How do we know if we are ready?

The first night I saw Fox after my vacation return, he told me he’d found himself on the Ashley Madison data dump online.

No, don’t worry, this isn’t another post about the whole debacle. I’m tired of it already. And for what it’s worth: of course nobody should violate your privacy rights, yes some people enjoy the misery of cheaters, yes, some people will look people up they know (not always for nefarious reasons), there are hypocrites in this world, and yes, cheaters should alwaysΒ consider what would happen if they are found out.

Moving on.

I asked why on earth he would bother joining an affair site when he wasn’t married (recall, he’s been single for 14 years). He said he did it after a particularly bad breakup when he wanted casual sex only, figuring it might be a guaranteed way to find someone who didn’t want any strings.

Of course I retorted, laughing, saying I knew few women capable of having no strings attached affairs (one of my blogging friends being a classic example).

He went on to say that after said breakup, he’d first joined Plenty of Fish, where his first match was theΒ woman he’d just broken up with. At that point, he knew he wasn’t ready. Hence Ashley Madison.

But of course I asked him in general how he would know he wasn’t ready. I was busying myself with changing the vinyl record on my turntable, thinking about Tony.

Fox said “you might think you’re ready, but you don’t know until something happens and you realize you aren’t ready.”

I told him I would quote him on that.

I’ve been in that situation for a while now, thinking I’m ready for something more. Since late last fall, really. I love sex and that hasn’t changed. I’m willing to have casual sex. But more than anything, I’d like to be in a relationship. I’d like to have a boyfriend. This is not what I said a year ago. I knew I wasn’t ready.

::

I know I’ve been a bit quiet since back from my trip. I was with Fox four nights in the first seven days (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) and then he and I also spent the day together yesterday. It’s really, really, good.

I need to write more about how I feel. It’s so strange to not feel stress or anxiety in this stage of a relationship. There’s no drama. He is not only clear about how much he likes me, but he shows it in multiple ways. He’s actively invested in making sure I’m happy and satisfied.

I’ve had some of these things before, but it usually comes in a package that is also insecure and needy. Willing to make too many sacrifices, to his detriment. Foolish about the stage of relationship we are in. Not strong.

Fox is strong. He doesn’t waste time in relationships that aren’t good for him; at least, that’s what he’s told me. While he’s loosening his boundaries as they relate to his daughter and his availability, he’s making those choices quite deliberately. He tells me what he needs.

It’s pretty fucking awesome.

We became Facebook friends this week. It’s been a bit of a running joke between us, as in the past he’s quite cavalierly allowed women to “friend” him after a few dates, and then he doesn’t unfriend them. I said I was rather horrified by it; it’s the equivalent of giving someone a huge stack of photo albums and notes passed between you and your friends to read.

I told him the first person I accepted a Facebook friend request from was the Giant and then quickly realized it was a mistake. I quietly unfriended him when I broke up with him. Johnny Id is the only other man I’ve connected with on Facebook.

But it became clear to me it was important to Fox. I finally got him to say “yes, Ann, I’d like us to be Facebook friends”, and I sent him the request right then. We were on our way to a craft beer festival. He was in heaven. He posted a dual selfie which he tagged me in and the comments started rolling in.

No, not from ex girlfriends.

Our mothers, his buddies, an old friend from high school. They were wishing us all the best with kisses and hugs. Totally over the top.

Then he told me I was the first woman he’s posted a picture with.

Wow.

I was a little freaked out by that.

Then my best friend texted me: “Hey, looked at Facebook. Is there something I should know? You getting married?”

Sigh.

I told Fox later I felt a lot of pressure and responsibility. While I didn’t say it, I’ve spent time thinking about whether I’m ready. Obviously moving on from Tony is no small feat, even though I’m doing it and not emotionally looking back (and no, I’ve heard nothing from him since our phone conversation – but I’m feeling a need for real closure instead of devoting any mental time wondering when/if I’m going to hear from him again).

I met Fox just shy of two months ago. And you know what?

I’m totally ready.

61 thoughts on “How do we know if we are ready?

  1. You do know what Fox said about being ready is the truth, don’t you, that the moment of absolute certainty never arrives?

    May all your guesses be right and, of course, good luck to the both of you: Make it work, make it stick, make it last a lifetime.

    • Thanks hon. What he said made perfect sense to me. So I think I’m ready and I’ve felt a real mental shift in the last few weeks, since during my vacation. It’s good.

      He’s really incredible to me and I’m so enjoying it. I’m not going to get ahead of myself but it’s lovely right now.

      • Ya might be ready but if no one tells you – and I have the nerve to – I want you to be sure of this. Have you thought this through, examined all the pros and cons? Here’s a question for you: Can you see yourself waking up next to him a year from now… five years from now… ten years from now?

        Can you totally devote yourself emotionally, knowing that a part of your heart still belongs to Tony? Ready, darling one, is one thing: Surety is a different animal and this shouldn’t ever be left to chance or worrying about shit later. You ready to do all the work that’ll be necessary to make you and Fox successful together?

        Are.

        You.

        Sure?

        • I understand what you are saying. But… does it matter if she knows for sure? At this stage, shouldn’t she just focus on the fact she is ready to try?
          As you said, no one can ever know for sure. But if we wait to be sure before we try anything, then we’ll spend our life waiting and life this way would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?
          Waiting until we’re sure is, in my opinion, the surest way to let life pass us by…

          • Yeah, Dawn – he who hesitates is lost and all that but I spend a lot of time reading stuff written by other women here on WordPress where they said they were ready to take this step with a guy, have dived right in, only to find that they didn’t think things out and then they learn that they’ve made a mistake that they’re gonna regret.

            I like to spank Ann for her choice of words and I gots no problem pointing out to her that being ready to engage with Fox like this – and I hope she does, by the way – isn’t the same as being sure you wanna take this important step. Yes, nothing ventured, nothing gained; fortune favors the bold and all that; such sayings encourage us to just dive on in there and we’ll worry about the details later but when it comes to relationships, eh, that’s not always the smartest way to handle things so I said what I said to Ann because I don’t want to read her blog six months from now – or even next week – and find out that things didn’t work out with Fox as she had hoped.

            So, yeah, it matters if she’s sure that she’s ready to be his girlfriend…

          • My dear, I ALWAYS worry about the details. I am keeping myself at a good pace and learning more about him. I’ve always maintained you don’t really know someone until you see how they are with their parents, how they treat their friends, until they are angry, etc…

            So we have all that to look forward to. I’m also not the type to lament that something ended up in a different place. Things may continue to work between us, or they might not. Who knows.

            But I’m open to it working – that’s all I was trying to say.

          • I have spent years not doing something. Not diving right out. And yes, I do regret it at times.

            Whatever we do, or don’t do, we can choose to live in regret after the fact, when we realise it didn’t work for us, or we can choose to take it as a lesson and learn from it and move on.

            I don’t know of all these sayings you’re quoting. Maybe because you are a man and were encouraged to be bold as a boy, and I’m a woman and was taught to take what I was given and feel lucky? I don’t know.

            My comment didn’t come from that place that you’re describing, where someone is encouraged to dive right in and worry about the details later. I have never lived my life like this and I doubt I’ll ever be able to let go that much.
            But I sense, from all the posts, comments and so on, that I read from Ann’s, that she is ready to accept that, if things don’t work out 6 months from now, it was still a valuable experience.
            Maybe it’s because her journey and mine are on seemingly parallel paths, maybe it’s because I am projecting my thoughts onto her life… I don’t know for sure πŸ™‚

            I understand that you were asking out of care and concern for your friend. We are both coming from the same place, but from different experiences. I believe this is what adds value to blogging, it’s the fact that we can see things from someone else’s perspective, which in the end makes it easier to decide what we want to do for ourselves πŸ™‚
            Pfff… not sure I’m making much sense right now, and I can’t even blame the late hour for once πŸ˜‰

        • I’m not saying I’m ready to be with Fox forever. I’m saying I know without a doubt I’m ready to be in a serious relationship and I want to try with him. That’s all. I would be a fool to say I know him well enough to think long term.

          • My head is in the place where I’m willing to take a day at a time with someone and see where things go from there. I’m open to a boyfriend and a more serious relationship. Where things go from here, who knows.

  2. Bahahahaha! Social media, man. It scares the living bejesus out of me (says she with accounts all over the place). I’ve NEVER changed my status on any site where my status was changeable, or posted coupledom because ‘fuck off, none of your business!’

    But geez, the stock people put on it is scary and astounding. Which is why I won’t. Who needs that kind of pressure?

    Having said that I’m always grateful to people who do it because I’m incredibly nosy and I love drama.

    I’m so glad it’s going well for you. May it long continue (I can find plenty of other drama, I don’t need yours :P).

    Does Tony have your FB?

    Ferns

    • I very quietly “unmarried” myself when I split from my ex. At the time he wasn’t on Facebook and I remember thinking how odd it would be for that to be how some of my extended family found out about our split.

      I haven’t changed my status since then. I think it would be a while before I put some official facebook relationship status up connecting me to Fox. He only “tagged” me in that picture but that was enough for his people!! We had a great laugh about it.

      He even put up a followup comment that contrary to popular sentiment there was no talk of wedding bells.

      Tony isn’t on Facebook, and my profile is entirely locked down. So even if he searched for me (which would take action on his part so I hardly doubt that would happen), unless I changed my profile picture to Fox and me, there’d be no information to be gained from it. I’m pretty careful about that stuff…

      • I too quietly unmarried myself 5 years ago and haven’t changed a thing. I watched a friend play around with the “in a relationship” button. I contacted him and asked if he knew that it posted each time. He didn’t. I don’t need my failures posted for all to see. Lol

        • Exactly!! Could you imagine – especially with Tony?! Sheesh.

          At some point I might. But it’s not as if I use Facebook as a primary means to communicate with my friends, either.

      • I don’t know how you ‘quietly’ unmarry on FB. I know that once we’d told our kids, I changed my status from ‘married’ to ‘it’s complicated’. It’ll move to divorced when I am there, which may be a while still…
        As for the ‘in a relationship’ button… I haven’t used it, don’t plan to. I mean, not as long as I don’t tell my kids I’m actually in a relationship, since I’m friends with them on FB, it would be difficult to pull this off otherwise πŸ˜‰
        I’m not 20 any more, when it’s Ok to change relationships every other day.week/month.
        People don’t need to know about my sex life. If they want to know about it, they can try and find me here πŸ˜‰
        But it was important for me to change to ‘it’s complicated’ because most of my friends live abroad, in a wide array of countries. And I didn’t feel like writing an email to everyone explaining what was going on. This seemed like the easiest way to reach everyone easily.
        I did unfriend my ex MIL and my ex’s siblings. I kept a few family members. It helps me remember not to vent there. Easier for my kids too πŸ™‚

  3. So happy for you!
    Sometimes I wonder, how is it that little old me, who spends half her life on FB, always makes friends with/dates people who don’t *do* FB? Can someone explain this to me? But it’s probably for the best. I’m nowhere ready to announce anything on the rooftops yet. Too much at stake in my life still.
    However, I must say that the notion of being an actual BF/GF relationship is something I’m thinking about more and more. I’m starting to care less whether people could see us together (which is different from announcing it on rooftops), I’m contemplating how my parents would react if I were to introduce him to them, what my kids would say?
    I know it’s too soon still. But I’m longing for the day it isn’t!

  4. It’s amazing when somebody says something that just RESONATES. I dated a guy this summer from home and I knew that it wouldn’t work out when I went back to school–we were at a party one night and one of his friends (who didn’t know we were dating) casually said, “You know, sometimes the timing isn’t right. Sometimes you just have to let that person go and trust that someday the timing WILL be right.” I can’t stop thinking about that. I really hope someday the timing will be right.

    • Nothing here is too personal, I don’t think.

      Well I was single for long periods of time before I met my ex-husband…many months if not longer.

      Since becoming single again, I’ve rarely not had anyone skulking around, but between the few relationships I’ve had, they have been sex-only kind of things and I’ve been okay with that. I would have to go look at a calendar but I think there have been a few periods of a couple of months where there’s been nobody.

      I don’t have to have someone around in my life, but I do like keeping busy πŸ™‚

      Why do you ask?

  5. I think this is fabulous. With my husband, things have always been “easy.” Not easy as opposed to difficult, I mean easy as in – things just flow. When we were in love at 17, it was easy… but too young to recognize the value in it. When we reunited at 42, it was again easy, but we now had the maturity to recognize how rare and special what we have is. It isn’t always thunder and fireworks, but comfortable like an old beloved sweater. Things still just flow. And it feels good and safe and peaceful. I hope for you and Fox to have the same!

    • Thank you for that. It’s a feeling I’m not used to – well, I guess to be fair, being with Tony was amazing. But the times apart were brutal as you know.

      But with Fox I just feel relaxed. Which is so lovely.

  6. It’s nothing official, you are dating and there is no shame in that. You spend more time with him than anyone else you are dating. I suspect it eventually will be exclusive. Just enjoy it and don’t think about it.

    • It’s already exclusive – we agreed to that when I came back from my vacation two/three weeks ago.

      And I’m not overthinking it at all – but given where things were at with Tony I felt it prudent for me to really consider how ready I was to have things become more serious with Fox.

    • Well we are actually already exclusive – we agreed when I returned from vacation two weeks ago. With my caveat which he agrees to in principle.

      I’m not overthinking it but given where I was with Tony when I met Fox, I felt it was prudent to ensure I was ready to keep moving forward.

  7. I love this post for several reasons, but let me first get my strongest opinion out of the way. You want closure with Tony. We women always want a nice tidy ending to relationships. You aren’t going to get it with Tony. Let him go, forget about him and focus on the positive relationship you are in right now. Let the loose ends flutter unattended. He is not a “closure” kind of guy. Trying to get closure could inadvertently damage your relationship with Fox.

    Now Fox is good for you for many reasons. You are seeing what a healthy, normal relationship with an emotionally available and mature man looks like. It is relatively easy when compared with the unhealthy marriages we had. That’s why we struggle — because we aren’t use to it. Enjoy it, don’t overthink. This is excellent news!

    The Facebook story made me laugh. The Hunter is really active on FB. I am somewhat, but not as much as him. He runs a group of over 400. Neither one of us have changed our relationship status from single. We laugh about that. The first picture that went up with the two of us got a similar response to yours. I wrote a post about it. Now he and I are together in my profile photo – that’s about as strong an announcement as I can make. People have been telling me they have never seen me so happy. As for FWB, I had one but unfriended him. I unfriended my Ex but left his siblings 😈. Social media is such a mind field.

    Anyway, I love where you are in your journey. Congrats and best wishes.

    • Thank you Maggie – so wise, as always.

      With regard to loose ends…the wee problem I’m having is that Tony keeps texting me every once in a while. So I’m finding the need to just tell him “we’re done”… but over text seems rather cold. I know it won’t ever be tidy but I do need him to stop popping up every once in a while and I think it’s fair to tell him why I’m not reaching out the way I would have before.

      I am working on not overthinking things with Fox. It’s difficult to not interpret everything as being boring. I mean, it’s not boring, but it’s easy. I’m used to complicated.

      But more than anything, it feels so darn lovely to have someone be so concerned with my well-being. And not to his detriment.

      I loved your comment about FB and your ex. I’m still friends with my ex’s Aunt and she even said nice things about a recent pic of Fox and me. Which had me giggling πŸ™‚

      • OK, I know this sounds harsh, but stop responding to Tony’s texts. I think some of his intent there is to see if you are still available to him. If he truly cares or is curious, he will pick up the phone and call you at which time you can tell him you are involved with someone else – he snoozed, he lost. He is treating you badly. You found better, so it’s over and he deserves little time or explanation.

        • He has called me, Maggie, wondering why I didn’t get in touch after I returned. But it was right before I had to go into a meeting so didn’t have time to tell him – and also didn’t know what I was going to say.

          I have been responding to his questions but then stopping. Not moving the conversation forward. I don’t believe in being unkind – which is why I think I need to just tell him and avoid being put in the situation again.

          I do understand where you are coming from, fully.

          • I am always accused of being too nice. 😏 I know you don’t want to hurt his feelings, but just don’t let it drag. You could unintentionally get caught by Fox even though your actions, in your mind, are innocent. My phone has had the habit of chiming at some awkward moments.

          • There is nothing in my actions I wouldn’t tell Fox about if I felt I needed to. I’m really not trying to set up a situation where I see him / reassess things etc. I’m trying to do the decent thing commensurate with how I like to treat people and what Tony deserves.

            But I need to have the conversation and be done with it.

What do you think?