Let’s talk about dating in your 30’s, shall we? I probably don’t need to tell you that being a single woman with two children who is also going to university, doesn’t leave me much time for dating. That said, I manage to find time on my lunch breaks and on the few days I get to myself in a month.
I mentioned that my last boyfriend cheated on me, didn’t I? Let’s have an honest look at my first relationship post-divorce (see also: the rebound).
I met Allen on Tinder. I was just wrapping up what I like to call my “experimental phase”. Having been with the same man for 13 years I decided to put my fictional erotica to action, but that’s not what this post is about. Anyway, by that time I was more concerned with making a mental and emotional, long-term connection with someone.
Allen and I had been chatting for several months, but I had no real interest in meeting him. One day after work, I decided to bail on my date (that guy alleged he was a brain surgeon, but…yea, that’s also a story for another day). I went through my Tinder chats trying to find someone to do something with ASAP and Allen was the first to respond. I asked what he was doing and he said that he was sitting on the floor, crying, with a bottle of whiskey.
That should have been red flags number 1 and 2, maybe 3.
He agreed to meet me at the Asian Fusion restaurant in between where we both lived. He was smaller than his pictures had lead me to believe. I am 5’7” and he was about 5’9” which is fine, height isn’t that big of a deal to me. What I mean by small is with regard to actual size. He was very thin and small-boned. I think my arm was the same size as his thigh to give you a reference. ANYway, he opened the door and made a clever remark, so we were off to a good start.
Enter the reasons he was on the floor (i.e. red flags #s 4-8, easily): he had split with his girlfriend of 6 years about 6 months ago. They had purchased a home together 2 years before that. Together, they raised and sold poultry of various sorts, to include chickens. He made it a point to let me know that all of his “metal friends” called him the “hardcore chicken farmer”. I should have mentioned that Allen had long “luscious” (his words, not mine) hair that went to his mid-back. I noted his receding hair-line, but decided I wouldn’t be so shallow and let it go. He went on to tell me that just before I had messaged him, he had accidently run over and killed his ex-girlfriend’s turkey.
Shit happens, you know? I am sure he didn’t mean to run over the little gobbler, but his reaction to it was absurd, in my opinion. Perhaps I am just a heatless bitch, but I will let you be the judge.
He called his ex and informed her. She promptly accused him of doing it on purpose and hung up on him. He buried the turkey after taking the tail feathers out to make a headdress (because allegedly he’s 1/12567987th% Native American *eye roll* and he wanted to “give thanks to his ancestors”. Yea, I know I am a cynic, but COME ON!). He went to the ABC store, got a bottle of Wild Turkey (not even kidding), and proceeded to drink the entire bottle on the floor in his kitchen with a shot gun pointed at his head. He was legitimately telling me that he was about to kill himself when I texted him.
That should have been the last date. It really should have been, but at that time I still thought that everyone was my responsibility to fix.
I told him that I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship at the time, that I wanted to get to know him first. In fact, the day after my date with him, I had a date with someone else (who is still friends with me on facebook and made it a point to message me when he got a girlfriend to let me know he was no longer on the market). Allen told me that if I felt the need to sleep with someone else and I wasn’t secure enough in who I was as a person that I needed the arms of other men to make me feel better about myself, that I was to go right ahead (please note, he and I hadn’t even been intimate with one another yet).
Mkay. Red flag numero 9 that I just IGNORED. I told him I wouldn’t engage with anyone else. He eventually asked me to be his girlfriend a few weeks later. He did all the right things to start. He bought me flowers and had them sent to work all the time. He told me how beautiful I was and how much he adored me. He would spend so much time with me and tell me how much he loved me. He would take me places and do things with me.
I thought I was strong, you know? I thought I had developed enough of a barrier around myself that I wouldn’t be fooled again by a narcissist, but I was dead wrong. Let me list the things (i.e. red flags) I put up with/ignored from that little twerp:
Constant berating about my physical appearance
Constantly being told how much smarter he was than I was and that my education didn’t make me smart
Drinking and driving
Drinking WHILE driving despite already having 1 DUI
Having to hear how other women found him attractive and hit on him on a regular basis
Him reminding me how lucky I was to be with someone as attractive as he was
Him constantly texting and having other women over who were “friends” or “former lovers” that I had no cause to worry about
Lies. Lord he would lie about the stupidest things. Example: He told me he built the deck around his house. Mind you, he had only owned the house for 2 years and believe it or not, I am not an idiot. The deck was clearly far older than 2 years old. He eventually admitted to having lied about it.
Fucking physical violence.
I am most upset with myself for the last one. Like, seriously. What the actual heck was I thinking allowing him to put his hands on me?!
I was not healed. I was still the broken woman who, in a flurry of terror and doubt, left her abusive relationship of 13 years. I stayed, still. Again, I allowed myself to think that I was not worthy of any other kind of love.
Then, my family—to include my littles—and I traveled to Ohio to visit my elderly grandmother for her 95th birthday. On the drive home, I called Allen at 7 am. I knew that one of his “metal friends” had stayed the night. I also knew that if he didn’t answer, he was in bed with her.
He didn’t answer.
I wasn’t upset. I knew that I had been a good girlfriend and stayed with him when I very well should not have. There was literally nothing else I could have done. I didn’t blame myself.
He waited to tell me until the Monday after I returned from the trip. I will give him that. I didn’t have my kids so I could appreciate that. He was apologetic and said he would go back to therapy. I… lol, I forgave him.
I KNOW! I am dumb.
A couple days later, I went through his phone and he had been texting one woman we agreed he wouldn’t talk with anymore along with another woman who he wanted to have “cuddles” with. I confronted him about it the following day and that’s what disintegrated our relationship.
A few weeks later he randomly sent me a picture of him with a girl, Anna, the girl he said he wouldn’t text ever again. Nothing else, just the picture. I noted that his hairline was significantly worse than it had been when I last saw him, then I waited to feel something, and eventually I did. I felt complete relief.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I will never use Tinder again in my life. Thank you.