Time to reevaluate.

One of the wisest things ever said about teaching is that it’s the only job where you get a do-over on a regular basis. Tried a lesson and it didn’t work the way you thought it would? If you teach high school, you get multiple chances to get it right. Then you can tweak it again and again every year until you have a lesson that you absolutely love, and that works, and is amazing!

Sometimes it takes many attempts, and it needs to be reevaluated multiple times to determine what’s wrong. Is it the format? Did the students not have enough prior knowledge? Are your references outdated? Why doesn’t it work?

And sometimes, it just doesn’t work; you’ll know not to use it when you teach the same material next semester or next year.

But you always get a do-over.

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Sometimes dating needs a do-over, too.

No, I don’t really mean I want to start over with any of the guys from my past. There was a time when I would have killed to have a do-over with the Boy, and, in a way, I did. A couple of times. Meanwhile, though I wished I’d handled things differently with the Bartender, I’m satisfied that that situation is ended as well.

At some point over the past week I realized that he was a liar. He may have been honest about his feelings for me (some people think so, I’m not sure), and he may have been honest about how he saw me as beautiful and intelligent and all the other positive things he said to me, but who he was at his core was a lie. He had cheated on his wife before, many times, and he had wooed other women before, leaving a trail of heartbreak in his wake.

And, unfortunately, I think that perhaps I was so quick to do the horrible thing because I did want to punish him for the hurt the Boy had caused, which isn’t fair.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it needed to happen anyway. The Bartender is obviously going to hurt someone else because I can think of at least 2 other victims of his that he told me about. His penance, though, may not be his wife finding out, but rather that he has to deal with the fact that he did actually care about me and now he has felt the betrayal he has done to others.

Maybe that was all I was for him: a lesson.

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And maybe all he was for me was the same.

He taught me that I was beautiful, and that people could see value in me other than just the physical. The times when we would just talk and cuddle, he always told me he liked those times more than the physical, which is saying quite a lot because I could physically see and feel how much he liked the physical!

I was telling a woman at work about what had happened. Last she’d heard was before the final date. I still thought I was pregnant at that point, and she knew I was sure it would be the end of our relationship, but I was okay with it because the idea of a child that had been created out of such a passion driven day would have been the perfect ending to our ever so romantic story.

It sounds like a Nicholas Sparks book, with some sort of bittersweet lesson. One day I might write that story. I’ve got the first part down as a short story: “The First Date.”

Reminds me of that video that was an ad, but was a really cool idea:

But I was telling her about everything that had happened since, and her comment was to ask if I saw the similarities between the Bartender and the Boy…

I would have told you there were none, none that mattered anyhow.

They were about the same height, and a similar build, though the Bartender wasn’t as broad as the Boy. They both had a barrel chest, which I found curious. I’d never dated anyone with a barrel chest until the Boy, and I noticed it one day when I was cuddling with the Bartender that his chest was similar. The Boy never liked cuddling though… well, at least not with me.

But physically, that’s where the similarities ended. They were different races, one had long hair and a short beard, the other was bald but with a long goatee. The Bartender’s hands were more slender, and he walked faster. His center of gravity seemed to be different because he even stood differently than the Boy.

Intellectually, they had similar interests in comic book movies and video games, though their choices in games were wildly different! Except they both liked the Batman Arkham games. For that matter, they both liked Batman. Period.

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Neither had a degree, though their chosen fields were very different. The Boy was a computer guy; the Bartender was basically a grunt.

The main similarity was that they were both very dominant.

The Boy had to be making the decisions, though he liked to give the illusion of choice. Like on our first date, he made a statement about thinking about dumplings for dinner, and I hadn’t realized he was asking for my input because I hadn’t been aware that dinner was part of the date. Then, when he decided on Pho instead, he offered to let me choose my own variety of Pho, though if I’d been smart, I would have explained that we needed to leave. Pho stinks. I don’t like the smell of licorice or anise, and anise is a key ingredient in Pho. That was doomed from the start.

And every step after that was on his time schedule.

Meanwhile, with the Bartender, he planned where to meet for our first date, and then gave me some choices about what we should do for dinner, and so it was very much him letting me choose, but then he set the pace.

He, similar to the Artist, would suggest certain things and then never set them down as permanent, and so I had to kind of guess if we were doing a thing or not. Like when he was going to come over for dinner, and I went out of my way to cook a relatively expensive meal: Shrimp in a vodka cream sauce, with fresh shrimp and a not exactly cheap vodka.

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I bought new sheets and a new comforter to illustrate just how much more comfortable my bed was than his. I spent over $100 that day to make it be the perfect evening, not including my mani-pedi, and then he canceled because he was stuck in the airport… allegedly. I don’t know if that was true or not.

The point is, he needed to be in control somehow. Several times when I asked if he would come over because I was interested in seeing him, he would just tell me no. He usually had a good reason, and because he would tell me the reason (unlike the Boy), I was satisfied, but it did begin to eat at me that we were on his time schedule, like I had always been with the Boy.

I think perhaps that is the thing that irks me. For all my talk of I want someone I’m willing to submit to, I want someone who is willing to submit to me as well.

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I had commented on this idea already because I felt that perhaps the Bartender and I fit the bill.

I will always love the way Ayn Rand wrote romance because she illustrates that people shouldn’t settle. To settle is to belittle your own greatness. The person you choose should be your equal, and if you’re settling you are showing how lowly you hold your own esteem.

It is a thing I feel very strongly about. And I think it’s why I assert that I want an Alpha Male, Intellectual or otherwise. I recognize myself as an Alpha female, and as such, I need an Alpha Male who rivals my own strength, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments of weakness.

My life is hard. I’ve been hurt a lot, and the scars run deep. My heart is bad, the Asperger’s causes me anxiety, though that is getting better,  my job adds to the anxiety sometimes, I’m adopted so I have some abandonment issues that I’m working through, and I have to be strong all day long… Sometimes, I want a man that I can lean on who will just hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay and that I don’t have to keep up the facade for him.

What I’m noticing (and what I’m now having to reevaluate), is that what is similar in these last few years worth of dating is that I’ve not been able to relax and show any kind of weakness. I’ve been choosing men who had somewhat Alpha qualities because I mistakenly thought that they would be willing to let me lean on them emotionally. So that we could lean on each other…

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And I remember now that the whole reason why I modified my search from traditional Alpha to Intellectual Alpha was for the same reason. The men who I had chosen in my past showed themselves to be traditional Alpha males to the world, and then their weaknesses would begin to show.

When I was younger, I would, similar to the guys I’ve dated lately, run from the weakness because I needed someone to be strong for me. I might try to stay with them for a time, but if I didn’t see that they were strong for me as often as I was strong for them, or if their weakness was so draining that I was unable to support them through it, I’d become uninterested.

The same has been happening now to me. I’ve been choosing men who still appear to be Alpha males, but I’ve been rushing to show them my weaknesses to see if they could handle it. I’m looking for someone who will be strong enough that I can relax a little.

That doesn’t mean all the time, but the incident in which I absolutely needed the Bartender to let me spend the night is a good example. I needed to feel safe, to be protected and loved and held.

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And he got huffy about it, but relented, and then the next day told me how I had ruined his day by spending the night… Ok, so that’s an exaggeration, but he did hint that because I was there he didn’t do his morning routine, thus it was my fault his day was bad.

It was the same as any number of nights when I had really needed the Boy to be comforting and he would just tell me “no” with no reason or explanation as to why. The most recent (other than New Year’s) was a night when I had invited him and wanted him to talk to me, but instead he brought a friend and then I hurt someone else… Well, I needed comfort. I needed someone to be strong for me, because my strength was all run out. As Nele would say on the Curly Hair Project, my social tank was on empty.

But I was scared, and I needed someone. It almost became an altercation because he refused to listen to what it was that I was trying to say. He’d made up his mind, and that was the end of it.

The Bartender ending things a week earlier than we had discussed, and breaking my heart on the worst day of my life in the process, gave me the same feeling, and I really needed someone to be strong for me. My strength was all run out.

And similar to the Boy, his mind was made up, so I was out of luck. Instead he told me he needed me to be strong for him, to get back to the person I was when we first met.

What I’ve needed was a man who would validate my feelings and let me lean on them for a night or two so that I could come back strong. I’m tired of being strong for myself and for everyone else around me…

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I’ve often said that I feel like I’m the counselor for people, but who counsels the counselor? I’ve been searching for a man who was stronger than me so that I could lean on him in my times of weakness, but I keep finding men who aren’t willing to let me lean on them. Some are equally as tired of people leaning on them as I am, and some are just selfish. I know the Artist was the second one. I think the Boy was the first one.

Verdict is still out on which one the Bartender is. Not that it matters, I suppose.

They don’t recognize that what I’m offering is for us to lean on each other, or, because of their alpha male qualities, they are offended by my offers to help.

The Bartender would thank me for thinking of him, and would acknowledge that I would go out of my way in order to help him, and his acknowledgement of that led me to believe that he acknowledged me as his equal and therefor it was safe to lean on him.

That was a mistake.

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He was only acknowledging the fact that he was getting something he had never had before. And that is why he let his guard down and trusted me… assuming that part of what he said was true. It allowed him to have feelings, and had he allowed things to continue to develop, he might have found that we could have leaned on each other equally.

It would have required him to come clean and be honest with me. And that I do not know if he is capable of. Thus, all this speculation is for naught.

But it has allowed me to realize that what I want is not a man who can dominate me, but one who will be a partner, equally.

I think I’ll need to revise my definition of an Intellectual Alpha now, but that is a post for another day…

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