life, relationships

St Valentine’s Day Blues

If you’re in love, great!  You have my best wishes, you don’t know how lucky you are.

The last time I was truly in love on a February 14th was in 2013 when my marriage to C was strong.  Twelve months later it was faltering, 14 months later we separated.

That was 2014, it’s two years on and I’m pretty much over it now.  I wish we hadn’t separated but we have; she now lives elsewhere with a child from another man, I no longer wish to be with her.

So, moving on, things should be better, they should be good.  Well no, they aren’t .  Not at the moment anyway.

For me, 2015, after a dreadful 2014, began with renewed optimism and a determination to get out of the funk of my failed marriage and move on.  I was on dating websites and actively pursued dates.  Things started ok and by the end of March I met the wonderful M who I utterly adored.  We would meet on Saturday afternoons in her home town of Manchester, drink, talk, laugh, mooch around and be great company for each other.  Then at 8.45pm I would have to catch the last train home and she would catch a bus home.  After all, our respective children needed to be looked after.  We had our moments, we were good for each other but living 50 miles apart presented its own problems.

In April last year, me very senior lady boss texted me and asked to meet.  We met.  She was leaving her partner although still living with him at the time but their relationship was breaking down and there was DV involved.  She pursued me, vigorously.  She was/is attractive, successful, solvent.  She did nice things for me, paid for me, bought me presents, we liked each other, we laughed and the great thing was, she was local.

I stopped seeing M.  That was difficult. LB was going through a tough time and liked a drink.  Liked a drink a little too much.  It was too much for me; I began to question whether I had made a mistake with M and found I couldn’t cope with LB’s super-charged emotional state.  I stopped seeing her; for a couple of weeks anyway.  Then we tried again.  She moved out, worked hard and drank hard.  I didn’t fare well with it and called it off.  I told her this wasn’t our time, that she had to well and truly move out, find her own place, move in with her kid.  I told her she should begin to love herself again, be content with her life and start again.  The way things were, LB was in a classic rebound situation.

In July 2015 my first line manager announced he was leaving the company.  I went to see LB and her boss and asked for the job.  I, along with 5 other internal employees was interviewed by my first line manager and an independent manager.  LB deliberately did not get involved with the recruitment process.  I got the job.

LB suddenly became my new first line manager, I felt we needed to rebuild our bridge.  We went out, chatted, drank in moderation and had fun.  It felt natural, normal and right for us to get back together, so we did.  I was still not 100% certain but after we made a couple of mundane trips out together I found myself really enjoying her company.  She had by now bought her own house, moved her kids in, cut the drinking down, was exercising and looked great.

Then, after about 6 weeks of me being in the role the rumours began.  The whispers; I had only got the job because I was sleeping with LB; people felt uncomfortable speaking in my presence in case it got back to LB.  I told LB about this and she called off the relationship immediately.  That was the end of September 2015, it’s now February.  What makes the situation worse is that my position is on a 6 month temporary contract so within the next couple of months I should know whether I have the job permanently.  In the meantime, LB cannot be seen to allow any decision she makes to be compromised by accusations of bias by being in a relationship with me.  She reports to some very senior people who hold the power.

I hold out the hope that I WILL get the job and LB and I WILL get back together.  But I don’t know, it has become a taboo subject.  And you know what?  It is utterly unfair.  I have been widowed and I have had a wife leave me but because of rumour, innuendo and jealousy(?) I cannot be with the woman I want to be with.

It feels like being in a movie but movies only last a couple of hours, this is lasting for months with the ending unknown to the cast.

And that is why I sit alone on St Valentine’s Day.  Frustrated and a annoyed.  I hope I get the job, I hope LB and I get back together.  I could date someone else but I can’t.  As someone said, first I need to mend it or end it.  Still waiting.

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Barren Times

Fact of the matter is, I barely blog any more.  I started this 2 or 3 years ago when I was happy, full of optimism, the future was bright, it looked like dreams I had would be fulfilled in the company of a woman I considered beautiful and I loved dearly.  That all changed on 24th April 2014 when she left me, moved in with another guy 6 months later and had a baby by him exactly 9 months after she walked out.  It’s been tough.

But in past 15/16 months my mind has never been so active, so fertile, so bursting with thoughts and opinion just dying to be released and put into writing.  All the sadness, all the grief, all the bitterness, the humiliation, the drinking, the anger, the drinking followed by anger.  The on-line dating websites.  The messages, the money spent on subscriptions, the replies, the non-replies, the dates.  How many now…10, maybe 12.  First base, past first base, fears, concerns, thoughts…what if she comes back?!  Money, lack of money, loss of benefits I was previously entitled to, no more savings, DIY, yoga.  Elephant Journal (thank you).

A few attempts last year helped me get a bit off my chest and I discovered there were others out there just like me, mostly women it seems.  Aren’t men supposed to be pigs?

Where am I?  Where am I today in the ongoing process that above all motivates me to pursue, at the age of 52, love?  The internet is full of men and women just like me.  The lonely, the rejected, the spurned, the sad, the singles by choice, the serial players.  Slags, sluts, whores.  Players, gigolos and misogynists.  Wankers.  I’m in there amongst them, somewhere. Honest, caring thoughtful.  Me and my on-line profile.  Log on to match.com and it proudly boasts 65,703 currently on-line.  All of us, after just one thing, trying to find one in 65,703.  It should be easy, shouldn’t it?  No, it isn’t.  It’s a conveyor belt, a meat market, a ‘shit against the wall’ scattergun approach.  I’m a glass half full person.  I love to travel.  I’m bubbly with a zest for like.  Looking for my knight in shining armour.  Players and married men need not apply.  I go to the gym twice a week.  I love walking my little dog.  Fuck off!!  Fuck off the lot of you.  No don’t.  I’m here.  I need love, I’m lonely but I won’t admit it.  I like getting pissed now and again but I won’t tell you.  I like to be a little edgy but that might put you off.  I’m lazy around the house but hey, I’m loyal.

I don’t know. Really, I don’t.  I may have another date soon.  It’s on the cards.  But I know it will probably lead to nothing but I’m optimistic.  No-one is perfect.  No-one.  I’ve learned tons, loads.  More in the past year than in my previous 51 about life, love, friendship, people, men and women.  It’s all in my head and in my heart and has been processed incessantly day and night but not expressed on here but in me.  The way I am, not via a medium but through me.  As it should or what’s the point?  One day I’ll die and then I probably will think what’s the point.  Frankly there isn’t a point.  Or is there?  Another question.  My last for now.

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On-Line Dating Pt. 1

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Dates.  The only time I ever heard this word was either on American TV shows in my youth or something my mum used to serve me from a box with a two-pronged fork covered in sweet and sticky goo…which I liked to eat.  Then, when I met my first wife, she had two children from her previous marriage who although were still quite young when I met them, as they grew into their teenage years this American phenomena of ‘dating’ seemed to enter into their Lancastrian lives.  And now, instead of ‘going out’ with someone like we used to we ‘date’ them instead, although I have yet to notice the difference between the two.

As if to endorse the ‘date’ and give it credence in our post English 21st century lives, instead of single men and women scouring the local evening gazette’s lonely hearts column we now visit the dating websites of national newspapers and independent, stand-alone dating websites.  Or rather, we carry them around in our pockets as instantly accessible apps where we can scroll through reams of computer generated ‘matches’ or have them completely delivered in photographic form into our email in-boxes conveniently timed to coincide with a chap’s morning wood should he wake before the scheduled minute when another app will sound an alarm on his phone.

Of course the whole on-line dating phenomenon removes that terribly old fashioned practise of going down the pub on a Saturday night followed by venturing off clubbing to the local Astoria, Ritz, Madisons or Cinderella Rockerfellas depending on what your ludicrously named night club of choice was in your 1980s neck of the woods.  But whereas 30 odd years ago you might venture into a bar or nightclub discerningly chosen to enhance your chances of ‘copping-off’ for the night, nowadays you can afford to be a little more choosey with so many dating websites competing for your hard earned lolly, each of them with hundreds and thousands of equally single (or not so single) people doing pretty much the same as you are.  Log on to the match.com app at around 7 o’clock of an evening and a slightly irritating pop-up erm…pops up telling you that there are currently 47,964 users on-line!  How can you go wrong?  Well you can

There is an aptly name dating app called Plenty O’ Fish (POF) because the process of attracting a date is not dissimilar to going down to the canal by the local gasworks and doing you best to catch a gudgeon or two out of the murkyFirst of all, you have to create a profile.  A lot of the hard work for this is taken out of this because you just have to answer questions.  You can fib a bit about your physique (if you want), perhaps you are slim going on athletic (athletic it is then) or you are possibly heavy set but still in decent enough shape (that’ll be athletic then).  Most people over a certain age tend to put down the hair colour of their youth even though it might have a) turned mostly grey (or choose ‘salt and pepper’) or b) fallen out (shaved).  Then it’s interests and there’s usually a list to pick from.  Well, we all like pubs, don’t we?  Dining out, of course and it’s surprising to see how many people just love to hike.  Perhaps it’s just a common thing amongst singles that they all love to hike or perhaps all hikers are just shit at pulling the birds (or blokes) and end up being single.  Who knows?  And I’ve yet to see anyone describe themselves as a glass half empty kind of person or admit to doing drugs as POF happens to ask.

OK, so you’ve done your profile, you need to add a few photos.  Now, most of us go out at least occasionally and with the ubiquity of camera phones these days, someone must have downloaded a picture of you on Facebook somewhere.  If that’s all you’ve got, you might as well use it.  Or, there’s the ‘selfie through the looking glass’ – just be careful what’s behind you reflected in the mirror though, bathroom furniture is rarely a turn-on.  So, you’re good to go (another Americanism), almost.  You’ve downloaded your photos, ticked all the interest and description boxes but now comes the hard part, the bit where you have to describe yourself…your sales pitch.  A lot of people start off by modestly announcing that they hate describing themselves (dull) or describe how their friends would describe them (if they had any).  These are usually people with a row of photos which are all selfies and mostly taken in public WCs.  But you have to sell yourself, even though many think no-one reads the profiles (I do…OOPS, what a giveaway!).

Yes, I admit, since my wife left me in April 2014 I’ve been on Zoosk, POF, match.com, Guardian Soulmates, Telegraph personals, something called Love Match (I think) all of which (bar the free POF) I’ve paid good money to display my profile on. And, I’ve been on a few dates.  I’ve also messaged a lot of people and received a few too.  But more of that later.  I’m 52, a single dad, sometimes lonely, sometimes quite pissed off about things, but God Bless America for giving us dating and more to the point, on-line dating.