Voice Mail from an Ex

voice mail from an ex

The voice mail message sat on my home phone answering machine for over a week before I listened to it.

“Hi Nadia, this is Z. We went out once or twice. Hope you are well. I wonder if you have 10 minutes to talk. I have a rather awkward question to ask you.”

I listened to the message twice. I was confused and a bit alarmed. Mr. Z and I had briefly dated about 3 years ago. We got together 4 or 5 times. One time we attempted the 36 questions. I liked him but could not imagine a future with him due primarily to his religion-based lifestyle. I didn’t want to ghost him so when he called one day to arrange a date I told him the truth and said goodbye.

I racked my brain wondering what the awkward topic might be. My mind started making up all kinds of wild scenarios. I checked my medical files and was reassured that I had a clean STD-free bill of health. Oh, wait; I didn’t have sex with Mr. Z. Could I have some new STD that takes 3 years to develop? Oh, wait; I didn’t have sex with Mr. Z. So you see my bizarre and non-logical thought process. It was the word awkward that threw me. What could be awkward? Perhaps he was dating someone I know. There was only one way to find out. I needed to call him back.

“Hi Z,” I began, “Sorry about my delayed response to your message. I rarely listen to my home machine since it’s usually filled with sales calls.”

“No worries,” he said, “and thanks for calling back. I have an odd question to ask you,” he said.

“I’ve been dating someone for about a year and she’s a terrific person. But she’s not a very good kisser. We’ve talked about it – or tried to but I don’t have good language to describe to her what I want. I even gave her a book on kissing. But nothing has changed. Last weekend, I was thinking about it and I thought, who do I know who’s a good kisser. That’s why I called you. Also, because you’re a words person and I thought you might give me some language.”

I laughed. I was relieved (again, remember my weird thought process), somewhat flattered (he remembers my kisses 3 years later), and touched by Mr. Z’s heartfelt desire to attempt a “fix” with a woman he obviously cared about.

I shared my relief and worries about the nature of his call. “But we didn’t have sex,” he said. “I know,” I said, “it doesn’t make sense.”

I asked Mr. Z if his friend was offended when he gave her a book on kissing – or even during his talks with her about it. “No,” he said, “we’re able to be very honest with each other and we don’t take offense at suggestions.”

I can tell you right now that if a guy I was dating gave me a book on kissing I would be offended…but apparently (insert smiley face), I don’t need to worry about that happening.

The rest of our conversation was a brainstorming session led by me, Kissing Therapist. Just call me KT. “Do you think she likes kissing?” I asked. “Who doesn’t like kissing?” Mr. Z replied.

Kissing is not important to everyone. From my experiences and conversation with friends, some people just ‘aren’t that into it.’ They may enjoy sex but kissing is not that essential to them. Perhaps they grew up with a less than affectionate family. Oh, wait; I’m not a psychotherapist, just a kissing therapist. I happen to love kissing. And I think that’s a prerequisite for success.

I also suggested that Mr. Z consider whether his friend is a sensual person, a trait that I believe is associated with good kissing.

“Maybe you need to focus on her mouth – but not necessarily kissing,” I suggested, “try feeding her strawberries. Use your imagination.”

The more we talked about the kissing challenge, the more detailed were my suggestions.  No, not everything goes in this blog post. After a few minutes I could tell that it was time to end our conversation. I suggested that Mr. Z might need a cold shower after we hung up.

We laughed. He thanked me for my suggestions and asked if I’d mind if he called me sometime with an update. I said that would be fine. Later I thought about our conversation. Women often say they train their male partners to be better lovers so I guess it’s reasonable to assume that a man could “train” a woman to be a better kisser. What do you think? Have you ever stopped dating someone because he was a bad kisser? Would you try to “fix” the situation before breaking up? Let me know.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating. And, hopefully, happy kissing.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma, #2

blog pix Dec 10 2017

Not much is happening in my dating life so it’s a good distraction when a friend reaches out for dating advice.

My friend Lauren’s dilemma: She’s enjoying conversation and flirting with a friend/colleague who wants to move the relationship to the next level. She knows a relationship with this person would not work and that a fling is also problematic. The situation is complicated in several ways.

Lauren, who is separated and actively planning her divorce, called to discuss the situation and bounce around some possible scenarios. Names and identifying details have been changed.

Have some fast and crunchy baked cod while I share my friend’s situation.

Lauren’s story reminds me of times when I have encountered decision points in my dating life. I knew what to do about a certain guy but I was tempted to go in the wrong direction. I needed a friend to reinforce my better instincts.

A couple of years ago, Lauren hired Joe, a landscape contractor at the hotel she manages. What started as a collegial work relationship has advanced into a friendship. Recently there has been a lot of banter and flirting and Joe frequently suggests that the two should talk over a particular problem at dinner or happy hour sometime.

Joe, who also does landscape work for Lauren’s soon to be ex-husband, knows about the couple’s marital situation. In fact he offered to be a witness in their upcoming divorce hearing.

Joe is 11 years younger than Lauren, less educated than she is, and is a hard drinker with a bad boy past. “He’s not relationship material,” she says. “The problem is that he’s attractive, has a great six-pack — despite too many six packs–, and is a really nice guy.” A few days ago, Joe texted her and invited her to a happy hour.

This was a clear invitation – not like previous ones that were more indefinite. Lauren is tempted by the possibility of a romantic fling but knows she should say no. She’s wondering how to decline his invitation without losing the friendship or offending him in any way. And she’s sad that if she turns down the happy hour, the flirting that she’s enjoying so much will likely disappear.

“How about if I just tell him I’m too busy right now getting ready for a holiday visit from my relatives and that getting together in the new year is more feasible?” Lauren asks.

“This leaves open the possibility that you’ll go out with him,” I suggest. “You’ll have to clarify your intention at some point – either now or the next time he asks you out.”

Lauren sighs. “He’s too young for me – even for something short term.”

“If he was fling material, his age wouldn’t be an issue- and might be an asset,” I say, “but he’s not good fling material. You’ve got a work relationship you don’t want to mess up and you’re counting on him as a witness in divorce court. You need a less complicated scenario for an ideal fling.”

I suggest she respond to Joe’s invitation in a way that acknowledges their friendship but removes the possibility of dating.

I propose a potential response: Sounds like fun but I’m super crazed right now getting ready for my visiting relatives. Happy to get together as friends in the new year. I like to be clear and want you to know that I’m not ready to date. Plus I value our friendship and I would not jeopardize it.

I don’t know what Lauren wrote to Joe but she reported that she successfully turned down the invite and was able to maintain collegiality and friendship.

Have you navigated a challenging dating scenario? How did it go? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia