Blindsided & Still Standing

broken ring

After kissing a few frogs on these online dating sites, I tried eharmony.  I liked that you had to pay (weeds out the players a bit), and that you had to take time consuming personality tests to try and come up with strong matches.   The first person to reach out struck me the minute I saw his photo- I loved his genuine smile, he loved golfing with his son, he was a spiritual guy-there was nothing about this man that screamed “weirdo.”

We began texting for almost 3 weeks.  Great texts- he wasn’t a one word texting kind of guy which I loved.  I was so nervous to meet in person because what if the reality didn’t live up to the written word?  We finally got brave and we met at my favorite spot for a quick drink- and we agreed that if one of us just wasn’t feeling it, we wouldn’t be stuck all night, we could do a quick escape, no harm, no foul.

He had come from a round of golf and he had his baseball hat on (I love guys in baseball hats) so that worked for me.  He was super outgoing, friendly to everyone around him, he was scoring huge points right out of the gate.  Our original date idea of meeting for a quick drink turned into dinner where we ended up closing the restaurant down almost 7 hours later.  It was the date of all first dates- we walked along the harbor after not wanting to say goodbye and I thought that maybe, just MAYBE, god had sent me a good one.

Over the next 9 months dating him was a dream- he wouldn’t let me cook when he came over, wouldn’t let me take my dog out for that last walk of the night, constant foot rubs, he loved to clean- you’re thinking at this point, you have GOT to be kidding me, right?  Someone like that exists?  We had a blast together all the time.  He did exist and when he got down on bended knee and proposed after 9 months I didn’t have any qualms that I wouldn’t want to spend forever with this guy- my kids loved him, my dog loved him- I loved him.  And I loved who he was as a dad with his own kids.

We merged into the same house a few months later with my kids (his kids lived with their mom full time but came over all the time.)  After a few months, I started having those red flag alerts in my stomach that he didn’t seem at ease in our house.  When my kids were with me on my nights, he seemed to disappear super early and call it a night- instead of bonding as a unit he started pulling away almost immediately after moving in.  He stopped going to church which was a huge thing for me and started drinking a LOT.   Confused didn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling but I certainly wasn’t feeling a huge push to set a date until I saw things head in a better direction.  I chalked it up to needing to adjust to a very different home environment- I have 3 kids who can be loud- he had lived in a quiet man cave type situation with his son.  He hadn’t had Disney shows blaring in the background for quite a few years.  I got it- and I tried to have them tone it down a bit but I started getting resentful because he KNEW who he proposed to and what our home life was like and he had moved our relationship at a pace faster than I needed it to be and now none of it seemed to be working for him.

On my birthday, he went out golfing with my dad, got hammered and couldn’t drive a second car to get us all to dinner.  He skipped my birthday dinner, cake and the next day when I was angry at how it all turned out, he texted me “Should I find another place to live this month- do you want me to scram?”   Wow.  All I wanted was an explanation and here he was clearly looking for an easy way out and for me to say “Sure, go.”

He never came back after that- cleared out his clothes when I wasn’t there- left everything else.  Left me with a huge rental payment and all that went with it- just left it all for me to deal with- I’ll never understand what happened- maybe it was a mental breakdown- maybe there were things I just never knew about him.

As a divorced single mom who put her heart out there one more time, I don’t know what the moral of the story should be here- except that maybe living together before you get married should be a REQUIREMENT so you can see the real person first once everyone’s best behavior has faded away.  All signs pointed to go on every level- and now I’m left being thankful that I apparently dodged a HUGE bullet.

My best friend says I have been in love with the idea of love since I was 12- I fully agree with that statement.  Sadly, it’s hard to know how to trust my “picker” after this experience.  I don’t think you can give up on the idea of someone truly being who they say they are though- I know he’s out there somewhere- but the online route to finding it might be retired.  I feel like I could only trust a warm lead through a friend who actually knew someone- people presenting themselves as one thing and being something else entirely is emotionally exhausting but all you can do is land on your feet and say oh well buddy, your loss!

stronger