Reruns of shows and love

I’ve been rewatching the first three seasons of Vikings (great show, go watch it now). As with most second (or third or fourth) viewings, I’ve noticed things this time around that I missed the first time. With some of the clues I’ve caught, I really had to know what happened later to see how it paid off. With others, I just missed some pretty obvious foreshadowing.

I realized that it works the same way when you revisit old relationships. As you know, I went back and dated Jay THREE more times after we initially broke up in the fall of 2013 (what can I say, I’m a masochist). Each time that we got together afterwards, I would find myself discovering new things about him, but I would also find myself being forced to acknowledge things that I had glossed over previously. Just like with the show, some of the things I figured out I could’ve only realized because I had already seen our ending once (or twice, etc); other things, I couldn’t believe how much I had been deceiving myself to not have seen it before.

I’ve written in the past about euphoric recall, that phase we find ourselves in when we can only remember the good things about a relationship (or job, living situation, what have you), and we wish that we could reclaim what is, in reality, only a fantasy. Then, if we do get that relationship back, we are struck with how it does not mesh at all with what we remembered. In a way, I feel this rewtaching/reliving is similar – we only remember certain aspects of things, and when we have to go through them again, we find ourselves confronted with ideas or thoughts that we blinded ourselves to before.

I write all this to say, some things are worth rewatching. Watch The West Wing until you can recite every line. Listen to Frank Sinatra until you know every beat. Make your favorite dish until it feels as regular as scrambled eggs. But maybe leave relationships in the past. We never remember them clearly anyway, we will never be able to recapture whatever it was that we loved then, and that’s okay. It ended because it was time to end.

– Finch

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I’m sort of the opposite of a serial-monogamist

Another Sunday, another OKcupid date. This one didn’t leave me wanting to dig my eyes out with a sharp stick, although I did go home and pass out for two hours. Let me explain…

We met up at two, but the bar he had picked was closed. We convened at another bar, got some drinks, and proceeded to start talking. We actually had a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I had four beers on an empty stomach (I wanted to look extra thin for the date – no judging!!), all in the course of about two and a half hours. I literally lost track of the time. When I got back to my car and saw that it was 5 (and I had previously told this guy that I had other plans at 6), I was shocked. I had not thought that we had hung out that long. So yes, I stopped at Maudie’s, got some insanely good breakfast tacos, and then went home and passed out until about 8. I’m too old for this!

The date was certainly fun, and even if I never hear from him again, he gave me a great piece of information. We were talking about our past OKC experiences, and he said, “I’m sort of the opposite of a serial-monogamist. You know, so many of my friends can’t go five minutes without dating someone, but I’ve only had one serious relationship in my adult life. The rest of the time, I date a little here and there, but mostly, I’m happier when I’m single.” PEOPLE! This is literally me!!! I’ve only had one serious relationship in my adult life (okay, or maybe two – Tripp and Ex). I will date for a couple of months here and there and then be single for a year or more. I stated all of this to him, and told him, “I thought I was the only one.” He replied that nope, there were plenty of us out there.

And here’s why that is so important to me. I live under a constant fear that I will never be with anyone ever again, that I will never fall in love again, and that there is something seriously wrong with me because I don’t constantly have a boyfriend. However, this guy gave me this nugget of truth that I am not terminally unique, and that it is perfectly normal to find more happiness and contentment in your own company rather than in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love being unique and one of a kind, but it truly sways my fears to know that there are other people out there like me in this regard.

As for the guy himself – I don’t know. That’s not true – I do know, but it’s a scary feeling. He was cute, incredibly smart, had similar interests, and was really great. But I just can’t picture anything with him. Okay, yes, I can picture some drunken sex with him, but that’s not exactly the basis of a relationship. I think there’s someone out there who is a better fit, and it will be difficult to find him if I spend my time with someone I’m not crazy about (and sure, feelings could grow, but there are other factors there that I don’t want to get into of why I won’t be pursuing this). So, my Sunday Date, thank you for a lovely time, and showing me that four beers is way past my limit when I haven’t eaten anything, but most especially for showing me that I am not damaged and that there is hope for me yet.

– Finch

The problem with online dating

So I’ve ventured back out into the world of OKcupid. No, I am not a glutton for punishment, I just felt it was time to get back into the mix, and this is the way I chose to do that. I’ve had surprisingly good luck thus far – I had one date yesterday (no go there), I have two more lined up for this week, and one for next week. The two of the three remaining guys are so completely and totally my type, it is amazing. One even looks like Joshua Jackson!! The third one is pretty cute too, just not in my usual vein (which may be a good thing).

However, here is something which I have discovered during my time online, and which may prove detrimental to my participation in further online dating. It seems that people never stop looking, thereby never really giving anything a chance to develop. Right off the bat, let me express that I am not necessarily talking about my current experiences (it’s too soon to expect anything there). Just hear me out. For those of you old enough to remember meeting people in the bar – you know, there was always that guy who would hit on every single girl, just waiting for one of them to actually pay attention to him, and then, once he had found that girl, he would talk to her until either she blew him off or until he got her number. No one would hold simultaneous conversations with five different people at the bar, and yet that is *exactly* what is happening now! We start these online conversations, and then they either peter out or go forward to an actual date, and we either don’t like each other or we start dating, and all the while, we’re still checking our OKC profiles to see if we have any new messages or potential matches. I’m not advocating that we settle, but at some point, our dating world has became way too ADD-like – we need to focus on one person at a time.

Back in January of last year, I wrote about dating a lot of different guys to try and find who I felt most comfortable with. This wasn’t necessarily about finding “the one” – it was more about finding which style of guy suited me. And I did it all in a one off. In ten days, I went on 15 dates. Now, again, I was trying people on for size. I didn’t continue dating multiple guys after the ten day period was over. I was also up front with them about what I was doing, and the feedback was pretty positive. While I was dating Jay, I still got messages through OKC, and I checked them, and I even talked to a couple of them. But Jay and I were not exclusive yet, and I wasn’t fully committed to the relationship. And therein lies the problem. I stayed with Jay because it was safe, and I was still (for the most part) getting my physical needs met while I was looking around for someone else. Of course this has been happening for ages – I’m not saying that it’s a new phenomenon. However, online dating has made it much too easy to scope through potential matches and see if there is someone out there who is better for you than your current companion.

A friend of mine asked me this morning what I would do if I went out on these three dates I have lined up, and I liked all three guys (and they liked me back). Would I date all of them at once? Would I let them know I was dating multiple people? I told her that until it got to a physical point, I was just going out and hanging out, and I didn’t think that it was really an issue. However, I know that I don’t have the energy to keep it up for long. Dating one guy is tiring; dating three would take me completely out of the game.

– Finch

Allergic to cold-weather dating

Let me just be blunt – I HATE cold weather! I don’t care if it’s cold and rainy, cold and clear, cold and windy; the operative word in all of those descriptors is “cold” and that word and I do not get along. This is one of the (many) reasons I live in Austin. We think 65 degrees is cold. So, wouldn’t you know it, a massive Arctic front pushed through yesterday, the second one in as many weeks.

I was trudging through the wind to my car last night, thinking how nice it would be to go home, and snuggle up under the covers with someone and fall asleep wrapped in some nice, warm arms, when it suddenly dawned on me – I have never dated anyone (successfully) through the winter. I’ve been married during the winter, but we all know how that turned out, and I can tell you, there was a definite “chill” in our relationship during those months, and it was all me. I just do not find anything romantic in cold weather. My hands and feet get freezing cold no matter what, so snuggling isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. My nose gets red and runny from the temperature and wind, so I look like I have a perpetual cold – totally sexy, right? I’m much more interested in dressing for warmth, and I hate running outside, so my body is not in the greatest shape during these months. Also, I can never think of anything fun to do when the weather is this horrid – go for a walk? No. Go to a museum? That would mean walking to and from my car (so really, go anywhere is out). Stay inside by the fire? Fires make messes and are dangerous. I do like to cook when it’s cold out, but, again, that necessitates going to the store for ingredients and that means going outside.

But, back to my relationships… Tripp and I started slowing down right around mid-October. Ex and I would always slow down for winter and pick up again when it warmed up. Most of the rest of my relationships have begun in the spring or summer, and were over well before the first frost. Even Jay – I joked with him that I liked him because he kept his AC so low in the summer, but that once it got cold outside, I wouldn’t need him anymore. One week before the first Arctic front, he was kicked to the curb. And, interestingly enough, the holidays don’t play into these dating trends. I’m a great gift-giver and I’m pretty good with receiving gifts as well, so I’ve never had an issue there. I don’t stress over meeting parents or introducing guys to my parental units. It’s SOLELY AND COMPLETELY the temperature!

Ugh. I’ve never looked forward to spring more.

– Finch

If I was a guy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation

I spent this past weekend in Chicago with my awesome pseudo-cousin, J-Mac (I have a lot of “J”s in my life, deal with it). I hadn’t been back to Chicago since Ex’s and my honeymoon, so it’s been more than a few years, and I needed some new memories of my favorite city. I spent the first day and a half walking around to my favorite spots, shopping, eating, and then J-Mac got there, and we got down to business.

J-Mac was one of my bridesmaids, and that was the last time I saw her, although we have spoken quite a bit since then. But still – we had tons to catch up on. She filled me in on her dating stats, I gave her the lowdown on Jay’s annoyingness, it was great. But at one point, I started feeling kind of guilty. I told J-Mac that I felt almost like I had been using Jay for sex. From the beginning, I hadn’t really been that into him, I wasn’t over-the-moon attracted to him, and we didn’t talk that much. But the sex was amazing and I hadn’t had any for so long that I was like a fiend getting my fix. I kept this dialogue up for long enough that J-Mac turned to me at one point and said, “So what if you were using him for sex?” She left it just like that, and I started pondering this. Was it really such a bad thing? I mean, I hadn’t led him on to thinking that I was more into him than I was, and aren’t a lot of relationships based on sex? That’s when I said it.

“If I was a guy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I would’ve just said, ‘Yeah, that was hot, sex was good, but I’m moving on.’ And while I don’t want to be the equivalent of a misogynistic pig, I don’t think there’s anything wrong or unhealthy about saying that I like sex, and that while this guy was great for sex, he wasn’t really good for anything else.”

And it’s true – sex is a totally normal, valid form of physical contact, and as long as all parties are consenting adults, than why would it be weird to see someone just for the sex? Again, you’re not leading this person on, you’re not promising things that you have no intention of following through on – you’re just having some laughs and lots of mind-blowing sex. I don’t see anything immoral or unethical about that.

J-Mac just looked at me and smiled and gave me a hug. “I knew you’d get there eventually.” I love that girl. She knows her stuff.

– Finch