Thursday, March 31, 2011

The 'wow' look

Jay informed me that he would be going on a work trip to Tulsa, in my home state of Oklahoma, in two weeks. His company wanted to expand into Tulsa and wanted him to spend a few days there getting to know the area. He invited me to tag along, knowing that I’m occasionally allowed to work away from the office. I was shocked and delighted. Yes, this was just going back to Oklahoma, but I hadn’t spent much time in Tulsa, nor in a hotel room with a sexy guy. I told Jay I would ask my boss if I could work from Oklahoma that week, but it was very likely to be okay since December is a slower month around my office. The timing of the trip was great. We would drive to Tulsa on a Friday night, stay until Wednesday evening, then he would drop me off in my hometown with my family for Christmas, and my dad would take me back to Texas the day after Christmas.

After I had agreed, I asked, “So are you doing anything this Friday?”

“Nope,” he said. “What’s up?”

“My work Christmas party,” I replied. “Want to be my date?”

He agreed, and my brain immediately started going into, “What will I wear?” mode. After he left, I started thinking that I needed to call Tyler and tell him I couldn’t do this. I really liked him, but I was starting to like Jay too much to risk things. So we had the awkward phone call. As usual, Tyler was extremely cool about things and we agreed to be friends. I wasn’t sure if that would work, but I hoped so, because we had come up with pretty fun ideas for things to do together.

The next day I did my usual emailing back and forth with Sophie while at work. I found out that she was now officially boyfriend-girlfriend with the new guy she had been seeing. She said she was feeling “giddiness.” I love the feeling of giddiness with a guy. I hadn’t been feeling that so far with Jay, but being my hopeless romantic self, I was hopeful. He had started saying and asking future-type things, such as, “Ok, I could deal with living with your cats,” “If we ever got married, would you take my last name?” and “I want to be in a relationship living apart for a year, then living together for a year, and then I would know if I wanted to marry the girl.” Also, in all of his future talk, he would add that he doesn’t like to get his hopes up about anything and wanted to take things slow. I told Sophie that although I liked Jay, I was scared of getting into a relationship again. I was definitely a bit afraid of making mistakes similar to past ones. I was afraid of possibly getting hurt, of possibly wasting a lot of time and effort, and of not getting to make my own big decisions about things like moving. I was starting to realize that singledom is also freedom in that I can move, travel, do anything whenever I wanted to. At this time, a relationship sounded like a huge sacrifice. I was glad that Jay wanted to take it slow.

The major reason I felt so interested in Jay, looking back now, is that he was so much more mature than any other guy I had dated. I had never dated anyone that much older than me, who had that good of a job, who was basically that self-sufficient. It was nice. I was especially excited to show him off at my work Christmas party. I hadn’t been able to bring my ex around my coworkers, so it would be nice to bring someone mature around them.

I was also looking forward to my work Christmas party because my coworker and friend in L.A., Clare, would be coming to visit again.  She would be arriving on Friday afternoon, the day of the party. We already had our weekend planned – we were calling it “Extreme Makeover: Apartment Edition” at my apartment. My apartment had recently become a topic of conversation with my friends. Now that my ex was out it was time to make it my own.

The week flew by as I prepared for the Christmas party and for Clare’s visit. I chose to wear a black and red dress I already owned, and went to Kohl’s the night before for earrings. Sophie was going to come over to do my hair and makeup before the party. I cleaned up my apartment and grabbed a few cardboard boxes in anticipation for Clare’s visit and the apartment makeover.

And in this week, Sophie accidentally came across my ex’s profile on OkCupid, a dating site. It cracked us up, especially when I realized I knew his password and we came across this email to a girl: “Is there anything I can say that will make you want to get to know me better? I know, this sounds like I'm totally desperate (I am).” So I was definitely having a good week.

On Friday, as I was counting down the time until the party, I was also getting excited about Jay seeing me dressed up. I told Sophie, “I hope he gets that look on his face when he sees me dressed up, that wow look.”

Finally it was 5 p.m. First I raced to the gym for a personal training session (yes, I keep my schedule packed), then home to shower and get dressed. Sophie was to arrive at 6:30, Jay at 7:30, and the party started at 8. Although my schedule was packed, it was all going according to schedule. I looked gorgeous, except that my dress was looser than I had remembered. But at least that was better than tighter. Jay arrived and Sophie kept him occupied in my living room while I finished up a few more ‘getting ready’ things.

And then I was ready to show him my dressed up self. I was ready to see the ‘wow’ look.

But he never gave me the ‘wow’ look.

The wave of guilt

On my drive home, I tried calling both Sophie and Clare. I was desperate to talk about this date. Neither answered. I texted Jay when I got home to let him know I was alive. He had requested that beforehand. He didn’t respond, but I didn’t worry because he was probably asleep.

The next day was a Friday. I texted good morning to Jay at 8 and didn’t hear anything until the afternoon. Of course, in that time period, I started to have the fear of him being upset with me. Jay finally responded and asked how the date had done. I just told him it went ok and luckily he didn’t ask any questions.

I talked to my dad on the phone before work that day. We are pretty close, so I told him about the date and how it went well, but it’s slightly unfortunate because I now like two boys.  My dad told me I don’t have to tell either of them about the other one if it’s just dating. I exclaimed, “DAD!!”

I finally got a hold of Sophie that day and updated her on the date. I also complained to her about the confusion of liking two boys. She suggested seeing Tyler a few more times to be sure. I told her that I felt like I was in high school with all this dating and making out in backseats. I joked that it was much better than high school though because this time there were no parents and I get to live alone.

Tyler texted me during the work day and asked if I would like to hang out on Saturday night – the next night. I agreed, and we decided to meet again at the Mexican restaurant where we had been drinking the night before and actually try the food.

Saturday night came. We met up at the Mexican restaurant. After we ate, I dragged him into the bar area to check the score of that day’s OU football game. (I’m an OU graduate so I have to check these things.) Then he told me had a flask of vodka in his car. We went out to his car where he took a shot from the flask. He offered it to me.

“No thanks, I suck at shots. You don’t want me throwing up in your car,” I said. I suggested heading to Sonic Drive-In nearby for fruity drinks to mix the vodka into. He agreed and we drove over there, laughing at how this was such a college thing to do. I worked at Sonic while in college and would definitely bring fruity drinks home to mix with my liquor. After mixing up our drinks we drove back to the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant and sat there talking about college drinking experiences while sipping on our fruity vodka drinks. Upon completion of the drinks we headed back into the bar.

We ordered drinks and kept the OU game in sight. The topic soon switching from college drinking experiences to sex – past experiences and things we would like to try. After the exciting make out session two nights before, this was definitely an interesting topic to me. We talked about previous relationships a little, and then I decided to be honest with him that I was also dating someone else, Jay. He didn’t mind at all, surprisingly to me. He was very cool about everything. We spent the rest of the OU game joking around. 

Once the game ended, we walked out to his car. He grinned at me, and suggested moving the car to the back of the parking lot. I giggled and agreed. Once he had parked the car near the back, we started kissing. Soon we were again in his backseat. Shirts came off. And then it happened - a wave of guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. Jay’s face entered my mind. Tyler quickly noticed the change in my demeanor and asked if everything was ok. I was again honest with him and explained that I was feeling guilty about ‘the other guy.’ He was extremely nice about it, again, and apologized for taking things too far.

“No, no, don’t apologize. I enjoyed it,” I told him. We got back in the front seat of his car and he drove back to my car. We parted ways as the guilt shook me up. Yes, I’d had a great date with him again. He was fun, closer to my age than Jay, and I loved how we were acting like high schoolers. But that didn’t stop the guilt.

Jay came over the next day with an invitation and I responded with one as well.

Oh, the awkwardness

Tyler was the guy who asked me on a first date that Monday. I had met him the week before Thanksgiving at a club meeting. It’s basically a club for people who work in marketing. There is always a speaker or two at these meetings. This particular meeting was going a little slow for me, and I had got up to use the restroom. We were in a different facility this month that had a huge meeting room and a separate bar area. The restroom was right next to the bar. A few club members were seated there. When I came out of the restroom a girl at the bar waved enthusiastically to me and seemed to remember me. At that moment I couldn’t remember anything about her. We said hello, and she introduced me to the two guys she was sitting with at the bar. I pulled up a chair on the end next to one of the guys. The four of us talked about the meeting, and the guy I was sitting next to ordered a round of drinks for us. The conversation soon changed to the girl just talking to the guy next to her and me talking to the guy next to me. We talked about our jobs for awhile, and it eventually led into talking about our families, our pets, and our last relationships.

After an hour of this I realized he liked me. I thought we were just talking because we work in the same field. But I suddenly saw it in his face. He was cute, so I enjoyed it. Eventually I figured I should get home and get to bed since I had work in the morning. He offered to walk me to my car. We said goodbye to the other two, and as we stood up I realized he was shorter than I had thought. He was right around my height, just like Jay. This definitely wasn’t something I was used to, but I found it interesting. As we walked outside, he asked for my number. I told him the number and he typed it into his iPhone. We got to my car and he hugged me before I got in. On the drive home I called Sophie to brag about meeting someone.

Tyler text messaged me soon after I got home to tell me he’d had a great time talking to me and that he hoped my cats were doing well. I smiled to myself and told him good night, and that I hoped his puppy was doing well. Between then and him asking me on the date after Thanksgiving we’d had one phone conversation and several text messages. He was now officially asking me on a date. I was a little thrown off by this. I mean, I wasn’t surprised, but things had just started moving along with Jay, so I was unsure of what to do. Nevertheless, Jay had said we weren’t in a relationship, so I figured I may as well go and get to know someone new. I debated telling Jay about it all afternoon. Sadly, my dad’s advice on this sort of matter is: “Don’t tell them about each other.”

I called Jay after work and asked him if he was okay with me going on this date. He sounded super okay about it and said he appreciated that I talked to him about it first. But then he started giving me advice about dating, which felt extremely awkward. Example: “If you go to his house, or let him into yours, he will expect sex.” This was one of those times where I could feel the age difference between us. As the week went by, he also told me that I should kiss Tyler, that he would understand, and that I may as well find out if it’s nice. Super awkward.

The date was planned for Thursday night. We decided to go to Studio Movie Grill for dinner and a movie. The choice movie ended up being Love & Other Drugs. I felt nervous during the day on Thursday, and the nervousness only went up the closer it got to date time. I hadn’t been on an official date in a very long time. I haven’t actually been on many. I usually meet a guy randomly and then we just start hanging out constantly and become a couple.

But my biggest fear about the date was that I could end up really liking him. I didn’t want to be in the ‘I like two guys’ situation. But I also didn’t want to close the door to opportunities. Don’t get me wrong – I was loving the ‘being single, doing what I want’ thing. I didn’t like the idea of getting serious any time soon. I had got to the point of being tired of and scared of failed relationships. But the hopeless romantic part of me was open to a serious relationship if I met the right person. Plus, I loved being asked out on a date.

It took me a while to find Studio Movie Grill that night. I hadn’t been to that location before. During the day, he had told me he’s known for being late. But he beat me there. I saw him standing outside the theater as I got out of my car. There was the awkward, “Does he see me yet? Do I look ok? Do I lock eyes with him as I walk up?” I felt so awkward about being on a date. I just don’t know how to act in those situations. I even feel awkward reliving it right now.

He was friendly though and acted very gentlemanly. After we seated ourselves in the theater, we dug through the menu. I chose a meal that didn’t sound too messy – margherita pizza – and a cherry slushie with liquor. The cherry slushie was to die for good, but it cost $9. During the movie we ate our dinner, and I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye several times. I kept thinking, “Should I try to hold hands with him?” It’s so awkward going to a movie with someone you like for the first time and wondering if you should hold hands, and when would be a good time to reach over, and do you slowly touch his/her arm or hand first before holding hands. Near the end of the movie, he finally reached over, slowly caressing my arm, then my hand, and then holding my hand.

After the movie we walked out to the parking lot not quite ready to leave. We discussed getting drinks, and decided to walk over to a Mexican restaurant across the parking lot. I was freezing, and he put his coat over my shoulders. (Awww.) We sat at the bar and talked for awhile. I had two margaritas and he had two Bud Lights. We laughed at this guy dancing funny in the bar and he secretly took a video of the guy to post to his Facebook. Later, some little kids were in there looking at the jukebox and leaning on the back of his chair touching his coat. Once they walked away, he asked, “Is it bad I don’t want kids touching my coat?” I laughed and said, “Kids have sticky hands!” He explained that he had just bought the coat this week. We talked about stuff we did in high school and college, crazy parties we’ve been at, things we tried to get away with in high school, car wrecks we’ve been in, a little bit about past relationships. I enjoyed myself.

Finally I decided I’d probably had enough to drink. He walked me to my car, but then I pouted and said I hadn’t seen his car yet. He pointed it out and we walked to it. It was a newer Nissan Maxima. I looked in the window and oohed and ahhed. He opened the passenger door and said to sit down. The inside was much warmer than the cold outside air. He walked around and got in the driver’s seat. Upon sitting down, he said, “I figure we can take a minute to sober up.” I agreed. We chatted for a minute and then he suddenly leaned over and kissed me. This quickly turned into full fledged making out session for a good half hour. We even crawled into the backseat to make out. We joked that it was like we were in high school again. I truly hadn’t had a make out session like that since high school. By the end of our session I was completely sobered up.

The best first time

I’ll admit it. I can’t remember much about once I got over to Jay’s apartment. I know we talked some and we were both a bit hungry so he decided to educate me on “the awesomeness of Whataburger taquitos.” And he was right. We went through the drive-thru and came back to his place with the taquitos. We sat around his big, clutter free dining table and ate. After I was done I petted his cat while we chatted about our careers. Soon he said he was tired and we separately changed into our pajamas before climbing into his bed. There was no talk of sex, though we both knew we wanted to do it. He was sleeping in only pajama pants, no shirt. I was in a t-shirt and shorts. I stopped to admire that tattoos on his chest, back and arms. He had told me about them but I had never seen them.

“Nice tats,” I told him.

We climbed into opposite sides of the bed, then laid there and talked for awhile. Not about sex. While we were talking we started moving closer to each other, slowly. I felt his arm against mine. It was soft.

Before I go any further I should say that I had started thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy sex anymore in my life, or at least never as much as I did in the past. High school sex was a trip, probably because of the adrenaline rush behind trying to not get caught. After high school sex had been a bit of a downer. My ex-fiancee would get upset because I hardly ever got in the mood. I just couldn’t. I found him very attractive but I just wasn’t feeling it. Now, the recent ex was able to get me in the mood. A couple days after meeting him he brought up the topic of sexual things and immediately caught my interest. Surprisingly, he wasn’t one of those guys who wanted every day. Therefore, I always wanted to do it. The only thing I thought I would miss about him would be the sex. I’d had sex with Wes and it was…blah. Sorry to him, but we didn’t mesh well and he didn’t seem to know what he was doing.

So I wasn’t expecting much out of having sex with Jay but I was definitely interested in trying it out. Anyway, we were moving closer to each other as we talked. My skin was crawling in anticipation. Suddenly he was on top of me and kissing me. I responded immediately and went with it.

I was wrong. It was mind blowing. Afterward he went out to his back patio to cool off and just kept saying, “Wow. Wow. Wow.” I was laughing and sitting on the floor of his living room leaned against his chaise lounge. He came back in and I said, “You know, that was the best first time sex I’ve ever had.”

His eyes lit up. “That’s it!” he exclaimed. “That describes it perfectly.”

You all know what I mean. The first time with someone is usually awkward and something goes wrong. But not this time. We crawled back into bed soon after this and cuddled up. He stroked my cheek and I traced his tattoos with my index finger. Before we knew it we were hooking up again.

We ended up at a count of five times in 48 hours. He was shocked by this amount.

I wrote in my journal on Sunday night when I got home: “Our status is kind of odd, though also refreshing. We are friends; we like each other as more than friends; we are having sex; and we’re open to being in a serious relationship. Neither of us really wants to be in a serious relationship because of previous failed relationships. So right now we’re just enjoying each other and seeing what happens.”

This was definitely something I’d never tried before. Surprisingly I was calm. I wrote: “I know that things could change. I know one of us could suddenly stop liking the other. These things happen without warning and it’s not always someone’s fault. Things just feel great with him. I guess I should quit worrying about nothing and enjoy our relationship for what it is. Maybe we will end up together. Maybe not. But I definitely think he and I can have some fun together in the meantime.”

The next day I was asked on a first date.

Not my usual type

After things with Wes died down, I started paying more attention to a new friend of mine named Jay. I had met him around the beginning of November through Sophie. She had only met him a few months prior through another friend of hers.

The first night I met Jay, I was meeting up with him, Sophie, Tara and Tim (all friends of Sophie’s) at Holy Grail Pub for drinks. I soon found out that Jay is extremely talkative. I enjoyed it because at least there was never an awkward silence. Sophie had joked about dinners with him: “At least there’s never a silent moment!” When she had said that, I  remembered how, when I was around Wes, there were plenty of awkward silences.

I ordered my usual Lindeman’s framboise which sparked the usual questions of, “What’s that?” and, “Can I try it?” Jay ordered an apple cider beer and admitted that he likes girlier drinks, which is exactly what I like.  We all chatted and checked out people walking in along with the waiters and waitresses. Jay thought our waitress was hot, while I thought a waiter was hot. The waiter I was eyeing looked exactly like my ex-fiancee from the past and it was freaking me out. I talked Jay into asking our waitress if the waiter was single. It took a minute for her to realize which waiter he was asking about.

“Oh, that’s my boyfriend,” she said. My friends say my face turned bright red after that. Sadly, Jay and I were both screwed.

Sophie complained over our drinks, “I’ve been single for THREE YEARS!”

 I said, “I’ve been single for three weeks and I’m loving it!”

After awhile, they decided to move on to another bar called Black Finn. I was ready to leave after my embarrassment over the waiter. They tried to talk me into going, but I was feeling like a grandma and wanting to sleep. Jay and I exchanged numbers before they took off, but I never thought of it as anything other than gaining a new friend.

Jay and I soon started talking on the phone and texting each day. It was really just friends stuff. He asked if I wanted to go to dinner on a Wednesday evening. I immediately asked Sophie if she wanted to go and she joked, “Maybe he wants to be alone with you.”

I typed back, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooo. I just don’t want him to like me in that way.”

I managed to drag her to dinner with me and discovered he had brought his twelve year old daughter (yes, he's older). No, it definitely wasn’t a date. I was relieved, and had a great time with all of them. I was soon spending a lot of time with Jay and Sophie, and sometimes just Jay.
He and I would typically have a twenty minute phone call every night before bed. We talked about our past relationships and past dramas. I really enjoyed the phone calls. It was nice to have a guy friend to talk to about serious stuff.

After a few weeks of this I found myself starting to like him as more than a friend. This shocked me. Jay wasn’t my type at all. He was eight years older than me, had a kid, was blonde, and very muscular. He also had a ton of ambition…which was something most of the guys I liked seemed to lack. He had his own apartment too and it was extremely clean and clutter free. He owned nice things – new furniture, new truck, etc. This was definitely new for me. And I liked it.
One night at dinner I admitted to him that I was starting to like him as more than a friend. It took awhile for me to say it. I was afraid to ruin our new friendship. I told him I didn’t want it to ruin our friendship and things didn’t have to go anywhere from there. He admitted that he kind of liked me too, but was completely honest with me by saying he wasn’t ready for a relationship anytime soon and there were a few things about me that he wasn’t sure if he would want in a long term partner. This really didn’t bother me. I also felt I wasn’t ready for a relationship, and I wasn’t completely sure about him either. I just knew that part of me had developed a crush because of how easy it was to talk with him.

This was new for me – being ok with not having a status of any kind, just knowing that we like each other and not doing anything about it. An old part of me kept exclaiming, “WTF??” The new part of me thought, “This is nice and relaxing.”

Soon after we admitted we liked each other, my work best friend, Clare, came to visit from L.A. for Thanksgiving. (She recently moved out there after getting married but still works for our company.) Clare is ten years older than me but I swear she is the ten year older version of me. We’ve become very close and I’ve missed her like hell since she moved. I was extremely excited about her visit to say the least. And this my chance to get her opinion on Jay. I had him meet us after work for happy hour at a pub behind my office. He was nice and polite to her and she later said to me, “Wow, unlike all your other guys, he actually fits into society.” Oops. I guess I have kind of sucked at picking guys in the past.

I spent Thanksgiving with Clare and her family. I fit right in with them, especially with Clare and her mom. We have a running joke that Clare is my “mommy” and her mom is my grandma. Sometimes I call them mommy and grandma, and they will call me “little girl.”

Jay and I talked while I was with them, and I planned to meet up with him soon after I got back. He kept teasing me about possibly having sex. We hadn’t done it, or anything besides hold hands. It had been awhile for me and I was getting antsy, especially with the teasing things he would say. I was planning to spend the weekend with him while his daughter was with her mom. This included staying the night.

I arrived back in Dallas on Friday evening but had to spend some obligatory time with my own family.  I was barely able to stick around for two hours before I finally left for Jay's apartment.

What I didn't want

Being single also meant I was able to experience dating again. I decided to try this out first with a boy in Oklahoma named Wes. I had known him for nearly two years and always thought he was a cutie. Our friends had actually introduced us thinking we would make a good match. I was with my ex when they did this though so I just took him on as a friend. Now I had my opportunity to take things a step further. I spent a few weekends in Oklahoma with him just hanging out with him and his friends. For Halloween we all dressed as zombies and took part in a parade.

It was an amazing night. I felt incredibly free running down the street dressed as a zombie. I have to admit - that was one of my most freeing experiences. I didn't care anymore what people thought of me. My ex would have told me it was a waste of time, that I was just being silly, etc. But I was having an amazingly fun time being silly.

I found Wes to be fun. I goofed off with him and his friends for a few weeks. Soon after we first started hanging out, he said something like, “I’ve never fell in love with a girl like I’ve fell in love with you” or “I haven’t fell in love in a long time like I’ve fell in love with you.” And he said, “Love you,” on Saturday when I left. I just smiled and said that I’ve always felt romance with him. And I had. The first night we ever really hung out nearly two years prior we saw shooting stars. I had a bit of a crush on him while I was with my ex, and we had dated for a bit when my ex and I had broke up for two months earlier in the year. (The October breakup was the second and final breakup.)

My friend asked what Wes and I’s status was after this announcement. I didn’t want to talk to him about status at all. I didn’t want to become committed again too soon. I wrote to her, “I want to float around and be calm.”

One night in November Wes and I were at a bar with his friends. He was sharing pitchers of beer with his friends and I was sipping on a bottle of water. He suddenly said, "You're the best girlfriend ever."

I almost choked. "What?" I asked.

"I mean, you’re out with me and my friends at a bar. You're the best," Wes said. He was drunk.

"I didn't realize we were boyfriend-girlfriend," I said. He seemed surprised that I would think this. I went on to say, "You can't assume something like this. It has to be talked about." I soon realized he was too drunk to speak to about this topic. I decided to let it drop until the next day.

The next day I made it clear that we weren't in a relationship. It was a bit funny to me. I had thought before that he would be a great match for me, but here we telling him I wasn't ready for a relationship anytime soon. For a little while I had got it in my head that he could be great for me, probably because he’d been built up in my head for two years of friendship with no dating. Now I could see how he was to date. Red flags were suddenly popping up – his constantly being broke and unable to visit me in Dallas although he made more than he should have been spending, his drunk weekend of assuming I was his girlfriend and saying, “Nice tits!” to several girls we walked by.

I was starting to learn what I didn’t want out of a relationship.

Being myself again

I was now more than ready to have new experiences. I was free. The day after my breakup I drove to Oklahoma for the weekend to see friends and family. I remember blasting "Back in Black" by AC/DC and thinking, "I'm back!!" (And wearing black as favorite color to wear.) It felt amazing to be free. I now enjoyed coming home from work each day. Before that I dreaded going home and even put it off sometimes because I just didn't want to be around him. Now I was free to be myself in my own home. It seems crazy that anyone should ever have to feel that way in their own home.

I only had one night of crying alone in my apartment after the breakup. After that, I became insanely happy with life. I told everyone how great my life was going and how good it felt to be me again. I didn’t quite feel like myself with my ex. I felt like I was always holding back.  My ex always seemed to “judge” me. Everything I liked was “stupid.” Everything I wanted to do was “stupid.” I have an insane passion for travel but he had no interest in it. That tore me up. My friend, Sophie, who I email back and forth with every day, said, “You can do those things with a bf - you just need someone that will help you reach your goals not hold you back. Maybe even share them with you, for example, traveling.”

One day while I was still with him, I even wrote this in an email to her about him, “He just makes me feel so down about life in general. Everyone else makes me feel cheery. It just feels like we don’t have the same passion for life, and he makes me feel glum. I know he’s not trying to, but that’s just how it is. I kind of want someone who has the same zest for life that I do. Because being with someone who doesn’t have a zest for life makes me feel blah. I kind of think I need someone else with zest for life to keep me pumped up.”

I was dropping while with him. I felt it wasn’t possible to have my fairytale version of a relationship. I thought I would just have to be content. But being content isn’t the same as happy or complete.

He made me question my self-worth and made me wonder if my dreams were really that important. He acted like they weren’t and kept emphasizing that I should just be happy with the way things were. I felt so depressed around him for months and basically told myself, “I’m going to remove the stress from my life.” And it worked.

He sent me angry messages for a month after the breakup, but surprisingly, they ended, probably because he wasn’t getting a reaction from me anymore.

Two weeks after the breakup I had Sophie dye my hair red. I’ve had it red in the past and always loved it. I guess I was doing one of the normal after breakup things of changing my looks. It felt and looked good.

I also started attending counseling sessions right before the breakup. I am still attending them now and enjoy them. I love talking to my counselor and I want to grow as a person. I don’t want to make mistakes again. As I said to Sophie in October, “I don’t want another relationship to take this bad route. I want to be a great girlfriend for the next guy and to not put up with crap from him.”

I was also, shocking to me, enjoying my alone time. I’m an only child, so of course I love alone time, but I had been so afraid of “being alone.” But it felt amazing. I could do anything I wanted each day. I had a Saturday to myself in which I just drove around Dallas and tried new boba tea places (my obsession). It felt great. I felt more creative, more alive. I was also starting to realize that I didn’t care too much if I had a man. Sure, I wanted fairytale love, but I didn’t want to try to force things ever again or feel like I needed to change anyone. It doesn’t work and it wears you out emotionally.

Of course, now I was free to at least try dating…

Breaking out

So now you know my situation. I'm going to tell you our story and bring you up to current time, slowly but surely.

I got out of a two year relationship last October. It was a bad relationship. I basically let myself get sucked into something I should have known wasn't good for me. I guess I wanted to be "in love" and I also wanted to help him because he had issues. I should have recognized the red flags. I mean, I knew I had a lot to overcome. I shouldn't have put myself through it. You can't change someone and you shouldn't be forcing yourself to accept that "this is just how a relationship has to be." I wanted to end it for awhile because I definitely felt like my 'soul' was being crushed. I do think my ex is a manipulative asshole, but we are who we are and he and I just weren't right together. I wanted things out of life - to travel the world, to see new things, to have new experiences, no matter how small. He was basically passionless and very pessimistic. It took me a long time to end the relationship. I was afraid of being alone, I suppose. I debated it with friends and family for months. We broke up and got back together. I finally realized that I would rather be alone than be with him, and that there are men out there who I could have a lot more fun with. It took way too long for me to realize this and I annoyed the crap out of a lot of people close to me. They all saw it before I did but I just couldn't. Living is learning, right? We make mistakes and we learn from them. Experience teaches you. Sometimes it feels like I wasted two years. But hopefully it brought me closer to knowing what I really need/want out of a partner.

After that breakup I spent a lot of time with friends. I spent several weekends driving approximately three hours to visit friends and family back in Oklahoma because I just needed it. I had some awesome times with my friends in Oklahoma during those few weeks. It was very memorable. I was finally getting to experience things, enjoy life. My ex also didn't like any of my friends and his two friends lived hours away from him. He never tried to befriend anyone in Dallas in the year that he lived there. He mostly sat at home playing video games and playing online. He didn't work. He didn't go to school.

So I was now overly enthusiastic about being able to experience life again and be with friends who wanted to do those things with me.

Welcome to my relationship

As you can see, my boyfriend is moving. It will be happening in three months. It makes me sick to think about but I accept it. This blog will be an outlet for me to talk about my feelings surrounding him and the move, the challenges of being in a long distance relationship, and to tell our story. I also feel sick typing the term 'long distance relationship.' It scares me.

Why is he moving? Here's his story - he is from the Dallas area (where we both live now) and moved to Washington state in 2005 with a couple of his best friends and a girlfriend. He loved living in Washington. While he was there, he married his girlfriend so she could be on his health insurance. It was just a courthouse wedding, no big deal. He was working on a website with his friends while up there. When the economic crash hit, they felt it. His wife wanted to come back to Dallas for paramedic school. Apparently, it's easier to do in Dallas. He agreed to come back. They divorced a year after he got back, and he immediately wanted to go back to Washington and go to college with his friends. He moved in with his dad instead and kept working, deciding to save up as much money as he could before moving back to Washington. The college he wants to attend is in Seattle and has a special program for his field. He wants to be back in Washington with his best friends and to attend that college.

I have met him in his in between time of working and saving up money for school. As soon as we realized we were truly having feelings for each other, he told me that he would be moving to Washington. I immediately felt let down. I had recently went on a few dates prior in which the guy told me he would be moving to Houston shortly. I was shocked and annoyed that all the guys I was meeting happened to be moving away. It's a very new thing for me. The guys I've dated in the past have been very, how should I say, not ambitious. I cried a little that night after he left. I felt overwhelmed by dating. I had ended a two year relationship a few months prior to that and felt very out of the dating world.

After several more dates, we sat down and had a long talk about his moving. I decided that I still wanted to date him whether he was moving or not. I felt something special with him and I wanted to experience it even if it meant heartbreak. We also talked logically about his moving. I said I would be open to moving up there if our relationship goes well. After all, I have dreams of living all over the world. I don't plan to stay in Dallas forever.

A couple of days after this talk we became a couple. I have never been more content with my life. Now the moving decision is that he will move, we will be long distance, I will visit him, and then make a decision about whether I want to move up there. This will give us enough time as a couple to be more sure of each other and for me to see the area and decide if I do want to live there. Washington sounds wonderful to me, but I will wait to visit it first. If I decide to move there, I will also have to find a way to work at one of my company's offices up there. But we will see what happens. One step at a time. I tend to get ahead of myself sometimes.

I love him and I've never felt like this before. My name is Anne and his name is Chris. Welcome to our relationship.