Category: Opening The Vault


Opening The Vault: Part Eighty Seven

July 29th, 2012 — 8:39pm

Even when you know a relationship is doomed, it isn’t easy to call it quits. I was struggling with that very dilemma during my ill-fated romance with British beau Riley.

A milestone anniversary only brought the reality that I wasn’t in love with him into sharper focus. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 2004…

May 28, 2004

Dear Diary,
Four months ago, Riley and I went out of the first time. Sadly, this occasion only reinforces that the majority of our time together is over.

At midnight, Riley reiterated how happy he is with me—

“I still can’t believe I have such a beautiful woman in my life.”

We reminisced about our first date – which now seems so long ago. If only this could be a happy milestone for me. Instead, the more loving and tender Riley, the greater the guilt that I feel knowing he’s not the one…And it’s not hard to feel like I’m misleading him somehow by going on vacation with him. A friend, though, says cancelling the trip would seem so drastic and probably hurt even more and I think that’s true.

The weekend after we get back, Riley is going to Florida to finalize his green card approval. Somehow, I’m going to try and summon the strength to end things when he gets back. It will only get more difficult after that, because Riley’s supposed to meet the family and go to a wedding with me.

It’s so hard. Riley loves me completely and unconditionally. I wish with all of my heart I felt the same way.

* * *
I’m finally understanding how true it is that to be happy with another person, you must first be happy with yourself – and I’m not. I don’t feel settled in any area of my life other than residentially. I’m only semi employed, I’m out of shape and my organizational abilities need a major overhaul. How can I make a long-term commitment when I have so much work to do on myself?

“You make up for so many things in my life,” Riley once told me – a statement that scared me and from which he later tried to backpedal. I can’t compensate for what’s missing from his world, any more than I can expect him to do that for me.

* * *
May 31st, 2004

I find myself getting more annoyed with Riley’s quirks, and more anxious to be free of agonizing over our relationship. Every time he says something that alludes to the future, or is seeking reassaurance, I remain silent or change the subject. Because I can no longer pretend everything is okay.

* * *
Despite my emotional retreat from Riley a long-awaited trip together left me more confused – and wondering how to say goodbye.

Comment » | make or break relationship deadlines, Opening The Vault, relationship anniversaries, relationship drama

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty Six

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 most recent OTV posts 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 Sparky. 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?”

“Yes.”

“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.

Comment » | commitment issues, old diaries, old flames, Opening The Vault

Celebrating Four Years Of SGITC

July 3rd, 2012 — 8:43pm

Four years ago today, thanks to the encouragement of my dear friend Carla, I started Single Gal In The City. I can still remember the excitement I felt writing my very first post – and Carla’s enthusiastic response when I shared it with her—

“OMG, I love it! Keep going!”

All smiles on the Brooklyn Bridge, a week after launching SGITC

And so began what has been a truly amazing, unexpected journey. My little corner of the blogosphere has given me the opportunity to grow and learn so much – by reflecting on the ups and downs of being single in New York City.

Over the last four years, I have shared tales of online dating, speed dating and multiple dating blitzes. I have talked about new romances and old flames. I have opened the vault of my handwritten journals about 80 times. And I have shared memorable travels, girls nights out and career transitions.

Along the way, I have heard from many of you about your own journeys through the unpredictable landscape of dating in the 21st century. I thank you for that – and for spending time here on SGITC. It is a pleasure and privilege to have this platform. It wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Thinking about the 1,600 posts+ that have brought me to today, I also find myself thinking about the two questions I’m most often asked: do I ever run out of things to write about? And what in the world will I write about if/when I’m no longer a single gal in the city? My answers – absolutely not and plenty.

As the 98 volumes of my journal can also attest, a writer always writes. A new relationship status won’t change that. It will simply mean blogging from a different vantage point while continuing to share the people, places and experiences that make up life in this wonderful city I’m so fortunate to call home.

To celebrate Single Gal In The City’s fourth anniversary, I’m giving away a few items I’ve raved about over the years. Two SGITC readers will win copies of relationship advice book, How To Be The One by Roy Sheppard. One reader will receive a copy of Blane Bachelor’s fabulous collection of columns and wisdom about dating, On Being A Bachelor. And another reader will receive a DVD copy of one of my all-time favorite movies, Dirty Dancing. To enter the giveaway, post a comment below by Friday July 13th sharing what you’ve enjoyed most about SGITC so far.

Here’s to many more blogversaries!

1 comment » | dating advice, Dirty Dancing, Opening The Vault, Single Gal In The City

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty Five

November 20th, 2011 — 3:31pm

It’s the dating dilemma almost everyone experiences at some point in their single life – trying to force yourself to feel something that you don’t. That’s the dilemma I faced years ago when I dated Englishman-turned-New Yorker Riley.

After meeting at a speed dating event, Riley and I got serious pretty quickly. Between introducing me to his parents and acknowledging two months together, Riley made it clear he was ready to settle down. Having just turned thirty, I felt like I owed it to myself and him to give our relationship a chance. Still, it became harder to ignore the fact that he loved me in a way I didn’t completely reciprocate. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 1994..

April 12, 2004
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

A major milestone in my relationship with Riley last night – we said the “L” word to each other. Of course, I already knew how Riley feels – he’s shown me through his words and actions again and again.

“You’re the only girl for me. I’ve never felt closer to anyone,” he said after the big declaration. “There are no obstacles we can’t overcome.”

Part of me DOES love him. I’ve imagined saying it to him many times. But how do I know if what I feel for Riley is enough to build a future on?

* * *
April 14, 2004

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I can’t completely let go emotionally with Riley. Dad told me the other night that I need to isolate what my doubts are and to realize that nobody is going to have 100% of what I’m looking for in a partner. I guess if I had to boil down my reservations to one thing, it’s that I don’t feel head over heels in love.

Of course, this doesn’t bode well for our relationship. But something is keeping me from walking away. It scares me that we’re nearly halfway toward my self-imposed make-or-break deadline of six months. But I’m going to hang on hope the bond between us continues.

* * *
April 19, 2004

I had hoped that being apart from Riley for a few days [for a trip to Toronto for a friend’s wedding] would make me feel weak in the knees when we reunited. Though it was wonderful to be with him again, that didn’t happen. It didn’t help that the conversation was less than scintillating – and included Riley’s exposition on the history of farting in his family. He also felt the need to share an article about a woman whose boyfriend defecates in the shower, to illustrate that it’s not so bad if Riley is occasionally flatulent himself.

I should’ve walked away from Riley when my doubts persisted after the first month. He’s told me repeatedly that his feelings for me grow stronger the longer we’re together. What in the world will I say to him when our inevitable parting comes?

* * *
April 30, 2004

Riley and I celebrated our three-month ‘anniversary’ the other day. He surprised me with a couples massage at The Plaza Hotel’s swanky spa. Afterward, while we were taking a cab down to Chelsea for dinner, I thanked him again for the pampering surprise.

“Life is too short not to splurge,” he said. “But this wasn’t exactly cheap.”

I could’ve done without that. Anyway, we went to Gascogne, a fabulous French restaurant. I couldn’t help thinking during dinner how our first date – for which we also dined Francais – seemed like a long time ago and feeling wistful for the newness and excitement of that night.

* * *
The emotional imbalance between Riley and me would soon come to a head – though it would take me another two months to confront it once and for all.

2 comments » | dating in your thirties, make or break relationship deadlines, Opening The Vault

Opening The Vault: Party Eighty Four

August 14th, 2011 — 9:03pm

When you’re having doubts about the potential of a relationship, how wide of a berth do you give it? At two months into dating British beau Riley, that question continued to linger for me. 

Smiling Through My Doubts: Riley took this picture of me during a weekend getaway (spring 2004)

Having turned thirty just before meeting Riley, I was feeling a heightened pressure to figure out what exactly our future would be together. Knowing he felt more for me than I did for him only complicated things. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 2004…

April 2, 2004

Dear Diary,

Riley is away in Arizona this week. It feels like he’s been gone a lot longer — but I don’t know if that’s because I miss him or because I’m not as a crazy about him as he is about me. Either way, I’m no longer sure my obsessing about our future indicates a readiness for commitment.

I’m still in the process of reestablishing myself here in New York, and I firmly believe that I need to be complete within myself before I can fully commit to a long-term relationship. Still, I’m going to try and take everyone’s advice and just see where my chemistry with Riley takes us.

* * *
April 5th

Riley returned last night, and we had an amazing time. Being with him was so wonderful — until the subject of relationships came up.

Riley said our week apart confirmed the depth of his feelings. I, of course, spent much of the week brooding about my doubts. Riley asked me what I want for the future, mercifully offering to answer that question first.

“I’m ready to settle down and meet the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with,” he declared. “And I wouldn’t be with you unless I could see our relationship going somewhere.”

“I need to take things one step at a time,” I said, repeating what I’ve told him before. “And I can’t really think about a long-term commitment when my job situation and other areas of my life aren’t settled.”

So, in theory I suppose, I’ve been honest with Riley. Why then, do I keep feeling guilty? And for how long should I give this a chance? I know I said six months, but if I’m still uncertain at the three or four month mark, I should probably walk away.

* * *
A major milestone for me would make me reconsider my feelings for Riley — and put off dealing with the irrevocable divide we couldn’t get past.

1 comment » | commitment issues, new romance, Opening The Vault

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty Three

June 30th, 2011 — 8:00pm

When a relationship is moving faster than you want it to, how do you slow it down? Figuring that out wasn’t easy as I drew closer to my British beau Riley.

About five weeks into our whirlwind romance, panic began to set in. I wrestled with major commitment fears — and uncertainty about what to do about them. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 2004…

March 8, 2004

Dear Diary,

I talked with Dad today about Riley — and how terrified I am of hurting him and being hurt, how I keep looking for signs of doom around every corner.

I feel like I have this vise-like grip on my heart. When I admitted as much to Dad, he encouraged me in a voice thick with emotion to be more open. I don’t know HOW to be more open. Be affectionate and loving? No problem. Entertain serious thoughts about happily ever after? Problem.

Everyone keeps telling me at this stage of our relationship, all that matters is that I’m having fun. Sometimes I am, but it’s overshadowed by the guilt that comes with knowing I will end up hurting Riley like I have several men before him.

“You are the only girl for me,” he told me today. “I’ve been so happy since you’ve come into my life..Are you happy with everything?”

“Mmhm,” I lied. What could I say?

I know why I can’t just go with the flow like people keep telling me to. Because I’ve had enough of being in relationships that I know aren’t going anywhere.

* * *
March 15

Riley called me yesterday — which is unusual because we always communicate by email. During the conversation, we talked about the series finale of “Sex And The City.” Since I’d only watched the show twice before, Riley mentioned the backstory of the Miranda character, who ended up with a guy she initially though was not at all right for her, who stuck it out because he knew they were meant for each other.

I couldn’t help wondering if there was a reason Riley chose to tell me this. If he’s picked up on my apprehension about us.

He also suggested we revisit the places we went to on our second date the next time we go out. I’m game — I need some nostalgia right about now.

* * *
Though nostalgia provided a good distraction from my thoughts of doom about Riley, it wasn’t enough to prevent them from becoming a reality.

Comment » | commitment issues, Opening The Vault, Sex and The City

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty Two

May 21st, 2011 — 4:17pm

What happens when two people are experiencing the same relationship in a completely different way? Inner emotional turmoil, as I discovered when I dated Englishman Riley seven years ago.

Riley and I had met at a speed dating event. The chemistry between us coincided with a milestone birthday that left me wondering — am I doomed to keep making the same mistakes in my love life? I now Open The Vault and take you back to 2004…

New York, NY
February 26, 2004

Dear Diary,

I feel this bizarre combination of reticence and eagerness when it comes to romance. Like my perspective has shifted since turning 30. Everyone keeps telling me I have plenty of time to find Mr. Right, but what I feel more is that time is getting away from me.

Riley truly is in a class by himself. The fact that we’re moving slowly physically is reflection of what gentleman he is. He’s a man I wouldn’t hesitate to bring home to meet my family. The feeling’s clearly mutual — I’m meeting Radley’s mom this weekend. So much for taking things slowly!

* * *

March 2, 2004

The last few times I’ve been with Riley have been just wonderful. Saturday, he showed up with a pair of earrings for me, a gift marking four weeks of dating. He’s the first guy I’ve been with who’s considered one month a milestone!

But — you knew there had to be one, right? — I still don’t think he’s my soul mate. The spark is definitely there and I enjoy Riley’s company, but something is missing for me. Though a friend of mine says it’s as simple as me not having met Mr. Right, I can’t help wondering if maybe I’m just not as ready to settle down as I would like to think I am.

Last night, Riley said so many sweet things.

“What’s not to adore about you? Do you know how crazy about you I am?”

“Good,” I replied mysteriously, to which he asked if I had anything to reciprocate. “Of course I do,” I said. I do care about him. I’m just not in love with him.

So, how wide of a berth do I give our relationship? I feel that six months is reasonable, but is it right to stay when I doubt my feelings will change? I’ve had enough of being in relationships that I know aren’t going anywhere. I’m 30 now and want to be on even emotional ground with whomever I’m dating.

* * *
Despite my doubts, I plunged ahead with my relationship with Riley — not realizing that in the process would come a very difficult lesson about love.

1 comment » | commitment issues, new romance, Opening The Vault, turning thirty

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty One

May 7th, 2011 — 1:46pm

When you’re in the throes of new romance, you can’t help asking yourself – could this person be the one? And does having doubts mean the answer is no, or just that you’re afraid to entertain the possibility?

Not long in to my romance with England-born Riley, I was grappling with this uncertainty. As Riley pushed to intensify our relationship, I found a big part of myself holding back. I now Open The Vault and take you back to February of 2004…

The night Riley and I went to see “Chicago” marked a major turning point in our relationship

February 16, 2004
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

Riley and I spent our first night together after he treated me to dinner and “Chicago” the musical. As always, he was warm, witty and affectionate. That didn’t stop me from a painful reality rearing its ugly head – I don’t think Riley is my soulmate.

Up until last night, I felt open and optimistic about what we could share.  Until he revealed that he doesn’t believe in God. As he described his philosophy on religion – including objections to the God-centric culture of the US – I felt a wave of uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. Though none of the men I’ve been involved with were particularly religious, they did have some level of spirituality. I know in my heart I could never be happy with a partner who is devoid of any faith.

Riley asked me if I was okay with his views, but I was evasive. What could I say? That his admission had sealed his fate as another man whose heart I’m destined to break?

I know Riley and I have only been out a handful of times, but it feels like we’ve been dating a lot longer – that’s how big the comfort zone is with us. Rationally, I know it’s way too soon for me to thinking of anything serious anyway with Riley. Everyone says I need to just relax, see what happens. But I’ve never been good at doing that, even less so now that I’m 30.

* * *
February 24, 2004

I spoke to Riley the other night about taking things slowly. He agreed, but then in the next breath said he wants me to meet his mother and asked me what sort of a future I see for us. I don’t know if he’s the one, so how can I give him false hope?

He got endearingly defensive when I brought up the topic of religion again.

“I’m not morally bankrupt, you know,” he said.

“I know that,” I reassured him, and indeed I do. In the month that we’ve been dating, he has been nothing but loving, kind, supportive  and gentlemanly.  I feel like I can talk to him about anything and everything.  I want so much to just enjoy Riley and let the future take care of itself…

* * *
I tried to put my fears on hold about what lay ahead for Riley and me, not realizing that much more than my anxiety would come between us.

Comment » | commitment issues, new romance, Opening The Vault

Opening The Vault: Part Eighty

April 23rd, 2011 — 1:31pm

Longtime readers of this blog know I’m a speed dating veteran. My affection for it began seven years ago, when I tried it here in NYC for the first time.

Much to my surprise, I connected with several bachelors, including a charming Brit. I now Open The Vault and take you back to February of 2004…

February 10, 2004
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

So I had mutual matches with seven of the guys I met at HurryDate. I’ve been out with four of them — including handsome Englishman Riley* (*not his real name).

Riley and I have been out three times in less than two weeks and he’s impressed and engaged me like I haven’t been in years. We talked non-stop for five hours on our first two dates. And balanced the conversation with plenty of kissing during our most recent encounter.

Riley is smart, funny, sweet and definitely someone I could envision having a relationship with. And that’s what scares me.

I don’t know if it’s because he’s British, but Riley reminds me of my ex David. He seems to have that same noble character and strength. The other night, he murmured–

“You already mean so much to me.”

Words that touched and terrified me at the same time. I simply cannot emotionally rush into a romance anymore.

* * *
February 14, 2004

Tea And Sympathy: Riley and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with lunch at this cozy eatery (Photo: Shanna Ravindra, newyork.grubstreet.com)

Couldn’t let this day end without saying what a perfect day I had with Riley. I came home from work today to find a dozen red roses, card and video greeting. Riley came over and we headed down to the Village to Tea and Sympathy, a charming little British eatery I’ve been wanting to try for years.

As usual, the conversation between us just flowed, and Riley made me laugh with his sparkling wit. Back here, we talked, canoodled and kissed.

Still, I worry that because I’m already doubting Riley is the one, then maybe he isn’t. A good friend of mine says that maybe I have a wall up, a fear of commitment. The funny thing is the subject of marriage and weddings came up today, and it felt very natural. I wasn’t thinking ‘oh this is not applicable here.’ Instead, I was more like, ‘Hmm.’

I’m not getting carried away. It’s only been a few weeks and Riley and I are just beginning to get to know each other. But I already know he’s going to be important in my life.

* * *
My prediction about Riley turned out to be true. What I never expected, though, was how our relationship would reinforce my biggest fear — and having to face it.

2 comments » | HurryDate, new romance, Opening The Vault

Opening The Vault: Part Seventy Nine

March 13th, 2011 — 6:29pm

When you’re traveling, it’s not unusual to have only a small window of time to connect with someone. My week-long visit to Western Australia delivered unexpected sparks with adorable Aussie Jason.

The friend of my host, Jason made sure I had an unforgettable time in his hometown. I now open the vault and take you back to September of ‘02…

September 19th, 2002
Perth, Western Australia

Dear Diary,

I had dinner with Jason and his friend (and my host) Dave tonight. Jason had told me he wasn’t going to be all touch feely in front of Dave, and not to interpret that as any weirdness on his part.

After dinner, when we were in Jason’s car, I asked him if I could check my email at his place.

“Is that just an excuse to come back to my place?” he asked knowingly.

“It’s an excuse if you want it to be,” I said without hesitation.

“I was hoping it was an excuse,” he said.

A surge of attraction came over me when Jason placed his hand on my knee, just as he did many times the day before. He told me he wasn’t taking me back to his place because he had to be up at 5am the next morning for an Air Force exam.

“And I don’t trust myself to be restrained around you,” he admitted.

So instead, we drove to an empty lot near the river and kissed a little bit. Jason dropped me off at Dave’s. He took my face in his hands as he kissed me goodnight, then walked me to the door.

* * *
September 20, 2002

After our one and only full night together, Jason drove me back to Dave’s. I packed and he drove me to the airport. As he’s done so often  this week, he continually placed his hand on my knee. When I thanked him for a wonderful week, he said–

“Thank you for your company.”

As though he read my mind, he gave me his email address and suggested we stay in touch. Jason walked me right to the gate.

“Well, it was nice meeting you,” he said with a coy smile.

“It was nice meeting you too,” I replied laughing.

“Have a good trip — and I’ll look forward to your email.”

We hugged and kissed briefly. As I approached the gate, Jason was still standing there. I waved to him and boarded, wistful and melancholy that our brief time together had reached its inevitable conclusion.

* * *
Jason and I did end up keeping in touch for awhile. And six years later, thanks to Facebook, we got together when he visited New York — an encounter that proved to be an interesting counterpoint to our first one.

Comment » | Australia, Australian men, Opening The Vault

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