(We don't know where we'll end up ... but we're all starting at single.)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The RN: My Stolen Love Language

I'm going to assume you've all heard of Love Languages ... if not, where have you been? How did you manage to avoid hearing about this trend? Anyway I digress.

I've learned something a bit shocking in these last almost 5 months of being in a healthy relationship. For years my strongest love language was essentially "stolen" from me. I'm a 12 out of 12 on touch being the best way to communicate love to me. You see, among the many problems The Ex and I had, I think this may have been the biggest ... and I'm not even sure I knew it at the time.

The Ex hated touching unless it was in direct relation to having sex. When I tried to hug him, he said I was taking him hostage and he would make me let him go. He never hugged me ... unless he was initiating sex. There was no cuddling on the couch, or sitting extra close to each other in a booth, or even holding hands really. As we spent more time together, I began to associate touch with sexual advance and started shying away from casual touch.

Long, fairly painful, story short: I avoided touch for years because I'd come to see it as the start of sex every time I had more than a passing interaction with someone. And I didn't want sex, but that is another story.

I know this affected, and probably hurt, many people in my life. And I'm sorry for the pain I may have cause them, but in many ways this was the first real boundary I understood and enforced in my life. There's a reason I've been in therapy for the last four years.

Getting a dog was a fantastic choice for so may reasons. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it was also one of my first steps towards accepting touch again. Nothing like 15 lbs of pure love trying to curl up inside your dress to remind you not all touch leads to sex. She was the first one in years who had, and still has, carte blanche to touch me whenever she needs.

My sweet girl's rescue pic.

The boyfriend (RNBF) also has preference for touch as a love language (oh, hi, honey...💜). These last few months I've enjoyed relearning how nice it can be to lay all tangled up with someone on the couch for hours without having to worry that it will have to end in the bedroom. Not saying it doesn't end there often, but not every time. That is one of the best things about dating him. Knowing it's okay when we spent time together simply being close.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The RN: The First Date

*** Spoiler alert: this post contains details about the end of Avengers: Infinity War. ***

Okay, now, we've established I have a boyfriend (RNBF). So, how did we go from volunteering together to being together? Over chat, of course, because #nerds. We were talking about Infinity War, because, of course we were:

RNBF: Infinity War? 😀
The RN: Yep, I have to believe there is some kind of rewind coming.
RNBF: I mean
Time stone
The RN: Right? Exactly.
RNBF: Who knows how to use it except Dr Strange and Thanos?
The RN: Maybe Captain Marvel?
Plus Dr Strange said there was only one way it worked out. I’m assuming he would follow the path to that way.
RNBF: I had gotten the idea that he was able to pick the right combination of people to survive
I'm not exactly sure how the time stone works 😢
The RN: I was thinking about when he said, “it’s the only way”
Like Thanos has to win in order to lose ... I don’t know comic book logic.
RNBF: Dramatic logic 😀
Maybe Star Lord and Thor needing to gloat was unavoidable?
The RN: Maybe, but didn’t Star Lord go poof?
RNBF: I mean when he ruined everything by punching Thanos and breaking Mantis's concentration
The RN: Yes, well, he did kill Gamora
RNBF: He could have waited a couple minutes, though
The RN: Yeah, but hothead.
RNBF: Unavoidable
Since Dr Strange sees all futures or at least 14 million of them... I wonder how many times Star Lord did that?
The RN: Probably like all times.
RNBF: Because hothead
The RN: Although, I did realize I somehow missed seeing the Dr Strange movie.
RNBF: I saw it but I didn't find it all that engaging
Did you feel like you missed anything in Infinity War?
The RN: Not really, but still if I find on Netflix will probably watch it.
RNBF: We could watch it together! 😃
The RN: That we could.

Oh, you were expecting something short and straight forward? Clearly you don't know enough #nerds. What you may not realize was this was the first time in almost two years I had accepted a date. Even after I cut off CT (You remember him, right? Oops, I think I just gave away who sent the texts I posted ...) in 2013, I still went out here and there. I guess not on any, like, "real" dates, but I still managed to hook up a few times in 2014. Even though RNBF and I had been flirting for a while, I was more in the "I want to be ready" phase than in the "I am ready" phase.

It's possible (probable?) he was also not in the correct head space to start a long-term, serious relationship when we first started talking about volunteer stuff and getting all flirty. I mean neither of us is twenty anymore, we both have a past. All the same, I'm glad our timing worked out well enough so neither of us had too much baggage to keep us from getting into a relationship.

When you get to be my age, everyone has baggage.
It took a little bit of time to work out the details and actually go on our date. Does it still count as "going" on a date if it happened in your living room? Yep, you read that right. I let him come over to my place, despite having implemented a "no dates allowed" house rule. Two important things were different this time: 1) I had actually invited a couple of new friends over, so I had already started allowing some people into my space. (Spoiler, these newer friends are better about respecting me and my space.) And, 2) I actually knew him well enough to offer it as an option. Nope, I didn't straight out invite him over, but I put it out there as an option. Besides if we were going to Netflix and Chill™, er, watch Dr. Strange on Netflix we were either going to end up at his place or mine.

Not all of our clothes stayed on ...
Photo Credit
Long story short: we discovered we're ... very compatible with each other. Whoa, get your mind out of the gutter ... or don't ... but we didn't "go all the way" on our first date. I'm not sure we would've gotten there wither way, but I slowed it down. Yep, you read that right I slowed us down. You see the thing is, and you won't hear me say this often, I wanted to make an emotional decision. Usually, I'm all for making a logical decision instead of an emotional one, but that wasn't what I was choosing here. This time I wanted to make an emotional decision, not a hormonal one.

It's all fine and good to jump right in, let your hormones take over, and get to the good stuff, but I wasn't looking for a one-night-stand and I'm pretty sure he wasn't either (hi, honey...💜); otherwise, we wouldn't still be together. Since it had been a while, I wanted to ... not jump right in and and let my hormones take over. Although, the stuff was really good, I think it was the right choice for us to slow down at the time. A couple of days later I was running (okay, I'm usually running) and thinking about everything when I realized, a bit to my own shock, I was completely comfortable with how every was proceeding. For the first time in a very long time, I was happy. Not just content, but truly happy.

A few weeks later we were talking about a class RNBF had attended which he wished had been more technical and less participatory, because #nerds.

RNBF: I was thinking afterwards that the class I wanted wouldn't have been as interesting to other people 😛
The RN: Probably not; I would have been interested though.
RNBF: I'm glad I went
The RN: That’s good.
Sometimes trying new things isn’t bad. Like watching Dr Strange 😜
RNBF: I don't know what you're talking about, I'd seen Dr Strange several times 😛
The RN: I was trying something new.
RNBF: Oh! You mean that part!
That was new and exciting
And rewarding!
The RN: Yes, it was a great choice.
So was the neck massage. Both new/different choices than I had been making. Both were the right call.

And that is how our relationship started. We've had a few bumps and bruises, but we're approaching 4 months together. We couldn't be happier.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The RN: Hopefully Optimist

So, again it's been a while. I'll save you the excuses, I'm pretty sure you've heard them before anyway. I can't even say I haven't had anything to write about. Since my last writing I've managed to get myself a boyfriend.

Yes, you read that right.

No, it's not April and this isn't another April Fool's joke.

I really, truly have a boyfriend. We've even DTRed and it's Facebook Official. So, how, you ask, did this happen? Well, it was a slow process and I'm not even sure I noticed it was happening until it did. Wait, let me be more clear. Where did I meet him? Ironically enough I met him at my Regularly Scheduled Tuesday Night Activity (RSTNA). In fact, I know I saw him and talked to him before I met TNG (ugh, let's not talk about him), but we're both a bit to the shy side. Yes, even with all the details I share here I'm still shy, especially in person. I think I went to my RSTNA for almost a year before I actually spoke to anyone there. Well, except for the Greeters who take your money when you walk in. I'm sure I've said something about this before ... not sure which blog that was ... I don't know, go read all of 2013 and let me know if you find it.

It's hard to talk to people you don't know.
I think it was about 18 months ago (don't get mad I can't remember exactly, I had a lot going on at the time and he was an unknown at the time), he approached me to ask me about one of my tattoos. Yes, I have tattoos. No, I'm not going to tell you what they are ... this is an anonymous blog, unless you know me (Hi, mom!). I think we really started to get to know each other last year when I volunteered to help out at the non-profit which puts on RSTNA and we ended up on the same volunteer team. It gave a us reason to talk more often without any pressure, for either of us.

We started slow. So slow I didn't realize we were flirting. I'm not sure if this was just how things went or if this part of his plan. I mean I wouldn't put it past him (RNBF) to plan out to this level (Oh, hi, honey...💜). At the beginning we mostly spoke about actual volunteer things in the volunteer chat group. Then, as to be expected, the side chats started. Now, to be fair I have side chats with everyone on the volunteer team, just not as many or as long as the ones the ones I have with RNBF.

Somehow without me realizing it, we were talking everyday. Not a lot at first, just one thing or another, but still everyday. Now, if you've been following along, you know how much this kind of thing pisses me off. Except, this time it didn't. This time I looked forward to hearing from him and was happy every time I saw the notification and realized it was him. It was during one of these conversations that he eventually asked me on a date. The kind you can't mistake for anything other than a date. And, as RNBF has said, the perfect first date is a year of getting to know each other, followed by awkward flirting, and then Netflix and chill. Which is actually really close to what happened on our journey, but I think I'll save that story for my next blog.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The RN: Forgiveness

I know it's been a while, part of it is I was busy, part of it is I was lazy, but most it was ... I didn't really have anything to say.

I was talking with a friend recently and he said something that struck a chord with me. We were talking about The Ex, because for some reason that relationship always comes up. (Probably because I'm not done healing from it.) While talking I started getting teary eyed, which always annoys me, because, really?, haven't cried enough about this already? I forget exactly what he said, but it was along the lines of it looked like I was crying angry tears and not sad tears.

Wait ... what?

At first I was like, I'm not mad - I stopped being mad at him when I forgave him. It not healthy to that mad for that long. I truly bear him no ill will at this point. Still, my friend's words resonated with me. After a while I realized he was right, I am still very mad. I couldn't really put my finger on why I was still mad, but it was clear I was still mad.

Finally, this morning while I was lying in bed trying to decide if I should admit if I was wake or not, I realized who I was still mad at ... me. I'm still furious with myself for allowing someone to treat me like that for so many years. And, I'm still mad at myself for every relationship, dating or friendships, since then where I have allowed myself to be treated ... less than respectfully.

And now for the hardest part ... figuring out how to forgive myself. This is not going to be easy.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The RN: Afraid of Sex ... Wait ... What!?

Hold on, what did I just say? It must have been a long week, I'm clearly not thinking straight.

Let me back up a little bit and start over. Last time I talked about being scared to date. I started digging into that a bit more. First thing off the bat? I don't like having to tell people no, especially if I have to get blunt about it. This is hard for me. Probably because I don't have well defined boundaries ... makes note to self - work on defining boundaries better ... at all. Still that's not the core of the issue. We've all seen that when push comes to shove, I'll shove your ass right out of my life.

And, truthfully, I've spent months if not years working on saying no when I don't want to do things. I feel like that's not the whole story. I decided to dig deeper - I found my shovel and kept digging. I find it harder to draw boundaries and say no in dating situations then in other situations. Hm, that's something to consider ... what's different about dating?

There must be something else down here. Photo Credit

Well, sex is different about dating. Maybe I'm afraid of sex ... nope, that's not it. (Seriously, have you even read this blog?) Sorry, must recover from the laughing. Okay, it's not the sex. On the other hand, I'm still very reluctant to enter into a relationship where sex is on the table ... am I afraid of my own sexuality? Nope, that doesn't fit either. I am completely comfortable with my own sexuality. I know what I like and what I don't like. I'm not afraid to experiment a little (or a lot) if I'm comfortable with my partner.

Where does that leave me? I'm not afraid of myself; it's the uncomfortable interactions with other people ... ah ha, there it is: I'm afraid of uncomfortable with other people's reactions to my sexuality. Very frequently when I get into a dating situation, the guy I'm involved with gets ... clingy and annoying and is WAY more into me than I am into him. I touched on this earlier this year. I also came to this conclusion right before my therapy session the other week. Guess what we talked about nearly the whole time?

Photo Credit

So where does that leave me? I'm not sure; like, really, I have no idea. But I feel like it's better to have finally started to get to the root of the problem. Although, now that I'm starting to look around down here, I might need some Roundup.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The RN: Getting to the Core of the Issue

It's still September, right? Oops ...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about why I haven't wanted to date lately. Besides just me inevitably talking to jerks. After a bit of thought, I've come to the conclusion that I'm burying my head in the sand. Somewhat ironically, I realized this while reading about personal finance (my latest nerd hobby). I was reading and came across a line about how no matter how much you try to avoid your finances, it doesn't change how much money you owe or how much you have saved. My reaction was, "Of course, not! Hiding doesn't change reality."

And I then realized, that's what I have been doing, hiding. I've been hiding from dating because I don't want to deal with the reality of it. Upon realizing this, I am now forced to acknowledge I have still have boundary issues. I have totally been working on my boundaries, trying make myself healthier, but I realize I still have some work to do.

I was talking with my therapist last week (yep, still in therapy), and she was asking me about dating and such. She asked, "what do you want? We've talked a lot about what you don't want, but what do you want?" And that, ladies and gentlemen, is starting to scratch the surface of the real problem. I have no idea what I want. I have no idea what a healthy relationship looks like or feels like. I have no idea how to set my boundaries.

No wonder I have boundary issues. Photo Credit

Now, some of my frustration is starting to make sense to me. If you don't know where you want the line to be, you don't know where the line is currently, and you don't know what the line looks like, it's really hard to ensure others don't cross the line. But, sticking my head in the sand by avoiding dating isn't going to help me find and define my line. Still not sure this is enough to get me back out there just yet, but it's enough to get me started thinking about it again. The same person who told me I didn't have to offer friendship also told me the best thing to do for myself was to get out there and practice dating and practice telling people no. She's not wrong, but I'm not looking forward to this part ... at all.

Dang, I was rather enjoying this view. Photo Credit

Well, they say admitting you have a problem is the first step. Step 1: ✓ Now, I'm going to have to figure out why I've been hiding so I can start working on those issues. No need to worry if my therapist will lose me as client any time soon.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The RN: 3, 2, 1, No Contact

First, if you got the title reference, congrats on being as nerdy and as old as I am. Not sorry if the theme song is now bouncing around your head. Especially since it's better than what I have bouncing around in mine: I can't seem to get last month's topic out of my head. It took me a while to realize exactly why I was so upset by the question. I know I think it's rude and disrespectful and whole host of other awful things, but why am I so mad about it, even over month later? In case you need a reminder (or worse didn't read last month's post) here's the offending question again, "If someone gives you a hard left, should you try to contact them to explain?"

I eventually realized it was not only because I think it's disrespectful to the person who gave you the hard left, but also because it's supremely self-centered. First, if I've given you a no contact rule, it wasn't without at least a couple of hard conversations about our interactions/your behavior and why it made my uncomfortable. So it shouldn't be coming out of left field. Second, for all the times I've had people do this to me (Car Guy, PJ Guy, I'm sure there's more) not once has it been about me. It's always been about them.

PJ Guy wants who knows what from me, but I'm not giving it to him.  (Side note: I blocked him on email this month, because, yeah, I really don't want all the those lists and ridiculously long, terrible birthday e-cards he keeps sending.) Car Guy, well, we all know he wants to fuck me in his car, regardless of whether I want to or not. And while I have no way to know if Tuesday Night Guy (TNG) asked the question, the motives behind the question are pretty clearly right along the lines of PJ Guy and Car Guy.

So, let's assume for the sake of argument TNG did ask the question and it was in reference to me telling him to hit the highway. My main question in response is then, "What do you think you will accomplish by explaining?" What is the goal of trying to have this conversation? My assumption, since I don't know for sure, is somehow this explanation is supposed to change my mind about not talking to him. But as far as I'm concerned if I give you the oust, you've used up your chances; nothing you can say at this point will change my mind. If you were serious about modifying your behavior, you would have done it after one of the many conversations we had were I said I was unhappy with our interactions.

Seriously! Photo Credit

The assumption yet another conversation where you apologize and promise to "do better" and tell me you "didn't mean it that way" is not going to cut it. We've already had at least three of these conversations and your behavior is still making me uncomfortable. All I'm getting from your desire to explain it to me is this: you think your wants are more important than mine and I should change my mind and give you another chance. Nice try buckaroo, but that's a no-go for me. You see, I've been working on my boundaries and learning to keep them even when they make someone else unhappy, so I'm not going to let you stomp all over them. Either by not treating me with the respect I have asked for or by letting you think you can explain away not respecting me. Because this really isn't about me, it's about you. I'm not the one who can't stop the behaviors which are making others uncomfortable; I'm not the one who's upset by the lack of contact between us; I'm not the one who has a list of excuses explanations to try to make it better.