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

Posts tagged “eHarmony

Get Healthy Before Dating: Avoiding Vengeance Dating Syndrome

OFF-legs

I came out of the gate of my divorce with a fury that was hell-bent on having some fun. It didn’t work out like that, but I joined OK Cupid, eHarmony, and Match.com all at once. I mean, if she doesn’t want me, I might as well get out there again, asap, and see what I’ve been missing. You see, sex had been off the table or intermittent for quite some time in my marriage. Let’s get to my personal definition of the Vengeance Dating Syndrome.

  • You’ve got a score to settle
  • Your lust and desire are raging like a fire
  • All available women seem like opportunities
  • You have no type, just breathing and DDF
  • The best revenge is living well, and having a new girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Dating sites are like window shopping
  • Any opportunity for a first date is a good opportunity
  • You’ll overlook major red flags in pursuit of sex

Okay, so many of those described me as I came into my first summer alone. Or at least “out of my house” and “ring off the finger” divorced. We were still negotiating the terms of surrender, but we were done. So I spent a good bit of time and energy trying to meet and greet any potential women on the three top dating sites.

I was having a hard time maintaining a healthy relationship with myself, why would I want to bring someone else into my fractured life?

And the first thing I learned… Oh my goodness, a boring first date is really a waste of time. For the first few dates I tried to keep my upbeat attitude, even when they showed up looking significantly different from their profile pictures. “Um, when was that glamour shot taken, by the way?”

The second thing I learned… Don’t just accept the date offer to have a date. If you’re just looking to do something, go for a jog, exercise, call a friend. But the supply of potential first dates is endless, the actually first dates “with potential” are much more limited. Have some discretion. You’ll get over the fast and furious attitude pretty quickly, as you learn the romancing requirements today are a bit more stringent.

And the third thing I learned, while in this dating frenzy… Most matches are not matches at all. In a room of a hundred people, I am probably drawn to about 3 potential partners. And of those only one is not married. Online dating has the same sort of mix. Of the 2,000 “available” women in my demographic and within 50-miles of my home, I am interested in about 20. And of those 20, just reading the profile I can tell we’re not even close. And after a few emails, if they don’t respond, it’s obvious either a. I’m not their cup of tea; or b. they are way too cute and thus too busy to even pay attention to my message.

Women have a very different experience in online dating. A woman I went for a glass of wine with last week told me her inbox is overflowing every night. She can’t even keep up with all the offers. Of course most of them are creepy, classless, oafs who are looking to hook up, but even the nice ones have to take a number and get in line.

I’ve had two dates that were the result of a woman reaching out to me first. In four years (not continuous, mind you) I’ve had TWO. And it’s not that I don’t get an occasional LIKE, or FLIRT, or WINK. I get about 2 -3 unsolicited interactions per week. But most of them are WAY OFF THE MARK of what I am looking for. Then I wonder, oh my, am I that far off when I message a woman who is 10 years younger than me? Probably.

So the vengeance thing is a bad idea. And the being in a hurry thing, doesn’t really work with most women. And, in my case, I am not willing to spend all of my free week nights going for coffee with women that are marginally compatible. But back in the summer of escape velocity, I tried and tried and tried. It was exhausting.

The summer of lust became the summer of fizzle. No sex. No kissing. Nada. And it was a year-or-so later before I fired up the profiles and tried again.

The fourth thing I learned, in letting go of my attitude, was that I was not ready to date. I was still grieving my divorce. I was reeling and lonely on the nights without my kids, and I was looking for a distraction, and maybe some sex. I got none of the above. My tolerance for wasting time on an impossible first date as about as positive as my attitude towards reality tv. I just don’t get it. And the online dating trap was a poor distraction.

I did have a couple near misses in those early months. And one, was so close, she even gave me her number in the parking lot and mentioned maybe just coming over and hanging out, watching a movie or something. But I was too eager and my first email, the next day, sort of freaked her out. I’ll never forget the first line of her email.

“Slow your roll.”

I had never heard the phrase, but I knew exactly what she was saying. And she never allowed a second date, or a movie night to happen. I’m not sure I was too far over the top, but I did write her a poem. And even though I disclaimed the romantic part of it, as just a poem, she was completely wigged-out. My first near miss.

And there were a few more near misses, but what I really realised was that I was in no condition to date anyone. I was having a hard time maintaining a healthy relationship with myself, why would I want to bring someone else into my fractured life? I answered my own frustration by shutting down all of my profiles. The summer of lust became the summer of fizzle. No sex. No kissing. Nada. And it was a year-or-so later before I fired up the profiles and tried again.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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Sex is Fun: Should You Settle for Apathetic Sex?

sex is fun[Disclaimer: This post is not about my experiences with any women, past, present or future. All examples/stories are fictitious and made up in my twisted little mind.]

Sex should be fun. And after divorce, for whatever reason you got divorced, you’ve got a new lease on your sex life. What might have become routine or mundane sex can now be awakened again. Sex can be exhilarating again. Touching someone for the first time, should be a thrill. And perhaps in your marriage, touching your partner became a bit of a chore, or (for me) a navigation through a conditional minefield that often resulted in a fight rather than sex.

FIRST LAW OF DATING AFTER DIVORCE: Don’t take your show on the road until you’ve gotten through the bitterness, anger, and sadness of your divorce.

If you know your love language is TOUCH, you’ve got to get this straight: sex is one of the ways we feel connected, loved, included. Sex isn’t the only way. We’re the one’s always reaching out to brush our partner’s back as we pass through a room. It IS more about touch than sex, but if sex goes off the table, so goes the healthy feelings of love for the Touch-person. I am a touch person. My wife is a “do things for me” person. And while we made it long enough to have two wonderful kids, we couldn’t navigate the end game of love and sex beyond the parenting duties. Some things became more important than sex. The term TTFS became a joke for a while, but then it became a curse. (TTFS: too tired for sex.)

Well, if that’s where you find yourself, entering the new kingdom of adult sex, welcome. We’ve got a lot of things to learn and a lot of new potential partners to meet. Again, it’s not all about sex, but a lot of it is about sex. At least initially, sex is what drives us men so hard to seek a partner. It’s kinda hard-wired. Like our animal DNA trying to find a way to spread in any means possible.

Of course, adult, post-divorce sex, for me has nothing to do with procreation and everything to do with … Well, we’re still exploring what the goals are in my self-talk, but we do agree that sex should be fun. Sex as a chore, or sex without joy isn’t sex at all. It’s something else. It’s what we don’t want. Yuck.

So where are we? We’re recently out of a long-term relationship. (4-years for me today) We’re starving for touch. (Me, a touch-focused person.) And we’ve done a lot of work at healing ourselves post-divorce. (If you haven’t done your “work” to get through your divorce sadness and anger, you’re likely to act out, or repeat the same situation again. Do the work. Get yourself healthy before you get back in the game of love and sex.) So what are our options?

  1. Meeting people at social gatherings (churches, athletic events, school events, bars, live music clubs)
  2. Meeting people through friends (I don’t know why, but people don’t think of introducing their single friends very much.
  3. Meeting people through networking (old friends, high-school sweethearts, Facebook connections, reunions)
  4. Meeting people through the net (Online dating, online dating, online hookups, online sex, hookup apps)
  5. Not meeting people and staying home watching movies or porn. (ACK! This can work for a bit, but you need to get back out there if you’re going to get your needs met.

FIRST LAW OF DATING AFTER DIVORCE: Don’t take your show on the road until you’ve gotten through the bitterness, anger, and sadness of your divorce.

Most of those options are fine, but only #4 gives you any real power to take the matter into your own hands. So let’s look at the couple of types of online dating sites available and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Plain old Dating Sites (This group has your best potential of resulting in a relationship, if that’s what you want.)

  • OK Cupid – one of the big daddy’s of online dating. It’s free, there are a lot of potential mates, and their questions are deep and extensive. Sometimes you can learn way too much before you ever meet the person, using OKC.
  • eHarmony – the “we know best” dating site. I hated it because there was no browsing. eH sets you up with matches. And those are the only people you can contact or even look at. No thanks.
  • Match.com – sort of like OK Cupid but you pay to get on. What I’ve noticed recently is there are a lot more women in my age group and women in my tribe on Match. You will know what I’m talking about when you spend anytime on these sites.
  • Plenty-of-Fish – Another big free site. I set up a profile years ago, but didn’t find any initial hits when I started.

Of all of these, I have been happy with OKC (my only relationship was initiated on OKC) and Match.com. You’ll find what you like and what you don’t. And there are tons more. See what floats your boat.

Sex with experienced partners is a blast. Get this, they are probably hungry for sex too. But don’t jump in to fast, sex with a less-than-stable person can really mess up your simple life.

Hookup Sites (Um, these are mostly spam sites with people trying to generate money through porn or pay-per-view video sex chat. Not my cup of tea. But you might be curious, so check them out.

  • Adult Friend Finder (The motherload of “Maybe get laid tonight” sites) Free to join, pay to make contact. But make sure you spend a bit of time looking before you pay. You’ll notice most of the profiles are way to good to be true, and they’re not. 20-yo hotties do not look for men 40 – 60 yo. Nope. They are going to ask you to view their private show, or private set of pictures, or something… “You don’t need a credit card or anything to join, come see me there…” Nope, don’t do it. Ever. It’s bullshit.
  • Fling (there are a billion of these spin-offs and half the ads on AFF are to other dating/hookup-tonight sites.) These are all spam-tastic sites. They will start mailing you 10 – 15 matches an hour. Women willing to hookup with you today. BUT you’ll have to pay for the privilege of reading their email, where they will invite you to view their pictures on…
  • Tender (the App that seems to have caught on in the younger groups) Use your Facebook friends and friends of friends to find attractive potentials and if they find you attractive too you can communicate. It’s never worked for me, keeps timing out when it tries to establish my Facebook connection. Oh well.

There are tons of new sites and apps daily for whatever kink you’re into. But most of them are revenue generators and could care less if YOU get lucky. And most of the profiles are either fake or made by professional performers who would like to perform for you in some way or another.

Cheating Sites

  • AshleyMadison (Yep, there’s a dating site for people in committed relationships who want some on the side) If you’re cool with the idea, go for it. You’re going to pay to read any emails from anyone. And you’ll be emailed to death with “Likes” and “Collect $ Emails” from lots of women. But you pay to get access to chat, or email, or often to even see a single picture. Um, yeah, forget about it.

I’m sure there are other cheating sites, and probably cheating apps, but that’s way off the path in my book. If you want to hookup for a night do it. If you’re married or in a committed relationship and have that urge, take matters into your own hands and forget about it. It’s not worth it.

Apathetic sex is what got me here. When sex became more of a chore than a joy our marriage was winding down. The two were inextricably entwined in my book.

Okay, so let’s say you’ve found some matches on the legit dating sites, you’ve had a few dates, and …

Sex with experienced partners is a blast. Get this, they are probably hungry for sex too. But don’t jump in to fast, sex with a less-than-stable person can really mess up your simple life. The stories I’ve heard… Not good. So don’t jump in the sack too fast, even if you want to, it’s best to get a picture of the potential partner over a few dates and even a few disappointments. You’ll learn a lot. And maybe even start to have a real attraction to the person rather than just the sex appeal. But on to the sex.

Yes please. With partners your own age (and new women, who you’ve never slept with, who are not your partner over the last 11 years, who are excited and as revved up about sex as you are) you may be in for a treat. These folks SHOULD know what they want. They should have ideas about sex and pleasure and connecting. And if you’re lucky you’ll both be amazed and fascinated with the passion and power of having sex with someone new. I’m sure it’s a drug. I’m also sure people get addicted to the rush of new sex, new love, new partners. I don’t think that’s me, but it is a thrill either way, to see a new body disrobed and ready before you.

Hopefully, you have some idea of what makes you tick as well. And if the dance party goes well, perhaps you make it on to the post-coital date where you really begin to evaluate the person as a potential mate. Or not. That mate-thing is up to you. I know a friend who’s into sex with as many partners as possible. When the commitment things comes up, he’s gone. Not my idea of intimacy, but he seems satisfied with his high.

Apathetic sex is what got me here. When sex became more of a chore than a joy our marriage was winding down. The two were inextricably entwined in my book. My ex, with a different love language, was happy with infrequent sex. I was dying.

I’m not dying now. I’m not drowning in sex juices either. That’s not my way. I think I’m a serial monogamist. If that involves dating, or coupling, or marriage, I have no idea. And the good thing is, I don’t have to decide until I have to decide. I haven’t gotten close to marriage, but I have had one girlfriend. And whatever that means, I’m open to having another. [BTW: this is not an advertisement for me or my dating profile. (grin)]

Good sex to you all out there. Do what feels good. Walk away from what hurts or seems inappropriate. With divorce on the rise, we’re growing in numbers, and that’s good for all of us.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Dating Tips for Modern Adults: Texts, Facebook, Profiles, Phonecalls

dating tips for the modern adultIt’s a lot more complex trying to figure out relationships these days, then it was before I met my ex-y. Today things like Facebook and text messages go for communications. And the signals can come from all directions. You’ve got to be a communications savvy person, or get lost. Or refuse to go “online” for your romantic prospecting. But if you’re not willing to up your online game, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.

These days phone calls are almost archaic. The dates I’ve set up over the last three years have involved only a handful of phone calls. Some never progress off the initial dating site. Others will give you a phone number as a back up, but won’t ever respond to texts. And then others…

It’s easy to get swept up in the joy of messaging as well. I’ve had a number of startup relationships that were amazing in text and not-so-much in person. And that too, is one of the problems with online dating. There is a lot of intensity and fantasy you can give into before you ever look into the other person’s eyes. There’s even a question on OK Cupid’s massive question database, “Do you think you can fall in love without ever meeting someone in person?” Really?

Let’s pull that idea apart for a second.

  1. Photos are not very good indicators of what a person really looks like. If they are using really old photos they could be 50 lbs heavier in real life. (It’s happened to me three times, so far. You want to ask, “Um, that photo… When was that taken?”)
  2. Romantic articulation is not a good indicator of a chemistry match. It’s a good indicator of a romantic writer.
  3. The imagination can run wild with #1 and #2. The let down can be shocking.

I have a new strategy (as of my last online dating date, two nights ago) get the texts going. And then trade selfies. This has only snipped one escalating online flirtation, but it was immediate. There is very little manipulation you can do to a selfie in most circumstances. And you want to get the raw story before committing to a date.

And dates take time. They can be fun or uncomfortable. But they are distractions, at some point, if you keep finding yourself sitting across from “what was I thinking?” more than a few times. You need to refine your criteria a bit.

Here are a couple informal tips I’ve learned so far.

  1. If there’s only one photo – they are probably hiding something.
  2. Look at all the photos. There’s usually that one photo that’s a bit more real, less romantic, than the others. You can sometimes see through the mirage of great photography in that one photo. (I only learned this after the fact. I’d go out on a date and come back home and ask “what did I miss?”)
  3. If they don’t have kids, they’re never going to understand me and mine.
  4. Look for something magical. One thing that you can really get into about the person. (Not a pretty smile.) What they do or profess to love that you also love. See if you can tease a few more details about that “concept” in your conversations via txt, email, or whatever.
  5. Pretty smiles are amazing. But they are not a complete package.
  6. Go ahead and say what you’re looking for in a relationship on your profile. I have it out there. “I’m looking for extraordinary.” I don’t want a half-charged woman. I’m not low-power or low-maintenance. I want brilliance.
  7. Keep plenty of time to yourself. If you are going out on dates in order to not be alone, you might look at that. You’ve got to keep refining what you want love to do, building the relationship without yourself, BEFORE you get in another relationship. Your goal should be to build on those things, not just a sexy connection.

There are a lot of ways to communicate online. If you really like this person in initial conversations, but it’s hard finding the time to date, you can ask to be “friends” on Facebook. (Another source of great REAL photos.) And don’t discount Facebook as a potential dating pool as well. Much more touchy on Facebook, to seek dates, but when there is a connection it’s easy to get a feel for what this person is into by looking at their Facebook wall. I’m happy to share mine early. I’m not trying to hide who I am. My Facebook profile is 100% public.

And it’s quite okay for them to unfriend you when they decide you’re not a fit. Don’t be offended. It’s not about picking up more Facebook friends. It’s about trying to establish a communications system between the two of you.

And finally: DON’T DATE ON FACEBOOK. Sharing your “new boyfriend” is very embarrassing when you have to go back and delete all their pictures. And those “first Ikea purchase together” photos just seem sad when you’ve known the person for two weeks. Leave your Relationship Status on Facebook as “make selection.” Nobody needs to be trolling you for dating. And you don’t need to be broadcasting to them or anyone else when you go from “In Relationship with Sandy” to “It’s Complicated” to “Single.” It embarrasses your friends for you. Just don’t do it. (Unless you’re in your twenties, then perhaps, everyone is doing it. I don’t know much about that demographic.)

It’s wild enough out there. You need to get your communications strategy in place. And then if the other person has a different pace or different style you can figure out how to adjust.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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The Six Rules of Online Dating: Seeking Chemistry and Everything Else

Refining your roll in online dating (or dating in general) is a big part of getting your groove back after marriage. And really, the truth is, you shouldn’t be rolling anything at all until you’ve gotten some space between you and your divorce. As we said in our divorce recovery class, “Before you take your show on the road, you need to get your act together.”

I’ve spent some time on Match.com, OKCupid, and eHarmony and I can tell you something about the online dating scene for us “near or over 50” folks. It’s not easy being back in the dating scene. It’s not our natural or comfortable state. (Not mine, anyway.) We like to say things like “serial monogamist” to describe ourselves as looking for the next ONE person, rather than casual dating. (Sorry, again, I’m talking about myself.)

Here are a few things I’ve learned about online dating.

  1. Pictures lie. (Yes, it might be a picture of her, but … When you meet in-person you get that WTF feeling.)
  2. Hyper-focus on physical beauty is usually a bad thing. Sure we want someone who is attractive, and most importantly sexually attractive to us, but if their profile talks too much about working out and being in great shape, that’s probably what you’re going to get. I had some fruitless first dates with very attractive and very fit women who had little else on their mind.
  3. The 38-Special song, “Hold On Loosely” really comes into play with online courtship. If you get too enthusiastic you’re going to scare off the quarry. If you’re too romantic, too persistent, too charming, forget it. Be authentic, put your offer out there, and shut the fuck up. (Besides, if like me, you were the generator of 90% of the affection in your relationship, you need to make sure this potential partner has some “generation” in them as well.)
  4. If their profile is too amazing, you will never hear from them. I know an attractive woman on OKCupid who can have a date every night of the week, if she wants one. The offers fill her inbox. Many of them creepy, but enough that she is never really looking for opportunities.
  5. Most women don’t trust really attractive men. And it goes both ways. (Mathematics of Beauty – An OKCupid Study)

I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum. Some days I feel like the too-cute guy. Other times I feel like the over-weight 50-ish dad trying to be younger and hipper than I really am. It’s all about your roll. How you define your self, and define what you are looking for.

And that’s the beauty of online dating, at least the experience of filling out your profile and browsing around at the potential mates. Here are my first Six Rules of Online Dating

FIRST: You have to describe yourself and what you are looking for. This process helps you define for yourself what you think your best qualities are. Show your best face. Give your best enticement.

SECOND: You will have to describe what you are looking for. Even things like age-range can be tricky. And what you say can reflect more about you than you know. (Example: the 43 yo woman with two kids who is looking for men 30 – 42)

THIRD: Ultimately this seeking love thing is really a numbers game. The more potentials you meet the more potential you have of finding a match. And if you’ve been through a divorce or two, the hope is you are beginning to learn what works for you and what does not. (You do know your Love Language, don’t you?)

FOURTH: Go out. Get back out there. You don’t remember what dating is like, and you certainly don’t know anything about dating today. Texting, email, online dating sites, phone calls… It’s a new frontier.

FIFTH: As you begin to waste a few Saturday or Sunday afternoons on pointless dates, you will begin refining your criteria. If you ware looking for casual sex, I suppose there are certain profiles that hint at that. (Would you consider sleeping with someone on the first date?) If you are in the hunt for the next relationship, it is not helpful or hopeful to go out on a zero-potential date, and you learn to refine and recheck their online profile before you make the next “in-person” offer.

SIXTH: There is usually one picture that shows how the person really looks. Everyone is putting on their best face. And my profile is no different. But after you’ve gone on a few loser dates, you can go back to the profile of the person and SEE the ah-ha photo. The “I saw that, but I didn’t really register what it meant.” The hints in photos are often more important than the beautiful smile.

I’ve been out on some first dates with really beautiful smiles. I mean, drop-dead beautiful photos… And then, you meet, and you realise your mistake.

Today I am much more selective about going out on that first face-to-face meeting. And so far, in three years, I’ve had three WOWs. Three first dates that I was REALLY into. The kind of first date that has you ready to take down your dating profile when you get home. And one of them seemed to say, “Yes, let’s give it a shot,” as we were leaving the walk. She backed out. And thus, at this moment, I’m 0-for-3 on the HIT department.

But I’m stepping into the batters box again. I’ve reopened my Match profile to see if the OKC pond has just gotten stale.

After taking June – August to consider the second “woman with potential” and not really go on any other dates, and taking September off to get ready for my live music concert, I’m aching to get back out there.

I miss the feeling of a woman. I know that I need to dial back my NEED even now. My romantic  rush is on. I think it might be the change in the weather, towards Fall. But more likely, it’s just my cycles. I’ve been self-focused for about 4 months. And I got through some really hard stuff. And now I’m feeling the rush and push towards my birthday, usually a time of power and confidence for me.

And I’d really like to spend my every other Saturday nights wrapped around a lovely and articulate woman. I’m hopeful that I can get my roll right and that eventually the numbers will come up in my favor. And hers!

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Online Dating: Setting Your Sights for WOW and Browsing the Herd

How to use online dating sites

Forgive the animal metaphor, but online dating is a bit like a cattle call. A stream of faces and mythical ratings to entice and enchant you. As the fantasy goes, “I’m single again, let’s take advantage of this new world, sew some seeds, have some fun.”

The reality is much more time consuming, mundane, and potentially expensive.

Filling out your online dating profile even if you have no intention of “working” the system, is one of the real benefits of giving it a go. Here’s why.

ABOUT YOU

  • Describing what you are like
  • Sharing things you like to do with others
  • Remembering what’s romantic, even if it’s been a long time
  • Outlining a bit about who you want to meet
  • Defining what you are looking for (a relationship, a fling, a bootie call)

ABOUT THEM

  • Seeking out and finding the traits you want in your next relationship
  • Noticing what “types” turn you on, and what things immediately turn you off
  • Seeing the wide variety of smiles and styles out there, theoretically dating
  • Do you have any deal breakers (smoking, drugs, too religious, not religious enough)
  • Exploring deeper aspects of a woman’s personality by reading her profile and looking at her answers

Overall, the process should bring several things to light.

  • Are you ready to be in a relationship?
  • Are you ready to shine up and show up?
  • How much are you willing to learn about the new dance of dating?

Here’s what I think I learned about myself, thus far.

  • I like dark hair more than lighter shades
  • I prefer small breasted women
  • If there is not something simply amazing about the person (that I can see in their profile) there probably will not be something amazing about them in person
  • I don’t really like dating, I want to be in-relationship and not paying for wine bars
  • Intelligence is more important than waistline, but… There is a limit
  • I’m craving something more than just a relationship, I want the BUZZ
  • The buzz has led me astray before, I have to keep refining my two core needs, in spite of the buzz
  • Physical touch and closeness is very important, and it can be over done
  • Emotional depth and ease of expression is something I’m good at, and I require that in my partner as well

All this to say, I have built a roadmap for finding the next love of my life. (Sounds corny.) But I’m not looking to shop the herd, or play the field. I’m looking to find the next person “to come home to.” (An OKCupid catch phrase.)

So in this year or so, that I’ve been playing on OKCupid I have had three relationships. One long one. (Current “girlfriend” is going on three months.) But I’ve only met ONE woman who embodied for me the IT GIRL. As I was walking away from this two-hour chat I was thinking, “If she’ll date, I’ll take down my profile tomorrow.”

She didn’t. And thus I’m about to hang my flag back up on OKCupid.

But I think I need to talk to the “girlfriend” and be honest about what’s going on. It’s part of the new year. Not to live with “almost” and to open up the pain of “alone” to make room for “wow.”

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

PS. What does “spiritual but not religious” mean? I think I know, do you?

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Putting Online Dating in Perspective

What's your best part - online dating - the off parent

Um, honey, let me ask you a question. Are you saying the best part of you is the swell of your left breast? And your user name, SRSLY? I guess you’re not looking at this online thing too hard. Or perhaps you are looking for the dudes that will jump at a side picture of a breast in black sparkly dress. I guess…

And the bathroom meme for your photo is sad. It’s not all that exciting to see your shower and towel rack. I mean, you’ve got to have a few friends who could help you out. Even one of those fancy phones that have the camera that faces back at you?

One of the cool things, the organizing things, about setting up your online profile is you have two major tasks.

  1. How do you present yourself to the world? Photo. User Name. Bio and Answers to provocative or benign questions.
  2. What are you really looking for? Big breasts. Fit stomach. Brains bigger than yours. A smile. Humor.

Step 3 is continually refining what you want and how you present yourself.

In completing the first round of questions and bio fields in your dating profile you’re going to at least be getting a picture of what you think you are and what you think you are looking for.

So “trouble” in you profile name might not be the best choice, unless that’s what you are trying to attract.

And then you start the process of going on a few meet and greets. “Let’s grab a cup of coffee…” And now your sense of what’s important gets refined.  One of my discoveries, “Wow, she was beautiful and liked to work out a lot. BUT… we had NOTHING to talk about.”

Okay so my priority, actually, is brains and banter over nice boobs or taut abs. And my recent experience says that as long as they are not obese I can get quite excited by different body types and styles.

And my other recent commitment: if there is not something absolutely extraordinary about the person, there is no real reason to meet. I’m not looking to fill time, or keep from being lonely. I’m looking for someone who can keep up with my rapid fire synapses and THEN perhaps my strong hands. Perhaps. But again, BED IS NOT THE GOAL.

Again, a friend asked me, chastised me really, about following up with a beautiful woman I’d had 1 date with. “She’s not that into you, why are you still wasting time on her?”

“I’m not really trying to have sex with her, we just had fun. Oh and she’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever been around.”

I had to think about it a day later when I was ABOUT TO SEND HER A FUNNY NOTE on LinkedIN (my favorite dating network). What did I want from her? Why was I willing to sit next to her in amazement, if there was no chance, and very little willingness on her part to schedule something. Why was I flagellating myself against a person who could not, or would not, give anything in return?

And then we come to my ex-y. At some point that was the question I had to ask. She’s not going to change into a warm, huggy, sexualized person.

Like trying to fix the alcoholic, it was not going to happen by anything I could do. I could ask and ask and ask, but if there was zero affection coming back, my asking would become less frequent and more painful.

So I was no longer willing to flagellate myself to the mother of my children. Why would I put up with the touch-less date, the pointless courting?

We’ve been through this before. It feels familiar some how. That DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT.

I’m done with being addicted to “longing.” I want joining as my goal. If the person is not available… Why am I wasting my time? A counselor once told me, “You do longing very well. But it’s okay to get some of those needs met.”

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Your New Matches: Online Dating and the Big Miss

How to get online dating rightHow can you just tell by the name or the age of the person what your eHarmony “matches” are going to be like?

The under 37s are almost all going to seem too young. Or so hot that I’m going to be too old. And the odd names usually mean ethnic (not necessarily a bad thing).

And then the spammy craigslist stuff just gets to the details, blonde, great tits, petite. WHATEVER!

I am learning more and more, as I merely look around, that I am an everything man. I’m not looking for a type. I’m looking for a spark. And that spark can come from any hair color, any body type, and any name. But where it doesn’t come from, for the most part is ONLINE>>>.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Strike Two! The Could’a Should’a Would’a Online Date Clips My Wings

2nd online date goes off the rails(This post continues the story started here: Stepping Back Into the Breach; Dating Again After Divorce)

Well, my online dating experience is getting longer… and I’ve had another near miss.

I can tell you exactly what happened. Same thing that happened with hottie number one. I came on too strong. My heart on my sleeve, my CD-R of my break-up CD, my quick note of excitement. “You need to slow your roll,” she said in her next email. I hadn’t heard the expression, but I knew what she meant.

She said, “We’ve been out on one date.”

I agreed. I recanted my note. I explained my inner dialogue away. But she didn’t buy it. “I’m sorry, I’m just a bit creeped out by it. Good luck in finding what you are looking for.” And like that I was jettisoned out with the last batch of near-miss online dates, I guess. It was new for me.

It’s complicated, this dating with kids thing. I was so sure this woman was a fit of some kind, but I moved in and set up camp without a permit. And probably I should not have shared it with her. Probably she googled it and found this site. Damn. But of course it’s my own fault. And perhaps I’m the dumb ass. Thinking this is okay.

Next time, no love letters, just a date. No facebook connection. No *smile* TXTs. Just a date. Thanks. Wanna do it again?

So, near miss, I’m sorry. You gave me what I needed. A serious case of the hopefulness. And what I gave you was some overbearing crap. Again, my loss. I was watching that cute video of you and reading over your email dismissal. I wanted to remember your smile. And as the impressions wore off, I reached again for something that was too raw, too fresh, too fragile, and mostly too presumptuous. And I can see how that paints me as too needy. Yep. Guilty. Back to the dating pool.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Stepping Back Into the Breach; Dating Again After Divorce

Ritas on the first date? Or coffee? Or Wine?It’s not that I don’t like online dating, it’s actually that I don’t like dating. What with it’s unanswered questions about what’s next, where are we going, how long can I say here. I want to be past the dating thing, and back into the relating. And it’s not sex that I’m talking about specifically. It’s more the feeling you get when you are SEEN by someone. And then deemed as worthy and worthwhile of attention.

So the “date” last night started well and ended well. It was the first date in all six of mine, that I immediately felt at ease. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to her. I was trying to express myself and my pursuits, but she was way too familiar, in a good way. It was as if we had been friends in high school or something. An easy way the conversation flowed between us. All so heavy with promise.

And over three hours later she asked, “Well, are you ready to go home?”

“No,” I said.

She smiled.

We were balancing the fact that she’s been divorced for 10 years and me not even 10 minutes, yet.

We chatted for another 15 minutes or so and she said she actually did have to go home. Her kids would be waiting up for her. (Now that’s a new and funny concept.) And we walked easily across the parking lot as I grabbed a CD out of my car to share with her. And then she was gone. But not after both of us admitted out loud that we had a good time and looked forward to the next time. And she did something very cool.

“Did I give you my phone number?”

Not dating, but being friends, we plugged her number into my phone and I called her and learned her last name. And I was thrilled. I TXT’d her with a tease after I got home. I believe we were both smiling most of the night.

And that’s the point. We were both smiling. Sure things can get hard in a relationship, but when the spontaneous smiling ends the tenor of the situation changes. Okay, so we’re in the opening minutes of our relationship, whatever that will be, but I have to say, I am not afraid.

My divorce is supposed to be over in three weeks. But, “The relationship had been in trouble for a while.”

“Yes,” she agreed. “It’s never just over. I mean, I guess the person CAN just walk out, but something had to be going wrong for that to happen.”

We were balancing the fact that she’s been divorced for 10 years and me not even 10 minutes, yet. Sure, I know there will still be bumps on the roller coaster of being divorced and being a single parent. But somehow with her I was ready to be to the next stage, just hanging. I was sad to leave, but exhilarated to think about the next time. “Call me anytime, even if you just want to hang out,” she said.

The trajectory with kids is so much longer than we might have experienced without them. I mean, I don’t even have a place at the moment. So there’s really no where to go, to hang out. And next weekend I have MY kids. (Blessings!) And so the 15 miles between us might as well be light years. But it doesn’t feel that way.

Not moving things forward in a hurry or anything, but I wanted her to know that the chemistry was very cool for me, at that very moment.

What it feels like, is I’m not afraid to imagine what the WE might be. Even if it just means putting us on a couch watching a movie together. With her, I imagined this might happen. Whereas, when thinking about any of my other 5 dates, I don’t even really want to have coffee again.

“I think chemistry is very important,” I said. We were midway through our meal and I was beginning to explore into the “relationship” idea. Not moving things forward in a hurry or anything, but I wanted her to know that the chemistry was very cool for me, at that very moment. We both laughed and chatted about that for a minute. And about the oddness of online dating and why people our age sometimes seem like old people.

She was not an old person. And she was radiating in my attention. As she should be.

So with that, even for a week, I am — in theory — off the market, off eHarmony, off the matching of match.com. Because all that “dating” crap is really distracting when what you really want is a friend, not a date.

… story continues with  Strike Two! The Could’a Should’a Would’a Online Date Clips My Wings

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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My Online Dating Records

Online Dating Selects Matches

Even Match.com is having a hard time delivering my “daily 5.

I don’t know that it’s because I’m so difficult. Or that my geographic area is so small. (Perhaps I should open up my range to 30 or 50 miles.)

But eHarmony delivered exactly ONE match today. And she was so far off, that I’m not sure what’s wrong with my algorithm.

Here’s the bottom line:

I am not asking for much of a commitment inorder to meet. I’d like her to be uniquely attractive (as opposed to gorgeous). Sort of height-weight proportional. And around my age.

What I’m noticing is women my age (47) tend to look and sound A LOT OLDER. And women within 10 years younger tend to look and sound A LOT YOUNGER. So perhaps I’m not sure what I want. Somewhere in between. I’m okay if she’s younger as long as she has a good bit of her issues worked out and dealt with. And I’m okay if she’s older as long as she doesn’t fall into the “looks like my mom” category.

And then you have to consider the kids.

Of course dating a woman with kids is going to be a long ramp-up relationship. I mean I think mother’s have to protect their families in a more agressive way then men. Cause, frankly, men can be freaks and assholes. And I can see how my strong emotional outpouring freaked both of my two close matches off. I’m learning. And actually, my own reaction and excitements were self-revealing about my own current state of mind. I wasn’t am not ready for a LTR. (long-term relationship) But I am ready for STF. (short-term friends)

I guess re-upping my eHarmony account was a good idea. Cause if I can’t find her, she probably can’t find me either.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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