#104

For your appetizer, please enjoy a few minor updates that I forgot to mention:

Back in March, on my first date with Not My Husband, the bartender turned out to be none other than Alabama Boy. Despite him being masked the whole time, his incredibly unique first name sparked my memory and led me to creep on IG, where I confirmed he is not only the bartender, but owner of the bar I’ll obviously never revisit. 

In August, near my old neighborhood, I was sitting outside a coffee shop with my friend, when I saw Neighbor Boy in line for a coffee of his own. Reluctant to be recognized myself, it was challenging to confirm his identity—but I am 97% sure it was him. He has a dog now, which I sincerely hope is boosting his mental health. 

In July (I’m aware this is out of chronological order), one of the Zoom dates I had in April resurfaced, apologetic for never following up and asking if I’d like to meet in person. Our Zoom interaction, while less than memorable, had been perfectly enjoyable, so I agreed to an in-person version. Despite a small red flag pertaining to how he basically chugged 4-5 beers while I nursed 2 (granted, I’d come from client drinks and had told him to catch up), the IRL conversation was equally enjoyable. Nonetheless, I told him I felt called to spend my energy elsewhere.

However, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “I couldn’t help but wonder…” Was the lack of sparks a sign of a healthy, comfortable connection, or am I simply a charming conversationalist who can have a pleasant time with anyone? What’s the difference between feeling comfortable and at ease with a guy, and feeling not romantically interested? Where’s the line between being OTL and “settling” for any decent human?

Now, for your main course:

I was recently set up with my cousin’s wife’s friend’s fiance’s friend (CWFFF) for a blind date. He was given my phone number and we texted to make plans. I informed him that I’m taking a break from alcohol and don’t mind if he drinks, but he was surprisingly into the idea of a sober date and we planned to get dinner at Via Carota. Though he came highly recommended, the idea of meeting a complete stranger for a booze-free, cloth-napkin dinner made me nervous. I was going to have to be my metaphorically-naked self—which is historically scarier than being my literally-naked self. Knowing I wouldn’t be chaperoned by alcohol, it felt like I was going on my very first date again. Thankfully, he turned out to be kind, funny, and smart and we talked for 5 hours. We hugged goodbye, confirmed we both had an enjoyable evening, and made plans to hang out again in two weeks. We texted occasionally, casually, and I experienced zero anxiety (likely because I’ve been too distracted by work anxiety).

Last night, for our second sober date, we got pho (I paid this time!) and then made the spontaneous decision to snag the last two spots in a nearby escape room (and smoke a tiny bit of weed). Afterwards (we all escaped), he walked me to the subway station and told me he had a great time and would like to see me again. I told him I had a good time too, but was only feeling a friendship vibe so far. In an unprecedented display of honesty, I shared what I assume is my unkind habit of continuing to date someone while I wait to see if my feelings might change or grow. I told him I didn’t want to waste his time, but he was very understanding and said he still wanted to invest more time in getting to know each other. Mildly stoned and trying very hard to find the right words, I’m not sure how I came off. When he asked if I wanted him to stop contacting me, I said no. But when he asked if I wanted to hang out again soon, I said I didn’t know. We obviously didn’t kiss, but hugged goodbye before I got on the train. 

I rode home feeling confused and sad. I thought about the chemistry and excitement I had with Sauce Man in the beginning. I’ve only ever followed that feeling before—and look where it’s gotten me. When confronted with a communicative, emotionally available man who seems to really like me, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Are those qualities more important than flirtation and fun? Are passion and peace of mind mutually exclusive? Am I reflexively rejecting the very thing I’ve been trying to manifest? Or is he just the first good example of what a quality partner can look like, a green flag that I’m on the right path? 

In trying so hard to break my old patterns, I feel like I can no longer trust how I feel. Is placid contentment how we’re supposed to feel in a “healthy” relationship? Or does passion still count for something, and I just need to learn to balance it out with substance and communication? How am I supposed to know if someone is a great match, or just a great person? I am truly confused, so I invite any of you in strong partnerships to reach out with your thoughts.

In the meantime, I suggested that he and I cut to the chase and discuss (over the phone or in person) what we’re looking for in love and life. While I don’t have a very good handle on how I should be feeling in love, I’ve at least gained recent clarity on where I’m headed in life—back to the west coast, in a year. If we can see whether or not our visions align, maybe that will help confirm what I am, or am not, feeling.

#101 Emily 2.0 is Loading…

Hi there. Remember me? It’s fine if you don’t, because I actually think I might be an entirely new person.

PART 1

After a paltry pandemic picnic date last September, I decided to put my love life on pause because covid dates—bereft of any potential for physical contact—felt more like job interviews than romantic encounters. Then, at the end of November, I decided to start the book Calling in The One. Despite its cringe-worthy cover, it’s actually incredible, akin to 7 weeks of free therapy. I learned A LOT about myself and why I’ve been emotionally unavailable for the past 8 years, realizing that a lot of it* stemmed from my upbringing. (Soooo nice to be able to blame my family!) Jokes aside, I uncovered and began undoing a lot of internalized beliefs, suppressed memories, and other fun demons. 

*Not to mention the fact that 8 years ago is when I swept up the shattered pieces of my heart and unconsciously sealed them away so as to avoid ever again experiencing the blinding pain of being gently dumped by my first love, not because he stopped loving me, but because we were genuinely in two very different places in our lives and it simply wasn’t going to work out. But that’s a tragic tale for another time.

Supplementing Calling in The One with The Sanctuary Challenge and The Artist’s Way, I’ve come out the other side committed to: 

  1. Always sharing my authentic self, thoughts, and feelings (Because how can I expect anyone to love me if they don’t actually know me?)
  2. Establishing and protecting healthy boundaries (with work, friends, family, and beyond)
  3. Showing myself the love and care I want to receive from others (Stay tuned to learn about my self-imposed 60-day Orgasm Challenge!)
  4. Consistently expressing my love and appreciation for others (This one is fun, because the more you do it, the more it comes back to you from all directions)

It’s taken a whiiiile, but I finally feel truly OTL (aka “open to love”).

However! I acknowledged that all my newfound revelations and commitments to change would remain purely theoretical unless I put them into practice, so I slowly got back into dating this year. I used Hinge to go on a handful of Zoom & IRL first dates that were objectively enjoyable, but none of us ever followed up. After this happened a few times, I began to consider the possibility that these men were merely practice tests that I was clearly passing, and the Universe didn’t want me wasting any extra time or energy on them.

But in the middle of this First Date Only epoch, I went out with someone who seemed so freakishly perfect for me, that I became 95% certain I manifested him. I could literally point him out on my vision boards (lol). We only went on two dates, but a host of synchronicities plus some very strong intuition pings convinced me that, after less than one week, this was my husband. 

Initially, out of habit, I told myself “not to get my hopes up.” But aren’t hopes energy? Aren’t they the “positive vibes” we squirt out into the Universe when we’re trying to manifest something? If this is true, then I’d be a FOOL not to send those hopes as high and far out as possible for something I really want. So, I fucking let myself fall down the rabbithole of believing I was finally getting everything I’d been asking for. It felt wild, thrilling, ridiculous, and liberating. I assumed I was feeling all the things one feels when recognizing their Person. 

Long story short, he didn’t turn out to be my husband. I told him I’d like a 3rd date, and he told me he “didn’t think we were the most compatible.” But miraculously, I did not die! I’d been vulnerable, I got rejected, and yet my kintsugi heart remained resilient and whole. I wasn’t even that upset. Mostly, I was confused, feeling led astray by my extra-strength Scorpio intuition. But maybe I had simply read those intense gut feelings incorrectly. Maybe he’d been a new type of test; one that challenged me to shoot my shot when presented with someone too good to miss out on. If so, I appreciate the practice.

Looking back, our senses of humor didn’t line up as well as they could have. And during the last lesson of Calling in The One, that’s one of the qualities that I identified as non-negotiable.

The essential qualities I’m looking for in a Life Partner:

  • Smart & curious
  • Open-minded
  • Optimistic
  • Honest / communicative
  • Hilarious
  • Active / healthy

I still reeeeeeeally want someone who loves to cook, but I’m willing to sacrifice the thing I talk about most if it means I can share my life with someone who meets all 6 of these completely-reasonable criteria. 

Know anyone like this?? Send them my way! 

It’ll give you something to do as you wait for Part 2…