My Desperate Mistakes vs The King of Mixed Signals

I didn’t expect the majority of my posts to be about dating. But the more I put myself out there, the more things happen to me that I feel are worth writing about. Getting back into dating has been quite a wild ride for me. As I was with my previous boyfriend (who in this blog, I’ve nicknamed “Jack Daniels;”) for over 5 years. I had some pretty bad experiences right out of the gate, and if you haven’t caught up on those, here is Part 1 and Part 2. Needless to say, I haven’t had the best dating luck. My last story was how I did everything right, and it still didn’t work out; this is a story about how I did everything, absolutely wrong. 

My Anxiety and Insecurity Got The Best of Me.

While I was still with “Jack Daniels,” he definitely wasn’t the most loyal or consistent boyfriend. I am way to patient of a person about things I shouldn’t be okay with when it comes to dating. He would often disappear for weeks or months on end. Usually, this was because he works in the film industry and would work 100 hour weeks and didn’t have the energy to maintain attention or conversation. So I tried to be understanding. And honestly, he has some major depression issues, so often, when he wasn’t working, I wouldn’t hear from him for long stretches either.

As understanding as I was, I was quite often left feeling taken advantage of and unsure about our relationship. Before we actually broke up, I had spent a weekend trying to get a hold of “Jack Daniels,” with no response. Only to catch him at a bar with a girl just outright ignoring me. I bring this up because its important to note, he often was just avoiding me for long periods, usually sleeping with other women.

All of this is important because that’s how “Code Name Motor Boat” and I met. (I will explain the nickname eventually) A few years before “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, there was a time I hadn’t really heard from him in a month. And I wasn’t going to wait around to see if he was going to come back. I downloaded some dating apps and put myself out there.

That’s when “Motor Boat” and I matched. In fact, he was someone I already happened to know. I used to go to parties at his house a lot when I first moved to New Mexico. So it was pretty easy to get into a casual swing of talking.

I want to start by outright stating, he is just a fascinating human. He’s INCREDIBLY intelligent, insanely funny, witty, attractive, and into so many of the same things I was. He had a tendency for engineering and science, but was also in a Funk Band and loved film. He is so well rounded and versatile that I find him incredibly fascinating.

But just by chance, every time we tried to make plans to hang out, something would happen. And honestly, maybe it was because subconsciously I was waiting for “Jack Daniels” to come back.

Seeing as “Jack Daniels” and I didn’t break up for another few years, obviously “Motor Boat” and I didn’t actually spend time with each other. But for the next few years, every time I started to feel neglected by “Jack Daniels,” there was this voice in the back of my mind. I’d remind myself that there were people who were actually interested in me.

Thinking that way, however, built up this connection in my head with “Motor Boat,” that, in reality, had never been there. A few months after “Jack Daniels” and I broke up; when “Motor Boat” commented on one of my Instagram stories. I jumped on the opportunity. Well, we both did as he definitely outright texted me a variation of “lets Netflix and Chill.”

I had been drinking downtown with friends at my favorite bar, and he swung by and eventually ended up heading back to his place to drink more.

He was so sweet, he asked me about what I had been up to lately, commenting about things he had seen on social media that I posted. He even showed concern for how depressed I had been last year and wanted to know if I needed to talk about it. 

It didn’t take very long to reach the “chill” part of Netflix and chill. And I’m not going to sugar coat it… It was bad. Not because of anything he did. But more what he didn’t do. Which wasn’t much of anything. I’m not even really sure you could call it intercourse…It was not just him, though. I liked him so much that I was unusually nervous, and I could not stop giggling. Which is obviously a turn off for anyone. And he was pretty drunk, so he was struggling to focus.

This was when I made my first big mistake. I didn’t get much sleep and have a bad habit of overthinking things when I’m hungover. “Hanxiety,” I call it. I way too QUICKLY let him know that I had a good time and was down to hang out again. Which I know came off as very desperate. He gave a very brief, “I’m down” reply. Which is promising but also vague. 

I didn’t hear much from him after that. And that’s when my anxious, insecure mind kicked into overdrive. I kept wondering if it was a one-time casual thing or if there was a chance to really get to know each other. After all, I really did like him and would rather have known if I needed to move on or not. So about a week later, I reached out and asked. 

You would think it would come off as a valid and mature question. It didn’t. It ended up coming off frantic and clingy. 

He was confused, reminding me we had decided to hang out again. Then I repeatedly apologized for coming off so insecure, which I think was the nail in the coffin for “what could have been” at that time. He let me know he wasn’t looking for anything serious, and I told him (and myself) I was okay with that, that I wasn’t looking for anything either. When really, I was deeply disappointed.

I wondered if it was because I came on stronger than I intended. I worried that it was because “Motor Boat” didn’t enjoy our sexual encounter. I usually get pretty good feedback about physical encounters, so having someone out there who potentially thought otherwise, was embarrassing and frustrating. 

At this point, I did the responsible thing by not contacting him anymore. I mean, really, if someone is interested in you, they will reach out.

It was also the catalyst for me to finally seek medication for my mental health. The level that I spun out about a guy I had hooked up with ONE TIME wasn’t healthy, and I am happy I got on medication. I’m way more grounded now.

I Continued to REALLY do Everything Wrong.

About a month and a half went by, and I was out drinking with a few friends. At this brewery that had this sign about a return policy that I thought was just absolutely hilarious. Who has a return policy at a brewery? Anyway, I took a picture and sent it ‘snap-chat’ style, to several people I thought would think it funny. Considering we had resigned to just being friendly, I also sent it to “Motor Boat.” It was something I knew he’d find funny.

He responded with, “Is that an invitation?” It hadn’t initially been, but I really liked this guy, and my friends were cool with him joining. So he met up with us, where he eventually swept me away from my friends and took me back to his place. That night to told me, “I never heard back from you; I thought there was something there,” I responded with, “Well, I felt like I came on too strong, and you wanted me to leave you alone.” We weren’t able to hook up that night because 1. we were both too drunk, and 2. I had a particular visitor that occasionally gets in the way.

However, I still initially thought it was a nice night. He didn’t judge me as I was so drunk I definitely got sick. And we fell asleep on the couch while he was clutching me close, and it was the most comfortable and safest I had felt since before my break up with “Jack Daniels.” 

At the time, it felt like he was genuinely disappointed he had never heard back from me and was happy to have me there. I was excited to not have to rush off to work the next morning, hoping we could spend some sober time together.

Except for the next morning, he woke me in a hurry asking me to leave. He had some family stuff he had to do, and his sister would be there soon. He apologized profusely, promising to make it up to me. Kissing me over and over again as he did so.

Because family plans are a valid reason to need to get your day going, I left in really high spirits. Maybe I didn’t overthink it the first time, and maybe there was something there.

Over the next few weeks, I asked him to hang out several times. However, something was always coming up. And both because I am too patient about some things, and because those reasons always seemed genuine. I understood. Adults are busy, and he clearly had a tight bond with his family, which kept him incredibly unavailable.

Slowly I began to realize again that I was pushing something that wasn’t going to happen. I was chasing someone who wasn’t into me. But I kept trying. I kept thinking about how “Motor Boat” had told me he was disappointed that I disappeared the last time and thought something was there. 

 I asked him on an actual date night to see a friend of mines play. I even picked a weeknight in hopes he would be more available. He agreed!! We had it all planned out, I bought the tickets and everything. I had a beautiful dress, bought a bottle of Jameson for afterward, and was determined to make it a good time.

A few days before, he actually ASKED ME out to drinks. It was a relief because I wasn’t the only one initiating contact, it was mid-week, and he had had a shitty day. He vented to me all night about things going on in his life and how overwhelmed he was.

As he walked me to my car, he kissed me and confirmed our date for that weekend. I felt confident that I wasn’t some crazy girl chasing someone who was never going to be into me.

That is until the day of our date. That morning he checked in about what time we were meeting up. Later in the day, he even offered to pick me up instead of meeting me there. But literally 2 hours before we were supposed to meet, yet again. Something came up. And yet again, it sounded serious and genuine. This time it was about his mother being in the hospital, so I sincerely hope he was telling the truth.

Either way. I was devastated. I was so excited about that night. I knew that was going to be a show he would have loved. I went anyway by myself. My friend, who was in the production, had drinks with me later that night. If you read Part 2 of my negative dating experiences, this was the night everything happened with “Vanilla.” Where a guy I knew had pulled me into a bathroom and asked me to ‘get on my knees.’

Suffice to say, it was a terrible night. Two days later, I wake up to a text message from “Motor Boat,” reading quote, “I can no longer entertain your advances.”

Initially, my gut reaction was to just not react at all. I didn’t even need to open the message because I could read it all in the text preview. I immediately just deleted the whole thread and didn’t say anything. What was there to say? I was crushed. But why tell him that? I knew that the little things he had given me to indicate he also liked me didn’t compare to the signals that he wasn’t. I felt so stupid, so crushed.

You would think that would have been me doing the responsible, secure thing, right? Well, for a few weeks after that, I would then hear from him ALL THE TIME. Previously we didn’t really interact on social media at all, but he was interacting with ALL of my posts. And sending me messages commenting about them.

I would politely, but shortly respond. Confused at this point. But the breaking point was one night at 3 AM I get several text messages, the first of which that just read:

Motorboat.” 

Followed by:

“SMH”

“NvMind”

“sorry”

and so on…

I lost my shit. How dare “Motor Boat” tell me to leave him alone and then continue to engage in the same kind of conversation I had been earlier. Let alone the middle of the night. This is where the nickname “Code Name Motor Boat” came to life. My friends happened to be up with me that night and started calling him that. (However, he’s also known in my circle, as the “King of Mixed Signals, and eventually just F*ck Boy )

His reason the next morning was, I was sleep texting. Which, after some research, is apparently a real thing. However, it tends to be the last person you contacted, since you’re half asleep, and it had been at least a week and a half since I had engaged with him. So I still call bullshit. I was no longer giving him attention, and he didn’t know what to do.

I was livid. I did what he wanted, I had left him alone. Not just once but twice. I savagely went after all the reasons he was clearly giving me mixed signals. That he was clearly going through a rough time, however, he was still worth the effort to have a connection. And for that matter, so was I. I made sure to point out I had made an effort to get to know him and the things he had been going through, and he took advantage of it while not bothering to get to know me at all.

This Is Where His Mixed Signals Really Kick In.

I really did feel like I went too far with my final blowup. I went after “Motor Boat” on a deeply personal level, which is something I tend to do when I’m feeling hurt and pushed into a corner. I lash back with words, harshly.

A few months later (in fact, the night before New Mexico’s lockdown happened), I texted him and apologized. I think part of me had felt guilty for, in a way, going for the jugular emotionally. But also being freaked out about how much life was changing. I had a limited number of friends to turn to and felt a little lonely and insecure.

(I guess this is a good time to mention, I had a pretty big falling out with a portion of my friend group in the winter of last year. I haven’t quite known how to write about it because… there is still a lot to process about it.)

He told me he didn’t think I had anything to apologize for. That he understood where I was coming from, and that he was sorry that I felt used. He even let me know I was why he remembered he was worth the effort and sought out mental health assistance. We ended up meeting for drinks at a brewery he’s a regular at.

We toasted to the fact that we were helping a local business on the last day they could be open. When the brewery closed, he knew all of the employees, so we hung out with the staff after hours. We drank with them and vented about how freaked out we were that everything was changing and that many of us didn’t know what we were going to do while work was shut down.

My phone died, and “Motor Boat” paid for an Uber for me to get home. I drunkenly told the delightful Uber driver how much of a crush I had on him the entire ride home. She was very supportive in telling me, “I hope you hear back from him.”

After that night, I knew I needed to take a step back and assess the ENTIRE situation. He had clearly shown signals of not being interested, and the conversation the night before was clearly a closure conversation.

So I made a point to let him know that I was also interested in pursuing new friendships. I explained I had a falling out with a portion of my previous friend group and wanted to cultivate new and healthy ones.

He seemed interested, but with him, it was always hard to tell. 

I’m Bad at Walking Away From People I Like. Even When It Isn’t Good For Me.

Throughout quarantine, we would both hear from each other. Which was nice because I didn’t feel like I was chasing after someone who wanted me to leave them alone.

But, being the King of Mixed Signals, that he was. There were several times it was hard to tell if he was friendly or flirting. He’d initiate contact. When the conversation would turn back around to how he was doing; He’d talk about how much he wanted cuddles or a date. I attempted to not make an assumption that he was flirting. For example, in one instance, I sent him a PDF of a “Cuddle Buddy Application” for him to send jokingly to other potential partners. He had been talking about the fact that he was putting himself out there again, I figured he’d find it funny. Instead, he filled it out and sent it back to me!

For most of quarantine, it was like this. One of us would kind of reach out, we’d have a friendly conversation, and I would try not to push it too far. And since I was keeping my expectations in check, I had found myself excited to build a friendship with “Motor Boat” instead. I’m a pretty firm believer that just because someone (me) has a crush on someone else (Motor Boat,) it does not mean they owe you anything. They are under no obligation to like you back. Especially after I had started seeing “Caper.” But if you read my blog, you know that ended after 2 months with me bein incredibly heartbroken. 

My Last Big Mistake

So when my heart got broken, he was one of the people I vented to about it. Venting to male friends about dating has always been helpful by expanding my perspective. I started to tell him what was going on, and he invited me over to talk about it instead. 

When I got there, he immediately kissed me. Obviously, I was taken by surprise. He had been drinking already, and I wanted comfort on top of the fact that I really do just have an intense crush on this guy. We did inevitably end up sleeping together again that night.

And I was not going to leave without showing him I was better at it then our only other encounter appeared to be. Yet again, he was just tipsy enough not to be able to focus. It was clear our bad sexual encounter the first time was definitely NOT my fault. 

You would think bad sex would be enough for me to stop chasing after someone. But I like to think I’m not that shallow, and I still find this guy intriguing. 

Now, this continues to be our cycle. We’re friendly. We sleep together or have a sexting conversation. Then “Motor Boat” disappears for a bit, but always comes back. I know I’m chasing after someone who isn’t interested again. Only this time, it isn’t strictly romantic. I really thought there was a friendship worth pursuing.

I Acknowledge How I Brought This On and Can Still be Frustrated at Mixed Signals. 

I want to be very clear that I acknowledge the mistakes I have made here. I know that I’m pushing something that isn’t there. I keep going back to it even though I have very little to go off of. And that I shouldn’t want something with someone who doesn’t give me all the attention I deserve. 

However, since this is my blog, and I know two things can be true simultaneously, I’m going to vent about his bullshit. What kind of annoying f*ck-boy behavior is that? Who continues to tell someone they aren’t interested in a relationship and then take every chance they want at getting laid? And not just taking advantage of getting laid, but only doing so on their terms? We will sleep together or have a sexting conversation when he’s in the mood, so I will assume its okay to ask for it when I’m feeling in the mood for it, but he won’t respond. 

He also only ever talks about himself when we hang out. Even when I reach out because I need someone to vent to. We spend 90% of the conversation on his life. When I went over to vent about “Casper,” we mostly talked about an argument he had with his family about making pizza… for hours!! What is it with men and them not wanting you to be too into them, yet they expect you to stay within arm’s length because you also aren’t allowed to be into anyone else. 

“Motor Boat” also continues to change his story too. One week I’ll reach out (on something like Messenger), and he won’t respond. He will tell me, “Oh, I was at the cabin, no wifi out there.” The next, he’s bragging about how the wifi at his cabin is better than at his house. 

It feeds their ego. Men don’t want to deal with their own emotions. Or telling the truth, but having attention smooths the empty hole inside of them. He’s kind of a textbook definition of a “F*ck-Boy,” and if you don’t know what that is, here is a link. 

Enjoy this song By Maddie & Lexi, that clearly describes what I’m talking about.

Even The Universe Is Against Me On This One.

The universe also seems to be pushing back against me on this. The Thursday before last, we had a sexting conversation. Initiated by him, obviously. However, I was busy, so I couldn’t hang out to follow through. But I enjoyed the conversation and wanted to continue to tease him. So on Sunday, I sent him a selfie. And Monday, I sent him some EXCELLENT Thirst traps if I do say so myself. After our conversation the previous Thursday, I was floored that he didn’t respond. So I left it at that, yet again we had a sexual conversation when he felt like it, but when I felt like it, he would avoid it. Supposedly he never got any of those messages, and they all went through at once almost a week later. Which obviously freaked him out. I am so frustrated because I didn’t do anything wrong. I definitely spaced those messages out, and when I thought he wasn’t responding to them, I didn’t push it. It feels so unfair that I continue to look so terrible in this situation despite how I keep trying to do the opposite. It’s like my life is right out of an awful sitcom sometimes; I told him I hadn’t blown up his phone like a crazy person. But at that point, there is only so much explaining you can do without making it worse. 

Final Thoughts

I know that the only person responsible for putting me in this awkward, desperate situation is me. The only reason I come off this way is my own inability to let go of a crush. That being said, just because I have a crush on someone doesn’t mean they owe me anything. You can have feelings or an attraction to someone and not expect them to feel the same way back. It happens all the time. The friend-zone is not a real place. That goes for all genders. It’s called being an adult. 

The only thing I do wish he would do is to figure out where he stands and stick with it. It felt like we were going to start a friends with benefits relationship, and I was definitely okay with that. Being single is hard, and even more challenging in the middle of a pandemic. And I get touch starved really really quickly. But we will have an encounter or a conversation, and he disappears again. We will then get to a place where we are strictly platonic, and he will kiss me out of nowhere. I might be responsible for sticking around and keeping my hopes up. But I still feel like it was pretty easy to read into what was and is still happening. 

This catches us up to now. Though, to be honest, I really do like “Motor Boat,” so I would be very open to it if something were still there. However, I can completely accept it might not go that way. I am just not okay with the wishy-washy behavior. It’s hard not to feel taken advantage of. It makes me want to remind the world of my continuous mantra, that I’ve brought up a few times in this blog. 

“You’re an adult, use your words!” 

Thank you for reading! Leave a comment, tell me about your experiences being led on or accidently leading on someone else. Tell me about the one that got away! If you enjoyed this piece tell your friends. Share this on social media, and follow me on instagram @adventuresofeleanor and facebook at Adventures of Eleanor.

Dating in Quarantine: A Ghost Story

Greetings fellow adventurers! It has been too long. Like many of you I let the unproductive vibe of quarantine take over me and like most of my artistic outlets, I put writing aside. But, oh boy, what an eventful few months quarantine was for me.

I’ve written a lot about dating since I started this blog. That wasn’t my original intention for this blog, however it does seem to be the thing I feel most drawn to talk about. Probably because writing is a form of catharsis.

If you read Part 1 and Part 2 of my posts about my negative experiences getting back into dating, you’ll know I had a rough time getting back out there. I was going through a whole personal experience of putting much of my self validation into casual sex and it was making me feel small.

At the time I think deep down I didn’t believe I deserved a real relationship. When I started this blog I was going through a break up of a 5 year long relationship. I spent years of my life being treated like an option, wondering if it was even a real relationship, and gaslit about everything I was experiencing. So I wasn’t exactly manifesting quality partners, after that.

There Was Someone Else at First

That’s when I first came into contact with “Casper,” We matched on Tinder. And had a brief conversation, the problem was I had matched with a few other people at that time and was in the process of getting to know them. I couldn’t handle juggling to many people at once. So I let him fall off into the dating app wasteland, of missed connections.

At that time I was already talking two guys, “GR” which is this blog’s nickname short for Golden Retriever. He was sweet and incredibly athletic, but …well… I will describe it as book smart not street smart. He was active and affectionate. He just wasn’t very… witty, kind of like a Golden Retriever. There was no way my chubby medium exercise self was going to be able to keep up with his extreme athletic hobbies, and even though he was getting a masters degree, intellectually we just weren’t connecting.

There was also, “News Guy” (because he worked on a news station) which I connected with strongly right off the bat. Which is pretty much why I didn’t give “Casper” much of a chance at first. I thought I had found something, and why waste any ones time?

Over time though, connecting with “News Guy” became more and more of a challenge. We had COMPLETELY opposite schedules, so even finding time for a date was difficult. He worked the graveyard shift and I worked during the afternoons. We connected really really well on a personal level though, and for the most part on a physical level as well! Yet, there was something standing in our way in that regard. Now, I am very open to kinks, as I explain in Part 1 and Part 2 of my negative dating experiences. But he had a very specific cuckold kink.

Originally, I was open to the idea, because jumping into a serious relationship after being with my ex for 5 years wasn’t exactly what I was ready for. And to be perfectly honest, my ex and I were exploring trying again at the time. When he broke up with me he stated “He wasn’t in a place to be in a relationship but wanted to keep sleeping together.” And like an idiot…. I agreed.

So at the time it seemed like the perfect compromise. I was moving on with my life but I got to keep my ex in my life. Even better I wasn’t lying to the guy I was seeing about it, and it was something he was also getting something out of. It, however, quickly became to much for me to handle. “News Guy,” was hoping for me to be on the prowl with new and random guys on the regular, and I was at a place where I wasn’t okay with casual sex at all, let alone FOR someone else’s benefit. We couldn’t even manage our time to coordinate many real dates.

When I would express how I really didn’t just want a sexual relationship with someone. We would end up bickering, because he was just out of a marriage and didn’t want anything serious. He didn’t understand why I was feeling like it had turned into a connection just about sex. And I kind of get his perspective. For him, being able to find someone who supported his really out there kinks was a form of connection. A connection he isn’t going to find often. And I was really struggling with the fact that we couldn’t spend time together for me to have the kind of quality connection I was looking for.

Quarantine Hit and Everything Changed

I had gotten to a place, right before everything shut down, that I couldn’t wait around for yet another person to have time for me. I had done that for years with my ex. I would ask “News guy” to drinks or come over for a movie, and something would always come up. So I put myself back out there. I was still talking to “News Guy” just less seriously. I figured if I found new people he would get what he needed out of it and I wasn’t completely alone while I was looking for an actual connection. One that would potentially be monogamous and simple.

That’s when “Casper,” and I matched again on a different dating app. Honestly, he had put different photos of himself up so I didn’t recognize him until he started the conversation with “So we meet again.” I was so embarrassed. But figured if we matched more than once, there was probably a reason.

By then I was out of work and in complete quarantine lock-down. And honestly I was incredibly relieved. Because I was so tired of feeling like a sexual object. It was so nice that potential dating partners had no other choice but to talk to me for awhile. Taking sex off the table, and out of my control, helped.

Since I was lonely in quarantine. I went ahead and not only matched with several people, but continued full conversations with them all. Because… what else was I going to do. I even did several, very awkward, zoom dates.

I was getting so many “Good Morning” texts from people, I remember joking with my friends about how I might actually leave quarantine with several boyfriends! But at the head of the pack every single day, I would hear from “Casper.” I was taking quarantine pretty seriously, especially because of my Nanny job, and he had a hard time with that. He knew that it was easier to make a real connection, in person.

He tried lots of creative ways to make new connections with me. Every day. He would send me little videos of himself via text message, and tell me good morning, EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. (In hindsight, I should learn to be weary of the ‘Good Morning’ text kind of guy but here we are)

Eventually he did talk me into coming over to watch a movie. I was so nervous. We both were. I was scared because who knew if I was exposing myself to Covid-19, and what would happen if I brought that back to the 2 year old I watched? I was especially nervous because I didn’t want to sleep with anyone, I was still struggling so much with tying sex to my self worth. First dates are always incredibly nerve wracking anyway, especially when there is an actual connection involved.

Our First Date

It actually went very very smoothly. Originally it started out as a joke. “Come over and take a nap with me.” And before I knew it we were making real plans for me to come over. I remember pulling up to his driveway and thinking, “Am I really sure this is a good idea?” It took quite a bit of courage to actually walk up to his front door. I had brought with me a six pack of beer, as liquid courage, for both of us. A deep breath, a quick self motivational chant, and I was pushing myself towards the door…

I am not exaggerating when I tell you all, that when he walked up to his screen door to let me in, I got an intense wave of butterflies in my stomach when I saw him in person for the first time. He was so much better looking than his profile photos. That’s not to say his profile photos weren’t attractive, they definitely were, but he far surpassed them in person. Not in the, you’re so perfect you could be a model kind of way, but in a you check ALL of MY boxes, kind of way.

Meeting for a first date is uncomfortable enough; let alone meeting at some strangers house for the first time. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see he had an incredibly noticeable, calming effect on me. We sat down and started watching one of the Avengers Movies. He introduced me to his adorable 7 month old puppy. That he had rescued and still wasn’t completely sure what kind of dog he was (other than adorable). He was clearly part lab but the rest was still up in the air. Who was very excited to meet me, and I really do love making new animal friends.

It was like being in high school again. All the tension and adrenaline. As he edged his way closer to me on the couch, and put his arm around me, every inch of me was on fire. We made jokes about what was on the screen, and I pointed out some continuity errors. He laughed, stating that he wondered if I was ‘that kind’ of film person.

Despite going into the date with the intention of NOT getting physical with him right way, the sexually charged tension between us was electric, and I absolutely gave in. I did eventually stop and asked him to slow down before we did anything I was worried I would feel small about later. He was remarkably respectful and supportive about it. Which instantly made me even more comfortable around him, and deepened my attraction to him. I remember later on the next day, worrying I had disappointed him by not going as far as he might have liked, and I realized this was the first person I had been intimate with in a long time that I felt confidently comfortable saying NO to. Which as I’ve stated a few times, was a big deal for where I was with my relationship with sex.

That being said, not having full intercourse with him didn’t mean I didn’t have a very very good time fooling around with him. The most eloquent way I can describe the rest of our evening is he knew how to play my body like a finely tuned instrument.

A Connection Like No Other

After that we were talking all day everyday. There was clearly a strong connection there. Every morning I would hear from him and we would chat until the day was over. Once or twice a week I would end up at his place as it was the only form of date we could do in quarantine.

He had an amazing attention to detail. Both visually to his surroundings and when I would tell him about myself. He would remember details of stories I told him about myself and Id be shocked. I don’t think I had ever felt so heard in my life.

“Casper,” was so much more affectionate that any man I had spent time with, including my ex, in years. I was almost suspicious of it. Right off the bat I was getting forehead kisses, he was holding me close, and holding my hand. It was so foreign to me I genuinely didn’t know how to react. I was used to needing to leave at the end of the night after a date, even one that ended intimately, that I was blown away by him asking me to stay the night.

You don’t realize how much those little details of being treated well really matter until you go from not experiencing them to experiencing them. I was trying not to be paranoid, because often people who act that way move to fast and end up in things that aren’t right for them. Everything seemed so genuine though. Here was another lost and lonely soul who truly needed the human connection and affection.

About a month had gone by. We had learned so much about each other. About each others families, our goals, and frustrations; it really felt like we had turned into something real. When I talked to my friends about him they nicknamed him “Patient Casper,” because I realized I should have given him more of a chance when we matched on Tinder, the first time. He was so supportive, especially when I wasn’t feeling emotionally my best.

He Made Me Ready to Say Goodbye to My Past

A Backstory

At this time I learned something about my ex, that despite breaking up a year ago, crushed me to my very core. In order to understand, I need to go back in time to last year, about 2 months before my ex and I broke. At that time,I hadn’t heard from him in a MONTH. This wasn’t unusual as he worked in the film industry working 100+ hour days and it often left him with little energy to focus on a personal life. I spent that weekend, at that time, asking if he had time to hang out and just wanted to check in. When I never heard anything I decided to go to out dancing at a bar with my friends. Where I found my ex dancing with another girl.

I was floored. I flipped out. Not only was he potentially CHEATING. But if he had the energy to go out and party, why wasn’t he able to simply RESPOND TO A TEXT MESSAGE? We didn’t break up for another two months, he insisted he wasn’t seeing anyone else and that I had overreacted. He deeply guilt-ed me for causing a scene. When we did eventually break up, he insisted there wasn’t anyone else. Later on, last fall, we even tried again for awhile before resigning to being friends.

But fast forward to 2020, after I thought we had had all of our ‘closure’ conversations and were in a good place of genuine friendship. I learned that not only did he lie and gas-light me about cheating, with the girl I caught him with that night, but that he had been in a ‘relationship’ with her ever since. So not only did he gas-light me, but he cheated on me, and then turned around and cheated on her when I was under the impression we were trying again.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels

Everything Shifted

It took one text to confirm all of this from my ex. It brought back a flood of unaddressed emotions. Heartbreak that I HAD been cheated on and anger that he had lied. To me and her. Even worse, we were long broken up and in what I thought was a place of honesty, he knew I was seeing new people and I encouraged him to be honest with me. Why continue to lie to me when there wasn’t anything to hide anymore.

“Casper” was so supportive of the fact that I was taken aback by this. I didn’t fully explain, as I was afraid I would scare him away if I talked to much about my ex. Yet he acknowledged and validated all of the feelings I was experiencing. It put me in a place where I was truly ready to let go of all of it and move forward, especially so I could make healthy space for a potential future with him.

After all of that, my sister ended up in the hospital. And yet again, he was surprisingly supportive. I was having a hard time and he was there. He made my concerns feel heard, and he went out of his way to make sure I didn’t feel alone.

Another month had gone by and I was gearing up to go on a Memorial Day weekend adventure, with some friends. The only socially distanced vacation we could responsibly take, was renting an Air BnB in the mountains. I remember taking the chance at being extra vulnerable by letting him know that I knew I was going to deeply miss him. “Is it terrible that I want to tell you I know I will miss you?” I said. “Why would that be terrible? I’ll miss you too” He truly seemed to feel what I felt. We were I was at a place I felt like I could relax and enjoy experiencing a new human connection.

When I got back from vacation, we hung out again. It was such a beautiful time. I remembered enjoying the rhythm of our breathing patterns syncing up. The next morning, we got up showered, and got ready like it was a normal couple routine. We walked out the door together, he pulled me in tightly and kissed me goodbye, and told me to have a wonderful day. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the last time I would see him.

The next few days we texted as usual. Nothing seemed amiss. Usually you see it coming when someone loses interest in you. There wasn’t a single sign in sight. One tuesday morning I had gotten up early to go kayaking with a friend. I woke up to my usual “Good Morning Sunshine” text. I went on my kayak run, talked with my friend about how great everything was going with “Casper,” and how I was excited that I had finally found someone.

By that night, I asked him how his day was. He told me he had gone to dinner with his mom and they had had a fight. He told me that he wasn’t doing great because of it. I did my best to be supportive but didn’t hear back. I assumed that he just needed some space after a bad day, but that was the last I had herd from him. Well, truly heard from him. Suddenly we had gone from a supportive couple, to nothing and I didn’t know it yet.

Photo by Ismael Sanchez from Pexels

Ghosting is Painful

I kept thinking he was just going through a hard time, and honestly needing space is valid. Which it is. I gave him a week before checking in again. I asked him if something happened and if he was ok. I didn’t hear anything. Another week went by and I checked in again. Didn’t hear anything. I sent him a few supportive and kind texts letting him know I was here for him if he needed but also that I just wanted to know what was going on. Nothing. Eventually I sent him a question bluntly asking if he was ghosting me. And it wouldn’t even deliver. Not only was he ghosting me, he had blocked me.

I. Was. Crushed. One day everything was great, and the next it was gone. This isn’t like hooking up with a guy once or twice and them ghosting you because they just aren’t into you. I had been seeing “Casper” for over 2 months and had every indication there were mutual feelings involved.

I was blindsided and in an incredible amount of pain. Personally I believe that ghosting is a cruel and cowardly act. I understand the notion that we don’t owe anyone an explanation if they make us uncomfortable, but how are we supposed to grow if we don’t know?

I find myself going back to a mantra I’ve been using all year: “You’re an ADULT use your words.” It isn’t that hard to explain to someone that they either aren’t interested, or that they just are not in a place to pursue something. Other peoples reactions to your honesty are not your problem, but how you TREAT people is.

This instance has been a bit easier, as I can tell it doesn’t have to do with me. Whatever happened with his family, clearly sent him in a downward mental health spiral, so it feels less personal. That being said, it still hurts. There was something real there and then it was just gone. I deserved, at minimum, the respect of saying goodbye. Random, almost shallow things bother me about it too. Like I most likely will NEVER have sex like that again. Not only was he incredibly affectionate but it was legitimately the best I have ever had.

He Made it Worse

Two weeks after he originally ghosted me, I heard from him. After I had already done so much work to move on. He didn’t say much. He apologized for being an a*****. I let him know that whatever he was going through was valid, I had just been trying to figure out if I needed to move on or if he just needed space.

He told me he just needed space. So I got my hopes up. That was to weeks ago, and I never heard back. Making it a month since I truly heard from him. What kind of child do you have to be to do that to someone? I can completely understand that depression and anxiety can do that to you. Can cripple you into being unable to communicate, but stringing someone along for over a month, when you clearly aren’t actually interested. Or in a place to pursue something. Unfortunately we all go through these things, but we still have a responsibility to have respect for the people around us. For example, you are allowed to have bad days, however a bad day is not an excuse to get away with treating people poorly. The same rule applies because we are adults.

I think the hardest part for me, is knowing that he is going through something so cripplingly painful, and I cant help him. I want so badly to help ease his pain. I hate that he isn’t ok. Yet, I can’t push my help onto anyone who doesn’t want it. And at the end of the day, all I want is to want someone who wants me back.

Its hard not to wonder, “what did I do wrong?” “Why wasn’t I enough?” “Should I have kept my problems to myself?” But in this one particular instance I honestly think I did everything right. I didn’t rush into it, I was authentic, I even handled him disappearing gently and with kindness. Instead of making what he was going through about me, I was just trying to remind him that I was there for him and just trying to figure out what he needed. Even if it meant me moving on.

If I can take anything away from this that’s a positive. Its that I have grown enough not to obsessively blow up someones phone when I’m not getting the attention I’m craving. Its an incredibly small consolation prize, but it is growth.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Reasons Not to Ghost Anyone

When venting to one of the few friends I do currently have about what I’ve been going through. His response was “I’ve ghosted people.” I was shocked.

On one hand he had an interesting perspective. He compared lost connections to lost investments. He explained that in his line of work you can sink a lot of money into a project but if its not giving you the returns you need you just need to walk away. Which in a way is a healthy way of looking at it.

However I still don’t believe Ghosting is a responsible adult way of handling anything. Psychology Today explains that people who ghost do so because they “are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel.”

In Layman’s terms, if you are the kind of person who ghosts. You don’t do it to protect other peoples feelings, you do it so you don’t have to face your own feelings about being an asshole. Psychology Today also describes it as a form of “Emotional Cruelty.” And that “Ghosting causes you to question yourself, which can be devastating to your self-esteem.”

I’m Having a Hard Time With It

Even though it was a short relationship. I have been having a really hard time with this loss. I have grown enough to know that it isn’t about me, and that whatever “Casper,” is going through is legitimate and heavy. But its completely distracted me from my life. I find myself deeply grieving. It feels so stupid to grieve this deeply for something that was so short lived. However, what it was while it lasted was very real. And I deserved better. I deserve better than what anyone has given me over the last few years. I acknowledge that I haven’t been manifesting what I am worthy of until recently, but that doesn’t change what I am worthy of. All I really want is someone who I want that wants me back. I’m not in a hurry to get married or have kids. But a valid, genuine connection isn’t asking too much.

Thoughts To Leave With

Have you ever been ghosted? How did it feel? Did you ever ghost someone? Why did you do it? I encourage you all to share with me your experiences in this regard.

This was a story about how I did everything right, and it didn’t seem to matter. Stay tuned for my next post which is a story about how sometimes its my fault things don’t work out. If you like my blog please share this on social media or subscribe.

Once upon a time: First Love and First Heartbreak.

“Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable”

The Tin Man – Wizard of Oz

When I was a little I was always drawn to fairy tales. And ask my mother, it was never because of the romances involved but because they were inherently dark and adventurous. Maybe its because both my parents were the type to remind me there is more to the world than settling down. Or maybe it was because at the time I had an entire world ahead of me. But in my youth I strongly questioned the honest nature of love. Currently I find myself questioning it all over again. Wondering if it were better to have kept that mentality , or to have tried over and over again like I did. Either way I’ve decided its best to express what I’m going through in my life now by going back to the very beginning.

I spent most of my early dating years being the heart breaker. I wasn’t going to attach myself to someone unless it was grand and adventurous. Even when it came to my first high school boyfriend. All my friends had one. So I thought I should to. He was nice enough and attractive enough. But there was so many other things in life that seemed important to me at the time. And that deep connection you’re supposed to have with someone wasn’t there.

I remember thriving on that feeling of being unobtainable. It felt like part of my identity a the time. However, the universe has a way of knocking you down a peg when you get too full of yourself like that. I had just started college and was ready to leave the high school version of myself behind. That’s when I met him. “Panda.”

Panda was unlike any other person I had met before. At the time life just burst out of him. The good and the bad parts. He still believed in magic. He had no time for bulls*%@. We were freshman in college and had the entire world to conquer.

I fell for this man way before I started dating him. When we first met he had a girlfriend. So we started off as friends. We had all the same classes and even worked in the same work study program together. We were freshman in the trenches together. As time went on our friendship got closer and closer. So when he and his girlfriend at the time didn’t work out it just felt natural, like we were supposed to be together. To be honest, over a decade later now, the lines between who he was with and when are blurred. If you were to ask her she’d probably tell you they were still working things out when he and I got together, however I remember trying to be patient. Regardless I know that makes me a bit of the villain here, and spoiler alert Karma did come back for me.

I will always remember the day we got together. He had been feeling distraught about his now ex-girlfriend and needed a friend to talk to about it. We went on a drive and ended up at a scenic overlook watching the sunset. We stayed there talking the whole night. Eventually a blanket came out and we huddled up close to each other to keep warm. Sparks were flying. I knew I had feelings for him but had always done my best to not let it interfere with his relationship. But that relationship was over now.

Before I knew it we were holding hands. It felt natural and forbidden all at the same time. I don’t think either of us even breathed for the first few minutes. Then very slowly and timidly, as if it were written for a movie, we had our first kiss. I felt like my entire body had just exploded. We stayed there kissing, and talking, and cuddling till the sun came up. And then without skipping a beat we went for breakfast. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

The rest of our relationship seemed just like that. We were young and hungry for romance. Like we were two pieces of the same puzzle. Its funny to think back on it now, how naive and passionate we were. I remember our first Valentines Day together. We made a big fancy pasta dinner, packed it up for a picnic, and drove back up to the scenic overlook we had our first kiss at. We were each others “firsts” in a lot of ways. We got to explore the different aspects of romance and intimacy together at our own youthful and excited pace. He was always my “Panda,” and he called me “Bunny,” and “Baby Girl.” We burned so hot and so fast it was eventually our downfall.

After a year went by we moved in with each other. We had no idea what we were doing. We hadn’t taken the time to really get to know what kind of future the other wanted for themselves. After a year of living together things started to turn sour. The same burning hot fire we put behind our romantic passion we began to put behind our resentments of each other.

We burned each other from the inside out. We tried taking a step back and living separately but that seemed to only divide us more. Nothing one of us did seemed to be enough for the other. Our bitterness and resentment grew. Even as I sit here writing, trying to remember examples of fights we had. They all blur together and I can’t really remember what any of them were about. Some were me being selfish and putting my school grades and needs before his. Some were his extremely short and hot temper. A lot of them came from both of our needs to impress the upperclassmen above us and the kind of people that mentality turned us into.

Until one labor day weekend. After 2 years and 9 months he walked me back to my apartment sat down on my couch and told me it was over. Even though we had constantly been fighting I still hadn’t seen it coming. I was blindsided.

I completely broke down. I struggled in school. I watched as many of the people I thought were my friends chose him over me. It was devastating. I remember my mom, who had never known me to be that kind of broken, had no idea how to help me. She took me to lunch an I just started bawling into my glass of wine in the middle of the restaurant. I will never forget the look on the poor waiters face as he had no idea what to do. I mean what kind of adult openly bawls in public.

We clearly still cared for each other though. I knew at the time he hated coming to school and work and seeing me in so much pain. I missed him so much. He tried being supportive.

To this day I still hear his voice in my head telling me “baby steps Eleanor baby steps.” when I asked him how I was supposed to move on. He confronted people gossiping about me. People picked sides and it was obvious. For some reason when you’re the one showing emotion over a breakup people will make a point of making sure you know you’re being judged. He wasn’t having any of it.

We did inevitably give it one more try a month later. We lasted a couple of weeks. But we were always still fighting. We through a big party for his 22nd birthday. He was clearly in a mood with me from the beginning. Most of that night is a blur but certain moments are forever burned into my memory.

Trigger warning: Domestic Violence.

I remember trying to get him a drink and him grumbling at me. His friend that I had never met before laughing at me. A few hours had gone by and I told him I was going to go home, that it was clear he didn’t want me there and I was uncomfortable. I told him that I didn’t want to ruin his birthday. That’s when he got angry. He marched out the back door insisting that if i didn’t want to be there he was just going to drive me home. I chased after him because he was way to drunk to drive. I asked for his keys so he wouldn’t drive and reassured him I could just walk home.

This did not go over well. I reached to take the keys from his hands and he pushed me in return. Then he pushed me again. I remember him yelling but I can’t remember what about. I turned to go back to the backdoor to get back inside the house. He jumped in front of me. I tried to go around him, and this time he pushed me to the ground. I tried to crawl around to the door. I managed to get it open, he slammed it shut. Pushed me back. Again I went for the door, got it open and had my hands gripping the door frame as he pulled me back away from it feet now completely off the ground. He slammed the door again and threw me to the ground.

I remember screaming for help. Knowing people where inside at the party, my friends. As we kept opening and slamming the door again. No one did anything. This wasn’t a subtle situation, I was screaming and the door was repeatedly slamming. Finally I managed to get around him an through the door. I bee lined it through the house, grabbed my purse, and ran out the front door. By now I was covered in dirt and had lost my shoes. Two people followed me out front. Two. One was a girl I had ALWAYS been cruel to, the other was his friend I had never met before who had laughed at me earlier. Both came out to make sure I was okay.

Not a single one of my friends at that party said or did anything. The girl I had been cruel to in the past drove me home. The next morning, like many relationships with this dynamic, we ‘worked things out.’ And kept trying but not for much longer. One day, I realized he was getting closer and closer with another woman. Just like he did when he and I first got together. Karma’s a b%*ch right?

I remember lashing out. I stormed out of his bedroom and honestly expected him to follow me. He didn’t. I immediately regretted it. But it was to late. We were over again and this time for good. I had lost the first person I had ever loved. And just like my fear suspected. Not even 2 days later he had started dating this new girl.

I felt abandoned. And not just by him. More and more people I thought were my friends were making it clear they were picking sides and that it wasn’t mine. I kept my head up though mostly out of spite. I was going to be okay. They were not going to see me broken.

Sometimes I think back about it and wonder how anyone could do that to someone who was grieving. I know now that most of them never probably liked me to begin with. And maybe rightfully so I was a different person back then and I’m not proud of it. But I’ve also realized how so many people just do not want to deal with someone who outwardly experiences emotion. Its taboo. Those kinds of people honestly don’t even like dealing with their own emotions. So its just better for people to pretend they are better than you.

“Panda” and his next girlfriend didn’t last long. But it did last long enough for me to make strides in getting over him. To this day I am still pretty sure he dated her to give us both an out. He recognized before I did that we were toxic for each other. That you can love someone but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be with them. That we would keep repeating the same on and off pattern till we destroyed each other.

It seems strange to admit but I am grateful he dated her. Because we managed to get our friendship back for a few more years. He even helped me through a few other hard times and self doubt in the years to come.

“You’re a legend,” he would say “you’re Eleanor Mother F*ing Smith don’t forget that.”

I learned so much from that experience. How to forgive. How to keep going. That just because you love someone doesn’t mean you’re meant to be. We stayed friends for awhile. Mostly out of time and distance, though we don’t keep in touch as often. But I still miss him fondly. Not in a romantic way but I miss his friendship. I still hear his voice in my head when I’m going through hard times. So far in my life I have yet to meet someone who really saw me an knew me the way he did at that time.

Thinking back I’m amazed how far “Panda” and I have come. I am not that person anymore, I was in retrospect, always criticizing him and didn’t appreciate him when things were good. And I am really proud of how far he has come, I can say with absolute certainty he is no longer the guy who pushed me around the back yard that night. He saw that he was wrong, he never made excuses or tried to diminish the trauma it caused me.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you liked it please leave a comment or share the link with your friends, its what helps me grow!