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Nothing else explains why I keep going back to Texas. Why do I keep beating my head against the wall? I think it may be the same damned hope syndrome that kept me in my failed marriage for too long. I am a hopeful romantic. I want to believe that love will always prevail.

I love Texas intensely. However, our incompatibilities are so major that we have trouble relating to each other. And then I ask myself: Why and how can I love someone I can’t even relate to?

It must be one of life’s cruel jokes. I’m not laughing, life. It makes no sense.

We see the same thing completely differently. For example, he saw my friendly texts with past dates as a threat to our relationship. They were not. And he saw his ex-wife’s recent texts to him as “inappropriate”.

A little history: They’re still friends. A week ago she sent him several days worth of tearful texts saying she missed him, that she was terribly lonely, and that she was going through a hard time. He ignored them. I was stunned. After he had asked me read them, I turned to him and asked him why he didn’t respond. His silence was callous. His reply? That she was being ridiculous and that she was acting crazy. Really? For being human? It made me incredibly sad that he would treat a friend in need that way. It also gave me some valuable insight on how he sees the world. He sees it in black & white.

I experienced a lot of change and personal growth in September. The break with Texas was good for me in a lot of ways. I was going to use it as a way to figure out if I ultimately wanted to be with him. I was hoping for a sign. I did eventually get the sign… and it wasn’t the sign I expected.

Things ended poorly in early August. I don’t remember if I wrote about the horrendous conclusion or not… but the following happened in a single night: 1) He came over to my place drunk, 2) He told me he’d reactivated his OK Cupid profile “to meet friends”, and 3) He became pissy and irrational when I refused his idea of driving 4 hours to Reno with my kids on my birthday to meet him for an evening, then turn around and drive home solo with my kids the next morning while he followed in a U-Haul truck full of Burning Man gear.

I was hurt and angry. In my mind, the break was a break-up with the distant possibility of maybe getting back together. I wanted to think of it as a break but I was livid. I needed distance.

I had my period of self-reflection and then I got back on the dating horse. Obviously, I was not interested in pursuing anything with the dates from my past, as nothing had panned out there in the first place. My goal was, and still is, to find chemistry and connection with someone special and build a relationship.

I had strict rules this time around, and I mostly followed them. The exceptions are mentioned here and ultimately happened because I wasn’t listening to my intuition.

I saw Mr. Promising once, soon after becoming single. We met for dinner. Over burgers and beer, he asked if I was still looking for a relationship (he knew I’d recently broken up with Texas). I said yes; he said he wasn’t ready. My desire for a relationship, though, was apparently offensive to him because I never heard from him again. I know for a fact it’s because of that. I find it hilarious. Heaven forbid I would want a relationship with him. (I didn’t.)

I saw The Blond Mandarin twice. First time was fun. He brought over burritos and we watched a movie. We laughed a ton. Second time was… eh. More on that later.

I reactivated Tinder and then, a few days later, OK Cupid. The latter was crazy frenetic and I was inundated with messages, mostly from guys I had no interest in dating. I deactivated a few days later.

In the brief time I was active on both sites, I met 5 dudes. 2 from Tinder and 3 from OKC. All very nice. There was chemistry with 3, possible chemistry with 1, and absolutely no chemistry with the 5th.

Crazily enough, almost immediately after activating my online dating profiles, I heard from Colombian Hottie. He must have detected a disturbance in the force. I hadn’t heard from him since July 4th! I was shocked. He asked if I was mad at him. I, of course, wasn’t. We keep in occasional contact. I haven’t seen him and I don’t intend to.

Truth or Dare contacted me a couple times… in the sly way he always does. Very casually, sometimes with overt sexual comments. Could he have turettes? Sometimes he’s normal, sometimes he’s not. The second time, he wanted to play truth or dare. I had no interest in playing games or even continuing niceties. I refused to be baited with his truth or dare questions. In fact, I shockingly received another text from him on Saturday night. Two nights ago. He sent: Truth or dare? I responded: I am not interested. He followed with: 😦

Unbelievable.

Something definitely shifted in me during the break but I didn’t realize it until I saw Texas again for the first time post-break and I didn’t fully realize it until after The Anniversary. I was going on dates I had scheduled during our break (there was naturally a scheduling bleed-over due to my custody schedule & availability). I still loved Texas, of course, but I now knew I definitely wanted to get back together, which took me by surprise. This revelation was crystal clear. It was not what I expected!

I became distraught about my dates. I couldn’t lead them on. I couldn’t exchange kissy texts and “I love yous” with Texas and still date others. It was not fair to anyone.

I saw The Blond Mandarin unexpectedly one evening after I had wrapped up meeting a date for a couple beers. He asked me to stop by on my way home. I did and something was definitely different. I was irritated by a lot of little things. In hindsight, it must have been because something had shifted inside of me. I realized we had no substance. We had a friendship and always shared a lot of laughs together but there were some troubling things I couldn’t look past. The lack of substance was okay with me before, but it was not okay with me now. It was not okay with the “new me”. I’m sure he sensed it, too. I got the impression when I left that we had an understanding that it would be the last time we saw each other. I felt relieved. Closure.

I spent three whole days that following weekend (two weekends ago) bawling my eyes out. I realized I had not been capable of having a healthy relationship with anyone until now. I now felt calmer, more focused, and more centered. I also felt tremendous remorse for putting Texas through that wringer. I knew that our relationship was likely not reparable. I had missed my opportunity. It was no one’s fault, of course, just bad timing.

I was gutted.

I would let Texas make the decision, though. I wanted him to know that I was now ready to fully commit to him in the way he expected and deserved. And I wanted to prove to myself that we could have the healthy relationship that he insisted we could have if the other guys were out of the picture for good. I knew I would no longer tolerate disrespectful texts. Time would tell if it would really solve his jealousy and insecurity but I was willing to see it through.

Texas came over so that we could talk. I spilled my guts to him, occasionally crying, and was met with… hesitance and wariness. I didn’t blame him. I deserved it.

He asked that I cut all ties with guys from my past and I was happy to oblige. He specifically targeted The Blond Mandarin and said that I needed to make it clear to him that it was over with him. I told him that it was over and that it was highly unlikely I would ever hear from him again. He was skeptical. I told him that I would absolutely do that if I ever heard from him again but he wasn’t satisfied with that tactic. I hadn’t heard from The Blond Mandarin for a week at that point. Texas wanted me to contact him.

It would be super awkward for me to contact The Blond Mandarin out of the blue and tell him it was over between us. For good. In case it wasn’t already clear.  ???

But I would. And I did.

With advice from my good friend, Lola, I crafted a goodbye text telling him that I had met someone new (this was key) that I really connected with and wanted to give a fair chance. As a result, I would no longer be dating. I wished him well.

He responded almost immediately, thanking me for being sweet about it and wishing me luck. He said, “good luck, kiddo”, which cracks me up because I’m 16 years his senior. I thanked him and wished him luck on his impending promotion. At the time of writing this, that was exactly one week ago.

I was eager to tell Texas the next day that my mission was accomplished and could we get back together already? He asked what I’d told The Blond Mandarin and, after I told him, he told me he was not satisfied. He thought I was leaving the door open for more communication. Whaaaatttt?! I was stunned. I thought our texts were clear.

We argued. I had lived up to my end of the deal, though, so I expected that he was going to phase out dating.

We had plans scheduled for the entire weekend last weekend, including pre-purchased tickets to two events. We had a great time at Friday night’s speakeasy and Saturday afternoon’s walking tour. However, during the walking tour I had noticed that he’d received a Tinder notification on his phone. I couldn’t believe it. He was still on Tinder?!

It took me a while to process this and then, when the walking tour was over, I told him I’d noticed he was still on Tinder and that I was not interested in dating him when he was dating other women. He was pro open relationship; I was not.

Conversation was strained. We spent the rest of the evening in awkwardness. He slept on my couch that night and we spent the next morning in more awkwardness.

He told me there was an easy way to fix this… and that would be for me to contact The Blond Mandarin again. I told him there was absolutely no way I was contacting The Blond Mandarin again. Why would I do that? And what would I say? “Oh, by the way, don’t ever contact me again. OK, bye!” What the actual fuck?! That was totally nuts. Shockingly, Texas said he would not believe I had truly changed until I did. It seems so arbitrary and petty… and manipulative.

I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that -Meat Loaf

I will not sacrifice my dignity and self-respect. I will not “prove” my love nor play petty mind games. I draw the line there.

And so here we are at a standoff. Neither of us will budge. I asked him compromise on this but he refuses.

We went to breakfast yesterday morning. It was mostly spent in awkward silence. Upon saying goodbye, he told me to let him know if I wanted to talk. Talk? About what?! We disagree. Oh, he must mean that I should let him know if I change my mind…..

And then he went on to say that he has done nothing but give in our relationship and that he was tired of it. He wanted reciprocation, even going so far as to ask me what I did for him in the relationship. I was speechless. Was I hearing this right?! I told him I gave him love. He rolled his eyes. I asked him what he did for me. He replied: “Take you to events, introduce you to my friends, and come over to your house even late at night.” I replied: “I made you meals, have driven us around town and you and even your friends to out-of-town destinations, and have introduced you to my friends.” Was he really keeping score? I was pissed.

Then he made some extremely offensive comment about me being a parasite and I was done. LIVID. I turned and walked away.

We have several pre-planned events coming up, including a long weekend trip in less than two weeks. My belated birthday celebration trip. The airfare is already purchased. What the fuck are we going to do?!

This is not salvageable. I hope, once the dust settles, that we can be friends.

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