Tag Archives: dating

I Can’t Avoid This Any Longer

I’m sorry blog, you’ve been so neglected. I have been rather quiet actually, and not wanting to share what’s in my little bubble as I mull it over. I went back and read everything I’ve written so far this year, and I seem to keep circling around the same themes.

The big thing I’m battling is how my entire world view changed after things with J ended. I spent nearly 35 years of my life obsessively working (on establishing an academic career, if you’re new to this blog), and not really feeling that happy about it, but driven to find happiness through it somehow eventually. I grew up feeling like people were unreliable, and happiness had to come solely from the things one did independently to make one’s own life better and even impressive (to others). I kept people at a distance, even J because I never did trust him after a really rocky start to our relationship. We never established a core foundation of trust. I trusted him more than anyone else in the world, and I still couldn’t tell him some of my fundamental truths.

When I was with J, I never thought about “family”, and now it’s all I can think about. It is the motif of 2014 for me. Is it wrong to devote myself to the pursuit and establishment of family with the same intensity as I do my academic work? The same determination and drive? Semi-relatedly, I’ve been asking a lot of questions of women I know about this whole “biological clock” notion- it’s really interesting to me. It seems to be contingent on being around a person that the body senses is right. Plenty of women I’ve spoken to have said that around one partner they never felt the desire to have kids, and then when they met someone new it went into overdrive. Someone told me just last night, that her body said to her: “I don’t care one bit about logic or planning. You need to make this happen with this guy [now her husband] however you can.”

I wonder if this is something women often feel, but don’t talk about because they’re afraid of being judged (mostly by other women!) and because we all want to be seen as rational actors.

I’ve been having so much trouble working because work makes me actively sad at the moment, and I haven’t gotten to the bottom of why yet. Is it that I’ve sacrificed so much to get here? Is it that for too long I repressed my feelings through work and I now need to deal with my feelings before I -can- work?

I’ve been quiet on here about my boyfriend, M, too, because it’s only been 6 weeks and I don’t really want to jinx it, or publicize it too soon. I mean, I was wrong in the past, and it’s a certain amount embarrassing. But this one feels 180 degrees different from those experiences. In the past, I experienced a lot of doubts, and needed to do a lot of mental juggling to make things feel like they fit. I thought that my incapacity to relax or really speak about my feelings and experiences to those guys honestly was due to something about my compromised mental health. As it turns out, meeting the right person is a game changer. This new relationship is different from my marriage, from any of the dating experiences I’ve had. In this case, all of instincts tell me without reservation that this is right. (I just stared out the window for about ten minutes after writing that.) Yeah. I don’t know why I don’t have any doubts about him. But I don’t. Not a one- apart from the complication that me applying for jobs around the world and him needing to stay here introduces. But that’s not about him, that’s about circumstances.

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I Know What the Problem Is

I promise someday I’ll go back to telling funny anecdotes about people and talk about my misadventures as I’ve tried to “save my sanity” this year. But I have to get something boring out of the way first, as a series of notes to myself.

I know the root of 95% of my recent problems is.  I’ve got monophobia- I’m afraid of being alone. I honestly had no idea until 2014, although I started to suspect around 2012. “I’m an introvert,” I thought. “A total homebody! I have a social anxiety disorder. How can this be possible?”

But I can see now how it has driven most of the decisions I’ve made in my life.

This is very true, from zenhabits:

“Does learning to be OK with being alone mean you can’t be in a relationship? Not at all — but if you aren’t OK with being alone, then being in a relationship is going to be fundamentally flawed.

Why? Because you become dependent. You need the other person, not only to pay bills and help you manage, not only to protect you and provide for you, but for emotional needs. You need the other person to pay attention to you, to give you validation and comfort and love. Now, all of those things are nice, but needing someone else for them means you become needy, desperate, and those aren’t attractive qualities. Who wants to be in a relationship with a needy, desperate person?”

Or, as RuPaul says: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

—-
In my heart I know about people almost instantly. I know whether they’re real or fake, good for me or not. I feel them acting upon my nervous system immediately. When I try to force a relationship (friendship or otherwise) with someone who, for whatever reason, isn’t relating to me genuinely and openly, it causes me so much pain (angst!). In particular, I respond very negatively to people who are deeply afraid, but in denial about it, because something in me picks up on the torment.

I now know what I have to do, but whether I am able to do all of it or not is questionable.
1. I need to not date (how many times have I had this realization? BUT I am adding a caveat)… unless I encounter someone who really feels right on a deeply instinctive level. And that hasn’t happened in Houston.

2. I need to figure out what I can change about this house to make it more me and less us. I don’t know if this can and will happen, because in a lot of ways it’d be easier to just discharge almost everything when I make the permanent move in a year or less, then redecorate when I get where I’m going.

3. I need to see if I can find a house-sitting gig somewhere outside of Houston that will allow me to bring an incontinent elderly dog (London) and one who is now confused about where potty goes (Mei) because of his illness. It’d have to be free lodgings or I’m still stuck here. But house-sitting… yeah. The odds are about as high as that makes it sound.

I don’t know, my inner voice is still telling me I need to go, but I’ve had to be strong and patient in the past. This may be no exception. I do have things keeping me in the HTX, but I’ve learned this year that even what seem like inflexible barriers can be worked through if a thing is important enough.

Hmmmm thoughts thoughts thoughts.

Desperate Times

It’s 1:35 PM on a Sunday and I am lying sideways on my sofa with my eyes held closed as tightly as I can. My limbs feel like lead, and I am shaking a bit. I can feel my heart beating irregularly, in violent bursts. I can’t recall what my doctor told me this is called, but it can happen when one consumes an excess of caffeine, and also as symptom of a chronic overload of cortisol (stress hormone) in the system.

I think I’m about to be broken up with today. Again.

We’ll see in an hour or so.

In the meantime, my stress has reached peak levels. I can feel the noise in my brain, the pressure in my skull. Having an acute anxiety disorder + shit that would stress anyone out + PTSD = kind of untenable physical state.

I was broken up with in the past, in part because I’m “too old” (35). He wants kids, and my being 35 means we’d have to rush it. He’s 35 too. It’s not fair.

And I think I’m going to have to take my coping strategies to another level as a result. I’m looking at tickets to Philly (my parents’ house) for tomorrow. And I’m thinking of trying to go to San Francisco in July. I’ll keep up my dissertating pace, as the only thing that will get me out of this current stalemate is graduating (or perhaps spontaneously making great strides with my enlightenment).

I am sitting up now, and turning my head every time I hear a car drive by. I am afraid of him arriving. I had initially planned to let him message me first, but I woke up crying and shaking, and knew I couldn’t spend the entire day in a state of tension. I need(ed) to know, and so I wrote: “Can you come over? ”
He replied: “Yeah – let me run first and then I’ll head over!” And me: “Awesome, thanks”

Last night, when I didn’t understand why he’d walked away from me and gotten in his truck to go to his own place for the second night in a row, I texted him: “I wish I knew what is going on. My heart hurts.”

He thought I was referring to my house, at which my new housemate told me there had been an attempted break-in that night. Or perhaps he was avoiding my question. He replied with a query about the house. My heart hurt more. In the dark I held a pillow close to my chest and breathed.

While I was driving home, at 2AM… later than I’d wanted to stay, (but I’d stayed because he was there and I was afraid that leaving would mean I’d be the one walking away prematurely),  I saw something amazing. A shooting star, vivid and bright in front of me on the road. I was surprised at how clear it was against Houston’s light-polluted skies. I wished with the full force of my heart, trembling a bit as I did.

Sometimes I wish I could trade a little of my social anxiety, my awkwardness, my difficulty opening up for some of the cheery natural extroversion I see around me. I envy people from whom love seems to pour freely (and not so much the ones who are just loud and effortlessly social). But I’d have to give up some of my sensitivity in the bargain, I think.

I wish I could freeze my age, and not continue aging until the current chaos in my life had sorted itself out. It doesn’t seem fair to waste life on pain. (I know, I know.)

I am about to be broken up with. By someone with whom I am in love.

Would it Be Easier Not to… ?

Hey there internet, how are you doing?

I haven’t posted in a while… the sign of a high quality blog, indeed. I haven’t had the emotional energy, truth be told. And my life and emotions have been on a rollercoaster.

I got broken up with on Monday, which has never happened to me before- that’s how little dating experience I really have. E had seemed off on Sunday evening, and then when he arrived Monday, late, he was distant and exhausted/withdrawn looking. He said words that will echo in my head for a long time “You are remarkable. But … over the past few weeks my romantic interest has waned.” He went on to explain that he thought we wanted different things in life– or he must have said that later because immediately after he said the first part I felt a cold/hot sensation move from the top of my head to my feet. And I went into a kind of shock. Then I started hyperventilating.

He tried to explain that this is what happens with dating, and I sobbed inconsolably.

And somehow, with tears in my voice, I began to talk about what I really want out of life, which is to say that after the tumultuous last few years, I don’t know.
I told him that I don’t know how to date, that the process of getting through that fraught early stage seemed to me to be impossible to bear. I just wanted to transition immediately to the part where we live happily ever after (ha) in the same house. I saw no particular reason not to let every bit of my ugly anxiety and neediness show, as the man had just broken up with me.

And then he started crying. He said “I’m so sorry,” over and over again. I was suddenly consoling him.
Something strange happened as I spoke quietly, and with tears running down my face, about how… after so many years of wanting to be a professor, I suddenly didn’t know any more. I am tired of waking up regretting that I didn’t choose to write fiction as I’d planned until age 22. But.. I also don’t know if I don’t want to be a professor. I’m having too many life crises at the moment to risk making important decisions. I told him that I didn’t think either of us knew our life plans are incompatible yet, and that I wished we could try to figure out whether we might compromise as we keep getting to know each other.

He looked at me with the saddest brown eyes and said:

“Can we forget I ever said anything?”

I didn’t know what that meant but I just cried more.

It meant he was un-breaking up with me.

The next day he wrote to me: “The emotions you shared with me last night were extremely touching and I’m sure that whatever issues/hangups/etc we have they can be overcome. I’m so sure of it.”

I have been having an incredibly anxious week- my abandonment issues got triggered hardcore, I have my period, and a UTI on top of that (sorry, readers). I’m horribly shaky and yesterday I was so scared that I got trapped in a coffee shop for a while because I was too anxious to simply stand up and walk across the room. I was unable to stay long when meeting friends for drinks because my nervous system was such a mess that I couldn’t bear the din of the bar.

The night before all of this, E had cancelled plans with me (claiming he was stressed). Tonight he did the same thing because his best friend needs some home network help, and after a nap I wrote to him:

“So I told you I’d be totally honest with you from now on, even when my pride says to stfu. I had a fear response to hearing I wouldn’t see you tonight because of my temporary need for reassurance and wanting to reinforce our bond/feel safe again. I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. (And that this isn’t a request to change your plans at all!)”

He replied: “I totally understand and thank you for being honest!” and then some other stuff I won’t bore y’all with.

I am praying that someday I’ll get to a point with E, or (unfathomable right now), some other boy where I can show them this blog. Where I can expose all of the parts of my life that I keep from people until they have found their way 100% in. Having lost the closest person to me in the last year I no longer have someone that sees every part of me.

So I guess that’s why I keep trying, even though it would be easier not to right now. I didn’t mean to meet E when I did.

My shrink had me read a book on Love Addiction, which confused me because I do the Love Addict stuff when I feel vulnerable and the Love Avoidant once I feel secure. (Also, I hate the phrase “love addict”.) Never do I relate to a partner in a healthy way, but realizing it is half the battle, right? I’m willing to admit that I’m codependent, and working on it.

I Don’t Need Your Shenanigans

Feh, I’ve been sleeping too much. Like, going to bed by 12, getting up at 8 to deal with the dogs, and then going back to bed like a lump for another 2 hours. Because I can, sure, but mostly because of the anxiety/stress.

J and I are supposed to go to divorce court and finalize this divorce this week, and that has me all sorts of twisted around and emotional. J seems to not really be carrying around any sort of sadness about the whole thing, but rather anxiety that I’m going to freak out at the 11th hour and delay the process. You know, I don’t even have to go to the courtroom… isn’t that odd? I can just sign the docs, and he can go by himself. I could be tied up in a closet somewhere, or coerced or… well, I guess we do have to sign them in front of a notary.

I’ve also been spending too much time with notaries lately. And the one up the street takes her job very, very VERY seriously. Raising hand and taking a solemn oath that I am who I say I am seriously. (The one before her told me: “I just got divorced too. Fuck ’em!”)

I had a bit of a meltdown on Saturday morning when I stumbled into the kitchen feeling all sorts of broken and battered and fragile. Still in my jammies and pre-coffee, I wasn’t prepared when J came sailing into the house unannounced and asked if his girlfriend could use the bathroom. Apart from scaring me, I was horrified. What if I’d had a -boy- over? What if I were naked? He’d texted, but I was still in bed so I didn’t know… We had a fight about privacy and house co-ownership and legal cohabitation that led to me curled up on my couch for an hour or so that afternoon, feeling like I’d been beaten up.

Honestly, I need to prepare to see him. Surprises aren’t my favorite thing when they involve people EVER, but particularly not when they involve him right now.

So that night I had am ill-timed date with S, the other Japanese dude I was seeing. I was really emotionally and physically spent, so I don’t think I was my usual sparkly self. But we had a good time drinking wine and eating tasty Italian food and cake balls. In the corner of my mind I was thinking “I need to break it off with this dude”, because I didn’t think the chemistry was there, and I’ve met another guy who I actually really like (but who is currently living close to my parents and not in TX!)… Anyway, S and I talked about all sorts of interesting things (Japanese comedy from the early 2000s!) and then parted relatively early, at 11pm.

Yesterday I got this text, typed out verbatim (he’s lived here for 10 years so we communicate(d) in both English and Japanese depending on what we wanted to say):

“Hi L, how are you? I’m really sorry to tell you that I got very turned off knowing you were interested in women before and you sound you still are [sic]. It was kind of shocking. You are a very interesting person and it’s fun spending time with you. So I would still like to see you as a friend. But I think I lost interest as a date to be honest with you. Sorry but this can happen while we are knowing each other. We can talk on the phone if you like.”

Ok… ok what? So on Saturday I’d told S about how a hotel clerk in TN thought my sister and I were a lesbian couple, and had tried to be thoughtful by suggesting he could move us to a room with one bed… then S asked me if I’d ever had experiences with women, and I said sure, I ran the bisexual student group for a while as an undergrad. I dated women, although none of those relationships made it past the 1 year mark, because I met J in the midst of all that. I told S honestly that these days my orientation is pretty straight.

Anyway, I didn’t think the conversation was a big deal. This is a Japanese guy who doesn’t mind my tattoos, let me go on two feminist rants about Japanese politicians during that same evening, etc. His sisters both married gaijin and moved to South Africa. He’s a typical Todai (University of Tokyo) salaryman in some ways, but…

I haven’t answered because I want to bitch slap him. I have no patience for needing to explain basic sexuality, and why would I want to be friends with someone who finds a basic aspect of my self-identity icky? Dude, this is why you’ve never come close to being married at age 43. Freakin’ evolve already, or don’t date girls with lotsa tattoos and punky short hair. I imagine most of us have smooched a lady or two.

Fehhhhhhhhhhhh. If I could only afford it, I really wish I was going to my shrink more than once a week. Oh, and my dog is sick and I don’t know how to pay to have him taken care of (the vet said it’s either Cushing’s or a tumor, but a more comprehensive, $350 test is needed to determine… ) Meanwhile, I miserably watch as he spends his days drinking liter after liter of water and peeing it back out, shnuffling and coughing etc.

I so wanted to get back to my routine here in HTX, but now that I am here, and I am alone I am just… blah. Trying to keep up the basic productivity. After all, I am on borrowed time with being able to stay in this house, and bleeding my parents dry as they try to support me through this difficult period.

I have too many feelings these days, guys. (Oh dear, a bee just flew into my house. It’s so nice in Houston that I’m working with the bay doors open and they have no screens.)

2014 WILL be better

Our hotel in Slidell, LA. The dog decided she'd like to travel by suitcase.

Our hotel in Slidell, LA. The dog decided she’d like to travel by suitcase.

Oh goodness, 2013’s final present to me was the honest-to-god flu. One of the few bright moments between coughing up a lung and coughing up a  lung has been finding Rohto(ロート) eyedrops in American drugstores. Mint eyedrops in my tired eyes while sick and road tripping across the country? YES SIR. Or wait, maybe they’ve been around for a while in the U.S. and I just never noticed. When I searched in English, this popped up first:

Urban Dictionary, rohto:

Gods [sic] true gift to stoners. The best eye drops on the market

I see. Well…. yes, I can see that (no pun intended).

Anyway, so yes My sister and I roadtripped from near Philly, PA (my hometown) to Houston, TX over the course of three days. It’s about a 24 hour drive, but I broke it up into more like 10-8-5. (With stops, since I basically needed a hot beverage constantly and was drinking about a liter of water an hour, it was more like 13-10-7.) What did I learn from this road trip, other than that cruise control + the flu + stretches of monotonous landscape in Mississippi and Alabama = road hypnosis?

1. Apple maps can still suck it. We followed a highway sign in rural Tennessee to try to go to a Starbucks, because I desperately needed a hot drink and wanted decent (enough) tea. But, typically, the ‘Bux was nowhere to be found once we highway-exited. So I asked Maps. After it tried to turn me onto a dirt trail, I almost chucked the phone out of the car. We kept driving, trying to find a place along the winding road to pull over, and wound up easing into the gravel lot of a dilapidated and unsteady-looking nondenominational church with black crosses in the windows and its own wooden-stand “salon” in the front yard. It was across from a burnt out barn, nonetheless. No lights but our headlights. It would have been a lovely setting for a horror movie, and my sister was legitimately spooked. After that I used Google maps to guide us back to the real Starbucks location, and actually even got a free tea at the lovely new building. Guess it wasn’t -that- rural.

2. People in rural Alabama don’t know what to make of me: I’m not that weird. I’m really, really, not, right? I did have a fresh haircut, so the sides are shaved. I got confirmation throughout this roadtrip that I look like a lesbian (an adorable academic dyke, I’m hoping!), by people for whom this is not a good thing. The car’s low-fuel light was on, so we stopped at the first no-name gas station we could find in a small town. I was paying cash for gas, so I went in to get a coffee (hot beverages!) and pre-pay for my gas. When I entered the shop, everyone inside stopped what they were doing, comedy-sketch style, and sized me up. I gave them a goofy grin and moved to nonchalantly pour myself a coffee while being stared at so intently I was sure I was going to drop something or trip. I smiled big at the good ol’ boy standing to my right, who wasn’t trying at all to hide the look of incredulity and disapproval on his face.

What? Just the short hair? I don’t even merit that kind of attention in Japan, people. (Although… Japanese folks are probably trying harder to hide the stares, eh?)

Similar experience in rural Georgia.

3. New Orleans on New Year’s Eve is exactly how I imagined it. (Enough said). Watch out for flying Mardi Gras beads and unsteady drunks! People watching at its best and worst all at once.

But.. my sister and I found the best live broadcast in rural Louisiana, transmitting from a dive seafood shack. The DJ just did not care that he was singing and talking over the songs, and heckling the customers. S. and I were absolutely crying with laughter. Bonus points for the FEMA trailer jokes.

4. The mountains of Tennessee and Virginia are beautiful. We saw some views that really took my breath away. Blue Ridge Mountains, you are a sight. Mountains meeting bright blue water, and the road running around and through it all, taking the ache out of my lungs and throat for a few minutes. Everything blue and grey and black and white and vivid. And the cold, dark waters of the Louisiana swamps, with trees popping out here and there in the middle of the water- the bridge from Slidell, LA to NOLA…. yeah.

5. Subway has sriracha sauce as an option for their subs now. What’s a vegetarian / health foodie to do for lunch on a road trip, when she’s got two dogs that can’t be left in the car and is trying to bust tail to make good time? Subway! It’s pretty much the only option. So I got my veggie sub, and truth be told, the sriracha sauce was a bit overwhelming on it. But the spiciness was, um, welcome cold medicine.

J wants to go to court and finalize our divorce next week. I was “meditating” this evening (and generally feeling lonely), when I realized that rather than sitting with my eyes closed, doing my meditation-thing, I was staring into space sadly. I told him I had a dream that he fell in love with me again and asked me to re-marry him. He is refusing to engage when I say things like that, and really I don’t even want that dream to come true but… I also want to stop doing things like staying out all night making out with a guy in my parents’ car while visiting them for Christmas. Yeah, I did that. Day after Christmas. The guy gave me the flu.

I thought I couldn’t wait to get back to being home alone, to my routine. The routine is good, and a certain amount of alone time is also good. This is the first night I’ve been alone though in three weeks and it feels weird in a bad way. But I’m -making- myself do it, because the nonstop parade of guy distractions isn’t the healthiest thing either.

In Which I Try to be LESS of a ‘Ho

Hello internet.. lately a week in my life feels like a year. I find that I just met someone last week, they fell out of my life this week, and the whole thing only took a week in total. This is why I hate trying to date. Although since I changed my dating site profile pictures, I am apparently quite the catch for 40-something year old cowboys with anger issues. (Alas, no cute ones yet- and the age is fine, as I’m 35.)

On Monday I had this conversation with my shrink:

“How are you?”

Me: “Hmmm…wfessffsd” (Seriously, all I managed to utter was some sort of noise.)

“Can I tell you something I’ve observed about you?”

I tried to nonchalantly take a sip of my coffee and wound up dumping it down my front. I nodded sloppily, while reaching for a fist-full of tissues.

“You come in here talking about despair and anxiety and profound depression, and yet you always seem cheerful and even perky.”

Her observation didn’t surprise me in the slightest. Actually, it surprised me that anyone would be different…

“I’ve only let two people in my entire life see my feelings,” I told her “and one is divorcing me” (have you also observed that I am prone to melodrama?)

***

A guy found my OKCupid profile and told me he too is a yogi (I will never, ever refer to myself as a yogi. Or a yogini. I’ve been doing yoga for 20 years and I’m not a damn yogi. I’m way too easily embarrassed for that), and asked where I practice. I told him, and he said that he’s been known to pop into Big Yoga as well. I looked at his profile too… he had made a fortune in his 20s, sold off his company, and now does nothing but do yoga, and quite possibly roll around in his money.

He asked if we could have a juice after class on Wednesday, and I said yes, except I’m too broke to buy a juice. I sort of (guiltily) knew he’d offer to buy me one when I mentioned that, but I really am that broke, and I don’t like to lie or demur or…   pass up a chance to complain.

As I was unfolding my mat, he approached me. His eyes moved slowly, slowly up my body. So appraising was his gaze that I involuntarily folded inward. I didn’t want him to see … me. But apparently I didn’t check out. After class he wouldn’t even turn his head towards mine as I tried to make conversation. He chugged his juice in one big gulp, and then told me he had to run. As I sat in my car by myself I thought… “Hm. Online dating is the stupidest. And that was just supposed to be a friendly conversation between… yogis. And now I get to sit in my car and wonder what he found so objectionable… was my hair a mess?”

My favorite thing is that a full 50% of the people who write to me try to do so in Google translated or sounded out Japanese “konnishiwa” “oh-hi-yo gosaimash!” I can’t imagine if I actually were Japanese. Speaking of, I do have a hot date tonight with a Japanese guy who just moved here for work. His English is perfect, unlike T’s, and I can’t tell what he thinks when I switch between English and Japanese.

But.

I have done the fadeaway with all but my trusty friends-with-benefits guy from the last post. B is such a sweetheart, and really hot. The rest were making my heart ache and my stress skyrocket.

Time for some matcha and houjicha.