PART 1 – AS THE COUCH FALLS…

Many have had a Billy in their life — a relationship that’s thrilling and excruciating, that takes you to bliss and dumps you into hell and thereby hooks you. No matter how wise and experienced you may be, you ignore your inner voice, ignore the red light screaming, “Stop!” and the sage advice of everyone you know. When it ends badly, as you knew it would, the pain can be so engulfing that you wish for oblivion. I ended up literally on my knees at a meeting of SLAA, saying, “I’m a sex and love addict, and I am not in control.”

For Sheryl Crow, it was Lance Armstrong, whom she called “My Favorite Mistake.”
For me it was the man I named Billy the Bad, and I resolved that he would be my last mistake. Because Billy did not do me in; I did that myself.

I’ve lost money, had professional flops and humiliating reviews and I get over them quickly and move on. But loss of love cuts deeper and causes more anguish than anything I’ve known. As Tolstoy wrote, “Man survives earthquakes, epidemics, the horrors of disease and all the agonies of the soul, but his most tormenting tragedy has been…the tragedy of the bedroom.”

I’ve been a seeker for decades, and know it’s an illusion to expect that a relationship—no matter how wonderful—can fill the emptiness inside. And yet I can’t stop the yearning. In telling the story of Billy, I want to unravel the whole ball of
yarn — to take a clear-eyed look at love and the way it lives in the body and the heart and, with your participation, come up with insight and guidance so I can get off the bloody wheel.

If not now, when? I invite you to join me.

PART ONE

I agreed to meet Billy at the Grizzly Rose, a famous saloon and dance hall midway between Lone Tree, CO, where he lives, and Boulder, where I do. He’d sent me an email via match.com, but I’d been on the site long enough to conclude that most people on it have some dysfunction with relationships. (this reporter included)
So I was skeptical and did not take the bait. But he was persistent, for several months. We finally spoke on the phone, I found him boring and said I didn’t think we had much in common. He said he was certain we did and would I at least meet him? I agreed, probably because he wouldn’t take no, which is seductive.

I had trouble finding the Grizzly Rose and when I did there was no place to park. Kenny Chesney was performing and crowds were storming the doors.

I stopped my car near the entrance and called Billy on his cell phone. He came out of the Rose, got in the driver’s seat and said he’d find a place for my car. He was wearing a large black cowboy hat and I couldn’t see his face well in the dark. Driving up and down the rows, we found the lot totally full, but there was one space where an old couch had been dumped. I considered asking him to move it, but thought, I can’t ask that. What if he has a bad back? He hit the brake and said, “I’m going to move that couch.” He walked over, raised it vertically and held it balanced on its side for a moment. He was long and lean, silhouetted against the sky. He looked around, then pushed the couch into a muddy ditch behind the cars. And as the couch fell, dear reader, so did I.

We walked back to the Rose and he led me through the crowd and into the hall, having tipped the guard. We made our way onto the floor, but it was too crowded to dance.
As I stood in front of Billy, facing the stage, he pulled me back against him and we began moving to the music. A jolt of energy went through me, so intense I could hardly stand. What’s going on, I thought? I had written off this guy. I’d checked his profile on match.com, where he said he had operated a cattle ranch and founded a fence construction company, then sold it, retired and was writing a play. “I have a tux and a tractor. I can work with my head or my hands. I can write a poem or a contract.” Then came the red flag. “I have not succeeded at everything, however. I have failed to be truly loved by a woman, and this is what I desire most.” That stopped me. He was 58, had been married twice, dated untold numbers of women and never felt loved?

As I drove home to Boulder, though, I was about to run right through the red light. Billy called twice from his cell phone and when I curled up in bed, I was so electrified I couldn’t sleep. He’s sexy, funny, smart, solvent… I thought, This could be something.

TO BE CONTINUED

Please leave a COMMENT. How would you see his statement that he’d never been truly loved? What do you think of using the internet to meet people? Just scroll down to “comments.” Please choose a name, rather than anonymous, so people can refer to your comment. Thanks!)

This blog is inspired by real events. I’ve changed names and identifying details to protect people’s privacy, and I’ve compressed time and altered some events for narrative purpose.

The title Sex Love Enlightenment is an homage to Mark Matousek’s book, Sex Death Enlightenment.

 

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49 thoughts on “PART 1 – AS THE COUCH FALLS…

  1. Anonymous

    Why did you ignore that red light? Did you think, “I’m the one that will be able to make him feel loved?”

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Sara,

    Something tells me that you two connected for the exact same reason – that perhaps you have never felt truly loved by any man?? Just something to think about…

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Hmmmmmm….. I think I would view his “truly loved” comment as a red flag. He’s going to make any future issues between the two of you your problem or fault. My bet is that he is looking for, though very sub-consciously, a mother he can f**k.

    Reply
  4. Roberta K

    I can’t wait to see the next installment! 😉

    Yes, I do see red flags there…OMG Sara, I personally am SO DONE with relationships. As John Bradshaw once said, we tend to pick out the one person in a crowd who is the worst choice for us. I’m guilty of it myself…and now, after getting out of a really messy 5-year relationship, I’m staying away from men for quite a while – it just isn’t worth the hassle and I’m quite happy by myself.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I’ve had two LTR via internet and I think it’s a great tool. I know people who have married as well.

    As for his comment about never having been truly loved by a woman, I think that’s very insightful. I think that’s a very astute realization and one that I felt too until I met my husband of 4 years. I think he sounds like a wise man.

    Reply
  6. Bev Hon

    Married twice and wants more??? In any mistake, once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times is a very bad habit. And if he can’t take “no” for an answer, his Mommy trained him to be a 24 carat pest. He knew she would give in just to shut him up. This is very tiresome in an alleged adult male As with Passive Agressives, you become a nag, and then get blamed for it. We are emotionally stunted; getting off on the epinephrine that a minefield of a man generates in us. Somehow, in our growth, there was a disconnect in our emotions and our common sense. I have to parent myself at 72 when I find I have a crush on an old friend, a gay actor, 20 years younger. Finally, I place my dignity over acting out an impossible fantasy. Once I had a roomate who didn’t watch tv, but I called her over to the set to get a look at Ted Danson as Sam Malone. ‘Oh, we have all had one of those,’ she said on her way out. Think back on these guys. They are all the same person, and you can’t fix them. This is where ‘yes we can’
    DOES NOT WORK.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Hi Sara, Oh PLEASE…never been truly loved by a women just invites the next question. Has he EVER been truly loved? Because if he hasn’t, it’s rather sad that he still trying to find it.

    Reply
  8. Tami

    I am loving this already Sara~
    I guess everyone has had a “Billy”
    I know I have~
    When you finally realize you have to bail it’s really too late because you cannot do it!

    Reply
  9. The Grass Roots Guy

    I’m a 65 year old man – with a cowboy hat, tux, etc. – and the flag is he has not been “loved.”
    My own Match bio puts it this way: I am ready to love a woman. That flows from one 27 year marriage that was pretty good, a lot of dating which taught me a lot, and a lot of study about how to build a relationship.
    You are correct about the high percentage of dysfunction online and among middle aged single people.
    The challenge for me, and I’m getting there, is learning how to give and receive love. Those of us who, for example, had parents who weren’t good models, have to become good students and learn behaviors we don’t know. I used Judith Sills and Gary Chapman’s books, among others.
    You and I actually emailed back and forth a couple of times through Match.

    Reply
  10. Sunnymay

    I love asking questions and would have a few if anyone made a profound statment like “Never been truly loved.” As time goes by, I would ask the hard questions and if he wants to play along, we both would learn more about our paths. Feelings are never to be trifled with, although I know a few teases who don’t show their stripes or spots at first. If you listen well, you’ll hear discords and resonances and interpretation is always left to the mind of the believer.

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    To me, the comment that he has never felt loved is a red flag because he is coming from a place of wanting something. How can he possibly be truly available if he is only looking to get something from you? I would much rather hear: “After 2 marriages, etc. I realize I am just beginning to learn how to love.”

    Reply
  12. Renee M.

    Sara:
    I find Match and those sites to be one of the best way to meet men in today’s world. I bet you he will be needy…he is so pushy. Never having been truly loved by a woman may translate into never having been properly able to truly love a woman.

    Sara, I feel that spirituality and romantic love do not mesh easily. If one has had an awakening experience, it quickly leads to not needing another person. And men want to be needed and are needy.

    Let’s see where this Billy takes you in the next installment.

    Reply
  13. Case-Rust

    having been divorced, but married happily for the second time, I am of the opinion that there is a connection with certain people and there is a “click” that happens when you meet the right one. It begins by being honest with who you are and what you want. On both sides. I love the blog, keep on writing!

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    MEM Said,
    Hi Sara This is the first time I have ever left a comment on anything.Great story that touches all women. I can’t wait for the next installment. How are you? I haven’t seen you in ages. Fondly, ME

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    So he’s never been truly loved by a woman? Maybe he’s never known how to truly love a woman. It’s a two-way street. Maybe he’s never analyzed his own behavior in his relationships.

    Reply
  16. Kathleen

    Sara,

    Your internet question intrigues me more than the “never been loved” line. — I would have assumed that his remark really meant that he “never loved” — and I would have been more than a bit uncertain about the viability of a LTR with this man.

    I’ve been with the same man for almost thirty years (but that may come to a conclusion soon…story for another day) and cannot imagine initiating a new relationship via the internet. Actually — I can’t quite imagine starting a new relationship in the traditional way… But I am truly puzzled by your search. Bright, lovely, successful, connected — how could it be that YOU resorted to meeting your match online? A chance meeting at the market or a book-signing or a class or a poetry reading — those encounters I understand. Posting one’s heart on the world-wide web seems de-humanizing and frankly dangerous. There’s LEAP!-ing and then there’s bungee-jumping.

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    Billy has got the “good mom/bad mom” complex. He never felt truly loved by her and it’s affected all his relationships. Once you understand that, you can proceed with just having some FUN. No commitments, no strings…just plain fun. Can’t you keep yourself from “falling” and just take him for what he’s worth? A good lay?

    Reply
  18. lamblion

    Oh Sara, I just love reading your writing. I adored Leap, it fed my spirit during a difficult time…and, as I seem to be extremely slow in decision making and also have developed a huge lack of trust in my feelings over the years…well, i guess I’m still in that hard time. Ahhh, yes…In fact, the LA Times Book Festival is coming up, and that is where I heard you on a panel because my partner that I was separated from and now with again, sort of, and waffling…anyway, that is where I got your book. A whole year ago.

    CeCe, I’ll call her, is the one who brought me to my knees. I ignored the red flags because I loved how I felt. The relationship was exhilerating, exciting, and I felt listened to, cared for. I pined for a year after we met. Then, just as I was starting to let go, there she came, back into my life.

    I chose to ignore the drinking. Friends told me, Oh, she can handle her liquor, or Oh, she just drinks beer.

    But I felt like I had such a long honeymoon. My benchmark was that I always asked myself, “How can we make this work?” Rather than, “Is it worth it to make this work?” Until, eight years later, i finally started to say, you know, it might not be worth it. But the thought would flee soon after. I re-read in my journals once and found so many entries saying things like, “I’m starting to identify with the battered woman syndrome. I keep believing that thins will change.”

    But i guess that would only last a minute, because I kept staying!!!

    But it did get worse and worse. I landed on my knees in alanon when I found myself falling for someone else and contemplating an affair, something so against my ethics…but there I was.

    CeCe tried to get sober to keep from losing me, but that didn’t work. We hung on for another 4 years. When I finally left for real, she did. A year and a half later, she has 18 months and I am just so unsure of what is best for me.

    All this is to say that I really get being brought to one’s knees. Maybe you’re lucky that it didn’t take you the 12 years that it took me!!

    So, about the internet. Would I date on it? It just sounds like too much drama…too much wondering and anticipating and…I don’t know. I know several people who met online and are really happy. I think I’d do a matchmaker instead!! I think it would be worth the money, unless I really just wanted to “date,” which sure doesn’t sound appealing at the moment.

    Yep, I think the never being loved by a woman comment, and just the way he worded it is a red flag. But a little subtle…maybe hard to catch, especially for us softies who try to honor everyone’s feelings. I’m sorry to say that I think I would have gone exactly where you did, if I felt the things you were describing. Oh, sigh, that we ignore our guts in favor of that flutter, or that earthquake, rather.

    In any case, thank you for sharing your story, for writing so honestly. I can’t wait for part 2.

    Peace and blessings to you, dear fellow seeker.
    lamblion

    Reply
  19. judy

    Clearly, what Billy is saying is, “I have never loved myself” – if you can’t love yourself, you surely can’t love others. His bravado (the counch)may be overcompensation for a feeling of inadequacy. He is also setting you up to be the fall guy – whatever happens will be your fault, count on it. ie., you didn’t love him properly or enough or the right way or whatever other bs he can come up with. He sounds like a delicious disaster.
    Re: online relationships – no experience but friends – they have just set up a daytime lunch date, make sure your gf is across the room in the restaurant, and agree on an “escape” signal.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    I say go with the flow, Can’t wait to hear what happens next. Don’t be so analytical, it’s what makes your life so you!

    Reply
  21. lamblion

    Hmmm, I like what Kathleen said about bungee jumping.

    I’d really like to hear the story of your relationship, kathleen. I feel so bereft at the thought of my 15 year relationship ending. How do you end after 30? Please share more.
    Lamblion

    Reply
  22. Kathleen

    Lamblion,

    I think I knew it was time to move on when I stopped the grieving and just felt lonely and used. The grief lasted 12 or 14 years. I can’t actually remember when it started because it had just been the “given” for so long. And then, after losing my position as a marketing manager in a hi-tech firm last Fall, I didn’t have any place to bury my grief in busy-ness.

    After several months of reflecting on what it is I truly want to do next – I have decided to follow MY dream. I am semi-retiring. Buying a farm, raising chickens and ducks and alpacas. Maybe a couple of mini-Nubian goats for milk. Writing and painting. Teaching school kids about sustainable farming and fair trade partnerships. In the nice weather, I will take a couple of my more “social” alpacas to visit the elderly.

    I will have a place where my children and their children can come and get dirty, plant a carrot, or eat their lunch from the garden. Oh -yes –And help me scoop poop.

    Even though I love the partner I had many years ago, he hasn’t been with me in this dream, or in building any kind of a life together, for that matter. He did not have a full-time job for the last 14 years. Yet – the concern and “comfort” I was shown when I was devastated by my job loss? His full-time job became helping me find another marketing job where I would be tied to a desk, continuing to support HIS dream.

    So, finally, the grief ended.

    But it fueled a mighty energy. %^)

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    The first thing that jumped out at me was the title being a clone of “Eat Pray Love”. At the end you paid homage to another title I’m not familiar with. This is not a comment on the narrative, which I liked. Maybe you should choose a new title?

    Reply
  24. gettin_wiser

    He reminds me of my LEAST favorite mistake. Extremely playful and sexy (and married) and almost bragged about the fact that he thought he was psychologically damaged. He used that as an excuse to blindly hurt women but women (like me) saw it as a challenge.
    Your cowboy is also trying to appeal to the women that want a challenge.

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    When I read about “never having been truly loved by a woman” what comes up for me are the male/female differences that John Gray writes/teaches about… I find that it is difficult to find women who I believe truly understand and accept me for who I am without attempting to “fix” or change me… Solitary Man.

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    My favorite quote on love, for what it’s worth here, although perhaps it’s cutting to the denouement?
    From Dutch Magazine Am1go at:
    http://www.ods.nl/am1gos/am1gos3/index.html

    Love can not be [received or] given
    From a talk with Wolter Keers in Gent on January 18, 1978.

    I had a meeting yesterday evening with a group of psychiatrists and psychologists. There I defended the
    proposition that there is only one psychic obstacle and that you can reduce all of psychology and
    psychotherapy, and all psychiatry to that one obstacle.
    That one problem is that we have forgotten that we are love. It was told to us when we were little that we got love from our mother and father and so on. And when it
    all maybe went wrong later in all sorts of ways, we discovered that we had not received enough love. And so love became for us something like a sack of potatoes that you can give and get in a big sack or a small sack and the like.
    This has nothing to do with love. What we actually are is the most humble of all humble things, that in which everything arises. That is the light itself. Nothing is more ordinary, common, everyday than that light; we have known nothing except that. Love is the discovery of myself (the light) in the other; the recognition of the Silence that I am in the other. That is love. Love cannot be given to anyone, you cannot get love; you can’t make
    water wet, because water is wetness. Neither can anyone give you love, no one can receive love from you, you can only recognize love in yourself and you can
    recognize love in others. The moment that it happens, there is naturally no other anymore, because you indeed recognize in other, in the most literal sense, notice well, in the most literal sense; yourself. I never speak to anyone except myself, and you never hear anyone except yourself. I cannot underline enough how literally true this is. Love is to recognize yourself in the other, in what you unjustly saw as ‘an other’ until that moment.
    But it is yourself that you see there because there is only
    one Self. There is only one light. There is only one love.
    The recognition of yourself in the other, of the Silence that you are in the other, of the light that you are in the other, that is what we call love. It is not a question of
    giving, it is not a question of receiving, it is a question
    of recognition.

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    I initially thought Match.com was an ideal way to zero in on someone who would compliment me perfectly: religion, politics, height,age, location, previous relationships, children, education, job, and an essay that gives you a chance to determine literacy, intelligence and “style” of the person. But it’s not working. Virtually everyone who contacts me is either a serious nutjob, illiterate, a pathological liar or has an ego so fragile that they can’t handle being politely corrected if they get my name wrong. The ones I find interesting don’t answer back. I know alot of people mate through the internet. I don’t know if it’s luck or if I’m doing something wrong. Friends say my profile is fine.I haven’t given up, because if I don’t leave it up, then I’m limiting myself to the people in my little town: unthinkable.

    Reply
  28. Eileen

    Wow! Lots of things here to think about. First of all, thank you Sara for writing this and for this forum to bring all of these issues together for us. I have never joined an online dating site, but have been thinking about it lately. It does seem like bungee jumping as Kathleen noted, but maybe a lot of my hesitation has to do with the fact that I, too, have ended a 30 year marriage, and maybe I am just not ready to date again. I would love to hear about success stories — I think most of my friends who are on these sites treat is as a game and aren’t necessarily honest about who they are, they are just looking for someone to fill up the nights with.

    As far as the comment about never being loved by a woman…there are so many ways to read it. Don’t forget it’s his perception. On the other hand, it is very narcissistic to talk about a relationship only in terms of whether he was loved enough or not. I think you need to talk to him more, to learn how he looks at things and how he talks about them. Does the whole world revolve around him? Or has he just been unlucky? These are questions you will only be able to answer after you have known him for a while.

    Keep writing! I love it.

    Reply
  29. Sara Davidson

    I appreciate reading all your comments. May I suggest that those who post as “anonymous” choose a pen name or “handle” and post as that. That way we can refer to that individual’s post. For example, the one published above this, with the quote from a Dutch magazine, strikes me as apt and wise. One of the subjects I want to discuss is why, when we know we ARE love — we can’t get it from someone else or give it to anyone — we still get taken over by emotions and impulses that eventually bring suffering. In my case, I want to stress that I am not and was not a victim with Billy. He was just being who he was as a personality, and I was reacting to him as a personality, not as that essence of love and light that we all are. So thanks, Anon, whoever you are, for bringing that up. And thank each and every one of you for your insightful comments. Onward…

    Reply
  30. Harry Tucker

    Ahhhhhhh the classic challenge.

    The notion of what our morals, ethics, “internal personal protection mechanism”, etc. tell us we should or allegedly must do versus what is physiologically wired in the brain – the need to “spread the love”.

    No wonder so many marriages experience adultery – we have wedded the artificial, man-made notion of morals with genetically wired physiological need – a challenging dichotomy.

    Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

    Reply
  31. Slowman

    Sara, I am deeply interested in this topic. In my life, I have been driven to find intense intimacy, sexual, emotional, and intellectual, with a woman.
    I have succeeded. A few years ago I had a 3 year affair, calling her on the phone just about every day. Suddenly, without explanation she broke it off, and I was thrown for a loop and very hurt.
    Now I am seeing another woman. We really connect, especially sexually. Don’t know how this relationship will end.
    But what I have learned is that now matter how it may lead to dissappointment and hurt, I know the old adage is true for sure: “better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”

    Reply
  32. Larry

    Too fast moving. Not nearly enough detail to make sense of this in that you fell for that as it was presented. If this is true, is seems you have some huge issues to deal with. Either that or you are not quite the writer you expect to be. There was virtually no substance to the beginning of this story. I already feel sorry for you for getting hooked as you put it over a guy who out of frustration moves a friggin’ couch to park a car. He pulled you to him would have sent shivers down my spine but you became aroused by this man handling. You are like flotsam and jetsam on the water with regard to men and feelings and needs, where ever it takes you, you passively go. Good luck.

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Hi Sara:
    I’m a bit saddened by your comment that everyone on the internet is dysfunctional about relationships …. I’m on the itnernet looking for love, and I would like to believe that it’s still possible for two people to connect in this way. As for the red flags … I’m seeing someone now and I have so many reasons not to trust the long-term possibility of him… so why do I continue to pursue the relationship? What is it about me and perhaps many women that we believe we can change someone from who he inherently is? Is it a lack of confidence and belief in our own self-worth that allows us to settle?

    Reply
  34. Mark in SF

    Right now the first thing that is going through my head is a song from ‘Avenue Q’ entitled “The Internet is for Porn”.

    Here’s my thoughts:

    1. Let me disclose that I’m a gay guy in his late 40’s so I’m going to have a slightly different point of view when it comes to meeting people on the ‘net. For me, meeting people online has strictly been for sex. For the most part the results have been rather dreary. You can take a great picture, you can talk up a great line but if the two don’t meet and there’s nothing upstairs (even a little bit of common sense), I toss ’em back into the steno pool.

    Besides, I’d rather meet someone in person and if things work, I enjoy unwrapping the package and finding a surprise inside. (Good or bad).

    2. Ah, Billy. There’s nothing like that first electric moment when you are so physically exhilarated that all other thoughts go out the door. It’s a physical attraction that can last a long time. Hell, if I had a date lift up a couch and heft it into a swamp I’d be enlightened too. However, the combination of intense sexuality (which he knows he has)and “woe is me” mentality (never been fully loved) falls into mental abuse in my book.

    This could have happened to a friend of mine a few weeks ago. However he was smart enough to see the red flag. Pig that he is, he had his cake and ate it too: He met this gorgeous hunky guy at a dinner party, picked him up, took him home and had great sex. The ensuing conversations before and after were so nutty my friend turned to him at the end of the evening he tucked a card into his shirt pocket, and said “let me give you a gift you’ll never forget. Enclosed is the number of my shrink.”

    I wish we all had the willpower my friend has.

    Reply
  35. Anonymous

    Like a lot of women, I would have taken the “never been loved” comment as a challenge. “Oh, he’s never been loved? Wait’ll he meets me!” And of course he’ll end up dumping you too. It happened to me with a note in my car (as my house was being sold because he asked me to buy a better one with him). I didn’t eat for days. Weeks. Later, I saw his little boy in the supermarket with a women I assumed to be the mother and loverboy’s ex. I approached her and started talking. She was separated from him but still married. Turned out we lived 2 blocks from each other. When I told her what happened she said “all sounds familiar. But you’re lucky he’s gone. He put me in the hospital 3 times before I got the note in my car.”

    Reply
  36. The Bear

    Sara,I read Leap and even wrote to you about it and actually did hear back from you. I think your new project is thought provoking and will benefit all of us associated with this blog.As far as his comment about never feeling truly loved,why should this be a red light? Even if he has been married,dated half the world, maybe by his definition, he has never felt what he feels is true love. This opens an age old discussion about what “true love” is. Obviously many things to many different people. So, we are off…

    Reply
  37. Barbara H.

    I was married for over 20 years when my husband dumped me and the kids (ages 13 & 16) for a married woman with two sons. Devastating. I found my second (and current) husband on an Internet dating site, and it turned out we had associated with the same circle of friends years ago and knew each other slightly. We dated for 8 months before marrying in 2001. There is a 9 year age difference (I'm older), and I became a reluctant stepmom as he had custody, but we've worked through many issues together successfully. We had both been through bad marriages, which turned out to be a positive, as we then knew what we were looking for realistically in a relationship that will hopefully carry us into old age together.
    As far as Billy's comment about never having been really loved by a woman…as a social worker, all I can say is that is pretty loaded. Not knowing his background or history, I won't postulate. Sometimes, though, we have to let love in and not be afraid of getting hurt. It's part of life, isn't it? How would we grow if we didn't have some recognizable markers along the way?
    (I've just started reading Leap!, and I loved reading Loose Change years ago. Actually, I was glad to see you were the same author.)

    Reply
  38. Jana

    By his comment “never been truly loved by a woman” what he is really saying is that he never truly experienced love for a women…never opened his heart.
    In life, it is not the love of others we seek, but we search for that something that will light up our own heart.
    Chapter 6 of The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer is a good place to start to understand this.

    Reply
  39. Pamela Rollings

    Note that he starts his statement with the words “I have failed” to be truly loved.To me that’s a sign of humility and less of a red flag. If he can explain why he thinks he has failed and what he has learned, I would give him a chance. I really believe we all owe it to others to try to get past first impressions and stop being so quick to judge. I think the internet is a useful tool for connecting with people, especially long lost friends and family, but I can’t say that I’ve met anyone new whom I consider to be important in my life that way. For someone who is looking, though, I would encourage them to try it.

    Reply
  40. Tudy

    What I need to know is: Is there such a thing as delayed grief? When my marriage of 22 yrs ended, I seemed to be okay, for quite a while. 7 yrs have passed. Lately I’ve started missing my old life and feeling so much regret. I don’t want him back: my kids report he’s behaving even worse than before. But now I can feel how sad I really am about the failed yrs. Why the delay? Can anyone help me with this?

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  41. Linny

    Thank you for your honest vulnerability. Oh my God, I ended up in SLAA rooms up and down the west coast. And the withdrawl from toxic, unrequiting relationships with unavailable, wounded people was AGONY. Every hour and in between it felt like twenty mule team kicks in my gut. I got through it one second at a time, and the number of times I relapsed and went back are uncountable. But finally, by the grace of God, I have some oxygen and every day that I am able to focus on my spiritual, professional and social life minus a toxic partner is one more moment of grace for which I am eternally grateful.

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  42. Linda

    From LOP:

    Never truly loved. That’s a red flag right there. Makes it sound like women aren’t capable of truly loving–what a bunch of malarky. I think he knows how to set traps and escape hatches for himself.

    As for the internet, I see nothing wrong with trying to meet people in most any way. The main idea, though, is to meet people through things that interest you (then at least you might make a friend). For example, trying to meet someone in a bar means that you’ll meet someone who drinks.

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  43. veek

    well, maybe it’s just me – but i never put a ton of stock in people’s online profiles and personas. they are just masks. the trick is to figure out what they are masking. we exaggerate, we say things for effect, and basically, with online profiles we represent ourselves out of context. in billy’s case, his whole “never been loved” comment would not have set off a red flag for me. i’d have to do a bit more digging to determine if there were red flags ahead.

    i basically feel that everyone has insecurities of some sort and we are different only in the way we manifest them. maybe billy’s way is the “poor me” way. i liked some of the other stuff he said (tux/tractor, head/hands) and that probably would have been enough to intrigue me.

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  44. Gail

    Sara,
    I loved your first installment about falling for Billy, and am fascinated by all the comments on it, especially the one about love being who we are, and the one from Mark in SF. I look forward to your riffing up and down the love/lust/spirit spectrum.

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  45. Sean

    I believe the internet provides a viable option to meet someone new. Having an optimistic outlook helps, as does patience, yet discovering another with whom we truly connect can be wonderful. Having the ability and wisdom to follow it to a successful conclusion it the hard part.

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  46. C.S.

    Hmm, why don’t I ever meet a handsome, virile man like him at the online dating sites? So far, I’ve met mostly older (I’m 57) men in their 60s who are not only boring, but live nowhere near me.

    I’m a widow, had a wonderful 30+ year marriage, and I AM exceedingly choosy about who I date. Not really sure I ever want to marry again, but a fun companion would be…interesting.

    Love your blog idea for this “true story” and will be following it.

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  47. Afdera

    Thank you for this blog. I recognised a bit of myself in you and it has inspired me to share my own story in my blog nere on blogger, lovingbadboys.blogspot.com
    I have just hit rock bottom and am slowly trying to clomb out of the hole. It is not easy

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  48. Anonymous

    He did say that he'd been loved by a woman, BUT what he actually said was that he felt he wasn't 'truly' loved. That's how I read it. This could stir up a challenge within a woman wondering if she could be the 'one' unique person. I suppose it's an (underhanded) psychological invitation.

    The Internet, like any place else has its good and bad. People need to take precautions when meeting on the Internet.

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