Using faults to my advantage in my 30’s

No one is perfect. I could list several things I don’t like about myself: I’m fatter than I want to be, I’m moodier than I want to be, my hair never falls right until I’m about to go to sleep – by myself – otherwise I look like I might as well have stuck my finger in a lightsocket… because that’s life. It’s also true that when I run into someone I don’t want to, I’m in a terrible state:

  • once, I’d just stopped crying and was blotchy and sniffly and could barely breathe.
  • once, I was on my way to a very formal meeting with my boss and I saw someone I wanted to say several things to that would’ve resulted in me being sent home, or fired.
  • once, I’d walked into a doorframe and lost my balance – turned around and there was an old colleague of mine watching and laughing… ok, I probably would’ve had the same reaction, but still.
  • once, I fell asleep on the beach and woke up to a ball in the head and, of course, an ex-mate (cooler, more popular than me and smug: as if she’d done it on purpose) had thrown it. Drool coming down the side of my face and everything – it was beyond cringe-worthy.
  • this list could go on forever…

But that’s not what this post is about. This is about the fundamental characteristics we are born with or develop (insert a nature vs nurture debate here) to make us who we are. I believe our faults can also be positive attributes, but only if kept in check. So my fault, the one that tops all the others and is both the reason I have difficulties connecting with people and the reason for my successes… is that I’m aggressive. I believe everyone can be aggressive when they want are pushed in that direction, but I am fundamentally aggressive in my personality. Fortunately, this did not manifest as violence and I’ve never been in a fight in my life, but I am aggressive.

I’m aggressive in getting what I want. When I set my mind to something, I will do/get/see it. It’s the reason that I have had as much success as I have thus far in my life. … But it’s also the reason I can offend people quite easily. And why I can be more hurtful than I intend and more blunt that anyone ever should. I’ve been laughing it off with some mates lately and saying things like ‘no wonder I’m single’ but honestly, it’s not a joke! This is why I’m single… I can flirt and everything is going well and then date 1 passes well and date 2 passes well and then I think ‘hey I like this guy’ and instead of continuing the game that is dating like a normal person I will lay it all out on the table very directly: ‘hey, I like you, I think this could be great, where is it headed?’ etc etc. It’s not that I mind either way, but I like to get to the point. If you like me, say so. If you don’t, say so. I won’t get my feelings hurt, I’m aware that not every pair of people in this world will get on well and that even if you do get on, it doesn’t mean that it’s romantically. I get on quite well with my mates, but I could never imagine crossing the ‘relationship’ threshhold with them. That’s where most of the comfort comes from! I’m also not what men like to call the ‘crazy bitch’ in that I want to jump straight into a relationship. I just want to lay everything out on the table. I hate time wasting, in dating, relationships of any kind and especially at work!

At work is another area that I have to be very careful about my aggression. I was once called out on my ‘bitch face’ in a meeting skills training course. The facilitator said something along the lines of ‘no matter what, you have to act engaged and not let your true opinions show through your body language; like what she’s doing right there’ and pointed directly at me. I was shocked that he’d called me out on it, but I was bored stupid and hiding it was the last thought on my mind, so no, I wasn’t shocked when he said he could read my emotions on my ‘bitch face’. Information requests are also a difficulty for me. Most people go up to someone and ask for information something like this:

‘Hi, how are you? how’s the family? is that a new dress? I love the colour! yadda yadda yadda… oh, and by the way, can I get those numbers? Thanks, and can’t wait to hear more about blah blah blah…’

Here’s how I do it:

‘Good morning, do you have those numbers I asked for? Thanks’ and I walk away.

WHO HAS TIME FOR ALL THE FLUFF? Of the two examples above, one is definitely more efficient (mine) but one is definitely kinder, friendlier and dedicated to creating a positive working environment (literally anyone else’s). So my issue is that my determination and my lack of wanting to do anything other than what will simplify the task at hand, is then construed as aggression. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut in most instances, particularly in the office, but I have to make a concerted effort at keeping my opinions to myself whenever I possibly can.

Arguments with me are not fun things. I know this. If someone is ignorant, I will call them ignorant. If someone is petulant, I will tell them they’re being petulant. I seem to have missed the class where everyone else was taught tact. I don’t always think I’m right and I will happily listen to altering perspectives, and often further research whatever point is being made. If I’m uneducated in a topic, I will not debate it, and I truly believe that all the differing opinions, beliefs, cultures, etc. are what make our world so incredible. But if someone comes at me with a biased, uninformed opinion that directly affects me then look out (i.e. my ex once tried to slut shame me – only once).

This also means that I don’t have time for drama. We all have that 1 friend (or 2 or 3 or 4) that is always full of drama. Don’t get me wrong, I have heaps of stories and things happening in my life too that some may call drama, but for this purpose, I mean drama to be the whinging, complaining, ‘the sky is falling’ reaction to everything. FML? I was SO angry when I found out what that meant!!! There was a phase where everyone was posting FML on facebook…

‘I just burned the cookies I was baking! FML’

‘My car just cost me $300 to repair! FML’

‘FML I can’t believe the cost of drinks on this cruise ship’

‘My boyfriend’s annoying me. FML’

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Stop over exaggerating please! Some people can’t afford a car or a cruise or don’t have a home to bake in or a boyfriend to annoy them – let alone have access to the internet to complain about these trivial things where they have no business being advertised. These first world problems are annoying enough and yes, we all have them and I’ve even written about a few of them… but I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet because of them! Take the Dr I was dating as an example: he wasn’t as interested as me, or he was just too busy. Whatever the case, I didn’t head to social media about how much my life sucked! My life doesn’t suck, it was just a bad combination of two people. Get over it. My most annoying example lately is a friend of mine was recently dumped by her boyfriend and she was a couple days late with her cycle. When it finally came (only 2 days late after a ton of international travel) she messaged me ‘OMG I thought I was pregnant… that would have ruined my life… imagine if I was… just imagine!!! … what should I have done?… do you think I should have told him?… what do you think I should have done?… etc’ I can only deal with so much before my aggressive nature comes out and I have no more patience. I told her something along the lines of ‘well, good thing you never have to consider any of that since it didn’t actually happen’ and I had to ignore her pleas for attention for a couple days after that. It’s not the best thing I could do, but I had my own problems I had to ACTUALLY deal with and I didn’t want to delve into hypothetical ones as well.

I do my best to be a good friend and I have managed to keep a handful of best friends that are scattered around the world. My aggressive nature forces a lack of patience in my but it also creates a ferocity in me that I will do anything and everything I can to help a friend. I love with all of my heart when I do let someone in… it’s just a matter of getting in! So in my case, I have recently come to terms with just quite how aggressive I come across (which manifests in sarcasm, rude humour and a complete lack of empathy as well) and I’m working on calming it down at least a bit!

But I have to say that without that aggression I wouldn’t have this determination, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. So despite it being what I would probably consider my greatest fault, it has also resulted in what I consider to be my greatest achievements.

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Weight focused in my 30’s

Here I am, finishing off another Monday – nearly halfway through the year. I’ve been focusing a lot on men in these posts, so I’ll discuss a bit about what I’ve been up to outside of the dating world for today: focusing more on my self-evolution. I want to be the best person I can be and that, for me, starts with correct food choices, exercise and work/life balance. I love being healthy. Not a fit chick that lives for exercise and sport, but fit enough to play the sports I want without my heart and lungs fighting for which will give out first. Recently I started martial arts – about 2 months ago. I signed up on a 3 month trial and have attended a grand total of… 3 times. In 2 months! That’s a terrible effort for the ‘new me’ that I was hoping to show off when I go home to my mum’s wedding this summer! I now have 1 month left of the membership and until I leave to Canada for the wedding that will be immortalised in photos and memory. My problem is not in the decision – I can easily see what I need to do to get where I want to go. I can develop goals and set a plan to achieve them. It’s just that my execution of these plans doesn’t really exist.

I have to say that I’m so excited about this wedding! But what I’m not excited about is wondering if the dress I got (and left there on my last trip home) still fits me and how chubby I’m going to look in all the photos that will decorate my mum’s home for the rest of her years. It’s a good thing she doesn’t care about my weight like I do! She cares about her own, which is far too common in women. 😦 Back to my personal point: I thought that the wedding would be a great timeframe to set a goal and attain it by. But I was so very wrong! So now, I have just under a month to get to a point where I’m happy with how I look for the photos. I’m quite comfortable in my own skin usually; I can look in the mirror and appreciate a good hair day (doesn’t happen often though), a nice outfit, or even when I’m completely nude and seeing all my jiggly bits, I can appreciate that I am still an attractive person, albeit an overweight one. It’s the prospect of the photos that’s getting to me right now. I’ve never disliked my photo being taken until I saw the ones from my best friend’s wedding in January. At that point I’d gained 14kgs in about 3-4 months and it was not sitting well with me… especially since I was in a dress that would never feature in my own choice of clothing and a hair style created for a 12 year old: complete with ringlet curls and all. I looked, to put it kindly, like a wannabe princess. To put it realistically, I looked ridiculous in my opinion. I believe that 99% of the time the person who’s skin it is, is the only person who’s opinion actually matters, with the exception being when you’re standing in a wedding. Then it’s apparently the bride’s job to make us bridesmaids look as ridiculous as possible! I’ve NEVER been able to stand in a dress I actually liked!

Until now. Enter my lovely mum who says ‘choose your own dress, colour, everything; I don’t care so long as you’re there.’ 🙂 So I did and I love the dress and it makes me feel pretty and I finally have the opportunity to feel good about my physical appearance in a wedding party: except for the ferrero rocher I just ate… and the 4 before that one. *sigh*

I’ve always been weight-conscious and I’ve always been overweight. I play heaps of sport and, because of this, exercise more often than most people – I’m talking 8-10 times a week is pretty normal for me. For the most part, I make good food choices as well – I eat eggs and veggies for breakfast, a prepacked, healthy lunch and then a salad or meat/veg dinner. My biggest issue is with alcohol. I love those empty calories so much! Wine is my favourite drink – to the point where I get annoyed that I feel the effects so easily because I want to drink more of it! I don’t like the ‘drunk’ feeling, I just genuinely enjoy the taste and relaxing vibe I’ve come to associate with sitting and having a glass of wine. Because with it, I’m not stressing about work or chores or anything, I’m either cooking or reading or sitting in a bathtub listening to music. This is what I love, and tea or water or even pops just don’t do these things justice. I also have a sweet tooth (hence ferrero rochers) but I won’t actually eat sweets at home usually – it’s only when someone brings it into work: but then no holds barred, I’m shoving fist-fulls of whatever treat that it is (whether I even really like it or not) down my gullet before anyone else can get their hands on what I’ve deemed my ‘portion’ (which is usually enough for 3 people). And then I feel sick and so I don’t eat the healthy lunch I packed, until it’s late and then I don’t feel like a healthy lunch so I pop out to a takeaway shop for some sushi or something high-cal and high-sodium. Not an awful choice on its own, but when paired with the ton of calories I’ve just ingested by eating half a cake without pause, it’s also not a good one!

Who I’m looking for in my 30’s

Online dating is ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun… but it’s also frustrating and then exciting and then annoying and always so damned time consuming! I have no idea what I did to fill my time before I started obsessively checking my phone for any new messages. Plus, I seem to have developed a massive ego within a week because I have had so many people message me that I think there are so many options out there I can cull at will! Gentleman reading this, take notes, but everyone please don’t judge me too harshly for this bit of truth we all believe to some extent. Let me say, this is not who I want to be, but I will admit a few things here:

  1. if he opens with ‘hey’, ‘how r u’ or ‘what u doin’, he will not get a response from me. I need grammar – and full words – in my life!
  2. if he does not have a photo, he will not get a response back from me.
  3. if he does not smile in profile photo and/or does not show teeth in any photo, he will not get a response from me.
  4. if he has a photo with him and someone who could be his ex (could also be a sister, a friend, a colleague, etc… but since I don’t know this…), he will not get a response from me.
  5. if he has only group photos, he will not get a response from me.
  6. if he doesn’t catch my interest in the first few messages, he will stop getting a response from me.

Now, let me point out that while that’s usually what I stand by, there are exceptions to these rules. And let me also point out that I am a huge sucker for certain things, some of which, are ridiculously clichéd and will make me break my above rules… ultimately reminding me why I created these rules. 😦

  1. dogs in photos. Every time I see this I want to pass the person by, knowing full well it’s a tactic, and not likely even their dog (which would be fine) yet, I seem to always find myself messaging him (good tactic I guess *eye roll*) just in case he does in fact come with a dog.
  2. a good looking body. I know that anyone without an ounce of fat on their body will most likely not be compatible with me (I like to eat and drink a lot, and do not consider going to the gym as a hobby), and yet still, I seem to find myself messaging him.
  3. an egocentric profile. I’m not even interested in this working out, and yet I feel the need to express why, and thus, find myself messaging him. *enormous eye roll*
  4. and the breadcrumbers… yes, like the one in my previous post about this. It’s like an innate sense from deep within that I need to have everyone like me and so the more he plays this game, the more I grasp to hold on. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but I know that I’m not the only one, cause if I were, then this wouldn’t be a thing, let alone the ‘new trend’ in 2017 online dating apparently. 😦

So here I am, knowing full well the error of my ways and trying my best to get past them. I do not want to continue to pick up breadcrumbs or be significantly disappointed at a date who’s only conversation is about the gym (I’m generalising of course). When I truly think about it, here’s what I really want:

  1. Effort. Effort! EFFORT!! Lazy men need not apply. If he puts the time and thought in, I will message him.
  2. Confidence! oh, I am drawn to confidence (not arrogance) like a moth to a flame and I will definitely message him.
  3. Make me laugh. Life’s too short to have the same boring conversation over and over so if he can do it via message, I will message him.
  4. Depth. I want someone who can challenge me and if I find that, I will message him.
  5. A fun write up. If I can relate to, smile, or laugh while reading someone’s profile, I will message him.
  6. Smiling in photos. I’m talking real, genuine “hey look, I’m a happy person” smiles. I am drawn to happy people, not boastful ones so if he’s posing with a cheeky grin then I will message him.

And if I find all of the above in someone that I am mentally and physically attracted to, I’ll be hooked! That’s what I thought I had found with the breadcrumber… I’m clearly still disappointed, but I have also lost interest – finally! I woke up to a message from him this morning actually, which read ‘Good morning! How are you babe?’ Well, the last time we’d messaged he was checking his schedule to see when he could fit a date in… looks like he forgot about that… nice effort there Mr. Man! But, at least he used full words and correct grammar, so he still has hope in the dating world… with someone else who, hopefully, he will consider a priority.

I think we can all agree that no one deserves breadcrumbing and that people who do it aren’t kind to their counterparts. But… what I didn’t realise until I read about it, was that I actually ended up doing it accidentally. I was breadcrumbing a man while I waited around to see what would happen with this guy who ended up breadcrumbing me (oh the irony!) and I didn’t even realise I was doing it. Once I researched it a bit and recognised what I was doing, I changed tack immediately. I messaged him with a heartfelt apology and asked him out for a drink, on me, as an apology. This is the first time I’ve asked someone on a first date. I mean yes, I’ve suggested we ‘catch up’ to men I’ve dated previously, but never taken the first step. He didn’t respond for about a week, which I took to mean he was not accepting my apology, but when he did finally respond, he was not impolite, but short and said that he’d been out of town and would be for another two weeks. Had I not realised I was breadcrumbing him, I wouldn’t have continued this as I thought the conversations lacked a bit of excitement, but I was just so happy that he’d accepted my apology that I gave him my number to contact me when he got back (without him asking for it: another bold move). He has actually been messaging me from where his work sent him in the middle of nowhere, and while the conversations are not thrilling, they are lovely and kind and he sends photos, or useful resources, etc. with them sometimes. He gets back this weekend and I’m quite looking forward to meeting him in person now and I’m so happy that we continued talking. He does not qualify in my criteria above, and maybe nothing will come of it, but for now, I’m glad he forgave me and that I made the exception to my rules.

I’m still learning about the criteria of what I want in a man, and what that actually looks like in real life, but I’m having fun while I learn. 🙂

Online dating in my 30’s

After my last post, a friend convinced me to join Plenty of Fish – or PoF as a lot of people know it to be. So, that’s where I’ve started talking to a few people now. It’s been good fun so far, but very overwhelming. Apparently this is well known amongst the men on that site as well because quite a few of them started conversations with ‘is your inbox full yet?’ or something similar. As expected, I still got a lot opening with ‘hey’ – and to be honest, I don’t even respond to these. I know it can be hard to start up a conversation, but try a little bit gentlemen, come on! When I start a conversation with someone, I don’t just write ‘hey’ or ‘what’s up?’ or the like. My biggest pet peeve is when people use letters instead of words, and because of this, I found one of the funniest profiles to be a man who started his summary by stating ‘I don’t know what people who write ‘you’ as ‘u’ do with all their free time.’

I’m quite a direct, no bullsh*t kind of person, so I can come across very defensive in text. I’ve been told this twice in the last two days. Usually because I question peoples’ profiles in a sarcastic way and they don’t like it… which is fair enough. My description has people teasing me about it as well, but sarcasm doesn’t always translate as everyone knows! So, here I am, on PoF and I have started talking to two more doctors, and an emergency services worker, a mining supervisor, a teacher, an analyst, an engineer, etc… but wouldn’t you guess, within a day of signing up to this site the original breadcrumbing doctor messaged me again. And, although sporatic, has continued to. We even had another date set up, but he didn’t manage to leave the hospital until well after I was willing to meet him. And since then, we’re still talking. My hopes aren’t high, but he’s making strides in the right direction, so I’m going to see how this plays out… maybe he wasn’t breadcrumbing, maybe he was actually just plain busy. Whatever the reason, I’m not going to be unkind to him and still enjoy talking to him, so I may just reconsider what kind of relationship I want from him.

So now, I have a different date tonight with another of the doctors, and he’s made a very quick transition from messaging to asking me out, which is nice. 🙂 This man seems like the real deal (again). Cute, funny, smart, etc… and yes, at this point, I do realise that I’m quite naive in my hopefulness, but I do like to believe in people and believe the best in them. I have no idea if this is a romantic interest at this point, because we haven’t talked much, but what we have, he seems very nice. He chose a nice little cafe for us to meet in tonight and since it’s a bit out of the way, made a point of asking if I was ok with driving that far to meet him (yay, he’s considerate!). It’s on the beach, which is lovely, and now I just have to decide what to wear. I’ve had another few offers from people who want to go out soon, but I’m taking it a bit slow for the time being – I don’t want to be dating heaps of people at the same time…

But that’s not to say that I don’t like messaging multiple people at the same time. I currently have multiple conversations going, and, after talking to a few friends about it, I’m still not even talking to half the number of people some of those girls are. Which I think is great! Gone are the days of settling for someone just because no one else is around and then having to work through differences, etc. But, in comes the perception that there are so many options out there, that no one should ever really settle for someone because someone better might be around the corner. So many of the men (and women, but I can’t comment since I’m dating men) on these sites are looking for ‘something casual’ or to ‘see what happens’ – which I’m learning apparently means ‘see how good you are in bed’ because the idea of dates is hardly discussed in these situations. I’m actually online to see what happens, not just to hook up, because, if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m very happy with being single for the moment!

PoF is an amazing confidence booster if anyone is considering signing up. I have seen a few profiles that are rude and had a couple of people message me rudely, but for the most part, the men that I’ve been talking to are cheeky, funny, and complimentary. This is a big change to what I saw on Tinder last year – where the majority of people were on there to find a person equally beautiful to them, no matter what the conversational skills. In my opinion, dating is fun. And yes, I’m saying that even after things didn’t work out with the doctor I was so excited about in my last post (even though we’re still talking, I’m considering it to have not worked out since I wanted something more than he appears to and that will never work). There are so many people out there to meet, and I can’t wait to hear more of their stories and learn about what makes each person tick – starting tonight, with my second doctor date – this one works in research and has a PhD. I can’t believe my luck in finding such interesting people within days of signing up!

Breadcrumbed (yes, that’s a thing) in my 30’s

Yesterday I learned a new term, thanks to google and the urban dictionary, which is ‘breadcrumbing’. This is basically when someone keeps in contact just enough so that you’re on the hook, but not enough so that something will ever come of it. Called breadcrumbing because there’s a tiny trail to follow (think Hansel and Gretel), but unfortunately without ever reaching a destination. Apparently it can happen most often in three different situations, and the second one that was described (to sum it up, it’s when a person is looking at dating other people and he/she puts you on ‘hold’ while considering what else is out there) really resonated with me. In the last few posts, I’ve been discussing this dream boat of a doctor that I’d been dating. Well, he’s been flakey recently and constantly saying how busy he is, which I was excusing because let’s face it, he’s a doctor, he’s going to be busy. But there ended up being a few too many:

  • 9-10pm messages of ‘what’re you up to?’.
  • ‘wish you were here… I’d love to see you’ with no follow up or actual date coming from this, just talk in the evenings when he knows I’m busy.
  • conversation starters where he would message me and I could see that he was still online, but not responding for hours, or even days in some instances, with no explanation.
  • random messages (like a youtube link to a (terrible) comedy act) and no conversation.
  • no response to any link, meme or message I send
  • the ‘joking’ insults to photos sent: i.e. send a photo with a friend and his response is ‘stunning’ to which I reply ‘thanks’ and he says ‘not you, your friend! haha’.

I’m confident enough to know that he’s playing a game and that my friend is in fact stunning so self-esteem wise, that last one didn’t bother me… but dating wise? What an idiot! Had it been followed by a ‘just kidding’ with a compliment or something else then that’s fine, I can take a joke like everyone else. But when you leave it there, assuming I know you’re joking (if it was in fact a joke), that’s not cool. Isn’t that called negging? Ugh, I hate all these new negative dating trends. What happened to be charming, flirtacious, and complimentary? That’s the dating that’s fun. Dating shouldn’t leave anyone feeling bad about themselves. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes two people just don’t connect or it’s only one-sided and it may hurt, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of; and that’s entirely different. Negging, ghosting, benching, and (my newly learned term) breadcrumbing… these are cruel modern day tactics that not only lower one’s standards, but also have an effect on one’s mental health, self-esteem and self-worth.

I’m fairly new to getting back into the dating scene (about a month) and I’ve wasted most of that time on this doctor. I find myself surprised by this new dating trend but also relatively unscathed. I can’t imagine that a year or two of dealing with games like this will leave me quite so well-off in mind, body and soul – and that’s scary.

Realistically, I could be quite wrong about him: he could actually be very busy and not at all playing this game, but then why the cagey messages and dodgy responses if at all? Maybe in a few days I’ll have the explanation to all of this and I’ll be confessing my error in another blog then, but for now, I’m quite sure that I finally figured out what his game is: breadcrumbing. It’s a terribly sad truth because I had a major crush on this man – he was as near to a perfect match as I could’ve ever imagined, but at the end of the day, I can’t make him want me back or to stop playing games. I wouldn’t want to… it should come from him. And holding a candle for the possibility that one day he would see the errors of his ways is not really in my personality. I wasn’t rash, I waited and observed his behavioural changes over the last couple weeks, I was direct in texting him that I would like to see him again (to which he waited two days to respond to and then apologised for the delay in response without actually commenting on the message), and I gave him several opportunities to step up. And then I stopped.

With one text, I felt more control over this situation than I have in weeks. I sent him a message telling him that I was sensing his confliction and that while that’s totally fine, I didn’t want to get any more invested while he’s still figuring out what he wants. I actually googled how to say what I wanted to nicely because, had I written from my emotions, I would said something like ‘take your games elsewhere, I have no time for you – jerk!’, in which case, if I am wrong, that’s quite embarrassing! With the text I did send, I have saved face if I am wrong and I’ve given him an out where he can just move along without any defensiveness – thereby avoiding any potential retaliation in the form of more negative texting/games. I was clear with what I wanted, which is typical of my personality, and I left no room for interpretation. I made sure to avoid putting any ambiguity into the text, or any hope, because then I would lose face (as I learned from googling – google is literally my best friend).

I’ve already received a response to that, which was an apology for the delay in response because he was just getting home from work – which is totally fine, but there was no acknowledgement of the message itself, again, so I left it there. Upon seeing his reply, my immediate response was to write him an explanatory text about how it wasn’t just this one time, and that we aren’t really going anywhere and that he’s not been respecting me (whether it was his intention to disrespect me or not)… but that would have been me, picking up another breadcrumb. And I’m done with that. So I left it alone and didn’t reply, which is hard for me to do, but I feel empowered by that decision and proud that I did it, and continue (only 12 hours later) to not give in to responding. I will if he sends anything further that’s worth responding to, because I have no intention of lowering myself to any level, including that of being rude, but no more breadcrumbs. I am and always have been a ‘lay it all out on the table’ kind of person, and I despise games.

So, here’s back to the dating pool to see what else is out there. I’m currently on Happn to meet new people (because no one I know has any single friends apparently), but I’m considering trying something else. I know Tinder is very popular but I think it’s just for hook ups with the occassional good-news story that a couple did meet there. I’ve also recently heard of Bumble, but I have no idea what that is. Aside from that, I guess it’s proper dating sites like RSVP, Plenty of Fish, or Match.com right? I’m not sure about those… for some reason, I feel like the apps are still fun to try but when I sign into the dating sites I’ll cross to the realm of desperate… I know quite a few women who are on the sites or have used them to meet their current boyfriends, but for some reason I have a hang up about the sites that I still need to get over. I’ve actually used one in the past and I met some very lovely people off of it, so I’m really not sure why I’m so reluctant this time. My next hurdle: getting over this ‘stigma’ of online dating sites. I mean hell, if I can get over the stigma around being a victim of emotional abuse (outlined in a previous post) then I’m sure I can get over this!

Onwards and upwards to find someone else worthy of my time and effort. No one should stick around when someone is breadcrumbing them… it may suck, but you’re worth so much more than someone who sees you as just an option. Men who are interested in a relationship with you (or me in this case) will move mountains to build the momentum, which includes a consistent effort to talk/see you. Although I’m looking for a relationship at some point, I’m happy to be single until I find that consistent effort: I won’t settle for anything less.

A busy weekend in my 30’s

Friday, a friend of mine arrived from Europe. She’s come to stay with me for 2.5 weeks while I show her around Perth. But before I get to that, I’ll catch up on the last week in brief. Last week I spent my time getting my place organised for my friend’s arrival and trying to squeeze one more date in with Mr. Perfect. Turns out he’s not perfect, but he’s still pretty amazing. We had a date on Tuesday and it was fun, but it was really short. He brought his dog and we went to the dog park, only to be met with darkness about 45 minutes after we’d arrived and so he left to bring the dog home as he didn’t want him running around in the dark – fair enough. I think we both had a good time on the date, but afterwards, the conversation was very difficult. When I got back home I found my cat stuck on the roof for about 2 hours until I finally got her down. So I know that I was stressed and not really focusing on the conversation either, but it wasn’t great. I messaged him the next day to no response, and then he responded the day after. Anyone in the dating world knows that a few days of no contact either means the interest is not really there or that there is some kind of ‘play it cool’ game happening. Well, I hate games so I assumed he’d lost interest. He messaged me last night to ask how my weekend was and explained that he’d been working 16 hour days and had fallen ill. Ok, so I guess it was a reasonable silence… turns out I have to stop reading into things so much (like most women trying to date).

Now onto the weekend: my friend Julie arrived Friday afternoon to Perth. She’d been travelling for about 24 hours at that point and instead of letting her chill out at home straight away when we got there, I told her to drop her stuff, change and we were leaving 10 minutes later. She’s pretty easy going so that was fine, and off we went to the beach for a sunset and fish and chips dinner. We stayed up talking into the night a bit and then had a bit of a sleep in on Saturday. When we woke up, we had breakky, coffee and then took off to the koala park with another friend of mine. The three of us had a ball getting some amazing photos of the wildlife there, and laughing through most of the day. While my two friends were able to get some very cute photos of them with the animals, mine were dive bombed and/or chaotic… which really is typical of my life. The ‘featured image’ on this post is now my alltime favourite with an epic photobomb by a kangaroo. I don’t take nice selfies, I take ridiculous ones – and I’ve learned to love that, especially where kangaroos are involved!

After the koala park, we drove out to Penguin island but we’d already missed the last penguin feeding so instead, decided to head down into the Rockingham foreshore for a late lunch. While sitting there on the coast, a pod of dolphins swam by, with one even doing a bit of a jump trick – it was a magical welcome to Australia for Julie. After lunch, we came back home and got ready for a birthday party that night. I drove us the 30 minutes to the party, we stayed for about 2 hours and then when we got home, both Julie and I crashed hard. It was nice to get out and see my friends, and also nice for Julie to see a bit of Perth nightlife… although it was not the kind of place I would’ve chosen to go to and we were quite tired at that point.

Sunday was lovely as well, we spent 3 hours at City Beach and then spent the afternoon in Fremantle. I haven’t been to Freo in years for some reason, but it was so chilled and a great way to enjoy the day and end the weekend. 🙂 We came home to eat dinner and chill out for a bit and I was in bed by 10pm. I thought that would be enough, but apparenlty the cat decided to keep me up and not let me sleep so… I’m still exhausted today! Tonight the plan is to get some groceries for the week and pack lunches for the week… or maybe to just relax, we’ll see how much energy I can muster later on! It’s been so fun though so while I’m complaining a bit about being tired, I love having company and I have really enjoyed the last couple of days! 🙂

 

Breaking the ‘dating rules’ in my 30’s

This is my second post for today, but the first one didn’t encompass this aspect of my life, which I am currently obsessed with: dating. A few days ago I posted about this guy I met online and who I went on one date with. I had a blast and I think he’s amazing. We were supposed to meet up again yesterday and it didn’t happen. We hadn’t set concrete plans which was fine because I had all intentions of staying in otherwise, but when Saturday came and went without an invite anywhere, I was getting a bit frustrated. We were still talking all day, so why not set the plans? Every self-help, dating advice, or the like that I’ve come across (which I have to admit isn’t many) all say the same thing: wait for him to make the first move. Because if I, as a woman, invite him out, I’m making myself too available and even though it may work, I will never know how he feels, etc., etc. … ugh, that’s so annoying! And it left me wondering why he’s not planning anything when we were meant to meet the next day?

By this point, we’d been talking for three weeks so I felt fairly comfortable just asking him what’s happening so, on Sunday morning, when I woke to a text that said ‘morning’, I just asked him straight up, what we were doing that day, thus breaking Rule #1 apparently. He evaded, saying he was with his dad and a bit more, so I just finally said that I was going to the beach and he was welcome to join me, breaking Rule #2. He doesn’t respond to this for hours and at about 4pm I get a message from him and he starts a conversation. I politely said that I expected to see him and asked why I hadn’t heard from him (maybe breaking another rule here by talking about it?) and he asked if I wanted to catch up that night still. I said no. I said I would’ve but that he’d waited too long and I could no longer meet up. I said that I need plans and that although I can appreciate spontaneity, I’m a busy person who likes it that way and I’m going to make plans to fill my time so waiting until that day is not going to work with me. I then asked him what his end goal was, since he kept messaging me and via text sounded very keen, but then doesn’t seem fussed to actually meet up again.

I’m pretty sure I broke all the rules at that point, but didn’t care because to me, no matter how amazing our first date was, this man was disrespecting me by thinking I’d wait around for him to contact me last minute – as if I’m a second option if nothing better came around. So who the hell wrote these rules? Why can’t I just know what I want and not enter into the mind games of who likes who and playing it cool and whatnot? I didn’t intend to go straight into ‘the talk’ of asking where this could be headed, nor did I mean it that way when I asked; I thought I was just checking to see if we were on the same page with what we wanted hypothetically… after some thought, it turns out these are pretty much the same thing. But whatever, I’d sent it and it was too late to take back so, after I’d broken likely all of them, I started to wonder, AGAIN, who wrote these rules?

What I got back surprised me. He not only agreed to make solid plans with me, but he went into detail about what he wanted, what he expected and stated flat-out that he wants to see me again. He explained that he’d met two other people since online dating, that there was no connection with them and it didn’t go any further, but that I was different. Thinking himself to be a very direct person, he was surprised when I told him that he was hard to read and when I apologised for any insult I may have caused being so direct in my questioning, he said he appreciated it, stating ‘no one likes games’.

I continued being bold and told him I wanted to see him again as well. He said for me to name the time and place and he would meet me wherever… so we have our second date tomorrow, where I want to go and when it suits me best. So, in the end of this conversation, by unintentially breaking all the rules, I managed to lay all my cards on the table and express how I felt and what I expected, learn how he feels both about me and his expectations, and managed to secure a second date in the process.

I told my friend Marie this, laughing and saying that the second date was actually a miracle given my stereotypical too-pushy/needy/clingy/whatever girly behaviour, and she said that while she doesn’t typically condone acting crazy (which is how we were defining my actions), what I did was great. Marie has been single for years, and recently found out (thanks facebook) that her ex, who she left because he had no ambition or desire for a future, is now managing some big international company and just got married on a beautiful, Pacific Island beach. It’s been three years since they separated and while he is now married, she has yet to find another boyfriend, or even another decent shot at a boyfriend. All the men she’s met, mostly online, have led her on or just used her for a few weeks. It’s awful. Marie is one of the most incredible people I know. She’s beautiful, intelligent, successful, well-traveled and she has the biggest heart. She’s that friend I ask for advice/ideas and she not only listens and responds, but will research further and send links after the fact. She’s the one who calls to check in when she gets the feeling I might just need a chat, and she’s the one, guaranteed, that would give the shirt off her back to anyone who needed it more than her. She’s what I think most women would/should aspire to be. How is this woman single?

We talked a bit about it and we think it’s because she’s too lenient. The experiences that she’s had with men of late have been so bad, that when I asked what she thinks about someone she responded with ‘well, there’s nothing else out there’. That’s so sad that this amazing woman is being overlooked, and has been for years. The last guy she was talking to said he’d skype her on a trip… that was three weeks ago. He got back and told Marie that he’d let her know when he was free to catch up with her… that was a week ago and he hasn’t messaged her since. I asked her if he called today, would she go out with him still? She said yes, because there’s nothing else out there. Not because she likes him or is excited about dating him, and she also stated that she knows how disrespectful he’s being, but again, she would say yes because there’s nothing else out there. We talked about that a bit and she does agree that it’s better to be single than to be with someone so disrespectful, but I can see that these experiences are wearing on her. She’s read so many of the books/articles/etc. of what a woman should/shouldn’t do when dating, that I think she’s blinded by trying to follow the rules and trying to not scare any potential partner off that she likely does it unintentionally.

While I thought I had screwed things up by asking my date so many direct questions, it worked out in my favour. When Marie followed all the rules and did whatever the books said to do, she didn’t even get a date. So again I ask, who wrote these rules? In my opinion, there are no golden rules to follow. Just be true to yourself and the right person will love you for it. Until then, good luck to all of us who remain single, kissing frogs while hoping to find Prince Charming. Above all else, respect yourselves ladies! We are in control of our worth!

Lacking tolerance in my 30’s

My recent ex, we’ll call him Bob, and I were trying to stay friends, until just this past Friday night. We broke up about a month ago, and it was my decision, not his – but it was his decision to stay friends and I accepted this since I didn’t want to hurt him. He was a lovely person and treated me well while we were together, he was just too young and unambitious for me which ultimately led to me growing tired of the relationship. It became tedious to do any activities together and he looked to me to entertain him every time he was bored. He put his entire heart into the relationship, despite my continual suggestions to find hobbies, etc, he developed his life around our relationship and only that… it was suffocating. At the end of the day, I can chalk his neediness and insecurities up to being in his early twenties, but it didn’t change the fact that it was not what I was looking for.

So, Bob and I have met up a few times since we broke up, and things were uncomfortable the first time, as one would expect, but the second time it was fun. We had tickets to see a show on Friday night that were booked and paid for two months ago, so we stuck to the plan and went to the show. I ubered there because I was having a few drinks and after the show, which was amazing, Bob offered me a ride home. I declined but he insisted until it was rude of me to object. When we got to my place he asked if he could come in to use the toilet and fill up a bottle of water for the drive home, which does take him about 45 minutes. I reluctantly said yes, because although I didn’t want him in the house for fear that he would AGAIN start a conversation about the break up, what else am I going to say? ‘um, no, I’m sorry, but you can’t pee and you’ll just have to hold it. Thanks for the ride though.’ That’s not very nice!

So up he comes for a quick, he’s stated over and over ‘just quick’, toilet and water break and he goes to head off. On the way to the door he asked if I want to get beer and wings two days later. Look, I’m all for staying civil and being friends, but I don’t want to be besties or anything – if I wanted to see him every second day, I wouldn’t have broken up with him in the first place. So, I said no but thanks for the offer. He then wheels around and says he needs to talk to me and asks if we can talk now. He’s already in my house, looks like we’re talking now. *eye roll* I knew this would happen!

He talks for a bit and finally says that he can’t be my friend. I told him I understood where he was coming from and that there were no hard feelings. You would think this is it, but no, it’s not. He then proceeds to tell me why he can’t be my friend, and I’m patiently open to listening to him, until he actually starts speaking. The reason, see, is because he’s not comfortable with me hooking up with a bunch of different men and that he can’t respect someone who does that… WHAT?!?! Even if I was doing that, he has no right to judge, but I’ll get there. Right now, I need to be clear: I’m not like this. I never have been. A lot of people go through a phase, a trial, a whatever, some people just like to sleep around, and some never do… each person is different and I honestly could care less what choices a person makes in their intimate lives – it’s their business, and in this case it’s my business, not his. So, because I haven’t been with anyone else, I ask Bob where he’s getting this information. His response is to tell me that he just knows I am because that’s what I do and that he hates to use the word, but he will: slut.

WHAT?! You come into my house, MY HOUSE and slutshame me? No Bob, just f*cking NO. I was beyond angry at this point and I, politely but firmly – which is still more than he deserved – ushered him out.

In this conversation, he told me about his Saturday night and how there was a good looking girl that was trying to take him home and that his mates were all encouraging him to do it. I know it’s false bravado speaking from a place of hurt and wanting to prove that he has options. He’s a good looking young man, of course he has options, so while the story itself was neither surprising or overly hurtful, what was is that he brought it up seemingly for two reasons: to get a rise from me, and/or to hammer in the point that he wouldn’t do that because he doesn’t respect women who do that. Which brings about the inequality in gender stereotypes. He’s not saying he wouldn’t do that because he respects himself or the woman too much, but that he disrespects the woman too much to want to be with her. That’s awful! I know that gender stereotypes and slutshaming aren’t new, but it’s infuriating to me. When will society accept that it’s ok for women to do whatever they please with their bodies? When no laws are being broken and no one’s getting hurt, what’s the big deal? Men have historically been celebrated for sleeping around and if not, at the very least, it’s accepted/understood that ‘boys will be boys’. Well, sometimes a woman just wants to get in on that action, and this should also be accepted.

At the end of the day, what I do with my life and my body is my own business. I will not stand for being judged by anyone who has no right to comment on my actions.

A fairy tale evening in my 30’s

The last couple of posts on here were quite serious topics and today I really wanted to share what a great mood I’m in! You see, a few weeks ago I ended a six month relationship with a lovely guy because I truly believed we were incompatible. Before that I was single for about a year, and I had been single for 8 or so years before I met my ex-fiancé with only a few dates here and there. As I was saying, we were incompatible mainly because he’s nine years my junior, and although I genuinely believe that age should not be a consideration, at the end of the day, it was for us because of who we are as individuals. He lacked the life experience that I took for granted and while he was happy to settle for a simple life, I don’t think I’ll ever want that for myself. Nonetheless, it was not an easy choice to give up comfort and stability in a relationship with someone who loved me unconditionally, but I did it, and I knew from the bottom of my heart that it was the right decision. Since then, I went on two dates with two different men. The first one was not my cup of tea but the second one… wow!

This man, that I JUST met yesterday, has my head spinning! I had no intentions of getting into a relationship and just decided to go on a couple of dates soon after my break up so that I could remind myself that just because I ended my relationship did not mean that I would end up alone forever. I also wanted to remind myself what else was out there as far as partners are concerned so that I could really solidify why my recently finished relationship wouldn’t work should ever I regret ending it a few months down the road. And yes, I know these are not the reasons that I should’ve signed into online dating, but they are my reasons, and I’m so glad I did.

So onto Happn I went. I had tried tinder last year and found far too many rude jerks looking for short, physical relations only, willing to put next to no effort into a conversation. I had also tried RSVP and found the other end of the spectrum, where I’m sure 90% had already chosen their wedding tux. To be fair, this was a nice change to the cliché where women are usually the ones that are thinking much further ahead, but, I’ve digressed. Happn seems to be the middle ground at the moment. What it will end up being, I have no idea, but for now, I have now spoken to four different men on there, and all four have been polite and patient.

Last night I met this person who is quite literally the man of my dreams. He’s smart, he’s very funny, he’s direct, he’s polite, he’s complimentary, he’s creative, he’s amazing with words, he’s considerate, he’s such a gentleman (which is so very rare these days), and he’s very attractive. Oh, and did I mention he’s a doctor? Because, well, he’s even A DOCTOR! *swoon* So while I try to figure out what I’m missing – because, let’s face it, no one is this perfect – I wanted to share just how happy I am to have experienced our first date last night.

It was like a reawakening for me. It was, in two hours, a completed case put in front of me as to why none of my previous relationships have ever worked out. No, I didn’t compare him to anyone else I’ve dated and no, I wasn’t making lists of any kind… it was just in the way he made me feel. I’ve always been a very picky person, and happy to be on my own, but even with the men that I did give a relationship a chance with in the past, there has always been something that I’ve overlooked from the get-go. That feeling that something’s missing, or that he’s not entirely well suited to me because of x,y, and z, however small the reasons may seem. So in the past I have overlooked these things because no one is perfect and their greater good outweighed what I perceived as a flaw, but I have to say, last night was the first time I didn’t see any of these things I would need to overlook. Did I mention how happy he made me? Because at one point in the night I was smiling so much it made my cheeks hurt – which made me wonder briefly if I looked like a creep just constantly smiling, but then he cracked another joke and I forgot about that thought until this morning when I woke up and saw myself STILL smiling!

Today I’ve been considering this more and I can say with complete certainty that I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. Not my first boyfriend in highschool or my ex-fiancée whom I thought was the love of my life. I can’t believe that I found someone that makes me literally giddy. I walked 7kms to work this morning smiling and waving at everyone I crossed paths with. I played with the dogs out for walks and I danced along to the music playing from my phone without even realising what song it was that was playing, how far I had actually walked, or who was in the cars driving past me. I was more than 3/4 of the way to work before I even realised how far I’d walked… it’d been nearly an hour. I walked into work and was greeting instantly with a bunch of questions about what I did last night because, to quote a colleague, ‘it must’ve been something amazing’. Well, it was.

I know that this was only the first date and that I shouldn’t have my hopes up at this point… but I really do. I can’t help myself – not that I’ve tried much. I’ve even told all my friends about how great he is already because I figure: if this works out then great, no harm done; and if it doesn’t work out, well, that’s a bummer, but there’s still no harm done. Had I waited until I knew more before getting excited about it (even if I could’ve!), well, then I would’ve missed out on this amazing day of sharing my excitement and happiness with my friends. And there’s no shame in something not working out. It’s no one’s fault if two people are not compatible, one is not attracted to the other, or for whatever reason a relationship may never get off the ground. I used to be afraid of rejection and saw it as a personal failure, but that’s not the case at all. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. If it does turn out that this won’t work out, I just hope I don’t find out for another few days because I want to feel this for at least a little while longer.

And so, as far as my mind goes, this is not going to end. For today, there is this unbelievable excitement coursing through me at the possibilities that meeting him just opened up. I have never been so comfortable with someone on the first date! I have never left a first date not only imagining a second one, but thinking how lucky I am to have found someone so completely amazing and who I could enjoy my time with so thoroughly. All day as my phone beeps I excitedly look to see if it’s him messaging me. I’ve been telling everyone who will listen about how amazing our date was, and this is not like me at all. He hasn’t disappointed me yet… despite working in the Emergency Department of one of the biggest hospitals in the city, he’s still found a few scarce moments to text me a few times today. It’s a nice gesture, and I’m thrilled everytime I see his name pop up on my screen.

Today I choose to believe in this romanticised match-made-in-heaven and to live in this moment of happy excitement for as long as I can hold on to it. I had no idea what I was missing in never having felt this before.

A glimpse into why I am the way I am in my 30’s

I’m finding that my ability to bounce back from things that bother me is not quite as quick as it was when I was in my 20’s and I imagine it’ll only get worse. When I was younger, I would endure something stressful and it might take a couple hours, but I could usually get over it after those couple of hours. I imagine it’s because the things I’m experiencing now are more consequential than my experiences back then. Or just that my ability to bounce back was stronger. In my last post, I talked about the effect seeing my ex, after 16 months of complete avoidance, had on me two days ago and I’m proud to admit that while it did ruin my entire day, by the time I went to sleep, I had found my way back on top. This was a huge win for me.

Over the last two years or so I have suffered from depression and anxiety. The likely cause of this would have to be the emotional abuse I sustained while in my previous relationship, and the inability to find the strength to leave for some time, even after I recognised what was happening. This is not a simple thing. People who have never experienced anything like this would think that I could just walk away whenever I wanted, or even that because I chose to stay it couldn’t have been as bad as I later described to them. To be fair, I’m not saying that my ex had no redeeming qualities. As the relationship progressed I found it harder and harder to find these redeeming qualities, but there was once enough good in him and us that I fell in love. Realistically I think I fell in love with the idea of us and the fact that he ‘ticked all the boxes’ rather than him as a person. As a person, yes, he was an ass – but he could be charming and disarming when he wanted to be, and he had his sights set on me.

Unfortunately, after the disarming fog was lifted, it turned out that he was rude and arrogant, believed himself better than everyone he met, and was, by definition a psychopath. I’m not just bitterly name-calling here, I did my research when I left the relationship and found that he not only resembled the description of a psychopath, but that he exibited most of the characteristics in his very soul and daily actions. Not to say that I found him capable of murdering someone or anything, but when we started watching Dexter I would tease him about the similarities until it got so disturbing that I had to stop. Plus, he got mad when I called him Dexter – I think he recognised himself a bit too much as well. For reference, I’ll outline some of the key traits of psychopaths include (but are not limited to):

  • disregard for social mores… well, my ex was an idiot in social situations and typically just insulted whoever we were with in ‘jest’ (but actually meant it, and they could usually tell so I would have to do damage control afterwards)
  • disregard for the rights of others… he was all for people doing what they wanted, so long as it didn’t affect him. If it affected him, then look out. I remember a time when we were flying and he got into an argument with the stewardess because she asked him to sit the back of his seat up for take off. He went on and on belittling her because he paid for his seat and he could do whatever he chose and without his money, she wouldn’t have a job, etc. It was not only humiliating but awful to see him treat her with such disrespect for trying to do her job.
  • failure to feel remorse or guilt… really, he lived and breathed this and there are far too many examples to choose from. One of his favourite sayings for doing something stupid when drunk was ‘if I don’t remember it, it never happened’. He would stick to that, no matter how much pain he caused me when drinking. Accountability was not even a word in his vocabulary.
  • tendency to display violent behavior… he took his frustrations out by walking away (sometimes for days to do who knows what) or exercising to exhaustion, which, in my opinion, was far better than physical abuse.
  • unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy… he was the least supportive person I could imagine. I went home (to Canada from Australia) because my grandfather passed away and when I called him upset he hung up on me, and text me that he did not want to listen to my problems again if I wasn’t even going to ask him how his day was first. I asked him if something had happened, he said no and that he was just annoyed that I was being so self-involved… my grandfather had passed away (a man he knew) and I was having a very hard time dealing with this and still, he hung up on me: his crying fiancée. This, and the strength I found from my family and being away from him physically, was actually the push I needed to finally leave him.
  • very manipulative… this was his defining trait from the moment I met him, I just thought I was clever enough to see through it and strong enough to withstand it. I was wrong. Even a mountain will erode over time.
  • the list goes on, but suffice it to say that he was also well educated, held a steady job, meticulous in his appearance and portraying a calm, composed demeanor. tick, tick, tick in all my metaphorical boxes as to what defines the man I wanted to find.

I got these key traits from Psychology Today and used my examples to explain what I meant when I said he was a psychopath. There’s plenty more information out there, and if anyone finds themselves in a similar situation as I was, I would highly recommend reading more. Understanding, and inevitably labeling, who he was has helped me to understand how I fell victim to his abuse for as long as I did, and ultimately helped me stop blaming myself for allowing it to happen. Unfortunately we live in a victim-blaming society and people often look for ways to justify malicious actions, particularly when they’re close to one’s heart.

After all the gaslighting (look this up too if you’re unfamiliar: it’s basically second guessing and questioning someone until they’re unable to make even the smallest decision) and manipulation I endured at the hands of that psychopath, I found myself on the other side with not many defenses left. I’d used up all the strength I had in leaving the relationship and I found myself, a few days after my ex had left the house, alone and crying my eyes out wondering if I’d made a terrible mistake. It wasn’t because I wanted that relationship back, it was because I was alone and completely unable to make a decision for myself as simple as what I wanted to eat for dinner that night. I felt lost, scared and unable to live on my own without his ‘guidance’ anymore. This feeling lasted a few days and then it slowly got better as I recognised that I was living my life day to day and I didn’t need him to tell me how I felt or what I should do. It was about two weeks after I last heard from him (because he was avoiding all contact at this time, blaming me for whatever circumstances he found himself in at that point) when I finally realised that my tension was less, that my sleep was better, and that I was free to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It was a magical feeling!

It didn’t last though. That high I felt momentarily kept me determined in my decision to leave, but once he contacted me again I felt the same cowardice creeping over me and when he came over to get more stuff and discuss the separation, it was everything I could do not to give in to his manipulation. He offered to help me clean, to take me to the grocery store (because we had one car and he took it when he left), to help me find a new flat when that time came, and even offered for me to call him if ever I was horny. I politely declined all of these offers, the last one making me feel physically ill. He followed it up by asking me if I was going to offer to help him in the same way – I said no. At this point he pinned me on the couch and tried to passionately kiss me… it didn’t work, and the revoltion I felt before intensified until he got off me. Being a foot taller and 50+kgs heavier than me, I didn’t stand much of a chance getting him off of me if he didn’t want to and in that moment I remembered how clear that was and I was determined never to be in that situation with him again. He’d used his physical strength to pin me down before – to tickle me or play fight, but he always stopped when I started crying and I justified this by telling myself he wasn’t aware of his strength. But I never should have ended up in tears in the first place. Despite his apologies afterwards, I believe that he was always aware of his strength, made a conscious decision to hold me when he knew I was not comfortable, and just wanted to exert control and remind both himself and me how dominating he truly was.

I kept our communications on email after that and ensured that when he came to get the rest of his stuff, I was not there. I ran into him twice after this. Once on the street about two weeks later, but fortunately I was with friends and we did not have to talk, and the second time was when I asked him to come over and do the cleaning in the backyard of our rental that I couldn’t reach, after I had cleaned the entire house we were renting, which was another couple weeks after the first. I tried to talk to him civilly and he refused to be civil. I asked him why he couldn’t help with our mutual responsibilities before that day and he answered “I don’t want to tell you”. I gave up, got back on my bike and never saw him again, until a videocall two days ago (I mentioned this in a previous post). Over email he threatened to take me to court for things that weren’t justified, he told me that I don’t decide my worth, that I owed him money, etc… none of this was true but when he said ‘pay me my money (his half of the rental bond) and you never have to see or speak to me again’ I accepted. I offered him the entire rental bond ($800 of my own money) to never have to see him again. Apparently the property manager has to split the bond evenly so I ended up getting my bond in my account, but I was still holding him to his word, and after the email where he told me ‘I don’t determine my own worth’, I stopped all replies and refused to speak to him ever again. I got texts wishing me a merry christmas, happy new year, happy valentine’s day, telling me about a restaurant I should try, etc etc… Mr Nice Guy was back and trying desperately to get me to speak to him, but I stayed strong and resisted. This lasted for months – five months – and it wore me down. I never gave in, but he haunted me. Every time my phone every time it would go off I was worried that it would be him.

People who have never experienced abuse may not understand that a simple ‘hello’ or ‘merry christmas’ can have a negative effect. It does and it’s terrifying. It’s a reminder that he can still get to me and in an instant of seeing his name display on my phone I’m brought right back to the pain and torment I endured in that relationship. I have tried daily mantras, meditation, antidepressants, antianxiety medication, healthy eating, binge eating, binge drinking, a rebound relationship, casual relations, focusing on career, rekindling old friendships, making new friends, etc… the list goes on. At the end of the day, I need to change internally before any external influence will make any difference. One step at a time, one day at a time, and one realisation at a time.

Yes, I lived with a psychopath for years and it took it’s toll. But what I want to focus on from here on out is not that I lived with it, but that I lived through it.

Altered, but still strong.