Posts Tagged ‘texting’

Turning Away from Jake and Towards Myself

January 31, 2017

Change was in the air. Like a hot, muggy July night in the Midwest, it had enough weight and substance for me to taste it.

I knew I needed to let go of Jake. I could tick off more than a half dozen reasons for it, but as Lady Gaga had so pointedly said in her song, “Million Reasons,” even when we have plenty of reasons to go, sometimes it only takes one good one to keep us sticking around, whether or not sticking around is a good idea. I had more than one reason to not turn away from Jake: I genuinely liked him; we had fun when we were together and even when we just texted; there was juicy chemistry between us; and we had shared a particular kind of intimacy with a level of abandon and depth that was not easily replicated. I dragged my feet.

When Jake texted me on New Year’s Eve, I thought it a good opportunity to end things. It didn’t take long for the texting to spiral into sexting. I pointed out that the possibility of ever getting together again was slim since I was unwilling to be a last-minute backup plan when what he really wanted to do fell through, and he was unwilling to schedule me in. I expected his reply to admit that it was an untenable situation. Instead, he agreed that scheduling time together was a respectful thing to do.

But it didn’t happen. Texts between us came and went.

Strangely, one night as I was thinking about Jake and reaching for something in my nightstand, a recording my late husband had made many years earlier started to play, spontaneously. The recording accompanied a photo of Howard and me. He had made it before going to Iraq in late 2004 to train cops as an independent contractor. It was his voice reciting a bit of lyrics from the song “You Do Something to Me” in a Transylvanian accent. He knew it made me laugh every time he sounded like Bella Lugosi saying that I had the power to hypnotize him. All these years later, it was tinny but still audible. I kept it in a small cedar box in my nightstand, buried under other things. It was implausible that it could play by itself because it had to be opened and a button had to be pushed for it to play. But play itself it had. I knew that he was sending me a message, but I wasn’t sure what that message was in the moment. It later became clear.

Finally, four months to the day after our first meeting, I sent a text essentially ending the relationship with Jake. In true Jake style, he responded to the message with understanding instead of just blowing me off. That willingness to engage in communication was a part of what I found so endearing about him.

But it was over, and I found myself pensive about it. At the bottom of it, Jake had been unavailable, and that made me think about the many men in my life before him who had been unavailable, beginning with my father.

Does it always come back to a woman’s father? Maybe so. My father’s unavailability was the result of his introverted nature coupled with the psychological and physical detritus from his World War II experiences that nudged him towards alcoholism. I’d been twenty-seven when he died, and I regretted not having his company and his counsel during more of my adult years.

The other unavailable men in my life, from my first husband to those with whom I’d been in relationship before my second marriage, had been unavailable for a handful of reasons. None of them were unavailable by virtue of marriage to someone else. I didn’t like messing with another woman’s man. They had been unavailable because a man cannot be available to you if he is in serious relationship with his own demons, whether psychological or chemical. After breaking up with a man I deeply loved but whose relationship with drugs–primarily marijuana–took precedence over his relationship with me, I had joked that the half-life of my bad relationships was improving because it had been whittled down from more than a decade to a matter of months.

Even my second husband, the man I’d loved for the twenty-five years preceding his death, was seen by his best friend as something of a lone wolf. He had not been the easiest man to live with, but he had opened to me and been available to me more than he had to any other woman in his life, and the marriage worked.

Now, six years after my husband’s death, I was again contemplating my tendency to be with unavailable men. Derek had surely been unavailable. So had Jake. They were examples of something I had discussed many times with apprentices and others with whom I had done shamanic work. As we face, heal, and clear away the remnants of our internal shadow and everything in us that we’ve put in place for purposes of defense (usually subconsciously), we experience something that is not so much like the peeling of an onion as the peeling of an artichoke’s layers. There is nothing left when the onion is fully peeled. In purely esoteric terms, I could argue the validity of that. But in more human terms, what is left when the spikey outer petals of an artichoke are peeled, then the more tender inner petals, and then the hairy choke, which is bitter and inedible? Beneath that is the artichoke heart, which is perfection.

Invariably, before we reach the perfection of the authentic self (which I argued can be approximated but maybe not completely achieved in this life), we undergo many initiations. And usually, when we rather arrogantly think we have it mastered, we reach the mother lode of what must be faced, the internal equivalent of the hairy choke.

But even when we have made it through that initiation, enough energetic remnants of that bitter obstacle remain that we find ourselves cycling around to it again and again, usually at more profound levels each time, and sometimes, if we’re lucky and have done the work, it is just a challenge and test to our mastery.

The issue of unavailable men was up for review one more time.

But this time, I saw it for what it was in Jake–an external representation of something within me that needed facing and working through. And I knew that clearing those energetic remnants was something I was ready to do. Just the acknowledgment of it transformed most of it.

But was I available? My travels with an open heart across the past ten months had tested and refined my availability. I believed I was available.

I was finally ready for a man who not only suited me in many ways, but one who was available. And I was available to meet him and travel openheartedly with him. It had taken my entire life to accomplish, and whether or not that man showed up in this life, I was ready for it.

Note: The names Jake and Derek are fictitious and have been used out of respect for the men involved.

Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall


December 6, 2016

When you have a combination of affection, respect, and lust for a man, but neither your lifestyle nor his allows for seeing one another very often, texting is not a bad alternative to pining away for the guy. Not only is it often faster and easier than either a telephone conversation or an e-mail, it is also more spontaneous.

It began innocently enough about five weeks after Jake came for dinner . . . and dessert. He and I had texted one another sporadically, and I sent him a text asking how life was in his corner of the world, and in particular, how his dating life was going. We were becoming friends, after all. He gave me an update and asked about my dating life. I admitted that while there had been men to date, there had been no one I wanted to kiss in that little notch below the throat since him.

The text back said that I’d just given him a rise. Clearly, the man was easily aroused. And that began a series of texts suggesting how much we’d like to . . . ahem . . .spend more time with one another.

Some days later, I alerted him to the fact that I had published two blog posts (“Jake” and “Jake for Dessert”) about him. He had given me the okay to write about him, but I thought it only fair to warn him when the posts hit. I didn’t think he was reading my blog, but I thought he might want to know when I posted about him. I held my breath after sending the text because I feared he might be annoyed by the true-to-life account of activities he’d participated in.

He did not have the time to read the posts just then, but he did say he liked the title of the second post, proclaimed it accurate to the events, and thought it had been a great dessert. He also liked the fact that I was writing about the two of us.

Was he an exhibitionist?

He began reminiscing about that night and then sent me (with my permission) three photos of himself that served as good visual reminders of our time together without being utterly and completely graphic. That is, there was no unclothed photo of the southern half of his body. Not that he wasn’t willing to send one. I urged him to send no such photos to anyone on the grounds that once they left his hands, he would have no control over them.

I sent him a couple of photos that were tamer than those he sent me. Everything nicely covered. I had never sent sex photos of myself to anyone, nor would I ever. It just does not represent the woman I am. Being unbridled and untamed does not mean that I am willing to document my physical self or my uninhibited behavior in photo or video form. Not happening.

That didn’t mean the photos of him were unwelcome.

Yes, I can refuse to participate in tit for tat (so to speak), unless in person. Unfair? Just taking advantage of my womanly prerogative.

Mostly tame and infrequent texts passed between us for a time. Then I sent him a photo of a holiday dress I had bought. I told him he would have to imagine the woman in the dress. Again, it seemed innocent enough. His text back said that he remembered the woman dressed . . . also. And that led to another series of sexts, on and off over several days. They were apparently working him up into enough of a frenzy that he offered to send me a photo of himself he’d taken in the shower–soapy lather and all–from the neck down.

My nipples immediately stood at attention with the very thought. The woman who has been disdainful of such photos, mostly because men you haven’t known intimately are all too willing to send them, was not only willing but eager to be on the receiving end of that photo. I had been intimate with him. I knew his body. I had affection for it and the man living in it.

Let’s just say that if you have to delay gratification, a photo like that is a good thing to have.


Note: The name Jake is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall

The Day After

July 2, 2016

It could be argued that I had fallen so fast because it had been a very long time since I had been with a man in any romantic way. It could be argued that I had just forgotten how good it felt to be embraced and how sensual it was to be kissed gently, with tongues engaged in just the right way, which for me meant not choking thrusts but instead, a kind of teasing, light exploration, coupled with a bit of nibbling. If anyone wanted to argue those things, they were welcome to their words and their opinions, but I knew differently.

Since my husband’s death, I’d had plenty of opportunity to be with men, both literally and in the biblical sense. I’d never been desperate. I’d always been willing to wait for the right man. As for kissing, I could count on one hand the number of men in my life who had been so compatible. All the waiting had been worth it, but my response to this man had not simply been triggered by a long drought, it had been triggered by the man himself.

He texted me just after 7:00 the next morning, reporting that he had awakened dreaming of me. During the flurry of messages back and forth, he said that he had liked it when I showed him that my butcher block was custom made for me to fit my diminutive size. “You are such a big presence that I just don’t think of you as shorter,” he said. “Plus, you know how to make use of steps.”

I doubted I had ever used that transition from the living room’s brick floor to the dining room’s wooden one to better advantage than I had the previous night, and he said he had never thought about having favorite steps, but if he did, those would definitely be his favorite. We were doing a little early morning tango around the fact that we had both been captivated by our mythic clinch the previous night.

He said that he had been a bit nervous as he walked up to my door that night, but the second I opened the door and smiled at him, the nervousness had evaporated. Of course, he looked so adorable walking up to my door, I couldn’t help but smile.

He confessed to being enamored of me, and I admitted that I was crushing on him.

We texted about the weather, the way he made coffee, and the fact that he was in boxers and I was in bed reading and watching the news in my cowgirl pajamas. He mentioned that he would be doing more work on the trail that day. This texting went on for an hour, like morning conversation over coffee, easy and intimate. Except that it was also like being on a sled with him, taking a wild ride down a hill and feeling a little breathless by the time we reached the bottom.

Later in the day, I texted that I had just realized he’d answered the boxers versus briefs question that morning without my even having to ask. I admitted that I was blushing while writing the text. He asked which I preferred, and I assured him that I preferred boxers. “But I’m still blushing,” I said, “or maybe just overheated.”

Clearly, I was becoming as unfiltered as him.

“You must have been thinking of me if you came up with that revelation,” he said. He added that he liked to think of me blushing and being overheated; he found it cute.

Derek was reawakening some things in me that I had nearly forgotten, and I told him so. It was an understatement, but I did not want to elaborate. I got back an emoji that suggested he was thinking sweet thoughts in response. He said he liked the fact that we had seen one another every day since we’d met. Of course, that had only been a couple of days.

Apart from my reference to my reawakening, anyone who might have stumbled on those text exchanges could easily have assumed that they were between two randy teenagers. Was I aging backwards like the Merlin of Arthurian legend? If so, I had raced backwards at an alarming speed.

That evening, we connected again. Even though it was a bit early to fall asleep, I was fading fast and told him so.

“I’ll call you tomorrow, baby,” he texted.

He had never before referred to me in that way. Did that trigger alarm about how quickly things were moving? Did I find the term just a little too intimate considering that we had known one another for less than a week? Was I suspicious? Did I think it ingenuous? No. It seemed just another example of his unfiltered texting, and I didn’t doubt that he had used the word genuinely and spontaneously. If some other man had called me baby, I might have felt differently, but coming from him, I thought I had never been referred to in a more charming way.

The previous week, I had been a woman on a dating site, just hoping to find a man I liked with whom I could feel at least a little chemistry. Now, a week later, I felt as if I had been given a small bit of paradise by the gods when I had only requested a simple plot of good earth to call my own.

How long could this go on and what in the world would happen next?


Note: The name Derek is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.

Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall