When You Start To Date Someone Seriously Again ….

And try to put all of your collective baggage in the attic, but it doesn’t quite fit.

Dear sweet Jesus. Where do I begin?

A little over a year ago I met a really funny, intelligent, clever, quick-witted, attractive, sweet and seemingly sexually-compatible guy my age on a dating app.

NOT TINDER. Sweet Jesus, it wasn’t Tinder. I just watched The Tinder Swindler, and no, it wasn’t Tinder.

We started exchanging messages in January. They were cute, clever, snarky and kept me on the hook. He was cute, there was a photo of him with two incredibly adorable little boys. After a few days, I finally asked about them. We had a few more days of exchanges on the app, then phone numbers were handed over, and I think it took one more day before we both decided that it was time for a voice conversation.

We’re Gen X, we grew up with stretched out curly phone cords slammed in garage doors, or lodged under kitchen dividers … we were the phone generation. We talked everything out. For hours. We didn’t even think to “FaceTime”. We just found a mutual time that we’d be available and decided to talk.

Yeah. We actually spoke within a 7-day time frame of connecting on a dating app. Believe it.

His voice, his cadence, the fact he laughed at my dark humor reassured me that I was correct; I’d been right about his character … it seemed we were compatible. From that very first moment I had a good feeling about him. We had very similar tastes, our sense of humor appeared to be similar (so fucking dark it’s nearly unable to be seen by most, it’s so dark ….) and we made plans to get together.

It was supposed to be the Monday of Martin Luther King Junior Day – he had his kids over the weekend – but then they went home early for a reason we didn’t discuss, which turned out to be because a storm was coming. We talked about our plans, it was still early after the COVID nonsense, things were just beginning to open up again and the “middle” meeting point between us was a mall. We talked about getting together the day before instead, which unfortunately, was Valentine’s Day. I had no idea if I could get a reservation anywhere near or around that location, for dinner and I sure as fuck didn’t want to sit on a mall bench with a cup of coffee and “chat”.

So, when he said he was up for anything, I suggested he come to my place for some wine and conversation, and he was happy to oblige.

I made him promise {LITERALLY PROMISE} on his LIFE he would never tell anyone, if we continued to see each other, that we met on Valentine’s Day. He actually giggled. I found it endearing, but still made him PROMISE.

He came over with a bottle of wine, which was actually quite lovely. We ordered some food. Watched something, I can’t even remember what it ended up being, on TV; and had a wonderful evening. But our chemistry was undeniable.

He went home the next day, I went out (the storm wasn’t that bad, after all) and got a blowout. He texted and asked if I had any plans, would like to get together again later that day. I did not have plans and I was extremely excited he wanted to see me again; because I was feeling the same way but; as a woman, we’re not supposed to say “such things”; as they may end the world, or some other nonsense.

He came over a little later, we had dinner and talked some more. We had a great evening again, just chatting and getting to know each other. It was just another lovely day spent with one another; and then “BOOM!”, back to work. It took about 45 minutes before we were both missing each other’s presence and hoping to see one another again as soon as circumstances would allow.

Aaaand, that has sort of been the story of our relationship. Wishing, hoping and praying to see each other as soon as our (well, primarily HIS) circumstances, will allow.

He kind of left out of our initial conversations, for about 4 months, that his divorce wasn’t final. Or that once he’d filed the initial paperwork, she’d manipulated him into revoking it.

Yeah, we’re dealing with a very toxic, drama-loving, ex; sadly.

So, here I am waiting for him while he once again, does the right thing by his children. She is clearly emotionally disturbed, which I would never want to put on display for the general public or keyboard warriors to judge. He has had his own, (well in the past, but he did the hard work and came out on the right side of it). Something his former in-laws really seem to enjoy reminding him of it every opportunity, especially when their child does something irrational, illegal, or that could/will endanger their grandchildren. It’s horrible; but he takes it, because he still harbors guilt over the depths to which he fell when dealing with her emotional needs and the places she was willing to go to claim she had physical pain and required VERY specific pain meds. He simply intended to be a good parent. All the while trying to also be a good companion to the person that wanted to hide from responsibility and adulthood when it served her purposes.

I am trying to be a supportive and loving partner. It’s not an easy position to be in, his ex has contacted me several times trying to claim that “they are working on their relationship and that he has not been honest with me about their status….” I have come across plenty of people like his former partner over the years. I know the kind, the mental status, the desperation. I don’t acknowledge her messages, certainly don’t respond; no matter how much I would love to….

But it doesn’t make this journey any easier. I have lost my shit, on more than one occasion over the last several weeks. I have discovered myself becoming the kind of woman that I do not tolerate well, the kind of person that I despise; and I really hate it.

Would I have done anything differently had he been immediately forthcoming about everything, from his relationship circumstances to the mental status of his [ex] wife once we connected? I cannot say for sure; I’d like to think that I would have still been there for him because the chemistry that we both immediately recognized; the ease of being with each other that doesn’t come often. It’s something I’ve not experienced before. It’s undeniable.

Adulting sucks balls. BIG. JUICY. DONKEY. BALLS.

I hate it. I hate that he did the work he needed to do to be the best verson of himself again and be the great Dad that he is. I hate that the person he was married to is trying to skate by, not doing any work and letting her elderly parents and her ex-husband do her work while she attempts to pretend that she is, indeed, making emotional and physical strides towards becoming a whole human being again that is capable of caring for her kids.

I hate to think that once the collective group gets her through this “period of need” it will only last a few weeks, perhaps a few months at best; and she’ll be right back to her old antics… stressing everyone out, worrying not only her elderly parents but her young children and in turn; their father, about her ability to function a very basic level.

And yes, I worry how that affects me as well, from a selfish POV.

It’s been over a year now, since we have met and been together exclusively. Approximately 7 months since he’s told me that he would like me to meet his children and I told him that I would like to do that (when the time is right). He’s allowed them to know my name, my likeness, the fact that we have been dating… If I send money or gifts to contribute to their birthdays, certain holidays, etc.; he has disclosed that to them. My personal take on that is: it’s very sweet but if you have no intention of introducing us, then you should really leave my name out of it. Allow me to help/contribute but leave me out of it. He believes that is wrong … but I disagree.

I’ve asked him to please find a way to introduce us within the next few weeks, or I will certainly feel that something is wrong. Knowing full well, of course, that I must be prepared to walk away … whether I really want to or not.

I don’t want to, but I also realize that I may very well have to; because his priority has to be his children and he is mostly likely dealing with a narcissistic sociopath. And there is no winning when you’re up against one of them.

And I am a good person.