At Last

My dear readers (if I even have any after my long blogging hiatus!):  I know it’s been almost two months, which is practically an eternity in the blogosphere.  I know we have a lot of catching up to do, and that it will be near impossible to really do that justice.  I have been lurking on my favorite blogs, but not commenting as much as I used to.  I guess you could say I’ve been taking a blog-cation of sorts.

But here I am, having tied up my work-related loose ends before being out of the office at a hearing tomorrow, and then up in Oregon for Thanksgiving.   I’m looking for something to do, and I’m thinking that I want to blog again.  I feel rusty, and I don’t really know where to start.

*Deep breath*  Diving right in, I suppose!

So last time you tuned in to the Single/Fabulous show, there were two promising guys on the horizon.  And for the past two months, there has been just one.  One guy who is, in a word, amazing.  Somehow, after all the heartaches that I have poured out to you, and after all the douchebaggery (sorry!  I love that word) I have endured from the male persuasion, and after all the first and second dates that went nowhere….somehow, when I least expected it, this guy virtually fell out of the sky and into my lap.  (Ok, so I met him at a friend’s party.  But it felt as unexpected as if he’d fallen out of the sky.  Even though we had met once before, he was totally off of my radar when we “re-met.”)  And our relationship is honestly exactly the kind of relationship I’ve been looking for.

I’ve been having sort of a quandary about the blog.  I haven’t wanted to write about him because I respect his privacy.  I haven’t wanted to tell him about the blog because I think he should learn about my past history from me directly, not from the blog.  And I have felt strange about the idea of keeping a secret blog from him because I don’t like the idea of keeping anything important a secret.  Besides, secrecy is not my strong suit.  I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, especially with people I care about.  And even if I made thre effort, inevitably at some point I would slip and say “In my blog, I wrote…”  and then the rest will be history.  Not to mention the more simple issue of time.  I just don’t have the hours that I used to devote to blogging each week anymore.  Anyway, I have not reached any real conclusions about those things…still thinking about it.

In the past I haven’t written about relationships so as not to jinx them, but in this case I’m not worried.  Even though it’s only been a couple of months, we’ve fallen head over heels in love.  Not in the all-consuming drama-filled angsty way of my past, but the lovely, happy, peaceful-yet-exciting way.  We’re spending a ton of time together, we’re meeting each others’ friends and families, we’re learning new things about each other every day, we’re making lots of plans.  He prompted my friend J. to say, “He doesn’t give off the tool/douchebag vibe.”  (Sad to say, none of the other guys I’ve dated in the past two years earned this endorsement.)  He even has the Noodles stamp of approval.  🙂 

I don’t even know how to explain how good it feels.  I’m just so, so happy.

Thank you, Universe!

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In case you were wondering

Hello dear readers,

I know that I have been MIA on the blog circuit this week, both in terms of writing in this here blog and reading/ commenting on the blogs I follow.  So I just wanted to reassure you that things are going quite swimmingly in the life of SF.  I am totally exhausted from a long week and a long weekend of travel (drove up to Monterey on Friday, spent the night, drove back yesterday for a wedding, and am so tired now that I am passing out at 10 pm on the dot tonight) but I am also very happy.  My life seems to be at this wonderful state of zen that I am loving, after struggling for months earlier this year with constant state of angst/anxiety/malaise.  Now I feel very peaceful and content and it’s a great feeling.

Also, though I am not going to go into detail to respect his privacy, I am dating an awesome guy now and things are going great.  This is the first time in as long as I can remember where I really connect with the other person on every level and where the interest and attraction is 100% mutual.   I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but this guy is something special.

Off to get some shut eye, more later!

Matchmaking Madness Part II

So, today the guy I want to set you up with came up to me after class.  He said,  So why do I have to wait 5 months to meet this mystery woman?  Why can’t I just meet her for coffee or lunch now? I told him that if he didn’t like her, or she didn’t like him, I didn’t want either of you to feel awkward around me.  And he said,  Oh come on, I’m not like that! 

“Well, Mom, don’t worry, I won’t feel awkward around you either.  And this guy wouldn’t be so excited if he knew that his mystery woman lived in Los Angeles.”

Anyway, it sounds like he’s going to come to the happy hour at El Torito I put together for my students next Friday when you’re in town.  So that way you can meet then. 

“Oh, I’m sure he won’t put two and two together.  ‘I have a mystery woman I want to set you up with.  On a totally unrelated note, I’d like you to meet my single 28-year old daughter.’  Frankly, if he doesn’t put two and two together, I don’t want to date someone so dense. ”

I’m not going to tell him it’s you.  And if he ever asks me, I’ll say ‘Wow, that’s a good idea!'”

“But then you actually have to pull another girl out of thin air.  You know, I sort of feel sorry for this guy.  He thinks he’s going to meet some woman who lives in Eugene.”

Oh, now I feel guilty! 

“I think you need to fix this guy up with someone now.  On the bright side, now you can shift your focus away from setting me up and onto setting him up!”

Maybe I can set up an eHarmony profile for him!

“Um, Mom, you know you have to PAY for eHarmony….”

I’m going to be paying for this one way or another!

“You’re telling me.”

One Bite at a Time

When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.

It seems that’s a good rule of thumb for a lot of things in life, isn’t it?  Often I find that if I look too far ahead and try to think about all my upcoming deadlines and plans and stresses, I get overwhelmed and just want to curl into a little ball and watch Gossip Girl.  (Sidenote: actually, I think I might be giving up that show.  It’s just mildly depressing to watch a show about teenagers who have way more sex than me.  Not that that’s hard, since I am not having any.  But you get my drift.) 

But anyway.  Like I was saying, looking too far ahead can make me panic.  But if I break down what I have to do into bite-sized portions, it seems much more manageable.

And so it goes with therapy.  My last session was two weeks ago (because of a Labor Day hiatus) and that was the day I really had my eyes opened to how much work I have to do in being able to express my emotions.  And my first reaction was omething along the lines of “Fuuuuck!”

But my friends and dear readers reassured me that this is something that we all struggle with, that in a relationship I will work on this with someone else, and that it’s a process.  My friend O. said she didn’t want me to feel like a “ticking time bomb.”  And yeah, I guess that is honestly how I felt.  So one bite at at a time it is.

Still, it is a hard path to figure out how to make little changes and alterations, day to day.  Sometimes I feel like not only do I have a hard time expressing my feelings, I don’t even know what that means.  Today my therapist was asking me about the guys I have been seeing and was asking me about my dates with guy #1.  I told her that we had good conversations.

So have you talked about your feelings with him?  I don’t mean your feelings FOR each other, but just in general.

Well…not really.  I mean, that’s hard to do early on, we don’t know each other that well.

It isn’t always hard.  It isn’t hard with everyone.  So what did you talk about on the hike, besides the plants you were seeing along the way?

I don’t know.  I guess I don’t know what you mean by talking about feelings. 

Well, like happy, sad, etc.  As opposed to talking about thinking things, like talking about Obama vs. McCain.   Though I suppose you could have feelings about that.

Oh, believe me, I do.

So what if a guy talks about his feelings?  Does that make it easier?

Well, yeah, I guess then I find it easier to open up.

****

Dear readers, what do you think?  What does “talking about feelings” mean to you in the first-few-dates context?  Do you talk about your feelings?  When, and to whom?

My “homework” for the week is to take notice of when I am feeling something and don’t express it, and then what happens with the feeling — where it goes and what I do with it.  I feel like I should start carrying a note pad around with me and jotting it down or something.

She also wants me to keep note of my dreams.  I haven’t had a dream I remembered in a long time, but I’m pretty sure the last dream I recall involved me having a long drawn out screaming fight with my mom.  My therapist’s eyes widened when I told her that — therapy pay dirt!! — but I told her that not only do I not recall the last fight I had with my mom, I don’t even remember the last time I felt angry with her.  (Mildly annoyed at her need to set me up with her students, yes.)  She explained to me that maybe the character of my mom wasn’t really my mom.  Okaaay…well, for now that is an unsolved mystery, I suppose.

In the meantime, I am off to the ominous task of feeling my feelings and – gasp! – expressing my feelings.  On the scary scale, that is pretty damn high up there.

But I know I’ll get there eventually….

One bite at a time.

When it Rains

Just as I was waxing majorly pessimistic about my romantic status as compared with all my happily domesticated friends, it turns out that for the first time in recent memory, I have not one, but two prospective suitors.

Guy # 1, I met on Match.  We had emailed a bit before my England/Paris trip, he had asked me for coffee, and I had asked for a rain check.  When I got back, we met up in person for a Saturday afternoon coffee meet-and-greet.  We spent two hours chatting, before I had to go meet some friends.  He followed up quickly, we ended up having a long phone conversation mid-week, and the following weekend (last weekend) we had two dates — dinner and a movie on Friday and a hike and lunch on Sunday.  I’m really liking this guy: we click well, we have great conversations, we have a lot in common, he has beautiful green eyes and a chin dimple, we have exchanged a couple of sweet smooches but are taking things nice and slow.  He recommended a book to me and I am reading it and totally hooked.  His grandpa passed away 😦 so this weekend he went home to be with his family, but he just emailed me about making a date for this week.  So far, so good.

Guy # 2 I met in real life.  I know, dear readers, it’s shocking.  I had all but given up on my ability to meet men through any means other than the internets.  So it was quite flattering that a real flesh and blood guy took an interest in the real flesh and blood me.  Fancy that! 

Anyway, Guy # 2 is a long story.  He is friends with my friend  L.’s husband and I saw him at a party they threw on Saturday night.  Interestingly, I had met guy #2 for the 1st time at a party 2 years ago.  At the time I was engaged and my fiance was at the party with me.  Even so, L. encouraged us to talk because “you’re both lawyers!”  We had a decently long chat that 1st time, mostly talking shop, but then I had to awkwardly mention the fiance (in case he hadn’t glimpsed the ring) and it was awkward.  L. recently told me that he had been like “Your friend is cute and cool, but she’s engaged, what’s up with that?” 

Then my fiance and I broke up, and about 6 months later I joined eHarmony, and who was one of my 1st matches, but guy # 2.  I felt weird about it, and I also met someone else and we started dating, so nothing ever came of that, though L. and I would joke about it from time to time.

Then last week I allowed L. to take over control of my eHarmony account (***a story for another post!) and discovered that I had been matched with another of her husband’s friends named JM, a guy who is really sweet who I had met a few times.  L., being in control of my account, closed JM and listed as her reason “Other.”

Fast forward to Saturday night, when I arrive at the party to find a semi circle of people, including JM, guy # 2, JM’s brother, and L.’s sister, all apparently discussing me.  I am immediately accosted with, “You are so harsh, you close everyone on eHarmony!”  I then am subjected to like 30 mins of regaling / questioning / joking about what my criteria are and why I close people (all the while protesting, “it wasn’t me!  L. did it!”  Guy # 2 joked that since I had closed him, I was dead to him.

As the night wore on, guy # 2 found lots of opportunities to talk to me.  When I had met him 2 years ago, he had struck me as a little arrogant and a little bitter.  (I learned from L. that he had just gone through a breakup, which makes sense.)  Apparently the past two years have been good to him, because he was mellow and sweet, and much cuter than I had remembered him too!  (He does competitive swimming and I could tell he is built like a swimmer.  Yum.)

At the end of the night when he was leaving, he was a little shy (or, understandably, trying to stay away from the earshot of any of the nosy-kins at the party) and said to me quietly, “So, listen – you like to eat, right?”  Yes, I like to eat, I smiled.   “How about I get your number so I can call you and take you out to eat?”  So the digits were handed over and he said he’d call me this week after he does a couple of big filings.

So there you have it, readers.  Two promising boys, both very different in personality but I like them both in different ways.  I have never successfully juggled the mens because I always say that one man is enough trouble, but here it just seems right to get to know both of them and see how things go.  Obviously if things progress with one or the other, I will have to evaluate.  But for now, I am just going to try to enjoy this for what it is.

I will keep you posted…

More Matchmaking Madness

After a brief hiatus from intervention in my dating life, my mom has once again taken it upon herself to be my personal dating service.  Now, it’s not so much that I don’t trust my mom’s taste.  I am willing to humor her.  But there’s the small problem of the fact that she — and hence, any guy she could meet to set me up with — lives in Eugene, Oregon.  No big deal – only a 13 hour drive.  Never mind that SF is a girl who thinks that, living in West Hollywood, a guy who lives in Pasadena or Hermosa Beach is geographically undesirable!

Here is the email exchange that I had with my mom today  (She is a professor):

Dear SF, Tonight I have class with the student who Dad and I would like to introduce to you. I am attaching his photo, but he is much cuter than this. Do you even want me to find out if he has a girl friend and if he smokes.  If you do, I can tell him that I want to introduce him to someone when he is done with the program.  I won’t tell him who you are, but I will tell him some things about you if they don’t give away who you are. If you don’t want me to do this, just let me know.  I promise to give up after this and never bug you about someone I meet….ugh, that is a BIG promise to make.

I responded: 

I don’t mind you trying to set me up and I will be openminded, but I have to warn you that the chances of me actually dating someone who doesn’t live in L.A. are very very slim!   I don’t even want to date someone who lives too far away IN L.A. …much less a real long distance relationship. That said, you can ask him whatever you like and/or tell him about me if you want, I don’t mind.

She responded:

Actually, because I’m his advisor, I don’t plan to let him know who I want to set him up with.  I’ll tell him that I’ll give him your name and email information in February (because of a conflict of interest). If you don’t have a boy friend by then, I’ll give him the info.   Also, that makes it more comfortable in case one of you doesn’t want to meet the other one.  I want it to be comfortable for everyone.  In the meantime, if he wonders something about this mystery woman, I’ll tell him that I’ll have to check the answer with “her.”  Kind of like Match.com, but far more weird.  By the time I tell him about you, I’ll have to let him know that Eugene is a deal-breaker.   I know he loves to travel, and I think he is even considering teaching overseas. He is doing his student teaching in a math classroom. I’ll talk to him tonight as though I haven’t spoken to the “mystery woman” so that he can decline if he wants to….and like I said, I’ll check on the smoking issue I guess he needs to like cats, too…….

 

 By the end of this I was cracking up and forwarding to all my girlfriends so they could get a laugh, too.  But when I talked to Mom tonight, she meant business!  She rattled off all his wonderful attributes — apparently he is extremely kind, smart, funny but sort of introverted, and did she mention he was even cuter than his picture?  (Note: in the picture he is cute, but reminds me eerily of my ex-fiance’s younger brother.)

My mom then told me that she had hatched a plan for me to meet this guy in a casual way, but it would involve me coming to Eugene on December 18th instead of the 22nd or 23rd as I usually do.   I managed to talk her out of this, but she seemed disappointed until we hatched a plan.  I am flying up there in a few weeks for my 10 year high school reunion (which is a matter for another post, dear readers) and so she is going to enlist the social butterfly of her class of grad students to plan a Friday happy hour that she and I can tag along to.  And I agreed to this — aren’t I so openminded?

The funny thing is, even though she does tend to meddle, she really isn’t usually this serious about things.  I think she genuinely believes that this guy may be the love of my life and that she would be doing both of us a disservice if she didn’t introduce us to each other.

So, what the hell.  Mom, this one’s for you…

….and if nothing else, it will make for some good blogging.

Open or Closed?

***Navel-gazing ahead!! Consider yourself warned.***

I have plenty of happy things to write about, but then I had a thought-provoking session with my therapist today, and the things we talked about pushed right to the forefront of my mind. I’ve been purposefully not writing much about therapy, partly because it’s so personal and partly because recently, I have felt like she’s been exploring areas that don’t exactly feel relevant to me. But today, she really made me take a step back and evaluate myself.

She’s made comments in the past that while she sees me as being at a high level intellectually, that my ability to express my emotions isn’t very developed. Today she said that she can see in my face sometimes that I am upset and that my chin quivers a little bit, but that I never actually let myself cry.

“This is a safe space,” she said. “You always seem like you almost get there and then you pull yourself together.”

I know. I’ve just always hated crying in front of other people. Even my best friends.

Why do you think that is?

I don’t know, I’ve just always hated it. It just makes me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Have you ever seen your parents cry?

Yes, yes, of course.

And did you think there was something wrong with that?

Well…no.

So it’s OK for other people but not for you?

…and so on. Then she asked me, “what about anger?”

When I’m angry I usually just bottle it up.

So where does that anger go?

Well…time goes by and it just goes away, I guess.

I explained to her that even though most of my friends are really good and upfront about telling people when they are upset, and I really admire that trait, I just have a block about doing it myself. I swear I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ever yelled at someone.

And then it was as though my whole relationship life flashed before my eyes, and I thought how different some of my relationships might have been if I had stepped up and not been afraid to express what I was feeling, for better or for worse. I think of myself as being too emotionally available, but I feel like really what I’ve been doing is putting my feelings up at stake (in the sense that I feel things strongly) but not really being candid or emotionally open, because I so often keep inside what I’m really thinking or feeling.

I said this to her and she said, “well if you think back like that, then it makes you wrong, or it makes everything seem like your fault.” So, onward and upward I suppose. But if I am really as emotionally closed off as she suggests, how do I ever begin to change that?

(My ex-boyfriend A. called me tonight just to chat. When we hung up, I thought about my therapy session and almost called him back to say, “do you think I’m emotionally retarded?” before I realized that he was the last person who I would trust to answer a question like that. He is so non confrontational, he makes me look like a screamer. Anyway.)

I keep thinking that this right guy is just around the corner and that when he appears into my life, we will fit together like puzzle pieces and things will be — not easy all the time, of course, but basically simple and compatible. But what if …fuck, what if there is some fundamental thing that is keeping me from being able to be in a real relationship?

I guess this shouldn’t be such a shock to me. I’m in therapy, obviously there are things about myself that can stand to undergo a major change. But with this, I don’t know, it feels like a huge hurdle. It feels like a way bigger hurdle even than the unnamed sadness I was fighting for so many months, because that almost felt like something outside of myself that I needed to purge.

But this…this is just me. And frankly, I don’t even know where to start.