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Partnership: Desires of the Soul

Partnership: Desires of the Soul

I’m sifting through the interviews for my book on partnership and as I read the thoughts of men and women of all ages, the overwhelming desire is for connection. Whether in marriage, dating, polyamory or choosing to be single because you can’t face another brush with rejection, we all want connection.

Our reasons may differ but our desire is the same.

There is a beautiful vulnerability in people when they talk openly about partnership with me. The anonymity of being able to share their story entices them to reveal their innermost thoughts, beliefs, perceived failures, joys and love, so much love. There is pain there too. Of course there is. My primary motivation for beginning this work was to relieve my own pain; pain born from a decade littered with men who had little to give and me, a woman who wanted to give everything. I wanted to know how to do it better; how to create something that was more positive, sustainable, supportive, embracing and loving for myself. So I began talking to others, seeking answers.

My only question has been, what does partnership mean to you? And then I have simply followed the conversation wherever it has led me organically. Men, women, gay, straight, single, not single, young, retiring, so many interviews and so many perspectives. The magic of their thoughts touches me when I read them through. We’ve talked about divorce, parental disapproval, trust, having children, losing children, managing ourselves better, sex and sexual dysfunction, working out our previous traumas, choosing to isolate, choosing monogamy and choosing others to fill emotional holes that can’t be filled within a current partnership.

Every person is different. Even when I have been privileged to interview both people in a partnership, their answers have been different; sometimes their views are in complete opposition from ‘being on the same page’ to ‘ marriage is bi-polar’. Yet, for them it works.

And every single person has allowed me, for a few precious minutes or sometimes an hour, to glimpse inside their Soul and see what is truly important to them. What a treasured gift they have given me, all of them.

As I now edit and begin tying their stories together I wonder, “Can I do their stories justice? Can I honour the trust they have endowed on me?” I hope so.

Have I worked out what partnership means to me yet? I don’t know. They are all so clear but I, I feel like I am still seeking the answer. It’s as if it is still hiding within my Soul, waiting to rise to the surface when the right person should ask.

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

The Worst Date of My Life

The Worst Date of My Life

My first (and last) foray into online dating didn’t go very well. Actually, it was an unmitigated disaster. It was early 2012 when I met my first match from a well-known dating site. We’d chatted briefly online and agreed to meet in the Valley for drink to get to know each other better.

That first date went really well. It lasted from 4-11pm and we had drinks, then dinner and saw a movie. It was great. We laughed, had things in common and it was clear he didn’t want the date to end. He was also kind of cute (which always helps).

But the second date didn’t go quite as well. In fact, it was so bad it took me a few days to write down the story (which I later featured in my book The Men I’ve Almost Dated). The truth was, I had to process an interaction with a man who turned out to be a truly awful person before I could write about it. After that experience, I wasn’t sure if I ever want to date again.

Anyway, here’s the story…

On a Saturday night, I dressed up and headed out for a second date with DH. I’ll let you work out what those initials could stand for (hint, the first word is a name for the male genitalia) .

Anyway, the first date went really well. It lasted from 4-11pm and we had drinks, then dinner and saw a movie. It was great. We laughed, had things in common and it was clear he didn’t want the date to end. He was also kind of cute (which always helps).

So when he asked me out for dinner on Saturday night I said yes. I was looking forward to it.

We met a local bar and it probably wasn’t a good sign that he confessed to flinging his chewing gum into the street just as I exited the cab. When he’d removed his shoes and socks in the movie I’d thought it was quirky. But throwing his gum onto the footpath for someone to wear as an unwanted shoe ornament just seemed disrespectful.

We settled into a table for two, he ordered me a glass of wine and we chatted about this and that.

He mentioned he’d seen Underworld: Awakening earlier that day and how much he loved the 3-D effects. Then he said he was hanging out for 3-D porn.

Mmm.

I convinced myself that he was joking and changed the subject. After all, we’ve all said stupid things at the wrong moment and maybe he was just nervous.

The conversation seemed to get back on track and I started telling him about my blog.

When he asked, ‘What’s the point of blogging?’ I thought I detected a hint of disparagement but thought ‘No, that would be crazy. After all, why would someone who has never read my work and barely knows me ever disparage my blog?’ So, I told him it was about the discipline of writing and we talked about the book I’m writing.

Then things definitely went downhill.

I told him I was writing about my own life and hoped that people could relate to the things that happened to me. ‘Nobody wants to see a movie or read about someone who is like them,’ DH said. ‘They want to escape.’

Mmm.

I asked a few more questions just to clarify his meaning. Surely I was misinterpreting him? Sadly, it was very clear. He didn’t think anyone would want to read my writing because it would be too much like their own lives. Just to be clear, this man had never read or asked to see any of my work.

Mmm.

We left the bar and walked along the street to the restaurant. Then it got worse. I wasn’t feeling too great by this stage and he said, ‘You look confused?’

‘I’m perplexed,’ I said. ‘You seem to have a good heart but you’re saying things that are likely to offend me.

‘You’re too sensitive,’ he said. ‘Besides if I don’t say what I think there would be nothing to say.’ Then he tried to make a joke of it.

We didn’t talk a lot during dinner and he continued to act like everything was great. But I wasn’t feeling great. During the strained chitchat, DH said he often offends people and asked me why I thought that was. ‘Maybe you need to consider the feelings of the person you’re talking to,’ I quietly suggested.

Throughout the date I continued to be polite to this man because I’ve been raised to have good manners. Everything I said was politely worded and smilingly delivered because I kept thinking that maybe I was misinterpreting something.

DH had told me on our first date that he always tells his students (he’s a primary school teacher) they can do anything and encourages them to follow their dreams. When I compared this to his comments to me he said, ‘I just wouldn’t want someone to waste their time.’

Yes. That is exactly what he said.

And still I sat there sucking down my sangria like there was no tomorrow and thinking I need to get drunk really quickly or else I’m going to throw this cocktail into his face.

When the waitress returned I declined her offer of dessert because I was really hoping to end the ‘date’ as soon as possible. I put ‘date’ in inverted commas because dates are supposed to be pleasurable and this was definitely not.

But DH went ahead and ordered dessert for us to share!

Then he made some crack that no one wants to see another Sex and the City and laughed when he saw my face. ‘Ha ha, that’s what you’re aiming for isn’t it?’ he said. Then he laughed some more.

That’s not what I’m aiming for and the look on my face was pure shock at his atrocious behaviour. What a jerk. What a complete and utter jerk.

Often when I’m confronted with an insensitive and rude person I continue to smile, be polite and pretend that everything is fine.

But this time I chose a different route. This time I left. I excused myself and went to the bathroom. While there I accosted some poor woman and asked her if she had change for a $50 note. You see, I wanted to go back into the restaurant, fling my half of the money on the table and leave. But the woman (who probably thought I was a little nuts) said, ‘Um, no,’ then fled out the door. I followed close behind but stopped short of making my way back up the hallway to the restaurant.

The woman had gone in the opposite direction and exited through the glass doors into the car park. I watched her leave, then looked back towards the restaurant. Then I looked back at the glass doors. Then back to the restaurant entrance again.

Suddenly I was half-running down the hallway, shoving open those glass doors and emerging into the dark car park beyond.

Yes, I was legging it!

I remember ducking and weaving behind the parked cars because I didn’t want DH to spot me leaving (there was a concrete wall between us but my adrenaline was running and I felt a little crazy). I’d never done anything like that before. My parents had brought me up with good manners for heaven’s sake! Yet there I was fleeing like a fugitive before somehow flagging down a passing cab and throwing myself into the backseat.

When I started laughing (probably a little hysterically) the cab driver asked if I’d had a good date. That made me laugh even more. When he heard the story, the driver started laughing too.

Although I did laugh about it, I think I was also really shocked. The whole thing was unbelievable. I mean, who acts like that?

After about 10 minutes in the cab I sent DH a text saying, ‘Thanks for the not so lovely evening. If you’d like to send me your account details I will transfer you the funds for dinner.’

But I didn’t hear from him and blocked all communication with him on the xxx dating site.

I guess he probably felt humiliated sitting there in the restaurant on his own with his dessert for two. But I can’t really find it in my heart to feel sorry for him. Beside it could have been worse – I could have stained his shirt with my sangria.

Would you like to read more disastrous dating and men-related stories like this one? Check out my new book The Men I’ve Almost Dated. It’s available in eBook and paperback today.

Men, Feral Cats and the Single Life

Men, Feral Cats and the Single Life

There was a moment during the editing process for The Men I’ve Almost Dated, when I said I wanted to rewrite the entire thing. I think my editor, Kristy, almost had conniptions at that point. There she was trying to steer me towards the finishing line while I was suggesting a rewind to the beginning.

I was half-serious because as I re-read my stories, it felt like they were written by someone else. Oh, I knew I’d definitely done all the things in the book and lived through those experiences. But the person I’d become was very different from that 30-something woman who somewhat blindly made her way out of a 10-year marriage, through divorce and into the dysfunctional world of dating.

Take for instance my chapter entitled, Why Men Are Like Feral Cats. Even now it seems like an outrageous statement to make but, back then, I came across a number of men who were exactly like our feline friends. As I wrote, ‘Men couldn’t have anything in common with previously domesticated but now wild animals running the streets with absolutely no sense of responsibility. Could they?’

If you’ve been single for any period of time you’ll know the types of ‘cats’ I’m referring to here. In my book I’ve broken them down into some categories. These include the Never-Been-Faithful Cat who ‘flirts and behaves like the most unattached man with any attractive woman within a five-kilometre radius.’ There’s the Shameless Cat who ‘will chat up multiple women in the same location, within minutes of each other’ (for him it’s purely a numbers game). And of course, there’s the Shady Cat. He’s the one disguised as the nice guy until his partner is out of earshot (or in the next room) and then suddenly he’s all hands and innuendo.

Are you seeing the similarities yet between some men and feral cats? I’ll give you a hint…it may have something to do with their need to copulate with as many females as possible, regardless of their relationship status.

Fortunately, I‘ve also come to know some lovely men who don’t resemble feral cats in any way whatsoever. Ladies they do exist, thank goodness! But the feral cats are still out there and when I look back at the woman who had those experiences, I shake my head ruefully. I was so naïve about men and human behaviour when I ventured into the Land of Single. Learning about feral cats was just one of the lessons I learned the hard way.

As I read my book from beginning to end, I realised how much I’d grown from all the experiences it described. I was wiser but in many ways, when it comes to men, yet still just as clueless.

Today I wonder if that will ever change? Or is that just one of the constant mysteries of life…that men and women are different creatures so we must always be prone to miscommunication, misdirection and misdemeanors while we navigate the dating world?

I’m not sure, but I’m still out there hoping for the best. Except these days, I can usually spot a ‘feral cat’ at 10 paces.

Would you like to read more about men, feral cats, divorce and dysfunctional dating? The Men I’ve Almost Dated is available now in eBook and paperback. Get your copy today!

My book is here!!

My book is here!!

So it’s here. My book, The Men I’ve Almost Dated, is available online. It’s out there.

Now.

Yikes! After such a long period of time, I can hardly believe it.

What if people hate it? What if they love it? What if they don’t care? The thoughts scurry through my brain before I come back, for a moment, to a place of inner calm because it’s done now. It’s born. All I can do is tell people about it.

So here’s the summary. The Men I’ve Almost Dated is about my life in my 30s, the men I dated (or almost dated), sex, dubious decision-making, divorce and men behaving badly. It’s not a ‘how-to guide’ on getting it right when it comes to men and dating. However, it may be a ‘how-to guide’ on how to get it atrociously wrong. I’ll let you be the judge.

Over the coming days and weeks I’ll be sharing more about my book on this blog and my social media channels – so keep your eyes peeled. But for now, if you’d like to grab yourself a copy, head over to my webpage for all the details. You can buy the eBook version today and the print version will be available in coming weeks.

Happy reading!

Why Men Are Like Feral Cats…and other reflections on single life

feral catsMy book editing is nearly done. Just one more read-through and it will be ready for final checking by my editor Kristy. She’s been so patiently waiting and encouraging me over the past few months but I think I gave her a bit of a ‘moment’ in our conversation last week when I said I wanted to rewrite the whole thing.

I was half-serious with the comment because when I read through my book now it feels like it was written by someone else. Oh, I know I’ve definitely done all the things in that book and lived through those experiences. But the person I am now is so very different from that 30-something woman who somewhat blindly found her way out of a 10-year marriage, through divorce and into the dysfunctional world of dating.

Take for instance my chapter entitled, Why Men Are Like Feral Cats. Even now it seems like an outrageous statement to make but, back then, I came across a number of men who were exactly like our feline friends. As I wrote, ‘Men couldn’t have anything in common with previously domesticated but now wild animals running the streets with absolutely no sense of responsibility. Could they?’

If you’ve been single for any period of time you’ll know the types of ‘cats’ I’m referring to here. In my book I’ve broken them down into some categories. These include the Never-Been-Faithful Cat who ‘flirts and behaves like the most unattached man with any attractive woman within a five-kilometre radius.’ There’s the Shameless Cat who ‘will chat up multiple women in the same location, within minutes of each other’ (for him it’s purely a numbers game). And of course, there’s the Shady Cat. He’s the one disguised as the nice guy until his partner is out of earshot (or in the next room) and then suddenly he’s all hands and innuendo.

Are you seeing the similarities yet between some men and feral cats? I’ll give you a hint…it may have something to do with their need to copulate with as many females as possible, regardless of their relationship status.

Fortunately, I have also come to know some lovely men who don’t resemble feral cats in any way whatsoever. Ladies they do exist, thank goodness! But the feral cats are still out there and when I look back at the woman who had those experiences, I shake my head ruefully. I was so naïve about men and human behaviour when I ventured into the Land of Single. And learning about feral cats was just one of the lessons I had to learn the hard way.

I’m still single now but, as I read through my book from beginning to end for what is probably the last time, I know how much I’ve grown from all the experiences it describes. I’m wiser but in many ways, when it comes to men, I’m still just as clueless. Does that ever change, I wonder? Or is that just one of the constant mysteries of life…that men and women are such different creatures that we must always be prone to miscommunication, misdirection and misdemeanors while we navigate the dating world?

I’m not sure, but I’m still out there hoping for the best. Except these days, I can usually spot a ‘feral cat’ at 10 paces.

Mothers, Sex and the Generation Gap

Sex baby
‘…Let’s talk about sex, baby

Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex

Let’s talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain’t gonna stop it
Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows
Many will know anything goes
Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course, how it should be…’
Let’s Talk About Sex, Salt ‘n’ Pepa.

Mum has always been very supportive of my writing. She’s the one in my family who asks how it’s going, wants to read my work and encourages me to follow my writing dream (even when the going gets tough).

Last year, I showed her a chapter from the latest draft of my book and she loved it. She said it made her feel emotional and she wanted to cry a little. This was high praise coming from Mum.

Fast forward a year and that draft has morphed and changed into a far more refined version. And Mum’s been supportive the whole time. ‘When do I get to read your book?’ has been her regular refrain followed by, ‘Is it finished yet?’

About a month ago I was finally able to say, ‘Yes, it’s ready enough for you to see it. I’ll email to you.’ Would she like it or hate it, I didn’t know. But it was time.

Four long days crept past with no word from Mum. Was my book complete crap?? My fears started to bubble a little. Surely all was fine. Maybe she was busy and hadn’t read it yet.

Finally, I rang her on another pretext and as the conversation drew to a close she said, ‘By the way, I read your book.’

‘Oh?’ I said. ‘What did you think?’

‘I thought it was very well written,’ she said. ‘But I don’t really think it’s for my generation. And, as your mother, I don’t really want to read about all the men you’ve had sex with.’

Oh. My. God.

‘Mum, you do realise I haven’t slept with all the men I mention in the book. That’s why it’s called The Men I’ve Almost Dated. And besides, even if I had, it wouldn’t actually be many by most people’s standards…for my age.’

‘Well, that’s not always very clear,’ she replied. ‘But I thought it was good and very well written,’ she added hastily.

Awkward!!!

Now, my Mum knew the subject matter of my book before she read it. Lord knows she’s been privy over the years to many of my ridiculous dating and male-related stories. And trust me, there really isn’t much graphic content in my book. But I think  Mum was a little shocked and, as I now look through some of my stories, I guess I can understand why. My writing is pretty open and I tend to say it like it is. If you’re single and you’re dating (or not dating), the subject of sex is going to come up. It is 2015 after all.

But my Mum is 70 years old and from another generation; a generation that definitely wasn’t as open about things as we are today.

When I next saw Mum, she made a point of saying (again) how good she thought my book was and I know she is still really supportive, regardless of the content. But, as I plan its launch for later this year, I’m starting to wonder if I need to include some sort of age-related warning label like, ‘Contains some semi-shocking content and should only be read by people aged 18-60 years.’

Hopefully my second book (planned for early next year) will be a little less shocking for Mum and she’ll feel comfortable handing it out to her friends. For obvious reasons, I’m guessing it’s unlikely she’ll proudly distribute copies of The Men I’ve Almost Dated to her friends in the mostly 60+ age group at her weekly yoga class.

Love you Mum. xo