First Position Parallel

A modern blog

Rafting Down the River or Not January 28, 2016

For the first time since my move last April, I got asked out. I knew it would happen eventually whether during my commute or at work or at the book store. It happened at work. He asked if I’d like to go to a hockey game with him sometime. I didn’t have the right words, so, “I’m good right now, but thank you,” spilled out.

I did not blush.

I did not hesitate.

I did not give an ambiguous answer.

I did not go against myself like I usually do and accept while knowing I’m not ready.

Score one for me!

I cannot describe how odd yet right it feels to have declined this offer. I have gone over different scenarios in my mind every night for the last week. I still have to see this person regularly, so it feels a little awkward right now. I would like to say, “I’m not ready to date right now, but thank you all the same.” It might explain my answer better, though I know I owe him no explanation. I know I have no obligation to accept a request for a date either.  From anybody.  I’m proud of myself for giving a straight answer and for staying true to what I need.

In the past, when I renewed my relationship with the gut-piercer, we put things in a not-committed, monogamous status. It made it hard for me to give straight answers when I got asked out because I didn’t have a boyfriend, per se, so I’d say, “Yeah, that would be fun.” I wouldn’t call or schedule whatever activity had been suggested, from rafting to skiing. I would just leave it in the air, suggested, ambiguous, not fully declined yet not fully accepted, which is kind of a shitty way to leave things. It made it especially difficult when the invitation included Little Guy and would expose him to an activity I knew he wanted to try, and the person would use that angle. I didn’t want to deny Little Guy the experience. I wanted him to experience it! With not the person who asked. That part wasn’t right, so I didn’t call. Or ever explain myself. Or ever fully decline and let the guy move on without thinking he had a chance of floating down the river with me or my son. They would have to figure it out for themselves and think what they thought. Ugh.

This time I did it right. For me. Right for me. It feels weird because I’m taking a different approach. It feels great because I need this time for myself.

And it might be best to accept an invitation for a date at a time when I’m not sleeping on the bottom bunk in my son’s room. That’s a whole other story for another day.

 

The First One January 4, 2016

Filed under: gratitude — jenniphur @ 11:48 pm
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I fell in love the first time in May 1995 to the best, most splendid boyfriend I have ever, ever had. We both had a knack for foreign languages, loved reading, politics, working out together, drinking strong coffee and eating really good food. He was tall and had eyes just like mine, a great nose and pearly whites, great hygiene, and a European sense of style. We wrote love letters to each other in French. I danced. He applauded. He painted. I sat still. We loved each other. I loved him unlike anyone else I have ever loved. Our relationship could have inspired books, movies, paintings, and scores of orchestral music.

Every person I have dated, I have compared to my first love. It’s not fair, just true. I have never dated anyone since him that measured up to that relationship. That makes me so sad because I deserve to have a relationship like that again. We all do. I want a relationship like that first one.

I remember I had a friend once read my palm. She had come over for my birthday. It was after my first love and I had broken up, and I was dating someone else. She told me the next one I dated would be the one I would marry and stay with for the rest of my life. I said, “No, that was the last one.” The one I had dated, my first love, I believed I should have married him. A part of me still believes this. Writing this has made me feel light-headed.

I didn’t realize when I broke his heart that people stay together and work through issues to become stronger and more solid. Not everything is black and white. It is possible to meet in the middle, understand each other better. I was young and hadn’t learned this yet. Part of me feels really strong for telling him I couldn’t be with him anymore. Part of me feels like a complete and total moron for ever letting him go. I did. I let him go after two years together. I have felt off-track in my relationships ever since.

He was the first one to tell me that if I were older, he would marry me right then and there. He told me this as he drove us down the highway in his gray, two-door, Chevy Blazer. I burst into tears, happy, overwhelmed tears, when he said it. I cursed at our age difference. When this last one told me the same thing, minus the age part, I had the same reaction. I am glad the last one ended. No doubt about that. It reminded me of that time my first love said it to me, not that marriage is the point of dating. That verbal expression of wanting to commit to another for life can stick with a person, for good reason; it’s a pretty big deal.

Maybe that factors into why my first love has become the measuring stick. Maybe I haven’t really moved on. He still shows up in my dreams every now and then. I have always missed him. I ripped my own heart raw in 1997. I imagine I did the same to his, for which I have apologized in the last couple of years and to which he never replied. I didn’t need one, nor did I send the apology to receive acknowledgement. I sent it for me. When the last big breakup happened in May 2013, that’s when I understood that getting your heart broken that bad really sucks! A lot! I felt like I owed my first love an apology. Times infinity!!!

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for having had the first person I fell in love with be the best person I ever fell in love with, and that he and I are currently friends, not close friends, but on speaking terms. I’m grateful to have felt love like he gave me, and to have loved him back as much I did. I hope I don’t have to kiss too many more frogs before I meet someone who finally measures up.

 

Processing through dreams December 23, 2015

Filed under: appreciation,change,gratitude — jenniphur @ 10:10 pm
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Two nights ago, I dreamed that the last guy I dated and I got married. No, that we were at our wedding. We had a venue full of people, way more than I’d prefer, flowers, fancy clothes, groomsmen and bridesmaids, the whole deal. Yes, this is something we had talked about in real life, and yes, that’s scary.

Anyway, a room full of people awaited us, and the makeup artist had spent an hour on him! He needed a lot of undereye concealer in the dream. When the artist had finished with him, I stopped her and asked her if she would please put my makeup on. She said, “I don’t see why. You’re going to say no anyway.”

I talked her into a little eyeshadow and wondered what the hell we were all doing at our wedding when they all knew I was going to say no. She smeared a purple stick of color along my eyelashes and sent me on my way.

I went to the large room with green carpet, wooden bench rows with green velour cushions, white tulle scalloped along them with pink and white flowers intertwined in it, and walked down the aisle to say “no.”

End scene.

 

The Dating Pool

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 9:40 pm
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I remembered the last time I was single. It was not college. It was after the gut-piercing breakup two and half years ago. I jumped in the dating pool too soon after that (a month or two) and dated someone really not right for me for maybe six weeks. He had initially asked me out around the same time that the gut-piercer did, but I ignored it. I must have given off a single-gal pheromone when he tried the second time, and I had an impulsive moment and agreed to lunch after emailing him a critique of his website. After a few weeks of him pushing his timeline on me, I was done. Also, I still wasn’t over my ex-boyfriend, nor was he over me, and we started dating again without being “together.” I learned (again) to not reunite with your ex. It works out for some people. Not for me.

I’m glad I remembered that I had felt not ready to date. It served as a good reminder to take my time before I dip my toes in the water.

 

A Year Ago December 22, 2015

Filed under: appreciation,change,motivation,success — jenniphur @ 11:08 pm
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A year ago, I committed to making changes in my life that would open me up to more opportunities. I committed to pursuing a big move. The first of the year, I interviewed for a transfer within my company. I started running again on a schedule. I needed the time to think about what I had set in motion, and running helps my thought process.

A year later, I have changed everything I intended to change. It has brought opportunities for Little Guy to get a better education, and Target is only a couple of miles away, rather than 20, and I can pick from multiple Targets. We can go to the zoo or Costco without it being an all-day trek. I did it. We did it. What will I make come to fruition in 2016? I look forward to finding out!

 

Jenniphurgalicious

Filed under: appreciation,change,motivation — jenniphur @ 11:00 pm
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The line from a Fergie song keeps rolling through my head, incorrect grammar and all:

“A girl like me don’t stay single for long.”

I cannot remember the last time I was fully single. I know it’s only been two weeks, but I really can’t remember the last time I was single-single, like I have no one lined up to date next, no one waiting in line to date me, like I did living in a small town where men outnumbered women 8 to 1. College may have been the last time I didn’t consider myself in a relationship with anyone.

Just as someone very close to me, cough, cough, has grown accustomed to not dating, I have grown accustomed to always being in a relationship. I walk or run during my lunches and reflect on this.  It’s like that other song, “I Wonder As I Wander.” Anyway, I’m not in a rush to get back into a relationship. Little Guy and I are still settling ourselves here. It’s given me time to think.

This last breakup wasn’t so bad. The first three days kind of sucked, but I felt so free and relieved, betrayed and misled at first, and I had a many hours in the car by myself the following weekend, but this breakup was a good one. The one before that pierced my gut. It hurt. It bit. It burned. I realized why.

The one before had a lot of the qualities that I look for. For example, he had good hygiene, knew how to clean and did it, didn’t do drugs ever, would take me out for delicious meals, cook delicious meals, try new foods, and could spell. One year he brought me back coffee from one of his few trips, and I LOVE coffee. His grammar wasn’t always perfect, but no one is perfect. He didn’t grow up with two English majors for parents, like I did.

He had some major flaws that I have added to the list of Things I Will Not Tolerate. He drank too often and didn’t go to the dentist. Yeah, I know. He had little motivation to better himself in his career, health, or mind. He talked about starting to run for the entire four years we spent dating and yet he never did it. He was stuck and seemed to like being stuck and probably didn’t view himself as being stuck, but I knew if I stayed in that little town, I would be stuck in it with him. I needed to grow in my career and surroundings and be able to run without it hurting to breathe. I had grown out of that little town and its limits.

I believe we’d still be together if I hadn’t moved away, and I would feel the same way I felt two years ago when we got back together, but not “together”. We had already lived together with it not working out, so where could the relationship really go? Maybe I limit myself by thinking that way. Not every relationship has to end in living together or marriage. Maybe I had the perfect relationship and took it for granted. In some ways, I did have it pretty good. I didn’t have to answer to anybody but me and Little Guy. I didn’t have to share my living space with anyone but Little Guy. We saw each other once or twice a week which worked with my limited free time. It felt empty or lacking after the first, big, gut-wrenching break up. I could  never specify the right word for how it felt. I felt unimportant. When I moved away, I moved away. He didn’t take it well, but to me, all I had done was move away because we weren’t “together”. To him, I was important. He didn’t show it well.

I didn’t think that having a “not-together” kind of relationship set a good example for Little Guy. I didn’t think that having a significant other who chose the bar over any other activity we invited him to set a good example for Little Guy. I didn’t think I’d ever find a man in that little town who acted any differently or had priorities that were more important that making a living to go to the bar. Even the good ones had a strong magnetism toward the bars. That isn’t what I want in my life or Little Guy’s. I choose my kid, reading, exercise, sleep and tea over the bar any day. And my mom. She’s important too.

So, I’m sure one day, when I’m ready to try again with dating, I’ll meet this certain someone at a bookstore or on the trail or at a restaurant with really good food. I’m a sucker for really good food, especially, really good, healthy food. Maybe it’ll be at Whole Foods and he won’t be a vegetarian! I’ve been there and done that, too, for ten years. Maybe, one day. For now, I have a classic book and a little someone, who means more than the world to me, ready for my attention.

 

Crack that whip! December 16, 2015

Filed under: change,gratitude — jenniphur @ 10:45 pm
Tags: , , , ,

The move to Denver brought a change in the romance department, too. I started dating a long-time friend last May. I met him through his sister years ago, before I had a child. He told me he liked me in March, just before I moved. Then he moved too.

In May, we embarked on a long-distance relationship, the first for both of us. As a full-time mom with limited free time, the arrangement worked for me. The distance provided a guarantee that I would not do anything too fast, like move in with him. It also meant that he would not impose on my physical space too often. He sent flowers regularly all summer and fall, supported me emotionally through whatever I faced, acknowledged and accepted our differences, and planned for the future with us in it, a serious, committed future.

His sister visited in November. We went to dinner. I hadn’t seen her in about ten years. I noticed that when I talked about this new relationship, I felt bad that I was so happy or maybe I had an early intuition that I wasn’t as happy as I thought. I remember cringing a bit as I proclaimed my happiness and gratitude to his sister for all her training that she provided to him to make him a great boyfriend.

I questioned this cringe going forward. What did it mean? Is my self-esteem not where I think it is? Not where I want it to be? Did I cringe knowing that going forward with her brother meant accepting some character traits that reminded me of my husband? I kept visiting how this man treated me, how my husband treated me, and they were both so different in that regard. I visited their similarities, both good and bad. The good included having a strong intellect, stronger than my husband’s with more thirst for knowledge, and the bad included a learning disability that prevented correct spelling and use of words, as well as, a tendency against organization. I kept going back to the way this boyfriend treated me, and I felt like a queen. It overruled everything.

Until the last time we spent time together in person a couple weeks ago. We’ll discuss that later.

This dinner with the sister made me wonder what I want, why I was willing to accept these differences and replay part of my life with someone else. I have wondered if I believe in marriage at all, or if I believe in marriage so strongly it scares me out of trying again. I have wondered if I see the value in a husband. I have peace and harmony with Little Guy. Why would I want to screw that up by throwing another person to clash with into the mix? Or is that way of thinking preventing me from throwing in somebody who might grow the peace and harmony? What kind of example do I set for my son by trying or not trying to make it work with a partner? I read a step parenting book in the last six months to better prepare myself. Will I ever meet one that doesn’t drive me crazy? If all boyfriends/husbands drive all girlfriends/wives crazy, why do it at all?

A couple of weeks ago, Little Guy and I traveled to meet up with this boyfriend on the East Coast. This relationship went down the drain when I told him, the day after our return, that I didn’t appreciate that he spent a majority of our time together, which is limited, on his phone, texting, emailing, texting another woman (which I left out of the conversation), the entire trip. Did I mention the texting? He said the distance didn’t work for him and ended it. He also saw nothing wrong with his behavior, or hasn’t admitted to it. Aside from that, we had a great trip, Little Guy and I, stressful but great.

This boyfriend wasn’t such a great boyfriend. My trust issues grew. The relationship reiterated to me to stick to my rules, of which I only broke one by letting him meet my son before the one-year mark. The other rules are: a)Don’t date the neighbor. b)Don’t date a co-worker. And I didn’t break those. I have a tendency to get caught up on another person’s feelings for me without standing up for my own. So, rule c)Stand up for my own feelings.

Lesson learned. I have rules for a reason.

I like that this is the cleanest break I have had probably ever. I’m making time to figure out what I want and prioritize my life, my son’s life and what’s best for us, and move past this pattern of picking partners that don’t suit me/us. I am free of distractions that may inhibit my decision making. I want to learn more about me, maybe get some certifications in order to change to a different career. Time to crack that whip to make me a better mother, provider and person!

 

 
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