There was a nice gap between Mr. N’awlins and my next relationship. I dated a LOT though. I had decided to give online dating a shot. I never actually thought I would ever try online dating. Sadly, I was a tad behind the curve and thought that online dating was only for rapist, murders, and people who were too socially awkward to interact with people in the real world. I didn’t know that during the fourteen to fifteen years I had been married that all different kinds of people of people were into online dating.
One day I was with the boys at some type of sporting event, I believe it was a basketball game when one of the moms started to tell me all about her experiences with online dating. I was really leery and really didn’t see the need. She asked me how I met people and honestly, I really didn’t know. I hadn’t met anyone and didn’t really think much of it. She took my phone and downloaded the app. Before the end of the game she and I had set up my entire profile and she was teaching me the “rules” of online dating. She said you should talk online in the app for at east a month, then via phone for another month, then you could meet them for coffee or something to see if you were attracted. I did not follow these rules. I could never get use to the idea of communicating with someone in the same city and not seeing them. I would usually chat for at most a week and then meet for coffee. She had a bunch of other rules and safety tips (these I followed) but that was it. With that I had just dived into the ocean to see what I could catch. Literally the dating app she set me up with was called Plenty of Fish (POF for short). Yes, I know now that POF is not an upscale app and has been trashed by many people. But I honestly met a few nice people there. You have to be selective but overall it was not a bad experience. When I finally gave in and decided to give online a try, I was hoping for a You’ve Got Mail type of romance, but life is not really like that. I met quite a few people who did not look like their pics or were just not my type but eventually I did meet some really nice people. One of which was Mr. Particular.
In his pictures on his page Mr. Particular had the appearance of a mature yet handsome man. The info on his profile seemed straight forward. We struck up conversation, but we were meeting at a busy time for the both of us so a bit more time would pass before we would have the opportunity to meet in person. This once I didn’t mind, the conversation was nice, and he seemed to be genuine. When the time came for us to meet, we met downtown at a nice Mexican restaurant. He walked up to me just as I was getting out of my car. Yeah! He ACTUALLY looked like his pics (many DON’T). Well I could tell that his profile pics were probably a few years old but still close enough to be acceptable. He was a complete gentleman we ate, laughed, talked, walked around downtown and laughed even more. We wandered the streets until the weeeeeee hours in the morning then I returned to my car and home.
We were basically a couple from then on. I know. I know. When I say we were a couple that is to say that we were exclusive and didn’t date others. But other than that, we were actually taking it slow. No sex, just enjoying the process of getting to know each other. We went on dates talked a lot. He seemed perfect! He made some joke about a relationship contract and how we should have one. The next time we hung out he had drawn one up. This was a preliminary contract (the one we had before we progressed to a full relationship with sex and all that). I though it was sweet and said when we were ready for the next stage, I would draw up the official one. I was having fun. He met some of my friends and we hung out more and more.
I fell in love with him. I began working on the contract which included his contract with a few points (comical mostly) I felt needed to be added. We were officially an us. He would talk about marriage and buying a home. We had looked a couple houses together and everything seemed to be on the write path. Until… The first incident was odd to me, but I didn’t think much of it. one day I was at his place and I bumped into the couch. The couch moved just a tad from its original position and to make sure it was put back properly he got down on the floor to look and ensure it was placed exactly back on its original footprint in the carpet. Not really odd lots of people do that. Then there were the remotes, he had four and each had a specific location and direction they had to be placed in. Next was the trash, which was not allowed to actually be put into the trash can. Gradually over a few months he rolled more and more rules for life with him. I initially thought that I could handle it that he was a great guy with just a particular way he liked things to be. I grabbed a book on dating people with OCD and watched a few videos and figured that everyone has good points and bad points, he was just a little OCD, I could deal with that.
Until I couldn’t. I don’t think he was ever made aware, or maybe he was, but it was just too much for me. There were rules about showering and rules for sex. There were rules that were not official rules but strongly suggested that pertained to hair styles, what outfits to wear on dates and drinking. Our last big argument took place one afternoon when I was about to head home. Just before I left, I sat my purse on his dresser to give him a hug before I left. He couldn’t even hug me because he was too distracted by the fact that my purse was on the dresser. I tried to get him to see reason and logic. He said he was angry because he didn’t want his dresser to get ruined. I asked him to look at the purse and explain to me how a cloth purse was ruining his dresser. He couldn’t but I could clearly see that it being on the dresser was causing him real anxiety. I needed for him to help me understand how he was able to maintain relationships in the past. His answer was simple,” they just did what I wanted.” I knew in that moment that our time together was at an end.
** Mr. Particular and I are still friends. He really is a wonderful guy; we just were not compatible. The lesson and moment of clarity for me was that I was able to see him for the great guy he was and understand that he was just not great for me. The desire to be loved is strong and some will forgo loneliness and sacrifice happiness to simply be with someone. I had already been caught in a situation for years that drained my soul. I know that with my carefree ways I would have driven him crazy. He would have done the same to me with the restrictions and rules. This was a major eye-opening moment for me. Cherie Carter Scott says it perfectly, “There are no mistakes only lessons; a lesson is repeated until learned.” This was a lesson I had already learned well and I refused to repeat it.**