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

Posts tagged “OK Cupid

Beautiful Women and Two Cups of Coffee: How This All Got Started

OFF-titcups
This is how it all started, my marriage to the exy: Easter Sunday, a number of years ago, we ran into each other in the parking lot of a local coffee shop. It’d been 15 years since I’d seen her. She looked good, but then after what I’d been through, almost any woman looked good. But she looked exceptionally good.

I reached out my hand to say, “Hi.”

She reached out her arms for a hug.

Turns out we were both recently through our first marriages. Mine of 7 years, hers of 7 months. Maybe that should’ve been a warning flag, but it wasn’t.

She left a scent of perfume on my neck.

From then on, if the person didn’t have something extraordinary going on, some really amazing trait, or some smashingly witty banter in her messaging, I wasn’t interested.

I wasn’t aware of it’s affect on me until an hour or so later when I could still smell her. (To be honest, I’m not a huge perfume fan, but something else was at work here.) It was as if the hug, the smiles, the quick conversation, her easy laugh, “Yes, divorced here too.” The moment and the perfume had drugged me. I was in a daze.

What I realize, now, having had the perfuming experience more recently with old ladies, my mom, even my daughter, was that the sense of smell is a powerful trigger for me. And what it triggered so deeply that Easter morning so many years ago was the loss of that womanly smell in my life.

When my first divorce was final and I finally got back into my condo, there were still remnants of my first wife on the walls, in the drawers. But the part that I really missed, the place that I really noticed the lack, was in the bathroom. I no longer walked into steamy, sweet-smelling rooms with a uber sexy little basque woman in them. And just the smell, the loss of that smell, was huge. I did not know this when my old high school friend hugged me that Easter morning.

I had no idea that my synapses and hormones had taken over from the olfactory triggers. I wanted her throughout the entire day, like I had never wanted anyone before. Of course the hole in my heart and soul was huge, I also didn’t know this. And the newly triggered trance-like desire would blind me to so many of the signs that could’ve avoided the ultimate train wreck of style differences.

That, of course, would’ve been a different life. I would not have the amazing kids I now have. And UG, I would not be who I am at this very moment.

BEAUTIFUL is GREAT. BUT BEAUTIFUL lasts for a limited amount of time.

A little tip I now understand. Small scented candles (the organic kind for me, thanks) and other scented things like groovy Method foaming hand soaps, and great Aveda shampoos, can go a long way towards elevating my sense of erotic smell. And when I accidentally get the scent of a woman on me, and I notice it’s starting to have the drowsing effect on me, I can retreat to my OWN shower, and get my OWN clove shampoo, and take off the infected shirt.

On Easter 14+ years ago, that wonderful woman had a spell on me. She cast it without knowing, and I was pierced in my own loss and pain without being aware of anything but the electric connection between me and this old flame. Sure, when she told me later, over lunch, that she’d had a crush on me in high school I was touched. But the virus of her touch, her scent, that one morning, did more to alter the course of my life then I could’ve ever imagined.

I guard against some of that now with my own scented regimen. I’m not going to be drugged and dragged down into the cougar’s lair just yet. And when I do want to be devoured, I can inhale and relax into the fall with intention. I am ready to be drugged again, but this time, after we’ve gone through a few cycles of the relationship first. Intoxication is great. But then you have to get on with the mundane of living shortly there after.

It’s kind of like the beautiful woman I was sitting across from a few months ago. We’d exchanged some message via OK Cupid. And there was no question this was a woman in charge and in radiant glow. She was breath-taking from the moment she walked in Panera Bread.

And she smelled great.

Please come at me with a real imagination and things you are excited about besides cardio and American Idol.

Almost as quickly as she opened her mouth and spoke, the spell was broken. There were exactly 3 things this woman was ready to converse about. Working out. TV. And her job as an executive assistant.

As I jumped from topic to topic to try and find something more relevant to my life, I found nothing. She had made it kind of difficult to set up the first face-2-face with the declaration, “I work out every evening after work.”

I thought, “Um, okay, good for you. Do you want to find a time that DOES work?”

I walked away from that coffee with a new understanding of myself, online dating, and what I was interested in. From then on, if the person didn’t have something extraordinary going on, some really amazing trait, or some smashingly witty banter in her messaging, I wasn’t interested. BEAUTIFUL is GREAT. BUT BEAUTIFUL lasts for a limited amount of time. Work out all you want, you’re going to grow older and older. I think you are beautiful in all your forms, woman. And in some of your scents as well.

But please come at me with a real imagination and things you are excited about besides cardio and American Idol. And for me personally, if you’re wearing a lot of perfume, lean towards the essential oil types and away from the ones at Nordstrom. Thanks.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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Tinder Matches: Is Swiping the New Evolution?

OFF-tindercostume

A swipe right for YES and a swipe left for NOPE. This tiny superficial action is the basis for the new dating app Tinder. (I know it’s not *that* new, but it’s new for us over-40s.) And there’s even the, “Oops, she was hot and I swiped the wrong way.” No remedy for that. You’ve got one shot at them. If you fail-swipe they are either gone for ever, or temporarily in your YES column. (Those you can easily un-match.) There is no un-do.

The dating odds are only improved by upping your numbers. Tinder is one simple way to do that.

If you can get the little beast running on your phone, you’re in for some fun. A sort of fun, until the novelty wears off, and it does wear off. There are only three kinds of filtering in Tinder: 1. age-range; 2. geographic proximity; 3. male or female. And from there you are on your own. Jump into a new part of town, check Tinder. Fly to a new city for business, checkTinder. Want a mid-day jolt of dopamine, check Tinder.

But the success at then taking a “match” to an in-person date is a bit more of a trick. There’s simply not much to go on from their Tinder profile. If that’s okay with you, jump in and see what you find. See if Tinder is your gateway beyond the Match.coms and OK Cupids. My milage has varied tremendously.

You have very few clues before you reach out and contact a “match” on Tinder.

  • They’ve swiped you YES (unless it was an accident) and therefore your photos appear to be within their “desirable” range
  • A few photos can give you “some” indication of what they look like (but pictures are easy to manipulate and might be YEARS old)
  • They might have a short bio
  • You can see a few of their mutual Facebook interests
  • You can see how many Facebook connections you have

And it’s this last one that could provide a keyhole into a deeper examination of this “potential.” See, I don’t want to waste a lot of time on near-misses, and I want to spend zero time on “nah” matches. So a little sleuthing can help me determine if there’s any extraordinary in the Tinder match before I reach out to begin the flirtation and logistics portion of the process.

If you want to get a closer look at your Tinder match you can cruise the “mutual friends” section of Tinder and look for someone you know. The better you know them the more likely it will be that you can get insider info on this person. Of course the first step is to find them in the “friends” tab of your friend on Facebook. And since Tinder uses real first names, you’ll probably be able to find your Tinder target pretty easily. And if they have a public Facebook profile, Boom, you’ve got more information than anyone would share on a dating site. What are they into? What does today’s selfie look like? What kind of updates do they post about their interests or themselves?

That’s the beauty of Tinder: it is 100% photo-driven. Either you are a YES or a NOPE to someone.

And digging a little deeper (you can actually do this on ANY dating site) you can take their photos (even a screen grab from Tinder works) and run them through Google’s image search. If there’s a photo that they also shared on LinkedIn or Instagram, DING, you’ve got another source of info about this potential. It might seem like stalking, but if you think people aren’t doing this, umm… maybe you should get off the net. Google spiders everything and if you’ve posted a photo somewhere, and then used that same photo on your dating profile, um… well, you need to be informed that this is happening.

PERSONAL DATING DATA: Go try it on your dating profile pics. Pick one and go to Google.com. Then click on the Images tab and you will see an area you can drag your photo onto and Google will do the rest. You might be surprised, or you might WANT people to find out more about you.  If you’re photos are too revealing, you might select other ones to use on your Tinder profile.

Anyway, we’ve come full circle now back to purely physical attraction as an indicator of potential chemistry. It’s an easy place to start. And that’s the beauty of Tinder: it is 100% photo-driven. Either you are a YES or a NOPE to someone. And perhaps that’s as good an indication (even if wildy superficial) as any of your potential match with someone. A friend was giving me a hard time about online dating, a number of months ago. She was saying how she had never tried it and thought it was demeaning and awful that I would judge someone purely on their photos.

“You might be missing a really great women. The perfect woman for you, in fact. Because you’re so stuck on the superficial appearances.”

“You are right. However, it’s a numbers game,” I told her. “If you have a better suggestion of how to filter down 1,823 potential matches into a few that I can manage, I’d be open to your suggestions. “Curb appeal” is the quickest filter I know, just like in real estate. If you don’t like the way the house looks from the street, you’re not going to be all that happy about living there.

Get it or not, Tinder is booming. And my experience with two actual in-person meetings was surprisingly good. One hit and one miss. Unfortunately the hit turned into a false positive, but that’s also part of the game. You need a lot of potentials to find the next YES. I mean the real yes. The next relationship. I’ve been at it for over two years and the odds are only improved by upping your numbers. Tinder is one simple way to do that.

From there, I take my time before meeting someone. I want to learn more before wasting an evening on small talk with a big NO. And in my new learnings I think a phone call is mandatory. I want to hear her voice and imagine her before I meet her in-person, and that requires a bit more than a photo and bio, for me.

Get your Tinder, Match, or OK Cupid on, and get on with getting it on.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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image: tinder costume, nathan rupert, creative commons usage (this may be the costume for me, if I had a halloween party)


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.

+++

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


In Defense of Dalliance

dalliance - the off parent

Why so serious?

My thoughts are changing on this subject. I’d have to say, initially, as a single man, re-entering the dating pool after 12 years as a married man, I was seeking my next “relationship.”

“I don’t understand casual sex,” I said to a life coach friend. “Try it,” she said. “There are plenty of women who would be into it with you. And unless you try it, you’ll never know if you like it.”

What I heard at that time was casual sex is okay, but not for me. Today, I’m not so sure I understand my motivations for marriage (SEE What’s This About: Marriage?) much less a serious relationship. Okay, scratch that last sentence. I’d like to think I could hear an attractive woman talking about her lovers and not cringe a little bit. She was sexually attractive to me, for sure, but in more of an animal (sexual needs) kind of way. I wasn’t interested in dating her, only screwing her. And I wasn’t actually making any moves or giving any indications that this was where I wanted to go with the conversation. And we didn’t.

Still, what’s all this attachment to single-mate-for-life shit? It hasn’t worked out for me very well. And of course, I take that back, I have two great kids… and an ex-wife or two. But entering into those marriages I was saying YES PLEASE to the life-long commitment. But… Why?

Marriage was the path for me and my ex-wife, that we saw necessary to the progress and process of having children together. We both wanted kids. We both wanted marriage as a way to get kids. We got divorced when the relationship pain outweighed the relationship advantage.

How will I know if I like casual sex if I don’t try it? I’m still wondering this.

Take the last three online “hello” dates. Two of them were very attractive and obviously sexually active. And if I interpreted the signals right, eventually we would get to sex, if things progressed along the normal trajectories. And even the answers in OK Cupid are pretty clear. How soon after dating would you initiate sex? a. right away, b. 1 – 3 dates; c. 3 – 5 dates; d. 6 or more dates; e. I’m not interested in sex at all.

My sexual projections of what sex might be like with that smile, those eyes, those breasts, are just like you might imagine most men are. And then something stops me.

I THINK I’m a 3 – 5 dates kind of a guy. But I’ve also answered “Would you have sex on a first date?” with an unqualified yes.

Umm… Right. In theory. Back in college I think I did this twice. Once when I was drinking heavily and once when I tried the drug ecstasy while in New Mexico. Both times were about as sexually fulfilling as masturbation. And with porn these days, masturbation is often the easier answer. No after sex conversations. No messy breakups. No STD threats.

So what in the world would have to happen for my casual sex, let’s go ahead and jump in the sack, response to be triggered? And if triggered, would the impulse be worth the repercussions?

  • What would have to happen:
  • Beautiful
  • Intoxicating chemistry
  • Mental acuity and banter
  • Eyes that shine like diamonds
  • A roaring heat in my chest (a fantasy of love, perhaps)
  • Some intangible magic

Something extraordinary would have to happen for me to want to sleep with a woman within 24 hours of meeting her. I’m not saying my body wouldn’t rise to the occasion, and my libido doesn’t rage at the thought of a beautiful woman in or out of mensa. It does. And my sexual projections of what sex might be like with that smile, those eyes, those breasts, are just like you might imagine most men are.

And then something stops me.

I’ve had a few sexual relationships since I’ve been divorced. Most of them have been pleasant. Many of them I did not want to repeat after once or twice, for various reasons. And I keep coming back to the driving force in my relationship past, find a good woman and develop a lasting relationship with her. This simplifies a lot of our energy. And for me, gives me an emotional and sexual base from which to launch off into my other emotional and creative passions.

I’m wired this way, I’m afraid.

My sexual brain is different. Unbridled and wild sex with multiple women always sounds like a good idea, to my smaller head. I used to imagine that I would’ve loved living in the sixties time of free love. And yet, now in this post-divorce life, I’m sort of in that position again. The online dating profile seems to be attracting women. And some of the women I find attractive as well. And …

The thought of my beloved being ravaged by someone else would give me a real heart attack. And I do want a beloved again.

So what happens when my sexual energies light up? And if the woman is of the same mind, what happens when things do progress, and we do start “relating?” So far, I have not been able to detach the part of my heart that begins mapping ideas of how we should/will/might be together for the long-term.

I’m dialing this back at the moment. I’m learning to live in the touch/taste present. And I’m reeling back thoughts of marriage and “what’s next.” But I’m not on a dating frenzy. Given a stable of available and sexually attractive women, I think I would find the ONE and drop the others.

I know some people can be wired differently. And I know that my inclinations once I was released from my sad marriage finish, was to be a philandering mad man. Didn’t happen. And chances are, it’s not ever going to happen. Again, who knows, perhaps I’ll be surprised. But the one time in my college years that I “dated” two women at the same time, things didn’t end so well. And even while things were working out, I wasn’t all that honest with either one of them.

I don’t know how I could ever be in an OPEN relationship. The thought of my beloved being ravaged by someone else would give me a real heart attack. And I do want a beloved again.

Maybe if I keep things on the surface, or don’t find a willing partner of that quality, I could entertain the idea of taking on another lover at the same time. But they’d have to know about each other, and that’s a bit more complicated. My wiring not’s that flexible after all.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Online Dating Undercover Revelations: OK Cupid (Pt. 2)

OFF-lovers

Let’s dig a little deeper into OK Cupid’s DNA, and what we’re looking for when we go online to find a “partner” a “hookup” or “a relationship to last the rest of my life.” (Start here: Online Dating Undercover Revelations: OK Cupid (Pt. 1) )

They offer a little “What’s my best picture” service that delivers some interesting feedback about the demographics and the types of women who find your pictures attractive. Well, it’s not a very scientific process, as most of my raters were in their early 20’s, and pretty far from my desired demographic. But the data is fun anyway, and heck, they picked my main profile picture for me, so that’s good. Here are my top three photos and the fuzzy data that goes with them.

attractiveness demographics from OK Cupid

click to view larger version

So in my demographic of 31+ girls (eh hm: women, thanks) here are my big winners. These are my rater’s self-identified types. I’m glad conservative and stoner fell right off my map all together.

Artists
Nerd < maybe
Liberal
Free Spirit
Deviant

If you find it’s working. That might be even more frightening, for both of you. What if… So don’t go there. Slow down. 

And sure enough the picture of me as a parent (with daughter) doesn’t even register with the 18 – 22 yo girls. Okay, fine, so the man as an artist appeals to my demographic. Fine.

But it all really boils down to who I’m interested in. And I’d say my top types are in alignment with my tastes, so we’ll go with that photo for now. And let’s see how it’s worked so far, in my two weeks back on the site.

OKC reports I get about 5 views a week. Hmm… That sucks. I’ve been sending out emails and “Hellos.” Again, I’m guessing a lot of women are using the A-List paid option to NOT show up in my visitors list. Oh well.

So let’s see if I’ve gotten any responses via email. messages on OK Cupid

Yep, a few have responded. And a couple I’ve gotten to texting with. That’s a higher form of intimacy, because it requires the exchange of phone numbers. I don’t think you’d give a creep your phone number. And it usually takes a bit of emailing first to establish a mutual appreciation. And then you move to the quick and telling text exchanges. You can tell a lot about someone’s self-expression. How do they respond to jokes? Are they playful? Are they friendly? Are they tech-savvy?

One of the best reality checks I’ve come up with for online dating is to send a real-time selfie. If the person on the other end is overly self-conscious they won’t be able to send one back. They’ll send something else or ignore your request all together. The selfie is the lowest common denominator of glamour shots. If they radiate in a selfie, you have pretty good odds that their profile photography isn’t photoshopped or glammed into unreality.

And really that’s all we’re trying to establish at this point. Is this person real? Are they authentic in their behavior (texting and responding) and their appearance (if you can get a selfie)?

And next can you move it to an in-person meeting? How smooth is that transaction? Time and place? Do they reset the date several times? Do the postpone? Often it has been my experience that a postponement (even if they say they are sick) really means they are having second thoughts. Or they have started up with someone else and are hedging their bets. The longer the postponement, the more likely it will not happen at all. And that’s okay, you don’t want someone who’s sort of in and sort of out.

The most frustrating near-miss is the one with someone who’s not sure what they are looking for. If they are on a dating site, shouldn’t they be interested in a relationship? Or is the R-word scary? Maybe they really just want to “date.”

And one of the things we can be sure of, none of us has the answers. What does dating after divorce, or dating as a single parent look like?

There are a few controls built-in that help buffer the startup process, in my opinion. If we both have kids and ex’s in town, we will be navigating a fairly complex scheduling process. And you can get a feel very quickly if it’s going to be easy to negotiate or a pain in the ass. If it’s really hard to find the time to get together, it’s probably not a fit. Or perhaps the other person is scared to get in a Relationship. No problem, move on.

Here’s what you want, regardless of what you call it.

  • Time together.
  • Both people making efforts to come up with solutions to the scheduling issues.
  • Laughter and easy-going conversation.
  • Fascination beyond the physical attraction.
  • Sexual chemistry.
  • Emotionally and mentally stable, as far as you can tell.
  • Deals with changes and uncertainty easily.
  • Joy.

And in my estimation those qualities in ONE PERSON are hard to find. Don’t rush through it, if you’ve started to make a match. Slow. Keep building on the friendship. (Does that sound cliché? It might, but really, you get over the “let’s just have sex” part of relating to someone pretty quickly. And I’m pretty sure most women would not be okay with every date night having us say, “Let’s just stay in and do it. I’ll bring Chinese.” It doesn’t work that way in the long-term, and it shouldn’t be your focus in the short-term.)

If you get too far ahead of yourself, thinking about pairing up, or how they would do as a step-parent, you might need to take a time out. This is no longer a race against time, it’s a race with time. You’ve got limited time. You need to make the most of the opportunities you do have to meet and greet. If there are a lot of signals that “this is not working very easily” you might consider resetting expectations and going back to the dating pool.

Do you know what’s enough for you? I know my ideas change all the time. But I keep coming back to the smile, the joy, and the friendship.

BUT…

If you find it’s working. That might be even more frightening, for both of you. What if… So don’t go there. Slow down. Take it easy. Enjoy each other’s company, in and most importantly out of bed. And then just bask in the time you do find to be together. And see how flexible you can be with the idiosyncrasies of life as a single parent. There is a long way to go before you need to begin planning.

So don’t set your expectations too far in the future. Stay in the moment and see how compatible you are, how close your friendship can become. See, for me, part of the problem is I was drawn in and captured by the beauty and sex thing before I really got a deep understanding of the person I was committing too. Don’t make the same mistake again. There’s no hurry to move into the next stages, and in fact, just mentioning them might freak both of you out. When you hear yourself talking about (enter your freak out here: moving in, marriage, step-parenting) just take a deep breath and drop back into the moment, into the presence of this cool person, who happens, if things go well, to think you’re cool too.

For now, that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I like you. I like hanging out with you. And that’s enough.

Do you know what’s enough for you? I know my ideas change all the time. But I keep coming back to the smile, the joy, and the friendship.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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image: she is my drug, bryan brenneman, creative commons usage


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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image: egypt sex, creative commons usage


Online Dating Undercover Revelations: OK Cupid (Pt. 1)

Online Dating: OK Cupid

I did something odd the other day. I paid to be an A-Lister on the free dating site OKCupid. And boy did I learn a few things that I’m now going to share with you. The first thing the A-list does for you on OKC is allow you to narrow your searches by a few more criteria.

a-list search criteria on ok cupid

and if we use the Attractiveness criteria we get this:

ok cupid attractiveness

Now I’m guessing this has to do with the star ratings that people have given the women over time. And my list dwindled dramatically when I uplifted my search to include 5-star women only. I wonder am I a four or five? Or three? Ack.  And the difference between 4+ and 5 was very little. And actually after you’ve done the work of eliminating the “no-ways” from your searches by hiding them, I came up with about 20 potential matches. And of those I had to eliminate half of them for being out-of-my-league or too-pretty to be “realistic.” (See All Types post)

And what about body-type criteria. Here’s my selection, if I used it.

ok cupid body-types

You’d have to wonder about a woman who ranked herself as “used up.” And “jacked” is even a bit cocky for me, and I’m cocky. And what’s the difference in self-awareness in a woman who claims to be Skinny vs. Thin vs. Fit. (Oh, I’d add Fit to my criteria.)

And one of the other criteria offers an interesting twist on the selection process. Let’s say you’re looking for someone who is okay with casual sex, well, you can search for women who’ve answered the casual sex question of your choice. How’s that for dialing it in?

searching for casual sex

And then there’s the stealth browsing mode that offers this screen when you visit someone’s profile.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.49.16 AM

that changes when you okay the visit

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.49.26 AM

I was wondering how I sent out so many hellos that got not only no response but not even a visit to my profile. It seems that women are much more selective about letting us know they visited. I know that’s where I start when I open OKC. And there has been very little action, even though I sent “hellos” to all 20 – 10 = 10 women who came up in my advanced search. And one woman actually responded at all. We’re meeting for a glass of wine tomorrow.

And that’s really it, that’s the point. Once you’ve secured the “date” let it go. Don’t spend too much energy or time scoping her out, or flirting via messages or texts. It’s often so much fantasy, that it’s waisted until you’ve met. Soooo many times I’ve generated a lot of enthusiasm and interest via message only to find there was ZERO chemistry. So leave your romantic aspirations until you’ve actually met. And when you get a “maybe” you should know it’s really a polite no. When it’s a yes, there shouldn’t be any hesitation at asking “What’s next?” If there’s resistance or apprehension, it’s a no. Move on.

The one thing I’ve come to understand about online dating is this. At least the women on the sites are claiming to be ready for a relationship. And if they’ve expressed some things that feel mutually exciting, cool. But meeting is an entirely different adventure. I exchanged a message with a woman who claimed it only took 4 minutes to know if there was chemistry. She was responding to something I wrote on my profile. And sure enough we’re going to grab our 4 minutes at the end of this weekend. “2 minutes for you and 2 minutes for me,” she said. I like her spunk.

So when you get the okay, let’s meet on X day at X time, give it a rest. Any thing else is too desperate. I’m not sure how it feels from the woman’s side, but anytime I’ve laid any more groundwork after the date was accepted, was wasted energy. Since I’ve had exactly THREE matches total in FOUR years since my divorce.

A friend asked me, “If you like relationships so much, why only three in four years?”

“I was getting my shit together first. I knew I wasn’t healthy and ready for a relationship. I wanted a rescue. And that’s not what I really need. I need a partner.”

Carry on, jump in and get your feet wet. And when she/he says yes, then go meet them. That’s when the sparks can fly. Everything before that is logistics and poetry.

Next, for Part 2, I’m going to dig into OK Cupid’s evaluation of my pictures and share their deep metrics on which pictures appeal to which age groups and types of women. All fun stuff. All fantasy.

New: Online Dating Undercover Revelations: OK Cupid (Pt. 2)

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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The Woman Who Slept With Pitbulls

pitbull rescue girlShe wasn’t the first woman I’d made love to, but she was the first woman who seemed to have potential. She appeared to have her act together, and I loved her petite body. (See the beginning of the story here: Racing Into Love & Right Through the Exit)

This woman had a thing for her two pit bulls. Things at my house, seemed fairly normal, the one dog and the cat were well-behaved. At her house, the dogs ran the show. And these were some muscular dogs.

I liked them. I learned more about pitbulls in the first few hours at her house than I’d ever known about pitbulls. But it was a bit weird when they took over the bed. Sure, I like it when my little terrier cuddles up beside me in the bed, but these dogs were her sleeping companions. And there was barely enough room to squeeze in with them. And if push came to shove, it was also clear who would be injured first.

The dogs were the first sign that things might not be right in my new little love fantasy. The next sign was when we disagreed about something and she flipped right out. I think the topic was TV or reading, is one better than the other. (See she had an unabashedly heavy addiction for reality television. I even added a blurb about “if you’re really into tv” to my online dating profile after this experience.) She expressed it this way, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I was trying to say that reading was more engaging, might lead to more creative inspiration for the reader. She was simply furious. I’m not sure if she was mad that I was disagreeing with her, or if it was about her tv addiction, or maybe that her dogs really started liking me. At one point, as this first argument progressed she went upstairs in a huff. (Fury might be a better word for it.) And the male dog didn’t follow her. He stayed on the couch with his head on my lap. At one point she came down and got him.

Um… Red flag #1.

She proceeded to ratchet the argument up over the next hour or so, even though I was still trying to figure out what we were arguing about. And eventually I left. We were planning on spending the weekend together, maybe that’s what was freaking her out, and this was a way to make sure that didn’t happen. After the anger that followed me out the door, we both needed some cooling off time. This was… say… weekend number two, mind you, pretty dang early in a courtship to start blasting the other person.

We took a few days. Texted and emailed. And when Friday came around again, we made plans to have dinner. I was hopeful that the storm had passed. The email repairs, while mostly on my part, seemed to have settled things back into a cordial connection.

As dinner progressed things seemed to be a little tense, but workable. I was really interested in “relating” again after dinner. We were close to my house and perhaps…

She was talking about her grad school program and how much it was costing her trying to finish her degree. And then she said something that surprised me. “Yeah, those fucking research assistants and their grants.” I guess she was taking out a loan to get through school.

I paused. “Um, can I ask you a question?”

See already looked mad.

“So are you really angry that those people got grants. Or are you playing a sour grapes joke on me?” I thought she might have been making an odd joke. The tone of her statement was so exaggerated.

She froze and glared. I knew at that second, she had not been joking.

“I’m sorry. Did I just piss you off?”

She glared.

“I was thinking you were making a joke.”

“Do I look like I’m joking?”

Red flag #2. And we’re done.

She got into her car without really saying good-bye and unfriended me on Facebook about 15 minutes later. She also hide her profile from me on OK Cupid. Wow.

Beware the grad student who sleeps with pit bulls.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

image via creative commons use – pampered pitbull

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Surprising Myself and Contradicting Everything All At Once

Sex on the first date - would you really?I write most of these posts in the moment, as things are happening. And when I go back and read them, sometimes, I feel like I’m learning something. As if someone else wrote the posts, and I’m learning AGAIN how I feel about certain things.

THEN I have a complete reversal of my opinion. (I think that’s a common occurrence for any of us.) But when it involves something as essential as dating or sex, I’m surprised by my animal nature.

Example: Just yesterday I was writing about some of the more disappointing aspects of the movie Don Jon and this line, that I wrote, in today’s light, has a very different feel to me.

“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.” — Porn Addiction

So, here’s where it gets funny. On some days I feel very strongly about that statement. And my aversion to casual sex. And then a woman, last night, reaches out from OKCupid, and seems approachable. Let’s make that more clear.

OK CUPID question, would you sleep with someone on the first date?

Um, that’s me with the No. But that Yes sure is intriguing. Really? Do you think this is a tease? Or do you think I’ve found a cougar (she’s 8 years older than me, so perhaps I’m a catch)? I haven’t taken condoms with me to a date, ever. But I’m considering it, tonight. Why? What’s changed?

It’s been a long time. I don’t have any recent sexual contact, and maybe my body is craving touch. Probably more than sex. And this little hunger in my physical body is able to short-circuit my planning and stated intentions. What?

Now, imagining sex with this woman on the first date is a lot different than actually doing it. And from her pictures it’s hard to get a real idea of what she looks like. And of course chemistry is another thing all together. But a little bit of casual sex… Wow. Maybe it’s the change of the seasons, and I’m ready to be doing it again, soon.

Anyway, it’s amazing to see how animal we actually are. The day after professing my intention to hold out of the next ONE, I’m prepping and heading out to a date at a sophisticated club with an older woman who’s said YES to “first date sex.”

Exhilarating. And a bit confusing, until we realise, just how human/animal we actually are. And who says giving into the urge is a terrible thing. Last time, it yielded a three-month relationship that taught me more about relationships than I’d learned in my entire marriage. We are two adults. We can be honest. We can play the online dating games.

Let’s go see.

Update: It does seem absurd the notion, of sleeping with someone on a first date. I mean, how does that happen? I imagine you’d have to get pretty wasted. Not the case for me. Oh well, it was a fun flight of fancy.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

Note: Image is from a video that went viral today:  Yeva Shiyanova | Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

what am i seeking?Okay, I have to use the word “girlfriend” at this point. It’s been well over 90 days, and she’s still around and still at the center of my off parent time. And… Well… It’s kind of hard to say, “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

What I know is… She is my first relationship post divorce. Those other things were blips.

When she woke up my desire I screwed her like I really remembered screwing. Passion. Energy. And stamina.

She matches me in so many ways (love of music, sleeping patterns, creative ambition, ability to nap and rest rather than strive) that I think I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong.

Here’s what happened. She came right out and said it on our introductory drink. “You are much cuter than your profile!”

I’m sure I paused at that. [Was this woman just forward? Was she a desperate?  What was wrong with her, couldn’t she see how fucked up I was at that very moment?]

And I walked her out to her car. An awkward moment, to be sure. And there, next to her cute convertible mini, she leaned in for what could only be a signal for “kiss me.” And I stepped up to the plate and planted a good kiss on her. Grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her even closer. Even as I was freaking out, “What the fuck? Am I insane? Oh to hell with it!”

And I walked back to my car, in a bit of a daze. Erect and ready, sure, but also confused.

And then on came the  relationship. She was “into me” she said it frequently and without shame. I know she was asking for the same response from me. But I was too busy trying to examine my own WTF response to her mere presence in my life.

So on she came. Like a force, like a drug. And on she came, asking deep questions, stroking me with every opportunity, and singing my praises.

I know the ADORE has to go both ways. Is that what’s growing within me? Am I growing to adore her, or just getting more comfortable in the relationship?

At the same time I was a little off balance, she was the definition of what I was asking for just a few months ago. (Yoga Girl Next Door)

A few nights ago, returning from a trip, I was bushed and just wanted to sleep. She wanted satisfaction. She missed me. She hungered for me. When she woke up my desire I screwed her like I really remembered screwing. Passion. Energy. And stamina.

The headboard of her bed banging against the wall.

And for the last few days, I’ve been the On Parent again, and my stomach muscles have been telling me, cheering me, about my prowess. Damn!

So am I jumping into the next phase because of the extraordinary stress in my family situation right now? Am I stealing the bootie by sexing and caressing and sleeping with someone who… how can I say it… who is not my erotic ideal? And really, what does that mean?

The only thing I can grasp on to: This is still an early relationship. There is no need to jump further into things. We are three months into things. I don’t have to marry her and settle down next week. So I am observing, with curiosity, my attraction to other women. Sure: younger, skinnier, darker hair, darker skin. But those physical things are NOTHING compared to the ADORATION.

I know the ADORE has to go both ways. Is that what’s growing within me? Am I growing to adore her, or just getting more comfortable in the relationship? I know there is tension in the place where she is CRUSHING and I am not. But that should not be a problem if we stay open and honest.

That’s the trick. That will be the trick. I meet an attractive ideal, and I want to… what? Kiss? Date? Go to lunch? At what point do I have to tell her, “I’m still kinda looking.” A sad moment that will be.

Until that point, or the point at which I succumb to her charms and beauty, I will be aware of what is going on inside of me, and try to sort out what is real and what is fantasy. She is certainly REAL. She is certainly WARM and TOUCHY-FEELY.

And I could go on about her great qualities. Solid. Financially stable. Beautiful eyes.

I sound like I’m still trying to convince myself.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Met My Match: My Online Dating Near Miss Responds

(This post continues the story begun here: Harsh Awareness: I Wouldn’t Date Me – What Am I Looking for After Divorce?)

meeting my match, and missing herShe did respond, last night.

“Its been a crazy busy week and already thurs night. crazy! anyway, i thought about it. i have a firm rule about not dating in my business circle, just too close for me. I checked out your linkedin profile and we are connected through 16 people. 2nd level – thats a lot in my business circle so…. if you are open to being friends, great. if not, i completely understand.”

And here is my response:

This is not a love letter. I’m not going to try and convince you to reconsider your choice. Thank you for your response. I have learned to expect nothing. I do want to offer a slightly different perspective and see if this jives with your understanding or doesn’t. Either way, I’d love to hear what you think, and I totally understand if you are too busy to respond yet again. (grin)

Two thoughts.

ONE

If the spark was there for you there would be no rules, plans, concepts, that would keep you from planning a second date. In fact, my expectation is, if things are sparking, we would both be asking, “So what are you doing this weekend?”

You were quite succinct in your assessment as we were walking towards the cars, “So I get the idea that you would like to go out again, right?” I nodded. “Well, I need to catch some air and think about it.”

Easy. Sure. No problem. Got it. While energized by the multi-hour conversation, I was clear that I had not scored the slam dunk I was imagining. I ignored my own guideline and wrote you a witty rejoinder on OK Cupid, and worse yet, had to go for the “ine” ryhyming thing via txt. Bad idea. Oh well. I was able to walk away from the evening with some pretty amazing self-awareness. (If you’re interested, I can share more, at some future time.)

So I walked away from the “Howdy” portion of our meeting with a buzz in my head and heart and a miss in my mind. No worries.

Conclusion: when the spark hits, there will be little resistance from either person when asking, “What’s next.” Damn the torpedoes. I’m hoping for this, at some point.

TWO

Going on seven months with OK Cupid you were the first “hello” that had me giddy. So many touch points between us, and a similar playfulness in our conversation. And I could see myself wanting to go with you, and follow you down any conversational path you wanted to take. And I would guess, unless you careless with your time, that you were enjoying our evening as well. And it was much more than your attractive smile and demeanor. You have great passion and humor. It was your attitude that I was aware of wanting to lean into.

But something was a miss. For you.

For me, I was willing to suspend any concerns, perceptions, next steps, in favor of “what ever.” I had the momentary high, “I’d take my profile down tomorrow if she said she wanted to date.” So clearly, I was IN.

You were OUT.

So here comes my own self-observation, self-deception, self-awareness. The only thing that doesn’t feel 100% awesome about me, is the weight I’m carrying as a result of my divorce/depression. And it’s okay. I had a momentary ah ha, “I wouldn’t date me.”

If there were no resistance, the mutual professional circles would be a connection and a touchpoint for trust, validation, and honesty. If there were no resistance, you would’ve left the idea of “next” open for either of us to broach. But you were very clear. You DID understand MY readiness. And you DID understand your hesitation.

So I don’t think it’s about LinkedIN, or professional networks. I think it’s a fundamental MISS.

It’s unfortunate because it must’ve been a near miss. And you had a potential partner who was saying, “All In.” Rare indeed, that kind of clarity.

And you have done me a favor. Both in your beauty and awakening effect you have had on my expectations of what I am looking for. “No compromise!” I had not experienced this since my divorce from a very attractive and potent woman.

And in your honesty at saying, “No thanks.”

I’m not expecting a huge response from you. I’m not actually expecting any response, and that’s okay, writing this message has helped clarify my feelings and ideas about meeting you and our near miss.

She’s still out there. And she behaves (and perhaps looks) a lot like you.

+++

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

Reference: OK Cupid founders: Your Looks and Online Dating (Perceptions of attractiveness men vs women)

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A Road Trip to Fantasy and a Drive Home to Reality

This amazing woman hit me on my OK Cupid profile last week. She was very attractive, funny, spiritual, and very confident. After our initial ice breaker email she asked, “So you came to my profile page. Why didn’t you contact me?”

“Simple. Your 187 miles away.”

“That’s it?”

“Pretty much.”

Thus entered our “sorting it out” phase. And I willingly fell into a 2 hour chat session online with this spiritual kali who was recently returned from India and Haiti and other amazing parts in between.

Jump cut to yesterday.

speeding towards her

But even at 110 mph it takes about 3 hours to drive there. And I’m not very fond of this city. The drive is B O R I N G. So along the way I had a few things to think about. What in the world was I do driving to Dallas? And was this woman I was going to meet, in the habit of manifesting men from within a 150 mile radius. She was quite glowing in her photos.

So I came up with this little matrix, sort of a “how would I evaluate the next lover” SWOT analysis.

Trying to zone in on my next LOVER

At the Jack in a Box I began to come back to earth on my rapid quest. Where this woman fell was somewhere closer to the spiritual over physical. (I do too.) And what our 150-mile-away lunch date would fill in was the details of the other axis easy/stable vs flexible/need.

There are certainly some other variables that are not on the matrix. [+] positive, [-] negative, and [+/-] mixed.

  • [+/-] reminds me of someone
  • [+] sparkles/spiritual glow/magic
  • [-] drugs/alcohol
  • [-] too self-centered
  • [-] never married/no kids

Here’s what I learned. I AM in the mood for a relationship. I am not afraid to quest off in some random direction to see what develops. BUT. The trip to Dallas was more about me than it was about the woman. I love driving. I had a little space to get flexible. And zoom I’m off.

She was nice, but she wasn’t the maiden I was looking for.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Racing Into Love & Right Through the Exit: How Did We Get To the End Again So Quickly?

She drove a red Mini CooperConfession: I’ve had ONE relationship post-divorce. It lasted about 12 days. It was hot. It was frustrating. It freed me once and for all from the depressed imaginings that I was never going to be with another cute, sexy, happy, lover. It clipped the strings holding me to the fantasy of reconnection with my ex-y. (I know, ever after all this, I was still holding a torch of some sort.)

But I now imagine that my connection was more like an addiction. The last good thing I ever had, the last love I’d made in 14+ years, and she was still so close and we still had so many ties. And wouldn’t it be cool to date again. I still think she’s hot. (Fk, I didn’t mean to let that out.)

But the woman who waltzed in and crafted her way upstairs into my bed after a couple of dates and a few more beers, was a treat. Like a flavor of ice cream I’ve never tasted. Smart: check. Sexy: check. Happy: check-minus. Well-balanced: um… let me explain.

I have learned in my online date sampling, that I am more interested in a woman’s intellectual capacity than her dress size. I will admit to liking dark hair over blonde, but that’s a minor distraction and not a prejudice. Okay, so in comes this new woman, smart, sassy, driving a Mini Cooper and listening to cool music. She even breached the sex idea on day two when I suggested she come over to my house and do her “work” here.

“We’d probably just jump into the sack,” she said.

BINGO! The perfect flirt. I was hooked. And later on that night in the bar, she said, “The sexual tension is high. We should probably go before it gets too late.”

“Wanna come back to my place? I’ll drive. We can leave your car here.”

“Okay.”

So there I was… “back in the saddle” so to speak. We covered ground like birth control, testing for STDs and that neither of us were that into anal sex. It became the joke, “as long as you’re not talking about anal sex, we’re good.” She was fluid and fluent with her words. She knew what she was doing. And she obviously LOVED SEX. Hallelujah. It truly was a rebirth. (I did really need a resurrection of sorts.)

She gave it to me in spades. She was able to joke about the sex. Telling me she was going to be sore. And the next day telling me she was having trouble walking. (Grin.) My ego was completely stroked.

All clear at this point. And then we hit our first snag: TV.

Continues: The Woman Who Slept With Pitbulls

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Online Dating from the Other Side

So, what’s it like for women on online dating sites? I know what the man gets, but what about a fairly cute woman. What’s her experience?

So I thought, let’s find out.

The Average Girl on OKC

I googled “average girl” and this was the first hit.

I’ve filled out about 20 questions, and filled in all the info on my bio. Fairly generic. No real material for the hungry male population to grip onto, except for the nice pic. And the HUNGER.

So let’s sit back and see who shows up, and what they show. And one thing you can be sure of, I won’t be setting up or taking any “dates.”

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

permalink: http://www.theoffparent.com/the-other-side/


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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