I suck at relationships

This is kind of just a reminder to myself that I’m terrible at relationships. You, kind reader, think about a few of the worst things a man can do to sabotage a relationship and I’ve probably done it. I mean, I’ve never cheated or done any physical harm, but I’ve been a bully. I’ve said things that were mean. I didn’t care. I was selfish.

It’s why a lot of my posts are about failed relationships or terrible dates. Had I got it right, even once, these things I write and post would be a lot different. My life would be a lot different. I wouldn’t be 41 and single. I may not even have 2 dogs. Hell, I may not even live in Nashville if I did even one less selfish thing in the handful of meaningful relationships I’ve been in.

Who knows! Ya know? We’ll never know what might have been… and while that is a Debby Downer kind of thought, I guess my story, and yours, too, is still being written. Let’s not give up quite yet, OK? I have a feeling we’re somewhere in the middle but the rest of the story is about to get really good.

-Out of the Wilderness

She burped and it was all over

There’s this Elton John song I’ve been hearing on SiriusXM radio recently and I can’t help but love it. Have you heard this one yet?

Gosh I love lyrics. Gosh I love love. Gosh I’m lonely.

But to be serious, this is a great song! Had I heard it when it first came out back in 2013 I may have probably for sure definitely tucked myself under a bundle of blankets and wept till I fell asleep… because of a break-up I probably for sure definitely talked about in this post. So now we’re here… 7 years later and the song is stuck in my head. I want to tuck it under a bundle of blankets each night and rock it to sleep and wake up in the morning and fix breakfast for it before we go out looking for antiques at estate sales across Nashville.

OK that got weird. But this Elton John song reminds me of another one that I loved in high school. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” remember that one?

This song doesn’t remind me of Lion King. Nope. It reminds me of this girl I liked in high school, who I met at a church camp. She could burp on command and I knew, I just KNEW she was my person. I mean, the burping… I’m not saying that’s why I liked her but I’m not saying that’s not NOT why I liked her. What I can say is this, she had me at…

That’s neither here nor there. The whole point of this post is about having that special someone in your, or my, life. The person who you can’t be without. Nights you are not with this person have you singing the Elvis blues. One thing I miss the most…

Holding hands and realizing you can’t tell if the heartbeat you feel in your hand is yours or hers.

If you have the chance to experience something like that with someone you love, or even just like, remember those special moments that singers write songs about. As for me, it’s a random night in January, I’m alone, and for now I’m doing OK with that. But one day I hope to meet a woman that can either literally or metaphorically burp on command and she’ll already have my heart.

-Out of the Wilderness

My new lady friend!

What started out as a work trip to Memphis turned into the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I never expected that in all my years! In fact, it almost didn’t happen. As I closed the car door to begin my trip from Memphis back to Nashville, there she was. This perfect little lady…. bug.

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Yes, that’s right, a lady bug. She (or he?) landed on the window’s edge outside the driver’s side door and there she stood. Taking on all the adversity that comes with hanging on for dear life to a car going 70+ mph!

Take a look at this beauty…

But a love like this was bound to fail. Neither of us were strong enough. And alas, when I got home… over 200 miles from when we first met… reality hit me like a freight train. This little lady bug was no longer alive. Still attached to the car door? Yes. But I guess the 3 hours of wind dried her out.

I peeled her from the door siding and she floated to the ground surrounded by my tears.

OK not really. I didn’t cry. I DIDN’T!!! May she rest in peace, this warrior willing to hold on to the something for so long it killed her.

-Out of the Wilderness

What happens when there’s no romance

There’s eye contact. Laughing. An attractive woman with a pretty smile. She touches his arm playfully. He compliments her style. This has all the makings of a great relationship forming. But what happens when there’s one thing, one critical thing, missing?

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image via Glamour Magazine

It might not be apparent on the first date, or even a 5th date, but have you ever been out with someone only to realize you don’t have romantic feelings for them? Whether you ever admit it to them or not, I imagine it’s happened to most of us at least once.

So let’s get personal, shall we? Earlier this year I spent time with someone in whom I was hoping to have interest. There was clearly an attempt on both of our parts to strike the match for a romantic spark. We went out a few times and saw each other quite a bit in “non-date” scenarios. All that to say, we were able to see each other’s personalities pretty well, and I was purposely trying to be a gentleman throughout the entire dating relationship. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m generally happy with how I behaved. Well… that makes one of us!

I’m not one to leave things hanging or to assume she can read my mind so once I knew I didn’t have feelings for her, I wanted to talk about it. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not one who’s known for being tactful. I’ve got none! But I made a point to be kind, considerate, and to muster up at least an ounce of tact. It must not’ve worked. Somehow my approach for sharing my feelings was off-putting and she took the opportunity to let me know. Let’s just say she had a spirited response…

…which was 17 pages. FRONT AND BACK!!

OK, it wasn’t as dramatic and the Ross and Rachel saga, nor was it more than 10 or 11 pages, but she was clearly upset and told me all about it. And just so you have all the facts, she also didn’t have romantic feelings for me! The verbal lashing seemed to be out of left field, and what I couldn’t figure out is who she thought she was talking to? And I don’t mean that in a puffed up kind of way. What I mean is that she derided pretty much my entire approach to our dating relationship, the same dating approach I was proud of! Surely she was thinking about some other fellow, right?

Way back in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think what really upset her is that I brought it up first. Maybe she wanted to be first to say there wasn’t interest. I honestly don’t know, and won’t ever know, because after I defended myself, and spent time considering her comments, I let it go. Any further communication would not have been helpful to either of us.

What helped me through this is remembering I can only marry one person. So every other person in the entire world is someone I didn’t marry. Makes sense, right? These other people… either I didn’t know them, didn’t date them, or didn’t have romantic feelings for them. Those are all the options. So this latest relationship is simply one of the ones that aren’t the one. I wish her the best…

As tje band Queen said, “Another one bites the dust!”

-Out of the Wilderness

A weekend date night

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to set up a date for the coming weekend. During the days leading up to the planned date anticipation began building, and anticipation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. On one hand, it can leave you feeling very deflated if what you’re looking forward to doesn’t materialize. But what I was hoping for was on the other hand.

Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t go how I envisioned. The date was cancelled (for legitimate reasons) so I was left with a blank slate for that particular night. Even with the cancellation, I was determined to go on a date. I reached out to a few other potential leads, only to come up empty.

So I’ll be honest, I was upset about it. I let doubts creep in. I became my worst critic, assuming the things I don’t like about myself are what these potential dates don’t like either. I had a pity party that lasted more than a day. Maybe a couple of days… or three.

There are a few take-aways from this experience:

  1. I like when I’m more even-tempered. When things don’t go my way or something happens that shakes things up, just roll with it. Be breezy, as Monica would say. My problem is, much like Monica, breezy is not my strong suit.
  2. I heard this a few years ago and I still love it. Whether it’s in relationships, job opportunities, any scenario where you’re taking a risk by putting yourself out there, “Rejection is God’s protection.” So maybe this “date fail” wasn’t a failure at all.
  3. No matter what happens, I won my fantasy football league this past year. And it feels amazing.

Be breezy, y’all!
-Out of the Wilderness

She’s a question mark

As you’ll find when you look up the 5 W’s on Wikipedia, they’re defined as “questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving.” Well, some people would definitely consider my love life basic. Clearly I just roasted my own self and I’m OK with that, though, because I like laughing. I laughed a lot yesterday while I was driving behind a car that had a dog sticking it’s head out barking wildly at cars passing in the other direction. I also think yesterday was a good day for information gathering. It started when I opened up Spotify.

What…
I heard one of my favorite songs when it cycled up in my Spotify library. Every time I hear this cover of a Temptations hit, it sends my mind a’drifting, thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to put together a video with this song for the woman I marry.” Sure, it’s 90s reggae but it makes me think of a fun relationship I’ll have with my best friend.


Why…

I’m a hopeless romantic. My favorite movies are The Notebook, Elizabethtown, Hitch, and I’ll throw Serendipity in there too, as a great romantic comedy. So when I have the chance to make something personal for someone I love, of course I’m going to do it. That’s why!

Where…
An educated guess would say this story will unfold in Nashville, where I live. There are other possible backdrops to this love story; I have family in Florida so there could be a scenario where I cross paths with a beautifully-quirky woman there.

When…
Timing is everything and right now, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she and I are already friends. Maybe she’ll be at the Post Office today when I go to drop off some mail. Either way, I’m looking forward to the day I can’t remember what my life was like before she entered it.

Who…
Now this is the question of the hour. I’ve had a handful of great relationships in my love life, but none that progressed to marriage and, it might be strange to hear this, I’m very thankful they didn’t. Had I married in my 20s or early 30s, the relationship would have gone one of two ways: a rough and rocky start that crippled us for a long time, or simply ending in divorce. Neither of which is something I wake up hoping for each morning.

So this mystery will go on unsolved for the time being. Heck, we only have information for 2 of the 5 W’s and that, my friends, is what I’d call… not even close! But when Spotify queues up Billboard’s #6 song from a reggae band of white guys in 1989, I can still anticipate the day when the question mark becomes an exclamation point!

-Out of the Wilderness

What is broadbacking? Dating answers here.

By now we’ve all heard of “ghosting” (disappearing from a conversation, whether it’s online or texting, and then zombieing… reappearing days, weeks, or months later). Other more traditional terms like “DTR,” “red flag,” and “an item” have all been used in or about relationships over the years, but for recent trendy terms, here’s a list. One you won’t see on there yet is a dating word I’m coining today.

Broadbacking.

Broadbacking is when you’ve met someone and within a short amount of time they dump an overwhelming amount of emotional baggage onto you because they think you can help them carry the load.

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image via The Telegraph UK

This behavior can happen online through long and drawn out emails that take you 29 minutes to read, text messages that are broken up into 17 different sections that you have to piece together to make sense of it, or even in person/on the phone where you may have to practice the art of listening…a lot.

via Giphy.com

No matter how this information is being thrust upon you, just know that it is, and the person doing it is totally broadbacking you.

-Out of the Wilderness