Goodbye

What more fitting time to end this dating blog than the approach to the close of the year.  I’d made the decision to stop meeting anyone new from the dating websites a number of months ago – the last new date from such a site was a man I no longer had any strong feelings for.  We’d met, after the typical stage of email/messaging flirtation, kissed and more, and then moved apart.

I’ve realised that I’m unable to sustain a wholly exclusive monogamous relationship.  The online formula provided a plethora of choice but some of the men had not been interested in getting to know me or those who were, weren’t the ones I really wanted to see again, and so inevitably, we drifted our separate ways. The problem with online dating is the speed at which intimacy grows.  After a year and a half of riding this rollercoaster I am ready to get off and proceed at a more sedate pace.   The fellow revellers I’ve met from the theme park of dating are the few who, like me, consider the popular paradigm of exclusivity flawed, and so, for now we’re content to remain friends.

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feeling unsettled

I saw Jan the other night – he’d invited me to his local and I went because we hadn’t seen each other since the last time before he went away, halfway across the globe to attend a cousin’s wedding.

It was a strange evening – I was tired and his friends seemed aggressive in their bantering irascibility.  Back at his we spent a companionable couple of hours on the sofa before his lodger, an ex returns.  I kiss him goodnight just past midnight and drive home.  Neither of us slept well.  His sleep punctuated by surreal dreams – of weddings, not unusual as he has just returned from one.

I think sometimes that he is self absorbed – a little unaware of the needs of others around him. Is that why Carly and his other women fall to the wayside?  I’m still around, he must like me.  I like him but am wary, of giving too much away.

In contrast to this relationship with Jan is the one I have with Goran.  I love the wild sex with him and always have.  But he isn’t always accessible as he lives with his young family and jealous, alpha wife.  The sex was punishingly good last night, even though we had tried to keep our hands off each other for the first hour or so.   I flirt with the thought that we might be something more to each other than lovers but know that I want his marriage to succeed.  And because of this I keep my emotions in check.

This morning we went for some coffee at our local coffee bar.  I was feeling a little rough as we’d finished a bottle of cava between us and some red wine after that.  We kissed chastely outside and go our separate busy lives, until next week.

It bothers me that an ex thinks it is un-womanly my having so many lovers.  I am not ashamed of it.  I don’t draw attention to this lifestyle but the men I date are aware of it.  It bothers me to think that they might think badly of my character or morals but I don’t really aspire to that kind of virtue/morality.

I couldn’t fully focus on writing today as distracted by the men who send me messages, I am flattered by their attention, and break off from what I’m doing to reply to them.

Jan asked me up to his this Friday and I made arrangements to stay over at his.  We had a slight misunderstanding but it was cleared up in minutes – when we both openly spoke our minds.  I have been feeling a little over sensitive and vulnerable lately, my senses working overtime, occasionally picking up slights where none were intended.  I am grateful I have his warm friendship and feel a little guilty for thinking early in the week that he might have been self-absorbed.  No one is completely without virtue.

who was i kidding?

enough?  pff

Liam sent me a message from Helsinki last week and I’m wildly jealous of his good fortune.  I’d always wanted to go there.  So this morning I asked him when he was back and he said he was just getting on the flight as we text.

The tart who is named Amy suggests a meet up one day next week for drinks and catch up.  The slut that is Liam’s middle name replied in the affirmative.  And I suppose his flight must be delayed or waiting in a queue on the tarmac to take off because about ten minutes later he sent me another message – Can I just check what kind of meeting this will be?

I hope I won’t be judged but the good girl in me fought with Amy and wrote – I don’t know.  I can just visualise Amy rolling her eyes heavenward as she snatches control back and sends Liam this – of course a drink and then see how we feel kind of meeting … with no pressure to do anything neither of us feels inappropriate.  The good girl only just managed to restrain Amy from sending a compromising emoji.

I had to take the dog out for a three hour ramble to clear my head.  It was a mild day for November.  I wondered what it was about Liam that attracted me – JR I’d cancelled on and I’d put Lars and R off last week.  I hadn’t heard from Liam in aeons and had told him that I was trimming the polyamory fat for a bit.  He would check in on me every month or so with a little flirty message.  We’d swap news and banter and then that would be enough for me.  Perhaps it really was the fact that I wanted to hear from him first hand what he thought of Finland.  I’m planning a trip with a few girlfriends next spring so yes, it’s the curious cat in me rather than pussy galore, although my nine lives have not all been squandered yet … so who knows what might happen next week.

Enough

Why don’t you come over to me one evening next week?  – Jan suggested in the car this morning, just before we kissed our goodbyes as I dropped him off at the station.  We might do something a little more exciting than sleep.

I asked him if he had felt like it during our date or in bed and he said he hadn’t been that interested.  I agreed that it didn’t occur to me that sex was on his mind. We both agreed that sex was not a requirement in a relationship but he said he knew that I was interested in it and he felt obliged to put out as it were, but age etc meant that he was physically limited.  He was only seven years older than me.  In sharp contrast to Goran who is seven years younger than me.

Just before we went to bed I’d had on one of my more risqué nighties, a silky red number that skimmed the tops of my thighs.  I suppose at the back of my mind I’d hoped that it might have tempted him, but alas, it didn’t work.  I wasn’t too disappointed but wondered if it meant that we were destined to be just very good friends.  We get on very well and I don’t feel too jealous when he tells me he might have had a few sexual encounters with other women.  Although I am ever so slightly satisfied to hear that these romps weren’t as earth shattering as either party had hoped.

I realise at the end of this week – a week which had begun with my diary filled with dates every evening of the week, only for most of them to be cancelled and a few replaced with ones with Jan – that perhaps I can be content with only seeing Jan, and Goran, and perhaps occasionally Sebastien and R.  Certainly with the latter duo, my relationship with each is completely platonic.  Lars had sent me an invitation to play but I had politely declined.  There is no one I want to give up my single status for and perhaps it is enough to sleep with one man and see a few others now and again.

the ones who get back in touch after a long hiatus

I got an extra long message from Lars but … since the break over the summer we’ve only met a couple of times.  I seem to have lost interest in having kinky sex.  Perhaps I was never really into it – merely curious.  My sexual appetite has found its staple and seem fairly happy to stay on it.

And then there’s Darren who, after his last indelicate text about STI, I’m not keen on at all, as anyone might appreciate; he still insists on writing provocative invitations to meet.   I have not been tempted and am now setting my course steadily with the few people I don’t consider a threat to my independence, but who are at the same time thoughtful and interested in me, enough at least to go out occasionally with.

on being honest

When it was still warm in mid September and I was just getting to know JR, we fell into a discussion about the masks people wear and to what extent that is a falsehood.  In our dating and even interviewing efforts to appear at our best some of us may present a picture of ourselves deemed socially acceptable.  We may even believe that that is truly who we are when in fact we are untrue to ourselves.

So when he asked me what boundaries I had, I had thought about it for a while and declared that I would not be overly upset if I discovered that someone had lied to me about themselves.  He had been rather surprised.  But it was surely not dissimilar to our wearing a mask.  And naturally on a first date we always try to present the very best sides of ourselves.  Of course it’s easier simply to be honest and it must reflect more on our insecurity the bigger the lie, but that has less to do with the person being lied to than the person doing the lying.  And so it made it easier not to feel betrayed.  We were of course talking as people who’d only just met – it had been a first date when we rambled on in search of a quieter pub or one with more seating than clients.  We ended up eventually at one at the bottom of Downshire Hill.

A few months later, I was having a similar conversation with Goran.  We had been dating since early spring this year and have developed a bond/rapport.  I’d always taken everything he’d told me at face value and yet all the same I felt last week as if he hadn’t been completely honest with me over some trivial arrangement we had made which had then been cancelled.  Eventually he conceded that he might not have been entirely truthful and I had felt a little disconcerted.  And just like that, my warm feelings towards him – and there had been an overload of this recently – have begun to cool.   It’s very difficult to continue to be excited about arrangements we might make considering that they’re likely to be postponed or cancelled and I am almost glad that this has happened to remind me that this is not a relationship that has much of a future.  And to be fair to him, he has always tried to be honest and I had known from the outset that his loyalties lay primarily with his family.  I was merely surprised that he had felt the need to be economical with the verite.

The only reliable constant I have is me and what I do and the choices I make.  Whilst it’s exhilarating to lose one’s heart over another, I should be more careful who I lose mine to next time.

Asking for the moon

I have always led a charmed existence in that going by my instincts,  steer myself down the right path, usually.  So the uneasiness that I feel over my present lifestyle unsettles me.  I struggle to identify it and can only approximate it to guilt.  Feeling guilty for enjoying myself, feeling guilty for doing things differently to others, feeling guilty because I overpaid for something, feeling guilty for not doing more than I can, feeling guilty because I’m dating four or more men at the same time.  Even though this lifestyle is no longer censured, I come across articles and news of the devastation that infidelity wreaks on relationships and realise that I am still the anomaly.  Most people I know are in or want a monogamous relationship.  Being the oddity I question my motives from time to time, and wonder if it’s due to something lacking in me that I am unable to conform.  I don’t feel guilt exactly for the way I conduct my affairs but a certain amount of uncertainty, whether there might be a better way to lead my life – these thoughts creep up on me.

The other day this guilt or whatever the unease I felt, raised its periscope and struck me again,  causing a slight breathlessness.   Over the next few days it sat forward waiting patiently to be addressed.  It had been there all along at the back of my mind, lurking, and then it was in plain sight for a fleeting moment.  One of my friends gave it a name, but we’d had quite a bit of wine that evening and I forgot to write it down and it was lost again.  I have not been able to recall it and so am unable to assess its accuracy.

I’d kept away from this dating blog long enough.   What I’m looking for might actually be within my grasp if I had courage enough to face my own shortcomings.   But then distracted I lose that strain of thought and the old cowardice returns. And whatever had surfaced a week ago returned into the depths, unidentified, unnamed.

Jan asked me from half a world away yesterday – Why do you feel the need to keep dating?  The only too obvious answer is that I’m still looking.  Looking for that answer, that name which eludes me still, that will satisfy this hunger that keeps me seeking out man after man.  And even though I’ve found one who complements me in bed and a few others who meet me on an intellectual level, yet one more with whom I can be silly and banter and watch all manner of films together and talk endlessly about what we’ve read and the world around us; perhaps I would like to meet the one with whom I will not find impossible to live and who will accept the presence of these others.

across continents and being at home

How’s the dating?

It’s Jan’s turn to trot across the globe this time and we swap travel tales and tips, he sends me pictures of dishes he enjoyed on his exotic holiday.  He asked me how I was doing with the dating and it’s become a happy pattern now of seeing two or three different men in the week.  Even R has returned and become quite fun to hang out with.  We went to see that very quirky dystopian film The Lobster before going on to a restaurant and then a pub for more drinks.  Finally at about half eleven he walked me to the station and we kissed and hugged each other goodbye.  It was friendly and lovely and we promised to see each other again before he had to go away to dangerous destinations for work.

I told Jan about the Texan who entered my dating life a few weeks back.  But not in any great detail because apart from his sartorial elegance and Harvard background he is still very new and a little unknown.   We take our time between dates and I marvel at my own restraint – perhaps I’ve learnt to savour and enjoy the entire experience, the delicious anticipation, confident that my expectations will not be disappointed.

And of course there’s Goran over whom my heart still skips a beat occasionally.  But the fact that he belongs elsewhere has tempered my enthusiasm and I have sought to distract myself by reading the consolation of philosophy and other works by that  philosopher of the quotidian.  It has given me some comfort to know that my motives in seeing him remain selfless in so far as I don’t wish his marriage to end.  Whilst he remains married to another, we might continue our love affair in a bubble of indulgence each happy to please the other, fully appreciating the short time we have together and making the effort to delight and soothe.

a Marxist form of dating

There wasn’t a plan to the whole dating thing.  It probably started out as a bit of fun, significant confidence booster, and an experiment for exploring boundaries.  Over the last few months I’ve begun to form friendships with perfectly decent blokes, some I liked better than others and so those lesser ones fell by the wayside.

How can I account for enjoying very much the company of two men but not others?  The two in question are not even that seriously committed to me.  One a commitment-phobe with a string of new dates every week and the other already married, and committed, with a family of his own.  Recently, I was being chatted up by a very attentive, gentlemanly sort of guy.  But there was something a little over-eager about him and I found myself comparing how less excited I was by his text messages to ones from the other two.

The senses are still a mysterious thing to me.  The other evening I went out with this new man – a tall, blue-eyed, slightly younger than me, reasonably good-looking man with wavy, salt and pepper hair who had been abandoned after a twenty year marriage and who was tentatively getting back on the dating cycle.  We’d had a couple of dates before and I’d been able to empathise with his past.  He behaved impeccably and we had another completely successful date – a film of my choosing, a meal, followed by walking the dog.  He was also incredibly solicitous in bed and dutifully put on the condoms when I insisted.  And yet, …. and yet despite all the kisses and caresses lavished on my body, the arousal I felt, the orgasms which we enjoyed, the cuddled sleep, the protected sex in the morning, I longed for some time to be alone – to drink my coffee and listen to the Today programme, to check my emails and messages and play another word game.  And so I told him a lie – that I had a very early start and he had to leave by half past seven, … which he did.

I would hate to think that I could write a date off because our politics differed – it is true that he leans very much more to the right.  I am not even that interested in politics and he is a decent man at heart.  He texted me to ask where we stood and I wondered briefly whether I was less than interested due to some (Groucho) Marxist principle – I didn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.  If the man wanted me, I didn’t want him …

Love

I love you – those words escaped yesterday
liberated I repeat them again
in loving you  I hope I am selfless
returning you intact before midday
without delay nor excuse entertain
Desiring only your happiness.
And already I’ve sped up the process
that always leads to the end and to pain –
there is no echo; for what can you say
we knew what this can only ever be.
Suffering all the anguish of Psyche
While Eros wanders on a different plane
having set his arrows to wreak mischief.
Tempting though to play the game of what if
I would my compass and composure feign.