The Illusion of Safety

As human beings, we’re taught at an early age how to keep ourselves safe. Safe from injury. Safe from harm. There is equipment specifically designed to fulfill our need for safety. What we’re not taught is how to keep our hearts safe from harm.

The world is shifting. There is more evil and corruption than ever before. We live in a completely self-centric society where everyone is out for themselves. Chivalry is dying a slow, painful death. And the act of courtship has been put online and automated so seamlessly that deception is the most common denominator.

I thought I was finally safe. I thought I’d found something special. Being loved makes you bulletproof and I was invincible. Each day was better than the one before. My feet hardly touched the ground. He said “I love you” first. He called me “Babe” after our first phone conversation. He said I was the best thing that had ever happened to him. I believed all of it. He couldn’t wait to introduce me to all of his friends, his daughter, his Dad… I felt so cherished & adored. But most of all, he made me feel safe.

It’s difficult for me to trust after everything I’ve been through. Although I try not to carry too much of the past with me, I’ve found that my willingness to trust becomes increasingly difficult with each new suitor. Somehow, this time, I trusted way too easily.

Everything since October 4th feels like a lie. I find it difficult to imagine that someone can go from “I’m going to marry you,” and “I love you so much,” to breaking up with you via a photo text of everything left behind and the gifts you gave in a hamper. This is the kind of behavior exhibited only by someone who despises you. There was no logical reason for that.

I honestly thought I was being Punk’d.

However, that was all I got… at first. Almost an hour later, after I pressed him for answers, I received a long, rambling, extremely formal-toned text, full of excuses and finality. To say that I was in shock would be an understatement.

As luck would have it, I ran into him less than 14 hours later. He was at a bar, knocking back as much liquor as he could get his hands on, flanked by two unspeakably plain blondes.

As I approached, I made a fist. Then I remembered what a complete failure I am at making a decent fist. But as drew nearer, I noticed that instead of the adrenaline rush I thought I’d feel, I was completely calm. This alone surprised me. He looked homeless, downtrodden, out-of-place… not the person I once knew.

I grabbed a fistful of long grey hair from the back of his neck. His head went straight back as he spun to face me. “Hi!” I said. “What happened? What is wrong with you?” I said a number of other things that are now a blur of unanswered questions. I wanted answers, I needed answers and moreover, I deserved them.

He couldn’t look me in the eye. He just kept repeating “Babe, Babe, Babe” as if he was unable to form sentences. This went on for what seemed like an eternity, although it may have lasted about 6 minutes.

I’m grateful for this encounter. I was out with great friends, dressed to slay, and I’d just finished hearing a few friends play a gig right down the street that had me smiling ear to ear. I was prepared for a run-in, even though it was the furthest thing from my mind. Seeing him this way made everything easier. I saw all the lies come to life right before my eyes.

It was like giving a toddler an inquisition. There was much squirming, more lying and a little side-stepping in an attempt to get away. When I realized asking questions was pointless, I let him slither away. I may never know exactly what happened, but seeing this display made me acutely aware that I had no idea who I’d just spent the last month with.

I think ideally, you want to date someone who doesn’t leave you thinking, “What the hell just happened?”

This is what scares me the most. I let this stranger so far into my world that I began to see a future with him. I believed all of his lies. I allowed myself to get attached. He was my safe place, my ally, my comfort zone. I trusted him.

I was bamboozled to a degree I’d never known.

Maybe he’s not over his ex. Maybe he has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Maybe he knew deep down that he could never live up to the expectations he’d set for himself. I have no idea what would make someone who claimed to love me more each day cut me loose in such a cold, calculated way. Maybe I’ll never know.

Safety is a myth. Nothing is guaranteed. Even good things may be exactly the opposite of what they seem. Sociopaths, psychopaths, charmers and manipulators exist. Knowing how to spot them is half the battle.

If you feel you have a sociopath, charmer, manipulator, or psychopath in your life, go here. The site contains resources that may be helpful to you. It was started by Jackson MacKenzie, the author of Psychopath Free.

 

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Trial & Error

I’m sure you’ve been on pins and needles wondering how my date went. Right?
Yeah, I didn’t think so, but I’m gonna tell you anyway.

That particular date, and the few that followed have gone extremely well. We met for drinks last Friday, talked non-stop, had dinner and drinks that Sunday, he cooked me a HelloFresh dinner on Wednesday, we went to the Greek Festival on Friday and we played with Baby goats at a local farm and tasted mead on Sunday. He’s very pleasant company… and extremely interesting. However, I’m just not that into him. 😦

Side Note: I read that book a long time ago when “ghosting” first became the norm. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought I needed a book to help me crack the guy code. If they were any more transparent, they’d be windows.

Looking back on the lists I gave my matchmaker (the list of desirable qualities and the list of deal-breakers) I can totally understand why this guy was selected. He’s done some stuff. He’s lived. And he’s a RockStar at his very interesting and technical job (Drone Scientist). At 39, he’s been married, lived all over the country, has 3 kids, was a “Boylesque” (think male burlesque) dancer, a roller derby racer (evidently they let guys do that too in some places), does Crossfit and is excited about his upcoming participation in the Spartan Race. This seems to only be the tip of the iceberg. When I told her I wanted to meet someone “Interesting,” she hit the nail on the head.

Problem is, I’m starting to wonder how much of this crazy narrative is actually true.

Of course there’s more. I only find myself physically attracted to him after I’ve had a few cocktails. This is probably the biggest issue. And although I owe him nothing, I feel awful about it. While he sends me texts saying “I think you are amazing” I’m on the other end, full of doubt and fear.

Last night I told him he was sweet, because he is. This was his response, “Sweet is good… but what about sexy?” I froze. For a second I thought about what I found sexy… what people I found sexy and why. It occurred to me that when a guy referred to me as sexy, he clearly wanted to have sex with me. I was so far away from that thought, I had no idea how to respond.

I had a panic attack the day we’d planned to go to the Greek Festival. I felt suffocated and couldn’t slow my heartbeat no matter how I tried. But I let him pick me up regardless, because he was so excited to go.

I noticed that after I got in the car, when I said anything, he would either try to finish my sentences or talk over me. It was like he was so nervous around me that he needed Ritalin. It was exhausting and I’d already had a tiring week. I tried to explain what was going on in my head, but all that came out was, “Sometimes, you’re a bit much.” I immediately beat myself up internally for being such a bitch.

He sends me a thank you text after every date and wants to spend more time with me than I have. It isn’t long after one date ends that he starts asking for another. Then the panic sets in. It struck me that if I was as enthusiastic about him as he was about me, this wouldn’t be problematic.

It hasn’t been long, but after the first weekend, I began to question myself. I think it’s important when you’re uncomfortable in any situation to ask yourself why… and what you can do about it.

That first weekend, he texted me NON-STOP… so much so that everything I did was interrupted, if not spoiled by the constant messaging. I started to feel the walls closing in. By that Monday, I didn’t want to be around people at all. I told him “the constant texting is problematic.” He slowed it to a crawl. It was a few days before I felt comforable again.

I couldn’t sleep last night and today I’m having another panic attack. I’m finally hearing what my body is telling me. It always sucks when you know you’re going to hurt someone, but it’s always better to rip off the band-aid quickly and just be honest. Even though the message is unpleasant, the receiver will respect you more for being forthcoming.

In this process I asked myself the toughest question of all, “Is it me?” “Is there something wrong with me?” I’m sure the list is long, but most likely a lot shorter than most. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with me, and I think that’s the crux of it. I don’t need a guy. If I meet someone who complements or adds to my life, THAT‘s when I’ll know it’s right. It’s not selfish to do what you need to do for yourself.

So I will.

(to be continued)

To Match or Not to Match

Tonight is the night I’ll be meeting my very first matchmaker match. Since I’ve had fantastic luck plucking every clingy, needy, insecure man child out from under his current rock and ZERO finding what I actually need, I’m curious to see what my matchmaker has in store. A wise person once told me that you know exactly what your friends think of you judging by the people they choose to set you up with. I think there’s a reason those closest to me have never attempted a set-up. We’re all of the same mindset. We’re not fans of failure and we’ve seen each other through way too many heartbreaks to trust that anyone will be good enough.

To the contrary, I’ve had MANY acquaintances attempt to set me up with criminals, braggarts, misogynists, damaged co-dependents, and assorted ambition-less man-children.

Funny side-note: I did have one person actually try to set me up with Edwin McCain. Although I’ve never met him, I’m sure he’s quite lovely. At the time, I just didn’t trust my acquaintance to have my best interests at heart and thought perhaps she was lying. 

And because I’m cursed, it is Seattle-raining and chilly, which negates all previous wardrobe choices. I had a makeup job this morning at 6AM for Fox Business, so I’m abnormally sleep-deprived and jacked up on Starbucks. I’m also wearing FIVE different eye creams layered on top of each other. Even my eye cream is wearing eye cream. The guest this morning was male, so I had my male makeup kit with me. (It’s MUCH smaller than the female one.) The skin care products in this kit are standouts from the Kiehl’s Men’s line. (I keep a de-puffer and caffeinated eye cream handy because men usually don’t know the difference AND NEED IT.) I’m surprised to say that my fifth eye cream layer is the MEN’s eye cream and there’s a good chance it works better than the rest. (Yes, Kiehl’s, I’d like my commission check now please.)

As usual, work is starting to pick up, but I got in early and pony-tailed since I’m waiting to date-shower when I leave work early. (Yes, a date shower is a thing.) I’ll lather up with a few layers of anti-frizz, a light spritz of smell-good and be out the door before I know it.

Fingers-crossed that he’s not Jabba the Hutt and Catfishing us all.

 

SWIM!

Some people say that they learned to swim when they were thrown into the deep end. Me? I swallowed half the pool and ended up with a nasty ear infection when my first swim instructor carried me into the deep end and submerged me. Although I made numerous attempts in later life, the dog-paddle is still my stroke of choice.

Much like my experiences in the actual pool, I haven’t had much luck diving into the dating pool either. Truth be known, I’m REALLY enjoying my “single person time.” When I dip my toes in, I end up attracting exactly the opposite of what I really want. So I stopped trying.

I hired someone to do all the dirty work for me… a personal matchmaker.

This, like most premium customized services, was expensive. But I decided that since I obviously had no idea what I was doing, I should break a few patterns and cannonball right out of my comfort zone. Even if I didn’t find THAT someone, the matchmaker would be providing me useful feedback that I could use in the future toward breaking old patterns.

Some people get lucky and find their life partners early on, but the harsh reality is that most people just settle. I’ve never been one of those people. Sure, I’ve been a little too generous with a few second chances that never should have happened. Sure I’ve given the benefit of the doubt when I should have trusted my intuition SCREAMING at me not to. But I’m only human. No one is perfect.

And I’m honest with myself. I have plenty of faults. But I also know that to the right person, they might be endearing. I also know that I need someone well-rounded, who knows themselves and isn’t in the process of rebuilding after a divorce, breakup, or layoff. I’ve seen too many people not take the appropriate time to heal.

I wasn’t exactly sure how this was going to work. My matchmaker is located in another state, so I wondered how she could find someone in my area… someone who checks all of my boxes.

After a long phone conversation, several texts and emails, and a few photos exchanged she contacted me 2 days ago and told me I had a date! She asked what my schedule was, asked me to pick a place and Thursday I’m meeting someone hand-selected for me.

So here I go dog-paddling along, right into that dating pool.

I Am Ian Soap

In my house I have a few things that serve as I.Q. tests.

What do I mean by this?
Allow me to explain.

For instance, as long as I’ve owned my house, I’ve had a functioning doorbell. When someone coming to my house knocks without bothering to ring the bell, it occurs to me that our decision processes are not necessarily aligned.

If I’m faced with the decision of whether to ring or to knock, I always RING FIRST because the bell is there for a reason. If no one answers for an extended period of time and I don’t hear movement within the house (as if they’re attempting to get to the door because they heard the bell) I can then assume it’s broken and knock. But if it’s there, I have enough sense to ring it.

Said doorbell has been replaced a time or two, but I ended up replacing it most recently with a brightly lit doorbell so that there could be no question that it was in working order.

Don’t think I’m not taking note when a suitor doesn’t bother to ring it the first time he appears at my door.

Also the first time someone takes me out… I take note if they can’t find my house. I’m on a main road. It’s parallel to 2 other main roads. There’s a house number over my door and a house number on my mailbox. It’s 2017. Everyone has a cell phone or a GPS. If you’re too stupid to figure this out without calling me, you might be too stupid to date me.

I also noticed that ever since I purchased the fancy automatic hand soap dispenser, quite a few people went straight for the dish soap when washing their hands in my kitchen. Even though I placed the dispenser in what I’d thought was a conspicuous place, they STILL ALWAYS went straight for the dish soap. I found myself having to direct everyone… even multiple times. I was beginning to feel like a flight attendant.

So… I did what every annoying Type A girl does… I made signs… moreover labels (because who doesn’t own a fancy label maker these days?) and adhered them to the offending soaps. It’s been a few months since and the labels have worn off somewhat. Now the hand soap appears to have named itself. Meet Ian… Ian Soap.

I’m not sure exactly how that happened so strategically, but it made me laugh. (Who am I kidding… it makes me laugh every time I look at it.) And hopefully, after this batch of hand soap is done (and since that specific type of dispenser refill has become obsolete/too difficult to come by in normal shopping runs) I’m going to replace it with a dispenser that looks more like an actual hand soap dispenser. (Fingers crossed that the rest of the world will share my opinion on this.)

I’ll have to keep you posted to see if this alleviates the issue so that I don’t have to keep annoying my guests with signage. 🙂