Saturday, 30 July 2011

no more friends thanks

I have lost count of the number of 'friends'i have made in  the past three years.  Now that sounds rather lofty, so let me expand.
Obviously, in the spirit of this blog, I'm referring to the population of single men.
There are maybe a dozen of them that are part of my life on an ad hoc basis.  We met, we spent some time getting to know each other.  We became 'friends'.
A handful have become good friends.  Some I see often, others less so.  And I seem to meet more in this mold quite easily.
We get on so well, these men and I.  I think they like coming to my house, they get looked after, fed well, undivided attention for a few hours.  There are no demands placed on them.  Sure they don't get luck'y, but I get the feeling that none of them see me in that light either.  It's almost the perfect friendship.  An opportunity for emotional connection without commitment or promises', a few hours away from normal life, possibly a chance to pretend at happy families.  Or a chance to get away from theirs.
So why am I complaining?
Well, I'm not complaining.  But. And there's always a but...
You see, I don't really need any more friends.  I know I'm a unity addict, and I know I put a LOT of effort into the relationships I have, and the ones I want to grow.
But the time, my friends, has come.

If you're a man, and you''re coming to hang out with me ask yourself this -
are you doing it because I asked you to, and it seemed like a nice idea at the time?
are you doing it because you actually like spending time with me, but not in 'that'way?
do you like my life and enjoy it part time?
do you like me but the thought of my life fills you with dread?
do you actually want to try and puruse something a bit deeper than an erstwhile friendship but not sure if i'm just being friendly?

Don't get me wrong, I love my friends. I love the guy friends I have.  Enjoy the company of all of them even though they are in not at all like the female friends I have .   It's a different dynamic and different conversation to that I have with the girls.

But I think I put in way more effort than most of them do.  I do the cooking, the nurturing, the provision of conversation and company.

I'm still not convinced that men and women actually can be friends, but I'll save that conversation for another post.

In the meantime, if I had the chance, this is what I'd tell the boys:

If you're not interested in ME, why do you keep coming back?
If you feel sorry for me, then bugger off.
If you just want to be my friend, then that has to be two ways.  How about you ask ME over to dinner sometime!
If you think there could be more to it, then for goodness sake tell me.
If you think there never will, then you better tell me that too.

Friday, 29 July 2011

due diligence

Had lunch with an old friend yesterday.  Both of us having been in long-term, less-than-successful relationships. (LTSR)  She's now blissfully married and glowing with it.

We spoke of all the things that happen along the way to finding oneself in a LTSR.  Why do we do it?  How does it happen that one day you realise that you're in something unhealthy, or unsustainable or just plain out destructive?

Every decision takes us to that point.  The narratives we grew up with (one day your prince will come....all men are bastards...what will the neighbours think...anything for peace...if you don't agree say so).  The expectations we load on ourselves (I will get married, I will have children, I will be successful).  The things we choose to overlook in the name of that so called success (He didn't really mean that...I deserve this...We are only human).

And it's all very well to say that we need to stick to our principals, to not 'settle', to only surround ourselves with love and loving people.  Some of the most dangerous ones in my opinion, are the ones that start off charming, generous and almost too-good-to be-true.  We're literally seduced by it and then, when things start going pear-shaped we use those rationalisations and end up stuck in a neverending circle of LTSR's.

So what's a girl (or guy) to do?
How about approaching the whole relationship/dating/mating process with fresh eyes.  Apply the same values that you would to a friendship (most of us would NEVER allow our friends, or family, to treat us the way we are treated by these supposed true loves - what's that about!?!)
Consider each aspect in the cold light of day.  Perhaps even being a bit businesslike about it all.
Get second opinions.  Third.  Fourth.  Listen to everyone.  Impartially.
Take time.  Forever is forever after all.
Far better in the long term to make a lover of a friend than a friend of a lover.
Trust.  But with your eyes open.
Promise yourself that you will approach ALL relationships with love and in a loving spirit, but that if this is not mutual you will terminate immediately.
Do you feel safe, nurtured, peaceful about this thing?

Apply due diligence.  And pay attention.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

10 years younger

So I figured out how to make myself feel young again.

I've had the pleasure/misfortune/challenge of hearing the ├Żou're a bit old' line a few times recently.  What!? Oh yes, that'd be from one of those 40-somethings who think that they are hopelessly attractive to the young perky ones.  Outrageously unfair in my opinion - don't know they know that it's the 40-something woman who is at her sexual peak and most confident!?

So, what's a girl to do? (And yes, I use the term girl with generosity and good humour).

Ah yes, fix ones eyes on the over 50's.  They're stoked to have a woman 10 years younger than them - makes them feel youthful and virile.

Pity they're so old.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

constant craving

There's just no pleasing some people.
(Oh, that includes me.)

I have 4 full days and nights ahead of me, completely childfree.  The world is my oyster. I could go away and stay at the beach. Take off to a big city. Heck I could probably jump on a plane and go somewhere far away.
I could sleep in.  I could work hard today and then take a couple of days off.  Or I could lie around reading books and drinking coffee.

I should be revelling in the bliss of being just me.  Of not having to answer to anyone or anything.  The house looks as clean and tidy as it did an hour ago.  four hours ago.  a day ago.  I got up late.  Watched the news from my bed.   It's my music on the stereo.  I can spend as long as i want in the shower.  I could probably do with a trip to the beauty therapist, maybe i should book right now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet and calm.  The overriding feeling is still one of contentment.  But a little bit of me is....well, it's bored? Lonely?  I want a grown up to talk to.  I want to have a real, meaningful conversation.  With a real, meaningful person.   I want to cook for more than one.  I want someone to kiss goodnight ..and good morning...and maybe good afternoon.

The C-word

Over the past few years, I have met an extraordinary group of people, none of whom would have probably ever crossed my path if I was still married.
They have a lot of things in common, although few know each other.
Most are in their early 40s, or there abouts.
Most have recently come out of a long term relationship.
Many have children.  Some do not.
Most are articulate, well read, well travelled, balanced human beings.
Most believe that human beings are not destined to be alone, and are therefore open, often enthusiastic, about meeting new people, and hopefully, that one special one.
Most, carry some scars, some deeper than others, made by the other broken relationships and dreams they have had in the past.
Some are healed. Some are not.  Some are healing.  Some are still breaking.

Sticking with generalisations here, for the most part, the women are excited about the prospect of meeting a new partner, but are terrified of making another mistake.  they don't trust their own judgement.
the women know they are a package deal if they have children (dress it up however you like, but if it smells like a rat and looks like a rat....).  They know this is scary for the boys.  They wish, at some level, it wasn't this way.  But also know that it's the truth, and no matter how many nights they manage to organise a childfree outing, a lazy sleep-in or even a weekend away, eventually the two lives are going to collide, and spectacularly.

And, generally, the men are looking at all those gorgeous girls that are 10 years younger than them and deciding that the younger models are where it's at.  they don't have kids (and therefore commitments). They don't have kids (and therefore stretchmarks). Oh, and they don't have kids (and therefore a pesky ex).
The men are saying they want to fall in love.  But they also know that this could mean sex with the same woman for the rest of their lives, and no one else.  They say they like the idea of having a place to call home, but they also know that this might just mean the end of a life they are actually starting to rather enjoy.
Hmm, I think that's called a fear of commitment.

It's a wonder any of us ever get into relationships again.

Monday, 25 July 2011

situation vacant

I used to think that having a wish list...having dealbreakers...having aspirations about what was important sounded a bit haughty.  I mean, it's not like I'm perfect, far from it, so who was I to say that what I was seeking in a man!
And it all sounded a bit like a dating profile...must like dogs and kids...should have seen the world...have their own hair...
But the more I read about life in the single lane, the disaster stories (including more than one of my own - although I prefer to think of them as miscalculations), the more convinced I'm becoming that as a 'mature'single person, and as a single mother, I need to be tougher with my list of criteria.

All this stuff about settling, a la Lori Gottlieb (, what could she know.  Let's ask again in 10 years when she's been married to Mr Good-enough for a decade, and see if settling was actually the right decision!

I accept there are ideals that we would all like and probably will never find (let's face it, there's not many 40 somethings-I'll adore you and your kids-I own a freehold house-I can cook and clean and fold towels-I love the earth and nature and all things spiritual- kind of guys out there: oops TMI?)...but yes, there are some deal breakers.

Here's mine:

I get that you might not be financially strong.  Relationships can do that to a guy.  But at least have a decent credit rating and a job

I get that you're probably not as lean as you used to be, that bits of your body are starting to wear out, that your hairline is in a different place to where it started.  But at least wear clean clothes, that actually fit,and  brush your teeth regularly

I get that you'd like to have long lazy sleepins on a Saturday.  So would I.  I get that you'd like peace after 7 pm. Heck, so would I!  but with me, it ain't gonna happen.  very often.  Love me, love my kids.

I get that you need your own space.  Actually I think that's a good thing.  Weekend with the boys? go for it!  Hobbies that don't include me?  Awesome.  I'll watch the football with you.  As long as I can read at the same time.

I get that most guys just don't see dirt.  I don't expect you to clean up mine.  But I do expect you to clean your own.  I'm not your mother.

I get that you probably don't spend as much time as I do pondering the big questions in life.  But I'd love it if you're open to talking about them with me.

I get that you'd rather be with a hot 30 year old with a perky butt and a stylish car.  So would I sometimes. But 40 can be hot too.  And a car is just a way of getting from A to B.  Really.

I get that you have a past and that it probably includes more than one ex.  Most likely more than one scar on your heart.  Possibly some children.  Gee, that's just like me!  So let's just accept that and move with it. Don't be jealous of my exes.  Be friends with the mother of your children.  I think that's terrific.  Maybe even on friendly terms with the others. But make up your mind who's going to take up residence in your heart.  If it's them, I'm not interested in being a co- tenant.

Finally, I get that you're probably as nervous as I am about embarking on something new.  I get that you might want to take it slow.  (Whew!).  I also get that you are probably not going to be that excited about waiting to have sex. (I might not be either).  But here's the thing.  Not making a decision is still making a decision.  You either want to try with me or you don't.  Don't keep me hanging. It's uncool and I won't do it to you. 

my exgirlfriends a psycho

I'd run out of fingers if I tried adding up how many times I've heard that line.
And toes too, if I added in the stories about 'my mate's ex'as well.
Seriously?  Is that the best you boys can come up with when citing a reason for why your last relationship failed?

Apart from the fact that we know that it's a load of rubbish - yeah sure some ex's ARE pyscho's we get that but most aren't - what is worse is that you're prepared to tell us that.  Don't dis the ex - it's not classy, and it leaves us wondering if we are going to be next to be described as crazy.

And if I ever find out that someone's going around saying I"M the crazy one? Well, I'll probably break in and cut the legs of their suit trousers.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

what a girl wants

Things have changed since I was a girl.
Back then, you met a boy.  You liked him.  It didn't really matter if you had stuff in common - you were young, you were game for anything.
Hopefully, the boy liked you back.   You starting 'going out'.  You might, if you were 'that kind of girl'' agree to sleep with him.  You might even have enjoyed it.  Eventually the stress of getting pregnant, or having to sneak around your parents, got too much.  You got married.
You lived happily every after.

Eermm, well you might have.  Or, you might have lived happily for ten years or so, had a couple of kids, bought a mortgage (oops, i mean house).  Had a couple of family holidays at vast expense and unbeleiveable stress levels.  Convinced each other you loved each other despite it all.

And then suddenly, unexpectedly - or so it seemed at the time - you find yourself alone. again.  Yes, maybe there's some children in the mix, but essentially, you're a single.  Second time round.

Time goes by.  You get a bit lonely.  Try some new hobbies and things.  Maybe get fit.  Probably look hotter than you did when you were married.  Discover you quite like the attention.

And then suddenly, unexpectedly - or so it seemed at the time - you find yourself dating.

It's a horrible, American sounding, word - I mean who in England dated in 1989!?!

But, there it is.

You decide you are not destined to be single forever.  You get serious about this dating thing.  there's focus.  Determination.  Drive.  Total terror.  You meet some nice people.  You meet some total weirdos.  You hear the lines you thought only existed in the movies.  You actually find yourself USING some of the lines you know were only in the movies.

Welcome to the single life.