musings on dating, ghosting and life journeys

Dating and friendship

Since my second marriage ended some (almost) 10 years ago, I have found myself on and off the dating scene. Sometimes more on and sometimes more off. I regularly talk about dating with my girlfriends in person over a wine or three or online with more distant friends including one of my blogging buddies Maria @adriftinathens

a very good vintage

We all date and meet potential partners in different ways, sometimes online dating, sometimes in real life. We’ve all experienced ghosting and other dating horrors in one form or another. And to be honest, I’ve probably ghosted a few after some desultory messaging that seemed to go nowhere and the effort in making some form of ‘it’s over before it’s begun’ message seems a bit redundant.

Ghosting

I once experienced ghosting after dating someone for 3 or 4 months and then nothing. No contact, no text, no call – nada! Sometimes it’s actually difficult to determine who exactly is the ghoster and who the ghostee. In this case I had sent a reply to a text message and then that was it – no further communication. My girlfriend asked if he had perhaps become seriously ill or worse yet died! But no. His little green light on Messenger was regularly on when he was using his phone – so I’m fairly sure he was still hail and hearty.

ghosting
yeah, nah

However, I was not overly emotionally invested in the relationship and I decided to let it go. I think a few years back I would have been more inclined to follow up with a “why?” But now, nah. As Maria always says to me “if a man wants to see you, he will”. And that is absolutely correct. Anyway, I think I miss his dog more than I miss him.

Life journey and fellow travelers

I have discovered over the years that people join me on my life journey for varied lengths of time. Some have been around for years; some for months; some come and go and others are around only for a little while. I recall earlier this year having the most intense and brilliant conversation with a man (over coffee after a Parkrun). He told me he was married, plus he was from a Parkrun far from my local run. I knew as the conversation beautifully unfolded that this was a really special connection and that one hour was the only time in this life that we would connect. He was in my life journey for the briefest snippet and that’s just how it is sometimes.

This attitude also allows me to let go far more easily than once I could (or could not more to the point). If a relationship ends, regardless of whether it’s me letting go or they drifting apart from me, then it’s done. There may be some residual sadness or longing, but it dissipates and fades away. I can acknowledge what was, appreciate the positives and let go of the negative.

Then move on and see where the next adventure leads me ❤

 

 

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The (non) rational mind

logical mind

How I think I think vs actual reality!

I tend to think of myself as a reasonably rational and logical person. I generally believe I have a good grasp of reality (most of the time) and I have insight into my thinking and way of being. I have struggled with concepts around how one reacts to situations i.e. the belief system that one can ‘choose’ how to react to a situation. That our thoughts govern our responses good or bad. If we only harness our thoughts, then we can choose to respond positively to any negativity in our lives.

I still have difficulty with that concept. I find it intrinsically unfair. Sometimes things are tough and challenging and to force oneself to feel positive is a big ask. However, I have realized that I can quite easily stitch together my own version of reality depending on circumstances and my thoughts at the time and that stitched together version can be absolutely and totally incorrect. I find this somewhat alarming. Here’s a story:

Stitching together reality

One time I was dating a guy, we messaged each other regularly and saw each other on weekends. In one of those messages he asked me when was my birthday. I responded with 10 September and asked when his was, he replied with 30 November. I duly put that date in my calendar. I recall thinking at the time how nice he was asking about my birthday and that it meant he would keep the date in mind. I also felt it was a good early sign in this newly minted connection.

Two weeks later we were chatting over a glass or two of wine and he asked me if I had been to Bali (for Aussies Bali is practically in our backyard and it’s cheaper to go there than travel within our own country). I said I had but some years ago. He said he was planning a trip mid September and would I like to go with him? Well, my gooey heart just melted. I thought it was lovely to be invited, albeit a little early on in a new romance. So throwing caution completely to the wind I said I’d love to go with him.

My brain also decided that perhaps it was connected with my birthday (as the dates aligned) and it would be a lovely way to celebrate. I was convinced this was correct and that this lovely man was thoughtful and considerate and oozing romance (you can see where this is going, right?)

Bali
Bali – where I was not!

However, over the next few weeks there was no further mention of Bali or any trip together. I felt puzzled and wondered if he had forgotten or perhaps he would mention buying flights and accommodation a little closer to the time (I would be paying my own costs). I felt hesitant about bringing it up. Then I found from a conversation with his friends that he had planned a ‘boys trip’ to Bali for mid September. And it hit me that I had been ‘uninvited’ but without him actually telling me. That kinda stung.

The day of my birthday, I waited all day for him to text, call or post something on my FB. He didn’t. Well, he did text me late in the day saying he’d been busy working all day and how was my day. I responded with fabulous – seeing as how it was my birthday. He told me that he is f-ing bad at remembering things like that. Really? No kidding!!

The next day he flew to Bali for his boys own adventure with his mate.

 

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I started seeing recently did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

Running + Dating = Running/date is a thing y’all :D

Time for a run/date – how cool is that?

My ideal first date, go for a run and impress him with my sweaty awesomeness! And I got that opportunity on the weekend. I’d been messaging with a fellow I found on my dating site. A lot of his photos were of him at ParkRuns around the world and y’all know I love ParkRuns and travelling, so how could I not be impressed? Plus he’s good looking, came across as smart and genuine and obvs fit – can’t be doing all that running and be unfit, right?!

So, he kinda invited me on his local ParkRun on Sat morning and to go for a coffee after. Best first date offer ever!! Except I had to get him to come to my ParkRun as it was a special one for me, I was about to run my last timed run in my age category of 55-59 – I turned 60 on the 10 Sept! (more on that below). My ParkRun buddies were insisting I do a new PB on the day and go out with a bang! And that’s a challenge I just had to accept. So I invited my date to my run and coffee/breakie after and he said yes and came to my run 🙂 🙂

One of my running buddies offered to pace me 🙂 We’ll start off at a slow and steady pace for the first km or so he said.. mmhmm, his idea of slow and steady was my idea of ‘holy hell this is fast!’ He kept me at a steady rhythm with target goals along the way and a mantra to play out in my head. I noticed my date overtake us at some point and I was thinking – awesome, he’s faster than me! I spotted him as he was heading back after the turn around point and he stopped to take an action shot of me (there’s also a really nice shot of my date guy and I after the run – but I won’t post that just yet – early days people 🙂 ) Oh and I got that PB by 10 seconds!

running at ParkRun
My final 55-59 timed run and I got that PB and was first in my age category – thanks to my pacing buddy and everyone at my ParkRun cheering me on!

Then date guy and I went for coffee and breakfast afterwards. Really good conversation and he is lovely. We talked for ages, but I had to cut it short as it was my birthday party day and I had to get organised. He messaged me later in the day with photos and a thank you and on the mad spur of the moment I invited him to swing by my birthday party that evening. He said he’d love to and he did! He was totally at ease with my family and friends and they all loved him. So, how’s that for a first date? Running in the morning, celebrating my birthday in the evening AND running the gauntlet of my family and friends! What a guy, he’s a keeper – am I right?

Musings on turning 60

Turning 60 is awesome, I love milestone birthdays, it’s always an excuse to celebrate, throw a party and have everyone pamper you – what’s not to love? What’s even better is that at my party some of my friends gave me cards to celebrate my 50th and one thought it was my 40th (bless!!). I guess all that exercise and healthy eating and keeping a positive mind-set (and for sure I know that is not always easy, I speak from personal experience) has stood me in good stead for where I am at right here and right now.

There were some beautiful and thoughtful gifts, my daughter bought me a Kobo (an eReader). I’d previously not been keen as I love ‘real’ books – however I have literally run out of bookshelves and the books piling up everywhere looks a bit like I should open a second hand bookstore before I (and the mutts) disappear under the pile 😛

So here are a couple of party pics for y’all – take care, look after each other and if you’re approaching a milestone birthday – enjoy and eat that cake!! xoxo

 

Running… what else?

I found a new thing (well new to me) ParkRun…

I’ve joined the #ParkRun phenomenon. I love running on my own, but it’s pretty nice to run with a group. Have y’all heard of ParkRun? I’ll add a link below for you to check it out. It’s a community/neighborhood organised group and anyone can join in, it doesn’t matter what your pace is, you can run, walk, take your kids, dog, partner, best friend. Or like me, go by yourself and find friends and make new friends and meet more of your neighbors. The best thing is that once you join ParkRun you can run with any group around the world – great way to stay fit and healthy and meet new people wherever you might find yourself 🙂

Here’s the link –  ParkRun

Lurve and that online dating thing and oh my gosh, ghosting really is a thing!

Well, I persist! Met a cute guy online – 53 year old lawyer. Went on a couple of dates. First date he took me out for dinner, lovely spirited conversation about everything – politics, travel, history, music, movies. He walked me to my car told me I was gorgeous (naaw, bless!) and kissed me – I usually don’t allow guys to kiss me on a first date, too intimate too soon – but this one seemed different and I felt a connection.

Second date he invited me to the cinema, he chose On Chesil Beach, a slow moving British period drama. Lots of beautiful long camera shots of a pebbly British beach and awkward sex scenes with the protagonists and a tragic and trite ending. He held my hand throughout and stroked my hand and fingers.

After the movie he wanted to go to San Churros (if you don’t have this franchise in your city, go google it) and suddenly I felt like an awkward 15 year old. He wanted hot chocolate and a plate of churros (Spanish donuts with a sugary dipping sauce).  The conversation was flat, mostly because we were surrounded by noisy teenagers and that does not make for conducive small talk!

He walked me to my car, quick kiss and a “see you later” from him as he dashed to his car. I was left standing with a bemused expression on my face and thinking hmmmm. Then he “ghosted” me! Literally ghosted me. Did not call or message, nothing, nada. Just disappeared. I was messaging my mate Ali and her response? He forgot to use his big boy words! Classic! Seriously, all that is required is a polite text/message saying, thank you, but I don’t think this will work. No harm, no foul and we all go on our separate journeys knowing that good manners prevail and all will be right with the world.

on Chesil Beach photo
I’m kinda thinking this still from the movie might be a slight indication of the soon to be fate of my date! 😛

Take care y’all and treat each other with respect and kindness xo

 

…sure has been a while y’all

UPDATE, can’t believe how long it’s been!

I was chatting with a friend over messenger and we were talking blogs, she asked for the link to mine and that’s when I realised that oh my gosh, I have not written a post since last year!!

Lurve (aka loss thereof) update:

So definitely time to update y’all on what I’ve been up to and how life is chugging along. Firstly, that relationship? Yeah, nah. It’s gone. This time I ended it and maybe sometime I will tell you why. Suffice to say it was the best decision for me and I am in a really good place emotionally now that it is done and dusted!

in a good place
love coffee, love where I am right now 🙂

Dating – online and offline

I have ventured into the world of online dating. It’s been an interesting journey so far. There was the teacher who criticised my clothing, my face (I know right? he said I look vague – pfft), he ridiculed my job (well the one I used to have)… so that was a definite “no!” He then messaged to ask me why not and for me to list out exactly where he went wrong. Nope, that’s not my job Mister, if you have no insight into yourself and how you relate to people, I’m not about to start teaching you. Then there was the guy who looked quite nice judging by his photo and he seemed pleasant in written correspondence. When I turned up for coffee, I walked right by this very old fellow, I glanced his way and thought ‘no that is not date-guy’ then I sat down. The guy then came over, asked my name and then asked why I had walked on by. I said “because I did not recognise you”. I swear his photo was at least 15 years out of date.

Then the man who lied about his age. He dropped 5 years off and then “confessed” when we met. He said if he’d put his true age I would likely have not responded (true that) and he is interested in younger women as women his age are “boring” and yeah, that was a nope too. Now I know women can also be deceitful on these sites, my stories are my experiences as that’s all I’ve got to go by.

Health and fitness – my favourite topic 🙂 Running, Swimming and Dancing

Healthwise all is good. I am still running and have joined a #ParkRun group, we go out for a 5km run every Saturday morning and I am loving it! I usually run alone, so having a group of people to run with is a lovely change. There is often cake at the finish line (not sure that is a good idea!) and usually a few of us go for coffee/brekkie after the run.

running image
just closing in on the finish line 🙂

And I am swimming a couple of times per week at the local pool – 30 laps of the 50 mtr. I’m not super fast, but I persist! I find it relaxing and meditative and a good all over body workout without any stress on the joints. Makes a nice counterpoint to the running.

I am also taking dance classes twice per week. Pub jive – I still astound myself that I am not too bad at dancing. Jive is new to me so I’m starting from the beginning, I’m heading into week 4 of a 6 week course. I’ve got all the basics and now the teacher is adding in new steps to form a routine. I also found out my teacher’s birthday is on the same day as mine which made me smile. Oh and in my first class he hauled me into the centre, asked my name and announced it to the group and I was first up as an example, luckily I managed to recall the steps and not stomp on him!

Writing

The other thing I have started is a creative writing course. I enjoy writing, I have spare time on my hands (ya know, that whole unemployed thing) and I like to have some structure around what I am writing. I am working towards a Capstone unit whereby I will write a short story and I would eventually like to write a novel. I have a story idea and I have thoughts around character development. Feedback I am getting so far is really positive – so I will tell you more in my next update, which will not be as far down the track as this one is from the last.

Take care y’all – until next time xo