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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Two Thousand And Fifteen

I suspect that at this time of year, many will be reflecting on the past 12 months and looking forward to a new year and whatever it will bring.  To do this would seem on face value a very irrational thing to do.  One day flows into the next, night follows day, season after season, etc.  But somehow the norms of time seem not to apply.  For me, I’ve had an extended period of time off work and above all have to get through the month of December.  December was until recently a month that I loved but for the past two years, living through it has been a chore.  Why?  Because my wife’s birthday is in December and she used to make Christmas extra special.  Then we would do something exciting together for new year.  Readers of this blog will know that my wife #2 and I separated in April 2014 and that’s why December is shitty.  That’s why a year ends and a new one begins.

The clue above gives me the opportunity to state again that for me, 2014 was a bloody awful year.  I ended that year very optimistic about 2015 and was determined to put my life with wife #2 behind me and forge ahead in the new year.  So how have I got on?

The one thing I missed was being in a relationship so this became a focus for me.  I was determined to shed the baggage of our separation which had become an intrusion into the relationships I had attempted to nurture, mostly through internet dating, but had petered out pretty quickly had they got even remotely off the ground.

So I began the year meeting a lady in person who I  met on a dating site.  Things started off  promisingly, we had stuff in common, we made each other laugh but…it lasted less than a month.  The baggage was still there, it influenced my thinking, I still wanted a clone of wife #2.  I still yearned after her and I wanted her back.  This, in spite of knowing she was living about 4 miles away with another man.

I planned that on St Valentine’s Day I would send her one more missive asking her to meet me and come back.  It was at this moment I discovered she was off work on maternity leave.  Yes, she was having a baby.  Within 24 hours (we all know someone who knows someone who knows…) I learned she had the baby in January, 9 months after she left me.  I was…surprised, surprised more than shocked because I had suspected it but it brought down a curtain, the final curtain.  Without it being a thunderbolt from Zeus it quietly and calmly made me realise, that was it.  There would be no reconciliation, it was over.  It was already over but now I knew it was over.

And as luck would have it a lady who I met briefly (via an internet dating website – thanks Guardian Soulmates) in September 2014 got in contact with me and we met up in Manchester.  Manchester is roughly 50 miles away from me and about 90 minutes on a train.  I went.  And I went again.  And again after that to the point where I would catch a train to Manchester every Saturday lunchtime, we would meet up, drink, walk round, often end up in a gay bar and then…then I would catch the last train home at 8.45pm.  She has 3 daughters, I have 1 son.  But it was great.  I adored her, we had a meeting of minds, she was kind, compassionate, emotionally intelligent, attractive, politically aware, interesting, diverse, sexy.  I took a day off, my son went on an overnight school trip…we had our moments, occasionally; and if we could persevere for 3 years, our kids would be old enough, possibly be at university by 2018 all would be fine.  In theory.

I was distracted.  Distracted by a lady at work, a senior lady and a local lady.  I cut Manchester off.  Completely and abruptly.   It was a risk but I took it.  Big mistake.  This lady was leaving a disastrous relationship, was needy, boozy, desperate.  I called it off.  Manchester was gone.  I tried again with local, same result.  Back to internet dating…met a larger than life lady, twice, then over.  I tried local again who had by now moved away from the abuse.  Hello, changed person, in control, settled, content, happy.  It’s working, it’s going well, it could work, it will work!  What could possibly go wrong?! This:

My boss at work left for another job.  A vacancy arose, I applied for it.  So did a few others, I got the job!  Jealousy, bitterness, pettiness, call it what you will, the local lady who had no influence in the recruitment process became the focus of people’s bile.  Comments were made, rumours started, she called the whole thing off.  I’m single again.  The job is temporary until March 31st 2016, I may get it but she cannot afford to be seen to be in a relationship with me and be accused of any bias.  It’s over.

2015 teased me.  It was good. Manchester was beautiful, my lady, my kind of woman but circumstances were against us.  Local may not have worked but it might work.  Post March 2016 who knows?  Career, relationship, surely 2 things can’t go right for me at once?  My life doesn’t tend to work like that.  It’s time for me to take control.  To work hard, to get the job and then do what is appropriate romantically.  What I want and get it.  Roll on 2016.IMG_0122

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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.