Oh, heartache, how you’ve crept up on me once again. I’ve talked about ex-husband but today I am going to talk about the first man I dated post-divorce. We will name him Chicago, for his sake, and mine.
One March afternoon in 2016, I was perusing my online dating profiles when I stumbled across a request in my eHarmony account. If you are unaware about this particular site I will explain briefly how the messaging system works. First, you have a list of surface level questions you send to the user you want to message, then they answer and send their own list back to you. Second, another round of slightly deeper questions, and this continues for about four exchanges, then you can finally email like normal.
Chicago was a redheaded fellow with a sweet disposition and wanted to meet. We had emailed for about a week before I decided if I wanted to. We met during March Madness and his Jayhawks were playing in Louisville so he was very excited that night at dinner. We decided on a Mexican restaurant in downtown near the Yum! Center where his favorite team was playing. He greeted his fellow Jayhawk fans with a sweet smile and I thought “I really like this guy.” We ate dinner and it was like I was talking to an old friend; we laughed, we are both Catholic, he was very complimentary, and had a very jolly vibe about him. After dinner, he walked me to my car and we only shared a hug. Later that night when we talked he said he had wished he could’ve kissed me but didn’t know how this “southern girl” was going to take that advance. I wished he had kissed me, too.
After that first date we spent every other day together. He lived across the river and I live in Indiana, with my parents. I would drive over after work and fix dinner, we’d go for a nightly walk, and then watch some tv and snuggle. We were comfortable with each other. He’s a pharmacist and at the time I was working an administrative position for a physical therapy company. He liked to spoil me, whether it was taking me for ice cream, shopping, or taking me to the movies. It started to wear on me because I have always been the kind to keep a running tally of what I owe people. It was a red flag that I didn’t pay attention to at the time.
His family lived up in Chicago and he would visit about once a month. It took a few months before I could go up and see him due to my summer schedule is always crammed with activities with family and friends. He met my parents and they really like him – he was a great guy and had his life together, made good money, had a good head on his shoulders. My Dad bragged to his friends at church that I’d finally found a good one, and that he was of course, lucky to have me. That pressure was felt on my shoulders immediately. After my divorce, I decided not to introduce anyone that I was dating unless I saw a future with them – and I thought I had a future with Chicago.
March, April, May and June flew right by me and then we finally had an open weekend to go to Chicago. I was unbelievably nervous on many counts – traveling for the first time together, staying in a hotel together, going into the city, the violence and turbulence in the city, and meeting his family. I had been taking an anti-depressant since my divorce and I had taken an extra for the trip up which knocked me out halfway up I-65. I woke up to him cussing the drivers in traffic with us which lead to an argument. I started it and I am grown enough to admit it – but it set the tone for the rest of the trip.
We finally made it to the area where the hotel was and where his parents lived, and we drove straight to his parents. We got there before his parents were home so I got the grand tour of his huge house. It is easily twice the size of any house I’ve ever lived in – far from the “modest” house he had described to me. I was so uncomfortable. The his mom, brother, and sister came home and they rushed to greet him. I clammed up and was very quiet for the first hour or so. I felt almost as if I didn’t exist, which is very foreign to me.
That night we left late and went back to the hotel. The next day we went back to his parents and then I met his grandparents and then swam in the pool before he and I went to buy his SUV then go into the city. They were the nicest people and were so very gracious to me. We decided on going to church together the next day and we left on a great note. We left there and got his car from the dealership and then made our way to the city – which was a beautiful day. We went to the Navy Pier, rode the farriswheel, took pictures, and I took my very first cab ride. He laughed at me the whole afternoon because I was so amazed with the city and we hadn’t even had dinner yet.
We went to an amazing pizza place, Pequod’s, and waited for our table at a bar next door called The Drinkingbird. I drank wine and he drank bourbon and we had a great time, being goofy, kissing, holding hands, and everything that fresh couples do. We finally got called to our table at Pequod’s and I was so tired and a bit intoxicated. The pizza was amazing and it was a great atmosphere – but if you go, be prepared to wait! Its one of the best pizza places in Chicago and the wait will remind you of that! Dinner ended and we took an Uber back to the Pier and left for the hotel. I was feeling so sick – so I naturally am hard to deal with. We went to bed that night not speaking.
The next morning, we went to mass with his family then brunch and left to come back down home. I only met his dad for about 15 minutes because he was out of town for his car racing, and when we finally met, he wasn’t pleasant to Chicago. He expects perfection and no one can accomplish that. We left on an awkward note and had a deep conversation on the way home about how the weekend went. He cut me deep a few times and I did, too. We apologized and moved on; I decided pretending to sleep would help.
The next couple weeks were rocky because I started to rethink what I was doing and where our relationship was headed. He had disclosed to me that he was facing a legal issue that had occurred 2 years prior and it was weighing on my mind. It was serious enough he had to keep going to court for and I wasn’t prepared at the time to deal with such a heavy burden. We also were scheduled to go to Florida a few weeks later, and the tickets were booked and the condo was ours. I decided to break it off before the trip because I couldn’t handle what the future may hold for him, and potentially, us. I had blindsided him and he was devastated. I felt like the lowest of the low, but I knew in my heart its what I had to do. It was ugly and we both hurt in different ways – I blocked him and didn’t give him closure, it was cruel of me.
Fast forward to this past Friday – when I contacted him. Yes, I contacted him. He knew it was me – didn’t have to explain who I was at all. We talked through the evening and night, catching up and talking about hanging out. I texted him the next morning wishing him a good day, just like I did when we were dating. We continued to text through the day, and he let me know when he was home. We discussed what we were doing that evening – me doing home work and him unwinding after a long day at work. Then I asked if he had a girlfriend – and the conversation came to a screeching halt. I didn’t hear from him until the next afternoon while I was at work. He said that he did and he fell asleep the night before and had had a busy Sunday at the pharmacy. We didn’t talk much until today – Monday.
Worst. Day. Ever. He let me know they had been together for 6 months, she loves him, loves his family, and they are happy. I’m happy? No, I’m not. I’m crushed. Heartbroken. Jealous. Angry. I wished so badly that he was single and we could try again. I just wanted another shot. I’ve been alone since him. I was alone before him. I was alone in the last months of my marriage. I’ve been on the Alone Island for almost another year and its so unbelievably isolated. I can be surrounded by people day in and out – but I’m not there mentally. I have checked out and I hate it. I’ve become a shell of who I am and I hate it.
Its become a slow spiral and its starting to get out of control. The hurt and rejection I feel is very real. Its the sting in your eyes, the lump in your throat, the pit of your stomach, the desire to do anything diminishes. I wish for once, that I get to feel loved by a man again. The love you feel when someone wants you, wishes to be with you, the butterflies when you think of them, the sweet, comforting words that can make the spinning stop. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I wish it would come soon. I know its in His time, but this time I don’t know if it will come. I’m so unbelievably crushed and worn down, I wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but its fading and I’m praying for something to make it bright again.