21st Sept 2022

My day started at 2:30am this when my ‘baddest of them all’ cat decided to stand up to the neighbourhood bully cat. What ensued was an almighty racket, so much so, muffins here was woken up.

I knew exactly what was happening. I opened the bedroom window but nobody came running. The cat crying continued.

I moved downstairs, angered at having been woken up but worried for the cat, because he is most definitely NOT the baddest of them all. No sooner as I creaked the door open, my big ball of floof came barrelling across the floor.

I moved back up to bed and there I lay, eyes wide open until 5:20 when I decided to get up, get ready and go to work. I was in for 6:30 and I finished at 15:45. It’s been a long day. I came home. Checked in on the cat, he’s cut his paw, but he’s eating and insisted on going out to play.

I sorted some bills and paperwork and then at 6pm I went to the gym! I did 30 mins of cardio…didn’t even start sweating until minute 25…I wasn’t going easy either. I think my fitness is finally starting to improve! AT LAST!

I then moved on my strength training routine, and I was working with 7kg instead of 4’s (not because im a hero, other people were using the 4’s, 5’s and 6’s).

I managed the 7kg’s though, so a couple of ‘non-scale victories’ tonight.

Not bad on 4 hours sleep! Note to self, remember this story whenever you feel like ignoring the slip road for the gym because you’re tired, or worked hard, or just lazy….

P.S, I’m not turning this into a fitness blog. However, in the interests of self improvement, recording this story will help me recall it in future.

I Quit

I’ve quit the dating apps. I’ve quit dating.

It’s been a nice change of pace actually. I’ve been very present in life lately, not worrying, not overthinking. I’ve done a lot of travelling, visited some nice places, spent lots of time with my family and had plenty of R&R by putting my feet up on the sofa and bingeing some tv!

I might have mentioned previously that I’ve joined a gym, which I’ve been trying to hit regularly and build a routine. It’s harder to do than people make out, but I’m determined to stick with it and lose a stone by the end of the year. Besides, a bit of discipline in my life wouldn’t hurt.

Elsewhere, work is good. I start a new role on Monday. I’m starting to think I’m married to my work, could work be the love of my life?

My son is growing into an incredible young man. It’s become very clear over this summer than his favourite place is the beach. Once the cost of living returns to normal, I’m gonna make it my mission to take a yearly beach exploring holiday with him. This does require a campervan and that is something I’ll be looking for over the winter.

The house renovations have slowed right down! However, the cooler days will be with us soon enough and the draw of being outside in the warm sunshine will no longer hold true, so I can get back to being handy. I’m desperate to have a new garden for next year, but I really need to finish my kitchen. And set up a wardrobe in my spare room if I’m ever gonna get myself into some routine!

But they all sound like a winter problem too. For now, I’m just focusing on my personal and fitness goals. I’ve no interest in dating this side of the new year. I may get back to it next year, if I can be bothered. My heart really isn’t in it and besides, who can afford to even date ATM? Not me!

That sofa surfing idea doesn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore. Maybe going back to something casual isn’t a bad idea? No dates. No money. Plus, having something casual, would give me a muse for writing and probably help spur me on in the gym!

But whatever does happen in the new year, the apps are banished! Hoorah.

What’s the point?

I’ve always believed there is a higher power, that the universe works in mysterious ways and that Karma is a bitch!

And all of that usually means things happen for a reason. I learn from it and move on.

But what to do when the universe keeps sending you the same message?

Does it mean I still have something to learn?

Last week I scored two tickets to watch the Boxing as part of the Commonwealth games. It was very short notice and so I ended up giving a second ticket to a guy at work. Who just so happens to be an ex from when I was in my late teens. It was a bit surreal, although we had a great day, we reminisced a lot, drank some beers, watched boxing, inhaled some fajitas and found ourselves moonwalking on the dance floor in the middle of a cheesy nightclub before parting our separate ways to go home.

Fast forward 6 days and it is hotter than hell, so I finish work, grab my swim bag and head to the pool (I’ve joined a gym btw, gotta work off the lovers fat I’ve accumulated over the 12-18 months).

Anyway, as I slide in the pool, I hear a familiar voice and look across to see a familiar figure and it is none other than… Football Dad!

He spots me, I wave and he swims over! Cue an hour of catching up while the kids dip and dive under the surface of the water picking up sticks.

Is it just random coincidence that in the same week as I spend a day re-living my youth with an ex, I then bump into an Uber-Crush? Football dad definitely still has a twinkle in eye that I can’t ignore and the man looks FINE in a pair of swim shorts!

Let’s be honest, these things probably mean nothing to the average person! But in a world where nothing is random, and you get what you put into the world, I can’t truly believe that it means nothing and I feel like I’m meant to learn something from these two situations.

I can assure you there have been no affirmations or wishes to invite previous men back into my life. So is this a test? Is this the universe taking bets on whether I really want the love story that I desire or whether I’m willing to fall back into old patterns?

Or should I take both of these situations as a sign?

A sign that I still had something to learn from single life?

Was I meant to figure out more of what I don’t like?

Was I still figuring out what my boundaries look like?

I’m not saying I’m interested in my ex or Football Dad. And running into/spending time with these people again isn’t beyond the realms of possibility when it’s ‘a small world’. But I do think the timing is more than coincidental!

Or maybe I’ve spent too much time watching TV and reading books!

Dating Etiquette

If I agree to meet a guy for a first date, then I politely ask to know their last name (if I haven’t already found it on the internet). This is purely from a safety perspective so I can share the details of who I’m meeting (ya know, the random stranger off t’internet) with a trusted friend.

A guy asked me out on a date today which I accepted but bearing in mind at the point he asked me out, we had only spoken for a few hours and he hadn’t given much away, I asked for two things, a phone call beforehand and his last name (because Google failed me on what I knew so far).

He agreed to the phone call, but was offended I’d asked for his last name. He then told me I was untrusting (errr…but he doesn’t trust me with his last name) and back-handedly stated I didn’t have any self respect.

What a strange week I’m having. First Woody starts laying into me about who I am without an invite. And now this guy telling me I’m untrusting and I have no self-respect. Safe to say the date isn’t happening.

Is this the result of my boundaries I’ve put in place and dropping the people pleaser in me?

Or is it weird and I actually need some therapy? None of my other dates have been weirded out by it. But perhaps they were people pleasers?

I think I need to give up on online dating? It’s no wonder so many women banish them from their phones and vow never to go back!

Have I got Red Flags?

Can a red flag still be a red flag if the red flagger has already flagged it to you?

My best mate is gonna shout at me for asking this question. Because, and I’ll be super honest with you, I’ve taken a teeny bit of Woody’s ‘messay’ (that’s message and essay combined) to heart. Not the bullshit about my mum, nor his suggestion I’m a narcissist, both of those have completely gone over my head as neither of those are things I need to worry about. I mean..do I have narcissistic traits? Sure, but so does everybody.

Anyway, the bit I have taken to heart a little are the red flags that I demonstrate. I know I’m avoidant, which means I keep people at arms length a lot until I can trust them. It has nothing to do with the person I’m on a date with and everything to do with me. I make jokes in situations that make me uncomfortable or I employ sarcasm as a form of passive aggression. I don’t always speak my truth when I should, often leaving it too late and I definitely have a trigger point where casual sex is concerned.

But all of these things I know about and I often warn men about them. Not like laying all my cards out on the table on the first date, but casually highlighting them when they crop up during the course of a conversation.

I’ve done a lot of work on myself over the last couple of years, finding who I am, what I like, what inspires me, what doesn’t, I fear I may have overdone it.

Can you be too introspective?

I’m seriously turned off dating right now thanks to Woody. I suppose that is what narcissists do, they manipulate you into thinking it was your fault and make you feel like the bad guy, that you’re not worth loving or that your version of love is wrong.

I do have red flags. But I know about them and I continue to work on them. My green flags far outweigh the red though.

For now though, I’ll just keep reminding myself that ‘I am worthy of all the love’.

Woody Blocked

Fuck me!

The ego’s of the Menz are easily bruised.

Help a girl out… if a guy wants to be friends and kiss and have sex, but does not want to date? What is that called?

_________________

So when I raised this as an issue for me with Woody, and explained that being friends with benefits was a boundary that I wasn’t prepared to budge on and that we shouldn’t see each other anymore, I got a vitriolic, nasty and downright attacking essay via my WhatsApp!

He attacked my mum and the relationship I have with her, he attacked my independence and my boundary around dating, claiming it to be entitlement.

He then ended his message/essay with ‘I want nothing more to do with you’. I think it helps some men to be the one to say it’s over so they can maintain power.

But my point here is…I knew something was off from day 1. Love bombers are lovely while they are getting what they want. But as you soon as you challenge their view, take away what they want, they tend to turn nasty.

He was cosplaying as a narcissist survivor but turned out to be the narcissist! Again, I knew this from day 1. I don’t know why I won’t listen to my own intuition?! What gives there?

You gotta stay safe out there ladies, close call. Phew!

P.S I can’t screen shot, that’s how long the messages are! 😳

Woody Broke

On our first date, Woody said two things to me that really struck a chord with me. 1. He was looking for somebody to invest mutually and 2. His recent experiences with women were where they only wanted one thing, sex.

They stuck with me for a reason. Because here I was, on a date with a man who clearly wanted the same thing I did, To date. To build. To love. And I fucking fancy him. Win. Win. WIN.

And so our first date turned into a second date where we had breakfast. And then that turned into a third date, a chill out at mine, where neither of us could keep our hands off each other. Which led to a fourth date that involved one of the most epic hikes I have ever done.

4 dates, and I only just met him really. So…things are going good.

Until tonight.

When I accept his offer to chill out the next time we get together, but carefully told him that I want to date and he has to take me somewhere the time after that.

Cue the ‘I’m broke’ text.

He tells me he struggles to choose what to use his fuel for. And he wants to be open and honest and communicate these things.

Fair enough, but an internal alarm bell starts ringing. Look, I’m not the kinda gal who expects any man to run themselves into debt for a date. That’s not investing in anybody. I’m not materialistic. If I want a nice dinner, I can take myself. I can take us both and pay for it. I’m not against that, I paid for the breakfast and forked out all the fuel, water, breakfast, lunch and snacks for the hike, so I’m not at all tight with my money and I wouldn’t ever throw that in somebody’s face, especially when I have invited them. Besides, I can afford it.

But what I do take exception to is when I do put in the effort, provide all those things on a date with a prospective boyfriend, I damn sure expect some equal effort back. And no, I’m not expecting him to fork out for the fuel to complete 300 mile road trips, or breakfasts or dinners. But to put a little bit of thought into something. Dates don’t have to cost a penny. Walks through nice parks. Open Mic nights. Free exhibitions. Local museums. You can literally Google ‘Free Dates’ or ‘events near me’ to find fun, free things to do.

Fuck, just walking round and mooching through charity shops/thrift stores or car boots is enough for me. Nobody has to spend any money. As a date you get to find something funny, or people watch.

The point of a date is to learn more about your partner, to find out who they are, what makes them tick. To see them in different situations and understand if you like them.

How you gonna do that on a sofa in front of a tv?

And so, my very real, very appropriate, very normal boundary on what dating looks like for me, has been met with a wall of silence and an ‘I need to go to bed, I feel run down’ message.

So much for open and honest communication.

I genuinely think that Woody was expecting me to open my door to him, no questions asked.

But shows how much he was listening over those 4 dates, because I’ve worked wayyyy too damn hard on my own, to share my space, my home, my little slice of heaven with somebody who lacks the imagination to Google ‘how to date when I’m broke’.

I felt something was off when I came home after that first date. I felt like maybe I was being love bombed. I felt there was some narcissistic cosplay going on. I’ve really got to start listening to my initial gut.

The End.

Oh wait, I think Woody was expecting something more from me than ‘Ok, good night, sleep well, feel better’. Instincts tell me that he is most likely a love bomber, and love bombers pray on the empathetic and people pleasing nature of good, kind people. But what he has underestimated is the fact my go-to attachment style is avoidant. Not anxious. Not dismissive. Ironically, I actually feel secure with Woody. Hell no would I have bought up my need to date otherwise. I’d have ignored it. Or I’d have been anxiously obsessing over it. This time. I just said it. But because I am avoidant, it is my nature to judge people by actions. Not words.

And on the action front, Woody has failed at the first hurdle.

Shit, the way I word that makes it sound like a test? Oh god, now I’m wondering if this is self-sabotage?! Or is he testing me? Is this his form of self sabotage. Oh man.

Shit, maybe I am the asshole?!

That encore was longer than I intended it to be.

Now it’s the end!

The Little Mermaid

Once upon a time there was a little blonde girl who had dreams of a life filled with adventures and being swept off her feet by Prince Charming.

The blonde hair turned red and the blue eyes turned green, and that little girl grew up to be the fiercely independent, hero of her own story. Many Prince Charmings would come and go, but throughout all of the courtships, romances and attempted woo’s, one thing remained…her love of adventure.

That is how a book on my life would start.

6 years ago, I made a decision that would completely turn my world upside down. Little did I know then just how upside down my world would get.

I often reflect on the decision I made. I have some incredible highs and some very low lows. I’ve often found myself in the depths of my own pity, wondering why I did it, where I went wrong and I hate to admit it, even wishing I hadn’t done it. I have lost people; friends, acquaintances, even some family along the way.

But no matter how low I’ve gotten, even when the despair has engulfed me, a small voice in the back of my head has always told me ‘you wanted this’ and the yearning for a life I want has always held true.

You see, the reason I decided to bail out of a 15 year relationship, with the white picket fence, the trophy boyfriend and an incredibly cute babe in arms is because the picture perfect life people saw me in, was not at all perfect. And selfishly, I wanted more for myself. It’s probably the only time in my life where I have actually put myself first, ahead of everybody and everything, including my son.

I wanted a life I was inspired by. I wanted to be in awe of all the amazing things I can do. I wanted the wind in my hair, to touch the beauty of the landscape where the oceans and mountains meet. I wanted heart throbbing, track-stopping, earth-shaking love in my life. And although my decision was made for me, which many people might consider selfish, especially as I put myself first ahead of my son, it was actually having him come into the world that woke me up to all these wants, needs and dreams. It was the love I felt for that sweet, sweet boy that actually woke me up to how sleepy I had been through life.

And it has taken a lot of time. And energy. And heartaches and soul-searching and digging deep into my own fears and shame. But, after 6 years….6 years, I finally feel like the universe is rewarding me for that, albeit selfish, brave decision.

Because that’s what dreams are made of. Bravery. It takes courage to dream a vision and make it reality. It takes time and commitment and a hell of a lot of messy mistakes to get there.

So, 6 years on, I can tell you that that little blonde girl has a life of adventure and the love of her life, who comes in the form of a 10 year old boy.

Ariel wished for legs. This Saint wished for wings.

Is there room in my life for a man? Absolutely. I’d love to share what I’ve made for myself with somebody equally special. And I know that the love I feel for a man will never compare to that which I feel for my son, but it doesn’t matter if I find somebody special. Because what I have come to realise, and is probably a large part of why I am still single, is that aside from the little boy who calls me Mum, I absolutely love my life. And because it has been such a climb to get here, I’m not prepared to give it up. My love life is simply that. My life.

I still have moments of self-pity that rise up, threatening to take the happiness away, but I absolutely, unequivocally, categorically can tell you that I would not change a single thing!

This may not be the most eloquent post I’ve made, and it’s only mildly related to my car crash of a dating life, but it is relevant. Plus, in the interests of achieving dreams, if I’m ever to write a book, then I need to just write when the feeling takes me.

Have I got the perfect life? Hell no.

But have I got a life I love? Fuck yes!!

Somebody’s Poisoned the Watering Hole

Let me tell you about Woody then.

When was the last time you met somebody who can match you on an intellectual level? Somebody who can get all of your hormones raging with just a few words, or a smile? Somebody who can make you feel so understood, that all your other relationships pale into insignificance? Somebody who gives you a pulse-racing, heart filling, heady kind of connection?

Never?

No me neither. So in true Saint style, I’m suspicious of the whole damn thing, because it feels too good to be true and well, when it’s like that, it usually it is.

Woody has his nickname simply based on his surname, which is wood related.

Just so you know how much trouble I’m already in, I like him like I liked Mr Big, just without the 7 year itch! You can recap all that here.

I have a ‘no tongues’ rule for a first date, which went straight out of the window within the first 5 minutes, which was as a result of a very charming tactic he devised at a ‘no fishing’ sign.

We were chatting and giggling straight off the bat, except for the few moments we stopped to play lovers tennis.

We had a little walk around the lake before we headed to a local pub, where the conversation continued, laughing and joking. We ended up eating and drinking, he paid for the whole thing. Once we left, he parked himself against my car, drew me in and we ended up snogging like a couple of teenagers on the car park. By the end of which, I could probably have given him the nickname Woody for other reasons.

So for a gal who does not care for public displays of affection, my inhibitions and rules went completely out of the window.

I was spellbound for the entire night.

But I wasn’t totally oblivious to everything, I kept some semblance of reality because I’ve grown all too weary of men and their clever ways.

And whilst I drove home with what can only be described as a grin bigger than the Cheshire Cat, something in the back of my mind started to raise some questions. Either because I’m not used to this kind of connection so I’m overthinking it, or because there is a larger, unseen issue at play.

He complimented me. A LOT. Almost too much.

He got very deep with some of his feelings, and his past, about what he’s been through and how he’s overcome it all with therapy. I spewed (nearly) my entire life story to him too.

He really emphasised my compassionate and empathetic nature. Like really emphasised it.

He was constantly trying to touch me, nothing sexual, just holding hands, rubbing my arm. At one point, he told me he liked my skin. I like touch as much as the next girl, just not constantly. And I’m pretty sure people who like skin turn out to be cannibals. But I was also very touchy/feely, trying to be close to him.

I broke my rules, which means I’ve already shown that my boundaries can be pushed. Big no-no!

And the compliments, and how he feels about me have not stopped, nor has the initial desire I felt.

I’m having to really apply the brake pedal to keep things from moving too quickly. His pace and my pace are a little out of sync, with him seemingly moving faster than me.

But is that because I’m me? And avoidant? He’s the hare and I’m the tortoise, preferring the slowly does it method?

Have we heard of the term love-bombing? I’m getting the sense that this is what is happening. However, Boyfriend no.3 was a complete softy and in hindsight, the only reason I didn’t become a love sick puppy for him, was because I wasn’t attracted to him.

But here, I don’t have that problem. Or it’s probably more accurate to say that I do.

I fancy the fucking pants off him, my imagination for all things sexy has seriously gone wild, and it’s gonna take all of my willpower to tamp down the little voice in my head (or panties rather) that says bang him. Skirts and dresses are gonna have to stay in the wardrobe. At least if my willpower fails, the awkward and fumbly nature of jeans and belts can be my saving grace.

But here’s the thing. I really do want to give in to all that I’m feeling. I want to jump his bones. I want to talk and laugh and cuddle with him until the sun comes up. I want to live without abandon and trust that this is not some form of unhealthy, toxic, codependency crap that people talk about. But you only have to Google ‘Intense Attraction’ to find out that the overriding advice is to walk away. Infatuation is NOT a sign of health.

So here I am, wondering if I’ve met a genuine person, with whom I could enjoy spending time with, who I could get to know and eventually, grow to love.

Or, do I need to look more closely at the excitement I feel? Is it true, and valid? Have I really met somebody who happens to set my soul on fire? Or is that fire actually just Black Magic…an infatuated, dysfunctional poison coursing through my veins?

We’ve all seen The Tindler Swindler and the thought of being duped would be a greater blow to my ego than I could probably handle right now.

I would love to know your experiences. How do I know if the compliments and intense desire is just the result of a sensitive, forward and honest man, or if they are the ingredients for a love-bomb in the making?