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

Putting Online Dating in Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Off Parent

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11 Responses

  1. I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll.

    April 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

  2. Heather Cutting

    Good afternoon, OffParent Extraordinaire,

    Excellent points…
    and, I agree, with you, 100%, in all you have written.
    I see your point….completely…
    You are on the right track, Sir.

    Reading all your well analyzed, intelligent, humorous, thought provoking, caring blogs leads leads me to one question…
    Well, not exactly one question….but maybe a few questions, with several major points, the recipe for the perfect discussion.

    Well, so, Doc, WHAT IF she has:
    — Brains and banter AND
    — Nice breasts and taunt abs?

    And, WHAT IF she’s into joining with an equal partner, not just dominating and controlling another person, for the sake of having power someone?

    I know someone who is more than into a mutual relationship with a man vs a power/over, controlling, constant tension kind of set up, that mostly keeps the other party just longing, and wanting something…more….and wondering…

    WHAT IF she is more than tired of playing ‘Clue’ with men, and never has enjoyed that cat/mouse, push/pull ‘dance’ that many men and women try, and fail….

    Well, and WHAT IF she desires a true partnership with a man, one that is based on reality, on leveraging each others’ strengths—instead of harping on the weakness in a person….

    WHAT IF she uses humor and intelligence coupled with flirtation to motivate people in her life?

    Hmmm…well, WHAT IF she’s a first class woman, with a more than impressive education, who applied herself in both academia and business, and was a contender, in both…?

    And, WHAT IF she has more than a slight wild side, peppered with the right amount of class, so she doesn’t end up homeless chasing the next musician….but is able to rock and roll with the best, and not chase an addictive dead, end existence.

    Oh, and WHAT IF she is most nurturing parent, and women, who knows how to lead by example, and has established a loving, intelligent, accepting, responsible, thoughtful, athletic, accommodating–yet confident–likable, attractive, clever, and fun group of children, after her 1st choice of ‘husband’ wandered off…..which, in the end, was to everyone’s benefit….???

    WHAT IF she can keep up with you, your banter, quick wit, strong hands, and loving heart….and hungry appetite for carnal desires, from time to time…

    Maybe she is just to busy to write up a response to one of those online dating sites…..WHAT IF being the leader of a happy, loving, exciting group of kiddos is much more appealing than readig and answering those online responses to strangers?

    What if she would rather meet a man cara y cara, looking for that spark, that intense spark of life and love, that can keep two people from giving up on a partnership?

    Maybe filling out the perfect online response is too much, in that she analyzes the heck out of every question..and weighs each response against who might respond to her honesty…and then just erases everything, and starts again…

    WHAT IF late one night, just writes up a quick response, so she can continue about living her groovy life…..and then meets a few men….that, in the end, have too many addictions or bad habits to be suitable to live around her children?

    Well, what would you think, then?

    And, let’s add this: WHAT IF she even not only knows your family well, but your families of origin have been friends for decades, close friends…Somehow you overlooked each other, and both were too focused on other people and passions in your young life to take the time to see what was right in clear view?

    Well, what if….she is all THAT…and more…

    I heard she even has a strong control of the English language, and when she is not too distracted from her many cool interests and responsibilities, she know the when to use: 1) your or you’re…or 2) there or their….or 3) site or sight…and for the most part, can integrate humor, balance, love, fun, and excellent grammar into most situations.

    Just wondering, sir, just wondering….

    Hey, keep fighting the good fight, Mr. OffParent Extraordinaire.
    Try not to analyze the situation to a point too dissected and torn apart to savor.

    Sometimes that special person that adds the spice to our cool days, and fire to our sensational nights are closer than we even have realized.

    When and if you’re ready for this challenge, let me know.

    I’ll be more than happy to give her your contact info.
    Best to you and yours, always, H

    April 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm

  3. Heather Cutting

    Oh, and WHAT IF….her kids kept distracting her while she was writing, to the point she made not only some blaring grammatical errors in her response, but also more than a few typos?

    But, wouldn’t it be cool that she knows the difference between ‘too’ and ‘to’ and ‘two’ and recognizes that she made a few errors since her kids are vigilant in attempting to kick her off the computer so they could check the sports scores, their friends’ FB pages, and play some interactive video games, while they were watching a RedBox movie for the 5th time (The Zoo Keeper) and downloading Itunes on their Itouch…

    Well, I’m thinking, she must have amazing concentration and spunk, and was determined to post a response, in spite of the errors…because she could see the value of giving a response, than trying to be perfect, and never having time to achieve that level of perfection….

    Gosh, WHAT IF, all that….?

    April 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm

  4. Heather Cutting

    Oh, and WHAT IF….her kids kept distracting her while she was writing, to the point she made not only some blaring grammatical errors in her response, but also more than a few typos?

    But, wouldn’t it be cool that she knows the difference between ‘too’ and ‘to’ and ‘two’ and recognizes that she made a few errors since her kids are vigilant in attempting to kick her off the computer so they could check the sports scores, their friends’ FB pages, and play some interactive video games, while they were watching a RedBox movie for the 5th time (The Zoo Keeper) and downloading Itunes on their Itouch…

    Well, I’m thinking, she must have amazing concentration and spunk, and was determined to post a response, in spite of the errors…because she could see the value of giving a response, than trying to be perfect, and never having time to achieve that level of perfection….

    Gosh, WHAT IF, all that….?d

    April 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

  5. Heather Cutting

    See my point?
    Mega distractions, to the point of duplication, but still she is determined, when the cause is worth the chance of the risk of being embarrassed.

    April 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

  6. Indeed I would have to say she’s very persistant, poignant, just a tad perplexing. It’s as if she’s known me before I’ve written my next post. As if the words of my mind are flowing directly into her cerebral cortex even before the action or word flickers into consciousness. But that’s crazy talk.

    She could be amazing, as you describe, she could be witty and intelligent, as you claim she is…

    And I would have to pause and ask, “Am I ready?” Now, stepping back, “I act and write as if… but perhaps I have no idea.”

    That friend said to me, the other night, “You need to let go of looking. You need to realise you are a “catch” and then release it and let it go. When you are not looking, she will find you.”

    Now, I’m not sure how much I believe this. So I will keep putting the profile out there, keep laying the “hellos” on the interesting “matches” as I see them.

    And still, there is a part of me that knows she is right. I do not want to be working so hard at it. I don’t want to have to make every single thing happen. And the universe works better when we let go and let… our higher power. (or buddha, or whatever you choose to call it)

    So you, my newly illuminated reader, are a spark of energy and a quark of potential who says many amazing things. As if you are speaking from knowledge and history.

    Let’s pretend I say, YES, let’s pretend I say, “BRING HER ON.”

    What then dear reader? Are you really proposing a *match* of your own imagining? And what part of my Bukowski soul makes you think that your friend is my match. What tender or rough words gives you that flight of fancy?

    I know we cannot answer these questions. We are not SHE and ME. We are but US.

    The Off Parent

    April 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    • Heather Cutting

      As always, well said, sir.

      I will take time to reflect, here, in your Offparent world, after 2nd shift, perhaps, and will keep reflecting, in other venues, regarding the insightful issues you raise.

      Peace for now, Doc, to you, and yours.

      Until next time, Cheers! Regards, H

      April 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

  7. Heather Cutting

    Now, for reflection, on my part, as you make many excellent points.

    I reflect here, and will keep reflecting, in other venues, thinking about the issues you raise.
    Yes, I have been down that path, the one of shattered dreams, of chasing the online matching dream, and then of letting go, and living, with full love of life.

    My experience is this:
    A process has to happen within someone who is a deep thinker, and deep ‘feeler’, so to speak…
    From my experience, I never listened to that wise voice deep in my heart, but kept upon my ‘plan’, my analytical path, until I hit my head again that wall of resistance, until my head was bleeding, in a metaphorical sense.
    Then, after hitting the wall so many times, I just stopped doing things in the manner I felt was my way, my destiny.
    And, I did let go, and I let things happen….

    Once I let go, and accepted my life as H + 3 = Family vs, my former life plan of: Happy Couple + 3 ninos= Family…well, then I began experiencing joy and being happy with me, with my life, with my children, with my friends, with my interests, with my days, and with my nights..

    Honestly, it was magic. Once my former approach melted away, I was left with the best..But took many years…like over a decade.

    Once I stopped insisting on pushing my math formula to be the answer to solve the mess I had made of my life, well, then, slowly I became content with the road I was living.

    I decided all the choices I had made were not leading to that perfect person, or my exact destiny…My life did not follow an easy course, a naturally happy two parent, suburban path not because of ‘destiny’ but simply because I trusted and ‘partnered’ with the wrong people.

    I held them close, even when knowing they were a math problem I could never solve…and for certain without being compatible as two people who could not even conduct simple business together— well of course, from that fact, my marriage, and a few relationships following, would fail.

    It’s not that they are right, or I am wrong, or vice versa…but we are too different…I was playing tennis and they were playing football…Our goals, rules of the game, and plays on the field were like Greek to each other.

    After many years of playing tennis with football players, so to speak, I gave it all up.
    I just stopped.
    I decided knowing what I did NOT want was as important as knowing what I DID want.

    And I just stopped giving time and energy to people that looked like ‘the same song, second verse, third verse, or fourth verse’ of my former choices.

    I began putting all that former energy into me, my kids, my friends, my business ventures, my family, and just stopped spending time with online or offline encounters, when I saw red flags.

    This time, I ran from the red flags. I tried to trust that voice in my heart, when it revealed this ‘just felt wrong.’ And, I didn’t look for what or who was ‘right’ for me. I just removed from my world (online, or real life worlds) and my kiddos world, where I could, situations and people that did not feel right.

    I did not try and measure, what if XXX, then XXX could transpire; instead, I just stopped. All together stopped. I quit trying to make it all work with people whom I did not enjoy, or who were too much work, or who were disinterested, or dishonest, or confusing.

    For most of my life, I was taught and always have made it a point to be open, to reach out to people, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to be accepting of different life styles and cultures than my own….to be inclusive towards people…instead of being exclusive in my dealings with others.

    In many situations, this is an excellent approach…but in regards to cultivating close relationships with people, for love and friendship, some discernment is necessary. I never did much of that….I usually embraced people as they are, and brought them close to me. Not a great plan as the only parent of three almost 12 year old children. My children brought me to a better place in regards to measuring who and what is best for me and my family.

    And somehow, as I began trusting that voice inside me, and not denying what I knew from my experiences my situation settled in: people that me and my kids really enjoyed were left, and the others melted away. I began establishing boundaries so that my children were happy, and safe. And as they were happy and safe and challenged, I soon took on these feelings for our situation.

    That’s my new way.
    It may not work for you.
    Or others in similar situations.
    But it is working for me, and mine, for now.

    I focused on building a community for my children, so they would feel connected and grounded to a family, a church a school, a neighborhood, a city, and of course, close friends.. And, at first I just pretended to feel fulfilled by my actions, my days, our life en Casa de Woodhurst.

    And then soon, I forgot the ‘longing’ of wanting something/someone else. My life as it is today, perfect, with my children, as they are my family now….Just like your happiest hours on Thursday nights (forgive if I got your name for it incorrect)…well, that is my life, every day and night.

    Now the question is: if I add some spice, some savory marinade, that may make all of our happiness grow exponentially, for all involved….well….
    Is it worth the risk, the risk of heart break, investing time in a person who may not be around for long, or be happy living my routine as a parent, day in, day out.

    Is the benefit worth the risk? That’s always the rub.

    I don’t know the answer., Mr. OP Extraordinaire.

    But I do know this.

    I have, will, and am the key to my children’s days and nights. And, no matter how much my heart grows with love if a love interest and/or life partner comes along, or no matter how deep my heart is broken, if that same person falls out of my life, and my children’s life…

    Well, in the end, I am doing what I was meant to do:
    embracing, leading, and loving my fabulous three children, until I am not able. And then, with God’s grace, perhaps my family will lead and love me.
    Together I will go down life’s path with them, and people will come and go into our days and nights, and we will ebb and flow with the joys and sorrows of these fabulous days.

    Keep asking the questions, and pushing the edge of your experiences and observations. In walking through the feelings we have, we can get to the other side.

    I have been fighting allergies or a cold or something this weekend, and with that, has come time to think about all these lessons learned, while referring this wild bunch, from the sidelines.

    Looks like my sideline gig is over….I’m front and center again.
    Regards Mr. OP, Extraordinaire, siempre mi amigo, H

    April 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

  8. Wow, H. You seem to have started a wonderful dialogue with yourself as a result of posting on The Off Parent. I salute you. And welcome the interaction. Here’s the crux (for me) of what you said:

    “And then soon, I forgot the ‘longing’ of wanting something/someone else. My life as it is today, perfect, with my children, as they are my family now….Just like your happiest hours on Thursday nights (forgive if I got your name for it incorrect)…well, that is my life, every day and night.”

    I appreciate the Happier hour of Thursdays. And I feel the tweak of my happiness every Friday morning as I drop them back at school. On the weekends when they will return to me Friday afternoon I have a nice routine, I finish my work around 3pm and I take the rest of the afternoon off, after I pick them up at 3:30.

    This is such a weekend. Full. Complete. Completed. I do understand your fullness. When we are together there is nothing missing. We are a family as I envisioned it. Except of course, their mom. But of course things are MUCH easier without her, for us. There is not one single argument about cleaning the house, about chores (we have them, yes) about what we’re going to do on Saturday. This core unit has a connected and free form flow that probably drove my ex-y crazy. She much preferred the work plan model.

    The longing for me, takes place, as it will tomorrow, when I drop them back at school on a Monday, after our full family weekend. It is that morning, as I pull away from school that I feel an ache.

    Why did I, how did I end up in this “missing” place? It is a familiar feeling, but I no longer welcome it. I acknowledge the ache. And I can understand my past history that is riddled with so many “missing” moments. And for today, I move away from that HURT as I drive away from their school and them.

    It is THAT longing that holds the key to me for what I am missing in the rest of my life. I DO want to be in a relationship. While I get so much joy and fulfillment out of simply being DAD, I am hungry for a companion. That longing that you have learned to forget, just might be a key to the relationship you want as well. It’s easier to keep driving away from their school and the ache and just carry on.

    Later in the day your THREE return to you and you are fullup in the activity of FAM again. Mine do not return to my fold until the next Thursday evening. And this coming Thursday, that glimpse, that ONE NIGHT and MORNING, is all I will have of them for the entire week.

    I love having entire weekends to plan activities. Time and options I never had while married. But I also wish it were not so. I was content wrapped in the everyday details of being Dad. Now I don’t have that luxury. Perhaps I am pushed out to learn more about myself, my needs, my next plan or dream. Certainly that’s what’s happening. But the reality is I LONG FOR MY KIDS when they are not here. And to a lesser extent, I can feel that I LONG FOR A RELATIONSHIP again.

    I am much more attentive to red flags. There is no real reason to put up with many of them early on in the experimental relationships.

    So perhaps you will find the longing as a painful shoulder that needs a strong and warm hand to kneed and rub it. For now you can put heating gel on it, or ask one of your kids to beat it for you. (that’s what I do.) But if you can listen to the ache, only if you want to, you might find the energy behind the longing. And at this point in my life, I am finding that ache-to-energy to be quite powerful and quite transformative.

    I am becoming someone else. I am expressing all side of the joy and pain, here on The Off Parent. I am leaving all of my grievances behind. And when they show up I’m putting them to rest by journaling them here.

    I am excited that you have found the reason, the energy, to post such a reflective comment here. I hope you continue. A dialogue is forming between us. Another wonderful and interesting development from writing this down. The hard stuff and the good stuff. The dark sex stuff and the vulnerable stuff.

    Thank you for joining in the dance with me.


    The Off Parent

    April 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm

  9. Heather Cutting

    Greetings Mr. OP,

    Thanks for taking the time to read my lengthy thoughts that I decided to journal right here on your site. Didn’t even realize I needed to process the past years roller coaster of life…but now, I know. In fact, a few of us know now…Ha! Well, being spontaneous often yields surprising results…for sure. I’m new at responding on a public site about my life challenges.

    Certainly appreciate your views, ideas, and opinions. Learning another person’s experiences regarding parenting is insightful for me. It’s rare that I take time to think it all through. Have to start somewhere..and that I have. Grateful for being propelled in that direction by your writing.

    Best to you and yours.
    Until next time, Take Care, H

    April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

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