The Friend Zone Episode 26: Post Covid Blues – An Experience in Dating & Mental Health

Mental health is a very important subject to me. Coming from a family that…I don’t want to say ‘suffered’ under the yolk of poor mental health; more ‘perpetuated’ a regime of poor mental health, I can empathize somewhat with the type of things people deal with.

‘Empathize’ is a great word, because it means that I believe that, although I may vicariously experience the same feelings as you, I have absolutely no understanding of what you’re dealing with personally. I will never understand another’s pain, tortures and struggles, but I know enough that I’ve been through some of my own.

I have several ways of dealing with issues of mental health. Firstly, I write. THIS is my therapy. I’ve said this many times, I don’t write for YOU, I write for me. I could truly care less if you like this, love this, or print it out and take a shit on it. THIS is where I deal with, and work out my issues, THIS is where I make myself laugh at my own stupidity, THIS is where I look at, understand, and take responsibility for my own feelings, emotions, action and inaction. I need your approval, like I need a third hip.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone should try therapy. I think that the world would be a much better place if everyone just had an outlet of some kind, and many do; some write, some play sports, and some, as you’ll see in my story, act out aggressively or sexually. But therapy and psychology are important. Everyone needs someone to talk to, someone to listen to them, and isn’t that what a therapist does? I tried therapy myself after the breakup that I’m about to discuss, but because of Covid, none of the therapists in my health care network were taking new patients. They were all booked up.

So, when I get down, depressed or feel like the walls are closing in, I come back here and tell dick jokes. Outside of this forum, I do transcendental meditation, and positive visualization. My technique for positive visualization is simple. You may remember that in 2009, a woman’s 200-pound pet chimp, attacked her visiting friend. The chimp gouged out her eyes, tore off her face and ate it, ripped off her fingers and hands. The police came and shot the animal, and the 911 tape is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever heard in real life. The woman survived and to me, THAT’S a trauma. I empathize with and wish nothing but the best for her and her family. But when I feel depressed, I can always climb out of the hole by thinking: “Get over it Mike, if nothing else, your face and fingers haven’t been torn off and eaten off by a monkey.” Sadness abated.

During this time of Covid, mental health has become more important than ever; loneliness, isolation and fear have put a lot of people to the brink of what they can deal with emotionally. And yeah, I know Covid isn’t over yet, in fact it may be getting worse with the variants. But during its most recent ebb in January, I met someone who became very special to me. I don’t write about every relationship I’ve ever been in, but this one ended just before my birthday in July and I feel some kind of way about it.

I actually wrote most of this in August, when the band aid was freshly torn off. I posted it for a day and took it down because, to me? It felt a bit whiny. Maybe it still is. My stories are best told from a humorous perspective, and there’s not a lot of humor in this one. There’s not a lot of humor in mental health problems. Also, it took me a while to muster the courage to put this out there, because to be honest, I was afraid to relive the experience. It was a terrible break up and, although I should just view it as a learning experience, it hit me pretty fucking hard. That said, time and perspective have given me a deeper understanding of my feelings, of my experience with Gloria, so I was able to rework this and make it more palatable to me; because again, I could give a fuck what you think. You know who cares what you think? Dese. “Dese?” you ask? DESE NYUTS!

I didn’t know I was capable of it, but at the time, I thought I was falling in love with Gloria and it really snuck up on me. However, I realize now that it was probably just infatuation brought on by the isolation of Covid. I was happy to learn that such deep feelings, as I felt for Gloria, can still creep into this old heart of mine, but that just made the breakup all the worse.

In any case, please indulge me as I unburden myself of the parable of Gloria, in a story I call:

One for My Baby, and One More for the Road

Part 1

I met Gloria online in January of 2021, and I should have seen the signs from the start. I made some innocuous joke that she took offense to. So, I backed off for a week and then, as I often do, said ‘fuck it’ and reached out again. You don’t get far in life without taking chances, and from the smattering of conversation we’d had, Gloria and I seemed to have a lot in common. We were both writers, we liked a lot of the same TV shows, and she was very passionate about fantasy novels. Also, she was exactly the kind of woman I’m attracted to physically: short, thin, hair dyed pink and a sleeve of tattoos running down her arm.

The second chat session went much better than the first, and I asked her on a date. We agreed to meet at a German restaurant near us. Gloria lived one town over, which was fantastic. Most girls I meet in online dating, live in Chicago, while I live in the south suburbs. Though I don’t mind a quick date after work or an over-nighter from time to time, it can be burdensome to make that kind of dating sustainable. I don’t mind it if I’m with the right woman, but when things aren’t moving forward, the driving can become monotonous.

We met, and the date went well, though it was hard to tell. Gloria wasn’t great at showing emotion, and she told me the reasons why on that first night. She told me that she suffered from bi-polar disorder and manic depression. As she was diagnosed with these disorders, she was considered ‘disabled’. She was on many medications, and because of them, she was unable to have an orgasm. In fact, she continued, it was difficult for her to become aroused at all and sex wasn’t something she was interested in much because of that. She told me that she wanted me to know all of this up front, because she really liked me. Wow, OK.

Two things I walked away from that date with:

  1. I couldn’t ‘read’ her. I’m pretty good at sizing up a situation. I know when a second date is called for and I know when and how to act around a woman by her body language, phraseology, and…not necessarily WHAT she says, but HOW she says it; you know what I mean? In any case, I got nothing from Gloria. I chalked it up to her disability. Maybe it’s like how Superman can’t see through lead; I can’t read someone with bi-polar disorder. It was kind of exciting. I often think of how burdensome it must be for Professor Xavier to have the thoughts of other people constantly in his head; how must it feel for that to suddenly stop? I think it would be lonely in some ways, but a relief at the same time. That’s kind of how I felt; distant yet delighted at the prospect of not knowing. (That’s right, TWO comic book references in one paragraph; ladies, still single; just saying)
  2. The three necessities I need in any woman I date are that she must have a sense of humor, she must communicate, and she must be sex positive. Gloria obviously had no sense of humor, she didn’t like sex apparently, but she was good at communicating; sure, she could be caustic, but better caustic than silent.

In any case, we parted ways after dinner that night, and although she was strikingly beautiful, I didn’t think much else of it, or Gloria.

We talked on the phone over the next week, and I learned that Gloria lived at home with her parents at 36, and that they’d recently bought her a car. She was deeply in debt between student loans and credit cards. She had a part time job at a nearby pet store and although she had a college degree and a certificate in drug and alcohol counselling, she didn’t want to work in that field.

Gloria told me that she was an addict and had a mental breakdown the year before, at which time she tried committing suicide. She was committed to a mental health institute. Afterwards, she moved back in with her parents. She’d alienated all of her ex-boyfriends and most of her friends in the past. Although she wouldn’t tell me in what way. When I’d broach the subject, she’d shut me down immediately with “I don’t want to talk about that.” I’d learn for myself in the end.

About a week after our first date, Gloria asked if I’d help her brother and his girlfriend move. Look, I’m MY age, and I make a very comfortable living. I don’t ‘MOVE’ anymore. I hire movers. My moving days are done, son. That said, Gloria told me her parents were going to be there and she wanted me to meet them. That actually meant a lot to me.

I don’t really have a family, other than my friends. For a woman to invite me to meet hers…that’s a big deal to me, so I went. Her brother and his girlfriend were great, her parents seemed fantastic and Gloria told me later, that her mom was really into me. When we’d left to drive boxes to her brother’s new townhome, I opened my car door for Gloria. Her mom told her that she had to keep me.

That night, I took Gloria out for dinner and we came back to my place with the intention of watching the anime show “Attack on Titan”. I’d never seen it and it was one of her favorites. While we were laying in my bed together, Gloria began kissing me, and suddenly said “Hey! I’m really good at giving blowjobs, let me show you!” I mean, ok?

It was fine, but it was so…’matter of fact’, I want to say? There was no build up to it, but I accepted the kind offer, of course.

Part 2

There was this sexual ambiguity about Gloria that was a little bit maddening. That night, I tried taking things farther, but she told me that because of her medication, she wasn’t in the mood. That made her blow job seem like a favor; reciprocation for helping her brother move. I really wasn’t into that and I told her that I don’t want sexual ‘favors’ from her. This took her aback. I really think that she was used to guys using her for sex; not ‘using’ maybe, I’d come to find out that she was into it too, but I think she was used to having sex with no connection. I’m demisexual as I’ve said before so I prefer a connection. My proclamation made her see me in a different light, and she opened up quite a bit.

Gloria told me that she’d suffered a trauma in her youth, when she had a boyfriend who kidnapped her and forced her into sexual servitude. She would tell me nothing beyond that, and I didn’t press. Because of this, she’d developed sexual ‘kinks’ over the years, and because she was fortunate enough to be beautiful, she was able to act on those kinks.

Before her mental break down a year before, she told me, Gloria visited sex dungeons in Chicago. She was into BDSM, torture, bondage, and watching other people have sex. She had threesomes with both men and women, in and out of clubs; dangerous sex with complete strangers, and then she began telling me specific stories, which made me a tad uncomfortable, because she told them to me as if she were relaying a fishing trip to a buddy.

Gloria bragged about two men indulging her ‘kidnap’ fantasy, and smiled to herself as she remembered being finger cuffed by them both. She told me that she’d only lived with one man in her life…and his girlfriend. She was their sex toy, and they kept her in a locked room wearing a latex body suit. When they wanted sex, they’d wait until she was asleep, come in, rip the latex off and take her. She didn’t tell me these things as if they were trauma’s and I didn’t expect her to.

Look, I don’t judge anyone. You do what you want as long as nobody gets forced into something or hurt without informed consent. I got the feeling that Gloria thought talking about those things was going to impress me, so I stopped her and told her that I didn’t really need to hear the specifics. Sensing my discomfort, she told me that was all in her past. She reiterated that since she’d been diagnosed bi-polar and gone on medication the year before, she just didn’t have much of a sex drive and she hadn’t been in ‘the scene’, as she called it, for a long time. She asked if I was ok with that and I told her that I was. I actually liked Gloria; I enjoyed her company, talking to her. I saw her as more than just a sexual object, as I got to know her, she was a friend too. And I’ll be honest, I was kind of fascinated by her sexual history. Gloria was more sexually advanced than any woman I’ve ever dated, and that was intriguing to me.

But I was honest with her as well. I told her that I’m a very sex positive guy; that’s definitely part of it for me. It’s not everything, but I’d say it’s 66%. I also told her, that I don’t share. I’m a monogamous man as well, which I know is boring in today’s smorgasbord of sexual inclusions, and ‘ethical non-monogamy’, but if she wanted to fuck a bunch of dudes…this wasn’t going to happen. Again, no harm no foul, we’d only been on a few dates at that point and hadn’t yet fucked, but I’m just not into it.

She told me that she liked me a lot, and just wanted to be with me; so that night we became exclusive.

I know, there’s a lot to unpack here, but there’s also a lot more to come.

Part 3

Gloria and I talked a lot about sex, and I really think that open sexual communication is SO important in a relationship. I’ve been in too many relationships where women are afraid to open up about their desires because of shame, embarrassment, or trust issues. Then sex becomes a guessing game. When we can talk about our likes, and dislikes, it makes the whole event more passionate, engaging, interactive and fun.

The first time we had sex, was kind of boring. Just missionary, and Gloria complained a lot of the time. Now, fine…tell me what you like, but there’s a way to do that ‘in the moment’. Gloria would say, with a sour look on her face “You’re not going fast enough.”, instead of maybe saying a bit more passionately “Faster Michael, fuck me.” Stuff like that.  

I realized that first time, that Gloria was a bit of a selfish lover. She lay there and didn’t interact much; so, the next time, I tried something different and choked her. Honestly, most women I’ve been with like a little ‘light’ choking. Sometimes just a hand on a throat with no pressure is enough to send a woman over the edge. Gloria kept saying “harder”, as I choked her. “Harder, you pussy. Fucking choke me!” so I did, applying more and more pressure, until her face turned bright red and her eyes began to water. NOW she was into it, now she was writhing, and pulling my hair, scratching my back hard with her nails, until she tapped out. When I took my hand off of her throat she gasped, inhaled deep, then screamed and convulsed; wrapping her legs around me and holding me deep inside of her. The passion of it made me cum in that moment as well. It was an extremely gratifying moment.

I have no shame about it, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made a woman ‘sex’ cum. Cunnilingus, fingering, hell even dry humping, absolutely; but straight just ‘dick-in’ orgasm, and a mutual one at that? It’s been a minute since I’ve achieved that trophy. As we lay there after, talking and laughing, Gloria told me that she didn’t think she would ever cum again because of her medication. I was full of pride, and as we all know, pride cometh before the fall.

During that first month, Gloria and I shared each-others sexual kinks and when she WAS into having sex, I indulged those kinks, taking them to whatever extremes necessary to ensure that she enjoyed the experience.  She liked being wrapped in saran wrap, mummified. So, I watched videos and I would wrap her in saran and toss her around into different positions. She liked being manhandled and at 130 pounds, it was easy for a big guy like me to ragdoll her all over the room. To further indulge her desires, I bought handcuffs, a ball gag, a giant ‘massager’, I spent hundreds of dollars on sex toys that she said she was into. I choked her, slapped her, anything she was into, I was up for. Well, almost anything.

One day, we were talking about safe words and the validity of using ‘funny’ ones. Would the word ‘pickle’ be a viable safe word, or would it pull one or both of us out of the moment completely? But wasn’t that the point of a safe word? As we continued, Gloria opened up about a kink she hadn’t yet told me about, and one that I was unfamiliar with. Not only did she like pain, but she was into ‘clit torture’.

Gloria told me that she liked to be kneed in the vagina, hard. She liked to lay on the ground and have a guy kick her pussy. When tied to the bed, she wanted to be punched there. She also liked pain beyond what we’d been doing. She liked to be kicked hard in her ribs, until bruises were left, or punched in the face leaving a black eye. I asked her, “what will your mom and dad think if you go home with a black eye?” to which she replied “Oh, my mom knows I like that.”

To me, that was going a bit far, I wasn’t going to do it. I bought a leather riding crop and would smack her clit with it; I’d smack her face, her breasts, pinch and bite, but that and choking were as far as I was willing to go. I’m a big guy, 6’ 1”; I work out and Gloria is tiny at 5’3”. I could do some damage if I punched and kicked her. Besides that, I don’t mind being dominant, but just not all the time. Sometimes I just like a soft touch and a slow, deep, meaningful fuck; eyes locked, almost meditative. I just wasn’t comfortable with dishing out actual pain. Again, no judgement; could I speculate as to where that desire comes from? Of course; I work in a mental health facility and you better believe I spoke with a few therapist friends about it, if only to better understand Gloria. But speculation wouldn’t be fair to her.

After she told me that she was into pain like that, and torture, I asked her if she really wanted to me to do that, to hurt her. She contemplated my question for a long moment, and I thought she might cry…then she looked me right in the eyes and said “No…you’re gentle with me, careful…you don’t go too far and I feel safe with you…I like that, Michael; it’s been a long time since I’ve felt safe with anyone.” And she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me hard, pressing her head into my chest. Something about a woman saying my name like that, is a big turn on for me. No idea where that comes from, but I think that was the moment that I began falling in love with Gloria.

As for the rest? To be honest…I really liked it. Like I said, I’m a sexual guy. I’ve never been with someone who indulged in those kinds of kinks, I mean…I’m always the aggressor. I typically date women who like a dominant man in bed, but this was different, and I like different. What I didn’t realize, because I was so caught up in the uniqueness of our sex, is that the quality left a lot to be desired.

Part 4

Gloria was lost in many ways, but I didn’t really understand her working part time at a pet store. As we became closer, I learned that she’d gone to several different colleges and held two degrees and a certificate. To me, she was so much better than just a ‘part time clerk’. When I’d press Gloria about getting a job that would complement her degree in drug and alcohol counseling, she’d get angry and tell me that those jobs are too stressful. Apparently, she’d had a substance abuse problem in her past, and she didn’t want to be in that world.

In my life, my mother was an alcoholic; a big one. When she got sober, she put herself though night school while working a full-time job, to become a drug and alcohol counselor. To help people who’d been afflicted with the disease that she’d suffered from. Although I’d never say it, I kind of saw Gloria’s refusal to work in her chosen field, one in which she went to college for, as selfish. Not to mention, you’re in your late 30’s and living with your parents; don’t you WANT to achieve more in life? We’d talked about moving in together, which is why I was trying to help her improve her work situation. I even helped her apply for a state job, where I work.

Up to that point, I’d paid for literally everything, and look, I didn’t mind doing it. I’ve only been successful in my career for a short time. I enjoyed having the money to take Gloria out; that said, I was essentially an unwitting sugar daddy. Gloria never once offered to pay and there were even times when, without asking she’d bring shirts or hats or things off the shelf in a store, up to the register, looking at me over her shoulder like “Well?”. How would that translate to us moving in together? I’m not looking to ‘raise’ a girlfriend. I have no problem being in a relationship with someone as they move toward reaching their financial goals; but Gloria had no ambition. She had no goals it seemed, other than having me pay for everything, which makes what I’m about to tell you particularly embarrassing…

One day Gloria came to me, excited about wanting to become an aesthetician. She was going to go visit a college that her brother’s girlfriend was attending. She wanted to go for two years and get a certificate, but her parents wouldn’t pay for it and she was tapped out on her student loans, which were currently in default. Gloria was so happy as she told me about the school, and so lost in her career path. Seeing her like that, cemented my feelings for Gloria. If I was reticent before because of her lack of ambition, this is what I wanted of her, for her. We talked about ways that she might pay for school, and kept coming to dead ends, other than her working more; to which she said that she can’t work more because of her disability. So, I offered to pay. If I could do this for her, maybe this could make her happy in a career she truly wanted, and give her financial stability so that we could live together. And I told her, that was not expected of her; she owed me nothing if I did this.

I have money set aside to buy a house, but I’ve been reticent to do so, hoping to find a woman to settle down with first; to share the excitement of buying a home with, to share the mortgage and bills with so we can get a nicer home together, than what we might be able to afford on our own. Maybe Gloria was the one? But she’d need that career first. It wasn’t going to happen on a part time pet store register jockey salary.

I realize now This was such a wrong way of thinking, and in the end, like our relationship, her desire for that career fell to the side, hidden behind her bipolar disorder. What could I have to offer her when she could live off the tit of her parents and sit by a pool 9 hours a day? Gloria was and is a lazy sleep farmer, cultivating 10-12 hours a night. She had no ambition and ambition is so necessary for any relationship to work.

Anyway, I offered to pay. She went on a tour of the school, got the brochures and the payment schedules, and we discussed it. It was 12K for two years. I told her that I wouldn’t have that much until probably next summer, but she wanted to start sooner. I told her I’d pay 7K up front and we would make monthly payments together after that and that made her happy. She had something to look forward to. I told her that we’d have to stop going out so much, and we’d have to put our vacation plans on hold. Gloria had always wanted to visit the East coast for the fall foliage, so I’d began making plans for us to stay in Maine for a week in September.

Look, I liked Gloria a lot; maybe I loved her; I liked being a part of her life. Her parents would invite me over for dinner, out to dinner, or to go swimming in their pool. It was nice to be around a…kind of ‘family dynamic’. I was very respectful, brought her mom flowers, talked guitars and music with her dad, took them out to brunch, bought them birthday presents and always came over with something in my hand, be it a bottle of wine or a new toy for them to play with in their pool. I hate that that was all for nothing. It seems that whet ever we’d meant to each other was only in my head; Gloria’s mental health allowed her to forget about me completely. I meant nothing to her and for a time, she meant everything to me.

Gloria invited me to two weddings at the end of July, so I went out and bought two suits. We’d made plans to go out with my friends and her parents on my birthday, I was thrilled to be mixing my worlds. Vacations, her going to school, us moving in together one day, I was excited that we had these plans, and I felt truly grounded in our relationship. I was riding high; I picked excellent dates for us, really listened to her so that I could buy her things that were meaningful and showed her that I cared about her interests.

But, as you may well know, when dating someone who’s bipolar, things are the best they can be when that person is manic, and the worst they can be when that person is cycling.

Part 5

With Gloria, there was always a complaint after sex. She told me that she liked to be fucked hard, so I would tie her up the way she wanted, wrap her in saran, she’d drool and moan through the ball gag, and I’d fuck her hard. Then she’d complain that I “hit her pelvic floor” and she would be sore in the morning. I’ll admit to SAYING “Oh, I’m so sorry dear” while THINKING “Yer god-damned right I hit your fucking pelvic floor…”

Gloria did yoga every morning, and I like missionary. Perfect combo, right? Not so much. I would pin her legs back by her head sometimes, and she’d tell me to stop because that hurt. Uh, don’t you LIKE being hurt? She would fuck me on top and if I grabbed her ass and started to FUCK her, she’d tell me to stop; she didn’t want ME to move, so in those moments, I was basically just a dildo that she was riding. If I tried eating her out…and folks…not to humble brag, but that’s my specialty. I have an Olympic gold medal in cunnilingus. I’m a fucking pussy eating champ. She’d pull my hair and say that my beard was hurting her inner thighs.

Finally, initiating sex was always an issue. Gloria told me that she never initiated sex. That wasn’t ‘fun’ for her. But I’d say that 4/5 times that I initiated, she wasn’t in the mood and most times, she’d get downright angry at me for trying. For example, I asked her if she liked foot stuff one night. She said she did, but it REALLY turned her on; she told me not do to anything to her feet in that moment, because she wasn’t in the mood. So, I smiled coyly and started going down to her feet, saying “Let’s see if we can get you in the mood…” and I started sucking on her toes. She moaned for moment, and then kicked me in the face, hard. “I TOLD YOU I’M NOT IN THE MOOD! NO MEANS NO!” What?

This is that sexual ambiguity I talked about earlier. Now that I look back on it, I was giving Gloria everything she wanted, as I did outside of the bedroom, but she wasn’t giving me anything I wanted. I like interactive passion, but with Gloria tied up most of the time it was just me doing things TO her. I like when a woman smiles down at me, but when we’d have sex outside of her being tied up in some way, Gloria always had a look of consternation on her face, like she was taking a shit; like she wasn’t really enjoying it. She was concentrating so hard on trying to have an orgasm, that she rarely considered my pleasure. There were even times when she’d tell me to stop mid-fuck because she wasn’t going to cum. Then she’d give me a haphazard hand job to finish me off while watching TV. But the thing that I like most of all, is when a woman kisses me with the same passion in which I kiss her during sex.

A month after Gloria and I started dating, she got a nose ring. The bull nose ring kind that hangs down. After that, for FIVE months, I couldn’t kiss her. When we fucked missionary, I had to turn my head to the side like a doctor was cupping my balls and asking me to cough. It really kind of pulled me out of the moment every time and made sex a much less erotic and enjoyable place for me to be.

Sometimes we’d have sex after having had a few drinks, or smoking a J. Gloria would loosen up quite a bit in those moments and our sexual experiences would be much more interactive. These were the times when our sex was more passionate outside of the kinks. She’d pull my hair, dig her nails into me, tell me to fuck her harder, and have toe curling orgasms. That was my sexual happy place. But those were also the moments where after, the next morning she’d say she didn’t remember anything. It was a form of sexual humiliation, and although I really disliked it, I endured it.

Then there was the yelling outside of the bedroom. Gloria would yell at me for no particular reason. In pubic, in private, in front of her parents. I can remember specifically having a conversation about music with her at a restaurant. Just a casual, fun conversation about our likes and dislikes. I told her I liked a particular musician, don’t really recall who, and she told me that musician sucked. I rolled my eyes and said “Really, why does he suck?” with a smile on my face, when she erupted. “DON’T YOU EVER ROLL YOUR FUCKING EYES AT ME! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!?!” fucking dead silence in the restaurant. Every eye was on us; she’d sucked the life out of the entire room. I didn’t know what to do, so I chuckled and said “I thought we were just….” She cut me off “DON’T LAUGH! NOW YOU’RE MAKING FUN OF ME? AND DON’T GASLIGHT ME! I KNOW WHAT YOU DID!!”

Things like that would happen about once a week. Sometimes I could calm her down by just apologizing over and over, but if I tried defending myself in any way, I was either gaslighting her or not taking her seriously. There was no joking around with Gloria; she took everything very literally and making someone laugh is kind of my thing. That wasn’t going to work out for anyone.

Gloria told me that she’d done something to alienate her friends before her bipolar diagnosis the year before. Most likely it was her outbursts, but I don’t like to speculate. I can only imagine how bad they may have been before she went on medication. You would think that she’d recognize the causality. That that behavior could drive people away. But she seemed to have no self-awareness, and always blamed others. I wanted to be different in her life. I would suffer her abuse and show her that I cared enough to be understanding of where it came from, of her disorder. I would be there on the other side; when she felt cornered, when she felt pain, when she lashed out unreasonably. I would show her that I would stick around where others had run. She was worth that much to me.

But it was all in my imagination. If I take her words at face value, as she herself insisted that I do, In the end I just didn’t mean that much to her, and that’s something that I should have seen. Gloria never just went on a walk with my dog and I, she made excuses to keep herself from helping when I painted my apartment, if she came over to hang out it was only after I bought her dinner. The few times I was going to have people over to introduce her to my friends, she cancelled after everyone arrived. Gloria never once said that she cared about me, or anything to that effect, and if I’m being honest, as beautiful as she was, as much of a turn on as that beauty was? Her sexual and non-sexual selfishness was just not cool.

Then came our first break up.

Gloria was into Shibari, so I bought specialty hemp rope and started practicing on pillows and chairs in my apartment. One day, she told me that she was going to a birthday party with the people she used to go to sex dungeons with. A guy named Sven would be there, and he was really good a Shibari, so she was going to have him tie her up in front of everyone. I told her that I would never tell her what to do…but if she did that, we were no longer dating.

Now before you judge me, if you’re not familiar with Shibari, it’s a very intimate thing. Japanese rope bondage doesn’t always lead to sex, but it’s a trust thing, that two people do together as an intimate expression of that trust, and in all the video’s and training we watched together, the woman is naked. I told her in the beginning that I was not into sharing and who knows what her being naked, tied up with a bunch of people she used to visit sex dungeons with, including guys who finger cuffed her, would have led to. Not my kind of party.

She yelled and screamed and called me unreasonable. Telling me that I was telling her what to do, to which I repeated: “Gloria, you do what you want. I will never tell you what to do; but the consequence of THAT is that we’re no longer dating.” I also thought that if she needed someone else for that, why the fuck did I just spend two hundred dollars on rope and all this time learning how to indulge that fantasy?

Gloria invited me with; she told me that Sven could teach me. That kind of pissed me off. I told her that I know how to fly AIRPLANES, I don’t need a guy named SVEN to teach me how to tie a fucking rope. I was steadfast and really ready for it to be over in that instant. She began to cry and stopped herself. She told me that no man would make her cry ever again, and for the only time in our relationship, she apologized and said that she only wanted to be with me. The look of sadness in her eyes, as she contemplated our relationship being over, really moved me. I could see from her expression in that moment that I meant a lot to her, and that meant a lot to me.

I told her to go. She’d never given me a reason to distrust her, so I had no reason to think the worst would happen now. Maybe I was being unreasonable. In the end she didn’t go. It was a moot argument. She didn’t go because she didn’t want to drive to the city, not because she didn’t want to lose me. Later, before we broke up, I enrolled us in a Shibari class.

Part 6

The week before we’d broken up, I applied for a 12K signature loan at my Credit Union. Things were going well with Gloria again. We were making plans together, and I felt secure in our relationship. I was looking forward to a possible future with her. So, I applied for the loan so that we could get her in school during the fall. I didn’t tell her because I wanted it to be a surprise.

It was a Friday night; I’d had a particularly bad day at work. I was stressed about whether or not this loan would be approved. I’d made plans to go to a restaurant that I go to almost every Friday, with my friend Joe. They make a bloody Mary there, that makes everything all right.

Gloria called and wanted me to take her out to dinner to a fancy restaurant that she liked. I’d told her before that if I’m going to pay for her college, we can’t be going out like we had been. A night at the place I wanted to go to was about 30 bucks; a night where she wanted to go was about 160. But, as always…I indulged her desire.

I picked her up and she complained the entire night. I was quiet, because I was stressed. That’s just my process. She didn’t like that I was quiet. I turned on the radio and she didn’t like Howard Stern: “He’s mean to people”, Billy Joel channel “I don’t like his voice”, get the restaurant “They’re too slow”, “my food’s cold”, “This tastes different, I don’t like it.”, “The wine’s too dry”, “My tiramisu is too flakey”, then driving home “You’d make a horrible father”, “You have terrible taste in music”, “You drive too fast.”, “I don’t want to be out late”, “I don’t feel good so I’m not going to give you a hand job tonight.” (Yes, she ACTUALLY said that.)

On the rare occasion that someone buys ME dinner, you what I do? I’m gracious and EVEN if the food is horrible, I shut the fuck up about it.

I’ve been on my own since I was 16; I’ve been homeless, I’ve been through some shit in my life. I worked hard to pull myself out of a shit existence with NO help from anyone. I realize how fortunate I am, every day, that I CAN go out to a nice restaurant. I’m not a complainer. So, at one point in the evening, I said, a bit annoyed…” any other complaints, goldilocks?”

When we got back to my place, she left and over the next hour, sent me the most vitriolic, mean spirited, all caps, text messages: “I DON’T LIKE THAT YOU KEPT SUGGESTING THAT I COMPLAIN A LOT! THOSE ARE MY OPINIONS! I NEVER COMPLAIN BUT I’M ALLOWED TO EXPRESS MY OPINIONS WHENEVER I WANT! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?!?! I DON’T LIKE THAT YOU DIDN’T COME OUT AND SAY YOU HAD A PROBLEM WITH MY ATTITTUDE! YOU’RE A FUCKING ASSHOLE!

I replied that I’m not going to argue with her. To which she started ‘threatening’ to break up with me if I can’t communicate with her. (Can you imagine the balls?)

Eventually I told her that if she really wants it, I’ll give it to her. “In MY opinion, you were being selfish Gloria, because you know I had a bad day at work, and I really wanted a bloody Mary. But we did what you wanted, and you complained about every little thing all night. I’m trying to stay positive in the face of a bad day, and you just kept showering me in negativity. Even your text is a complaint that I’m not complaining about you complaining. Now you can take that criticism, learn from it, grow from it and take responsibility for your actions like an adult, or you can pout like an infant and just break up with me instead of threatening to do it.”

No shit, all caps “I’M NOT A NEGATIVE PERSON!” good grief… the irony. Finally, she calmed down and I went to sleep thinking it was all over.

Next day, it starts again out of nowhere. “I’M PISSED THAT YOU CALLED ME SELFISH!

My reply: “Then it’s a good thing you’re not a negative person so you can get right over that shit.

I was trying to diffuse by showing her the silliness of her contradictory statements. But that only works with someone who’s self-aware. I really just didn’t want to argue with her, but I’ll be honest…I was being stubborn. I probably could have diffused by just apologizing as I’d always done. But fuck that, I wasn’t apologizing because everything I said was true. She had to know that there was a line. So now she started with “I’m not taking her seriously.” And the “Gaslighting”. And really, thanks a lot to whoever introduced that word to her vocabulary; I must have heard that twice a day for the length of our relationship.

She said that I was making fun of her, and told me to fuck off. So, I blocked her number. Sorry, you tell me to ‘fuck off’ and I’m going to fuck right off. She wanted me to take her words at face value, so that’s what I did. Apparently after I’d done that, she broke up with me in a text message that I didn’t see. I figured I’d give her the night to cool off, but when I unblocked her the next day, she was telling me how she was coming by to pick up her things. I asked her to talk about it, and she began sending me the most hurtful messages I’ll probably ever receive.

You’re ugly and I never found you attractive”, “The only reason I fucked you is because you paid for everything and since you don’t want to do that anymore, I don’t need you.”, “You have a tiny dick and no woman will ever want you”, “I’m not selfish, I just know what I want and that’s not you!”, “I don’t ever complain, those are just my opinions but the fact is that you’re fucking ugly!

All the right buttons to hit me right in the ego. And look, I have enough confidence and experience to know that none of that is true, but does it still hurt? Yer goddamned right it does, even just relaying it now.

Then…later that day, she told me that if I just apologize for calling her selfish…things could go back to the way they were. Luckily, I’d mustered enough self-esteem to say ‘no’ to that. I told her that she can’t just walk back the things she said. Then she started again. “You little dick mother fucker, I’m not selfish! I never wanted to fuck you because you’re so fucking ugly! You gaslighted me into liking you!”

I didn’t respond to her before because I know these jibes aren’t true, I know she’s TRYING to get a rise out of me because she’s a woman who only feels loved when she’s in an argument, and I chalked this behavior up to her bipolar disorder. What would be the point in engaging?

I sent her a text saying “Thanks for all that, please don’t contact me again.”, to which she replied: “I looked you right in the eyes and lied to your face. I never liked you. You treat your animals like shit and your lack of confidence is repellent. Peace, I’m out.”

After everything else she said, after the hurtful and mean-spirited things that I don’t imagine my worst enemy would have laid upon me, after the barrage of humiliation coming from someone whom I thought I was falling in love with, someone who I thought was worth doing anything for…I don’t know what it was about that text in particular…the casual nature of its violence, the cruelty of its childish “Peace, I’m out” exclamation, saying I don’t treat my animals well?! I dropped a firecracker of truth on her, and this bitch right here just Hiroshima’d me in return.

I fucking snapped. My heart raced, my face turned flush with red; a combination of humiliation and anger. Lack of confidence? I let myself be vulnerable in front of a woman for the first time in a long time; that’s not a lack of confidence, that’s caring about someone; and she was throwing it my face. I meant nothing to her and for the first time I actually FELT that. Fuck her ‘diagnoses. There are consequences to acting like an asshole, and in that exact moment…I realized why and how she’d alienated all of her ex-boyfrieds. Still, I didn’t give a fuck; she got under my skin.

First text: “Gloria, you’re a relationship ‘Karen’. You have the dead expressionless eyes of an off-duty Muppet. You’re a post covid cunt with all the bedroom proficiency of a wet sock. You’re a fireplug with the body of Barney Rubble. I’m sure to you I do have a little dick, but when you’re a filthy who-er, used to being spit-roasted by two cocks the size of a steel workers forearm holding an apple his fist, on a nightly basis, I suppose any cock will seem small. You have the personality of an end table. Maybe you’ll meet a nice fat cat-guy in your dead-end part-time retail pet store job. You’ll probably leave him one day for your kid’s birthday clown because you’re a treacherous low-life heifer, who will likely die of a heroin overdose in a circus trailer under a via dock. Enjoy all that. Peace, I’m out

Next Text: “I can feel you typing; I’m warning you, don’t respond to this. This is MY arena, and you’re outgunned here; I’ll fucking eviscerate you with words bitch. You’re not smart enough for this battle, so just delete my number and forget about me. If this were a rap battle, I’d be M&M, ho. To me you’re just a junkie and this is Brooklyn bitch, we ROB junkies in Brooklyn. You were never important to me. Now go fetch your fucking shine box. (Drops mic, walks off stage.)

She didn’t respond so I assumed that she blocked me after her last text. That was a bit of a relief. Those texts were abhorrent and I felt terrible for having sent them. They were childish and shameful. The way I felt after having sent them is exactly why I don’t like to argue. I despise hurting someone’s feelings.

And that was that.

The next day my Credit Union called me…my loan was approved. I told them that I would no longer be needing it.

Part 7

As I said before, I really don’t like drama. Although I don’t really talk to any of my ex-girlfriends, any significant relationship I’d been in, ended amicably at the very least. Also, when my relationships have ended in the past, it was usually at a place where a relationship SHOULD end. You’ve done things together, sussed things out and come to the end of a path. With Gloria, I was still very much at the beginning of that path. Now of course, this is a selfish way of looking at it, but I just wasn’t ready for it to be over, so two weeks later, I went fishing.

We’ve all been there, you try to gauge your ex’s interest with an innocuous contact. Some of you have even sent a cryptic text message to your ex, two weeks after a break up, like “I’ll meet you at the restaurant at 7; can’t wait to see you, boo.”; followed immediately by “Whoops, sorry, accidentally sent that to you.” When you know GOT-DAMNED well you ain’t meeting anybody. You’re hoping for a “Did you send that to a woman? Let’s meet later and talk.”, when in reality you’re going to get “Who dis?” or “This is Adam, why are you texting Gloria’s phone” in response. Fucking ‘Adam’; fuck that guy.

Anyway, I took the shot and sent Gloria an email. I’d deleted her number because who ‘memorizes’ phone numbers these days? In the email, I apologized for the way things ended. I’ll be honest…I thought maybe she’d cycled back to a good place. I waited with bated breath, expecting a hateful response.

To my surprise she texted me, with a barrage of apologies. Within an hour we fell right back into the good place we’d been so often. We were making each other laugh with inside jokes, then we began making plans. I mean, it was a whirlwind. We made plans to have an Anime themed night out where we’d go to a Japanese restaurant and then lay in bed and watch “Attack on Titan” together, we made plans to watch the new season of “What we do in the Shadows” together, we made plans to go see “Interview with the Vampire” at the Music Box that Saturday night. She told me that she’d missed me so much these past weeks. Then, to my surprise, she asked me out that night. She told me that she had a date, but she was going to cancel it so we could see one another. I can’t tell you how happy I was; I’d forgotten everything that happened. So dumb.

We met that night and I assumed that we were getting back together; never assume anything. Gloria told me that she just wanted to be friends. She was going on a new drug that would make her more sexually active, and she wanted us to start over in a few months, while she dated other guys and ‘figured herself out’. She had a date that Friday night, she told me, saying: “I’m not cancelling this one, I really like this guy.” I mean…what in the actual fuck?

There was more to it than that, but that’s what I focused on. “So, you want to fuck some rando losers with no money, but keep me on the side as, what?  a wallet?” I asked her.

I didn’t say that, I said I want to figure myself out. But I still want us to be together, just in a few months.” She replied angrily.

So, you’re going to dangle this ‘relationship’ carrot in front of me? No. You’re in or you’re out, Gloria. We’re not going on dates if we’re not dating.” I said. I have a tendency to be very confident, until I’m not. When other guys are in the mix, I feel inadequate. Why does she need them if I’m doing the right things? That’s why I can’t be in a non-monogamous relationship. A cuckhold. And how can we be friends if I don’t want to know anything about that part of her life? I just can’t. Is it irrational, do I wish I could turn that way of thinking off? Sometimes I do, but I’m ruled by passion for ONE person, and most of the time, that’s enough for me.

I told her we could be friends only but we’re not going on dates; and I’m not waiting. If I’m avaialble in a few months, we’ll see how we both feel; but in the meantime, if we go out, we’re splitting the bill.

A few days went by, and I couldn’t sleep. I was devastated and my mind raced with every scenario in which Gloria was going to fuck a guy WAY hotter than me on Friday night. I stopped eating, I lost seven pounds that week…then I did the unbelievable. In my sleep and food deprivation, in my grief and unmitigated despair…I wrote a Gary love letter. (If you listen to Howard Stern, you know what that is, and if you haven’t seen it and want a good laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrA2Xm1ExfE ) I professed my love to Gloria in so many words and humbled myself before her. This was a first for me, a last-ditch effort. It was a final humiliation in a relationship that ought never to have occurred.

Gloria responded that she’d been going on and continued to go on dates with other men, to places that I’d taken her, because I picked the best places. She told me that she wanted to fuck guys hotter than me, while I paid for everything just as I’d feared. Then she said that she didn’t have any feelings for me. We would never start over again.

And that was that. What could I do? I deleted her again. I prostrated myself before someone like a fucking mope, for nothing. There’s nothing more unattractive than desperation; I know this…and I did it anyway. But at least now I could walk away with the closure of knowing she wasn’t worth a minute more of my time.

Part 8

In the months since our relationship ended, I’ve come to the realization that I’m way better off. Although I saw what and who she really was in the end, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t lament what might have been, and writing this has been cathartic as fuck. But, that’s not to say I didn’t do everything wrong that one can do at the end of a break up.

In my ‘Gary love letter’, I bargained, I begged, I pleaded, I told her that I loved her, I promised everything would be different, and it was all a fucking lie. It was selfish and pressuring and presumptuous and dumb, dumb, dumb. I didn’t write that letter out of love, but out of jealousy that I so desperatly try to convince myself I’m incapable of. I want to think that I don’t care enough to be jealous, because that only leads to fucking pain, and where does that come from? My own childhood traumas; my own mental health issues. I wrote that letter out of desperate FUCKING loneliness, that’s why. Post covid blues.

My last relationship ended in Nov. 2019, and although I’d seen a couple of people in the interim, this was my first real relationship since then, and as we all know, Covid was the culprit. I’d put six months into my relationship with Gloria and honestly? I’d give myself an A+ for fucking effort. I didn’t want to have to start over again with the fucking online dating.

But more than that, Gloria and I became very close; as I said, I saw her as a friend and a girlfriend. She was always available to do something. Whether it was grabbing an ice cream at the Plush Horse on a hot summer night, staying a few nights at the Drake downtown and taking a sailboat on lake Michigan, or going out to dinner and then coming back to my place to watch TV and fuck. I really miss the convenience of that relationship more than anything.

Looking back on it now, I don’t blame Gloria, or hold any contempt for her, despite the way in which we broke up and the hurtful things we both said to each other. I think that everything that happened between us had a lot to do with the state of both of our mental health issues. Although mine haven’t been ‘diagnosed’, I try to recognize my mental deficiencies, and try my best to keep them internal so they don’t effect others.

I went out to lunch with a therapist whom I work with. I relayed the rated PG version of this story to her and she gave me the best piece of advice that anyone had given me…she told me that it’s one thing to deal with abusive people and negative personalities in the context of our job at a mental health facility, but we don’t have to deal with those things in our personal lives. We can choose to opt out. That, more than anything put the whole incident in perspective for me.

I’m glad for the good times Gloria and I shared, and I’m grateful for the tiny bit of happiness we were both able to bring into each other’s lives for a short time. I’m fortunate enough to have a way of expressing myself, and I really hope that Gloria finds hers; I hope she finds the motivation and ambition to create and reach goals because without that, we can’t move forward in life, much less in relationships. Most of all, I hope that the state of her mental health improves as she continues therapy. Nobody deserves the pain of mental health disorders, much less those brought on by forced trauma.   

Its a goddamned shame when a good relationship goes bad because of mental health issues, and this post is my way of purging myself of Gloria once and for all; “One more for my Baby”, by Frank Sinatra, is the song that comes to mind as I close the book on this relationship; and to those of you still reading? You’re my ‘Joe’.

It’s quarter to three
There’s no one in the place
Except you and me
So, set ’em up, Joe
I got a little story you oughta know

We’re drinkin’, my friend
To the end of a brief episode
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

I got the routine
So drop another nickel in the machine
I’m feelin’ so bad
Wish you’d make the music pretty and sad

Could tell you a lot
But you’ve got to be true to your code
So, make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

You’d never know it
But buddy, I’m a kind of poet
And I got a lot of things to say
And when I’m gloomy
You simply gotta listen to me
‘Til it’s all talked away

Well that’s how it goes
And Joe, I know your gettin’ pretty anxious to close
So, thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn’t mind my bendin’ your ear

This torch that I found
Must be drowned
Or it soon might explode
So, make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

That long, long road

Be a douchebag!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: