Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “adult dating

5 Wonderful and Unexpected Benefits of Being a Serial Monogamist

OFF-monogamist

When did monogamy become a negative term? Today a Google search of that term brings up a lot of snarky posts about things like “unable to spend any time alone” and “your friends forget exactly who you are dating.” What? It means something completely different to me and most of the people I hang out with, and when we talk about relationships, most of us are looking for some form of serial monogamy. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Perhaps the millennials are more interested in gratification and hooking up. I’m not sure where that leads them, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the right direction for me.

I’ve tried being a casual dater. Post-divorce I had ideas that I would go out and become a serial dater. I was ready to sow some unshackled seeds. But, it didn’t happen. In fact, given the opportunity to kiss a pretty woman several months ago on a first date, I didn’t. She was confused. I wasn’t.

1. Keeping Everything Honest

Sex is great, sex is important, but sex means very little when there is no relationship involved.

I tried “dating” two women at the same time in college. It didn’t end well. You see, no matter how you do it, you’re always going to be telling the other person what you’ve been doing the next time you get together. And if you’ve just had a wiz bang time with the “other” person, how are you going to reconcile that? My buddy, KP, confesses to being a casual dater with no intention of settling down, or even slowing down. He’s a model of vigor and sexual enthusiasm. But he’s also a bit sad. I saw how his life changed and his attitude lightened up when a woman nailed him down and claimed him for her own. It was good for him. I can’t keep secrets very well. I can keep quiet, I suppose, in order to get something that I want. But sex and dating is not the answer for me. I’m up for a relationship. Maybe even a Relationship.

2. All Available Time

I’ve got my kids nearly half the time. That doesn’t leave a whole heck of a lot of time for dating. And that’s okay with me. My priority is my kids and their well-being. I can’t imagine a situation where a date would get in the way of my parenting, or prevent me from responding to a text or call from them within a few minutes. I would love a relationship, but I have a great relationship with my kids. I can wait on the lover, until the right lover comes along.

3. Cutting Away the Distractions

If a woman doesn’t have long-term potential, I’m not all that interested in spending time with her. I’ve said it over and over again. It’s not that I am making long-term designs on a woman in the first months of a relationship. But if she’s not long-term material, I’m not really interested in putting a lot of energy or effort in to the relationship. I’ve passed up a lot of opportunities for sex, but that’s not really what I’m after either.

4. Focus on My Goals

I’ve got some rebuilding to do. I’m still recovering from my divorce in some ways (mainly financial) and I am taking steps to deal with my unfinished business. How could I really be 100% available for what’s next, when I’m not there myself. I am working on new financial goals. I am writing up a storm, though I know poetry and self-revelatory recovery books won’t provide a roof over my head. It’s best if I keep my focus on the aspects of my life that I am still trying to change or evolve. If I were too serious about the dating thing, or the finding the next long-term relationship, I would be taking focus and attention off the things I really need to get done.

5. My Kids Are Growing Up

At 11 and 13 I don’t have a huge amount of time left before both my kids are heading out into the world without me. And as a single parent, I already don’t get enough time with them. While I’m happy to explore relationships with other women, my real priority is my kids. Plain and simple: my dad duties come before my dick duties. And I put a significant amount of energy into doing Dad right. That’s my priority.

Being a happy dad is the most important role in my present life. If that’s ultimately attractive to another woman, awesome.

All that being said, I crave a relationship with another woman. I’d relish the moment that I find that connection again. I am happy moseying along, in the current mode. I’m okay with dating and keeping things simple, if that’s what it takes to keep the other person around. I’m really okay with that. And I’m not going out to try to find my next hookup. Sex is great, sex is important, but sex means very little when there is no relationship involved.

So yes, I’m a serial monogamist, but it’s not because I always have to be in a relationship. It is not because I cannot stand being alone. Nope, I’m a serial monogamist because I’m hoping to find the next relationship at some point. And that point in the future is very flexible in terms of time, and even in terms of what the person or the relationship looks and feels like. We know love when we feel it. I want love again from another woman. Until then I’ve got more than enough love for and from my kids.

Being a happy dad is the most important role in my present life. If that’s ultimately attractive to another woman, awesome. Until then, if you’re interested in checking things out, let’s go have a cup of coffee and see if anything sparks.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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image: l-system, exey panteleeve, creative commons usage


The Malleable Trajectory of Desire in Online Dating

OFF-spicegirlsOnline dating is a weird phenomenon that has changed many of the rules we once knew to hold true for relationships. And one of the amazing aspects is the real estate like show of women and their profiles, likes, desires, must haves, and in the case of OK Cupid, maybe even their kinky fantasies. Outside of online pornography, never before have so many women been displayed online in photos and bullet points.

And in several discussions with friends about “dating” the superficial elements came up in two very different ways.

First Conversation: I was discussing this process with a woman who has never tried online dating, “and never will.”  Okay. “I just think it’s so wrong to judge someone on their looks alone. You might be missing the perfect woman for you, because she doesn’t meet some criteria that’s just about her looks.”

“Yes,” I agreed, “That’s true.”

“I think it’s wrong, and superficial, and I can’t believe you buy into it.”

“Okay, so let’s say you did, buy into it. And you had to weed down say 2,000 potential matches. What criteria would you use? How would you go about picking from that list?”

She was quiet.

“Because, you have to admit there’s got to be some physical attraction.”

“Of course,” she said. “But that’s so little of what goes into an actual relationship.”

I agreed. “You are right, but, without that spark of desire, there’s not much chance of moving on to the relationship part.”

“I know,” she agreed. “But it seems wrong to be judging these women from pictures. Like cattle, or things. It’s demeaning.”

“How would you go about solving the issue? How would you make choices and actually pick someone to approach?”

She was almost angry, at this point, “I wouldn’t. I would never do it.”

Okay, we were obviously not going to reach agreement on this one. Let’s move on.

Some are quick to accept the meeting idea and the plans are easily set. Some are allusive and won’t respond directly to an offer for a meeting. They’d rather chit chat for awhile.

Second Conversation: “I’ve got this great person for you. She’s amazing. But she didn’t want someone with young kids.”

“Sure, what’s her user name?”

“Well, don’t you want to hear about her? Call me on the phone.”

“Just give me her user name.”

“I mean, she was amazing, and she does the same thing you do. She was really hot, and sexy. And I gave her your website address and she said to send you her information.”

“She’s a bit older than my tastes.”

“Oh.”

Initially I laughed, but then I was kind of sad for this friend. Women of our own age are VERY attractive. And in my spectrum of desire, even more desirable than younger or fitter models. But the next revelation was more insightful for me. She didn’t want to date me, even though the chemistry between us was good, she even admitted that. But she didn’t want someone with younger kids. Her’s were out of the house. Mine were 11 and 13. Okay, same bias.

He didn’t want someone who was that old. She didn’t want someone who was younger, but had younger kids. Two misses in one transaction. Both a bit misguided and superficial, but ultimately we have to build some criteria for picking and choosing what it is we want next in a relationship, or date.

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In the online dating world I maintain profiles on two different sites. And now, after a few weeks back online, I have culled the list on one site to about 3 profiles, and this was from about 150 women. And on the second, more popular and paid site, I have gone from 1,234 matches to about 10.

And as the process goes, you wander through various permutations of physical courting, either “Hey let’s grab coffee” or “Hey, I’m into Game of Thrones too.” And the dance proceeds from there.

Some are quick to accept the meeting idea and the plans are easily set. Some are allusive and won’t respond directly to an offer for a meeting. They’d rather chit chat for awhile. It is possible that their dance cards are full and they are spacing you out a bit on their calendar, or they might not be that interested, but interested enough not to blow you off. It’s a hard thing to determine.

Either way, what you do in the dance, is try to get a meeting so you can both lay eyes on one another. Photos lie. And they sometimes lie big.

And as a romantic, I can get drawn into a photograph and begin to imagine connections that simply are not there when we meet. So for me, it’s best to set the date and chill the fk out. And from what I’ve found, most women like this approach as well. If you get too chatty, or too friendly, the throw up a red flag and either time you out, or drop you from their potentials list.

And while she was attractive and funny when we met, there were plenty of things that didn’t work out for me. I’m not sure how she felt, but it was a quick read for me.

So you set the date and you meet. Then things go from fantasy based on photographs to fantasy based on a physical meeting. Still fantasy. And here’s the amazing thing, your ideas of desire change dramatically based on the photos or profile highlights. And this too is pure fantasy, and yet these fantasies give us insight into turn-ons and turn-offs in our own hopeful quest.

For example, there is a woman in my small pond of desirable women who is an avid soccer player. She’s uber-fit, has a magnetic smile in her photos, and is sporting an interesting tattoo on her tan and strong arm. She is the meander type. We’ve been chatting and emailing for weeks. For awhile she was sick. For another week she was just starting a new job and wasn’t available. Now it’s the World Cup, and she’s just busy. When I ask her about availability, she says she’s gone on some dates, but hasn’t kissed the right frog yet.

But there’s nothing I have been able to do (chatting about soccer, world cup, which coffee shops she likes) to tip her over the edge of meeting me face-to-face. Even so, my fantastic mind has wrapped several times around this type of woman. Self-described tomboy, athletic, young, vigorous, likes to hang and drink with the boys. And in my malleable mind, I begin forming a life with her: short-form fantasy only, I’m not trying to write our history, just imagining dating, kissing, making love, not really planning our lives together. And for me, this woman still scores a very high number in my desirable book.

Another example is a women who seems a bit bookish in her photos. But a smile to knock you out. She was quick to accept an offer to meet and we agreed on a music club/coffee bar nearby. And for the few days before we met, we exchanged emails and eventually texts about things. She was funny, witty, and had a great sense of humor. And in her photos I was able to stretch out my imagination into something resembling desire, but… And here’s the but… I could see in her photos that there was the possibility of my fantasy being less grounded in reality. Nothing major, but some subtle hints that the top profile photo was an extraordinary moment, and not a view into the day-to-day woman I was going to meet.

If a girl is interested she will take the date offer. If she’s mildly interested she might string you on a bit. If she’s not interested she won’t respond to anything you say or do.

And while she was attractive and funny when we met, there were plenty of things that didn’t work out for me. I’m not sure how she felt, but it was a quick read for me. Something about that gut instinct. It really wasn’t anything in particular. She was cute, funny, talkative. She had two kids and seemed to have her relationship to her ex-husband sorted out. But, sadly, it was a no for me.

Even when we think we know what we want, until we see her and hear her and begin to understand her, we’re projecting a fantasy of what we want her to be. And neither of these women were what I expected. And I’m still waiting to get an acceptance from the soccer-babe. I’m guessing I’m just outside of her desirable scale and she’s postponing out of courtesy, and not wanting to piss me off.

What I’ve learned: If a girl is interested she will take the date offer. If she’s mildly interested she might string you on a bit. If she’s not interested she won’t respond to anything you say or do.

Either way, my imagination is strong and while my list is fairly short on both sites, there are a few new women per week that show up. And the expectation is that they too are looking for some level of a relationship. And thus we go on projecting, hoping, and molding our concepts of what we want to match up the profiles that appear attractive to us on little more than a pretty photo and a few touch points of interest.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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image: the spice girls, wikipedia, creative commons usage


Divorced and Dating Again: What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

on dating again - the off parent - first date

It’s a common strategy, to imagine the worst that could happen and plan that escape route, as you are hoping to relieve pressure about the risks you are taking in the present. And while I think it’s a fine defensive strategy, it sort of leans into the failure. And for the most part I like to lean into the win. Both sides have their advantages.

I am sure that I suffer from the optimist’s dilemma. Yes, I know I am overly optimistic. And I use that positivity to drive myself forward even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It works for me. Sometimes. And other times it is my blind side. Even today, I am overly optimistic about a lot of things. I know I am unrealistically projecting my *happy* on things that might not go as I hope.

How does the optimist (me) temper their momentum?

Right alongside that train of thought is the overly-up perspective that fears no risk, pushes the positive, and presses on in spite of the warnings or signals coming from their partner.

And I’m not saying the what’s-the-worst-that-could-happen plan is more or less accurate. But both approaches angle the outcomes, even slightly, towards their expected or predicted outcomes. I’m not talking about “you create your reality” here. I’m talking about leaning in. Holding back. Or thrusting forward with too much gusto and wreaking havoc with enthusiasm.

I understand both approaches. I am consciously trying to dial back my forceful will towards winning and listen to the flip side. And, my hope is, that in this tempered view I can arc towards the middle ground, and middling success, rather than a spectacular victory or crushing defeat.

I have frequently let my rosy perspective set me on course with failure. I’ve overshot relationships in the first days of courting. I’ve held on to business proposals and opportunities that were a sure thing right into the poor house. And I’m not happy about that. I’m positive about it. I’m certain that I can fix it. But am I?

In the trajectory that my “worst” friend imagines, let’s say, we start up a relationship, have a good period of time, and then move on. Looking back, years later, we still look back fondly on this period, when things were new, fresh, and full of passion.

Okay. That’s no so bad.

In the internal dialogue going on in my brain at that very moment, I’m saying, “Yeah but…”

And of course that’s not really the worst. But it’s the descending arc of a relationship that doesn’t quite make the cut. We know what that’s like, right? We’re here–single adults imagining their next future–because things didn’t work out. The “worst” arc happened in our life. And we view things a bit more “realistically.” Right?

Right alongside that train of thought is the overly-up perspective that fears no risk, pushes the positive, and presses on in spite of the warnings or signals coming from their partner. [Um… Me.] And it’s hard to hear “what if things don’t work out.” It puts a damper on our flame. And we love the flame.

I have to under stand that I am blazing right through the “You scare the shit out of me,” so that I don’t have to feel it.

When the “we’re never going to make it” voice came into the discussion I jumped directly to, “of course we will, we’re perfect for each other, we can do this.” But I missed an opportunity to hear what was being said. I rolled right over the signals coming from the potential partner, who was clearly saying, “You scare the shit out of me.”

And I was also saying the same thing. “Wait! What? If you say we’re not right for each other, then what’s all this blood rushing through my heart about, what’s all this energy and passion?” And glossing right over a deeper feeling, “You scare the shit out of me.”

So there is a way to meet in the middle. I can learn [am learning] to temper my steamroller of love. I can, I promise I can. But I need to listen to the “Wait!” I have to acknowledge the fear inside of me that still recalls the taste of tail feathers and loss. I have to under stand that I am blazing right through the “You scare the shit out of me,” so that I don’t have to feel it. Get it? So that I don’t have to feel my fear. My own what’s-the-worst-that-could-happen. My flip side is to ignore any signals or ideas that don’t match up to my what’s-the-best-that-could-happen fantasy.

What? Wait, I’m a massively feeling individual. I mean, that’s what I’ve been saying here on this blog all along. I’m always open with my feelings. Sure. Try me. Ask me anything.

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Oh… Heh heh… Forget that. Try another one.”

There is only one way forward for either of us. Stay in the present moment. Don’t look too far ahead, you are just predicting what you cannot know. Don’t give the voices (both fears and dreams) in your head too much credit, they are ghosts of past relationships, and patterns that might need to be discarded.

How can we stay focused on the person in front of us, while all of this rushing thinking is going along inside, in opposite directions, even as we are staring into each other’s eyes? How can we do it?

Here comes the cliché. I use the serenity prayer. And then I try to come back to the present. I listen to the sound of the other person’s voice as I’m trying to understand their perspective. I attempt to look at both sides (even though it’s hard for me to hear the breakup potential for any reason) and then let them dissolve. The future is the unknown. And the edge of the unknown, where we stand at any given moment, can be terrifying, exhilarating, and is actually unknown. We don’t know.

You simply cannot know what’s going to happen in the next moment. You can only know the present. The touch, smell, sound of your partner. Sure there are logistics, plans, budgets, chores, pains, and ecstasies ahead as you wind down the road of “whatever.” But at this moment, if you listen, if you stop the chattering brain, you might hear…

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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image: first date, emily hildebrand, creative commons usage
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Sex, Love, and Relationships: Dating Is A Bit Like Space Travel

space station flyover, creative commons usageDating is not my favorite thing. I like relationship. Of course you have to go through a period of dating to get to know someone, and see if there is a mutual adoration and physical/emotional fit. And sex too.

I have only had one relationship in the three-plus years since my divorce, and I’d have to say I learned some things that I had never known about myself. I also got to feel what it would be like if I were with someone who shared my love language. AMAZING.

There was one component missing from that three-month journey. For the first month I tried to understand what was going on with my sexual desire, because here was a beautiful woman who was admittedly crushing on me. In the second month I addressed things more directly, and tried to awaken some sexual chemistry between us. I mean, how could I not be… I mean what did that say about me? Was I in need of some kind of Viagra, at my age, for the first time in my life? Well, masturbation was still working, to some extent, so I learned it probably wasn’t that. In the third month I came to realise, that as much as she adored me, I wanted to adore her back. It was a circuit that was incomplete. She was amazing, and she deserved someone who could appreciate that in all it’s facets. Sadly, I was not that person.

And an interesting thing happened when we broke up. I realised how much I did love her, but I wasn’t right for her. We had breakfast the next morning, after “the call,” and I could truly see what an amazing friendship we had developed over the course of our courtship. There were no hard feelings. Perhaps a twinge of sadness for both of us. But we are still strong friends who encourage each other along our journey. Just knowing someone is out there who is thinking about you, is a cool thing.

And the messages came back in spurts and then long periods of silence. There were definite “yes” readings as well as “I’m crazy, back off” warnings.

A few months back I had a different kind of relationship. As my first relationship was about adoration, my second relationship was about sexual chemistry. It was a fiery six month build up that had us both riled up before we ever had our first date. We had met over a year earlier, but things had begun to warm up between us on Facebook. She had gotten divorced. She simply said, “Hi.” And the dialogue/courtship began.

And on paper (or should I say, in the virtual world of texting and emails) we were a fit. And though I was not clear how old she was, she was a reach for a much more fit and sexual partner. It was sexual attraction first, we will figure the rest out as we go along.

Well, when we finally went on a date, it was sweet and touchy-feely and exciting. She was unafraid to tell me how she wanted to kiss me later via text. And the stage was set for our next rendezvous.

Then we hit it off. And it was a blur. I simply didn’t want to get out of bed and do anything else. We connected deeply in our desirous and unfilled centers. As we spent more time together, however, the differences also showed up. Lifestyle choices. Verbal acuity. What had been sort of open in the virtual world, was less easy in-person. (this poem captures a bit of the spirit: it’s just desire)

What I realized, pretty quickly, is while the sexual hunger and connection was hot, the rest of the relationship was not much of a WIN for either of us. It’s fine to sit quietly together and admire how fantastic the other person looks bra-less in a tank top. But there were not a lot of points of connection in our interests. I backed out as gracefully as I could.

But the emotional fallout was much more damaging than I was prepared for. Having ridden the high of the build and release of having this beautiful woman in my bed, I was devastated when it turned out that it was a fling and not the connection I was seeking. And there was one major wrinkle. She was a blog reader, she might even be reading this now. And one of the promises I gave her as we walked openly into a relationship, is that I would not blog about us while we were trying to figure it out. Turns out I didn’t feel comfortable blogging about/to her at all. I went dark and silent.

And dark silence is where I crumble and burn. Combine the chemical rush of the high and subsequent fall with the coming of the Christmas holidays, and my inability to write about what was going on, and it was a bad combo for me. I suffered in silence.

And I contemplated reconnecting with her. I contemplated reconnecting with my first and only girlfriend so far. And I did nothing. And I fell apart.

As I pulled my dating profiles off the web and contemplated my navel for a bit, I met a woman at a NYE party who held an amazing attraction. She was a tennis player, so that was a first, and a fantasy. But I didn’t pursue any connection as I knew I was unavailable and wounded. And I knew all hell was still in the process of breaking loose in my personal and financial life. So I admired her and retreated into my cave of silence.

And I stumbled along and went through my next transformation and started to pick up the pieces of my life alone.

A few weeks ago I had started using a tennis cardio workout as part of my physical and mental healing process. And after the 2nd class I realised I was thinking about the tennis player from NYE. Of course it was a long shot, and it was initially about tennis, but I sent her a message via a mutual friend. Her response was positive and immediate. We connected via txts and the flirting went off the charts.

How fun is that? A casual reach out that produces a willing and excitable potential.

And I began to notice the things that changed in my attitude and hopefulness about women in general. Just a little attention from this very attractive woman was enough to awaken my heart to the “idea” that I could have another relationship. And it seemed there was some of that process going on for her too.

And I noticed too that my heart and mind were beginning to accelerate towards her, like a spaceship being pulled in by the gravity of a large planet. And as I opened to her potential I also sent messages of all types, like some sort of electronic scan. It is amazing how much information we can exchange in a short period of time. And while txting might get a bad rap, there is something wonderful in the considered response. As a writer, I thrive there. And I listen with more intent perhaps than I should.

There are huge amounts of time that are simply waiting. And I can do a better job of allowing the “wait” to be peaceful and less demanding.

So as my life force and positive energy began to accelerate in her direction I also pulled down my defense shields. Even as I professed my ability and comfort with going slow, I was finding my daily thoughts starting to draw strength from my imagination of her and our potential. Of course, there was very little information to go on, so I pressed on all channels. I sent txts. We sent emails. I shared my music.

And the messages came back in spurts and then long periods of silence. There were definite “yes” readings as well as “I’m crazy, back off” warnings. I logged all of them, but I tended to put emphasis on the positive ones. And I leaned in to the gravity and allowed my romantic aspirations begin to color my vision.

Today, it’s over. I have overshot the landing and catapulted right out of her orbit on to some unknown destination. The benefit I have is momentum and hopefulness. She shared and showed me how I could light up again. She also reflected back my obsessive and overwhelming transmissions. I used her pull to attempt a crash landing and bypass all the “dating” and “going slow” that might be more prudent and less dangerous.

So as I speed away from another “potential” I am trying to be aware of the great things I learned. And most of all, I hope to make use of the momentum her gravity and ultimate slingshot has provided for the path ahead.

I need to remember that space travel takes a lot of time. There are huge amounts of time that are simply waiting. And I can do a better job of allowing the “wait” to be peaceful and less demanding. And perhaps even less draining if I don’t expend so much energy communicating and listening.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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image: space station flyover, by chris isherwood, creative commons usage


Porn Addiction and the Single Dad (And a Don Jon Movie Review)

The cast of Don Jon and Porn Addiction Issues

Um… this might be difficult to write.

Let me start with a movie review about porn addiction.

Don Jon is a fairly lighthearted look at a young man’s struggle to move past his T&A porn addiction to try and find happiness in the real world with a real girl. And while it’s an impressive debut as writer and direct for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the movie goes for a few to many stereotypes to be helpful. I’m guessing he was going for funny.

How can you make Scarlett Johansson in to a gum chewing bubble head with poor Bronx dialect, and make her distasteful… Wow. That was an interesting approach, but it takes the story into overall childish and unlikable characterizations. Along with Don Jon these are the couples you seen in Wal-Mart who can’t keep their hands and lips off each other. (In fact, I saw this in an upper-class and expensive sports bar last night, there was no need to typecast these people until the looked like Grease parodies.)

All flaws aside, the issue is real and present, and I would guess, for the younger generation (raised with access to horrid porn of all sorts) much more of an issue.

Tony Danza, on the other hand, is perfect for the part. And maybe Mr. Gordon-Levitt is paying tribute to his heritage, I don’t know. But the low-class, blue-collar, chick-hunting mentalities of the boys, didn’t really require the “scene.” Again, it’s an artifice for telling the story, and may be more related to Mr. GL’s target demographic than I know, but it came across as superficial, and it didn’t need to. Ms. Johansson is gaudy and awful. She’s still beautiful, but they make her out to me more “Married With Children Scarlett Johansson”  than “Lost In Translation Scarlett Johansson”.

And then we have the still beautiful Julianne Moore who plays the bereaved MILF who turns Jon around. While her points are well made, the movie goes off in this Harold and Maude thing, I was wondering if it was a tribute of sorts. Maybe she needed to be smoking all that pot to really dig into this superficial bartender. But their LOVE is a bit hard to fathom.

I’m all for the older woman showing the millennial male stallion a thing or two about love, but their chemistry is … Well, I just don’t believe it. I could see Danza being all over her, but of course he’s got his son’s disease, gawking and drooling over woman, and playing the dumb football-obsessed dad. Again, maybe Mr. G-L, the director and writer, has other reasons for this stereotype, or maybe it was for laughs.

Anyway… I went to see this move, once I knew what it was about… Well, there’s no simple way around it. Because I like porn too.

The courageous move on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s part was making this movie in the first place. All flaws aside, the issue is real and present, and I would guess, for the younger generation (raised with access to horrid porn of all sorts) much more of an issue.

Here’s how it’s played out for me. My Don Jon story.

In the past, I have had periods where I watched and masturbated to porn daily. And what begins to happen, when you’re in one of these grooves, is the potential relationship with actual women becomes less important. So we can let ourselves go, get fat, not care much, because we have shockingly young and stunning whores on-screen 24-7, and now, mostly for free.

These days as a single dad, I occasionally glance at some porn. It’s not something that I’m ashamed of or proud of, it just is. I too was raised on porn, after finding a stack of Penthouse magazine’s in a cousin’s closet.

And as you get into it, you need more, you need variety, and you need excitement. Problem is, the rabbit hole of porn is endless. The filth you can quickly find yourself, experimenting with, is amazing and easy to find. STOP.

My first real repulsion from porn was when my daughter was born. This was about the time that women’s grooming habits went all bare. Suddenly I was blindingly aware of the connection between my daughter and her eventual future, and the younger and younger-looking porn stars who were having to do worse and worse things to get noticed in the porn industry. I rejected the entire process, threw away my DVD stash and swore off porn.

For awhile.

In the end, I don’t think porn is a bad thing. It’s more like alcohol. You can take a drink every now and then, and if everything’s fine, and you don’t go off on a bender each time, you’re probably okay. Porn is kind of like that. But porn IS MOST DEFINITELY A DRUG.

In the movie, Don Jon, the Esther character, asks the young man about his love of porn. And he admits to enjoying porn more than sex with real women. And that’s the beginning of the rub. (Sorry.)

The issue I have with porn today is, 90% of those women are in their early twenties and should be modeling with their clothes on. They are essentially a past I never had, and a future I don’t want at all. I won’t address the abusive porn and family issues that might have gotten these young women hooked on porn, but there they are. And they are NOTHING LIKE THE WOMEN I DESIRE. BUT… And here’s the big but, they are what I’ve been sold all my life as desirable.

Sex is everywhere. The insanity over Mylie Cyrus’s stunts and nudie video are all really just part of our culture. We’re pushing sex to the limits and trying to use it to make a buck selling hamburgers and cars. And of course, more porn.

These days as a single dad, I occasionally glance at some porn. It’s not something that I’m ashamed of or proud of, it just is. I too was raised on porn, after finding a stack of Penthouse magazine’s in a cousin’s closet. And since then I’ve worshiped the idea of being with a woman. And I love making love.

Well, we’ve all got a lot to learn about our personal relationship to sex and porn. And then we’ve got to graduate, as adults to real relationships with real women based on more than boobs and kisses.

AND as a single dad, I have fewer opportunities to be with women. See, I’ve never been the predator type, like the young boys in the movie. I’ve tried casual sex and it does nothing for me. That’s good to know about myself, but it makes the prospect of my next sexual encounter less certain. Today, that’s a good thing. I have made a choice to not move towards sex with a woman unless there’s some REAL connection with her. Kind of like Julianne Moore in the movie. She showed him what sex with someone you really cared about would be like.

I’ve always been that guy. I could worship Scarlett Johansson, and never look at another woman again. Maybe not the SJ in this movie, however, because it’s a whole lot more than just looks and bodies that make love.

Finally, in May of this year, I was sitting across from two different (much younger and without kids) women that I met on OKCupid. And both times, I bowed out of the third-date opportunity. (Often the time people would consider getting sexual.) After two dates with these fine young women, who were wonderful to look at and charming in their own way, I never pursued the next date.

One woman even texted me the next day, “I thought you were going to kiss me but you didn’t.

She was cute. I’d had a margarita. We were sitting in my car before I let her out. And I could’ve. But I didn’t really want to.

When sex drives us, just like alcohol, we can find ourselves in some situations that may not be that healthy for us. Neither of these younger women were real candidates for being a girlfriend. So I didn’t lean over and kiss her. I didn’t want that obligation. And I really wasn’t interested. With the texting girl, it was our first date. I even had a follow-up date to see if I wanted, or she wanted, to kiss this time. Neither of us did.

Keeping your own sexual urges and satisfaction in hand (porn) can help you keep your dick in your pants at times when it might be easier just to go with the flow towards sex. If you find your only wanting to watch porn you might look into getting some help.

It’s not a bad thing, porn. There are some bad things about it. There are some good things about it. Everyone has their own relationship to porn. And the bombshell character in the movie, Barbara, has a real aversion to her boyfriend watching porn, EVER. And I’ve met these folks too. Perhaps their issues are more with their own emotional healing more than their boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe not.

I sure would’ve liked this movie not to have hidden behind the false humor of the Italian bravado and Catholic church parodies, but it wasn’t my movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has brought porn into the light of day. Everyone has a relationship to it, it’s part of our lives. And if you think the covers of Cosmo and even Good Housekeeping aren’t selling with sex…

Well, we’ve all got a lot to learn about our personal relationship to sex and porn. And then we’ve got to graduate, as adults to real relationships with real women based on more than boobs and kisses. The time you spend in the bedroom, in a real relationship, is a very small portion of the time you spend in the relationship. You’d better make sure you’re really into the other parts of the person too.

Note: Oh, I almost forgot, I’m not addicted to porn, I was just enflaming the title of my post. I might, on the other hand, be addicted to women. One woman. I’m still looking, at the moment. (grin)

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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To Love and Be Loved (Dating After Divorce)

dating after divorce, ok cupid, your matches, your profile

Adoration is a wonderful and powerful thing. The woman I am dating has been responsible for lifting me up with the sheer will and determination of her adoration.

But somehow the word “girlfriend” still feels weird in my mouth. Like “wife” did when I first got married. After a while you begin to like the sound of it. I’m not there yet.

Last night, at her house, she said, “You know next Wednesday it will be eight weeks.”

“Huh?”

“Since we met.”

So why am I so reticent? What is my hold up?

It’s back to that adoration thing. It is absolutely frickin wonderful to be adored. And adored like I have never been before. Adored after a devastating divorce which left me nearly crippled. And on so many ways, this is enough.

But in one way, it is not enough. And I think I’ve got a handle on part of it.

The adoration from someone is a powerful healing force. BUT the complete circle is not made until you too are adoring back. It’s like I’m half open. I’m grateful. I’m loving. But I’m not adoring.

She feels it. She pushes against it, even if it’s like pushing on a sore spot. Because I can’t say it’s there if it isn’t. I can’t profess my undying love (like I did in my first two marriages) if I’ve still got my eye out for something that hits my chemistry love button as well.

But I don’t have to make all those decisions now. I have to be honest. I have to not lie when she pines for my “l” word. And I don’t have to make the decision to be with her till death or divorce do us part. We’re still only 8 weeks into it.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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