Must have been a dream, Pete.

Robert was supposed to come over Friday and have a morning date with me. 

He suggested it two weeks ago. He told me he’d planned to have the day off because his partner was going to be out of town and he’d have part of the day until he had to pick up his kids later in the day. He wanted to see me. I’d asked him if it was a tentative thing because of work and he said no, that he had the day no matter what.

I didn’t ever bring it up except when we’d joke about having coffee or spending a morning together. Totally played it cool.

Tuesday I loosely planned out the date and confirmed what time he was coming. I made sure to mention we’d be heading into the city – so he’d know this wasn’t some kind of “coffee and chill” morning in my home where we’d likely get into trouble. He seemed excited and interested to go out into the world with me. I was over the moon. A man who wanted to spend time with me beyond a bedroom! Shows how damaged I really am. I was afraid to tell him I was making “normal” date plans. I was afraid he’d show his cards(sex only please) and that would be it – more disappointment. My friend Faith encouraged me to share with him that I had non-sexual plans. She thought I might be pleasantly surprised. I truly was. And I was scared that it would all go south anyway…

Wednesday he announced there was a work issue that might prevent him from coming. He promised to let me know well ahead of time, but said it wasn’t looking great. My heart hurt instantly. I doubted him. I didn’t ask why weeks ago he’d made it sound rock solid. What good would that do? He’s not mine. I don’t have any claim to him. But it lingered in my head. Why tell me it’s a done deal and then back away? It’s typical for men in my life. I was seeing the same old shit again. I hurt. 

Thursday afternoon he fully backed out. Told me work that had to be done for Friday wasn’t going to get done and he would end up working all of Friday. He was sweet and apologetic, but also basically matter of fact about it. 

I realized work is his wife. He loves it and hates it but is always there when called on. Everything else takes a back seat. His kids, his relationships. Everything. And it’s not life or death, emergent crisis type of work. He isn’t dealing with international timelines or clientele. He’s not an EMT or a doctor. He’s not uniquely qualified so that his skills are critical. He’s out in the field driving tractor trailers, hauling equipment. Half the time he’s waiting for other people to finish work so he can do his job.

I think it’s an escape. He has no other future plans or aspirations. Just that, it seems. I’ve asked him. Not even to get to a place where he works less hours so he can be with his kids. He seems to have thrown up his hands about his situation. This makes me wonder if he will ever leave his partner. He never stops saying he’s going to move out one day in the near future, but I don’t think he’s got any kind of plan. I know how it is when you leave a relationship or living arrangement. Plans move things forwards. Not sure he’s on any trajectory at all.

I rolled with the plan change and didn’t get hostile or bitchy or judgmental, but talked to him Thursday night and once again said I was scaling the whole thing back. This is the third time I’ve done this. I need to be done doing it. Boundaries HAVE to come up now. I told him I think his work is his wife. He kind of agreed with me. Ugh. 

He did say when he makes the changes in his life he’s going to come find me. I was touched, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’ll meet someone and that he’ll come and I won’t be ready and then I’ll break up with whoever I’m with and then he’ll be married. I’m too old for that shit. I don’t have a decade more of my life to got through that.

I really fucking like him and feel good with him and am attracted to him. I really want this man in my life somehow, and I can’t have him. It really hurts so much. 

I haven’t spoken with him or texted with him since Thursday night. I sent him one message yesterday morning telling him is was thinking about him, not to respond, that it was going to take a bit for me to get used to not texting or talking every day. He commented on a Facebook post and liked others. No direct contact. I know he’s out there. I know he’s got his kids this weekend and they’re small and he’ll be busy. 

I want to ask him how he is. 

I miss him. I want him to miss me and tell me that this sucks. I want him to break the boundary and tell me he hates this and that he knows it’s the right thing to do but that he’s having a hard time. I want him to feel like I do. And if he does, I want him to tell me so I can tell him how I feel. Then we’re in it together and we know what’s what. 

Right now it’s silence. He has said nothing to indicate anything.

The only one who feels this way right now is me. That’s so fucking sad.

I have to grieve this. I have to keep moving.

Faith is going to help me set up a dating profile on a site so I can go meet some nice fellas and have some dates.

I signed back in to an account I created last year and started preparing. It’s still hidden. I just wanted to get it ready. 

While I was setting preliminary things up and looking around, I discovered I wasn’t interested in anyone else. I don’t feel like I want to date. I like Robert. I really like him. I don’t want to flirt with anyone else. I really don’t. I can’t believe I’m saying that. I’m feeling lovesick. Or I really found someone compatible for the first time in a long long time and he looks like the best thing possible when I know that’s not necessarily true. But I don’t want to go out there and reject guys and get rejected more. 

I also realized tonight that when he gave me the orgasm three weeks ago, it was the first one I’d had that way with a man in at least four years. He was so eager and giving. There wasn’t a thing wrong with that night except for any doubts in myself that I had. He was lovely. It was good. He held me. He smiled so much. Why can’t I just have that? Something so nice and good? Why not? Why is this such a fucking struggle ALL THE TIME? 

It’s self-directed rejection. I chose to interact with him and his unavailability was all known in the beginning. 

One day two weeks ago, when I was having my hair done, I sent him a “before” pic from the stylists chair. My hair was down and loose and pretty and I was sitting in my little salon cape -the photo is me taking my pic in the mirror. He texted back “Cute little girl”. I felt like he saw me in a non-sexual, sweet way.  It made me love him and want him more. I wanted to be HIS cute little girl.

When I piece it all together, I’m looking for a daddy. I’m looking for a man to love me and want me in non-sexual, fun, playful, safe ways, along with the sex and romance and excitement of relationship love. And my life experience is the complete non-existence of such a being. I am chasing something that never was, and reenacting my biological fathers rejection of me with men who are just as unavailable or self absorbed or abusive or whatever. 

I want to be wrong about Robert. I want him to be different and not another symptom of my pathology. I want him to be as good as many of the signs have indicated. I want him to get his life on track and get free and find space for more good things like ME.

I just want to know that Robert is feeling the same way about me right now
. I feel like if I knew that, it wouldn’t be so hard. I would wait for him. I feel like I would. If he asked me to wait…

I drank too much tonight and spilled wine on my carpet for the first time since I moved in here. My head hurts terribly. 

I’m lonely and angry and sad.

I just want someone to hold me and make me laugh and turn me on and be my friend and be there. 

I used to have BIG aspirations and dreams about what I could be, but I’ve only ever touched on the kind of love that makes a person feel solid and whole. Life is better when you have a partner who cares and is there and loves you like no regular friend could. It doesn’t matter how successful or rich or established or centered you are as an individual. If you don’t have a companion to share anything with intimately, you walk the earth alone, no matter how many other friends and loved ones you have. Why are there so many songs and books and poems and movies and stories about love if humans can live without it? Aren’t we ALL addicts then? There are less people who want to be alone than there are people who want a partner in life. I’m not a fucking anomalie.

I’m tired of the “love yourself and it will all come together” bullshit. Do you know how many people out there are just falling in love and meeting people with all kinds of shit going on – when they’re not at their best – when they don’t fully love themselves? It’s happening anyway. But it’s still not for me because I’ve been over here diagnosing my ills, failing, analyzing my failures, trying to regiment how I interact with the world because I’ve seen myself as broken and having to live a certain way in order to be less broken. I’ve been trying to perfect myself and live in a bubble. Overthinking everything along the way.

Wine migraine. Head hurts.

I just got notified that people are checking me out on the dating site. I’d accidentally made it public! I just hid it. Not before 5 guys liked my photos. I couldn’t see their photos because my account isn’t started up officially yet. I still got a jolt. Know what said?:  “Is THAT my boyfriend?” That feels unhealthy. Great start I’m off to. 

I probably can’t have boyfriends. I feel cursed. If I truly can’t, I wish the universe would tell me what I CAN have, so at least I have something to look forward to. 

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Hello? This is crazy.


ROBERT

Right now, this minute, I want to shut the whole “Robert” thing down. I want to shut SLAA activity down, I want to shut everything down all around. Shit is hitting the fan. Or at least flying way too close to it.

We had sparing texts between last Sunday and Wednesday due to a tense exchange we had last Sunday morning about whether or not he was maybe sharing his physical arousal over me with his partner. He informed me that it had been a year since he’d been intimate with her, so that nothing had happened, and also that he was worried about our timing on things and that he didn’t want to hurt anyone. We were both quiet for two days, but by Wednesday we were ok. But we never talked about it again.

Thursday we went totally sexual and we sexted for four hours from late in the afternoon until 8-830 that night. It was nuts. I didn’t expect to go there with him but I did. I loved a lot of it. There is no question that we are compatible. I will say that at the end, his phone was dying and he was trying to get me to make myself come for him, live on the phone. Some things he said turned me off (I can’t remember them now) and I started to fake it a little and then his battery died. I was relieved. I was exhausted from interacting with him for so long. I hadn’t even eaten dinner. 

Friday morning he started in again but I slowed that right down. Bells in my head started going off about flying down a no-way-back one-way street. I felt disappointment creeping in. He was cool and didn’t get pissy or weird, just had fun with me like usual. Whew.

He was to be involved in a neighbor friend-related wedding event all weekend that his kids were part of. He was going to be hands on all weekend. Last time I spoke or had any contact with him at all was Friday night. Absolute silence since. Initially I’d expected that. But this is the age of technology and contact at your finger tips. He was checking Facebook. Why not say hi? Why not anything at all?

My gut reaction: Because I am not important enough to him. He does not miss me. I don’t matter enough that he feels compelled to say “I can’t talk and things are crazy but I am thinking about you.”

I also feel I am in the position of having to take the cue from him that it’s ok to say hello – I don’t speak unless spoken to in these situations. So I did not reach out. We never discussed protocol. 

I think he checked Facebook partly to see what I was up to, but he said nothing privately or otherwise. I will likely know tomorrow if that was true if he starts texting me and mentions things I posted.

I know he likes me and is in to me on some level and is also into me sexually. I believe that. But it’s at his pace. There is no balance. And he’s not assertive at all unless (which just became a thing) we’re talking about sex.

And I can’t decide what’s working for me. I don’t know how to ask for “more”. I don’t even know what that is beyond just knowing that he’s there. 

I love having simple contact with him. Knowing that he’s there. I love giggling and laughing and feeling paid attention to. It brings me joy and contentment. I love the compliments and that he thinks I am attractive too. It makes me feel like a sexy woman again. I missed it so much.

But something else is missing. And I feel like I’m a secret again. Maybe less of one than I’ve been in the past because mutual friends and people in his life know about us. But still…

If I’m going to be in a complicated situation that supposedly isn’t far from resolving itself, I’d at least like I know where I stand with the person I’m engaging with. I haven’t asked. All we do is text and talk infrequently on the phone. I don’t know how into me he actually is. Or if this is just a good time for him.

I don’t know how to see this as just a good fun thing I’m doing until something clearer happens. I don’t know if I’m supposed to just ride along here until he states something about something. Am I supposed to wait for that? Am I supposed to just be ok with whenever HE feels like talking and reaching out? Am I supposed to not care and go live my awesome life and be happy when I do hear from him because hey, it’s complicated?

I don’t know how to be with this.

In the meantime, my heart hurts. 

I don’t want him to go away. But I don’t know how to keep him in my life in a way that feels comfortable.

I am considering getting on a dating site again to keep from putting all my eggs in one basket. 

RECOVERY SUPPORT FAIL

I don’t have my support group fully with me partly because of the Robert situation, and I even had an argument on the phone with one of the women today. I emailed Saturday night telling everyone I was feeling alone and also conflicted because my sponsor who dropped me is also in the support group and I hadn’t shared about my hurt over her dropping me, because of the group and sponsor dynamic. 

The woman who called wanted to bitch more about Robert and totally failed to address the rest of my message to the group about how we interact. She also accused me of having asked for advice on how to continue my relationship with him or “make it work”. I have NEVER asked the group for that. I asked for support on my journey. I didn’t ask anyone to approve or anything like that. I even told everyone that I would understand if they couldn’t talk about it – if it was too triggering. She’s a fucking nutcase and for as long as she’s been in recovery, you should have seen her last relationship. I had to tell her the call was going nowhere fast and that I felt like it was a good time to hang up. She would have kept poking and prodding at me if I’d stayed on the line! THAT is deep crazy.

She also had me near insanity last week when I found out the attorney I was considering hiring for my divorce was 2k more expensive than I had anticipated. This woman kept telling me I had to act swiftly and just do it, knowing and seemingly caring nothing about my financial situation or my concerns about going into massive debt when a large settlement isn’t likely. She wasn’t interested in actually knowing anything about what was practical or what I want. She kept telling me I was degrading myself and letting my ex run everything. While I definitely haven’t stood up for myself as well as I could have in the past, I have much better perspective on all that now. It’s a slow process, but it is what it is. 

She’s an angry, bitter, crazy person who had a really traumatic childhood and bad, failed marriage and a strained relationship with her sons and is acting it out on others. She doesn’t really have humanity. She’s a caricature, frankly.  I don’t want her “support” anymore. 

Damn, I’m getting mean. Shit, I’m still really mad. 

Luckily I have a therapist and other recovery friends outside that circle who help. 

I did get some good feedback from the other women in the group, and I know they care. My former sponsor was the only person to remain completely silent. Not a surprise. She is likely taking my email to heart and is partly furious at me for bringing it up to the group and also realizing how fucked up it actually is(I hope), so she doesn’t know how to address it. I hope she doesn’t go crazy like this other one. That’ll be disappointing. 

Holy fuck, like it isn’t enough I’m trying to navigate how I deal with my own patterns and dysfunction and now I have to point out to a whole group of fully grown women that maybe it’s not the best idea to have sponsors and sponsees in the same group? 

I found out that the crazy woman is sponsoring two other women in the group. I think my old sponsor is sponsoring someone else in that group. That means 4 out of the 7 women in our group are sponsored by two of the other women in the group. That feels fucked up. And we have no clinical or therapeutic oversight. So we’re all just bubbling over with cray.

Many(not all) people in recovery are often no less fucked up than when they were acting out. They’re just not using. 

Being able to talk and joke with Robert today would have been a welcome relief with all that going on. That’s something I really enjoy about him.

Big sigh.

I want to work through my shit and have more confidence in my own decision making. I’m not helpless. I can admit to powerlessness and not have to hide in a bubble at the same time. 

This is hard, everyone. It might not be that complicated, but it is hard.

PMS is here too, so I imagine it will get rougher before I see calm. 

God, universe, probability, whatever…

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

postscript… Add to all this, last week I was sick, then my son got sick, and volunteer work I do blew up because the people I volunteer for don’t know what they hell they are doing. Also, I got my hair dyed blonde/gray, and it’s dry as fuck. My stylist warned me. 

I’m still walking the planet and I’m not a fucking mental patient yet. Progress. 

S*A*T*U*R-D*A*Y NIGHT

I cut off private contact with Robert for a time – I’d told him Wednesday that we couldn’t speak privately anymore until he was fully available. My recovery sisters were so proud of me. I messaged with Faith about it – I think I surprised her with my fortitude.

Wednesday night I saw Dr Pope and he seemed happy that I’d met someone and that we clicked so well. He was hopeful that things would work out with Robert leaving his partner and seemed to think I was handling things soberly.
In his office I recounted for him what had happened and I felt like I was falling in love with Robert in the telling of it. It was driving me insane. It felt wrong to not talk to him as much as I had shame and crazy when I did talk to him. I cried and missed him the whole way home from Dr. Pope’s office.

Robert kept liking my posts on FB. He’d comment and say fun, private things that we’d laughed about. He never disappeared. He just respected the distance I asked for. Even saying that now I feel like I love him.

I worked on holding the line for three days but I missed talking with him so much the whole time.

Saturday came round. I had a 6th & 7th step group with my recovery sisters. One of my character defects is lust and I wasn’t ready to surrender it. I struggled not to think about him.

While we were wrapping up I learned that my son, who was supposed to be with me that night, had decided to go to a friends house overnight. My friends who’d had the previous week’s party, invited me to come out with them to a show later…a show I knew Robert would like to see. I also knew he was around because Tuesday he’d asked if I wanted to have dinner on Saturday – his partner was going to be out of town with the kids. I’d laughed and said, “yeah, ‘dinner’ – we’ll never eat.” He knew what I meant. But I hadn’t spoken privately with him since Wednesday morning. I was trying to devise a way to tell him online about the event – my recovery sisters joked with me about how I could let him know publicly about it but they also cautioned me. He didn’t see the post and I ended up texting him after they left – to tell him about the event and that I was free if he was. Then the clock started ticking.

I decided to take myself shopping to try to get my mind off him, but I felt flattened. What if he didn’t want to talk privately anymore? What if he had other plans and didn’t want to talk to me? What if I’d weirded him out? What if what if what if?

I walked myself ragged in the mall.

No response, until… two hours later I got a text while in a shoe store. It was him, sending me a silly text to make me laugh. I responded in kind and his response made me laugh out loud like a giggling teenager. He’d been at his mothers house helping with work. He was texting a little delayed so I put the phone down and wandered into stores looking at candles and housewares, thinking about picking out candles with him. I swear to god I want to pick out decor with this man. I don’t remember ever fantasizing about picking out decor. It’s preposterous.

Fabrics and textures and colors felt more pronounced. They play jazzy, relaxing, sexy beats in boutique shops and it was making me want to hold his hand and walk around in a small town and look in store windows. I felt romantic thoughts where usually there is so much flesh and sweaty oblivion. 

If this is my love addict engaged, she is fully holding the wheel right now. 

We talked and texted back and forth for the next two to three hours about maybe hanging out. I was reluctant to have him visit and I desperately wanted to see him. I bought Italian takeout I’d told him about in a prior conversation and texted a photo of the spoils.

“Don’t make me come down there.”

He made me laugh so much. He told me he’d leave whenever I wanted him to leave. He just wanted to see me.

It had been exactly two years since I’d had sexual intrigue online with anyone. Over two years since I’d had sexual contact.

It took him an hour to get to me. He was still dressed in work clothes. A working man.

When I opened the door his smile was beautiful and bright. He was so sweet and we didn’t even touch until he stood in my kitchen and I went to him and hugged him and couldn’t let go. He couldn’t let go either. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We were awkward and silly and tense and it was incredible to be in his presence. We joked again about how teenager-y the whole thing felt. 

We kissed. 
He spent the night here. With me. In my home. We kissed and aroused each other and played all night long.

We lay in bed together, staring into each other’s eyes.

We laughed heartily at a scene from Goodfellas in between passionate kisses.

We explored each other fully. 

We did not have intercourse. I told him if we did that I would fall in love with him. He asked me if I wanted to fall in love with him and I said yes, but that I wanted him to fall in love with me and that if he wasn’t ready then we shouldn’t. It was amazing and erotic and passionate and also restrained.

I love his feet. I never love anyone’s feet. Ok love is a strong word, but I like them very much.

He held me when we slept. He didn’t waver.  We hardly slept but it was still warm and wonderful. He slept in my bed with him and I didn’t want to leave his side or worry about him being in bed with me or feel for a minute that he didn’t want to be there.

It felt RIGHT.

I had an orgasm with him and I didn’t think I’d be able to. He told me I tasted sweet. I don’t know what that means. I don’t think anyone can taste sweet. Doesn’t matter. He enjoyed himself immensely and so did I. I had performance anxiety about how I pleased him. I didn’t think I’d done the best I could. But he seemed happy and enjoyed how I pleasured him.

I like his size. I think he’s goldilocks perfect for me. I don’t know yet – I hope to one day.  

I made coffee for him in the morning. I don’t think I’ve ever done that for someone. And he enjoyed it. He had two cups. We sat so close at my kitchen table and then sat on my couch together and talked more. It was intimate, comfortable. He told me he liked my place and felt comfortable there.

When he left, I watched him from my deck. He kept turning around and smiling at me. When he drove away he stopped at my window and smiled and waved to me. We texted eachother an hour later. We both felt it was a success in the highest terms.

It felt like I was having something good and true. 

I cried while taking a hot shower. I cried for how good it felt to be with him and how much I have missed having this in my life.

Writing this makes me want him all over again.

I told my recovery sisters the basics. They voiced support and thanked me for staying honest.

My sponsor said she couldn’t sponsor me anymore. I knew this would happen and I had to accept it. I copped to being in relapse and said I felt I had to see this through. She told me she wanted to be friends no matter what. She also said if I cut this off and am willing to go to a ton of meetings and follow a plan, she will take me back.

Sunday I was bleary and exhausted but productive. I didn’t wash my sheets. They’re not a mess but they smell like him and I love it. I told him so. My son came home and I tended to him and myself. I never felt totally crazy.

Yesterday I was ok too. My son had to stay at his dads because I had a super early morning today. I had time to think more about things. I know I have to have a plan for getting out if nothing changes.

We have been in nonstop contact since then. For us – which means texting in the morning and sporadically throughout the day, likes and comments on FB, and more contact at night. I know I will get a text from him in the morning and it will make me smile.

He’s feeling me. I believe this.

Tonight he had his kids and I didn’t expect to hear from him at all.

He texted to wish me a happy Taco Tuesday with my son. He remembered me talking about it. It moved me.

It’s little things.

He told me he was thankful for the time with me – felt he was more in touch with himself – what he wants and who he wants to be.

I have shame about hurting his partner and about being in the position I’m in. He told me he has money saved and is working on a plan to leave and that he has been. 

I have shame about being in a similar situation to when I met Paul. He was in a long term relationship too. But you know what? This feels TOTALLY different. Robert is a kid in his heart like me. Robert didn’t go digging for my fantasies and kinky thoughts. Today he texted about my breasts being close to him in a hug. He called them breasts. Not tits or boobs or something else. He doesn’t approach me or my body the way any other man has. 

Robert is more likely to crack a joke than try to seduce me in a text. He’d rather do it to my face.

He is lovely and very challenged.

So am I.

I don’t know where this is going. I just know I want to be with him.

If we all die from nuclear war tomorrow, I will feel I can die knowing I had what felt like some true romance.

My recovery group continues to support me as I find my way through this.

I know I am in likely peril.

I also feel like he is someone who is meant to be in my life. His soul has a gentleness and kindness I need. He’s a simple guy in many respects, but he’s dimensional and fascinating and sexy as hell.

I am where I am. I am not losing sleep. I am eating(meh). I am working.

I am reflecting.

I am also feeling great joy.

I cried on the way home from work today – I felt happy knowing Robert. Whatever happens happens. I am lucky to have had this blissful little time with him.

Today was today.

Tomorrow is tomorrow.

Pray for me. Pray for us both.

Sex and Love Addiction in Six Acts

THE NIGHT AND ROBERT
It was a wonderful night. Almost without flaw.

We’d joked prior to seeing each other about him asking to see my pedicure. The minute he walked in and up to me, he asked to see my toes. In front of our friends. He didn’t care who saw us flirt.

We hit it off completely. We laughed and joked and acted flirty (but never touchy feely except for an occasional tap on the arm) all night. We cracked each other up. Barely left each others side. Later in the evening, we’d be joking in a group and he’d stop and stare right into my eyes. I was fixed on him and felt my insides light up. I loved his stare. I was scared at how intense I felt at times. My feelings vacillated between gluttony and propriety all night. I alternately felt totally comfortable with him and driven to sit in his lap and grind on him. I had to take breaks and catch my breath and literally pray for help to be calm. I persisted. A glass or two of wine seemed to help me stay in check.

We talked after everyone was gone or asleep. We talked about our lives and our past. He told me about a traumatic situation he went through in his early 20s. It surprised him that he even told me about it.  I told him about my situation with Paul – about the marriage and how messed up it was. He listened. We talked until we were weary.

I walked him out to his car. We stood there giggly, agreeing that it felt like being in high school again. He asked if he could kiss me goodnight. I said yes. We kissed goodnight for 30 minutes outside at 3:30 in the morning. It was passionate, soft, perfect. He was a gentleman.

He texted me later that morning and hasn’t stopped since.

THE AFTER
Yesterday he told me this:

Back when you were putting together the first reunion party(3 years ago) I knew there was something about you. I would follow you on Facebook always wondering what you would say or comment on next. I find you to be a very interesting person. All of my opinions were based on what you were saying and what you were commenting on and that was way before I knew you were a beautiful kisser. I knew that I wanted to get to know you.

Now throw into the mix with met we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit better and makes everything that I was thinking so much more beautiful and true.

I knew I liked you way before I met you. And everything was based off of chatting that we had on Facebook. Now throw in you have a sparkling personality great sense of humor and two lovely ears for music. I feel that you are trustworthy and I feel very relaxed around you even though we have only met the one time.

Sigh. HUGE sigh. I could fall in love with this. With him. I feel like I did. Or I’m addicted and infatuated. I can’t tell.

Now, we’re not 100% compatible. I went to college and work white collar. He did not, and is a very tan truck-driving guy wearing neon t-shirts and work boots. We do different things for work. I work with screens, he works with his hands. We have different schedules. Our children’s ages are quite different.

But I’ve been talking to him for almost a month. Seeing him put dimension and color to all of it. I would date him till the cows come home. I am totally attracted to him too. He’s sexy and still fit. Takes care of himself. We enjoy similar music. Food, evenings out. Easygoing and social but not crazy. He wore Vans sneakers and they looked great. I have a thing about shoes on guys and he did it right. I loved every minute with him. I didn’t want him to go. I am aroused writing about him. Those eyes. Christ.

THE DEALBREAKER
He is still living with the mother of his kids. He told everyone at the party(they are all mutual friends) that he had one foot out the door. He has told me repeatedly that he wants out but that he has to figure out how to get out. It’s clear he’s scared about how it will affect his kids. He’s worried about being like his father who left when he was 5. But he’s still living there. That’s the truth. He is unavailable at its simplest essence, and I am locked in a moral struggle.

THE FALLOUT
My friends who hosted the party had a similar situation when they got together. Like me, the husband is also in a 12-step program. That morning he reminded me not to fifth step with Robert (meaning don’t feel inclined to tell him all my dirt right away). I’d already told him about my marriage at that point and suddenly felt guilty for having done so.

Later that morning when I told my support group about the night, the first response was, “He sounds seductive, Female.” I could have reached through my phone and throttled the woman who said it. Everyone else was perfectly supportive, but her comment felt like shaming and I was wary of sharing more. I haven’t talked much with my recovery team about him or how I’ve felt, other than texts telling them that I’m trying to manage things. I can’t have people talking about him like he’s coercing me or doing something to make me like this.

Robert isn’t some beast or devil. He’s an imperfect man, struggling with life. He’s not trying to corrupt me. He can’t anyway. My ex-husband did that for all time.

Within hours of this seemingly magical experience, I felt against the wall about all of it.

I told my sponsor about my confusion but I didn’t want her or my support friends to tell me not to talk with him. I hadn’t slept with him or even copped any kind of real feel. I had been a good girl. I wanted just this little bit of attention. Something to remind me that I was a woman, desirable, worthy.

My original plan was to see him and gather the information, then try to keep a distance to let things percolate and hopefully he’d make some changes finally in his life. The connection we made Saturday night negated my plans. We’ve haven’t stopped contact since Saturday night. We talked on the phone last night. We act like we’re dating but we’re not. He calls me “dear friend” sometimes. He flatters me. He tells me he respects me. Sunday morning when we were saying goodbye he told me that no matter what happened, he wanted me to think of him as a friend. Always. His intentions are good. But what is happening here?

I’ve asked him what he wants and he told me how much he’s into me. He didn’t tell me what’s next or how this changes everything. He did say I struck a nerve. No shit. I told him I WAS a nerve at this point. A giant, tense, crazed nerve that doesn’t know what to do with itself. He thinks I’m adorable. Can predators be adorable?

All his telling me what he thought of me weakened me substantially, compounded by the fact that he loved a song I’d shared and commenced to play it again during the day and told me how much he liked that it reminded me of him. He hasn’t been clear about what’s happening at home. He hasn’t even once said “I’m totally into you but I realize I can’t do this.” He is carrying on like he’s a free man. I’m meeting the needs that his partner apparently isn’t. Why shouldn’t he carry on? It’s typical for a man in his situation. And I’ve been playing right along because I’m getting needs met too. But not the right way.

THE BOTTOM(sure looks like one)
This morning my addict/hormones got the better of me and we got talking about fantasies we were having. Mind you, he hasn’t said a thing above PG-13. He is sexy but doesn’t go dirty. I love it so much. I like that he is sexual without being prurient. He said all the right stuff. He tempted me. Told me he thought I must taste sweet. Wants to be in a shower with me as much as I do him. He teased. I teased back. I’m an idiot in his presence, virtual or otherwise. I want him through my whole self. I knew it when our lips touched Sunday morning. I knew all through me. I was his. I am his.

I was dazed and wandering to work. I wanted him so thoroughly that I craved him. I ached. He wants me too but in what feels like a simple nice, good sexy way. My desire is filth. I wanted to consume him and spit out his bones, then reform him and consume him again and again until he was dust.

Any of this sound familiar?

My sponsor texted during the day and said we needed to talk. I thought she was about to drop me.

I just want to see him all the time.

He is fun and good and trying to figure out his life. I am dark and diseased. I am a vampire. I am drawing him down to my level.

All day I felt shame I could barely contain. I felt sick.

I’m Dr. Slacksville at work. I wrote most of this at work. I hardly even had lunch. My appetite is fucked up. My sleep isn’t awful, but I go to sleep and wake up thinking about him.

I didn’t have sex with him. He didn’t even touch a genital or try to. He didn’t try to bed me. He hasn’t sent cock shots or asked for anything inappropriate. We haven’t had phone sex. This morning was the closest thing to that and it wasn’t even that. Yet I’m out of my fucking mind.

I feel like a hellspawn possessed shell of myself. I feel like everyone is disappointed in me. I feel like no matter what I do, even if it’s better than before, it’s still the worst thing I ever did.

Last Saturday morning I did step work with my sponsor. She has been so supportive and kind. She told me that she wouldn’t cast me aside if I fell down. She is worried for me and says she hears my addict talking. Now I may lose her guidance because I can’t just flirt with a guy and tell him to call me when he’s free. 

My recovery friends are saying nothing. No one has really asked me how I am since Sunday.

I don’t want to marry him. I just want to have a nice boyfriend. He would be a nice boyfriend.

Today the President of the United States just said we’re prepared to destroy North Korea.

How much longer do I have on this earth anyway?  What good does any of this struggling do me if I’m going to be dead or sickened from nuclear war? Can I go to my grave saying I lived my life?

Why is everything I do around men bad? I was happy and exhausted Sunday and it rapidly turned to shame and defensiveness

I feel judged. I feel alone and isolated.

The only answer I am getting is to stay away from him. It’s always the answer.

All I ever find are men I can’t have and all I ever hear is NO.

I need to cut this off.

He’s with his kids tonight. I won’t hear from him again until tomorrow.

I feel shame all over the place. I can’t right size any of this. I can’t enjoy the high of meeting a new person because I’ve surrounded myself with mothers.

I can’t enjoy the high of meeting a new person because it’s not a one-glass-of-wine giggles kind of high. It’s a raging 3-day bender on meth, dare death kind of high.

He was smiling when he kissed me. It was soft and passionate and he held me close. It was amazing. He kept smiling at me.

I don’t know if I smiled back. I wanted to moan his name out to the world. I felt so much just from kissing him, I couldn’t take it. It’s too much. It’s like I have autistic reactions around sex.

I think sex and romance and lust and desire are pain for me.

I talk about aching and hurting and needing. That’s not how it’s supposed to feel all the time.

It’s not sweet. He was sweet. Fucked up, but sweet.

I’m not sweet. I am fucked up and not sweet.

How did I get like this?

I didn’t feel totally like this on Sunday.

I feel like a bad girl.

I feel brainwashed and beaten down.

Like I’m not allowed to have anything even remotely nice.

I have slipped on my bottom lines. I have broken sobriety. I have intrigued and had sexual and romantic contact with a committed person. 

I am not living with integrity and I am not doing it right and I do not have a boyfriend.

I have nothing to show for any of this.

I can’t remember his face right. I have pictures of him and I remember what happened but I can’t remember the details of his face easily. I find that weird. I have to think of it with effort.

This morning that wasn’t a problem but it is right now. And then it isn’t and then it is.

All of this is apparently a problem.

I’m scared I will never be able to have a man in my life again. I don’t know how to pump the brakes and just BE. It is so difficult. My brain races and flies all over. I don’t know how to embrace that. That is crazy behavior. I don’t know how to control it. I don’t know how to be powerless over it.

I don’t know how to BE.

I called my sponsor on the way home from work. She was worried that I was done with my sobriety because I’d been so aloof and all over the place in my texts to her and the group. She couldn’t stand by and wait for me to say something concrete. She wanted to know if I was going to stay in the situation or how I felt and what was going on. I realized I hadn’t processed it with anyone since it happened. I burst into tears on the phone. I was shaking. I was scared. I AM scared.

I told her I didn’t know what I was doing. I want love so badly. I told her I was terrified and lost and captivated and I love how he is but that I don’t know how to go forward safely.

She offered herself as full support in my recovery. She told me if I want to fight for my sobriety, she is with me 100%. She said we can talk every day. She said if I decide I want to ride this out with him, she can’t sponsor me but that she will always be my friend. I felt in that moment that I had to choose sobriety. It might cost me him, but it feels like there is something out there for me. Maybe it’s not even a man. Maybe it’s the realization of a talent or a desire I have always had that I haven’t pursued.

THE WORK
He has been saying so many lovely things. He has been meeting some long abandoned needs. It has felt like the sweetest most delicious treat ever. And it’s rotting me to the core. I can’t have this man. He is not mine. I can’t work through my intimacy issues because he’s not mine to be intimate with or even practice it. I can’t do anything except be a bystander, emotionally masturbating to the idea of what could be.
Unless I stop it.

I have to walk away until he is a man who can be free to be with me.
I have to tell him the truth.
I have to live in truth. Or at least live in something that feels less crazy than where I’ve been for the last three days. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be sane.