Monday, 12 December 2011

Moving on

As time goes by the pain of my relationship break up is receding and I can start to be a bit more honest about my own feelings. I wasn't all that happy myself and thinking I could have and should have done better in my relationship selections. To cut a long story short I had begun to realize the ex wasn't all that I really wanted out of  partner.

As I mull over the events of the last few months before we broke up I guess she felt the same. Where I just accepted the way things were because I thought we had a good life and while the passion had somehow gone from our relationship I thought we were happy together. However, somewhere along the line she had decided to move on.

The hard thing of course in getting over it all and realizing that despite the really dumb and questionable relationship she appears to have got herself into she ain't coming back and I don't really want her to.

But that is not entirely true of course. Despite the fact that I am better off without her and the compromises I thought I had made and her selfishness I still think about her all the time. I am finding it hard to let go while knowing I need to for the sake of my sanity.

And so we move on partly getting over it, partly not when we have fleeting snippets of contact,  getting into new relationships. This includes putting to bed any thoughts of a need for chemical help to get it up to enjoy a fulfilling sexual relationship bar a few beers which had been a worry as our sex life hadn't been all that great for some time. Clearly, as it turns out I need more more from a partner than a mechanical and passionless acceptance on her part.

But still the pain is not totally gone, and until it does, the longing, sometimes despair and grief will overshadow any further relationships. The baggage that people talk about. Well we all have baggage, the ghosts of relationships past. In some ways this baggage is character building but it is still a tough time.

Tough too hide from the new lady in my life who has her own baggage. Hopefully time will heal the wounds and to be fair it is really only a few short months since this all went down. But starting over is hard and as old age approaches there is always the fear of growing old alone.

This in part has driven me to start all over again in the hope of finding the perfect or more or less perfect mate but in the back of my mind there is always the fear that she was the one and she has forsaken me and there is no hope. 

But I need to look to the future. 2011 was the worst year of my life and I live in hope that 2012 will be much better. Despite my current fit of melancholy it has started off with a hiss and a roar. My Christmas and New Year was much happier than I would have believed possible just a few months ago and may that trend continue.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Online dating - moving on

My previous post outlined the recent breakup of the key relationship in my life. The hardest thing to come to terms with, and in truth I haven't yet fully come to terms with the fact that it has ended and there is no turning the clock back.

The other thing to deal with is that the ex was already well down the path of moving on when I found out about it all. She had already made plans and they didn't include me despite that fact that she had no intention of moving out or actually leaving until the stars were aligned in her favour.

While I was hoping for reconciliation she was already committing the ultimate deception and it was only by chance that I found out. Lies piled on lies and then you immediately start to question the entire relationship. Had this happened before? Probably despite her denials.

The best bit of advice that I had was to move one and do the stuff I wanted to do. So I did. I think it was a surprise to the ex that I decided to stay in the house. Apart from anything else I couldn't bear the thought of packing up all my gear and moving. I'll have to do it eventually but not yet.

The next thing I did was get the legal side of the separation rolling. I explained that if we did get back together this wouldn't matter but it was clear that this wasn't likely to happen. I don't know what she was thinking or where her head was but she had it in her mind that we could just agree to part and when house prices came back we could sort out our affairs. Don't you trust me? Yeah right. Best to get things sorted as soon as possible before positions harden.First piece of good advice I got from my lawyer.

The next piece of advice I got was to stay away from online dating sites for while. Just chill out and do the stuff you like doing and take things as they come. I have to say that in hindsight that is pretty good advice.

But oops I'd already started and I have had some pretty interesting experiences. I was determined not to rest on my laurels and try new stuff and get out of my comfort zone. I could easily just sit here at home and get bitter and depressed.

So I created a profile and waited for the results. The first few dates were interesting to say the least. It was a bit of a concern to me that I seemed to attract a certain type of woman. They were ok but probably just as needy as I was at the time. Was there something wrong with my profile, was I too honest?

Then there were the women that in the flesh were a bit different to what their profile said. In my mind there is a difference between a little white lie than outright deception. The profiles in themselves are interesting as well. Is there such a thing as a perfect bloke? Some of them have pretty high expectations.No wonder their profiles seem to remain on the site when others disappear never to be seen again.

Then there was the date where we seemed to click and got in like a house on fire until the night she told me that she was allergic to most of the food we had eaten together and that she shouldn't be drinking the wine I had just bought. She said she need to detox for a few months. The detoxing process apparently included me as well because that was the last time I saw or heard from her.

Not even a courtesy I have found someone else which is what I expect happened. I thought that was a bit rude. She was a nice enough woman and I enjoyed our time together but I didn't see myself living with her for the rest of our days. maybe she sensed that.

I now understand how baggage from previous relationships can affect new ones even when you think you are over it or at least think you can hide the impact on your emotions. What amuses me is that sometimes it appears to me that the woman who are telling me that I am still not over the ex are probably carting about more baggage than I am. Why do they start these conversations otherwise? So when people talk about baggage it is just not yours you need to be worried about.

For the I have more or less given up on the idea of online dating for the moment. It is a fun way to meet people and I have done some different things and have some new places to go but it is quite an artificial world to meet a prospective partner but you never know your luck.

The dates so far.
Date one nice Asian lady. We met almost immediately, in fact we met several times but it soon dawned on me that she was in worse shape than I was. In fact I doubt that in her middle forties she had ever had a long term relation ship of more than a few months. I felt sorry for her but not sorry enough to go on seeing her. I am sure that I was probably just what she was looking for but she wasn't right for me in more ways than one. Her colloquial english was poor and she was quite selfish in some ways.

Date two. Nice but weirdly pretentious Russian lady. First date seemed to go fine and we arranged to meet the next day. Texted a couple of times the next day. No response. She might not have been quite what she presented herself as.

Date three.I knew this one was a bit dodgy the first time I spoke to her but thought what the hell lets give it a go. My first impression was confirmed when she suggested that we meet at a local bakery chain cafe. The meeting just confirmed the gut feeling I had developed and her wall eye was the clincher.

Date four. We immediately hit it off and spent quite a bit of time together over the next month or so. This is the lady with the food allergies and the odd pretentious smile and who didn't didn't make contact all of a sudden when things seemed to be going so well. Maybe she was just using me to fill a gap in the same way I was using her and moved onto someone better. I knew she wasn't right for me the first time I went to her apartment and discovered a lap dog in the house. I can't stand having a dog inside. Worse still when she took the thing for a walk she didn't put it on a lead and seemed to think that is was ok for it to roam around and annoy people at will.

Date five. This one was probably the worst of the lot and I couldn't wait to get away. She was just weird and didn't make any attempt to present herself very well.

Date six. The phone has just beeped. A text from her I am guessing. Another very nice lady but very intense. She seemed to think I was the one from the first date and after just a few weeks wants some kind of exclusivity. I am not so sure myself but am keen enough to remove my profile from the dating site to show some kind of commitment. Of all of them she seems to be the most interested in my past life and talks about me not being ready yet. Maybe number four thought this as well but she never said much about it. I suspect that both of them have just as much baggage from previous relationships as I do:  if not more. Unbidden the most amazing things pop out at times and like all woman they seem content to construe the most incredible inferences from a simple grunt.

And me, well I have learn't a few things as well.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Breakup

The last time I wrote in here I was reasonably secure in my relationship with the other half or so I thought. How wrong I was.

I thought she was away at a weekend with a new special friend, how wrong, well how right I was in some ways. She came home from a weekend with her new girlfriend to tell me that she was unhappy. What I didn't know at that point was that our relationship was effectively over. Being unhappy was her way of telling me that she had already moved on. Clearly in hindsight she hadn't just been with her new girlfriend.

I was unhappy too. I put it down to frustration at work but in hindsight I wasn't happy at the way things were going either but not so unhappy that I wanted to end the relationship. Both of us should have talked about this I guess and it is far too late now.

Then I started to unravel the layers of deceit and lies and the brazenness with which the new relationship had been developing in front of me. Of course the situation was by no means unique but it always feels worse when it happens to you.

She even told me the new guys name so in this age of social media it wasn't hard to find out a few things about him. Despite myself, as this was a really low point in my life, I said to myself. 'What the hell have you done you silly woman.' If you thought that the age difference between Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher was unsustainable as has recently been proved right then this new relationship has no chance and is doomed to fail.

I console myself that at some point in time you can just about guarantee that one of both of them are going to wake up one morning in the not too distant future and go 'what the fuck have I done?'

But then a fifty something woman's hormones and puppy love by some needy emotionally immature man roughly the same age as her kids looking for a shoulder to cry on as his own relationship breaks down probably make them impervious to the simple realities of such a relationship. Once these things get rolling they have an inertia all of their own which is hard to stop.

But for the ex when this happens there is a double whammy as she has chosen to move to the other end of the country and a new job. What is going to happen if and when the relationship fails and she is in a new city with no friends and family close by and potentially nowhere to live?

Unfortunately for the ex, the GFC and a prenup agreement meant that where she might have expected a bit of a windfall to start her new life there wasn't much to share and I have ended up with the house that she loved and a lot of the gear we accumulated together while she packed up her belongings in a few boxes and left with little to show for our life together.

This might be a source of bitterness in the future if it isn't already. I suspect that in some ways a little guilt on her part meant that she settled for a lot less than she should have in terms of what she took with her.

But life moves on for both of us and I still have my toys and I am enjoying them still.

So what to do next? Once the hurt started to fade.Too soon in hindsight, I joined an online dating web site. One part of my planned rehabilitation was to get back in the saddle as it were as soon as possible.Not just to find a new love of my life but to get out and meet new people and do new stuff.

In some respects this has been successful, in others not so.

Friday, 29 July 2011

American Extremism

Next year I'll be the big 50. When I was growing up WW2 still loomed large in the general consciousness and most men that I came across as a kid that were my age now had been involved in the armed forces.

Also fresh in people's minds was that the British Empire wasn't able to protect us when the Japanese entered the war to make it a truly global cataclysm and stormed across the Pacific headed in this general direction.

Luckily for us Japan miscalculated and bombed Pearl Harbour which led to America entering the war and to cut a long story short provided the industrial might and manpower to vanquish both foes. From that point on we looked to America for leadership in many respects, maybe not because we really wanted to but because they were the big guys in our backyard.

Since WW2 the US has promoted itself as the leader of the free world and gone into bat for us against the red menace and more latterly against Islamic fundamentalists. But somewhere along the line America has lost it's way, and whatever they do on the world stage seems to more about self interest than anything morally altruistic.

And when I say 'they' I really mean that small extremely wealthy and powerful group of corporations and individuals that are pulling the strings in the background. The kind of people that drive an invasion of an oil rich desert nation to secure future oil supplies but badly miscalculate the impact of their actions that cost more than any potential return. There is a bit more involved in running a country than running a corporation, no matter how large and powerful. Despite what the right wing ideologues would have us believe the playing field is never equal.

From and outsiders point of view, this in a nutshell is what is what is wrong with America, something brought into stark relief as we watch the intense partisan debate about the debt ceiling.

There seems to be no middle ground in this debate, extremists on both sides are driving fringe ideologies that in the long term are unsustainable and are self destructive in the name of short term gain. Think the Taliban, think Southern Koran burning Baptists. These people are not representative of their religions-they are completely deluded. Unfortunately they have the ability to inflict widespread hardship and pain on the innocent.

While Americans might think that the debate over their economy is all about them, the rest of us are left to count the cost of bitter ideological battles by the lunatic fringes of the most powerful single economy on the planet. While the American congress and senate fiddle while Washington burns my mortgage rates go up.

The best thing that could happen is that the US 'defaults' on its obligations and collectively the American people revolt against extremist ideology when they next have a chance and vote for more responsible government. Vote for less costly militarism, everyone paying their fair share of the cost of running the economy-and yes that means business paying their fair share and living with some pain when entitlements are cut.

Pigs might fly but not in my lifetime. But in my lifetime I fully expect America to wane as a world military and economic power. I hope I survive the transition

Friday, 18 February 2011

Eating well out West

We are eating out again and eating well out West. I get a hard time for living out west - some of it from people who live in one of those flash suburbs out East, places like Otara East. People in glass houses should not throw stones I reckon.

Whatever anyone says about the west and the perception that we are all black T shirt wearing bogans or our woman all have hairy legs and wear vegetarian fibre cardies there are actually some pretty decent places to eat and drink out this way.

Historically the wine industry in this part of the world was kick started by Dalmation immigrants once they had retired from the gum fields. The story goes that they couldn't stand the slop the my ancestors were drinking and started to grow grapes. Most likely the guys that started growing grapes around here were too clever to get involved in shagging around with their gumboots getting full of mud in the gumfields in the first place.

Tony's was established almost 30 years ago in Henderson-one of the first if not the first decent eatery in this part of the world. In recognition of the legacy of vineyards in the area Tony's was originally known as Tony's Vineyard Restaurant.

While it is a bit rustic and looking a bit tired Tony's seems to be quite popular with the locals. The reason being they stick to their knotting and and do a decent basic steak meal. The service is ok, though we had to wait a while for our first drink order.

Since the last time were there the menu has been upgraded but the basics of a good big steak remain.

Always a good place for a feed but for some reason last night we both felt a bit rushed though we both left feeling extremely full and satisfied.

Edsel Street, Henderson

Eating out on Waiheke

Last weekend we spent a few days on Waiheke Island. It has been years since I had been to the island and even longer since I had stayed so I was looking forward to it.

Waiheke is an interesting place, full of people who think that they are interesting and a playground for the rich, famous and infamous. None of which are we. The real natives of Waiheke must breathe a huge sigh of relief when the best part of the summer is over and they can reclaim their island from the hordes of daily sightseers and holiday makers like us.

But I digress, Waiheke has a reputation for being a trendy greenie type place to be, a more upmarket version of wild west Auckland and far more accessible than Coromandel. While she who must be obeyed (SWMBO) was interested in checking out some of the arty farty stuff and wanted a photo of herself outside the various wineries I was more interested in feeding the inner man and making sure that I had a beer for lunch.

BTW whatever I tell SWMBO I'd really rather be riding!

We sampled a few eating establishments and I guess like anywhere there were some great places to eat that we would certainly return too and others that we would give a wide berth.

To be fair generally the food was great but the service in some of the establishments left a bit to be desired, not quite what I was expecting in an upmarket tourist trap. It is not a good look if you get 'forgotten' and your waitress can't speak english. What is the world coming to when you can't at least be served in a restaurant in your own country by someone who speaks more or less the the same lingo as you?

First stop was the Nourish bar and cafe in Ostend for a late lunch. The food was good and I tried one of the locally produced beers - Baroona. This was a nice we drop but I noticed that it had a use by label for later in the week. I pointed this out to the the waitress and ordered another one to help them run down their old stock.

Later in the day we wandered into Oneroa and had dinner at 151 Ocean View. Why SWMBO took us to a fish restaurant when she doesn't eat fish is beyond me. Their fish of the day was fabulous and the service was great. The sea gulls seemed well behaved and when we went past the next afternoon the deck was full of diners - always a good sign.

We rented a car for one day to get us about the countryside but we didn't make as much use of it as we could have as I had rather a boozy elevenses at Charley Farley's. SWMBO doesn't like driving on narrow gravel roads so we didn't get out to the far end of the island and I wasn't going to drive was I? The old tractor outside is a nice touch and seemed to intrigue some of the tourists.

We did however get far enough to find the Beachfront Bar and Cafe where SWMBO sampled the chicken niblets and was moved to compliment the chef on his prowess. Chicken niblets are her signature Friday night meal but they are not a patch on what came out of the kitchen at the Beachfront Bar and Cafe.

Our last evening meal was at the Vino Vino. We wanted to eat here because we had heard good things about the food. The food was good but what spoilt it a bit for us was that we had asked to sit out on the balcony when we booked only to find when we got there that the balcony had been booked for a 21st birthday party.

VinoVino is certainly the place to be by the clientele. I have never seen such a concentration of man bags in once place and was convinced that there must have been a fancy dress party up the road that most of the diners were off to afterwards. It wasn't that people were dressed in costumes so much but they were wearing the sort of gear that you'd wear to a party at Paris Hilton's Hampton pad.

Once again I helped the establishment get rid of their almost at use by use date Baroona's. The only real problem with this place as the acoustics are terrible-talk about not being able to have a quiet romantic dinner Trev. Especially with some sort of boisterous hen party going happening at the next table.

Finally, we had occasion to eat at a few other places but they are not worth a mention except one. Apart from the fact my bacon and eggs was a bit on the small side the best service by far we received was at the Wai Kitchen. I mention the Wai Kitchen as they have felt the sharp end of a NZ Herald staffer's pen after a bit of a mishap with his dinner. I was also intrigued by his comment about the lack of decent eating places in Oneroa. Clearly he is a lot harder to please than we are.