I know some of my recent posts may have left you confused. I figure if some of you said it, more of you felt it. This was further compounded by my trying to get up to current date quickly; I didn’t spend as much time writing about my headspace…and taking short cuts usually doesn’t work.
I’ve had enough questions about what I really want, why I’m not just pursuing casual sex, am I ready for a relationship, etcetera, to think I should try to clarify how I feel about all of this.
Here are some of the most common questions:
Shouldn’t I give myself time to heal before dating again?
I honestly do not understand what difference dating or not taking makes to my ability to “get over” Tony. I don’t know why we say that time is what I need before I can date again. Perhaps this is lack of experience or stubbornness on my part.
I do think this is grounded in the fundamental assumption that I will make a bad decision, or do something that is going to hurt me more. Often, yes, I see this behaviour – people who must be in a relationship will let the desire for one override other decisions. Or they are fundamentally needy for affection, attention, and the like, which means they will stay with someone who isn’t good for them because they need someone around.
I don’t feel this way. I know my own worth, I know what I bring to a relationship, and I don’t like to waste my time.
I prefer to have someone in my life who is special to me, but I’m not going to settle and I’m not going to knowingly keep someone around to my detriment. Yes, I had trouble breaking up with Tony. No debate. I was also in love with him, which doesn’t happen all that easily with me. I don’t see a Tony situation happening over and over to me, and I absolutely know that emotionally unavailable men are familiar to me. I’m working at not repeating patterns.
Generally speaking once I know someone isn’t a good partner for me, I let them go. Even the ones who are really into me – it feels good, but that isn’t my kryptonite (see: emotionally unavailable).
How can I date others if I’m still in love with Tony?
If anything, I need to keep practicing to make the behavioural changes I need to have healthier relationships and not repeat the past with my ex husband.
Time won’t change my feelings for Tony. I won’t suddenly not be in love with him because time has passed. All that happens is the hurt is less raw. Fewer things on a daily basis remind me of him. Having sex with another guy, or going on a date with another guy, or doing neither of those things, really doesn’t impact how I feel about Tony. It doesn’t change anything, but it does help me move forward.
What I learned in the periods of no-contact that I’ve had is that my feelings for him are real. It wasn’t a matter of getting caught up in the moments and drama. I love him. Period. I know he’s not ready, and he may never be ready.
I also know that waiting for him to be ready is not the best approach. I need to move on with my life and just take it as it comes. I can’t dictate his timeline.
I hoped that by the end of the summer with (relatively) no-contact, three things would happen:
- Tony would miss me and realize how important I was to him.
- Tony would go on some mediocre dates and realize our chemistry and how well we get along is incredibly rare.
- Tony would sort out some of the logistics of his divorce with his ex wife and be able to say he knew he was done with his marriage.
This may never happen. Or it might. I may be in a relationship when it does, or I might not.
Bottom line is, the good stuff we had is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. As you know, I’ve experienced a lot.
Is it fair to the men I’m dating if I still love Tony?
While the good stuff with Tony was incredible, the bad stuff was…bad. I don’t expect perfection. So while I absolutely will make comments on my blog that another guy wasn’t like Tony in one way or another (usually chemistry), it doesn’t mean I’ve written them off because of it.
My internal debate about Fox (which I’ve written about) is because I’m thinking about the combination of things that I need and want. Some of this only comes through experience. My dating guidelines have been refined based on lots of experience, but that just gets me to a place where the men I’m filling my pipeline with have a greater chance of being a good match.
But I’m still working through understanding what combination of characteristics is right for me. It’s always a balance. Let’s take Fox, for example. He’s communicative, open, focussed, dedicated, passionate, super into me. Lots of characteristics that Tony wasn’t able to show me with consistency. On the other hand, we don’t have effortless conversations or laughter.
I am constantly thinking about my past experience and applying it to my current situations. I guess said another way, every man will be compared against every experience I’ve had before. Time won’t make a difference.
Am I actually ready for a relationship? Why don’t I just pursue casual sex? How can I do both?
My sexual exploration is far from over. However, when I’m in an exclusive relationship, I’m willing to put some things on hold until I get to a place with a partner where we can explore them together. So yes, when I started dating Tony I stopped being active on FetLife, for example. But it was always my intention to get to a place with Tony where we could explore – together.
That’s why finding someone sexually open is important to me in a relationship.
It’s also why when things ended with Tony, I restarted my sexual exploration again pretty quickly. Practically speaking, why shouldn’t I?
Someone asked me why I’m not just pursuing casual sex. Here’s how I think about looking for a relationship versus sex club activities:
My time on dating sites is exclusively about the intention to find someone who could be a boyfriend / relationship potential. My dating guidelines are all about this. I have learned so much about the signs of someone who says they want one thing but who actually want another. I don’t want to deal with the inevitable BS of people who can’t be straightforward about what they want. My guidelines have actually resulted in a decent pipeline of guys, and I’m sticking to them. Tinder is the opposite of this and I’m staying far away from it.
In contrast, there is remarkably little BS and game playing on FetLife or Adult Friend Finder (AFF). I can say I ultimately want a relationship but in the interim I’m exploring my sexuality. The experiences I’ve had from Fet have been great. My afternoon delight by the pool reaches out to me regularly when he’s coming to the club; neither of us have any hold over the other, there is no possessiveness, it’s just sex, and good sex at that. If the stars align for us to see each other again, we will. So far it hasn’t worked and I’m not hurt or upset by this.
My discussions with the Dom are very straighforward. He is polyamorous and while he wants to play with me more, he needs to check with his wife and girlfriend if we are going to have penetrative sex. I don’t have to hide that I’m dating, or any of the other complexities of life. This is a huge contrast to “vanilla” dating where as I’ve written, most people would be loathe to admit they are dating multiple people.
This is where my head is at, and I hope it helps put some context into the decisions I’ve made recently. As always, please let me know what you think, and/or if there’s anything here that doesn’t reconcile for you.
Someone asked recently if I was okay. I feel fantastic, actually. For probably the first time in my personal life, I’ve come to understand the power I have. Making difficult decisions/choices that are the right ones for me is an amazing experience. It’s not something I’ve been good at historically.
It’s also not easy. It started with Johnny Id, and many of you know how painful that was. Determining how to proceed with Tony was drawn-out and tortuous in some ways. Sticking to my dating guidelines is another example, although a less painful one.
All that to say, it’s been two years since I became single, and I can see the tangible results of the journey I’ve been on. I bought a bikini, for crying out loud – and if that alone doesn’t speak to where I’m at, nothing does 🙂