Men are like Buses

Is it any coincidence that in the week that I start online dating, suddenly every male friend I have in my life wants more? Can they see or just sense my dating aura has turned from red to green?

Or is it purely that I’m just open to a conversation now rather than ignoring people in my attempt to be more date ready?

Funny, huh?

Except FD *rolls eyes*

Reminds me of a poem by Wendy Cope:

Roaring 20’s, Boring 20’s…

My last major walk was on 14th December. That is over 2 weeks ago. It’s been a weird couple of weeks as I haven’t really had the motivation over Christmas, with school being out, working, planning for the big day etc, I’ve found it difficult to find the time. But the problem is I’m now in a slump. I have a whole morning to myself today where I would use this time to get some fresh air and get my heart pumping the red life force through me. But meh. Can’t be bothered. I’m doing a days walking tomorrow so might as well stay in bed where it’s warm right?

I also haven’t had football, and with my county going into tier 4 today, that might not continue either so this definitely feels like a lockdown again despite what the politicians, scientists and law makers say. Tier 4 is a polite way of saying ‘stop fucking mixing you imbeciles’!

And I’m annoyed because I have to go to work. I’m in a frontline industry, working for the emergency services. I don’t get the offer of being furloughed, I don’t have the benefit of working from home and therefore saving fuel. Throughout the last lockdown my son still had to go to school but he didn’t get any of the ‘home-schooling’ work at school because it wasn’t fair on the kids at home and so I’d be doing it after a gruelling day of working and it felt punishing at times. Eventually I just gave up, he’s a smart kid, he’ll pick it back up! The key workers amongst us are facing the COVID fight front on and the best we can get is a clap and a pay freeze. Yay! All because there’s no money in the public purse because our inept Tory government flounders it on crappy apps and PPE contracts to their ‘mates’. (Urgh, politics, I digress).

And I know I should be grateful to still have a job and an income and I am grateful, but it’s hard to maintain that positive gratitude when I see people around me only benefitting from this pandemic both financially and emotionally by being at home with their families.

It’s ironic that I feel like someone who is hard done by though. Because the truth is, sitting at home, working from home, not having the company of my colleagues some of whom are very good friends, means I’d be miserable and more miserable. And so in that sense, because 2020 has been a shitty year in so many ways, I’m glad that my life hasn’t been changed dramatically. It was hard enough adapting to the outside world regulations without having to adapt and overcome at home too!

But I’m really fed up now. And I’m not sure why….If the world opened up again, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even do anything, I might go out and celebrate the end of the pandemic once, but that would be it. I’m not convinced in myself I’d even go and make up for all the lost time with friends and family.

So why am I fed up? Am I bored? Is it the post – Christmas blues? Has the loneliness of singledom finally set in? Am I not fulfilled enough in my job? Do I have some strife in my life that I just can’t resolve?

Typically, I am the kind of person who just goes with the flow, never really making plans, always last minute. It frustrates people and after this year I suppose I’ve lost a bit of purpose myself. Or perhaps I just need new purpose? My 2020 Mind, Body, Soul resolution worked so well and as it is the time of year to make a resolution for 2021, I think I’ll make some new goals. After all, having goals and something to work towards is a challenge and making progress and achieving great things is what makes life exciting. So… goals to realise for 2021 are set out below.

Realisations.

New Years Realisations!!

1) Read a minimum of 12 books (once a month, not hard)

2) Write 500 words before bed every evening (except Sundays. And Mondays. And Wednesdays). Ok fine, 500 words twice per week.

3) Continue spiritual and personal growth to feed the soul by connecting more with friends and family.

4) Feed my need to know things; continue to explore the world and how to help it through documentaries, news articles, published papers etc and look into taking a new class in Human Factors and Cognitive Bias.

5) Hike once a month with a 5km minimum walk once a week (checking off 100 greatest walks of GB). Those glutes will thank you babe (and so will he).

6) Finish all the small little jobs left to do in the house. Renovation is a pain but so rewarding when the job is finally done. (Plus, do you want to be embarrassed??!)

7) Chores are for rainy days. (Seriously, if the sun is shining, get your butt outside!)

8) Keep a diary to keep me honest with my realisations and create a vision board to see it all.

9) Reduce screen time by 50% (Hahahahaha).

10) Continue to focus on nutrition and overall body health.

So there you have it, my 10 Goals for 2021. Some are totally achievable, others never gonna happen but I strive for the best. In fact, I may not achieve any of them in 2021. I certainly doubt I’ll be consistent with them, but at least it’s all written down, I already have the whole of January planned out in my diary!

And of course there is always the hope that having these goals will naturally lead me into a path of love because I am ready for it. Every crazy, neurotic, anxiety filled, stubborn inch of me is ready for love in my life!

Do you make New Years resolutions or yearly goals? Or like me, do you normally just face whatever the year brings? Perhaps you are you new to setting goals for yourself and finding it hard to keep yourself accountable? Let me know, I’d love to hear your stories.

Being vulnerable…

When it comes to dating, I’m starting to learn that being vulnerable is an aspect that is required. Non-negotiable.

For the longest time I would retort to that with anything along these lines ‘I’m not vulnerable, I don’t need anybody, I’m self-sufficient, what’s a man gonna do that I can’t?’ ….etc etc etc.

But the truth is, being female, which has long been termed as the weaker sex, means that from an evolutionary perspective, men need to feel needed. They need to feel like a man. They want to provide. They want to be our ‘hero’.

And I have absolutely no way of figuring out how to adapt my mindset. I often respond to questions about my love life with ‘I’m too content being on my own’ or ‘I don’t see how I can find time for someone’ or ‘I value the freedom that comes with the single life’ which are true enough but there’s a bigger more vulnerable truth behind them:

Because being content and alone is better than potential heartbreak’

Because giving up my time means I have truly found someone special (who could break my heart)’

Because being tied down with someone is scary and risky and my freedom is my protection’

All the above underlined with ‘ultimately, Im just not worthy of love’ which my brain and heart know isn’t true but my past experience’s have taught me.

And it’s these past experiences that have taught me that being vulnerable is why things didn’t work out. Being needy is unattractive. Wanting passion and desire was too much. A simple life is what it’s all about and needing to be challenged and wanting a partner to mentally spa with made me high maintenance. And so I stopped being vulnerable.

But on reflection, when I have met these partners I was vulnerable. I met SD when I was 16 and needed somebody to love me because I didn’t feel it from anywhere else. When I met the Captain, I needed somebody to love me and infuse me with passion because I didn’t feel it from anywhere else. When I met my last boyfriend, I was so low I felt I had lost everything and needed somebody to love me because I didn’t feel it from anywhere else, not even myself.

There is a theme here that when I meet somebody it’s because I need to feel loved, which in itself is being vulnerable. Problem right now is I have an abundance of love in my life and so I don’t need a man to love me, I love myself, I have the love of my friends and family and maybe that is a vibe I am giving off and despite what all the I’ve doctors, magazines, podcasts claim about how you must love yourself first, maybe I should seek to love myself less. Or perhaps I’ve missed the point and loving myself is about giving me the confidence to say what I feel without fear of being rejected because I know I’ll be OK if I am?

So instead of saying:

‘I’m content on my own’ I should start saying I’d love to meet somebody who is independent as I am but who also want a connection. I want to find love. But if I don’t, it’s ok as I am fulfilled in so many ways’

I don’t see how I can find time for someone’ I should start saying ‘I have all the time in the world for someone special who invests in me as much as I do them’

I value the freedom that comes with the single life ‘it’s risky and scary lowering your guard and letting someone else in, but that’s the whole point of finding love. Nothing comes easy’

And by being vulnerable you show you are emotionally strong and in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Women are sensuous and emotional and despite what has come to pass over the course of evolution, that is what makes us the stronger sex. (Even if we aren’t yet still represented in such a way by society). And perhaps because men don’t have the emotional strength, they need us to be that way to make themselves strong and powerful? The physical vs the emotional.

So, is showing vulnerability to a potential mate a form of confidence and self acceptance? Knowing that you have emotions and you don’t care because that’s how you are made is exactly what is needed. Being feminine and soft is really going to take a major break-through for me, it doesn’t come naturally. But if I’m ready to love someone, and they happen to come along in 2021 then I need to at least be open to the idea rather than completely closed off because vulnerability leads to intimacy.

Brene Brown said ‘’Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Mind, Body. Soul

My New Years resolution for 2020 was to improve myself. I wanted to get fitter. I wanted to practice mindfulness more and I wanted to take care of myself more. I wanted to find healthy outlets for my frustrations. I wanted to start showing up for myself and become the best version of me that I can. At the start of the year I only stated this aloud to myself because there’s always that niggling doubt that I won’t achieve what I set out to do. Which is scary. I also knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix and it would take some effort, pushing myself to do small things until they become habit and I wasn’t sure whether other people would give me the patience I needed, but it is nearly Christmas and as such nearly 2021 so now seemed as good a time as any to reflect.

I started working on my body as this was the easiest place to start. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the way I looked, a little too podgy in places, but instead of focusing on that, I wanted to celebrate what it could do. It keeps me moving. I have all working parts. I’m eternally grateful for the health of my body. I wanted to reward my body for all the hard work it does for me. I also wanted to focus on the amazing parts of me, my lovely thick long red hair and my big green eyes. My long legs. My athletic body shape. So what if I’m a bit podgy in places, that podge makes for a soft pillow when I’m cuddling my son, which he tells me often. And so slowly over the course of a few months, my mindset switched from fault finding to ‘you are fab’ I started rewarding my body with massages to straighten it out and dedicated a ‘me’ day where my body didn’t have to work so hard…sofa/duvet day with films/documentaries/tv shows/music/reading. On these same days I’d eat whatever took my fancy, whatever my body craves on that day and I’d end it with a hot bubble bath with candles for a job well done all week.

Then lock down hit. And the massages had to stop. I was still working hard as a key worker & felt a lot of pressure and stress, but I didn’t stop the Body process. I continued with the sofa days and the bubble baths and the binge TV, music, guilt free eating.

I found the beginning of lockdown fairly easy, but as the weeks turned into months I felt myself spiralling. And that’s when I realised I needed to do something about the mind. And so I started blogging again. This space has given me the opportunity to write down my own thoughts and feelings and just general get my crazy musings down so they don’t stick in my head. Admittedly it came from my dating life and it has continued along that theme because that is where I really needed the help. I imagine I’d get a lot of weird looks if I voiced out loud some of the things I write on here. I started to learn gratitude. Being thankful for the things in your life is a really great way to switch the negative thinking into positive thinking. I also started learning again. I’m not studying, but just taking some time each week to learn a little bit more about something I’m interested in. I also started creating again, drawing, podcasting and creating wooden signs.

Soul was the final chapter. I’m still finding it hard to articulate what this means to me, which tells me I’m still working on it. But at the height of summer I was able to get back to some of my hobbies – football and hiking, two things that bring me pure joy. And they do help fill my soul, I’ve also lost 1 stone since which is wonderful for my body and exercise is medicine for the mind. But I still feel there is something missing, I can’t quite fill up the tank because I can’t connect with my friends and I haven’t been able to travel much.

But, what has become blindingly obvious is that at no point has my Mind, Body, Soul goals and achievements rested or even touched on my desire to not be single. Which is rather remarkable given the amount of dating I have done this year (ironically, more so than any other year). But it has helped tremendously in an unintended way; whilst I still hold out hope that the chalk to my cheese is out there, I have found a peace in myself. I trust myself to find the right man when I am good and ready and to pick a better than I have previously because I am better than I have previously been. And whether it is the first man I meet and feel a connection with or the hundredth, if things don’t really go to plan, I will trust it is because something better is coming along behind. This mindset has been quite the epiphany, super enlightening, empowering even and when I couple that with my own sense of self-worth, which is that I can bring so much more to the table than just being a mother and having a job and well, that feels rather marvellous!

FD#5 – Before I spiral…

Yes I know I said I’d become a nun (said in jest). And I know I said I shouldn’t let 0.000000013% of the population affect my mood or my behaviour (I really want this to be a thing) & I really don’t want to have to repeat the mantra over and over again (but how else do I get through this?)……… FD didn’t even say hi today at training.

‘A guy who is interested, won’t have you guessing and wondering, he’ll want to do the chasing, and if he’s not interested, you’ll be confused’

Sooo confused so I guess that’s that.

Gah! So close yet so soooo sooooooooooooo far away.

Boundaries

Let’s face it. When there is a new love interest I tend to get carried away. I can’t help it, it’s as if my wiring fires up, all my cylinders get into gear and I go into what guys call crazy mode. Now thankfully, the crazy has been confined here, or at least I think it has but I feel I may have shown my hand too early.

‘I guess I’m going to make it my mission to feed you grape juice and Lobster

His Reply: ‘Yep, that’s definitely the plan going forward.

Some protest if we’re the only two in it’

His Reply: ‘the best 2. You have to start somewhere

I’ve had the best day, mostly because of your company’

His Reply: ‘yeah the feelings mutual so thanks’

Him: ‘i fell asleep on the sofa, woke up with [son] on me’

My Reply: That’s a cute image 😍

Him: ‘wait until you’re 40, you’ll really feel it then’

My reply: Oh behave, you’re well fit, you didn’t have to climb your stairs on your hands and knees

His reply: ‘ That’s funny, especially picturing you climbing the stairs’

Not that it really matters if I have shown my hand, what’s the point of playing a game, there are other ways I can be mysterious and intriguing. And it is just texting, you can’t really show your hand too early if the feelings mutual, can you? Theres not really a lot to read into here I know & whilst he doesn’t make the first move very often, when I reach out, he matches the effort in conversation. So I wanted to make a post that I can look back on to remind myself what to look for when newly dating. It’s not an exact science, but at least it helps me set my boundaries and expectations whether this is for football dad or anybody else.

1. Investment

Do not invest in him based on your attraction levels. Yeah, so what if you’ve had a crush on him for 6 months, if he’s not reciprocating your level of effort, boy bye! This is really all that matters. Investment can be something as simple as sending a text and getting a reply in a timely manner. Or it can be arranging an elaborate date once you have seen each other a few times. It could be mimicking – you preen, he preens. You laugh, he laughs. You move to him a little, and he comes your way too. It’s not always about the first move and girls shouldn’t expect the guy to make the first move all the time, because whilst you are enjoying the chase, he’s seeing it as a lack of investment from yourself! Equally you don’t want to make every first move. Even it out.

2. Communication

Guys are just bad at this. It’s not their fault, it’s something to do with their hard-wiring. But guys can communicate, they just need a helping hand and that is where you come in setting your boundaries. If you make it clear what you expect from communication, a guy will adapt. For instance…you suggest a date. Guy knows he can’t due to other commitments. Most guys will be flaky, because it’s non commital but a guy who is interested will explain why he’s busy for a few weeks and give you an alternative option. And if there’s even any chance of getting together before then, he’ll say so. If he’s keeping it loose, then you should make other plans and when he reaches out, kindly explain ‘we didn’t firm anything up, so I arranged X,Y,Z. Would love to set it up with you though’. This is clearly setting your expectations up without being too aggressive and still being open to meeting him. If he doesn’t get the hint and continues to be a flake or loose with commitment then boy bye!

3. Friendship

The foundation of the relationship is based on a solid friendship and not sex. Finding things each other enjoys doing and sharing interests. Friendship is not a mojo killer, you can still be sexually attracted to a friend, just be careful not to end up in the friend zone. A cute ‘We can’t be friends anymore’ text followed up with ‘your a blues fan’ or some other jokey retort. Or a ‘you looked hot today, have you done something different?’ text will keep the tension. ( OK, confession, I have yet to try either of these approaches, so take it with a pinch of salt and wish me luck for when I do). No

4. Flirting

It doesn’t come naturally to some people, but I need a tactile partner. I love to be loved. Ironically, I’m not a tactile person, well not without the invitation from the other person anyway. If there’s no playful touches, a hand on my back or a gentle arm around the waist then I’m probably going to withdraw pretty quickly. The same goes for making me laugh. A few cheeky comments intertwined with a funny story will have me hooked. It doesn’t matter how pretty you are, or how rich you are or how popular you are. If you don’t have charisma then don’t be surprised to find a ‘I’m not feeling the spark, good luck and take care’ text.

5. Chivalry

Ok so I’m old fashioned which is completely against my ‘make the first move’ and ‘I don’t need a man’ motto’s. Except I do. I need a man in my life. I want a man in my life. I just don’t want any man in my life. Truth be told, Its a deal breaker. I need a man holding the door open, carrying bags, fixing the taps, putting out the bins, helping with the shopping, sharing the cooking. Building a life to together. Sharing intimacy, being vulnerable and empathetic. To me these are gentlemanly qualities that have long since been forgotten (in my experience). I mean I can do all of those things myself obviously, I’ve been doing it for the last few years but it’s more fun when somebody else wants to do it and get involved. And in its own way that’s the guy taking care of you. And wouldn’t it be nice just for once to have somebody take care of you?

So. There’s my 5 boundaries. Written. Crystal clear. No ambiguity. If a man does not match these 5 qualities then it’s time to stop investing. Stop chasing.

FD#3 – Slow-Burn Kitten

At the weekend I was lucky enough to spend a whole day with football dad. A whole day!! We covered 21 miles on foot, it took 7.5 hours and we laughed and chatted non-stop the whole way! Not that either of us have classified these meet ups as official dates, but away from football we have spent a total of 12 hours together in just 3 ‘dates’. That can only be a good sign, right?

We got to talk about loads yesterday, lots of things about our past, previous boyfriends/girlfriends. Relationship breakdowns. Our families. Goals. Jokes. How we feel about dating now and being single. My cheeks ached from all the laughing and smiling I did. He has been through the mill with his ex’s though and although I get all the signs that he’s into me (light flirting, eye contact, teasing, questions about me, touching me, I even got a half cuddle and an arm around my back at one point) he needs something/someone that is going to go slowly, take their time, not rush in (despite the fact our ‘dates’ have escalated quickly to 7 hours spent together) so that’s what I’m going to do.

Trouble is how the hell do you go slow??? Because I’m smitten! I have had the biggest smile on my face over the last few weeks and I’m practically beaming after yesterday! The NRE (not that this has been classified as a relationship) makes me want to chat to him and see him and bug him and tell him everything. I’d love to try not getting too involved because I could be totally wrong and he isn’t that interested, and if that is the case I’m going to be very disappointed.

So how in the world do I go slow?

1) Don’t talk everyday, initiate contact couple times a week but be sure to reply to him if he contacts you.

2) Don’t stalk his entire family. Just don’t. Nah ah! Stop scrolling. Oh nice Fridge. God damn it.

3) Now that you have failed number 2, forget every bodies names because you don’t want to blurt out ‘How’s Loz’s recovery coming along’ before he’s even said my Sister’s name is Lauren.

4) Be as understanding for him as you would expect for yourself, particularly when it comes to the children

5) Learn Patience. Accept the fireworks that erupt and feel the joy, But slow-burn means not seeking that high every day. All good things come to those who wait.

6) Google the benefits of a slow-burn and then write your own diary entry into a blog named ‘There never was a saint’ and pray to god that he will never, ever, ever, ever see it!

Red Flags

I told boyfriend no.1 I was going on a date, and he was unsure how he felt. I’ve always taken the stunted comm’s between us as a result of of how busy we both are, but actually RED FLAG, this is how the conversation went…

‘I don’t get a say do I?

Me: ‘Well, no. Not right now, but I’d be open to a discussion about it. Do you want to have a say?’

‘I just want you to be happy’

I couldn’t think of what to reply so I’ve left him on read. That was 5 days ago.

Then Boyfriend number 3 has been throwing out the red flags left, right and centre!

Constantly telling me how beautiful I am and how he has feelings for me and sending me very sappy messages.

He says he’s going to do something and then doesn’t do it … ‘I’m going to bed, good night, chat tomoz’ 1 hr later ‘I’m watching football’ I am a football coach, I understand how important football is. I do not need you to lie to me. Claims to be an amazing cook, but is always eating takeout. ???? Saying I’m not bothered about the the pubs opening, and on day 1 was in the pub!

He has four children, he sees them once a week but blames the break-up of his previous relationship because she couldn’t cope with how often he saw his kids and they could never spend any time together. Ummm, what?!

On our last date, when I was distracted, he would snap photos of me with silly filters. I’m not on snapchat. And we are not a couple!

Drinks. A LOT. See pub. And does so to cover a host insecurities. Talking of which, constantly needs reassuring that I’m into him, or want to see him and I’m already getting bored of it!

We went to pick up a Chinese one evening and whilst in town I bumped into a friend who was with two others. D went off to the bank. I didn’t know them, but they knew D. ‘Are you the new girlfriend then?’ ‘Me? No!’ When I asked D why they might think he had a girlfriend, he couldn’t explain and said he hadn’t told anybody he had a girlfriend and nobody in my town would know. As we rounded the corner back, the same woman was there. Turns out, it’s his next door neighbour!

Invites himself to my house regularly, but never invites me over to his!

I know I don’t owe him anything, but we are supposed to be going out for dinner this weekend. Now that I have typed this all out, I’m not interested in pursuing this any further. Do I feign illness? Or just explain that I have tried to match his enthusiasm but can’t. And should I point out the red flags?

Man Down Let Down

So boyfriend number 2 and I called time on our brief affair. I don’t use the term affair in the literal sense, neither of us have partners, but it was fast and hot and seductive right from the beginning. After offering him to be his taxi for the evening, he declined because I was a let down. And I have to agree. After giving it some thought, I was never giving it a lot of effort or putting the time in, because it seemed to only ever have casual stamped all over it. So I explained that I wasn’t interested in casual, and he didn’t match my enthusiasm for anything more, citing work commitments blah blah blah. I am a single mum with a career and I work shifts and I know all about work commitments, but I do have the flexibility to find time in my schedule for somebody who is special to me. D the Pilot isn’t that person and so I wished him well. He is still expecting me to booty call him..can somebody explain why guys insist on ignoring your boundaries?