Life is a roller coaster.  Nothing is ever the same.  One moment, you’re enjoying vacations with your family, the next, your divorced, then you learn to love yourself and be completely content with living life with your family and friends and knowing you are not alone, even without a significant other.  And then, you meet someone, unexpectedly.  Life is filled with twists and turns, and sometimes even a loop-de-loop.  I have learned to raise my hands high and enjoy the roller coaster. 

So let’s chat about blended families.  Most of my girlfriends have younger kids.  The decision to introduce someone to the kids is huge, and you want to be careful with the kiddos of who you introduce.   With older kids, it’s a bit different.  My kids are only home during college breaks and the summer.  I really didn’t have to worry too much about introductions for a while.  But, one day, my daughter met him on accident.  He was trying to get out the door before she got home, but we were just enjoying chatting and lost track of time.  They met briefly.  It took a long time for me to really let him in and have her join us for dinner.  But once the meetings were intentional, I knew I had really let my walls down. 

I met his son too.  When he allowed us to meet, I knew he was letting his walls down too.  The intention of introductions to your kids feels huge.  There is the idea that you are that important that they want to share you with the most important people in their life.  Eventually, he met my son and I met his daughter.  Let the blending begin. 

When he moved in, he gave me phone numbers for his kids and his sisters, for emergencies.  I did the same for him.  I was really careful to not use them.  Blending and introducing young kids, I’m sure is super scary and challenging.  You have questions such is discipline and when to have sleep overs and leaving kids alone with the significant other and telling the other parent.  But, it’s difficult with adult children also.  Our kids have been so accepting.  That has not been a challenge at all.  We are both so fortunate to have children that want nothing more than to see their parents happy.  I love that about my kids and I love that about his kids.  But, my kids have a step mom (I have written about steps before), and she has never stepped on my toes as a mom.  Our kids are adults and they all have both their parents.  His kids have a mom.  My kids have a dad.  The challenge is to make sure the kids know you are not there to replace anyone.

I am someone who is in their lives because I love their dad to bits.  The three of us have a common desire, and that is to see their dad happy and smiling.  For that, I am so grateful to them.  I have no intentions of stepping on their toes.  I don’t need to be a mother to them.  They have a mom.  I would never want to replace that.  Just as I would never want someone to step in and replace me as a mom.  I will be there for them and be excited for their successes and want to support them through challenges, but when it comes to advice, I am here if they want it, but will never push anything on them. 

Meeting family has been amazing also.  My family has welcomed him with open arms.  They had been dying to meet the man that has put a smile on my face and allowed me to be completely myself.  It’s always scary introducing someone to the family.  But they love that he makes me happy. 

A month ago I went with him and his daughter and grandson to meet his sisters.  They were so completely welcoming.  They loved seeing their brother happy.  And to hear him talk about me, about the little notes I hide for him every morning, they could see his face light up.  His sisters and their families are amazing.  I loved hearing about their parents and growing up.  They pulled out family albums.  I just felt like I belonged.  We went to celebrate their father’s birthday.  The first birthday since he passed away.  I wanted to make sure I was respectful of that.  I stepped back from family pictures, so they could have their family moments.  They pulled me right in anyway. Blending…

Our families have not met, but we continue to grow together as a family unit. We continue to blend and I am loving every moment of it. I look forward to building relationships with his family and watching him build relationships with mine.

Open-Minded, Non-Judgmental, Hilarious, Sex-Positive

Let’s have a chat about sex. It’s not a bad word. It’s not evil. It’s a part of life and I believe we should be open-minded about what is around us. It may not be your thing, but it’s someone else’s thing and who are we to judge. After all, there are more important things to look at in a person than their preferences in bed or their orientation or how they identify…like, how do they treat people.

I have been very open about the life I live. My family knows, my friends know, my kids don’t want to know, but, since they are adults, if they ever asked, I would be open with them. I used to be very afraid to share with others. What would people think? But I have reached a point in my life where I am all out of fucks to give.

I was outed at my weekend job by an ex. We had all made jokes about things, but that was all they were….jokes. But then he showed them pictures of a party we went to. It was pictures with the BDSM implements on the walls and he talked about what I was into. I was hurt and embarrassed and tried to use humor to let it go. The thing is, I wasn’t the only one with kinks in that relationship. I promised I wouldn’t share his secrets with our co-workers and I have not. While my co-workers joked with me about it, they never treated me any different, I was angry. That was never his to share. It was a huge breach of trust.

Then, I shared with my girlfriends. Let me tell you…they were amazing!!!! We had some fantastic laughs, but they never once made me feel judged. While I don’t shout from the rooftops that I am kinky (I only shout it from my blog, LOL), I am very open about it. I love that my friends and family that know can ask me anything, and they do. My family is very open about asking me questions also. You see, whether you are mortified by what my lifestyle is, or you think I am a slut, you are most likely a little bit curious about it. I will never say I am an expert on anything. But I am always happy to answer questions. There is so much misunderstanding with this lifestyle. There should be no place to judge unless you know.

I choose to remain sex-positive and to have a great sense of humor about it. I love when my girlfriends send me a dating profile and ask me to translate. The last profile was a Daddy Dom and Bull who was looking for a submissive or brat. My girlfriend sent, “Hey, not interested, but what does this all mean?” I have been asked what it is that draws me to pain. Is it safe? What is a sex dungeon like? Do I really call someone Sir? What the heck is a munch?

I would love to open up healthy conversation about anything you are curious about. I am not looking to convert anyone. I would just love people to have a better understanding. You see, this lifestyle is not evil, nor should it be looked down on. It is a lifestyle that preaches consent. That is filled with exit plans if something goes awry. It’s an inclusive lifestyle (gay, straight, bi, trans, furry, horsey, cuckhold)…all are welcome and accepted. I won’t lie and say there aren’t assholes in the lifestyle. I mean, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Nothing is perfect.

Ask questions. I will answer anything. I will probably throw in some jokes. I have a very crude sense of humor. But I find that laughter can make even the most uncomfortable of conversations more comfortable. Post a message here on the blog or feel free to send me an IM on Facebook if you are reading this from my Facebook post.

Solid Walls Protect…But Do They Strengthen

I spent a long time being one of those “projects” I was needy, always needed to be reassured and couldn’t live my life alone. The last several years have forced me to find my strength. And finding my strength has had a huge learning curve. Strength comes in many forms. And each strength serves a different purpose. If I took inventory, it would provaly look like the entire inventory on Amazon. Very overwhelming.

My first strength was bricks. Bricks seem so solid. And, well, when you feel like you’re fighting the Big Bad Wolf, the bricks only seemed logical. After all, I had already been spit out by the wolf. I couldn’t let him completely destroy my life. Bricks are strong, but I had to figure out what to do with them. Have you ever bought bricks? You buy them in bulk and they don’t come with instructions. So, I felt the first step was throwing the bricks. I threw bricks at the wolf. I threw bricks at his family. The anger. I let the anger out. I screamed and I cried. I threw bricks at my family. They had no idea what I was going through. I needed to throw bricks and keep everyone at arms length. Words can be harsh and hurtful just like bricks. I used them and became proficient. I needed to be angry. My entire world was turned upside down.

But then, I learned about mortar. With a little mortar you can put the bricks together. Succumb to the fact that the wolf is going to come at you, as well as the other bad stuff. So with mortar, you can make a big wall. A strong wall. What’s amazing about brick walls is that big bad wolves can huff and puff and the wall will remain standing. So there I stood, behind my brick wall, keeping all the bad stuff out. It feels amazing. Huffing and puffing and I am safe. Safe and sound and, well, I am alone. That wall, it keeps everyone out, an it has no windows and no doors. But that was okay. I had learned that it’s not just the big bad wolf I needed to be protected from. It was the entire pack of wolves. So I waited it out. Waited for everyone that was going to hurt me to take their shot. I waited and waited until the huffing and puffing stopped. When it did, I was still stuck behind this wall, and I couldn’t see beyond it. I was alone. There was an emptiness. For someone who has so much emotion, so much love in her heart, emptiness is not a good place to be. Are solid walls really good?

So, I built a window. Just one. I could open it and let my family in. So they would come visit and they had a key to my window and could visit any time they wanted. But my kids, they were little baby wolf cubs and tended to stay close to the big bad wolf. So, they didn’t have a key to that window. I would only let them in sometimes. So, letting family in was wonderful, but being without my immediate family was still making me lonely. We have built an amazing relationship and I love my family so much. But, honestly speaking, it was also a reminder that my immediate family didn’t exist anymore. I needed another window.

So, I built another window. I wasn’t quite sure who I was building it for. Who I was thinking I would let in. But I built it. I joined a group on Facebook thinking I could find some sense of community and just watch it through that window. Not really let anyone in, but see it. But then one of them invited me to dinner, and she and I talked for a few hours. I opened the window a little. The funny thing is, she started working on events, which required me to climb out of that window and go out from behind my wall. I met more people each time I went out. That window seemed to be opening wider and wider.

During that time, I opened another window. I let someone in. I felt like I had to start looking for a man in my life. I needed someone to define me. A need like that will blind you and you won’t see that what you are letting in, is actually a sly fox. But I didn’t see him close that window, and all the other windows behind him, keeping everyone out. I could see my friends and family on the outside, but they are once again, at an arm’s distance. I try to open the windows, but I am being smothered. The windows aren’t enough. I forgot doors. Doors are much easier. But also more dangerous. What if the wolves can work their way in. Doesn’t matter. I take inventory. Strong family, strong friends…we can take on a wolf pack together. They have my back.

So I build a door. Not just any door. I build a huge, sliding glass door. The first thing I did with that door, was sent that fox straight through it, with his tail between his legs. And all my friends and family guarded that door with me. They didn’t have to guard it too long. I became stronger because of my family and friends. I saw how, with their help, I could fight off anything. And I looked out the window and realized, I had been stuck behind this wall for way too long. So, with a lot of help from the people around me, I destroyed the wall. I prefer to be free. I don’t want to be held back by my fear of what’s out there. I want to face those fears and know that I can conquer them because I am not alone anymore. The walls were only letting people trickle in when I allowed it.

There is a vulnerability in knocking that wall down. Sometimes, someone unexpected makes their way to you. I learned that I had everything I needed to be safe from all the bad stuff out there. So, when someone new made his way into my space, I had no walls to protect me, only my tribe of friends and family. I am vulnerable, but not in a bad way. I am open to new feelings, new experiences, because the walls are not there. I can let myself be vulnerable to someone new because the strength I have found with no walls, is like nothing I have ever known before. It doesn’t mean I won’t get it hurt by anything. But I will always have people around me that love me so much. Who are there for me. I won’t have to start from scratch, with bricks and walls with no windows. So I will bask in all my vulnerability and know that my vulnerabilty is really not a weakness. It’s this amazing strength to allow people into my heart, into my life, and reap the benefits of that love. Not because I need it to survive, but because they truly earned a place there. And if they are no longer there, my life will not come to a screetching halt. The strenght I have found will get me through so much…friends who aren’t really friends, difficult work days, money stress, job stress and a broken heart.

So, while solid walls may protect us, they also keep things out that may help protect us even more. Walls create an atmosphere of getting by alone. Bringing those walls down and opening ourselves up, can bring in much more strength than the strongest wall in the world. Because family and friends, well, they are much stronger than any brick you can find.

Consent… Because it’s not just about saying “No”

I found an amazing page with a great definition and guidelines for consent.

It doesn’t matter what your age, race, gender identity, political affiliation, religion, etc. Consent isn’t just about saying no. It’s about saying yes and enthusiasm. A good example: My daughter has Lyme. She is often in pain and hugs can be miserable for her. I never hug her without consent. And sometimes, I get the teenage response “sure.” You know the one…sure, I will do that but I’m not happy about it. So, while she doesn’t tell me no, and her words say okay, it’s not enthusiastic. It’s not genuine but she doesn’t want to say no because she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. I opt to not get that hug from her. I can wait for when she is ready for it.

You see, I use that example because consent is not just about sexual touch. That’s a big piece, but any touch can be unwanted and we should respect everyone’s personal space. I am a huge hugger. I am a touchy feely person. But, if I feel the urge to give someone a hug, or just provide a calming touch to the arm, I ask, and read the response.

The other night, my nephew sent me a text all about consent. He found it in the following link: . It discusses the fact that consent just isn’t really enough. Consent should include negotiations. These negotiations should not just include whether or not to have sex, but also how to exit sex. Yes, exit. Because many things can happen between consent and the end of sex that could change one party’s mind. There must be an exit plan also. Dare I say it…Vanilla relationships should also have a safeword. And the inbetween should be negotiated too. What do you like? What woulld you like to explore? What are your hard limits, things you expect to never be asked to do because you have already set that limit?

I grew up in a pretty sex positive environment. But I still didn’t feel comfortable sharing my fantasies. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was a freak. I am so far beyond that. I really don’t care what people think. If you can accept me for exactly who I am, you probably don’t belong in my life. If not, be with people you can accept. I’m not everyone’s taste. But, when I figured that out, I was able to talk with potential partners and share what I like and what I don’t.

Going into a power dynamic, consent MUST be negotiated. When I look for a partner, I absolutely look for compatibility. But there is so much more that I look at, that I never thought about in a “vanilla” relationship. Safewords are always discussed. Not just how to exit the moment, but how to slow it down or redirect it. “Yellow” – Sir knows if I call yellow, I am starting to not enjoy something. It’s a way to redirect the scene to something that is pleasurable for both of us. “Purple” – well, that means I can’t take anymore and the scene is done immediately. I have talked with my Dominant about my limits and what I don’t want to and won’t do. Yes, we negotiated all of that. But, what’s more amazing, is when you have found a partner that will not just listen for the safewords, but continue to ask if you need to use them. For instance, when I have had a particularly emotional day, I like to be hit very hard. And, I cry. I can’t help it. This is such an emotional release for me. The pain of the belt brings all my emotional pain to the surface and let’s it all out at once. But imagine how that feels to my partner. I am not using my safewords, yet I am crying. He does not just listen for my safewords. He understands that is not good enough. This is about pleasure for both of us, not just him. When tears start, he stops, soothes me, asks if I want to stop…. Think about that for a moment. I have an exit plan in place already…no questions asked…just “purple.” My partner does not wait for “purple.” And he is constantly checking in. No matter how wild or crazy, the check in is a moment of gentleness and kindness. It’s a moment of such intense caring, when he stops and gently rubs my back and whispers “are you okay” or “Let’s stop for a bit and see how you are.” It is one of the sexiest things I can think of.

Vanilla relationships are the same. Shouldn’t we tell our partners in the very beginning what we are willing to offer and what we are not willing to offer? We should ask the same of our partner. Most people enjoy talking about what they like. It can be amazing foreplay. Negotiations will happen throughout the relationship. Limits change all the time. But when you start a relationship with consent in mind, it’s a great way to open up communication, and that’s the biggest part of a relationship.

As I said in the beginning, consent is not just about sex. It’s about personal space. It starts at a young age. If your child does not want to be hugged, respect the personal space. Ask permission before touching someone. Each time someone is asked permission, it empowers that person more to command respect of their body. But here is the thing. None of this will stop all the consent violations out there. Remember, consent is not just about saying No. If you felt unsafe to say no, if you felt you were in a position of not being able to consent, please remember there are resources out there. And never minimize how you feel when you don’t give consent. Rape is not the only consent violation. I have heard people minimize what they went through if it wasn’t rape. Any unwanted touch is a violation. If you’re married, your spouse still needs consent. If you need help, look to your local resources. Most local sexual assault agencies have hotlines. And many have advocates who will respect your decision to report or not. They can help you make the report. And they will believe you. If you find you need medical care, most agencies have advocates who can be there for you through that process too. If you are not sure of a local program, call RAINN at 800-656-HOPE (4673). This is a national hotline and they will connect you with a local provider.

Complete…but not finished

When people ask me about what my dating life has been like and about what I am looking for, the one thing I go back to is the movie, Jerry McGuire. “You complete me.” Ugh. If anyone ever tells me that, you will find me in the hills, because I ran there as fast as I could. That is too much pressure to put on someone…to complete you. I’m still growing, still evolving, but won’t I always be? We are all a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t a whole person without the help of someone else. So, my answer is usually that I want to be with someone that complements me.

When I look up the definition of complement, the first definition is”a thing that completes or brings to perfection.” Well crap. I don’t need someone to complement me. I am whole. The best word I could find is enhance. Definition, “intensify, increase or further improve the quality, value or extent of.” The answer is, I want to be with someone with whom we enhance one another. So, I don’t love that value is in the definition. Other than monetary, no one is going to increase my value as a person.

Dating isn’t different than friendship though. After all, aren’t we seeking friends who enhance us as well? I want to surround myself with people with whom we mutually improve the quality of our lives. I look at my friends. We are all so different. I heard this description once and it`s perfect. We are similar yet so different, like the unmatched socks in our laundry baskets. We are all searching for something a little bit different, we may all have different values and beliefs, we all have different career paths. But, even though we are different, we have a respect for one another where we are comfortable sharing what our interests are. A vast majority of my friends would never call a man Sir, nor do they enjoy the delicious sting of a riding crop as it leaves welts on your back side. Yet not a single friend makes me feel ashamed or less than them because of it. In fact, my friends and family are the reason I felt comfortable sharing that journey with everyone. I have been so comfortable sharing my journey because I realized, what do I have to lose? I don’t expect everyone to follow my path and I don’t expect everyone to think it’s the right path. However, it’s the path I have chosen for myself and I have absolutely no regrets. If you can’t accept that about me, you probably don’t enhance my life.

No, I will never need someone to complete me. I’m not a project for some man to come in to fix. I don’t want to be fixed. Any brokenness I have is part of what makes me whole. That brokenness is what created this strong, independent woman. Right now, I have exactly what I need in my life. My friends and family are incredible. No one fixes. They support and encourage. My Sir, well, unless you are into a Power Exchange, there is no way to describe it. The bond is incredibly strong, and we make decisions together. He knows when I am down as I know when He is down. We don’t try to change each other. We accept each other and we have an unspoken knowledge of what we need.

I am absolutely complete but I continue to grow and learn more about myself every day. I am finding the things I learn about myself are pretty awesome. My alone time allows for a lot of self reflection. I was an acquired taste for myself. It took a lot of time for me to like myself. But now, I am the only one that can complete myself.

Gerlinda Kaltenbrunner meets Nelly Bly meets Olive Byrne meets Lee Holloway

**This post is a discussion of sex and intimacy. Dad, read at your own risk.

From the time I was young I thought about sex, a lot. I was introduced to the idea at a very early age. Something I have come to terms with and have learned it’s not something for which I need to forgive myself. I did not ask to be introduced to it. I was just told not to tell or I would be in a lot of trouble. It was a skeleton in my closet for a long time.

Jump ahead many years. I was in a monogomous relationship for over 24 years, starting in high school. I never had the experience of dating in college. I didn’t live the life of Carrie Bradshaw. And for 24 years, I had fantasies that I was afraid to share and someone who had no idea what I needed. I didn’t know what I needed.

When I entered the dating world again I knew I didn’t want one night stands. That’s just not me. But, was I ready for a full blown relationship or was I missing the physical touch? Getting onto the dating sites was quite interesting. Most men want to know what you are into from the very beginning. Ummmmm, I have no clue. For 24 years my ex asked me the same question. I thought there was something wrong with me that he didn’t know. Did I not communicate well enough. Did I just lie there so he couldn’t read my body language? I just didn’t know. And I was afraid to put myself out there because what if I was a horrible lover.

Sort of tangent. What’s with the names in today’s title. Google them. All but the last are explorers. The third woman was Professor William Marsten’s inspiration for Wonder Woman (and her experiences are very similar to mine). The last, when you google her, well, it will give away a bit about me. If you’re faint of heart, stop here. Or, follow me on the adventures and explorations of my most intimate life. Judge me if you will. I am okay with it because I am okay with who I am. I have gone through a lot of manure to turn into this amazing, beautiful sunflower.

I dated a couple of men about a year after my separation. We were intimate, but I just know something was missing. I have watched people divorce and meet someone and settle for a companion. That’s not me. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was not waiting for Prince Charming and the castle.

One afternoon I was swiping left, left, left, left. And suddenly, a profile peaked my curiosity. Popping out in big letters was “not vanilla.” I’ve read 50 Shades. I know what he means, but could I? Would I? Wouldn’t this be taboo? Oh my goodness, how unsafe is this? It sounds like an adventure I want to know more about. So I messaged him. We met up for drinks and had a blast. He was kind, attentive and very respectful. He answered so many questions. He gave me websites to look information up. And when he walked me to my car, he asked for my consent and gave me the strongest kiss I had ever been given. When I walked away from that date, I realized what I had been missing. Control.

I had spent the last 17 years being mom, working and taking care of others, and basically, being in control. Yet, I also felt like had no control in those last 17 years. It was like chaos. I couldn’t control my outside environment; I could only control my reactions and responses to it. I was exhausted. I was trying to keep everything in control. I just needed to let go sometimes. Let someone else take the lead. I wasn’t looking for Prince Charming to take me to his castle. I wanted Sir Charming to take me to a dungeon.

I want to take a moment talk about the collision of two worlds in my life. I worked in a domestic violence shelter and feel very strongly about the need to not have Power and Control in relationships. But I wasn’t looking at handing over power and control. I was looking into a relationship with a Power Exchange. These are the terms used in a Dom/sub (D/s) relationship. It is exactly how it sounds. No one partner has power and control. There are discussions…healthy discussions, about limits. What scares you? What excites you? What are you curious about? I had never really had these conversations before. It was liberating. I was laying down the groundwork and putting limits anywhere I saw fit. I was in complete control. Yet, at the same time, I was handing control over to him. An even Power Exchange. To someone that has never done this, it may look scary and demeaning. Until you have been there, don’t judge. It’s not at all what you would think.

My first Dom didn’t stick around too long. And I knew he wouldn’t I was a rebound and I knew it was just a passing fling to figure out what I was looking for.

My second Dom introduced me to the public aspect of this lifestyle. Kink clubs!!!! What am I thinking?!?! How dangerous. I told my cousin I was headed to a club and she insisted I text her every 15-30 minutes. I was a wreck. I walked in and the host was amazing. The very first thing he did was talk with me about safety and showed me the rules, posted in huge letters, on the wall. This was a very huge, long wall. It was covered with rules. Of course there are etiquette rules. Don’t get too close to a scene. No photos or videos allowed (by the way, you never see phones out at these clubs). But in red letters, covering more than half the wall CONSENT CONSENT CONSENT. Absolutely no touching anyone else in the club without consent. Violations will have you removed and police may be called. Also, there are no private areas. You go to a club and it’s a huge open space. Any rooms have windows with people all around. Some people choose to “play” with a Dom they have never met. There are negotiations before the scene. Other people are around to hear the negotiations…the limits. If the Dom violates in anyway, the scene is over. The people in this community take consent very serious. They are amazing people. I felt safer at a sex club than I do going to a bar. So, my worlds did not collide after all. They paralleled.

Let me tell you something about body image. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. Going out to these clubs/parties, I realized I loved my body, rolls and all. This was the start of me learning to love myself again. And I was comfortable with setting rules for myself at these parties. In this world there are so many types of people. I have found many are polyamorous (I’ll let you look it up if you don’t know – or feel free to hit me up with questions). I’m not polyamorous. I identify as monogomous. I have a partner and that’s my only partner. I was not going to sacrifice that. No one in the clubs ever made me feel bad for turning them down for play. But, I can’t lie, it was flattering. Especially when they would continue to be kind and have amazing conversations with me, even after knowing I would not be with them.

I thought I would see what the D/s relationship was like to live 24/7. Nope. Not for me. That entails a lot more service on the subs part, and at that point you are going into more of what is called a Master/slave (M/s) relationship. It’s still completely consensual, however, there are aspects to a relationship like this, one of service, that I hated. If I like someone, I’m going to love cooking for them, getting a drink for them. But if someone tells me (not asks) to get them a drink, my first inclincation is to say, “Get your own damn drink.”

So, with this Dom I learned a lot about public events and I loved it. I also learned about M/s and really was not a fan. I prefer to have the Power Exchange at specific times. Other than that my doting should be appreciated and returned, not expected.

So that brings me to now. I have a pretty good thing that’s going for me. I met someone. He’s a little bit further away, so we don’t get to see each other but once a week. Our time is amazing. It’s still a little new, so we are still learning about each other. He has pushed soft limits (those are meant to possibly explore) and he has stayed away from hard limits. He is respectful. We have cooked for each other. And he has even helped my clean up. It’s a Power Exchange with a lot of communication and a lot of give and take on both sides. I have seen Doms humiliate their subs and be cruel to them. I am not into that scene. If that is what they both like, then that is awesome. I don’t judge. It’s just not my thing. Finding a Dom is a diffiicult process because you have to find someone you completely trust and who is okay with your limits and who will treat you the way you want to be treated. If my Sir (yep, I totally call him Sir, and I love it) does something that upsets me, I can talk with him about it. We can have an open conversation and figure out the next steps. He doesn’t make me feel like I have no worth. We, by no means, have a traditional relationship. That’s not what I want right now. But what we have works and we are there for each other when we have bad days, or weeks. And when he calls me Sweetness, I melt.

My journey is very different from most. But when you are figuring out what you want, whether it’s in the bedroom or out of life, take your blinders off. Pull out the lasso of truth and figure out what your truth is. What is it that will make you happy and love who you are. Open your minds and be who you are.

I have put myself out there today, not to talk about my sex life, but to encourage people to really be open about what they want. To communicate with their partners about what they want or need. These alternative relationships have truly taught me how to communicate my needs, because in this world, if you don’t, you could compromise your safety. But isn’t that true in all relationships? If you forget to communicate, you may be physically safe, but have you protected yourself emotionally?

Back in the Saddle

Let’s talk dating. I’m not sure which word to use; fun or awful. Probably both. I always swore I woud never do online dating. But let’s face it…I work at a domestic violence shelter. I’m pretty sure I won’t be meeting too many people I want to date. So, online it was. I first started a profile about 7 months after my separation. My girlfriend and I did our profiles together. It was a fun evening, however, I woke up the next morning and felt so ashamed. I felt like I was cheating, doing something wrong. I realized I just wasn’t ready. I immediately took my profile down.

Fast forward another 5 months. I was a year into my separation and working on the divorce process. I decided to try again with a profile. I built my profile. It felt so superficial. How can I possibly show someone who I really am this way? And the profile pictures! I hate taking selfies. Anyway, my profile was up. Now what? Swipe left, swipe right. Do I message someone or wait for someone to message me. My last first date was in 1991. 25 years later, I have to figure this out. Last time I dated I was in high school. I’ve got this.

Later that evening, I received my first message. I was thrilled. I opened it up…he was 21. The message, “I know I`m young, but how would feel about having six feet of dark chocolate in front of you?” Ummmmm, height and race are not the issue buddy. You’re only a couple years older than my son. Not quite ready to take a trip to cougar town.

I got a couple other messages and talked to a few people. There are so many scammer to sift through. Men that are ready to marry you tomorrow. There are two main types of men on these sites (I can’t speak for women on the sites so men, feel free to speak up and share in the comments), the scammers and the douchebags. They want your money or they want your pussy (sorry for the language, but it’s their favorite word and they are not afraid toss it around). These men, make us very wary of the nice guys.

I finally decided, what the hell. Just set up the first date and get it over with. I really didn’t want my first date to be with someone I thought I might really like. I know that is wrong, but what if I really liked him but I felt guilty. I didn’t want to ruin anything. Enter McLovin. Yep. My first date with with a man that looked just like McLovin in Superbad.

Okay, he was in my age range. But this is who my date looked like. We met at Starbucks and it went exactly as I thought. I could not wait to get out of there. But I jumped my first hurdle. I didn’t feel guilty and I found myself looking forward to meeting and connecting with people.

Dating can be interesting. Sometimes you just don’t know how to respond to a situation. On one date, when the food arrived, he pulled a tooth out. He said, “I hope you don’t mind.” What am I supposed to say. I really don’t think I needed to say much as he watched me pick up my jaw. Another somehow got the idea I might find him attractive during our date by telling me he lived with his dad, had no job and his entire world sucked, and had no money to pay for his meal. Yet, in the parking lot he turned to me with closed eyes and a snake tongue coming out of his puckered lips. “Yeah, I don’t kiss on the first date.” At least, I wasn’t kissing him on a first date. Did I tell you about the great first date who ruined it by sending me a dick pic as soon as I got in my car.

This leads me to those pictures. Seriously, don’t send them unless we ask for them. Or at least warn a girl first. I don’t want to open up an unexpected picture in the middle of a restaurant. If I do, I’m going to announce your name and share your face pic too. Anyway, I learned quickly to not give my phone number to everyone. I can’t express enough how we tend to feel about unsolicited pictures. So here you go. Enjoy. Warning: it’s crude so watch at your own risk.

So, back to dating. It has it’s ups and downs. You get ghosted a lot and it can mess with your head. People can be rude. I don’t want to say men can be rude, because I have no doubt it can go both ways. But, through this process, I have learned so much about myself (that’s an entirely different blog, that I’m not quite sure I’m ready to share yet). But I have learned you can’t force anything, and you have to really know who you are and what you want, before you are able to find a lifetime relationship. In the meantime, sit back, swipe right, and enjoy the ride (and you can take that very last part any way you’d like, it’s your journey). You never know, your next first date could be your last first date, and that is pretty exciting.

Be Who You Desire

Jumping back into the dating game can really be pretty awful, not to mention very damaging to your self esteem. Seriously, it seems that men on these dating sites are no different than they were in high school. But here is a big difference…now, everything is online. They can say horrible things and there are really no repercussions except, well, you can block them. It can be pretty disheartening when the pick up line you get is “Hey! You wanna fuck!” and that is not on Tinder. Believe me, the guys on Match were no better. but let’s go back to this amazing pick up line. At first, I didnt want to be rude to anyone. With a pickup line like that, I usually responded with something like “Sorry, that’s not what I am looking for, but good luck to you.” Many times I was hit back with a response that attacked my physical appearance. You hear that enough, even from men who have never even met you, it can be damaging. I would look at my pictures and wonder what was wrong with me.

So how do I have confidence when I am letting others bring me down? It is so easy to say we have the power to make ourselves happy and to be confident in ourselves. However, as a 40 something year old woman who goes to sleep and wakes up next to my dog every morning, it is a challenge to not feel like I am always going to fall asleep and wake up on my own every morning. Sometimes, the thought of a quick hook up sounds very appealing, just to have that touch that I have been missing. The idea of settling for someone with whom I have nothing in common sounded better and better, just so a piece of my heart doesn’t feel empty.

Here is what I do know about me. I don’t want to settle. I am at the point in my life where I know some of what I am looking for. It is still evolving, but I am on track to finding it. But what I also know is that to find what I am looking for I need to feel desirable. I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But I do want to have the attitude, when I look in the mirror, of “Damn girl! Look at you! I would totally do you.” This is not about getting to the proper weight or having a different appearance. This is a mindset. For me, yes, going to the gym helps. But it isn’t my weight as much as when I walk out, having completed a tough workout, my head is high and I am proud of myself and I have a smile on my face. That is confidence.

So here is what I have figured out. Those guys who are looking for a hookup, well if you turn them down and they come back with something hurtful, just remember, they approached you first. You were desirable to them. They were just angry about the rejection. Keep moving forward and find what makes you feel like you are desirable.

Let me tell you what I did yesterday. I got my nails done for the first time in a couple of years. I am extremely careful about spending money, so nails is not at the top of my list. I got bright red. How much fun is that! I came home and took a selfie for myself. Totally topless, with my beautiful nails covering my breasts. I know, TMI. But I absolutely love the picture! It was playful and fun. I look at the picture and say “Damn I am hot!” It’s the mindset. People see us and like us, when we don’t necessarily like who we are. Imagine how much more desirable we will look to others if we walk around owning our hotness.

I don’t look any different today than I did yesterday, but my nails are fucking hot and I am owning it!