Monthly Archives: December 2011

On a roll: B6 second date and meet B7

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My darling daughter has been out of town for the past week scuba diving in Mexico with her father.  I was planning to take some time to relax, work on my end of the year accounting and generally chill but failed miserably.  Instead I began the time of being single without the mom part attached by going to dinner and a show with B4.  It was a perfectly fine evening but somehow I found myself getting inexplicably irritated about 3/4 of the way through.   He is really nice but might be a bit to eager to “be right for me” rather than just be himself.  Anyway dinner was delish, he is great at choosing restaurants.

On Friday and Saturday night I performed in a charity benefit and on Sunday made my way to DC to visit a dear woman friend and meet up with B7, someone I grew up with and with whom I recently connected.  We spent two fun filled days in DC (separate hotel rooms and no hanky panky- seriously).  He is financially secure, sarcastically funny, a professional and is very accommodating.  We went to the Shakespeare Theatre to see “Much Ado About Nothing” (which was fantastic), out to 1789 for dinner, The Four Seasons for a glass of bubbles, the next day went for a long walk, saw some art, skated on the mall, dined at Martins (wonderful oyster stew) and had our Tarot cards read.  It was a fun way to get to know each other.  He definitely shows care for what I care about but I am unsure if the communication piece is truly there and I am a little concerned about the role of alcohol in his life. He is also technically still married which makes me very uncomfortable at this time though I have made it clear that we can only be friends without benefits until a signed separation agreement is produced and if it is appropriate for me at that time to change that status.

Wednesday I had lunch (second date) with B6.  I was very tired as I had little sleep on Tuesday night but he was lovely.  I really like his even keeled manner and the way he talks about his two children (he has a son and a daughter, both in their 20’s).  He also is involved in some major community service. This man intrigues me because he is clear in his communication (so far), and complex.  He has a strong spiritual side that is compatible with my beliefs but is perhaps a bit conservative while being quite tolerant of other’s opinions.  He is refreshingly sane and seems comfortable in his own skin. He is also athletic and supports the arts.

B6 has since invited me to a UVA basketball game but I was unavailable. He has mentioned a desire to get together next week.

Stay or go?

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Oh Great Dating Brain Trust.  I call on you to help me make a decision regarding B4.  A wee ago we scheduled a night when he could come over and cook dinner for my daughter and I because he likes to cook and his kitchen is being worked on so he has missed cooking.  This would have been a good opportunity to see how he interacts with my daughter as well as a demonstration of his supposed culinary talent.

He called about an hour before he was to arrive to say that he might need to push the dinner back a bit because the contractors who were working on his roof were not finished for the day and they were at a critical point that had to be completed before they could leave.  He asked if he could come later and we agreed that dinner could be as late as 8:30pm.  He also said that if it looked like he would be late he would order take out for us and still come. At 7:15pm he called to say the roofers had just finished and he was exhausted and that he wanted to cancel.  He apologized and asked if I would be available to have dinner with him and some friends tomorrow night – a date which I told him last week I could not make.

What do you think?  Should I see him again or can him?

The Right Stuff

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While visiting my mom over the holidays, I picked up the February 2012 issue of Psychology Today and read an article titled “Are You With The Right Mate?” by Rebecca Webber.  What struck me as particularly interesting was the theory behind this article that much of what makes a long term relationship successful and satisfying is not compatibility but rather by having certain qualities, the absence of addiction and abuse, coupled with a willingness to self-asses and grow plus a genuine interest in putting forth the effort.  This article gave me some insight on why my previous relationships failed and what I should really be looking for in a future mate (in addition to some insight on what I need to work on myself). My friend, Dr. Leticia Flores sums this up as, “Finding a person with compatible neurosis.” (She is very smart.)

The first step is to understand that another person lacks the power to make us happy.  We are responsible for our own happiness in spite of other people.  According to the article everyone reaches a point of disillusionment in a relationship which is the ending of the ever so wonderful infatuation phase- that heady fun beginning part of love or as I like to call it, natures intoxicating trick to induce procreation. Often at this transition point, one sort of “wakes up” and thinks “Oh my gosh! Did I really choose this person? They are totally wrong for me!  AGGGHHHH!”. According to Christine Meinecke, a clinical psychologist from Des Moines, this is the point where we Americans typically blame our partner for our unhappiness but in reality it is a sign for us to work on ourselves.

I really enjoyed reading that because after 30 or so propositions from married men (It happens approximately once per month- seriously- and usually over a business related lunch predicated by the words, “My wife just doesn’t understand me.” – fodder for an upcoming blog) I have come up with the pat response, “That is very flattering but you may get a more satisfying experience by engaging a therapist and working on yourself.”  In other words- I already understand this concept that it really isn’t about the other person it is about being responsible for yourself.

This disillusion is necessary, however for the real relationship to have a chance to grow.  So rather than a panic moment , it is a good thing.  It is an invitation to examine our needs, our fantasies about relationships and how we might contribute to the relationship to make it better and more satisfying for ourselves and our partners.

So long term committed relationships are not about finding the right person but more about becoming the right person.  The trick is finding someone who has the right stuff to work on a relationship with you.

According to the article the characteristics to look for in a potential mate are:

  1. A sense of humor
  2. An even temper
  3. A willingness to overlook your flaws
  4. A sensitivity to you and what you care about
  5. An ability to express caring

All of those with the exception of number 3 you can figure out through dating. That initial rose colored glasses phase of attraction may prevent one from seeing the potential mates flaws clearly so I guess this is where knowing yourself and your bottom line limits comes in handy.

UCLA psychologist Thomas Bradbury says that a willingness of both partners to be open and vulnerable; to listen and care about each other is what makes people the right mates for one another.

Traits that impede relationships include:

  1. chronic lying
  2. chronic worrying or neuroticism
  3. emotional overactivity
  4. proneness to anger
  5. a propensity to harbor grudges
  6. low self-esteem
  7. poor impulse control
  8. a tendency towards aggression
  9. self-orientation rather than an other-orientation
I fail to understand the meaning of several of these danger signs but am determined to learn what they mean and which ones I need to overcome within myself in order to be the best option I can be for relationship success.

Addicts, gamblers and serial cheaters are all in the “bad choice” category.  I have been down the addict road and know for sure that that is impossible.

So the best chance one has for a fulfilling, committed, long-term relationship is to know yourself and be willing to express your needs and expose your inner life to your partner.  In this way we create a sense of connection and expand our capacity for intimacy.

If anyone cares to expand on the definition of 3,7 an 9 from the “things that make a relationship not work list” feel free.

 

An option

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Apparently Santa has come early for this good girl (who knew?).  A friend virtually introduced me to B6, a successful entrepreneur, established in his business, lives near Charlottesville, is athletic, enjoys UVA sports,has a pleasant demeanor and a good sense of humor in his early to mid 50’s, his youngest child is in college and he seems completely sane (a huge bonus after B5 and other pre-DBT dates).

 

We met for coffee and had a nice hour long chat, shook hands (no ambush kisses attempted). He emailed later to ask if I would like to have lunch the following week. I really liked the lack of pressure either physical or emotional.  Several first dates I have been on closed with an awkward question of “Would you like to get together again?” and I feel put on the spot.  No red flags at this moment.

 

Will keep you posted on lunch.

B#5

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Remember B#5?

The man I met for coffee who waxed poetic about all of his relationships, tried to kiss me when I deposited him at the parking lot, called me twice the next day then texted at 7:20am on Sunday morning and when I told him I was uninterested in a romantic involvement he said I presumed too much then went into a monolog about all the things that were wrong with me that he had determined in the two whole hours he spent with me two days prior then asked if I wanted to get together or not and when I said it would be ok if we could meet on a professional level and he said no he was only interested in getting together if there was a possibility of a romance? Well, yesterday he texted me a book recommendation.  I was truly surprised because I thought he had made it very clear that he was only interested in having contact if there was a chance for love.  So I decided that before I responded I should investigate the book in case there was some spiteful element to the suggestion.  This morning I received another text from B#5 saying, “Sent u a recommendation yesterday.  Might have been nice if u had acknowledged it.”

 

So what do you think DBT?

match.com D#3: Part 2- things start to get weird

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We decide to walk down to 219, a New Orleans style restaurant closer to the Potomac.  An Old Towne icon, a classic choice and relatively uninspiring for a foodie. As we start down King Street every restauranteur on the way calls out to this guy.  He knows everybody or maybe I should say everybody knows him.  Apparently this thing about him loving to cook is bull sh–t.  I learn that he eats out every meal except Sunday breakfast that he prepares with his son.  Hmmmm that part of his profile was completely misleading. What else did he lie about?

We get down to 219 and of course, the doorman, the busboys, the hostess, the manager all know him.  He doesn’t ask he just walks up the stairs towards the club/bar area and announces we will be eating up there in the empty bar with only a bartender for company.  It is odd to be alone but he claims it is better for talking and getting to know each other.  He orders the first of four martinis for himself as I nurse a glass of wine with dinner.  We are talking but he seems to be more interested in himself than me.  Half-way through his third martini, and in the middle of my sharing something about myself, he blurts out, “Are you passionate about anything?”. I am stunned.  I have been accused of many things in my life but lacking passion is far from one of them.  In fact, most people would describe me as quite sensual and full of life and passion.  Without a hint of irony I ask for clarification. “Excuse me?,” I say.  He repeats, “Are you passionate about anything?”  “Well yes,” I respond.  “I am passionate about many things.”  He looks puzzled for a second then says, “Because I am getting that you are a bit cold.” “Really?” I declare a bit shocked.  “ Are you passionate in bed?” he retorts.  I am no shrinking violet and another woman, perhaps a smarter one would have walked out right then but I grew up in a society where you were taught to be polite no matter what so I sat there a bit stunned and wondered where this conversation would possibly go next. I also have the fault of defaulting to answer any question asked of me. I answered with, “My ex-husband would say I am.” Not the best choice of an answer, I am sure but what came next was priceless.

D#3 sits back in his chair, martini number 3 or 4 in his hand, cocks his head and says, “Let me tell you what I am looking for in a woman.”  I am all ears at this point and he continues, “I want a beautiful woman who looks good in clothes to go with me places and to events. Who talks about the things I want to talk about and is passionate.  In exchange for this,” (break here just for a moment… he actually used the word ‘exchange’ which now makes this conversation a business offer rather than a romance)..”In exchange for this, you (now it is me and not just any woman) will travel first class, I will pay for your clothes and the first place I want to take you is the Four Seasons in Costa Rica for two weeks in October (it is now August).”

Rather than being speechless I pipe up with something like, “Thank you for being honest. It is so refreshing.” and then note that it is close to the time to go.  He walks me up the street towards my car and stops at a window of a shoe store.  Peering gleefully through the glass he invites me to come in with him.  He used to work in the shoe business he explains and he would like to take a look.  Again, I probably should have bolted right then but hey, I am a woman and it is a shoe store.  I have had a couple of glasses of wine, I have lost all sense.  We go in.  I grab some boxes of shoes and go to the back of the store to try them on.

As I happily slip on different pairs, he is selecting some styles for me to try.  He produces a cute pair of low pumps and unthinking I slide them on my feet and start to walk up the the short slanted shoe mirror at the front of the store.  As I walk away from the back of the store, where D#3 is seated, he says in a low toned voice, “Walk a little slower, sweetie.”  Suddenly, I get it.  This guy has a shoe fetish.  I turn around to see his ear-to-ear Cheshire Cat grin as he grabs his crotch.  He begins to sink down to the ottoman next to my recently vacated seat saying, “Oh I’ve gotta sit down!”  He has a hard on in the shoe store! OMG!!!

My fuddled brain tries to make sense of the situation.  All I can think is that I am wearing the store’s shoes and my purse is in the back of the store next to psycho man.  I cannot run out the front door. So I muster up all my acting talent and walk back to my spot to change shoes and run out.  He deftly swoops down and snaps up the shoe box and pays for the shoes before I can stand up.  Shoving the bag in my hand he says, “You look so hot in those shoes, baby.  I want you to wear them the next time I see you.”

He’s got his arm around me like he owns me as we walk across the street to my car.  Without a word the plants a sloppy kiss on my lips and storms off with his hands shoved in his pockets.  I am truly baffled.

Nervous and shaken, I drive with conviction the 100 miles home hoping he is embarrassed and will never contact me again.  The next two days pass without any word.  Then the third day I get a text, ” How is your day going?”  I text back, “Thank you for the evening.  I am looking for something else in a relationship.  Good luck finding your match.”

He retorts with 5 successive nasty, berating texts.

I know I have made the right decision in not even speaking to this guy on the phone to dump him.

 

 

 

 

Blip : meet B#5

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It has been a busy week.  Six play reviewed in eight days, 4 parties in the last two days and three meals “out” and two dates – a second date with B#3 and a first date with B#5 (need to fill you in).  Haven’t heard anything from B#4 this week though I left him a “thank you” voice mail and sent him a copy of the review I wrote of the play we say last Sunday afternoon.  This is the way he is a probably has something to do with why things never got off the ground with him years ago.

Second date with B#3 went fine but I got grouchy and irritated towards the end of the evening.  Dinner was great and the show was fantastic but I found myself getting a little irritated with him for no particular reason.  I am sensing something about him that I don’t like but I am also concerned that it is just because he is a nice guy and I am fairly un-used to that.  He invited my daughter and I out to his farm this morning to cut a Christmas tree (a very sweet gesture- he seemed eager to solve my Christmas tree dilemma which was I was uncomfortable paying for one but thought I should have one this year to add a feeling of festiveness to the cabin) and he was perfectly delightful and kind of cute in everyday clothes.  We saw him later another event to which he had invited us.  Since the invitation included anyone else we’d like to bring my friend F came and his beautiful lady friend.  The lady friend and B#3 had briefly dated about a year ago so that added an interesting dynamic to the afternoon.

Now I will introduce you to B#5:  This man is accomplished in his field, my middle sister’s age (older than me), well-off, children off to college, divorced twice and articulate. The photo I found of him showed a good-looking man, athletic and distinguished. A friend gave us both contact information and we had two delightful conversations then decided to meet for coffee. In real life he was at least 40 lbs heavier than his photo which took me off guard. I enjoyed the conversation but at the end of a 2.5 hour introduction he went for the ambush kiss when we were saying good bye.  I HATE that.  There was no indication on my part that a kiss would be appropriate and I had to dodge his mouth and kiss his cheek- ACK!  I was totally drained after that and just felt something amiss.

He called twice the next day and texted at 7:20am on the next morning (a Sunday).  When I finally called him to let him know that I had thought about it and didn’t want to pursue contact under the auspices of an eventual romantic attachment he said I had presumed too much, proceeded to tell me all the things that were wrong with me and then asked me if I wanted to get together with him after all.  I said it would be nice to meet under professional mentoring circumstances and he did a 180 and said that he only had time for relationships that had the possibility of romance.  WHATEVER, Mr. Presumptuous!  I felt great after hanging up.  I knew I had just spared us both from the agony of each other’s company.

Now that my daughter is home for the next four days before she leaves on vacation with her Dad, things should slow down a bit. And frankly I am ready for a rest.

Second date B#2

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OK, There is a lot going on.  When it rains it pours, right?  So you all know about the wonderful time I had with B#3 on Saturday night.  We are going to see another show tomorrow night and I am truly looking forward to it because he is taking me to one of my favorite restaurants in Staunton for dinner before the show at the Blackfriars Theatre at American Shakespeare Center.

Last night I went to see a show (this is what happens when you are a theatre critic, you see a lot of plays) with B#2.  It was a nice evening but he started out the conversation telling how he isn’t ready for a relationship.  That’s cool because we make good friends and there is a deal breaker issue at hand already, his ex-wife.  Ex-wife of B#2 is someone I knew before they got married and I am uninterested in reconnecting with her ever again for any reason.  They have three children which means, if involved seriously with him there would be interaction with her.  Sorry guys, he’s really nice and great to talk with and the children sound lovely but…. I am taking him out of the running.

So here I will introduce B#4 (told you things are jumping).  He is a little younger, someone I knew before I was married to H#2 (husband #2) and spent quite a bit of time with.  He is from an old Virginia family and is a gentleman farmer.  He is politically conservative but has a surprisingly similar spiritual belief to mine, likes art and the theatre, travels quite a bit and  likes sometimes to buy me expensive gifts just because- no strings attached, really. He is sweet natured and appeals to the traditional side of me.  Never married and no kids that I know of.

We went to the theatre on Sunday afternoon.  He took me out for brunch beforehand at a fantastic resort near my house.  He made sure we had a table with a spectacular view and we had such a nice time chatting and catching up that we were late for the play.  Upon return to the resort (to pick up my car) we stopped into the bar and had a glass of wine by the fire.  He was thoughtful and attentive and made me feel just wonderful.

Will provide a full report on second date with B#3 soon.

First Date B#3

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A marathon date Saturday night with B#3 was lots of fun but maybe a tad too long. I do not recommend seven hour first dates because they can prove to be awkward if you learn all you want to learn about a new person in a short period of time then you have several agonizing hours to pass before you can part company but I had promised my friend D that I would help her set up for her husband’s birthday party at a local winery  at around 6:00pm.  I was planning to nosh there before the 10:00pm play that I was reviewing so I invited B#3 to come along without thinking about how many hours that would be.  But it worked out because I learned two important things: 1) How this guy would do at a social event – something important in my world because Mr. Right for Me will be constantly attending galas, openings and charity events and he has to be able to hold his own without me babysitting or feeling “left out”.  2) If there was enough there to sustain conversation through a long stretch of time.

I must say, B#3 did a splendid job  balancing chatting up other party guests and spending time with me affording me the op  do my own chatting up of guests and still feel like I was “with” someone.  He is a really interesting, intelligent man and we managed to stay engaged in conversation throughout the night.  Fairly impressive.

Other things I learned:  He lives on a 75 acre farm, he LOVES this area and likes to be out in the country but also enjoys traveling, he is part owner of several businesses all over the country, he fosters dogs (there are currently 5 at his house right now and they have free run of the house), he also has a few pet cats, there are horses on his property but they are not his, he ADORES tomatoes, he was previously in a ten year relationship with a woman – that ended 3 years ago but they remain friends.

He came to my house and picked me up and we drove out to the winery which is about 35 minutes away.  He drove responsibly and asked interesting questions and provided interesting answers to my questions. He fit right in with the party crowd and seemed to have a great time.  We had decided ahead of time that we might go out to eat to sort of break up the evening so we left the party after a couple of hours making a grand exit by performing the “Time Warp” in a group karaoke number.  Not every man is able to pull that off, folks.  And those of you who have known me for a long time understand how truly meaningful it is to meet a guy who can rock some Rocky Horror Picture Show tunes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B#3 is into food so he took me to one of his favorite restaurants for dinner, a nice Italian/Spanish place downtown.  He ordered a fabulous shrimp appetizer and all the waitstaff and owner fawned over him.  But he completely lacks pretense so the attention was pleasant but not intrusive.  Sadly, there  were no chocolate desserts to be had to top off my yummy piyaya dinner so dessert less we hoofed it over to the theatre where he purchased an orange peel and dark chocolate bar to share – add points.

The show, DIRTY BARBIE, is an original one woman wonder about growing up in the south in the late ’70’s, ’80’s and early ’90’s. It is full of secret girl stuff which might have offended a certain type of man but B#3 thoroughly enjoyed it and we had a lively discussion about it on the way home.

 

 

 

 

Only possible red flag (and this is minor): dogs allowed on the furniture including the bed.

 

 

 

 

 

Things I like most about him:  He has a vibrant, positive energy, he is articulate and possess a good sense of fun.  He is interesting and seems interested.  He seems really stable.

It was a lovely evening and I am planning to have a second date with him this Thursday – another dinner and another play.

Will keep you posted.

 

 

Surprise Date

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Yesterday, I was finishing up edits on a story for VIRGINIA LIVING and thought about meeting B#3.  There are two things coming up that I thought he might enjoy so I decided to send him an email just letting him know about them and that I thought it was too bad that he would miss them.  He emailed right back and told me he just happened to be in town for a few days between his December travels so I invited him to join me for a play tonight and he said “yes”. Yippy!  He also sent me an invitation for a dinner he and a friend are hosting for a local Culinary group  for next weekend.

I haven’t given the usual first date elements any thought but I do have a mini day-of -beauty planned today following the completion of this blog post.  I will be coloring my roots myself for the first time today (probably unwise but I am feeling brave), showering (always a good idea) having a nice walk and taking a nap as we will be out late.  I am taking him to the Birthday celebration of a friend (it is a big party of 50 to 60 people) then to a late showing of a one woman play at 10:00pm.

What to wear?  Temperatures will be dropping into the thirties by the time the show starts so I will need something warm.  I feel that the full length mink is too much for a first date so whatever I choose will have to work with my long black Steve and Searl wool coat. I also want to avoid repeating my outfit from last night and a dress is pretty much out, I think because of the weather and it is not opening night plus I hate wearing tights or panty hose to the theatre – it is just uncomfortable to me.  Well then again, I could wear my grey light wool skirt with a medium length grey cashmere sweater with tights and boots and that would look nice without begin too dressy and feminine without being overtly sexy while justifying the long coat.  Got it!

OK.  Full report tomorrow.