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

Posts tagged “still haven’t found what I’m looking for

Becoming the Frog Prince Rather Than Kissing Frogs

modern dating: kissing frogsAnother pretty face to confuse and delight me.

I am learning that it’s a lot more than a beautiful body and pretty face that gets my motor running. In fact, all of that, absent some higher connection, still causes me to look elsewhere. Certainly it’s the initial attraction, like shopping, that perks my interest, but it takes a lot more for me to want to continue the conversation.

I know how easily the open and unstructured time becomes a requirement of satisfaction. That can prove difficult if you are looking to find the time to be *in relationship.* So I breathe and I know patience.

I am learning that my time alone is my most valuable resource. When I’m depressed this resource is a horror and not a benefit. But when my creative juices are firing on all cylinders, there is nothing better than finding my work completed by lunch and the yaw of the afternoon staring at me.

So I’ve taken my “dating” process to that same high-level of assessment. If it’s just a “huh,” and not a “wow” there’s no real reason to continue the conversation.

I’ve been lonely before. And that’s a bitch. Then the absence of touch becomes like a painful skin condition. The ache for connection is so high, I believe, our standards of judgement go way down. This is the mode where people revert to porn, craigslist, or going out to get laid. I’ve never been in the market for the second two.

In courting the “woman with potential” I am reminded how long it has been since she has been in a relationship. I know how easily the open and unstructured time becomes a requirement of satisfaction. That can prove difficult if you are looking to find the time to be *in relationship.* So I breathe and I know patience.

Reflecting back, it’s been a year and a half since my first outing on OKCupid. And I’d have to say, that my ONE relationship shice divorce was due to OKC. Two of my additional liaisons happened via Facebook. But nothing has satisfied my search. And that’s okay.

I was sitting in this same organic grocery store awaiting the arrival of my first OKC date, and I was observing my own likes and dislikes as I watched the throng of women coming in. I didn’t know much about this woman I was meeting, it was one of the early accelerated meetings where the moment outweighs the thinking. I was noticing about 25% of the women entering the store were within my range of acceptable beauty. I was actually kind of happy about that number, noticing that I had a wide range of preferences.

Today, I wondered out loud, “Maybe my most creative and happy state is in this revved up energy of pursuit.” The longing and heartbreak and open-ended afternoons, lend themselves quite well to my artistic production. At this moment I am writing songs, poems, stories and feeling more rested and energized than any time in my life. I am actualized, right now. And still I am alone.

I’m hoping that the untethered state is not a condition of my happiness and poetic prowess. Certainly I am in the wooing mode. I am trying to become more attractive. I am trying hard to become a frog prince.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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What You Can’t Leave Behind After Divorce

Kids. Pets. A House. A neighborhood. A lifestyle.

looking for love after divorceThere is no escape from your history with this person. And the loss of so many touchpoints in such a short period of time… Devastating. As I tried to capture in the Jetpack post, you have no idea that you are about to go into free fall, but it is coming nonetheless. And the reaction and recovery from that shock can determine your trajectory over the next several years, maybe lifetime.

Another U2 song then quickly becomes a new anthem. “I Still Haven’t Found, What I’m Looking For.”

One of the things I realize, as I am now single again, is my complete commitment to my previous relationship. What I was certain of, and what perhaps prevented me from noticing the devastating changes in my marriage, as it was falling apart, is I was IN. There was no hesitation or ambiguity about my loyalty. Even as I fell further and further into lonliness and depression–WHILE STILL MARRIED–I was unaware that the foundation of my marriage was in danger. For me I was still 100% committed. While my ex-y had already consulted with a lawyer about “options.”

So I’m learning, or at least exploring, that adoration must go both ways for me. And I’m not talking yoga instructor hot, but there has to be a sense of overwhelm, intoxication, before I’m convinced that the object of my affection is enough. I’m still trying to figure out if that is an unrealistic or unhealthy expectation. Or if it is a requirement that wraps up my imagination in a way that excludes any other woman.

Too much intoxication or obsession signals a different problem. And probably points to an unhealthy relationship with my primary care providers, mom and dad. But not enough and I’m not sure that I’ve found what I’m looking/longing for.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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A Moment of Enlightenment Has Arrived: The Path I’m Leaving Behind

moment of enlightenment - blake, newton

I could hope for an Age of Enlightenment, but I’m being realistic.

I can comfortably say that I have passed through the Dark Ages, and I am somewhere in the Between Ages. But I have also reached a moment, this moment, where I can see certain things quite clearly. And while the path ahead is not clear, the mistakes of the ages behind has never been clearer.

The other day I was describing what I was seeking in my relationship.

“Someone who is warm and deep feeling.”

Online dating is an opportunity to refine your perspective, and building a profile is like setting intentions.

You see, I believe those are two of my strongest qualities. 1. Warmth: expresses joy and togetherness easily, often encourages and brings energy and happiness into a room when they arrive. 2. Deep Feeling: able to connect with the emotions that are often the cause of suffering, disappointment, and immense joy.

It is my understanding, at this moment, that deep feeling and warmth are the two qualities I have not held out for in my first attempts at marriage. There are a lot of traits to connect and disconnect with people on, and somehow my other “needs” or “connective traits” seemed more important at the time. Maybe I was lonely. Maybe I lost sight of what was possible. But somehow I settled on these two qualities in both my previous marriages.

While my most recent wife was beautiful, smart, devoted, and organized. The labels of “warmth” and “deep feeling” are probably not going to be generally applied to her personality. That’s okay. We are all different. And maybe what is warmth to me is something different to others. That’s all fine. But for me, even at the beginning, when we were courting madly, there was that spark of joy missing. The deep feeling seemed to arise when we were engaged in love making and enjoying a glass of wine, but of course, you can’t always be fucking and drinking, there’s a lot more to life.

So outside of those kind of extraordinary circumstances, what is the quality of the person you are looking to be with? When the tasks become more mundane, what is the timbre of the relationship?

So this momentary illumination of these two critical traits is important. I don’t have to try and convince myself that these two traits are more important than a flat stomach or a an activated and creative imagination. Both of my wives had brilliant creative impulses, and both were beautiful to look at.

As we travel through this process, appraising, arranging, asking, flirting, explaining… we get a chance to refine our pitch and our wish list.

Online dating is an opportunity to refine your perspective. In many ways, building a profile on an online dating site is like setting intentions.

1. We have to say who we are: Here is what I want you to know about me. Here is how I present myself in my best light. Here is a picture that I think does make me look cuter than others.

2. We have to begin the process of identifying who we want to be with next: Initially it’s a bit like browsing for a house online, you are looking for the initial curb appeal. Again, these photos are some of the best this woman could find to represent who she wants you to see. Photos lie.

As we travel through this process, appraising, arranging, asking, flirting, explaining… we get a chance to refine our pitch and our wish list. And once we get clarity on those non-negotiable traits that we must have in our next relationship, the task is much easier. Or, at least, clearer.

Now I have it. At this very moment I believe that everything comes after my two main criteria. Warmth and Deep Feeling. Of course, there has got to be the curb appeal or I won’t even have a chance to say hello. (this cuts both ways) And, I believe my “enlightenment” comes from the realisation that other traits are important (1. intelligence, 2. outward beauty, 3. self-awareness/spirituality) but without warmth and the ability to express it at a deep level, well, without that we have the path I am leaving behind.

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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