Love and Loss

It’s been over a month and I still can’t figure out how to put this down in writing. On March 17, I found out that my first love, G, who I’ve written about several times, had died. His body couldn’t withstand the years of alcohol abuse. Words to describe how I feel about this are jumbled in my head. Devastated. sad, guilty, heartbroken, empty, angry, disappointed…I’ve run the gauntlet of emotions. Apparently this is normal when you lose someone you love.

This is my first up close and personal experience with loss. Two of my grandparents have passed away, and I miss them greatly, but we are usually prepared for that loss. The sudden loss of someone young and with so much life ahead of him is not something I know how to deal with. I get to a point where I think I’ve accepted it and then it comes out of nowhere and hits me like a ton of bricks. The grief, all over again. The disbelief. The feeling that I’m having a nightmare that I can’t wake up from. Because, G can’t be gone. He just…can’t. There are things I still needed to say and words I needed to hear. Forgiveness to give and apologies to offer. Love. Anger. Laughter. Tears. There is just so much left. I’m not ready to say goodbye.

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After I got the news, I went up to the lake. I needed to walk in the sand. It was March 17, and the first semi-nice spring day we’d had. The sand was wet. And cold. But, there were things I needed to say, and that was the only way I could of think to do it. To try to find a way that maybe he could hear me.

I told him how sorry I am. Sorry for not being a better friend. Sorry for not being there when he needed me. Sorry for not being more patient. Sorry for treating his alcoholism as something he could control. Sorry for not trying harder to get him help. Because I am just so sorry. For everything.

I also told him I forgive him. For being an alcoholic. For not being strong enough to get help. For all the times he hurt me, or disappointed me. I forgave him for everything.

I told him I love him. That I will always love him. That he was my first and only true love. I told him that I know he loved me. And that I know he would have been a better boyfriend, if he could have been.

These are things we should have said while he was still alive but I waited too long. At the time of his death, we hadn’t spoken in about 6 months. After my last visit, his behavior became more and more erratic. His texts began to resemble the ones he used to send after we broke up, ten years ago. Back then, I was still reeling from the hurt and pain of our relationship, and he wouldn’t let me move on. I finally resorted to having my phone # changed. Back then, and now, he just couldn’t seem to understand how inappropriate his behavior was. So, finally, I blocked him. He couldn’t call or write me. I thought about him a lot, and considered unblocking him several times. I wondered if enough time had passed that he would be able to handle our friendship. Each time I considered it, I decided I wasn’t ready to go there quite yet.

So, I’ll never know how many times he might have tried to reach out to me. Near the end of his life, he was mostly alone. He alienated or pushed away most of his friends. His mom was the only person he remained close with (and he lived with her.) She tells me he called a rehab facility twice in the last year of his life. He never followed through though. I can’t help but wonder if I had been there, to support and encourage him, maybe he could have found the strength to try. These are burdens I will carry for the rest of my life.

Our romantic relationship ended a long time ago, but I never stopped loving G. I never stopped hoping he would find a way to get better, and to find peace within himself. At his memorial service, his mom and I talked. She said she believes that he is finally at peace. That in death he is able to find the peace he couldn’t while alive. At the time, I didn’t agree. The idea of him dying, alone, and thinking that I hated him, couldn’t possibly have brought him peace. But, she told me that he knew I didn’t hate him. He knew how much I loved him. And that he loved me very much. As I keep replaying that conversation in my head, I think about the line from the movie, ‘The Notebook’ that says,11071608_10205535486120040_4395214951610705403_o

I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.

I don’t think any love can ever really duplicate your first love but I hope that someday, I find someone who who I can love fully, and who can love me fully. But if I don’t, I will be comforted in knowing that I have loved someone with all my heart and soul, and I have been loved by another’s heart and soul. And that will have to be enough.

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Revisiting the past

It seems appropriate I would be going to visit an old boyfriend this weekend, given how much time I’ve spent recently examining My History of Love. If you’re keeping track, I’m going to visit G. We had a very messy breakup but over time we have managed to become friends.

A visit may or may not be a good idea. Our history is complicated. I haven’t spent more than a couple hours with him at one time in many years. Although I enjoy his company, spending time with him brings up a lot of memories, some of them still very painful. The memories of our relationship and breakup are ultimately what why I moved out of the country. I felt like I needed to get away and start over somewhere new. Somewhere that wasn’t full of memories around every corner.

(Here’s a funny side story for you. I moved to Germany with B. we had been dating for about 6 months but it was hard to escape the history of my relationship with G. Especially because when I met B, he happened to be living in my old apartment, the one I previously shared with G. See what I mean about needing to get away?)

So, time and distance has healed many wounds. I have forgiven G for the things that went wrong. But, sometimes they still hurt. He put me through a lot.

So, why am I going to visit? Well…he lives at the beach. And I really need to get away for a few days. I’ve been feeling really stressed and overwhelmed with life lately. I need a vacation in the worst way. I can’t afford a real vacation, but G is offering a free place to stay. And as weird as it sounds, I am really looking forward to being around someone who knew me, before I was ME.

My life has changed drastically in the last 5 years. I am sometimes not even sure who I am anymore, other than being Boo Boo’s mom. My life revolves around him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change my life for anything. But I don’t have many close friends anymore and I often feel like the ones I do have just don’t really know me. They don’t know my history. They don’t know ME. Not the me G knows. It would be nice to try to remember a little bit of who that was.

I might be making a mistake. I’m not sure yet. What do you think? Is it ever a good idea to be friends with an ex? Have you ever done something you thought might be a bad idea, but did it anyway?

The story of C2 (baby’s daddy)

I did promise to tell the story of C2, otherwise known as my baby’s daddy.

This story isn’t intended to make anyone look like a jerk…but I can’t help it if you form your own conclusions!

I started a new job in the summer of 2008 and met C2 shortly after. He worked in the IT department and I actually thought he was gay. I’m not sure why I thought that, and I’ve never told him of my initial impression. I don’t think he would really find the humor in it. It IS funny though because apparently it’s a trait most of my ex-boyfriends have. Not being gay, just people thinking they might be. Actually, I still kind of think B is gay. But anyway, C2 is not gay. That I am sure of now.

He overheard me discussing my upcoming birthday party and invited himself. I had not really paid much attention to him until that moment, but all of the sudden I realized he was kinda cute. So, he came to the party, everyone had fun. That night a group of us, including C2, stayed over at my friend Jackie’s house (no drinking and driving!) He walked out of the room he was sleeping in with no shirt on, and I was hooked. He had been hiding a pretty smokin’ hot body under those button down shirts!

We went on our first date the following week. The relationship was fun at first, we mostly kept it a secret at work which added a bit of intrigue to it. We agreed to not see other people. I visited his apartment for the first time and as I sat in his living room waiting on him I noticed a CD with razor marks and traces of white powder all over it. Yup…I really know how to pick ’em. Before this I never suspected drug use but looking back I was able to see the signs (not being able to sleep at night being the biggest one.)

When confronted, he was somewhat candid and honest about his drug use. He explained that it was not cocaine he was doing, but a form of speed known as “Pep” in Europe. He said he mostly used it before working out and that it is not physically addictive like some other forms of speed. My own research does back up his claims about the drug, not that it is acceptable either way. I informed him in no uncertain terms that I have zero tolerance for being involved with someone who uses drugs of any kind. He swore that he had no problem giving it up. That I was the first girl he had gotten serious about in a long time and he wasn’t going to risk losing me. That he didn’t do it much any more anyway and this was no big deal. And I bought it. Hook, Line, and Sinker. I even compromised with him and agreed that I didn’t mind if he still smoked pot occasionally as long as it wasn’t around me. Sigh…you’d think I would have learned my lesson with my last drug addict boyfriend.

Note to liars: delete the evidence!

Note to liars: delete the evidence!

The next red flag was when he left his email open on my laptop and I saw the dozen emails he was exchanging on an online dating site. He swore he was no longer actively using the site, that he would deactivate his profile, and blah, blah, blah.  At this point I think we were both tiring of the relationship. It was becoming increasingly obvious that we were not well suited for one another. We argued a lot over silly things. Around the 6 week mark he left early one morning to go to the gym, and forgot his phone. Curiosity killed this cat, and I looked at his text messages. The first one I saw was to someone he referred to as “gorgeous” saying he couldn’t wait to meet her. A quick Google search and I found a 2nd online dating profile. This one was on “HotorNot.com” and his profile picture was brand new. I know it was brand new because it was one I took of him 2 weeks earlier at a friend’s wedding. So much for not actively using those sites anymore!

We mutually agreed to end the relationship. He said I was too dramatic for him. I told him he was an uncaring asshole. That probably would have been the end of of it. I made plans to go out Friday night with friends and had every intention of finding someone to help me get over C2. I was disappointed the relationship didn’t work out, but I wasn’t devastated. I was ready to  move on.

2 days later I realized I was late. Friday rolled around and I decided I should take a pregnancy test, just in case. I honestly did not ever expect it to actually be positive. We had been careful (for the most part.) I took a few hours to get myself together and I emailed C2, asking if he could stop by on his way home from work. I had something important I needed to talk to him about. When I let him in, he had a funny look on his face. Apparently he thought I was inviting him over to either bust him in another lie, or for some breakup sex. I’m pretty sure he did not expect the words that came out of my mouth, “I’m pregnant.”

the moment you realize your life is c hanging forever.

that moment when you realize your life is about to change forever.

 

to be continued…

My Friend Greg

As I jump back into the dating world, I am reminded of an old friend Greg. Greg gave amazing advice about men and dating. Back in my BC (before child) days, my girlfriends and I referred often to Greg as we navigated our single lives. Many a sentence began with, “Greg says…”

Greg is the author of the book, “He’s just not that into you.” A former writer on Sex in the City, he made that line famous in an episode of the show and it has been an important part of my life ever since.

20130727-231619.jpgIt’s been a few years and I kind of forgot about Greg and his words of wisdom. And then tonight it hit me! He’s not calling me. He’s not asking me out. He’s just not that into me!!!! And that’s okay. Because somewhere out there is someone who IS into me. And why would I want to waste time worrying about someone who isn’t???

It’s hard to get past my ego sometimes. That doesn’t mean I’m conceited or have an overly optimistic outlook on myself or anything. Just that when I realize someone is just not that into me, my initial reaction is to think, “I’m sure if I just give him some time to get to know me, he will will realize how amazing I am.” And of course, I waste ridiculous amounts of time trying to show this man just how amazing I am. But of course, he doesn’t realize this, because he’s just not that into me. Then I beat myself up, wondering what is wrong with me that made him not be into me.

But really, does it matter WHY he isn’t into me? I am 32 years old! My personality is pretty well established, don’t you think? This is me. Love me or leave me, this is what you are gonna get. So if he’s not into me now, he has done me a favor. He has freed me up to go find someone who IS into me. This paragraph was a pep talk to myself. I know these things are true. I just have trouble remembering it sometimes.

20130727-231748.jpgI just discovered Greg has a new book out titled, “It’s Just a F***ing Date: Some Sort of Book About Dating.” So, it’s time for me to go catch up with my friend, Greg. I wonder what he will have to say about my recent date.

Phrases to make me cringe

I’m not sure what these men are thinking when they fill out their online dating profiles. I don’t know, maybe some women just have much lower standards than I do. If a profile contains any of the following, you get 1 star and I move on immediately.

I work hard and play harder
Maybe some women are looking for a party but I’m looking for a partner. Nothing screams, “alcoholic” more than this phrase!

I never much got into reading
Even if you aren’t much of a reader, to me this statement says, “I’m uneducated.” Now, I realize not everyone reads as much as I do and I don’t expect them to. I would love to meet a man who shares my passion for books but I haven’t found one yet and that’s okay. But, a certain level of intelligence is implied in the ability to at least name a book you read and enjoyed sometime over the past decade!

Using i instead of I
Really? You can’t hit that pesky little shift key? This implies you either don’t care about the impression you are making or you don’t actually know how to type with more than 2 fingers.

Topless photos showing everything but the actual goods

You are obviously looking for one of 2 things. Casual sex or someone to boost your ego. No thanks.

Just a few more notes
Spellcheck is your friend. Don’t use a photo of yourself holding a baby as your profile pic! And WHAT is up with all the men with funky, weird goatees or other oddly shaped facial hair???? That is NOT attractive. And grainy pictures where I can’t make out your face or group shots where it’s not clear which one you are just imply you have something to hide.

These are just my absolute online dating turnoffs. A lot more can go wrong in a profile or during those first few messages. What are some of your absolute turnoffs?

The History of Love

My History of Love! I was thinking back last night on all the dating I have done over the years. It goes a long way back. I thought  maybe I’d make a list. I’m going to skip high school. I was really shy, didn’t really date and didn’t have my first real romance until college. After that I was a serial monogamist for most of my early 20’s.

B: I was 18, he was my first real boyfriend. I met him at Woodstock in 1999. Turns out we were living in the same small town in MD and traveled to Rome, NY to meet while smoking a joint. Turns out, I was smoking a joint because it was Woodstock. He was smoking a joint because that’s what he did. All the time. 9 months later, he broke my heart.

M: Met at age 20 through mutual friends. Dated then lived together for 2 years. I broke his heart and still feel guilty about it. But I wasn’t in love with him. And he married the next girl he dated so obviously it was the right decision for both of us!

G: My first real love. I thought I would spend the rest of my life with this one…unfortunately, his alcohol and drug abuse ruined everything. After 3 years I finally had enough of the lies and ended it for good.

C: The one that got away. What started as a summer fling turned into a real friendship. Timing and circumstances have kept this relationship from ever realizing it’s full potential. We’ve lost touch again and I miss him a lot. We used to say that we knew we would end up together eventually and get married. I wonder if he still thinks about me.

B: Convinced me to move across the world with him, said he wanted to marry me, then dumped me. But, that’s okay. Because thanks to him I had the chance to live in Europe for 2.5 years. I have visited amazing places and met people who have changed my life in every way possible, all thanks to B. Wherever you are B, even though I still think you are an asshole, I am grateful for how you changed my life.

Singleton!!!! This was my year of being single. I dated, had a few flings, got my heart broken once…then I got pregnant. Ooops.

C2: The baby daddy. I met C2 at work. We began dating and it seemed to be going well at first. But, it slowly became clear that we were not compatible in the long term. He had a thing for drugs, weekend flings and secret text messages to other women. I think he was the type who wanted his cake and to eat it to…he wanted a nice girl to come home to but he wasn’t ready to give up the casual sex and partying that he so enjoyed. Unfortunately you just can’t have it both ways. At least not with me you can’t. So, we ended things after a few months in a mutually agreed upon fight with some not so nice words said. That was on Monday. Wednesday I realized I might be pregnant. And that story is for another post on another day.

So, that’s the history of my love life. Now I’m a single mom to a 4 year old, attempting to figure out how to date again in this new reality of mine.

p.s. did you know there is a book called the “The History of Love“? It’s a great book. You should check it out.

Single Mom…dating?

About a year ago I wrote a post about why I don’t date. To make a long story short, I just didn’t have the emotional energy dating requires. (Read the full post here.) Well, I went on a date last night! So I guess now this single mom is dating. I’m not sure what switched in my brain but recently I just really started to feel tug of loneliness. I am really tired of not having anyone to share my life with. So, I took the plunge and headed back into the world of online dating.

I’ve attempted online dating sporadically in the past. I usually never got past the first email or two. As soon as a guy mentioned the idea of actually meeting in person I just kind of backed away and pulled the old disappearing act. I went as far as texting with a few guys but still never went anywhere. One guy did a disappearing act on me and I suspect he may  have been married. Another was obsessed with talking about his ex-wife. Now, I totally get that if you are in your 30’s and online dating, you are going to have some baggage. But, let’s move on now, shall we?

I went on one date with someone I met online about  3 years ago. There was zero chemistry and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual since I never heard from him again. Even though I had no interest in seeing him again, it still stings a little to know he felt the same way. I mean, I think I’m pretty awesome. Obviously he did not agree!

So, back to the point-I went on a date last night. My most recent foray into online dating has been slightly more positive. I started talking to a guy and we seemed to really hit it off immediately. We have a lot in common, very similar situations with regard to our children and priorities. So, when he asked me to go on a date, I actually said yes.

And then, surprisingly, I had a really great time. We really just talked for hours and it seemed like we never ran out of things to talk about. And now comes the hard part. The part that goes with the post from a year ago. The waiting. The anxiety. The, “is he going to ask me out again?” feeling. The knowing that I could get hurt because I like this guy and he may not feel the same way. And then because I’m a woman, I over-analyze everything. Everything. It’s so damn stressful it makes me want to do my disappearing act again. It’s so much easier to just hide away with my 4 year old than to actually put myself out there and risk getting hurt.

But, I’m not running away this time. I’m out there. I’m going to risk it. Wish me luck, I might need it.