Emotions in an Online Dating World

So it’s been a LONG time…but I was trying to muddle through and build up after a disappointing event and writing through it came to me, so here I am.

I have delved back into the online dating world. I truly wish I didn’t have the compulsion (or the need frankly) to go this route. My job and my personal life are limited for meeting  men on any real level. Hence, the online scene.

I truly seek to find someone with whom I will have undeniable chemistry with that I also want to stay up into the wee hours of the night just talking and laughing with. My standards are high. I know that. I don’t want to settle.

I can go on dates with many men that are perfectly nice and normal enough, yet feel no interest in wanting to kiss them at the end of the date. I’ve been on a couple of those in the past few weeks. Nice guys. Nothing glaring. Just not my cup of tea. No sparks flew. No desire to continue the date beyond the first location.

Then there’s the guy that I hit it off with almost immediately when we started “messaging”. There was good banter, his answers were spot on for making me smile to myself and think “hmmm, so that’s refreshing” and we had an easy flow to the conversation well into the night. We exchanged numbers to move to text and pictures seemed on point. He even talked about how I was his “last hope” from the site because he was done with all the other BS and took down his site after we moved to text. He sent pictures to verify/validate and by the middle of the morning we were both interested in hearing the other’s voice. Our conversation had gone long into the night and when it was 1:00 am, we spoke in the hush of the night and I was smitten. His voice was comforting and sexy at the time. Our conversation wasn’t overtly sexual. We didn’t go there. He seemed super respectful, yet at the same time interested in the chemistry that seemed to underly our conversation. We finally ended the conversation in the early hours to get a little sleep before work the next day.

So, the next day, ‘it was probably too good to be true, I’m sure I won’t hear from him the next day. Theses things don’t happen in real life and work out…” yet, I DID hear from him! We were making plans to meet in person. It was right before the weekend. He had plans he couldn’t break, but definitely wanted to meet up. Offered to just come the hour drive from his place to mine just to see if our first kiss would present all the expectations that we had dreamed up through our conversations. Of course, I’m not an idiot. No, you can’t come to my house at midnight! Lol, but the idea of someone wanting to see me that anxiously was flattering. Needless to say, we chatted throughout the next day. He tried to reach me when he finished up his time with his friend, and I had already fallen asleep. When my dog woke me to go out around 3, I saw his text and responded with the “sorry, fell asleep” to which he was awake and responded almost immediately. We texted again for a bit, he called again and we spoke on the phone, and finally ended the conversation after a couple hours around 5.

Surely this is all WAY too good to be true, right? Nothing will happen day 3…he’ll have lost interest because he knows I’m not inviting him over to my house, because even though he SEEMS to be cool about the waiting for sex I keep asserting, we can’t stop talking about having a proper kiss and how it may be pretty nice. So surely, he’s just hoping to sweet talk me enough to get an invite and seduce me into sex once he’s here? But now he is thinking it’s a lost cause and is going to drop off…

Nope. Day 3 we text a bit throughout the day (his initiation) thinking that it’s a strong possibility to meet up by 10 because he has this golf thing with his friend from out of town who is in town for business (same guy he got together with the previous night also) and they should be wrapped up by then. Well, 10 comes and goes and he doesn’t reach out, see, he’s not really in to me…except he texts around 11 instead and says he can be here ASAP. To which I still say no, I’ve already prepared to be in for the night since I hadn’t heard from him earlier. Then we proceed to talk about how the following night he didn’t have plans and the 8:00 normal public meeting places and times are available and he talks about how he can’t wait to finally see me in person.

By this time I’m super excited and now getting super nervous. What if he isn’t all I expect in person. What if he really doesn’t like me when he sees ME in person. What if, what if, what if…but I’m invested.

And I’m hopeful. I want to believe that he’s legit and the meeting is going to go off with fireworks and the start of a great relationship is on the horizon. I seemed to be getting the same hopeful feelings back from him.

He tells me he has some work the next day, so can’t text as much, but then by 5, I hear from him. We text back and forth talking about our impending meeting. He’s getting ready. Around 7 he actually tells me he has gotten in the car to leave. I’m excited enough I actually tell my daughters I’m meeting him. I leave to meet at the movie theater we agreed on to be there around the time I expect him to arrive. Shortly before I expect him to be arriving, he sends a flirty text and I ask if he’s almost there because he’s started texting more and should be driving. He doesn’t respond. I say some things about him being lost when it’s after when I expect him. He doesn’t respond. Then I get a “Hold on. Accident”. At this time it’s past when it should take him to get there and I check the highway apps to see what accident he may be talking about. I see nothing. I assume an accident was holding him up for traffic, not that HE was in an accident. So I tell him I now need to go to the bathroom and I’m heading into the theater. He responds “OK”. This is the last communication I get from him. Period. I waited and sent multiple texts of “I hope you’re ok?” “I don’t understand” “I guess I’m headed home” etc. and I try to call a couple times. No answer. I get nothing the rest of the night.

I get nothing the next day.

Around 5 pm the next day I send the “I am now worried and confused” text and request that he at the least just tell me he isn’t dead and if he changed his mind on meeting, that’s fine, but I just don’t want to be worried that he was in the accident.

Nothing.

Next day. Nothing.

Now it’s a Tuesday, after a Monday holiday of not hearing from him, and we were supposed to meet on Sunday for the first time. I’m at work and talking with my girlfriends at lunch about the events of the weekend. My girlfriend suggests that we try to call him from her phone to see if he answers, because maybe he’s dead?! We laughed and feeling very high school girlish, I say OK. She calls, he doesn’t answer, and I think, whatever. Until he calls back a minute later and she throws the phone at me. I have no idea what to say, so when he says he “missed a call from this number” all I can think is, say it wasn’t me, like how sometimes people call my number and it wasn’t me that called them because hackers can mimic your number. It’s a real thing. But it was crazy. I know. And immature. But that’s what I did in the moment of on the spot “what the fuck?” because all I can think is, well, your phone isn’t broken asshole.

It was him. It was his voice. A couple texts are now exchanged with my friend’s phone, to which I’m not sure if he knows it was me or thinks it was some other woman he has been involved with some other time (our area codes don’t match, so how would he connect us?) so I decide to just call him. I call on my phone, so he knows it’s me. When he answers I’m shaking so much from anger and irritation and anxiety. I tell him it’s me, and he responds congenially like we’re friends and the past 48 hours hasn’t transpired. So I ask him, what the hell happened on Sunday because I’m confused and honestly quite a bit pissed. He starts to respond with something to the effect of “well, it’s like I told you…” and the phone conveniently disconnects. I have no idea if he’s hung up on me or if the line was lost, but either way, I’m not sure if I want to hear what his response may have been.

I send a final text saying that the other phone was my friend’s because we were speculating what may have happened to him and I didn’t get his game, but I’m glad we didn’t get involved because I’m not really interested in liars and I wouldn’t contact him again. Surprise, he didn’t respond.

So after all that, I just don’t get it. I don’t understand how people can be so callous. I was honest and tried to be vulnerable. I was hopeful, but guarded enough to not make a thoughtless decision that could end in disaster. I trusted and tried to open myself to possibilities.

I really would like to find someone. A partner. A confidant. A playmate. Someone I can feel open to and excited about.

It’s hard.

It’s hard not to let experiences like this effect your future encounters. It’s hard not to close up and give up. It’s been so long since I’ve been in a proper relationship I feel like damaged goods that no man is really going to be interested in anyway. I don’t do hookups or flings, and I’ve noticed that many men expect sex quickly in a relationship. That’s not really my style. So now I feel like it will also be a road block in addition to my lack of ability to attract the kind of men that I’m attracted to and have a connection with. I want the connection that involves the chemistry. But I don’t want empty sex.

Don’t get me wrong, I can attract other men. There are men that message me and want to meet, and some I do meet. But most often there’s no attraction and the one’s I’ve met I just verify that there really is no attraction once I meet them, though they are nice enough people, just not someone I picture in my travel plans or playful scenarios wandering the streets of new places to explore or sitting by a fire enjoying a cuddle under a quilt.

I’m not desperate. I’m super independent and truly live my life fully without needing a man. I work hard in my field to better myself and advance. I have friends that I socialize with regularly. I enjoy a full life with my kids and being involved with their lives in the ways I can as their mom now that they are all pretty much grown. I look forward to when my youngest is graduated (2 years) and I will be moving to a new location and the new possibilities are exciting to me, though I know that the problems I have currently will follow me where I go, I’m not naive to think that a new location will solve my problems. I’ve moved enough to know better.

 

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Hello again.

Just shy of a year since I last wrote. It’s Memorial Day weekend. My Marine is home for a break and went out to spend some time with a friend. I’m catching up on laundry and found my way to my old blog and read through a few of my more recent posts.

I guess you could say I’ve fallen into a dull routine of sorts. I work, I take care of my girls, and I work some more. The rest is “down time” spent doing much of nothing productive.

Earlier this week a neighbor invited us to their backyard because he wanted to welcome my new Marine to “the club” and ‘buy him a beer’…he caught us as we were heading out to dinner and we went over for a few minutes to chat. His wife was lovely and they were very nice people. Their backyard was quite the oasis and made me long for the security and roots sunk into a home that you can mold into your own haven. They had several sitting area, a small garden, a koi pond, and even a small swimming pool area to enjoy. I would never have been able to guess that so much could fit on one of the small city lots, but they found room to squeeze it all in. The wife chatted away about their projects and how cozy it felt and how they never really “go out” because they enjoy their space so much. It was very homey and comfortable. I was envious. When we got in the car to head out to dinner, my daughter commented, “so is that kinda like what you want someday mom?” I expressed that I would love a space like that to mold into my own oasis, though I also told her that having that takes time and evolves through various projects here and there and that I doubted I would have that opportunity at this point in my life. It was a sad realization for me. I wonder if I will EVER be able to own my own home again. It gives me a feeling of disconnectedness that I will always have to float around renting from someone else.

My latest plan I have devised to combat my need to move out of this area due to cost of living is to apply to the Department of Defense to teach at military base schools abroad. My youngest is actually really excited and hopes that I can land a position while she is still considered a dependent so she can go with me. It’s exciting to think we may embark on this adventure together. The application process and getting selected is a grueling one and I have heard that it is extremely difficult to land a position. Many apply and only a few jobs become available. I am trying to position myself to the best of my abilities to make myself marketable for what they may be looking for, but right now I am a “dime a dozen” type of candidate. We’ll see how it turns out. I plan on applying next summer after my oldest daughter graduates from high school.

I have a couple enjoyable things on the horizon for this short summer. I have a week long science conference for upper elementary school teachers in a town nearby with all expenses paid, so I’m going to treat it like a mini vacation. Then my oldest daughter and I will be traveling with our church to Columbia for a mission trip providing a vacation bible school type curriculum with the children in the area were are going to. I’m looking forward to sharing the opportunity with my daughter. It has been 7 years since I went on a mission trip (and it was my first overseas) and it was a great experience. Unfortunately, I also associate it with a very upsetting time in my life because I traveled a month prior to my ex coming home to tell me he was having an affair.

I also expect to finish my three year process of applying to become a Nationally Board Certified teacher this coming school year. I have one more component to submit and I should hear by December 2019.

I honestly have no idea where to imagine myself in the next five years. There are so many unknowns for me. It is somewhat unsettling, though I also don’t mind completely because at least I know it isn’t going to be more of the same that I’m currently going through. I’m not unrealistic to think that it’s all going to be sunshine and roses, but I also believe that I have needed a change in my life for long enough that I feel overdue, so that makes it exciting enough.

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The Hope

Today my oldest child turns 18. He is embarking on the adult stage of his life with a respectful dedication and desire to serve his country. He leaves on his new journey in just three short weeks. I can’t be more proud of the young man he is becoming and the heart and mind he has developed. I envision him as a father when I see him interacting with other children and taking them under his wing. I see the leadership he possesses when he talks about the goals he hopes to achieve in the service.

Getting here hasn’t been an easy task. The road has been marred by obstacles; lack of significant male guidance, motivational challenges, and general lack of belief in himself. He has recently actually referred to himself as a child without a father figure. He was discussing goals for working with kids, namely boys, who had a lack of father figures in their lives and said it was because he could identify so closely with them. That comment in itself reinforced the feelings I have had originating so many years ago.

I lament the choice I made for a father of my children. I didn’t realize at the time that his feelings toward “family” (his own and in general) were as premonitious of the realities to come. I was young and naive. I had heard before that you should always look at how a man treats his mother…I just didn’t see the signs clearly enough. Or really give them enough credence.

Even now, my ex sees his mother as a chore. She is a blighted responsibility that he avoids or throws money at to assuage his own guilt of his true feelings of disdain. His latest comment about her was telling when he mentioned that she had again used money he sent for something less than worthy in his eyes and “what can you do, it’s that or let your mother live in a box I guess”. He and his sister have relentlessly “kicked the can” (in their own words) down the street a bit farther so as to not have to face any real problem head on regarding their mentally handicapped mother. As for his father, he has no real relationship with him at all, and hasn’t for much of his life. His father is a socially awkward sort and interpersonal skills are lacking to say the least. I feel that most of my ex’s life has been spent trying to overcome and prove himself to be better than his beginnings. It is sad and I have felt sad for him along the way.

I see now how coming from that place caused him to behave in a preservation of self mode, though I don’t really excuse his behavior.

While my son was growing up, my ex was spending his time trying to prove that he was worthy to the world. He was accepted into what he deemed an elite club of sorts, and turned his back on his family to show that he deserved to be there. He essentially left his family behind as he sought out his new adventures and promoted himself in his own mind. Whether he believed that we could take care of ourselves or not, he checked out. Long before the marriage was over. Luckily, I think I’m a pretty strong woman, and I was able to take care of us pretty well. Not always, and at some significant costs to myself and to the kids along the way, but nonetheless we managed pretty securely. I only know this because the divorce wasn’t really the break that some families experience. I think truly because ours had begun occurring a few years previously and was a slow steady decline.

The divorce was really just a break in me. A finality to something that I had known to be building for quite some time and the final marker of a dream that died. For me, the dream was a big deal. The dream entailed a legacy. A bond with a family that I hoped would start a new tradition for a lifetime. The family unit being myself, my spouse, and our children. To last generations. To break cycles.

I still have trouble to this day with the death of that dream. I don’t lament the loss of my ex, he isn’t worthy of my sorrow with his lies and deceit and selfish ways. But I do lament the lack of father for my children. I see the pain in them sometimes that I can’t erase and it breaks my heart. While my ex has attempted to become a better father figure in some regards, I don’t know that things will ever be as they should have been all along because it is difficult for a child to forget when they have been abandoned and betrayed. However I have seen the forgiveness and acceptance in them which is healthy and necessary, though heartbreaking that it is.

I still have hopes. Our new family unit is defined differently than I had hoped. But I still have hopes for our legacy.

I have endeavored to instill a love of and bond between siblings that I hope endures the tests of time and life getting in the way. I hope to be the “grandmother” that I desire for my children’s children and pass down the love and bond to their children to hopefully develop the extended family love I never knew, but always dreamed of. I just won’t be doing it with a spouse that shares all those same aspirations, life goals, or history.

As my son enters into this adult stage of life, I only hope the seeds I have planted in him for what a family can be will bloom and flourish. I can’t wait to see the wonders to come! I love this little boy, now turning man, more than life itself and I pray his future is full of love and hope.

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Sleepless

I took a short nap today…that always does me in. Then I can’t sleep and end up missing more sleep than if I’d just struggled through the mid-day sleepy, thereby creating more tired rather than solving the “tired enough to need a nap” issue to begin with! But I’m on summer break, so I guess I have the time to mess up my sleep a bit.

I also haven’t written in awhile, but since I’m awake, I can use the time to explore something I’ve been thinking on a bit more recently…

I’ve been doing some self reflection of what type of person I want to be and the type of person I think others perceive me as…

I used to believe that introversion was an affliction of the less than desirable genre. I also associated extroversion with being confident, whereby introversion must, by design, mean unconfident since they are antonyms, right? In order to be liked, to be accepted, to be strong, to have power, one must be extroverted. Therefore I presented myself and believed myself to be extroverted.

I am beginning to rethink that mindset. While I do believe I had confidence (in some regards) and I was certainly willing to talk to people if/when necessary and speak my mind freely with minimal discomfort, I never really recognized my preference for smaller, more intimate groups as introversion. I didn’t really recognize the need I had for my own space and to retreat to a comfort zone once I’d ‘had enough’ social, nor did I attribute it to introversion.

In my youth, I always sought to be out with friends and doing fun things with others. My sister was the homebody sitting around reading books while I preferred to be out and about. We were polar opposites and didn’t get along (and still don’t really have a relationship) so I certainly didn’t want to be “introverted” like she was. As a child I would leave my house at dawn and return when the sun went down, seeking any neighborhood adventures I could. I even remember putting up with the neighborhood boys taunting and ruthless tormenting just to be away from home. I see this now as an escape from an uncomfortable home life more so than a need for social stimulation.

In high school I was involved in multiple clubs and organizations with social outlets. I guess I had many friends, though I don’t know if I ever really trusted that they were fully my friends deep down. I was more likely to trust the boys who were friends than my girlfriends. I think I believed people to be more superficial and dishonest then they purported to be, which was truly my own insecurities I see in hindsight. Though believing them to be that way, then created a truth in me that came through in the relationships that became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. I guess it wouldn’t be a surprise then to know that I couldn’t wait to get the HELL out of the town I grew up in once graduation came. I had had enough of the people I went to school with and their small minded ideals (in my own self absorbed belief system). I wanted better things. I was confident, and “extroverted”, and destined to be something “MORE”, though I had no idea what that meant or how I should go about getting it…I just knew I wanted to be something else. Someone else. Something important. Thank you Oprah and your daily special highlights of people making a difference.

Once I got to college, I acted as though I had it all figured out…I think I was probably bossy and self-absorbed in only a way a truly insecure person can be. But my quiet, mousy, studious roommate who didn’t really want to frequent frat parties or approve of my boyfriend visits was the “introverted” loser in my book. I gravitated towards loud, popular girls who I thought could ‘rub off’ on me and help me become something “MORE”. Little did I recognize my different interactions at parties to be contrary to the behaviors of my idolized “extrovert” friends. I didn’t really desire to do the all night party thing. I could never sustain the interest required for the duration of small talk or never ending socializing that went along with drinking games well into the night. I chalked it up to getting bored easily. I always left early before the party was officially over. I see now it was a desire to be alone. To recharge. I wanted to have more interesting conversations that went deeper than superficial, silly antics. My relationships with the “extrovert” girls had their cycles. Mainly they just didn’t last. They would find someone else interested who could ‘hang’ with the best of them and I was quickly dismissed. I took offense rather than recognize my own identity and the needs I had.

I think the introvert in me was a major draw to the string of ‘boyfriends’ I had throughout high school and college. I sought out serious relationships and can’t really say there was much time where I didn’t have a serious boyfriend. Having a steady boyfriend allowed me to have those more intimate conversations as well as excuses for being less social…and not in a creepy introverted way, but an “I’m an extrovert with a boyfriend, so I can’t go to the party” kind of way. Claiming the social butterfly identity while deep down I just wanted to hang out with some good, honest people who I knew where I stood with them and I enjoyed their company.

Once I began relationships in my adulthood, I continued to form relationships primarily with outgoing people who pursued friendships with me. I notice as I look back, however, that those relationships tended to be stepping stones to other relationships that I developed and didn’t always last long. As I am understanding extraversion now, I realize that the one owning the room (those people I befriended) were the truly extroverted ones and I was just a wannabe. I guess I thought that if I rubbed elbows enough with them, then I’d also be considered worthy, acceptable, and powerful. I certainly never wanted to be considered weak. And for whatever reason, I associated being an introvert with being weak.

I don’t really know where the association came from. I think my childhood was marred with a significant amount of discord and insecurity with my home life as well as my own personal insecurity. I knew I didn’t want to be weak. My mother was strong. Strong opinions, strong emotions, strong personality. She used it against my dad often. He seemed weak. He never fought back really. He allowed her to steamroll. I didn’t want to be rolled over. If I was going to be something, I wanted it to be the roller rather than the squashed. Therefore I wanted to be strong, and since I viewed extroversion as strong, I needed to be associated with extroverts and also being extroverted.

Over the past few years I have seen a shift in me. I have begun to embrace my ‘alone’ side. I think more by situational reality than by choice. Dating has been a whole lot of disappointment for me, as well as a brewery for insecurities. I’ve spent a lot of time alone, especially since I have to share my kids with my ex. I’ve become more accustomed to doing things alone if I truly want to do it badly enough. Though I still would prefer to do things with another I feel connected to… Sharing something special with someone special. I miss that. Immensely.

I’m learning the art of sitting back and being more a part of the scenery rather than trying to be the sparkle. It just doesn’t fit me and I wish it hadn’t taken me this long to figure it out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still outspoken and confident in many situations, I just try to feel authentic more often than contrived. I truly desire an authentic life, and now I’m starting to recognize my own needs and accept some of the realities of what that means.

Ok…I’m going to try to get back to the sleep thing now…wish me luck! Night.

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Dying a bit more each passing day

I try.

I really do try.

I think positively about being here for my kids.

I try to see the “everyday qualities” of the area and what it has to offer in the “big picture” as well. I seek out time with people I respect and admire and I understand that meeting people somewhere else will be even more difficult as a new person all over again. I think rationally about how problems don’t go away with a scenery change. I explain to myself how I have come to romanticize being somewhere else and that quality is not reality.

Unfortunately it does nothing for my deep soul.

I feel that I am slowly dying inside from the rut of my current station. I feel trapped by my own self imposed immovability. I know the choice is ultimately mine to make about how and where I choose to live my life. However, I am first a mother and the needs of my children come before my own. They are only in my charge for a short time and I owe it to them to be a decent parent and provide a stable environment they can thrive in to become the best adults they can be. Part of that environment includes their father in the vicinity. I’m not naive about that need for a child. Nor am I willing to sacrifice their need for my own need to change my environment. The window grows smaller…only 5 more years. Though the tunnel seems so long and I feel like when I reach the other side I will have lost the vitality of life that I will need to start over.

I will be in my late 40s. My children will all be grown and out just beginning their lives when I will feel like I can finally begin my own. I feel tired regularly as it is now. There is never enough to do all the things that demand time and money. And the future prospect of money becoming a major life issue for me is debilitating. I am working on ways to save over the next several years so I can have a cushion, as well as ways to increase my pay by getting extra certifications. Unfortunately with the late entry into my profession, it will be awhile before I see a decent level of manageable income for a single person. I will most likely have to contemplate a roommate in order to afford to live on my salary. In order to break the $50,000 mark, I need to have over 15 years in my county. I’m not even half way to that time due to staying home to raise my kids. Not to mention the rising cost of health care that continues to eat into earnings. I think I’ve heard from fellow colleagues that they have progressively been making less per year with the rising costs and the lack of increases over several years.

Every few months I do a search for “teaching in a small town” to see if there has been some article published to help direct where I should try to land once I’m able to move away from the community I’m currently drowning in…

I’m not a city girl. I never have been. The congestion of the people makes me feel crowded in and claustrophobic. I also don’t do well with the societal excesses of people needing to “keep up” or the falseness it breeds. I desire to be around honest, hard working people who don’t need to put on faces for fifteen seconds of fame or to show off their status. I prefer local businesses that do good work and take pride in themselves over the dirty, lackadaisical ‘working stiff’ places that provide low wage work to the masses. I like ‘off the beaten path’ kinds of things over glitz and glamour to impress.

I don’t need much. I’ve decided a small, modest home is probably the best idea for me. Not even really interested in over 1000 square feet. I’m so tired of seeing all these 3000-5000 square feet homes going in for half a million dollars and up and it being the golden apple for people to attain. I want a few things. An efficient floorplan, a small fireplace, many windows and possibly even a sunroom area with cozy seating, and outdoor space for sitting as well as cooking/eating. I don’t need a huge yard. Though I would like to plant some of my own vegetables someday when I have more free time.

I want to be able to travel to see my kids, though I hope they choose to live in close vicinity to one another so they can create the family dynamic we have always discussed where they get together often and their kids know one another and we have “family get togethers” on a regular basis. I actually look forward to being a grandma one day. I want to see my children enjoy their own lives and families and to be a significant part of their lives. I want to be a source of support and stability for their lives.

I also want to find contentment that it seems eludes me and has for several years now. I hate feeling that this is somehow my fate and I just need to resign myself to it. That many people have it so much worse and I should be more thankful. Knowing I should feel differently and working to remedy it is very different than actually feeling differently. I just want to find the place where I belong…and soon before my light fades so dim I can hardly notice it myself.

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Been such a long time…

I can’t even remember the last time I wrote…

things have been hectic and crazy as a life of a divorced mother of three teenagers an a full time working elementary teacher can be.

My oldest is graduating from high school this spring, and has come to the conclusion that he needs to enlist in the Marines. I am happy he feels settled and excited about the prospect, and deep inside me I know this move is probably the best one for him to make at this juncture in his life. Having said that, I also worry for him and hope that it doesn’t all blow up in his face (literally and figuratively) but I also realize he needs to make his own decisions about the direction of his life – and this is his decision. I know in the end he will find his way and be a great man…he has such a good heart.

My oldest daughter is flowing along – continuing her academic drive for near perfection, strengthening her artistic talents, and growing her relationships with friends and a “boyfriend” that she previously felt was out of her league until they started dating a few months ago. She has been committed to bi-monthly therapy to help deal with her anxieties and she seems to be doing well. I have two more years with her until she determines the fate of her own future and goes off to pursue it. I’m proud of the good head she has on her shoulders.

My youngest is lamenting middle school. As all children do. The immaturity of peers, especially boys, and the uselessness of teachers that she feels don’t ‘reach her intellect’ in the ways that she desires. She is also voicing her disappointment in me lately which is leading to some self doubt of my own. I don’t spend enough quality time with her. She is feeling neglected. Some of it is normal teenaged drama and not true, but there is at least an element of truth because our schedules are so filled with running here and there, not to mention visitation with her dad limiting the available time to spend ‘quality’. I am looking to find time to carve out very soon.

The ex is maintaining his usual “let’s be friends” routine and even went so far as to pose a suggestion that in order for me to save money and also help him out with costs for the house he can’t afford without a roommate; that I move in and rent the downstairs from him…he must not have heard me the first time he suggested back in October that it was nowhere in the realm of possibility for me to ever consider living with him, because he again suggested it about a month ago. Some may think it’s an attempt to “get me back”, however I can attest, he has been dating a woman (I actually met her for the first time back in November) for well over a year. Though the first time he suggested the roommate scenario, he also made sure to assert that he “wouldn’t date anyone while I was living with him” – which didn’t make sense to me, (and hasn’t made any attempts to stop dating her since I haven’t agreed to the roommate situation) but I digress.

I’ve dated off and on…more off right now because it just gets too cumbersome for me to deal with. I don’t meet eligible men in the normal comings and goings of my life. All my friends are married, and even many with small children, and not in similar stages of life. I get together frequently enough with a couple different groups of these women, but there are no “men friends” to speak of in any sense of the word. I don’t even have a group of mixed men/women couples that get together. So I certainly miss the interactions of men in my life. Which takes me to online dating.

I’ve met some men, messaged many who never responded to me, and blown off several that were nowhere near good possible candidates. Of the men I’ve met, I was either not attracted sexually at all, or found that we were incompatible in maturity or expectation of dating, or saw red flags with issues of communication – a definite deal breaker for me. I try not to take the ‘not finding someone’ thing personal. I really do. But that’s hard. I definitely feel often that there must be something wrong with me…that other people seem to find common ground with someone who wants to invest in them, but I just can’t. I try to analyze how I’m going about it to make sure I don’t emit desperation (I certainly don’t feel desperate because I don’t want to settle for the guys that could be just a ‘warm body’) and I try to think of my expectations and determine if my expectations are unrealistic. However what I come up with each time is that I just want to find someone I’m excited about getting to know and spending time with who is just as excited to do the same with me. I’ve come to the conclusion that that isn’t too much to ask. But it DEFINITELY is easier said that done.

Work is challenging me enough lately anyway. I have been navigating my new grade level and am anticipating testing this spring that I hope I am adequately preparing my students for, while at the same time hating the machine that makes it necessary for me to administer said testing and squash my professional talents with unrealistic expectations of 8 year olds. I am also going for my National Board Certification, so there is that added workload as well as the questioning of whether I will achieve the goal in the end.

More often with my ‘down time’ I spend it sitting on the couch vegging out to mindless television. Not that I have much down time, mind you. Often I am grading papers or lesson planning while watching as well. However, this does wonders for my mental and physical state, thus contributing to some of those aforementioned feelings of inadequacy for the dating pool. I feel stretched thin, and long to be away from the rat race. I want my own little space and peace of mind. I want to feel freedom from my burdened thoughts and responsibilities, and to feel more joyous about my situation and free to experience life with a different perspective. Maybe someday. Small steps.

Right now, I just need to finish lesson plans for the coming week, plan something special for my daughter’s birthday, work more on my teaching portfolio to send to the Board, clean my house, and watch just a bit of mindless television before heading into another week of the same stuff.

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Smooth Sailing

I haven’t written recently because things have been generally going along smoothly and I typically turn to my keyboard when I’m working through a tough moment. The summer has been going by fairly well though. I am teaching summer school (only 1/2 days Mon thru Thurs) and spending time with the kids and recharging. I switch grade levels next year, so I’m planning my new year also. I guess I have things to distract me. Plus, I took myself off the online dating sites. I think the stressors of dating removed help to even me out also…I’m not judging myself and coming up short because I don’t have the kind of activity I want happening in the dating world. I’ve started trying to resign myself to understand that I may just be designed to be alone. I don’t really hope that’s the case, but it seems to be the reality and I choose to be a realist so I’m surrendering to the truth.

The kids are doing well enough. I’m enjoying having my son back with me more regularly because I have him since I’m home more often. My ex did have them for a week and a half which was difficult because I missed them terribly, but that’s passed now so I’m enjoying the time we do have. He is preparing for his senior year, which is making me sad, excited, and apprehensive all at the same time. I love him and know he is a great kid…but great kids can frustrate parents just as easily as problem children…just maybe not as often or to as severe a degree. I truly am thankful for that blessing.

I still pine away for a better location/community. I’m not feeling any more connected to this area the longer I stay, which helps fuel my research into other areas within the US to move once the time comes…six years isn’t really that long. Not to mention that I need that time to prepare for the financial burden that will result when the supports all end and my income is reduced by more than 50%. I think that is going to be the most difficult for me, but hopefully living on my own with the kids all grown will be significantly less expensive in many regards. I’m counting on it at least!

So, I guess I don’t really have much going on to tell. I went back and read some earlier posts and I always find my story to be like an out of body experience…like it must have happened to someone else…but the reminders are there that it is the reality I live daily. I still sometimes wonder how I got to this place. I just try not to throw a pity party as often if I can help it. I realize I truly am blessed in so many ways.

Well, I wish you well blog friends…hope you’re going along smoothly as well!

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