“Being known by anyone is a rare gift, but being known by a lover is entirely different. To be known by anyone is a rare gift; to be known by a lover is something else simply.” — Anonymous
Toward the end of 2019, I was coming to the end of a series of traumatic events that had begun in November 2018. For an idea of the Chaos, I dealt with, here is a bullet point snippet…
● Nov 2018 — I ended my relationship with my girlfriend
● After having his first child just six months prior, my younger brother underwent open-heart surgery in December 2018. For those who don’t know, he underwent open-heart surgery in December 2018. Modern medicine can’t cure everything. Open heart surgery can still lead to death.
● Jan 2019 — I find out that my best friend of 10 years is secretly dating my ex. My house was his home while he was getting back on his feet.
● Feb 2019 — I find out with great sadness that my 9-month-old nephew — the firstborn child of my younger brother — is suffering from a massive brain tumor. He does not appear to have a good outcome.
That. All of that. Without confessing the countless tears I shed, I would be remiss. These tears mainly were shed alone, not many times with friends. Over the months leading up to 2020, I spent days and months organizing this. It was a strenuous time for my family, community, and me. Although I had been broken, beaten, and reduced to a shell of a man, I continued to breathe. It was, therefore, necessary to fulfill my responsibilities during that time.
Amid all that crushing, the longing for a romantic partner was equally profound. But I couldn’t bring myself to find one. Additionally, you shouldn’t drag someone into a mess when you are in the middle of it. Your current community carries the burden of humanity.
As I healed from the crushing, I spent 2019 being crushed between boulders and then again. During building new relationships, I lost some and became stronger.
Here’s a quick break from the story…
I am grateful to have a brother who is doing well, a nephew who just turned three, and a family coping quite well considering all the Chaos.
Twenty Signs That He Is Toxic and Manipulative
What if we went dark for two weeks in March 2020? My first thought was, I don’t like it, but I understand it.
Two weeks is plenty of time for me to think about dating again.
Next came two weeks, then six, then a year, and so on…
During the 2020 pandemic, my more seasoned sibling and his group of four and I lived, respectively. A pandemic uncertainty caused them to move from New York City to the Midwest to escape the dense population. While it was great to be with family, it was also tense. When August 2020 rolled around, they decided to head back to NYC.
As a result of Covid’s downsizing at my company, I lost my job just before they left. The responsibility didn’t stop after they went – on top of my regular duties. I also had responsibility for the home renovation we were all tucked away in at the time. The Georgian-style house dates back 108 years. This is a beautiful house, especially with the upgraded plumbing and electrical systems. Despite my life circumstances, I went back to dating apps.
On the apps, it looked like a cemetery. There were ghost connections everywhere. These conversations did not lead to first dates, though some lasted a few days. We were disappointed and frustrated. Fortunately, we were not discouraged. I got to know myself better.
After a few dates in open spaces in September 2020, the dating picked up. Having just entered a chaotic new world, we were all unsure what protocol should be followed.
Three apps were on my phone: Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble. There were some overlaps in the types of people you would meet on the apps, but there were evident chasms.
● There was a hit on Tinder, and then it was canceled
● Casual dating was the aim of Bumble
● Relationships were the focus of dating on Hinge
The names in the stories below have been changed
Twenty Signs That He Is Toxic and Manipulative
Clarissa and I met in mid-October. Our Tinder matches were quick to respond. When I asked her if she would like a drink, she said sure, how about tonight? We went to one of my favorite gay bars in town, which had booths in the back.
There was a lot of energy and excitement on the date. I knew of her through one of my photographs as she was a photographer and an artist. She attended the prestigious art school in our city. She attended the same classes as the man who previously took my photo for his thesis. At the end of the semester, I was on display for all to see in the gallery, and she recognized me. How cool was that?
Despite this, she was going through a divorce with her abuser. Over the next year, we continued to date and learn more about it sporadically. The relationship wouldn’t work for her at that time. I was seeking a relationship with a serious person, and she was looking for flings to get over her ex.
During our time together, I was unground. It wasn’t externally – I didn’t push her for security. My unease came from knowing we had talked about getting off Tinder to just date but then discovered she was still on it and regularly active. Honestly, I don’t blame her; she was like a wall covered in years of wallpaper slowly being removed. A lot had happened to her. Unfortunately, neither of us was a good fit. Still, we both learned from our time together.
Like a hound dog, I began hunting my insecurities. The fear and doubt caused me to become anxious. It made me drool over when she would text me next. As I hadn’t heard from her in a week, I wondered if she was ghosting me after getting to know one another for a few months. Although it was challenging in the short run, I appreciated it in the long run.
From time to time, I had one-off dates. I didn’t stick around, either because I wasn’t interested in them. However, I reconnected with Jenesis early in 2021.
Let’s do a side quest to gain perspective as a first step
As some people do, I wasn’t the type of person who deleted my account on these apps every week to keep up with the algorithm. My charges were open at all times. The Hinge was my go-to dating app, so I chatted with many women. It wasn’t uncommon for me to develop new things to attract attention now and then.
Humans spend a lot of time paying attention to other people. It is impossible to avoid paying attention to others. Many of us waste our time on social media, some on dating apps, or even on sports. Time is something we all have, so we should use it wisely.
I have learned this from my career in marketing. Getting your audience’s attention is the first step towards reaching your goal – whatever that may be. It was the first date started from an app. My attention tool was used on the list of women I was still interested in getting to know.
She returned to me when she heard a similar line. I had her laughing with a few well-timed conversations while she was on the app. It was 45 minutes south of me for her city, where we agreed to have dinner and drinks. We exchanged numbers, set the date, and chatted between the calls.
Our riot took place on the date. Wit, sass, quick, and intelligent, she was. Though she was raised conservatively, she is one step away from the Amish. As I swept in for the second date, I felt I had her attention at the night’s end. Her enthusiastic acceptance was appreciated.
We again had a great time bonding on the second date. The conversation alternated between laughter and deep recollections. There was nothing like it. After a while, she wanted a kiss. For a few minutes, we enjoyed that. Toward the end of our time together, I invited her to my city. It didn’t take her long to become distant and hesitant. I could tell that the relationship was over. As it turns out, she was not looking for anything serious, as she went on a cycle of 3 dates and then moved on.
Identifying some of my old and new insecurities helped me too. For example, I felt unlovable. Another person wondered if I was communicating in a way that would be perceived as pressure rather than an opportunity. Those internal issues were also addressed promptly. Relationships have been difficult to establish during the pandemic, all in all.
Between Jenesis and Sofia, there was no romance. By the late summer of 2021, I had uninstalled the dating apps. After so many disappointments, energy drains, and tattered hopes, I wanted a break. Therefore, I chose to be present with my life and routines, not worry about them.
Mid-September, I stumbled upon Instagram while browsing. After clicking on an account that I follow, I found the website. When I opened a post, I laughed for a long time. As I browsed for scoping babes, I clicked on the people who liked it. After browsing her photos briefly, I found one I wanted. Her story had a cute cat, and I commented.
Her stories caught my eye, so I kept commenting on them, and we started chatting. Then she snapped at me, asking what my “deal” was, to which I replied, “I’d like to get to know you better.”…
Because I had given up on dating at the time, I didn’t conduct a full detective investigation on her. However, she was attractive, and I would be interested in dating her. My only problem was that she lived on the west coast while I was in the Midwest.
I was fortunate to have been able to take advantage of fate. Her parents live a couple of hours away from this particular town, and she had just been invited to visit. She used to live in my city, has some very close friends who live here, and she was going to see me soon. When I found out she would be in town, I suggested we have some in-person dates. As it turned out…
We spontaneously shared sushi, jokes, and weird accents during our first date. It was great spending time with her. I continued to have long-distance dates with her after she moved back to the west coast. We often planned to watch something, but we talked for 3 hours. This has happened hundreds of times. An autumn day is made better with a warm blanket. During the Christmas break, she came back to visit.
It’s an entirely different feeling when you can be yourself with someone. With her, I can share openly without feeling judged. Being with someone you trust is a wholly different experience. There is a genuine and joyful quality to the relationship. You know you’re going to be taken care of there.
It’s not just a place to stay; it’s also a place where you’re cherished and celebrated.
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