writing, my half marathon training, my Uggs, nothing.)

So why am I being such an asshole?

Yes, I went three years without sex (I know, right?! NEVER AGAIN), and the years before that I hardly had any sex then either. But my relationship with Max has been over since September 2012. Jason and I have been having Incredible Sex off and on for almost six months now. I think that my “I was so sexually starved!” excuse that was once so very valid is expiring.

Anyway, I think it’s time that I stop being an asshole. I’m not going to lie, I’m going to miss the Incredible Sex terribly and I do love the attention Jason showers on me (even though sometimes he’s really annoying about it). It’s awesome to feel hot and sexy and wanted. But it’ll be even nicer to not feel guilty about it.

Have you been an asshole and you knew it? or have you been on the receiving end of someone being a repeated asshole to you?

See also: 8 Reasons Divorced Sex Is So Much Better Than Married Sex

Monday, February 3, 2014

GUEST POST: How Algorithms Make It Easy to Find Love... and Throw It Away

Yoshi's on the left and
I'm on the right.
You've heard tales about my friend Yoshi over the past year, and now you get to hear from him directly! He's got a weird sense of humor, sometimes he's rude, and he's become a close friend of mine. He has listened to my sometimes sweet and other times idiotic dating stories, and now he asked to share his story. I said absolutely!

Lovestruck in Calculus

Years ago when I was in college, there was a sweet (looking) girl in my calculus class. "Looking" is in parenthesis because I had actually not talked to her more than few words.

There was no Facebook at the time, so the only information I had on her was her name. My options were limited to getting to know her in the old fashioned way. As a first step of this, I wanted to ask her to my fraternity formal (years later I found out that there was this thing called "asking someone to coffee"), so I set up a plan.

Right after the final exam, I planned on asking her to my formal as she left the building. In order for this to work, she couldn't leave the exam before me. So on exam day, I just wrote down my name, filled random bubbles on my Scantron sheet, and bolted out the door. I waited outside the door of the math building, eagerly awaiting my soon-to-be date. It was cold, and I must have waited at least half an hour. Where was she?

The moral of the story? Always check how many doors the building has and getting "D" in calculus sucks.

Algorithms Lead to Love...

That was a decade ago. Things are different now. With the rapid advancement of the technology such as online dating websites, you get to go on a first date knowing most of the person's information. It seems to be working too; according to eHarmony, 236 of its members marry everyday in the United States as a result of being matched on eHarmony.

We live in the generation of dating where we have the "find love" and "next please" buttons on our fingertips. The online dating sites such as eHarmony (and, Kat's favorite, OKCupid) use complex matching algorithms and select the potentially successful matches. The numbers strongly suggest that the algorithm is the result of more than just a conceptual theory. Clearly, finding love has become easier and more convenient (or so eHarmony's PR team tells me).

...But Do Algorithms Make It Too Easy?

As someone who makes his living in the field of technology, I am happy to see that the technology is helping to solve one of the oldest and most complex needs of humanity. However, it is worthwhile to note there are side effects of technology-driven convenience:
 we have a tendency to easily let go of things that are not hard earned. 

(See Kat's articles about her dumping guys she met online, and then it was her turn to get discarded.)

Whether one is for or against online dating trend depends on the individual's definition of "dating." If one sees dating as a road to happiness, then the technology has in fact made this road much easier to travel. So that's a good thing. Who wouldn't want happiness, and who wouldn't want to get it more efficiently?

You may be wondering why I am stating the obvious. Well, I am not.

Most of the readers who read The Requirements for Dating Me would agree that I am a weirdo (OK, we are still on the "stating the obvious" part). If you are not convinced, the next few lines might change your perception.

I find joy in walking the road of uncertainty. Even if it's misery that welcomes me at the end of this journey, as long as I get to suffer it in the old fashioned way, I will be happy, in a weird way, as Kat would put it.

Final words

I, too have been on dates using an online dating site. While writing this, I tried to remember the name of the last girl I went on a date with from the online dating site. I sadly couldn't.

Ironically, I can still remember the name and the face of the girl who indirectly made me stand in the cold for 30 minutes almost a decade ago. I will remember her every time I see the only "D" in my transcript.

Yoshi is a twenty-something year-old single guy who thinks Marilyn Monroe was the last great American beauty.