Dating, PSAs, Wipe the Drool

eHopeful Part 4: Crash Landing

“I can’t believe that was you in those pictures,” Frank slurred from the passenger seat of my car. We were sitting outside of my parents’ house after a night of playing cards with my family, where drinks had been flowing.

He hesitated and then added, “I know this sounds bad, but I never would have dated you if you still looked like that.”

“I know,” I replied. Oh, you wouldn’t date a girl who was 120 pounds overweight? Knock me over with a freaking feather, Frank.

In hindsight, I perhaps jumped the gun here. Perhaps.
In hindsight, I perhaps jumped the gun here. Perhaps.

“I do love you, Jules,” he said next, and I burst into tears.

“I didn’t know what to do or think when you wrote it in the sand [last month when you visited me on base],” he continued. “It really surprised me.”

“I know, I know, it was too soon,” I blubbered. “I’m still afraid to say it out loud. I’m just really scared.”

Frank was a Navy pilot and newly divorced like me. We had met on eHarmony three months earlier, and despite a 3,000-mile gap between us, romance bloomed. (For the rest of the story, I give you: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.) He was smart, driven, handsome and creative, and showered me with attention and affection.

Also there were cool jets.
Also there were cool jets.

Meeting him felt like destiny, making sense of all of the winding, fragmented roads that had led me to that point.

I can't believe I don't own this sheet music,
I can’t believe I don’t own this sheet music.

In March, Frank and I met face-to-face for the first time in Seattle. It was sublime. Now, in late-April, he was on my turf: New Jersey.

This really happened.
This is an actual screen capture of the itinerary I made.

I had planned a jam-packed agenda for his visit, including trips to New York City and Philadelphia, and then a flight to Chicago for BaconFest 2014 to ring in my 32nd birthday.

Chyeah. It's a thing.
Chyeah. It’s a thing.

After my meltdown in the car outside of my parents’ house, we carried on as if nothing had changed.

During the 3-hour, traffic-filled drive to Philadelphia (Day 6 on the itinerary, in case you’re keeping track), Frank was chattier than usual. Maybe he was bored, riding shotgun instead of piloting my Hyundai Sonata. He suddenly started talking about his family and religion.

“I am bat-crap crazy,” he drawled, “and so is everyone I know, and you usually only hear about people like me on the news.”

[Editor’s Note: I may be paraphrasing.]

His Tennessee accent was strong, even after eight years in Washington state. I swallowed and kept my eyes on the road. Sure, we were very -very- different people, but after all, I didn’t want to date myself, did I?


“This is fine,” I thought. “Maybe I could be the kind of girl he grew up with. Maybe I could drink the Kool-Aid.”


By the time Frank kissed me goodbye at the Chicago O’Hare Airport, I was spent (and sweating bacon grease). Eight days straight with someone you’ve only met once before would have been exhausting for anyone, but when you’re an introvert? Grueling.

When I got home, I still wasn’t sure how to feel. Something was definitely off, but so many things were on. For the next four weeks, I fretted over where we stood. Another nibble fell through on my house, which had now been on the market for over five months, and with no new job prospects on the horizon, I started babysitting. To make matters worse, Frank’s texts went from nonstop to frequent to sporadic.

“Going out with the guys tonight for drinks and then unknown fun,” he said one night in mid-May.

“Enjoy your mystery fun,” I wrote back, my heart sinking.

“I will,” he answered, and I imagined him cackling evilly, relishing in this torture, this test to see how far he could push me. I wanted it to work. I wasn’t ready for the alternative.

A week later, I woke up to an email entitled, “[No Subject]”. Frank had sent it after midnight Pacific Time.

“Jules, I hope you have enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend with nice weather. There is no easy way to communicate what I need to communicate so I’m being straight to the point…” it began. It was a very nice letter.

Super nice.

So nice it almost covered up the fact that I got dumped.

Via email.


All right – your turn! Terrible break-up stories: GO!!! (You can even tell them in 4 parts if you want. I’ll bring the Ben & Jerry’s bacon Bloody Marys.)

I'm TELLING YOU. It's a thing.
I’m TELLING YOU. It’s a thing.


82 thoughts on “eHopeful Part 4: Crash Landing”

  1. Clicked ‘like’, but not for what happened. The guy lost out, but at least you had some fun. Maybe next time it’ll be his commander; wouldn’t be sweet justice.


  2. While I’m happy to see you blogging again (I really enjoy the way you write), I’m sorry to hear of the relationship troubles. And long distance is such a PITA; I think it’s an intensely challenging path that the bulk of couples struggle to conquer (myself included, briefly).
    In college, I was in a long-term relationship and I could tell something was…very suddenly off…a few years in. After a week-ish of digging, turns out he slept with one of my closest friends. In our bed. While I slept next to them (I’m a deep sleeper). Needless to say, that pretty effectively broke us up. It didn’t end there, though. I was in a bar on a date one night shortly after and the ex showed up, slinging vile insults at me, as if I were the one making questionable moral decisions. Hurrah!

    1. Nooo. NO. …NO! That is… I can’t even. Okay. Taking a moment here.

      Laurel! Hi!! 🙂 Wow, I’m so sorry you experienced that! I’m not even going to attempt a, “Well at least…” And you ain’t kidding about the massive PITA of long-distance relationships. I’ve sworn them off since Frank. Can you believe eHarmony recommends you select a 300-mile radius to maximize your matches, and by that they REALLY mean, “We got diddly squat despite the fact that you live within commuting distance of NEW YORK FRIGGIN CITY.”

      1. I am sure that there is someone amaze for you within reasonable distance! The good ones seem to fly quietly under the radar, but I’m sure you’ll find him! I’m from PA, and a bunch of my friends ended up marrying great NJ guys. So they’re definitely there – and maybe that’s also a clue to not waste your time with PA’s dating scene, hah.

        My “well at least…” is that it now – many years later – it makes for a great cheating/break up story. The full-length telling of the entire lengthy break-up ordeal is colorful. The reactions are fun.

    1. Aw thanks, Debbie! 🙂 But me kept telling me not to slurp! I had to call it off. (Side note: Has anyone ever -in the history of time- perfected the swirling of very sauce-laden spaghetti on a spoon? Side side note: And in terms of proper etiquette, is that REALLY what you’re supposed to do?)

  3. Thanks to your deft use of foreshadowing, this wasn’t a total surprise. Diehard male Jules fans like myself are torn – on the one hand, we want nothing but the best for you, including romance. On the other hand, no man can possibly be good enough for our bacon-loving, mustache-rocking, hilarity-writing Jules.

        1. Hi Miss J! As long as no one over there has an actual cold, I’m happy. (I was just thinking of you as I shoveled 10 inches of fresh snow off of my car.)

    1. Aw, man, I thought the obviousness of the title might have caused you to question more. But when it comes to people with impeccable taste, I suppose there’s just no fooling them.

  4. I just want to congratulate you on even trying to make this work. I was blown away by your part 1: to me it was incredible that you’d spend more money than a coffee’s worth, fly across several states to meet a stranger. I have programmed my datings apps to only show me guys w/in a 10 mile radius, and even then I frequently flake out bc I can’t be bothered – I can’t feel much spark electronically, and have been on so many bad dates (see my entire dating category on my blog!), that I am weighed down by apathy.

    So I am really impressed with your optimism and openness to vulnerability. Good on ya!

    And now: NEXT! Next dating story, please!

    1. Oh, bloggy friend, I am so there. I’m thinking of narrowing it down to a 3-mile radius.

      I just read your ‘kinder surprise’ post, and it was amazing (in the terrible-story way, but also the you-can-write-and-are-hilarious way). NEXT!

  5. It’s hard to avoid the crash landing when you’re a shooting star. That’s what a friend’s husband told her when they met. Irritating, maybe, but intriguing, too. Good for you for taking a chance and keeping your heart open. More love to come!

  6. At least you got some delicious bacon and a great story out of it! And really, what more could you want?

    It was your first dating experience after your divorce. Nobody says that shiz is easy! But you weathered it and can now move on to less hillbilly things. GO Jules go!

    1. It’s true. I didn’t want to sully my memory of the world’s most perfect bacon by combining [a mention of] it with this series.

      Thanks, Ninja Snaps. And I’m going, I’m going! 😉

    1. And I toooootally didn’t lead with that [part of the story] in order to get everyone on my side right off the bat.

      Er, transparent is as transparent does? 😉

  7. So straightforward and honest. Love your writing. Sorry he couldn’t be man enough to tell you at least over the phone, but as others have said you are better off.

    As a teenager, I was dating a guy whose best friend was interested in mine and vice versa. One day while her and I were hanging out, his best friend was texting mine. He said, “it’s a shame things can’t work out between us.” Confused she asked why. “Well since Bri and XXXXX aren’t together anymore, it would be awkward for us to be together.” I didn’t even get dumped by my boyfriend. I got dumped by my best friend’s love interest via text. Lame much?

    1. Oh NO. *making grotesque horrified face that I almost wish you could see* I definitely feel worse for the generations after me, navigating all of their romances via smart phone. (Oh, who am I kidding? No one was dating me in high school, regardless of cell phones and social media.)

      And thank you, Bri! It was brutal, but I think I -ultimately- dodged a bullet with this one!

      1. The advancement of technology has both it’s pros and cons in the dating world. And to make matters worse, it was my first real boyfriend. Nothing like showing me what dating was all about! HA! Happy to have found my husband only a few months later!

        May the dodged bullet lead to something extraordinary!!

          1. Happy indeed!! And totally unexpected! It’s been quite the journey, almost 9 1/2 years later, still going strong! You are welcome! 🙂

  8. Oof.. That sucks. (You know thats pretty eloquent for me) Online dating was way past my single life, but i know it works well. But long distance is still hard. There are lots of fish in the sea, so maybe itll be the Atlantic next time?

    My worst breakup – dumped in a f-ing Chilis. It was bad enough i was eating there…

    1. I hear your oof and raise you a “Doh!”

      I think I’m going to take my next date to that restaurant you recommended in Mexico. I heard it’s almost as good as Chili’s. Also, I’m thinking of changing my dating profile tagline to, “I make table-side guacamole.” (Do you think that makes me look too easy?)

  9. One piece of advice my Mom gave me about guys is, to always let them be the first one to say I love you, let them make the first move, let them do everything “first”. The reason she said this is because then YOU know THEY really like you. I am the type to say what’s on my mind, but after hearing her advice, it did work. Not on every guy, but it did have merit.

    Dating is tough. I was on Match and did that dating scene for a long time. Had some really interesting dates, many heartaches, and some great connections. But for the majority of the good connections, they were the ones who did not want a relationship. I was confused. Then why be on a dating site and not “want” a relationship. What are you on there for then? Just sex? Well for me, it took a long time to get to that point after the numerous dating bombs, so I wanted to ensure that the guy actually wanted to be with me and not just wanted to get in my pants. We’ve all been there. Dating stinks.

    Jules, you know, from all of the above comments, that we all care about you and want nothing but the best for you. So, this one did not work, that’s ok. Move on. I do think it was incredibly horrible on how he broke up with you. He could have at least phoned you. Frank, you suck at breakups!

    1. It’s funny you say that about your mom’s advice, because I have a round 2 ‘eHopeful’ series cooking where I took that very approach…

      I’d always heard about guys doing this ‘I’ll just distance myself and maybe you’ll get the hint’ thing and the ‘I’m just not ready for a relationship’ line, but I never realized quite how prevalent it was until I started commiserating with other women after it happened to me!

      Dating REALLY stinks. And THANK YOU 🙂

      1. I am always here to help you Jules! I wish I knew about blogging back in the days of me online dating because I would have had a lot of material to write about!

  10. You probably knew deep in your heart-of-hearts that that heady rush of infatuation, lust and “Yeah, he likes me!” that comes with discovering someone new rarely equals lasting love, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tough.

    Obviously you are better off without him and you deserve WAY better, Sorry you were hurt, Jules.

    1. But in my heart of heart of HEARTS, he had REALLY nice teeth AND played the piano – and what was I supposed to do with THAT?!? Just walk away?!

      Thanks, Peggles 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lilykins! …Can I borrow your slap bracelet photo to create my new online dating profile?? (Then again, I don’t think anyone could handle it.)

  11. Well, now this sounds like a true online dating story. I’m so sorry to hear about the crash landing, Jules, but you are certainly not alone in the I-don’t-want-to-be-in-a-relationship bullshit. That has happened to me so many times I’ve lost track and the funny thing is, almost all of the guys who told me that got into a very serious relationship with the VERY NEXT GIRL THEY DATED. I swear, I’m like Good Luck Chuck.

    I won’t tell you all the classic lines like, “you’ll find him when you least expect it” or “you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs” or “there’s somebody for everyone” because they all suck. Dating (especially in this generation when women can and are often expected to take the lead yet are still left alone feeling like idiots because they didn’t play by “The Rules”) is not for the weak. As a seasoned online dater, the best advice I can give you is to listen to your gut and don’t make exceptions. Sure, there may be an attraction so intense that you’re willing to through caution to the wind and forget about fact that the guy is an unemployed pothead who thinks circumcision is the worst thing since Adolf Hitler (true story), but let that smart brain of yours intervene and pay attention to the red flags. If you find yourself compromising on your non-negotiables (ex. long distance, a dislike of bacon, poor dental hygiene), run. Run as fast and as far as you can.

    You can find great love online (my sister met her husband on Match), but it’s hard and it’s made even harder with all these advancements in technology meant to ease communication, but actually creating a generation that sucks at communicating. Go figure.

    1. Dear Good Luck Chuck,

      1) I want to frame this comment and put it in my (now empty) locket.

      2) Thank you.

      3) REALLY? Really? (Re: dreamy pothead guy.)

      4) I’m on Match now 🙂

      5) Thank you.

      6) I’m sorry, I didn’t hear anything you just said because I was just checking my Twitter feed whilst Instagraming your comment and posting it to Pinterest.

      7) When are we meeting for a bacon-themed cooking class?!

      8) Thank you.

      -Bad Luck Schmuck

      1. Dear Bad Luck Schmuck,

        1) The framed comment will be sent along with an assortment of bacon-flavored goodness.

        2) You’re welcome.

        3) Yep. When I finally do find a guy that I can stand to go out with more than once, I tend to forgive all manners of sins. It didn’t help that I completely fell in love with his dog and miss him (the dog) all the time. Stupid boy.

        4) I wish you the best with Match. I didn’t have the greatest luck on there when I did it years ago, but I’ve been thinking about giving it another shot. After all, I am turning 30 this year and the pressure is on.

        5) You’re welcome.

        6) No worries, as long as you add me on Instagram. @jessralphs

        7) Screw the cooking… let’s BaconFest! How dare that Frank diss you after you introduced him to the most delicious event of all time! He should have been kissing the ground you walk on.

        8) Oh stop. I’m blushing.

        Love, Good Luck Chuck

    1. Thanks, Dana! 🙂 I actually just re-read the break up email as I was writing this ‘Part 4’ last night, and with a year’s distance from it, I can tell you in no uncertain terms – it was actually worse than the weight comment. (I mean it was “nice,” but in the WORST kind way.) Boo hiss, indeed!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your story in such a wonderfully written, enthralling, sympathetic way. I have too many terrible break-up stories to tell here, but let’s just say I’ve been there so many times–dumped in such sad, pathetic, mean, almost absurdly hilarious ways that, anymore, all I can do to get by is just laugh, (and then write about it, of course) 🙂 And I know it’s hard to believe this comment, because I don’t believe it when people say it to me, but you really do deserve better (I know I don’t know him, but to echo Dana above, the weight comment is very telling), and it didn’t work because it wasn’t enough for you. I hope that doesn’t sound preachy or clichéd, especially coming from a stranger–all this is just to say don’t forget how wonderful you are and your own worth!


    STAY AWAY FROM PILOTS!!! That’s a broad statement, but now in my book they’re 0/2.

    You’re still a wonderful story teller and I loved this post from an objective standpoints but this hits so close to home that I’m like almost crying at work right now. God, I’ve got the feels so bad right now.

  14. Wait! It didn’t work? Does that mean I still have a chance? (Just trying to be positive).
    In all honesty, I am certain it’s for the best. I have read and been told and learned from life that you should be divorced about 2 years before getting really serious. That goes for both sides. The time I got dumped that auto springs to mind was in high school. I was all-out in love with this girl. I went on vacation with my parents, returned, went to her house that day – to find another guy at her house! The date we had the evening, did not go so well…
    Summing up – So, I still have a chance!?
    Scott – Love you bunches. You need to talk or vent –

  15. I wish I didn’t have a break up story like this. I met a guy online as well. We clicked instantly. Saw him 2-3 times a week, for a month. He told me he could picture out life together, introduced me to his three kids (he was a widower) and told me he felt like he was already falling in love with me. He left my house on a Sunday morning, told me he couldn’t wait to see me again.

    On Wednesday afternoon, he sent me a text, telling me how great I was but that we weren’t meant to be together. Said that he wasn’t lying about anything his said (which means he was) but that it was better for us both if we didn’t see each other anymore. Told me that in the end “it would make sense to me”.

    It still doesn’t make sense to me…but eff him. 🙂

    I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you…but I’m jealous that you got to go to BaconFest. Next time you want to go, let me know, I’ll go with you!

  16. Oh Gosh!! You know what – props to you for taking the chance and flying out there. Life is all about the adventure!!

    As for break up stories, my first boyfriend broke up with me while we were long distance.
    By email.
    Two weeks before I moved back to the states and was going to move cross-country to be with him.

    BEST THING that could’ve happened to me 🙂

  17. That’s a fear that so many of us big folks have; that no one will really love us, even if we lost weight.

    1. Hi Chris! Thanks so much for reading/commenting!

      As someone who’s struggled with weight her entire life, I can tell you, it raises some pretty deep concerns while navigating the online dating world. People are responding to pictures and pictures alone. I hate it.


      Despite recent struggles, I KNOW it’s possible for all of us to find those people who will love us unconditionally – platonically and romantically. (And I know things. So you should really listen to me. :))

  18. Meh. Onto better guys. I mean… do you really want a dude who can break up with you via e-mail? Not so much…

  19. Remember me? Chick remarried to her ex? Well, just before that bout of dejavu crept up I was dating a super great guy. We were taking it so slow (look at me learning from my mistakes) that not only had I not met any of his friends/family after 3 months we weren’t even FB friends. So, when he suddenly stopped responding to my texts on New Year’s Day (and the following 4 days beyond that) I figured he had changed his mind or put me on his ‘Bad habits to break’ list of resolutions….

    Imagine my sheer astonishment when I learned he’d suffered a massive heart attack, was in a coma for a week and then died. Add to that the fact that I was the girlfriend no one knew about. I must have made quite the impression on his mom at the funeral though (once his cell phone surfaced with photos of us proving I existed) since she asked if I wanted some of his ashes.

    Moral of the story: If they don’t reply text, assume they are dead.

    After something like that, it just makes sense to remarry your ex. Right??

  20. Jules, I have SO MANY TERRIBLE break-up stories. I spent a year of my life saying “Yes” to every person –male, female, trans– who asked me out on a date. I would tell you the whole story of how that played out, but I’m actually saving it for a cheesy teen rom-com novel I’m writing 😛

  21. Also, I am sorry! You are too funny/cute/smart/amazing/talented to get dumped, but it happens to the best of us. For the record, every person I ever asked out in my entire life has said no. Some of them in a horrified, panicked manner. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again? 😀

  22. Just happened upon your blog one day and spent the afternoon reading your posts! You and your mum are hilarious! Love your writing! I wish I followed your blog when I was single; it’s truly inspiring- I so admire your ability to put yourself out there and be yourself (in life and on your blog)! Looking forward to more posts! 🙂

  23. Shizzle. Never trust a man named Frank in uniform. And stay away from bacon-flavored drinks. That’s the moral of this story that I’m getting. It’s not you, Jules; it’s the Frank and bacon. Trust me on this–I’m vegan. I know.

    I wrote about my epic break-ups in my memoir. Would take way more than 4 parts…

  24. I did read this post on my phone when it came in, but I have trouble commenting from my phone and then forgot to comment later (not sure why I think you’ll be interested in that). Anyway, yeah, that kind of sucks, although I wasn’t altogether surprised, not only was this post called Crash Landing (which I know could have been a trick), but when you first reappeared on your blog several weeks back, you said something about sharing your dating exploits which implied more than one person. I look forward to hearing about more!

  25. Just say the word Jules and I will ruin his life ….or cause him some slight inconveniences. Your call.

  26. Aww… That sucks. My worst breakup was the crazy Greek ex-boyfriend who got super-pissed & swore I “tricked him” into saying he cheated on me. Nope. No, sir. Alls I did was ask him a kinda/sorta leading question and all he did was answer. Honesty. Like the dumbass he was. Still thankful to have shaken that one off. 😉

  27. As you have already been told … STAY AWAY FROM PILOTS! They are notoriously ego-centric, totally unreliable, and generally unfaithful. Gross.

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