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

Posts tagged “slow your roll

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


Making Love to Parker Posey

imagining parker posey in my arms

So let’s say SHE does show up. The uber woman. Arrives fully outfitted for your bullshit and dressed to the nines. She’s unafraid, but she has some demands she needs to lay down first. In my mind, Parker Posey has some of the best and worst qualities you’d want in a girlfriend. Of course, she doesn’t want to be your girlfriend, or even acknowledge the relationship, and that’s okay, if that’s how she wants it.

The woman shows up, she’s ready to load her bags on to your train… and… wait a minute? What am I supposed to do about losing my reclaimed alone time, I talk so much about? What ARE the parameters you’re willing to move and compromise on IF SHE DID SHOW UP.

Even after all the searching and fretting and imagining, she has not yet shown up. The near miss this week, still being slowly put back in the “friends” box, was the first wake up call I’ve had since divorce, that showed me a new problem.

I LOVE MY ALONE TIME.

I’m not afraid to say it. I’m not ready for someone to ask to be with me on every night I don’t have my kids. I flat out, can’t do that. I suppose eventually I’d live with someone again, and that would be the result, but that’s not a goal of mine. In fact, some of the struggle in my marriage was between me and the ex-y around how much time I could spend writing or playing music. It was WE time I was sacrificing to make ME time. Now, with the rules all TBD, I’d best be considering the best case scenario, so I can guide my wishes in that direction.

My friend said, “She has a rich and full life of her own.” And that has some resonance. But would a relationship with PP be any fun? And it hit me. For the first time in my post-marriage relationship experience, I actually had to say to someone, “You need to slow your roll.” (Not in those actual words.)

A full circle from the first CONNECT in an online dating session that ended with the woman giving me her number and suggesting we could just “hang out” some time. I was thrilled. She was so easy. We talked and gazed across the margaritas dreamily. I went home and wrote down what I was feeling.

And then I shared it. (Oops.) It freaked her out. And not just a little. It freaked her out a lot. And she never agreed to meet me again. Ever.

Today I sort of get it. This woman, KG (kissy girl) is ready to usurp all available bandwidth. And it’s up to me to draw that boundary. While I’ve already decided that KG is not the next relationship for me, it was quite an awareness to learn that IF SHE HAD BEEN, I would not have been prepared. If it had been Parker Posey and she had said, “So what are you doing with the rest of your life?” I’d a flipped out.

Walking my kissing relationship back to no relationship is going to be a bit of a trick. I don’t like to be mean or misleading. And I KNOW that she is not going to be right for me. (See: The Church of Kisses) But worse would be to try and limp along without letting her know it’s a MISS for me.

I did talk to her on the phone today. She had begun to freak a bit that I hadn’t called her back by 11:30 this Saturday morning. I didn’t want to call anyone back. I was here doing a project with my son. I felt a bit of an intrusion from a woman I met a week ago who was now demanding that I call her back so we can talk about “What’s up.” ACK.

The good news, the saving grace, I think in this case, was that she had slowed the runaway train that was heading towards sex. The kissing was great. The sex… well, that’s part of the problem. I have no intention of making love to this woman. And that’s the part I need to let her know.

The conversation this afternoon went something like, “Okay, what’s freaked you out?” and “We can talk about anything. If you just let me know what’s going on.”

Um, a rude me would’ve said, “It’s not me it’s you. I just don’t want to make love to you, ever.” But I didn’t. I set a parameter around my time. Giving us some cooling off time. (I didn’t see her yesterday and won’t see her today or tomorrow.) By Monday, my intention is to tell her, I’m not moving forward with an US in any shape or form. I don’t need a friend. I don’t need someone else who’s interested in my time. I need the ONE PERSON who I’m willing to give my most precious asset to, ME.

The poem from yesterday (travel together) came from a chance lunch meeting with an old acquaintance. And you know what… I almost sent it to her. Talk about SLOW YOUR FKIN ROLL! I am so glad I didnt’.

Bottom Line: It’s okay to have wildly romantic fantasies. And it’s okay to project some of those into the marketplace of relationships. That’s what keeps us going in spite of the failures and long odds. And it’s really okay to fall madly in love with someone, when you vetted out as many of the “must haves” as you can.

My new must have: “How much time is enough? How much time am I willing to give? How will I push back when I need time alone?”

So this idea of always leaving them wondering a bit, hungry for the next contact, sort of makes sense. While NG (new girl) and I have known each other for 15 years or so, we’ve never really been friends. She illuminated that yesterday when she said, “We’ve been acquaintances, but not friends. You’ve never shared with me like you did today.”

And so the spark is present. Great. Now it’s time to take it easy. Don’t press forward into sex, or trying to define what’s going to happen or how it should be. Let it be easy. (I’m repeating this so that it works like a mantra to soothe the excitement in me, about crossing paths with NG at just this moment.)

Slow your roll. There is no need, during this initialization phase, when projections should be measured against reality, to hurry things along. Savor each step. Stop occasionally and ask, “Is this enough?”

Then when you see Parker Posey again, you can tell her how you’ve missed her, craved her, and wished you could spend more time with her. And she is able to say or not say the same thing. And that’s the dance. When the other person begins unpacking their bags too soon, even if the bags have magical treasures, it’s scary. And it’s too soon. Let the mystery unfold in time. Don’t rip at each other at the first chance. There are too many subtleties that need to be addressed BEFORE you MAKE LOVE or HAVE SEX.

Too many fantasies to balance against reality. If you’re already deeply addicted to the sex juice it’s going to be hard to pull back. With KG I think I caught my error early enough. With NG I hope I have not already pressed to far with my outreach via txt. Thank god I kept my poem in my pants.

She’s waiting. She’s thinking. I am a mystery. Let’s slowly unpack some of our things and compare notes along the way. We are complex systems. And for our constellations to align, it will take some delicate maneuverings  We don’t want to repeat the past mistakes. And in my case, I don’t want to let beauty overwhelm and bypass my fundamental requirements.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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