I’ve had an epiphany.

This is the first time I have not overthought once about things with Doctor Boy.

Not once.

And that’s huge for me, I mean, I *am* the self-appointed president and founder of Overthinkers Anonymous, and in every past dating or quasi-relationship, I overthought everything. Like whoa. From going on second dates after “eh” first dates, to pondering wtf was going on with CBE and his weirdness (see some posts on that here, here, here, here and here!). I look back through a lot of my dating forays and I think I have an overthinking moment with almost – if not all – of them.

But with Doctor Boy, I haven’t given any decision or choice a second thought.

It’s all felt natural.

It’s all felt like the right thing to do.

It’s all felt at the right pace (not too fast, not too slow).

It’s all felt right.

And that, folks, is my epiphany, and I think it’s something to consider for anyone that tends to second guess themselves (um, all of us, I would imagine, at some point or another!) when they’re dating someone. I feel like I can be honest and upfront with him about everything, and I feel like I can go at my own pace, we both can. I give him the space and time he needs, and he gives me mine. We see each other at least once during the week, and then a night or sometimes two on the weekend, but we still have a healthy balance of “me,” friend, family and “us” time and I think that’s so important.

Being comfortable enough to do that is huge. Simply put, it’s right where I’m meant to be.

~~

Writing this post has sparked a few ideas for me, such as going back to some of my older posts, particularly my mini-series on re-learning. I actually think a lot of that re-learning has happened so naturally, I wonder if it’s something I thought would be something I’d be more aware of than just happening naturally.

Hmm. Something to ponder (but not to overthink…!)

After two more celebrity splits this week and in particular, Christina Aguilera’s split from her husband, I ponder the comments she made (well, either she made, or the media has portrayed her to say…one never knows what’s legit these days) about wanting to find herself as she got “lost” in her marriage.

Mark my words.

I will never “lose” myself in my next relationship. Or any relationship or future marriage (never say never…).

To me, that would be the most tragic and unfortunate thing that could come out of a relationship or marriage. I think it is just so important to have a distinct identity, enriched life, and singular interests, whether you are in a relationship or marriage or on your own. I know that it can be extremely easy to just fall into step with a significant other or spouse, so much so that there is no “you,” there is just “us” and while I think it is important to have similar interests and social life, but I think it is almost more important to have your own interests and friends too. It’s healthier, it’s more enriching and I think ultimately, it makes for a stronger, happier relationship overall that is likely more successful as well.

I ponder this particularly as I am feeling more and more as though things with Doctor Boy are leading towards relationship (swoon!) and I’ve worked so hard to reshape the “me” I am today and my life is filled with family and friends and “me” time, that I wouldn’t ever want to lose that for a relationship.

Don’t get me wrong. I am in near-awe that I am even uttering the word “relationship” and “me” in the same sentence where it is close to reality and feeling so blessed to have met someone that I actually feel that way towards. It’s what I have wanted and waited for so patiently. But I also know that I want to take my time with it, really focus on integrating my “me” life with the potential “us” because that’s who I am, it’s what I recognize as a priority, and it goes so hand-in-hand for my quest for balance.

…of course, given I haven’t seen Doctor Boy in 2 1/2 weeks and now won’t see him until Sunday (not Saturday night as his flight gets in much later than he thought), I will want to spend some extra time with him next week (swoon), but the bottom line is this: No matter what happens, the “me” will not change, the “me” will just be even more life-enriched and happy and I can’t wait to try that on for size, quite honestly. Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn’t it?

Swoon.

That about sums about my date with Soon-to-Be Doc (let’s shorten that, shall we? SBD has a terrible connotation so I’ll go with Doctor Boy!).

Why was it swoon-worthy?

…he has a touch of chivalry, which I dig. As we walked to our table, I walked first, he lightly touched my back. For some reason, I *love* that. And, he not only told me I looked “great” when we met, when we “cheers’d” over a glass of wine, he then told me “you look amazing, by the way.” *swoon*

…he seems really genuine, nice, and funny. We had a very engaging, laughter-filled, honest conversation that lasted four hours. Naturally. Flowed.

…we share a lot of the same outlooks on life – simplicity, driven, happy, independent…but also looking to share that life with someone special.

…he already seems to dig me as much as I dig him. The dig factor. I can feel it, without a doubt.

All swoon-worthy attributes (and when I say swoon-worthy, I don’t just mean that in a chemistry-related way, though I definitely felt chemistry), I mean it also in a “yes! This is what I have been looking for!” I feel the potential pretty strongly and I can’t honestly remember feeling it quite so soon or so strongly right away.

~~

As for date details – we met at a local restaurant that has a really neat menu (my restaurant choice) that they call southwestern grill, but to me, it feels more fusion, with some Asian-inspiration to it. The atmosphere was great, we shared a bottle of malbec, took our time over dinner, and just talked about our lives, our marriages (he was married for 4 years, but with his ex for 10, like me), dating (similarly, not a ton of success for him either, though he’s been single for a year, while I have for two), vacations (he’s going on a solo trip to Aruba on his birthday – Oct 9, which is three days after mine!), family (he has a brother that’s 10 years older than him) and our jobs.

The conversation never dwindled, and I felt as though I could keep talking all night, but it was getting late. He walked me to my car, gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and told me he’d like to see me again. We loosely discussed getting together this weekend, perhaps, and this morning, we talked about it more, over text, and I will call him tonight. It feels natural, and I have a giddy grin plastered on my face.

Yea, that’s what it’s supposed to feel like. What I’ve been looking for.

I’ve recently had an a-ha moment on a new dealbreaker that I guess I didn’t realize *was* a dealbreaker.

Until my non-chemistry dates with boy #13 (I never “named” him, per se) and more recently, with “Massage Boy” last week.

I don’t want to be your life.

Dealbreaker.

I have my own life and he should have his own life, my opinion. That’s my ideal. And not only is it my ideal, I am realizing it is a dealbreaker.

Don’t get me wrong – I want to share a life with a man, I really do. But I also want to know that he’s got it going on, with friends, and family and hobbies and stuff he likes to do. Because I do, and I don’t want my life to become HIS life, or vice versa. I don’t think it’s the healthiest way to start a relationship, and I think it could potentially be the kiss of death for any sort of independence and a solid relationship either.

I have a feeling I might get mixed reactions on this new-found dealbreaker – some may agree, some may think it’s harsh or nitpicking so early on. But for me, it screams warning sign.

For example. Massage Boy has been texting me ad nauseum ever since our date, like constantly. About random stuff. Not even a conversation. Stuff like “wow, this is a good chocolate shake.” or “is it weird that I am watching Shrek right now?” (at 11 pm on a Saturday night…). And he has zero plans for the long weekend. (the texting thing is a little annoying in itself. I don’t mind texting. I like it, but not as a random stream of conscious thoughts that don’t even really relate to me at all.)

Really? NO plans? Nothing?

I mean, I am ALL for a free weekend to catch up on life, but a long weekend? I like to get out, enjoy it, socialize. To me, it just seems odd not to have one iota of anything planned.

Is that weird?

I don’t want to be your life. I want to share our lives, but not be it.

Dealbreaker.

I must start off by saying I am absolutely floored by the amount of feedback and response to my ‘I want‘ blog post last night.

Stunned, almost.

I feel so grateful and thankful to have such a group of blog friends and IRL friends who so “know me” more than I ever thought possible, to see that my post last night was utterly me. Because it was straight from the gut, not from the head, and not even so much from the heart.

I guess I didn’t realize how much I had veered away from writing for myself but clearly, I have, and I knew in the back of my mind I was censoring myself much more than I’d ever wanted to on my blog, from when I started this a year and a half ago.

So, from this point on, I am making a more concerted effort to write for myself and nobody else. Sometimes I’ll have down days and I may have a rant or a near-temper tantrum. Some days I’ll be my usual puppies and rainbows self, and sometimes I won’t have anything to say at all. But that’s okay, because that’s me, and I’m writing for me, dammit.

~~

And one final addendum to my ‘I want’ post – what else do I want?

I want to wake up curled up in a man’s arms…and not just my cats curled up with me. Is that so much to ask for? I mean, really.

😉

Okay, so I *thought* today was the one year “date-o-versary” since my very first date post-Pete (can’t say post-divorce since we were still technically married), but it was actually July 28 (see here and here)…however, I’ve been excited all day to revisit my man audit that I’m jumping the gun and posting anyway…how do you like them apples? 😉 It’s the little things that get you through the day, right?

So, I’m reposting my initial man audit (note snarky new comments in bold) and adding in the others I dated after I posted this in January:

Here goes!

  • Boy #1: The first boy I went on a date, started at a semi-chance meeting at Starbucks and to one date (there was supposed to be a second, but uh, HE stood me up! Never heard from him again.) after that. He was nice, but looking back, I think I really opted to go out with him because he was the first one to show interest on match.com. He wasn’t my type looks-wise, we didn’t have a heck of a lot in common, and he was pretty boring (funny how hindsight is, isn’t it?!). Fail. Um, I must say, my blog post on my very first date was so short – I really had nothing else to say after a decade of no dates?! Wow.
  • Boy #2:  He was a cutie, was into MMA and boxing, had a good sense of humor. Good chemistry on our date, and we were going to have a second, but alas, an ex reappeared in his life and – thankfully – he was honest about it. No hard feelings. I liked that he was into being active, however, he was more on the scrawny side, and I almost felt bigger than him! As odd as that sounds…and I’m not really into that. So, while cute, nice eyes and smile, he sorta had small hand syndrome and for some reason, that skeeves me. Just sayin’ ;) Small hands still skeeve me out. I actually look at pics in profiles to see if their arms are super skinny or really small hands, just creeps me out – no idea why.
  • Boy #3: Not much to report here – he ended up being a non-starter. We had a date planned, but then he canceled, as he met someone else two nights before and felt he needed to give that a chance. Again, appreciate the honesty (he was cute, worked nearby, but I was sensing scrawny arm syndrome just a smidge hehe) Still appreciate the honesty and wish more men were upfront.
  • Boy #4: Had a date planned, he canceled, never called again. He was cute, we chatted once on the phone, and that was that. You win some, you lose some. Meh.Fail.
  • Boy #5: K, a little confusion here – some of my posts refer to “diamond boy” as #4 and #5, so I must have confused my numbers in some posts, but we went out once, and he’s still kicking aroumd, actually. He’s divorced, and totally enjoying the single life, so I definitely don’t see that going anywhere, however, he is intriguing and if he were, say, to want to go out again, I would probably go. He was very good looking, loves to travel, muscular (but not in a meathead way), runs, loves wine. Lots of my “list” items physically and activity wise. Too bad he’s got a bit of the playa vibe. For some reason, this one *still* intrigues me, and we keep in touch loosely, but have never made plans again, see aforementioned playa vibe. I get it, but I’m still intrigued. And hey, he was pretty hot (right, IntrigueMe?!)
  • Boy #6: Hmm. this is a mystery. I can’t find posts on boy #6. I really wasn’t paying attention to numbers, was I?! Good thing I am not a math major. Stay tuned…wow, I’m bad at math.
  • Boy #7: This was sort of a milestone one for me. We went on two dates. He was also recently divorced. Very good looking, workout-a-holic (slight meathead, but it wasn’t annoying, like that usually can be) and seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. We had a great first date, and on the second date, we had dinner at his place and there was some activity (I won’t get into details but you can probably connect the dots…) and after, sometime that week, got got weird, stopped calling and left me a random Facebook email, basically ending things. Jerk. What did I learn? Hot guy. Yes. Seemed nice. Yes. Between the lines.  Coupla red flags. You live, you learn. Amen. Live and learn. Never again.
  • Boy #8: This guy – he’s the male nurse. We went out once. He was quiet, a bit shy, good looking though, VERY close to his brother and family. Really dug that, and would have gone out with him again. We chatted about it a few times, and then it meandered past Thanksgiving, and by that point, I’d met boy #9. I’m convinced that boring is the kiss of death. This was proof…more to it than posted here, but he didn’t really do much. Didn’t hang out with friends, or do much but go to work and go home. I dunno, that’s sort of a non-starter, right?
  • Boy #9: Brainy Blonde. Reading through the posts makes me a bit nostalgic, I’m not gonna lie. I liked him a lot, and he was a good guy. He had a lot of qualities I liked – intellectual…a real thinker, close with his family, loves cats, great job, driven, and, to top it off, he volunteers at a shelter. And he was cute, we had great chemistry and conversation. You probably notice some qualities from here on my list. He had quite a few. I still wish things had progressed with him. He was a really good guy. He’s still with the chick he ended things with me for (that looks like his sister, I mean, that’s weird, but I digres), so I’m glad he made that decision, since clearly it was the right one, but still. Sometimes I wonder…what if.
  • Boy #10: The Russian! The only guy so far that I’ve dated from OK Cupid. We went on four dates. He was dark and intriguing. We had good chemistry, he liked to work out (however, for the amount of working out he claimed, I wasn’t that impressed. Wow, I sound like my bar is set really high on this physical feature, but it’s really not, I swear!). The only guy where I ended things. We just weren’t looking for the same things long term. Ha – the Russian aka IGOR. Yep, still can’t believe I went out with an Igor. Now, looking back, I don’t think I would have gone out with him again. Weird how hindsight does that.
  • NEW – Boy #11 – Captain Blue Eyes aka CBE – my closest ever to relationship status since I started dating. I blogged a lot about him, for many reasons. He was the oldest guy I’ve dated – 41 – he was completely different and unlike anyone I’d ever met – hence, totally out of my comfort zone, and he was challenging. We dated for a few months until he went all “The Secret” on me weird, as I noted before. I’m glad I ended things, but I do wish him well. Just not with me.
  • NEW – Boy #12 – aka ‘10 seconds’ – via OK Cupid. Um no. ‘nuf said.
  • NEWBoy #13 (aka boy #3 from chemistry.com – yea, my number system needs help, hear that Snark?!) – we went on three dates. First date, wasn’t sure about chemistry, second date, felt more chemistry, third date, no chemistry confirmed (ironic given we ‘met’ on chemistry.com, no?). We actually still keep in touch on email here and there. He’s a really nice guy, but just not for me, that way. And he kinda doesn’t do much either. Sort of puzzling. Get out! Enjoy life! There’s lots to do in the summer, even on your own.
  • NEW –  Boy #14 (aka Southern Boy, from OKC – and yes, wtf happened with numbering? Must rethink this going into year 2!) – This one started out SO promising, given how much hell it took me to GET to this date, and how much of a southern gentleman vibe I sensed. We got together a couple times, sort of last minute, and hung out, but never really “went out” again. There was obvious chemistry, and I think if his mind were in the same place as me, in terms of something more serious vs. casual, then maybe things could go further. But I just don’t ‘get’ that from him. So, for me, a no-go.

Phew. There ya have it, folks. My first year of dating, done and recapped here, in all it’s up and down glory! Now, what are some of the things I take away from this? Here are a few fun things and a few serious…

  • My most favorite first date? The ZOO, with Brainy Blonde. That was a lot of fun. Worst date? 10 Seconds, need I say more?
  • Biggest ‘red flag’ or trend I can spot better now and know that 99% of the time, it usually means “let’s be casual aka let’s enjoy our ‘chemistry'”  No comments from the peanut gallery, please 😉
  • It’s okay to take your time finding the right match – online or otherwise. Getting into dating in the beginning, I almost felt I needed to work fast to set up a date for fear that the guy would lose interest. Not sure why I thought that because if he did feel that way then a) wasn’t meant to happen anyway and b) um, impatient much? No thanks.
  • I’ve learned so much about what I like and what I don’t, and that there’s a whole lot of gray area in between. In other words, I know there are things I’ll find in a man that I never knew I even wanted.
  • I’m excited to move forward into “year two” of this journey and hope to find what I’m looking for…organically or online. Whatever is meant to happen, will.

Hope you enjoyed the man audit revisited and stay tuned – hopefully – for future dates, and a better numbering system, wow that was hard to follow 😉

Last night I had dinner with Pete (as I noted yesterday) as a belated birthday dinner, and a chance to get together (and score – he paid again – even though it was his birthday recently…how nice, right??).

We went to a local place we used to love going to (not as couple-y as the last place we went, but a place that has delicious food to say the least!) and that I still love going to.

What was significant about this place, you ask?

It was the place we went for dinner the night the shit hit the fan.

The night we “attempted” to act as if everything was okay (this was when we were discussing why he wasn’t happy and the eventual lead to “I don’t want to be married anymore” aka divorce) but about halfway through dinner, I distinctly recall how awkward, forced, and sad it felt. I had a nervous pit in the middle of my stomach, could barely eat, we barely talked, and it was just it…sort of one of the moments I knew where we were headed, and it was making me sick to think about.

It was probably one of the worst nights leading into the eventual end to our marriage, and for awhile, I just didn’t go back to this particular restaurant (though now I do, and have replaced sad memories with friends and family).

But last night? It was fun, we laughed, we caught up, we joked, we recalled that fateful night, and exactly where we sat. We decided to shake that memory off and replace it with better ones, like last night.

Quite the juxtaposition.

We talked about his birthday this past weekend, and how much fun we had two years ago that same weekend for his mom’s 50th surprise party (a party that my entire family came to as well, two states away), and “did you ever imagine that two years later, we’d be divorced?” Of course, the answer was no, but then we talked about how glad we both are to be where we are together, in our evolved relationship into the friendship we have now. Something that many (okay, MOST!) don’t understand, but something that works for us.

We talked about Nala (he came by to give her a hug on the way to dinner and noted she seemed a little plumper. She is, but today, she is lethargic again, so I have a call in to the vet. Of course, I worry and think the worst, but her antibiotic ran out and it’s super humid and hot here, so I am hoping it’s just a combo of that. Stay tuned…), and our jobs, and summer vacations, and dating (both of us are sort of in stalemate situations, not a heck of a lot happening in that department, but it’s all good).

I’m glad we got together again. I’m glad we caught up. I’m glad we erased that horrible night from our memories and replaced it with a warmer, nicer, more enjoyable one.

And I’m glad we’re friends.

~~

On a side note, hop over to I Used to Have Hair/Canadian Bald Guy’s blog today…he’s on a quest to visit his daughter and is hoping for some help. If you have anything to spare, it’s a good cause. I donated (and yes, donated, not loaned, CBG!) because I never quite had a great relationship with my own dad, and to see how much he wants to foster that with his daughter is refreshing and inspiring and I wish them all the best.