Style vs. Substance

This week I have had, dear readers, what you might call a relationship epiphany.  An aha! moment.  The lightbulb going on.  It’s both awesome and sort of troubling.  Here goes.

Between conversations with my therapist, N.  and with my informal, pro bono relationship advisers T. and M., I have given a lot of thought this week to what I have liked or been attracted to in the last few guys that I’ve dated, basically since my ex-fiance.  As I tried to think about what drew me to these guys I recognized an undeniable pattern.  All of them were guys I felt physically attracted to or felt chemistry with — in some cases, totally overwhelming, crazy chemistry.  All of them were guys who were really smart/witty.  But there was not a one — not a ONE, people — who I could say with a straight face is a truly sweet, kindhearted person.  And in theory (according to my online dating profiles, according to what I always think of when I think of my ideal life partner, according to what I say I want to everyone), kindheartedness is at the top of my list.  And yet none of these guys have been that person.  None of these guys have been someone about whom I could say, “Even if you took away the sexual chemistry and intrigue, this is someone I’d want in my life as a friend.”  In fact, when I erase the lust factor, some of these guys aren’t people that I like very much as people, at all!  What is wrong with this picture?

M. tried to get me to think about this months ago, to which I responded something like “yeah, yeah, yeah.”  She pointed out that I might meet a guy who is smart and sweet and kind and caring, and I might overlook him because he’s not the height I want or various other superficial things.  At the time, I responded, “yeah, but if I go for someone I’m not totally hot for, then I’ll just be settling.”

But I really think I get it now.  It’s not that I will end up with someone I have no spark with, because there has to be a spark (IMHO).  But I also can’t overlook people 100% because of superficial characteristics, and then simultaneously “settle” in regards to certain personality characteristics, which I have been doing.  With each of the last several guys there has always been something (pessimism, drinking excessively, what have you) that has raised a red flag or made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I have just turned a blind eye because 1) I was attracted to these people in some way and 2) I wanted that badly to be in a relationship.

Well, dear readers, that ends here.  From now on, I am screening my guys for more than compatibility over cocktails or in bed.  I am going to look at the person and say, ok, I may be hot for you now, but are you the person I am going to want across the breakfast table from me in 10, 20, 50 years?  If the answer is no, then move along, please.

Which is a perfect segue to my update about EHB.  Unsurprisingly (sorry to those of you who have been rooting for him), I have not heard a peep from him since he promised we’d have our “conversation” “soon.”  My normal M.O. in the past when I feel like a guy is fading away is to 1) freak out and 2) reach out and text them, IM them, call them, etc to try to keep the thing going.  I would chase these boys till I was blue in the face, but never really think about why I was trying so hard to chase them and what i would do if I caught them.

So I thought about IMing EHB, and then I thought about what the outcome would be, and whether it would be what I want.  I thought about whether I even wanted what I thought I wanted — a relationship with EHB.  And I realized the answer was no.  I realized that despite some great early dates and some good chemistry, there were also some big red waving flags that I was stubbornly ignoring.  And why would I go chasing after that?  For the momentary intrigue, the excitement, the potential of some good sex (sigh).  But that’s it.  Not a compelling reason, dear readers, is it?

So I refrain, and I will let this one die the natural death that it should.  And in all honesty, I feel incredibly peaceful about it.

When I start freaking out about the next boy, make me come back and read this, will ya?

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Onward and Upward

Dear readers, I wrote the following post on the plane on my way back from Oregon last night.  I was debating whether or not to publish it because I just don’t feel the level of angst that this post conveys anymore, but I figure since I took all the time to pour out my thoughts (and since I, coming down with a cold and exhausted from a long day, can’t muster up the energy for a whole new post), I would publish this anyway.  Here goes!

************

I am writing this with complete and utter candor, despite knowing that I will be incurring some serious yelling from my tough-love girlfriends (love you girls!). But really, if I can’t bare all on the blog, what’s the point, right?

This weekend I went up to Eugene to see my family, which was fun but always leaves me feeling utterly, all consumingly exhausted. I don’t know if it’s just something in the water up there or what. The first day I was there, Friday, I felt plenty energetic, but on Saturday and today I just felt like curling into a little ball and going to sleep, despite sleeping in both days. Go figure. It’s when I go away for these little weekends that I know that I really consider L.A. to be my home, because I am writing this from the airplane and I cannot wait to be back in L.A., back in my apartment, cuddled up with Noodles and alone with my own thoughts. I think maybe part of the issue is that I’m so accustomed to living alone and having lots of “me” time — no matter what happens during a long and crazy day I always come home alone at the end of the day and have time to myself to laugh, cry, veg, call people on the phone, etc. At my parents’ house, there is nowhere to go to just be by myself. My parents are watching my every move, my every facial expression, my every reaction. I love my parents to death and they mean well, but I guess it’s no wonder that this inability to be alone and take a breath makes me feel tired.

And this is especially true when things happen that I just need to be able to step back and process. Friday night I hung out with C. for the first time since I went to visit him in Yachats. Now, dear readers, believe me when I say that until the past week or two he hadn’t been on my mind barely at all. We were still chatting occasionally on IM, and being friendly, but I knew he was sort of seeing someone and I was going on my own dates and I didn’t really care one way or another.

But then as my visit approached, there was a shift. Originally he was planning to throw a party on Fri night, and I was contemplating attending. Then he bagged the party idea and we decided to go to a couple of bars downtown. Then it turned out he had an early morning on Sat for bar review (let me just take a moment to thank God that I never have to take the bar again — all the more reason not to leave California!) so we decided to just have a mellow night and watch a movie. As the day approached, his comments got more and more…suggestive, so I was pretty sure I knew what he was thinking and I realized that I just needed to figure out how i felt about it and what I wanted to do.

Of course, instead of making any actual decisions about this, I just decided to see how I felt in the moment, which basically assured that things would transpire exactly as they did. I went over to C.’s apartment, where he was in the final stages of moving out (meaning that he still had his TV but not his couch.) C., true to form, had already opened a bottle of wine and poured me a hefty glass. We stood around in the kitchen chatting and laughing for a while until we decided to sit down and watch the movie I had brought (Across the Universe — still in love with Jim Sturgess). Since he had no couch we plopped down on the floor and leaned against the wall. (My butt, which could not be more bony, almost immediately went numb). We watched the movie, talking and joking intermittently. We were sitting close together, but not touching each other. I wavered between suspecting that he was going to pounce on me at any moment, and thinking that perhaps I was wrong and we were just going to hang out as friends and that would be that.

But sure enough, about an hour or so into the movie, he looked at me, I looked at him, he moved his face closer to mine, his nose touched mine, and then he was kissing me. And then I was kissing him back. Now, I don’t want to romanticize this situation because I know it’s far from romantic, but the one thing I will say is that he is a truly awesome kisser…when we were teenagers, and now. And again, as they say, the rest is history. And, physically anyway, it was pretty awesome…hey, a girl’s got needs.

Unlike last time, when we cuddled and spooned and fell asleep together and I was awoken by my mom’s worried call, this time there was none of that pretense. Soon after we finished, I was dressing and we were saying goodbye. We made some chit chat and kissed a little bit more, but he didn’t make the move to come downstairs…he stood up and looked at me from over the railing upstairs and asked if I was ok to drive home and told me to have a good rest of the weekend. The whole time, the mood was very lighthearted and we were giggling and smiling — there was none of the serious talks or tears on my part that there were in Yachats.

 As I was driving home, I thought to myself, Finally — I have learned to separate out the physical from the emotional. As the weekend progressed, though, I felt something heavy and unnamed settle over my heart. And I realized that it wasn’t what I had thought it was all along. It’s not that I’m in love with C. or that I truly want us to be together. For all the history and fun and good chemistry we have, as I have said a million times, he’s a disaster and we would be a disaster together. It’s more that C. represents what I feel like has been emblematic in every meaningful interaction I’ve had with guys since I broke up with my ex fiance — a guy who only wants me the way he wants me, but doesn’t really care about me the way I care about him.

Like A., who thought he wanted me to break off my engagement but then told me he just “didn’t care enough to try” anymore.  Like my recent dates who have wanted the physical stuff to come way before any strong connection or commitment. It’s bad enough with all those guys. But for the same thing to happen with C. — the 1st guy who ever told me he loved me, the first guy I ever loved, the guy I have kept such a soft spot for all these years — is just particularly hard to handle. Even though I know that deep down I don’t want to be with him, I do still have some feelings for him, and it’s hard for me to stomach the fact that he can be so intimate with me when he has no feelings for me whatsoever — and then be so cavalier about it.

All that being said, I did feel like this weekend was some sort of goodbye. Nothing was said and I have no idea what he thinks, but for me, this is a door that needs to be closed once and for all. I thought it was closed when he met and then married K. I thought it was closed after my last visit when we both started dating other people. But now I know that it needs to close, even if we continue to be friends, even if I stay single, even if my willpower is as bad as ever. I feel (and pardon me if this sounds way too “woo-woo”) that this openended physical thing, with my latent unresolved feelings, are preventing me somehow from meeting someone. Not in an active way, of course — I’m still getting out there and dating and keeping an open mind, and I genuinely feel like I want to meet someone — but just in the sense that the Universe (such as it is) won’t want to throw anyone my way just now because maybe I wouldn’t even know what to do with Mr. Right if he landed in my lap.

So, goodbye, C., once and for all — and hello, rest of my life….

 

 

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Wishin’ and Hopin’

Warning, dear readers: I’m in a funk tonight, so this is bound to be a major Debbie Downer post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I was hoping that I could get some much needed R & R this weekend, and instead I’m incredibly burnt out, exhausted, and on-edge in that way that only “that time” of the month can accomplish. I feel sad and frustrated and lonely and anxious and I don’t know what to do to fix any of it. Normally the best thing to cheer me up is to start making fun plans for the week or weekend, but since I am officially consumed by the black hole that is trial, that’s impossible.

Wah wah wahhhh.

The trial? Awesome for my career, but brutal for my life (such as it is). We picked a jury, did opening statements and started in on the 1st witness. During the day, my tasks consist of keeping track of which exhibits are identified; paying close attention and taking notes; and perhaps most importantly, babysitting the client when the partner needs his time and space to prep for trial, instead of listen to the incessant running commentary by the client about all the things we need to make sure the jury hears. It’s a lot more tiring than it sounds, and then once I get back to the office the “real” work begins.

One week down…two to go. Sigh.

The good news is, I am learning a lot and it’s fun watching the partner in action. But I really, really badly am craving a whole weekend of no work.

Last night I had another date with New Guy, and as always, we had a really nice time. We went to dinner, shared a bottle of wine and talked and talked and then went to a comedy show, which was quite funny. When we were walking to the comedy show from my place, he grabbed me and kissed me, which I love – the spontaneous gestures like that. We had to wait quite a while in line for the comedy show and we were sort of holding hands and snuggling. Then when we got back to my apartment after the show it was already after 1 am and we basically just pounced on each other. 🙂 He spent the night and it was soooo hard to get up and go to work this morning! He’s really darling.

But as much as I enjoy our dates, I still find him to be a hard read. When we said goodbye today, he just gave me a kiss and said “Have a good week!” He is now headed out of town for a combined 3 weeks of trips. The last couple of times we’ve gone out, I’ve been the first one to follow up by email or phone. He always calls me back, and then he will initiate calling after I make the first call, but it always makes me wonder.

Dear readers, is this just me over analyzing? Do I need to just chill out?

I talked to C. online yesterday for the 1st time in a week or so, and he started going on and on about how this new girl he’s dating is the “real deal” and how she’s been really really good for him but he is super distracted from school. I asked what he was going to do when he moves to Portland and she’s still in school in Eugene and he said, “well, I’ve done the long distance thing before.”

When he told me he was never doing a long distance thing again and that he just couldn’t reciprocate my feelings, I was stupid enough to believe that it was just the situation. I don’t think he even realizes what a hypocrite he’s being. But I admit it pissed me off. More than I’d like it to.

Seriously, why can’t I be the girl that the guy just can’t help picking up the phone and calling because he’s thinking about her?

Undefeated

I’m exhausted and if there is anything I should be doing on the computer tonight, it’s finishing these oppositions to motions in limine. But I have a lot to write about, and if I don’t write about it tonight there will just be more to write about tomorrow, so…here goes. (Work, shmirk.)

First things first. I WON MY TRIAL!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Last week the judge took it under submission so I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the court order. The judge had given us absolutely no indication as to when he would rule, so I knew it could be any time. My assistant sits on the other side of the floor from me (near the main partner she works with) and my inbox is there, so after a couple of days of shlepping across the office several times a day in my 3 inch heels to check my mail, I told her to let me know when it arrived. Today I was toiling away on another case when she appeared in my doorway and said, “Here, what you’ve been waiting for.” I read the order just enough to figure out that WE WON!! and then it was like an out of body experience – I’m not kidding that I started shrieking and jumping up and down. (Perhaps it’s a good thing that I didn’t get the result in open court –jumping and shrieking in the courtroom is even worse than jumping and shrieking in the office.)

And then I remembered why I love, love, love my firm. Within about 30 seconds after my shrieking, my office neighbor had already sent an email to the head of the firm and the head of the department so I began to get congratulatory emails about being an “undefeated trial attorney.” Such a nice feeling. Best yet, I got to call and share the great news with the client. This poor woman is the same one who was deposed all day yesterday (for a different case) and she told me that this made up for it. Whew! It’s these moments that make all the things that I was whining about yesterday worth it.

Non-sequitur: what’s up with Lipstick Jungle? I get it, I read the book and all, but I have to say as a Cashmere Mafia fan, that LJ seems like a poor man’s CM and the characters are much less likable.

But anyhoo. Next piece of news is a very … enlightening conversation that I had with C. today. It started because he had a weird post on Facebook that his “ears were burning.” We were chatting online and I asked him what it meant. As it turns out, H., the girl who’s been his local fuck buddy for the past few months turns out to have feelings for him. (Shocked? Yeah, me neither. I could have told him that.) Apparently she had claimed that she’d be ok with just the physical relationship (again, big shocker) but wasn’t and now she’s calling him a liar and berating him and talking crap about him.

Somehow this conversation segued into, “It’s important to me that things stay cool between you and me,” followed by him asking me if there were any “promising fellows” recently and I said that yes, actually there were. (Still refusing to write about it lest I jinx it but we’re going on date 3 tomorrow night. You know how much I love to gush but I am trying my best not to go there…) Anyway, C. got all excited and happy for me when I told him about New Guy and then he said “to that end, we also might want to think about the Europe trip if one or both of us end up in relationships we’re serious about, y’know?” I agreed with him and then he followed with, “there actually is someone that I’ve been dating, casually so far, that I could see being something more, so I’m actually in the exact same place.”

!!!!!!!

It’s funny – I was surprised, but somehow not at all surprised. He then went on to say that he’s just felt strange since he and K. broke up and trying to pretend he wasn’t upset and sublimate everything, but in so doing he got himself to a weird place. And he said that if he hurt my feelings he was “eternally apologetic.”

And I really would have thought that this would have been a devastating conversation. But you know what? I just felt sort of …relieved. I know I reached my pain threshold in the situation already, and I’d been stressing about all the uncertainty – what would happen if we went to Europe? What if he started dating? What if I did? Now Europe is off the table, and he IS dating someone, and the world didn’t end. One door has closed but it seems like a much bigger, prettier door has flung wide open. That’s right — I have this whole life that has nothing to do with him. And, my moodiness aside, it’s a pretty damn good one.

I have more to write but it really is bedtime. Till later, dear readers!

Put a fork in me…

…’cause I’m done.

I’ve said it before, but this time I mean it. Today marks the last day that I spend obsessing over C. So I’m going to get it out of my system.

(Note: I swear there is WAY more going on in my life than this (hello, first trial!!), and I will write about those other things at some point. It’s just that after a long week and 2 glasses of wine, these are the things I think–nay, ruminate–about. I suppose that wine just makes me…well, whine.)

My friends might think I’m over C. already because I’ve been trying not to talk about him as much. Meanwhile he and I have been chatting online all. the. time. Sometimes we chat about stupid stuff and sometimes we have heart to hearts, but the bottom line is that I spend way, way more time talking to him than I should.

On Tuesday night, the night before my trial he and I were chatting online and my computer kept acting up. I finally texted him that I was going to sleep and he texted back, “Hey, final pep talk. Yer smart, u know this case cold, u really enjoy being right, & least important, u r really, really sexy. Go get it!”

I’m not gonna lie. My heart definitely skipped a beat. My first reaction was a ridiculous grin. My second reaction was “what the fuck?” Really, do you have to tease a girl like that?

C. told me he wanted to know all about the trial and so on Wed on my way home from work I called him. I could hear it was loud in the background and sure enough, he was out at a bar. (It was 6 pm by the way, which is the earliest I’ve left work in an eternity, and he was drinking. Oh, to be a student again…) “Hey, I’m just having drinks with H., chatting about the office,” C. said.

My heart sank. H. is the girl in C.’s office that he’s screwing. I could tell that my voice got all weird. I hate, hate, hate being jealous and I especially hate, hate, hate being jealous about someone who doesn’t have feelings for me, is never going to date me, and doesn’t even live in the same goddamn STATE as I do.

So then I start to feel angry but really I just feel angry at myself for continuing to feel something so long after the point when it’s rational to have those feelings. I don’t want to think about him. I don’t want to want him. So why can’t I just stop already? Why can’t I stop looking at all the girls who comment on his Facebook page (can I just say – this is why Facebook, Myspace etc are the DEVIL)? Why can’t I stop chatting with him, texting with him, planning a trip with him??

And I’m trying. I had a date this week, and a successful one at that. (I will write about it at some point but don’t want to jinx it.) But there’s some part of me that feels like I’m just going to sabotage myself because I’m so hung up on something I can never have. Maybe subconsciously I just am not ready to be with someone, so I’ll find reasons not to be.

Or maybe I’m just a silly girl who is pseudo-in-love with her married ex-boyfriend…

Foiled!

I was beginning to get pretty excited about my upcoming weekend on the Oregon coast with C. We’d talked about what we wanted to cook (salmon) drink (he said he had a good Pinot Grigio) and watch (he spent a good amount of time trying to convince me of the merits of Must Love Dogs). I’m arriving very late on Friday night, so even though I promised that I’d rally for a late night on Friday, I knew that Saturday would be our real chance for quality time.

Then….inevitably, a wrench was thrown into our plans. I got a call from C. on Friday when I was en route to San Diego, and he said “Ummmmm….I have some unfortunate news. Not fatal, but just a…change of plans.”

As it turns out, unbeknownst to C. until two days ago, C.’s parents will also be at the beach house next weekend. C.’s dad is on the board of the HOA, and they have a late afternoon meeting on Saturday. Apparently C. convinced his parents to come out Sat afternoon instead of Friday, but still. They will be there.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Don’t get me wrong. I love C.’s parents. And of course I can’t begrudge them coming out for the weekend — after all, it’s their house! But this whole situation is quite embarrassing to me, to say the least. First, C. had to confess to his parents that I would be there. He explained it quite well — that I was complaining to him that my pre-trial hell would soon be beginning and I wanted to get away for the weekend and he invited me up. (All true, by the way.) But then he had to tell his parents not to tell my parents.

His parents were, apparently, totally cool about the whole thing. According to C., his mom had an undertone of being stoked that I was going to be there. And — get this! — his parents were apologetic about interrupting our plans and offered to pay for us to stay in a nearby hotel! (C. and I agreed that this would make us feel incredibly creepy, so we declined, and we’ll all be staying at the house on Sat night.) But essentially, his parents weren’t born yesterday, so they must be totally onto us. How humiliating–I feel like an uber-slut who’s flying 1000 miles to sleep with their not-yet-divorced son, and now I have to try not to be incredibly awkward.

C. was also apologetic and kept reassuring me that it will be totally fun anyway, and that when they get there, we can go to the beach, and that there’s a sushi restaurant he wanted to take me to anyway. I’m sure we’ll still have fun…it will just make me feel like I’m still in high school (as though our Christmas escapade didn’t already give me that feeling!). Us sleeping in separate rooms with his parents there…. oy. I guess I can mentally unpack all that sexy lingerie that I was mentally packing, and throw in my flannel PJ pants instead.

Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me, loud and clear, what I already know – that I need to put C. back in the friend box. Despite myself, I’ve become very irrational, including feeling jealous re the other girl I know he’s hooking up with. He’d told me about this girl, who’s a legal assistant at his office, before we ever hooked up over Christmas, and described it as just a physical thing and that he was planning to end it. Then recently on Facebook (which people like me should not be allowed to use) I saw a picture of him & her at a party and her arms were around him. I didn’t know who it was but then I put 2 and 2 together based on something he said. Apparently he hung out with her & others on Friday night. I think about him with her and it just gets under my skin even though I know it shouldn’t. Grrrrrr.

There’s this line from High Fidelity (one of my all time faves that I watched again the other day) that really describes what I feel for C.: “I miss her smell .. and the way she tastes. It’s a mystery of human chemistry and I don’t understand it … some people as far as your senses are concerned, just feel like home.” When he and I were kissing over Christmas, C. said to me, “I forgot the way you taste.” And I felt the same way, like “Oh, I remember what this is like.” But even more than the physical familiarity, I felt like my whole being just sort of relaxed when I was around him, like I returned to a version of myself that I had forgotten about. But I digress….

I have been trying to decide whether to renew my match.com and chemistry.com memberships, and I think I should. Despite the fact that this round of online dating has been a resounding failure (now we are up to 5 for 5 guys who’ve disappeared after our date), and the fact that online dating is often so painful that I’d sooner stab out my own eye with a hot poker, I feel like I still need to be trying…to give me a distraction, to not be “putting my eggs in the C. basket” (as my friend T. would say), and to keep the tiny inkling of hope alive that, maybe, there are still nice, normal, unmarried men out there. I haven’t met any of these alleged men, but they must exist….right?