I have not heard from him. I am horrible about keeping up and checking in with people.
I have been hard at work in my woodshop. I've brought in close to $3000 in the last month just working on the side, custom making furniture and fences and whatnot for people. Not a huge amount of cash, but nice, and I like the work. Losing my uncle at the beginning of this month really stopped me dead in my tracks, but I've been picking it back up.
I've also been seeing a woman... and that is its own sort of... thing. I posted a thread in New Beginnings, but I'll crosspost it here because I want opinions and feedback from other Betrayed Men. It is, as many of my posts are, longwinded, so, hold on to your nuts, here we go.
So, I'm not in what I would call a serious relationship by any means. We met for the first time face to face on June 10th. We've been texting and chatting for about a week and a half longer, so just a shade over three and a half weeks at this point. We matched on a dating app, and hit it off conversationally, and managed to meet for lunch.
She's totally not my usual physical type. She's a little big bigger of a girl when I normally go for petite ladies, and she is literally the first woman I have ever dated that is younger than me (most of my girlfriends (and my cheating STBXW) were all older than my by a year or two. I'm a few years older than the lady I'm dating now.
She was incredibly nervous when meeting me, but we both agreed that we'd like to have more dates like that.
On the 17th, she invited me to her house to watch a movie. We made it a game of me finding the right part of town based on clues in our conversations, and I was close. We sat on her couch and watched a movie while snuggling (Lucky Number Slevin, good film, all star cast, I recommend it), and then just talked for two more hours. On the way out the door, there was that moment, that pregnant pause, where we both stopped, held each others's eyes for a minute, and it felt right, so I went in to give her a quick kiss. Before I could, though, she ducked her chin down and just gave me a really close, tight hug instead. I left her place at 2:00 AM feeling like an asshole, like I'd overstepped my bounds. We texted more until about 3:30 and went to sleep.
The next day, she texted me that she HAD really wanted to kiss me too, but she wanted to be up front and honest; the reason why her last relationship ended was because her partner cheated, and the way she found out was that she thought she had a horrible strep infection, but it turned out it was oral herpes, brought home by him from an affair partner. I told her I understood and didn't judge her for it, and really appreciated her honesty
Since then, I've been to her place two more times. It's always the same thing; I show up, we chat for too long, then put on a movie and hold each other while sitting on her couch.
I can't even begin to describe what it's like. My ex refused to touch me unless we were having sex, then it was just during the act and then no more. Said the feeling of skin on skin made her uncomfortable. So we never snuggled, we never held hands, she'd never just reach out and rub my shoulder or anything.
This lady reaches for my hand, strokes my arm, leans against me and it's like I'm getting a drink of water when I was dying of dehydration. I can be exhausted from a day in my woodshop, spend the evening with her, and drive home energized. In fact, I got home from her place an hour and a half ago and I'm wide awake at 2:35 AM.
I don't feel a romantic spark for her. Like, I know it's super early (three and a half weeks is nothing), and I know that my understanding of WHAT a romantic spark even IS, is obviously skewed or broken. Totally not in love with this woman.
Like, despite her not being my preferred body type, I would 100% sleep with her if she was willing and enthusiastic. We haven't broached that subject yet, and I am content to wait (hell, it's been over a year now, so who even gives a fuck anymore). Even if it's not full sex, foreplay would be a blast, and I know we'd both enjoy ourselves. She has made it plain that she finds me attractive, and while I don't think she's a supermodel, I am attracted enough to her that it would not be a chore (I know I sound kind of shallow here, but frankly, her physical appearance isn't what is making me attracted to her. No other way to be but honest).
But then there's the herpes thing. I was under the impression for 17 years that my ex had it, and we were just careful; if she looked like she was having a flare up, we didn't have sex. She claims now that she never had it, and that she got tested years ago and was confirmed not to have it; I was unaware of any such test, and she used the excuse of an outbreak multiple times to shut down intimacy. Point is, I whought I was going to be with my ex for the rest of my life, and I was okay with it if I contracted the virus too.
But I've been tested (did the whole gamut after DDay2: Electric Boogaloo) and I am completely free and clear of any STDs. I'd very much like to stay that way, but I can see that we are slowly progressing towards the realm of physical activities. When she rests her hand on my leg, it's closer to the 'finish line.' When we laugh and tease with each other, the joking is getting more risque. When I get ready to go home after our movies, she -wants- to ask me to stay, but I gently suggest that since she has work in the morning, she should get some rest.
She doesn't have an active outbreak right now. Her virus is oral, not genital. I haven't quizzed her on it, of course, because I want to be sensitive to her obvious discomfort on the matter. I am well aware of safety precautions to be taken (condoms, medication, etcetera) in the event that we do become intimate.
If I continue this relationship with this woman, I have no doubt that we will sleep together. At this point, it just seems to be a matter of time before we are both comfortable with it (despite being willing, I'm still not 100% comfortable with the idea of sleeping with someone other than the woman I was married to... it's an alien concept). If I were certain that, right now, I was SURE I would love this woman and spent the rest/most of my life with her, then I wouldn't care.
However... if that is NOT the case, then I'd really rather not bring any hitch-hikers along with me to another relationship. But where's the balance? I don't want to just bail from her as soon as she opened up to me and was honest. I don't want to make her feel dirty or discarded or lesser. I might not -love- her, but I do care about her as a person, and I do like her beyond that. I don't want to hurt her feelings. And I do genuinely enjoy spending time with her.
But like I said, if we do keep this up, eventually, she will ask me to stay over, and I will say yes. And I can (and will) be as careful as possible. But it's still a risk.
This... this is all so very weird and alien to me. I don't know what to do.