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

Posts tagged “post-divorce dating

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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image: lust, soffie hicks, creative commons usage


A Little Sex Talk About Dating Divorced Moms

[This post was written as a response to a post on the Divorced Moms blog called Divorced Sex – Getting Back In the Game and for some reason my comment was never posted and my account seems to have been deleted… Hmmm. Is it something I said?]

dating divorced momsSingle Dad Seeking Divorced Moms.

We’re adults now. Sex is serious. If it’s not, and you run closer to Samantha from Sex in the City, the safety rules definitely apply.

Sex with an Ex. Um, I hope you’re talking about ex-BFs and not the ex-husband. If you really want to get some confusing reverberations going in your mind and body, sleeping with your recently divorced partner would be just about the best/worst way to do it. But I’m gonna skip this one, for me, the ex-wife is off limits even for fantasy. There is no amount of … I don’t really need to qualify this.

Online Dating: Is not really dating. It’s only dating when you finally meet in-person. Everything else, all the lead-up is romantic BS, more like poetry than real-life. And I’m as guilty as anyone of fueling engagement before ever setting eyes on the actual person. Nobody can really live up to those expectations you created in your mind. Online dating is really for meeting in-person. The “online” part is filled with false projections, both intentional and accidental.

Sexting? Is that even a thing? Really? Flirting via text goes right up there with online dating. Same filters apply. Everything else is porn. And porn has it’s place. It’s safe, quick, and easy. And one odd point stands out in your post, “how you’d feel if you were the spouse finding out about online indiscretions.” I’m thinking this is mixed up. Because if you’re divorced, you don’t have a spouse. And if you’re talking about sexting with a married man, you’ve got a whole additional layer of baggage that goes beyond the scope of your post. So let’s say Sexting = BS, behave accordingly. Porn = Have Fun, but it doesn’t really get us closer to sex, does it?

Casual Relationship Sex – Or “Third Date Sex.” Well, I don’t know about those milestones, but I do know the first time a woman wanted to spend the night at my house it was a bit a mind-warp. And it ended up being a three-month relationship. But I wasn’t ready for the sleepover for a while. And as far as third-date and IN, I’m not a big fan. I like the idea, occasionally, but I think way too much spiritual and emotional stuff gets stirred up for me to have “casual” sex with someone I’ve met within the week. And sure, first date sex sounds about as appealing as getting drunk and explaining why you did it, as in NOT.

We’re adults now. Sex is serious. If it’s not, and you run closer to Samantha from Sex in the City, the safety rules definitely apply. But I’d suggest you deal with the hunger and drive towards sex first, and wait until you meet a man who has some potential as a partner before rushing into bed.

That’s just me, of course, but I think we all need to be talking about sex more openly. It’s still hard to talk about, so thank you for providing the dialogue.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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To Love and Be Loved (Dating After Divorce)

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

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

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

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

“Huh?”

“Since we met.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Harsh Awareness: I Wouldn’t Date Me – What Am I Looking for After Divorce?

There is no time to slay the dragon, the dragon is your friend

“There is no time to slay the dragon. The dragon is your friend.” – Reshad Feild.

An amazing sequence of events over the last few days has triggered a new moment of self-awareness.

PART 1: I went on an OK Cupid first date with a woman on Monday evening. And after three hours of engaging conversation she gave me the, “I’ll call you, okay?” She was fantastic. My first real online-dating HOME RUN. Not too amazingly beautiful or self-consumed: she was just self-aware enough, and funny, and already in my tribe/constellation of work. In other words, she fit on my MAP.

Dark hair. Fit. Very witty. Creative passion. Conversationally flexible and diverse. And strong, agressive, confident. In fact, she was so confident, at the end, she said something like, “So, I’m getting the idea that you’d like to go out again?” I agreed. “Okay, well let me catch my breath.”

Uh oh.

PART 2: My own self-evaluation gave me only one answer. (Again, this is my projection, I have not heard a peep from the sweetheart behind OKC door number 1.)

I’m fat.

The only issue I could even imagine that would come between our connection on Monday night was my midriff. It’s not easy to admit that. Or this. I don’t think I would date me.

It’s not that I’m looking for miss perfect body. In fact, when I have run across her in my past, she was so self-absorbed as to not have much time for anything else. And it’s not that I’m afraid of a little softness. Actually there were times when the ex-y was way to gaunt, in my opinion. She was much more beautiful to me when she was less hard. So it’s not that I’m looking for some IDEAL, playmate (puleeze) or porn star image of a woman. That’s not it at all. But…

But, I’m sure I have tolerances in my taste. And there is some measure of fitness, or out-of-fitness, that simply turns off my “desire” gene off. And here’s the kicker: looking at myself, I think I’ve fallen outside of my own desirable range of fitness. I wouldn’t date me.

It’s the ONLY thing I can put my finger on, about why this date with massive energy and touch points didn’t end up with plans for a next gathering. There are some other possibilities. She did mention that simply turning on her OKC profile she got about 10 immediate propositions. Mine being one of those. So maybe she wants to check out the rest of the field before going on date number 2 with any of us, or me, more specifically.

But the lesson for me was: I am outside of my own tolerance for fitness. And that’s something I’ve known for a while, but something that I did not have such a clear handle on. Which leads to the next awareness.

PART 3: I have been stepping up my fitness routine again. And part of that is walking. And one of my favorite walking locations is our local trail that curves around a small section of the Colorado River. It is amazingly inspirational to see all the people, all the different bodies and styles in motion. And I wonder about the runners. (I have been a runner before.) And their fitness levels. But of course there are runners of all shapes and sizes and levels of experience too.

What I’ve wondered about for a long time is what motivates runners to run. The high? Fitness? Aspirations towards the perfect body? And this time, the day after meeting my “match,” I had an idea.

Maybe everyone on the trail was running AWAY from something. For me that would be: 1. getting fat(er); 2. aging and health; 3. heart fitness. OR perhaps they were running TOWARDS something instead: 1. an ideal body; 2. a competition they are preparing for; OR BINGO 3. someone they want to be with.

So I had been running away from things, but until I met my “match” not running towards anything. I’ve been too busy trying to reconstruct my stability, get my financial house in order (still a ways out on that one), and make progress on my creative projects. I have not really put much attention towards dating or finding that next relationship.

I had also not met anyone who inspired just that.

PART 4: The dragon I am wrestling with today is my own. I’m a bit sad that my first “match” is probably giving in to first impressions and moving on. If I have learned anything, when they say, “I’ll call you,” and they don’t, there is no amount of persuasion or offering that will have an affect. If they say that, they are done. (Maybe I’m projecting. We’ll see.)

But I am not sad about her. And I’m not really walking towards HER, but the idea of HER. I have already let her go.

It is the ME I am comfortable with that I am walking towards.

I made an observation in therapy yesterday as I was talking about this, “Maybe people in that class of fitness like to be with others of the same class. Today I’m just a bit out of the class I want to be with.” I am happy with my fat self, and I am actually pretty happy over all. But I am looking to get back to the dating class where I am most likely to find a match.

I don’t want the uber-fit yoga-runner babe. She thinks about little else. I want someone who’s comfortable with whatever they are. And in order for them to be attracted to me (IMHO) I need to be in the same relative class, the same relative level of fitness.

Now that is something I can walk towards with a bit more vigor. Because walking away from the other stuff was okay, but it didn’t have much charge to it. I can see my “match” now. Fully clothed, sitting at a table drinking coffee and smiling. She’s funny. She’s smart. She has many things in her own life sorted out.

And SHE DIGS EVERY SINGLE PART OF ME. And of course, when that happens, the response won’t be, “I’ll call you.” In my movie it will be more like, “What are doing this weekend?”

That is the dragon I am dealing with today. And I’m happy to befriend him and see how we can both get what we want.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

(The story continues: Met My Match: My Online Dating Near Miss Responds)

Reference: Steps to Freedom – Reshad Feild

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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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