Category: old flames

August 25th, 2013 — 11:24am

A boyfriend of mine once had this to say about the journey you take in your career–it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I think the same wisdom applies to dating too.

I was reminded of the need for dating endurance after four consecutive equally lackluster first dates. The I recently blogged about were followed by two more. First, there was the teacher who wouldn’t stop talking about himself. Ironically, he shared that a previous woman had told him he didn’t ask her enough questions on their date. Of course, he didn’t take that feedback to heart.

Mr. Chatty Cathy was followed by a well-intentioned but awkward guy who made quite a first impression — with a terrible case of body odor.

Though bad dates make for great stories, they also make you nostalgic for the comfort zone you reach with someone when you’re well past the formalities of meeting for the first time. Over a recent dinner with a good friend, I mentioned old flame and. Rich was someone who from the get go was fun and easy to be with.

He was on my mind Friday while I worked out at the gym. Clearly, there’s something to the power of suggestion. When I later sat down at cozy UES Bar Sojourn, it just so happened Rich was there.

We fell into easy conversation — catching up on work, life and the perspective shift that comes with turning 40. Though that milestone is still five months away for me, it seemed we were on the same page about changing priorities. Among them, the need for a kitchen that allows for entertaining (typically not an option with NYC’s notoriously tiny galley kitchens).

It was a perfect night. And a much needed reminder that when it comes to dating, you really never know when a welcome surprise is right around the corner.

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June 23rd, 2013 — 12:40pm

When it comes to finding love, you often hear about the dual forces of luck and timing. In navigating the ups and downs of thirtysomething singlehood, you inevitably find yourself questioning whether this duo is working in your favor. Lately, I’ve experienced examples that they are – in very unexpected ways.

Case in point number one – my derailed reunion with D, an out of town bachelor I met during my Great Dating Blitz three years ago. After reconnecting back in April, D and I began communicating almost daily. Soon, we were planning a romantic weekend for him to visit. But the Friday that D was to arrive, his flight ended up getting cancelled because of torrential rains.

Suitcase packed, D headed to the airport anyway, attempting to fly standby. Several hours later, he was informed there would be no availability until the following afternoon. We spoke and texted our mutual disappointment, initially talking about the possibility of rescheduling.

That conversation has slowly tapered off. I can’t help wondering, was Mother Nature’s intervention intended to spare us both from a protracted long distance scenario?

Meanwhile, closer to home, two great dates with a guy I met at speed dating were followed by him cancelling last minute without an explanation. Though my instincts said I should say sayonara because he was clearly not that interested, I opted to give Mr. MIA one more chance. After all, in this post-modern dating world, etiquette about making plans is a more fluid thing, right? We’re supposed to be flexible, etc., etc.

Not so much – as I was just reminded by an old flame. When work forced him to cancel our plans, he called (rather than texted), offered a heartfelt apology and immediately rescheduled. His thoughtfulness confirmed what I already knew about Mr. MIA: he’s not a candidate for anything serious.

Bottom line, it seems that luck and timing have been doing their part to steer me away from men with whom there is no future. All the more reason to be hopeful about stumbling upon the right guy — with their capable help of course.

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July 14th, 2012 — 5:22pm

It’s been awhile since I’ve opened the vault of my many journals. Having heard from several readers that this is a favorite part of Single Gal In The City, I figure it’s time to revisit it.

My covered an ill-fated romance eight years ago with well-intentioned but clingy British expat Riley. We met at my first-ever speed dating event and quickly began spending a lot of time together.

Upon discovering we had some irreconcilable differences about money and religion – Riley was an atheist, I grew up in very spiritual, interfaith family – I could feel myself becoming less infatuated with him. Still, I tried to make it work, hoping I could grow to love him the way he loved me. I now open the vault and take you back to the spring of 2004…

May 7, 2004

Dear Diary—
I’ve been rereading a lot of old journals to try and get a handle on what I’m going through now with Riley. Today, I read some entries from the summer of ’94, when I first started seeing It was five months into knowing him that I started having doubts he was the one for me. And what did I do about it? Nothing. I lingered in that relationship for another year.

Smiling through my doubts during a getaway with Riley (June 2004)

Though it’s only been three months with Riley, I can’t help feeling it’s wrong to continue seeing him when I know in my heart we have no future together. What I keep wondering is why, for more than 10 years now, do I keep involving myself in relationships that aren’t going anywhere?

* * *

May 10, 2004

Well, I thought I had reached my breaking point yesterday. I went up to Riley’s apartment with the intention of ending things. Not surprisingly, he was blindsighted by what I told him – namely that something is missing for me and I have my doubts about us.

“I’m confused,” he said. “I don’t understand how you can say you’re not happy considering how effusive you were when we went out with my friends…Are you saying you don’t want to see me anymore?”

“I don’t know,” I answered, meaning it because I truly felt uncertain about what to do. I started crying, admitting how overwhelmed I feel right now because of Dad’s cancer, my job search and the intensity of our relationship.

Riley said he’s not asking me to get married, and that he gets scared too.

“Were you planning to break up with me today?”


“I’m sorry I asked.”

He also said firmly that he can’t live with worrying that every time I have bad day, I’m going to break up with him – and that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship for the sake of having one.

After going back to his place, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me with great emotion.

“I’m not letting you go,” he murmured.

“Good,” I said, holding him tightly.

“I’m just thinking how much I would have missed you.”

And I knew I felt the same way. Maybe it’s selfish, but I’m not ready to let Riley go. When I told a friend I’d chickened out, she said not to see it that way – that it was a productive conversation because I was honest with him…There are so many amazing moments with Riley. I don’t want to give that up without a fight.

* * *
And so, the roller coaster with Riley continued, as I struggled to ignore the sinking feeling that our days together were numbered.

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March 8th, 2012 — 1:15pm

The other day, I found myself talking with a friend about what a small world it is – digitally and otherwise. It got me to thinking the whole six degrees (or less) rule has precipitated some of the most meaningful relationships in my life, past and present.

Triangular connections have played a big part in leading me to love over the years. Back in ’94, a close family friend happened to know a producer for the TV show NYPD Blue. That family friend made it possible for me and my sister to watch a shoot in NYC’s Tompkins Square Park, where I ended up meeting LA-based sound mixer . Longtime readers of this blog know the whirlwind odyssey that followed…

A few years later, mutual friends once again took on the role of Cupid.  A college classmate of mine married Nick, a Brit whose good friend moved to New York. Nick went out of his way to make sure David called me, and so began a year and a half romance that I still remember fondly.

In 2001, I was in post-breakup mode when I moved to Southern Illinois and was warmly welcomed by next door neighbor Katherine. Much like a surrogate grandmother, Katherine invited me to dinner with her family – which is where I met her stepgrandson . Our connection was immediate and we remain good friends to this day.

Of course, now  it only takes a few clicks on Facebook to be reminded that less than six degrees separates all of us today. And that you never know when one of those connections will generate a spark of the romantic variety.

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December 31st, 2010 — 5:00pm

With only a few hours left of 2010, I find myself feeling a little nostalgic about New Years’ gone by.

I’ve always enjoyed the turning of the calendar page. I think it symbolizes a new beginning and brings with it the chance to reflect on where the last twelve months have taken you. And of course, depending on your relationship status, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate romance. I now Open The Vault and take you back to various New Years’ long ago…

January 3, 2002
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

There was plenty of good in 2001. My move to the Midwest was rewarding in so many different ways. I finally found myself again, rediscovering life’s everyday joys for the first time since Mom’s death in ‘98.

A looong lull in my love life helped me learn how to be happy being single again. And then, when I least expected it, I found real love again.

January 2, 2003
New York, NY

I couldn’t let any more of 2003 go by without saying it started off in the most wonderful way. My most recent ex, Steve, came in from Ilinois. We hadn’t seen each other since his last visit in April, after which I broke up with him.

I wasn’t sure how we would be with each other after so many months apart. My worries proved to be unnecessary. For once, our ardor didn’t overtake the rest of our relationship.

And our reconciliatory kiss — WOW! It will go down, for me, in the pantheon of all-time greatest kisses. Long, lingering, full of desire and emotion.

“I’ve missed you,” Steve murmured when our lips eventually parted.

I feel so lucky that what we missed out on last new year’s, we more than made up for with this one. Sometimes, Cupid really hits his mark.
* * *

January 1, 2004

I’m happy to say my evening with 3 married couples, 2 of whom are dear riends, was fun and festive — and that I only had a few moments of feeling painfully single. Of course, each new year seems to arrive with greater speed and 2004 is no different.

When I look back on 2003, I will always remember it as the year I decided to hang up my TV reporting hat and settle down here in New York. I cannot overstate how wonderful it is to be home, to know that I’m where I belong.

* * *
It’s nice to still feel that, even as I entertain the possibility of moving sometime next year, I am right where I’m supposed to be. No better feeling to have as 2011 beckons.

Happy New Year all!

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July 28th, 2010 — 9:49pm

Not too long ago, I blogged about the downside of . The upside to reconnecting with one — when you can revisit old times as old friends.

The other day, I had the opportunity to do just that when I reached out to one of my favorite beaus of yesteryear, . Fabian and I had an on-again/off-again romance during my junior year in London. Months later, we shared three heavenly days together here in New York.

Over dinner at a cozy Italian bistro, Fabian apologized for his uneven behavior during our involvement. Taking my face in his hands, he said–

“I think we missed a great chance together….I think I missed a great chance.”

That was almost 15 years ago.

Since then, Fabian and I have kept in touch sporadically. I emailed him the other day to inform him I’ll be in his neck of the woods — the mystery city where I’ll wrap up my European Dating Blitz — in September. We have a date.

I’m looking forward to catching up with him. And I’m also looking forward to meeting the “eligible bachelor” he plans to set me up with!

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November 28th, 2009 — 10:28pm

When you’re facing a devastating loss, your partner becomes much more than a significant other — he becomes your anchor. That was most definitely the case eleven years ago, when dashing, noble Brit David came into my life a few months before my mother passed away.

Totoya: David and I had one of our first dates at this UES Japanese eatery

The friend of a college’s friend husband, David had contacted me at his suggestion when he moved to NYC. The chemistry between us was immediate, and we quickly fell into a relationship. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the summer of ‘98…

August 9, 1998
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

David is the nicest guy I’ve met in ages. He’s charming, funny, affectionate and — hoorah! — British. And he takes me away from the pain of Mom’s illness.

I waited until I got back from my recent trip to London to confide in David about what is happening to her. He could not have been more supportive or understanding.

David is a thousand times more fun and uncomplicated than the baggage-laden older men I’ve usually attracted to. Then again, it’s only been two months. He could develop three heads or never call me again. With my track record, I’m prepared for anything…I think.

* * *

August 24, 1998

David is so wonderful — everything I’ve wanted in a man for so long. The first guy who is not only good to me but good for me. No ex wives, no kids, no tortured background.

He’s continually coming up with ways to make me smile (cute emails, gifts, flowers). For two months now, his track record has been a very good one. He’s seeing me at my worst and yet he hasn’t run scared or pulled back. Part of me wouldn’t blame him if he did.

* * *

David remained steadfast, and our bond continued to deepen, as my mother’s condition deteriorated. Our love, however, would be put to the test by the return of an old flame — at the worst possible time.

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November 4th, 2009 — 7:41pm

When you remain friendly with an ex, you can feel it when there’s another seismic shift in your relationship. So it was with my California-based old flame Mark (a.k.a Sparky).

After breaking up in the summer of 1995, Sparky and I kept in close touch, communicating at least once a month and rekindling things whenever business brought him to New York. As 1998 began, I was surprised that two months had passed without a word from him. Sensing that something was wrong, I decided to call Sparky. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the winter of ‘98…

February 27th, 1998
Bangor, Maine

Dear Diary,

There’s a hole in my heart today. The reason for it — the unexpected revelation that Sparky and I are through, for good.

I’d sensed Mark pulling away from me when I moved here a couple of months ago. When he failed to call on my birthday, I wondered if that was his way of saying he was letting go.

Then, on my way to work yesterday, two songs that always remind me of him came on the radio. I had the strongest impulse yet to get in touch with Sparky.

I was sitting here in my living room when I called Sparky

“Call him,” my mother urged when asked for her opinion. “He’s been a very good friend to you and you never know what’s going on in someone’s life.”

So, I dialed Mark’s work number. A secretary answered and then he picked up.

“Hello there,” he said, sounding very upbeat. “I’m so glad you called.”

“I figured I should find out what’s been going on in your part of he world,” I replied.

“Happy belated Birthday,” he said (He didn’t forget…). “How are you? Is everything okay?”

Anxious, for once, to skip my end of the conversation, I quickly brought him up to date on work, grad school applications and Mom’s condition.

Finally, I asked him–

“So, what about you? Are you sick or married?”

“Well, you’re partly right,” he answered, adding that a lot has changed in his life recently.

I fell into a chair as Mark told me that he is indeed ill again — and that he got remarried two weeks ago. Tears welled up in my eyes and I fought to steady my voice.

Mark said his diverticulitis and colon cancer returned during the holidays and that was why he didn’t call on my birthday (he didn’t want me to worry). The marriage happened on Valentine’s Day in Hawaii.

“I’m really glad you called,” Mark kept repeating. “I just didn’t know how to tell you.”

“Understandably so,” I said meekly.

* * *

The shocking news of Sparky’s marriage felt like the final death knell for our complicated love. It would only be a matter of time, though, before fate threw us together again.

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September 4th, 2009 — 8:00pm

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it’s with someone who’s treated you like a princess. Back in ‘97, my second and final split from then-boyfriend Larry had me guilt ridden over hurting such a great guy.

A 16-year age difference proved to be too much for us to overcome, as I realized I wasn’t ready to settle down. Still, after a year together and one brief trial split, saying goodbye wasn’t easy.

I now Open The Vault and take you back to January of 1997…
January 28th, 1997
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

Larry and I broke up again the other night — and this time I think it’s for good.

Unlike our previous split (I initiated both), this separation was not the result of an impulse to retaliate for anything. When I ended things back in October, it was primarily because he had let me down when I needed him most.

Ironically, more so than he ever did before — and that’s saying a lot — Larry treated me like a princess these last couple of months. Casting off internal demons that had kept him somewhat closed off, he revealed a tender, romantic streak the likes of which I’d never seen in a man before.

Suddenly, the “little things” whose absence I’d once lamented were part of what we shared — flowers for no reason, unexpected phone calls, expressions of love.

But sadly, all of this came as I realized receiving Larry’s affections without being able to commit to him was selfish and unfair. After giving so much to our relationship, he deserves more than the emotional limbo I’ve led him into.

In an email today, Larry indicated the door is still ajar for yet another reprise between us. As much as I miss him, though, and wish I could ignore what is standing in our way, I don’t think we can reconcile.

* * *

February 7th, 1997

Larry and I emailed back and forth last week and I called him a few days ago. As always, he was full of love and understanding. He said he still wants to be my best friend, that no matter what he wants to be part of my life.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t thinking about you,” he said softly.

“I miss you,” I said.

“I miss you too,” he replied.

It was a wonderful, comforting conversation, one that made me hopeful about the possibility of us remaining in touch.

* * *
Larry and I would indeed stay connected. And my post-breakup blues about us would soon be lifted by the return of an old flame, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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August 1st, 2009 — 5:06pm

When it comes to making a decision about your future, sometimes it takes reaching in to your past to do it. That’s what happened back in 1996, as I was contemplating the fate of my relationship with then-boyfriend Larry.

A trip to Toronto, where I reunited with high school sweetheart Hogan, amplified my doubts about continuing to see Larry. I now Open The Vault and take you back to October of ‘96…

October 17, 1996, New York, NY

Dear Diary,

Larry and I broke up last night. Although my decision was a long time in coming, our final moments together were excruciating — especially because of how much I hurt him.

The man who so fiercely put his guard up months ago and who, more often than not, keeps his emotions in check, couldn’t hide the pain he was feeling. I’ve never seen the sadness that I did in his eyes, nor have I ever felt such remorse about hurting someone.

Larry is the first man who truly respected me as an equal. Despite the 16 year age difference between us, or perhaps because of it, he was sensitive enough to avoid patronizing and understanding about my insecurities.

His unconditional acceptance and affection freed me to express myself in ways I never have before. I felt safe and secure, knowing I could trust him completely and that he appreciated every part of me. If I now know the basic tenets of a good relationship, it’s because he taught them to me.

So why did I choose to leave him? Because, for all of his good intentions and honorable ways, our relationship was no longer making me happy.

Mom’s illness sharply illustrated Larry’s faults — his dark and jaded nature most especially– and that I could no longer endure them. He was incapable of giving me the support I needed. Right now, I need to be able to lean on someone who can lift me up, not bring me down.

Admittedly, Larry hasn’t had a great year. He failed the CFA, lost a friend to melanoma and recently, lost another to suicide. He couldn’t deal with my crisis compounding his own — or at least, didn’t know what to do.

I feel terrible about adding to the emotional weight he’s carrying around. I just hope he knows how sorry I am — and that I feel lucky to have had him in my life.

* * *

My breakup with Larry wasn’t the final chapter for us. Much to my great surprise, our split dovetailed with the return of a big love who continued to haunt me — Sparky.

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