Ever notice how, when once you commit to something, the universe conspires to convince you otherwise? The minute you decide you are, for sure, going to go on that diet, all manner of beverages, desserts and delicious cuisine are offered you. The minute you commit to daily exercise the kids suddenly need rides right when you planned to exercise. The minute you decide that you’ve given up on dating, suddenly your dance card is full.
I am a freaking hypocrite.
I said I didn’t want to date anymore. I meant it. I really did. What am I saying? I still mean it. I do so love my independence and my life right now.
Best intentions have flown out the window. Innocently, though it was. I didn’t intend to get a date out of the interaction. I made a simple comment on Facebook, in response to a comment that resonated with me.
Next thing you know, we’re meeting up to listen to a local live musician we both know.
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Back in the day, when I was younger, squeaky clean, freshly stamped with that Bachelor’s Degree, and looking for work, I had to go through the arduous, intimidating, and emotionally exhausting process of interviewing. I hated it. I hated the way I was often scrutinized, picked apart, rejected. And that was if I even got the interview. Because I was able to present myself well on paper, and because I legitimately had some decent grades, a fair amount of extracurricular campus leadership involvement, and held down a 30-40 hour job, I usually got any interview I sought. The problem is, I’d crash and burn on the interviews. The only time I didn’t crash and burn on an interview was the interview for the job I have now. Of course, by the time I interviewed for this job, I was in my 30’s, had a bunch more education under my belt, and was far more confident in my abilities to do the job I was seeking. Looking back, I was so terribly frightened and unsure of myself in those wide-eyed, innocent days, that it is amazing that I got the jobs I did get, when I got them, that gave me the experience which ultimately landed me a position in a nationally recognized and cutting edge training program for the profession I am currently in.
I was young and unsure. I felt inadequate. I was afraid to fail. All of this showed through in those early interviews, I am sure. Like I said, I’m surprised I ever got a job to begin with. Read the rest of this entry
I love the area I live in, for the most part. It really is beautiful country, the weather is mild most of the year, and there are plenty of opportunities to do things outdoors whether you like the river, lake, mountains or coast. We have it all. The problem is when it comes to dating, there’s a dearth of educated people. There’s an even greater lack of people who have beliefs similar to mine and this is never more obvious than when we begin the discussion of politics. Read the rest of this entry
So, go figure. My finances suck. We’ve been over that. My love life is non-existent. I just had a guy I supported walk out on me after two years. He gave me three days’ notice and he was gone. Haven’t heard a word from him since. After my two epic fails at marriage, I don’t know which hurt worse, to have the marriages end, or him walk out after I invested so much financially and emotionally for two.fucking.years. It is now all water under the bridge, but at times, it still stings.
I’m at an age and in a demographic where there isn’t much dating action, and if there is, it isn’t serious, nor is it even remotely authentic. Face it, after 45, there are so many obstacles to overcome, so much history to wade through, so many people’s scrutiny you have to undergo before a relationship can even be viable, let alone long term. I’ve given up on that area of my life ever being a source of pleasure or happiness. People who really know me, will know what a big deal that is. Most people tend to understand that it is the nature of the beast these days. Dating after divorce is, at best, a difficult thing, and unlike wine, this does not improve with age. Oh, to be 35 again. Before the wrinkles. Before the mistakes. Before the calendar reveals the stigmatizing number of years you’ve been on this planet (because you cannot lie about that).
In spite of all that, the little surprise I’m experiencing is this: I’m actually having fun. I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I’m happy, in spite of the fact that nothing (except my delightful children) is as I would have expected it and most of it reeks of pathetically miserable failure. I can’t keep a relationship. I can’t catch a break financially. I rent, on purpose, instead of owning. My car is ready to self destruct at any moment. I should sell the thing and try, if possible, to get some money out of it to put down on a more reliable car. But…how to do that? It’s crazy. I have more problems facing me than solutions. I have experienced more endings in the last year than beginnings. I have more reason than ever to despair, instead of hope. Read the rest of this entry
If you’ve ever attempted to enter the shark-infested waters of online dating, you understand the feeling of disappointment that can somehow arise from an encounter with a complete stranger. This, I believe, is due to the fact that many people online are liars. In some way, they misrepresent who they are.
The most common of these is the married individual, who, for whatever reason, finds they are in a ” loveless” marriage. “We haven’t had sex for years!” these types lament. “But I can’t leave. I’m the beneficiary on a multimillion dollar inheritance and the doctors have only given her six weeks to live.” Okay, so I haven’t gotten that line exactly, but I’ve gotten some version of it. It’s always the same: loveless marriage but I’m hanging in there for the money or kids. I personally suspect neither is true. These people are trolls. These, though, are the obvious disappointments because, if you are even a little bit savvy, you can pick up the clues that indicate the dude’s looking for sex with no commitment.
The tough ones are the ones who appear decent and real. They, in fact, anywhere else but online, may even be decent and real. But in digital world, they connect with you, first in a message on the stupid dating site, then later via email, and eventually through text or phone calls. You sense a liking, at first, an attraction, which grows with each contact until you’re very nearly ready to marry the guy without ever having met him.
Then you meet him. Read the rest of this entry
One of the people I’m corresponding with from the sleazeball online dating sight has been pretty decent. I can tell right now, without ever meeting him that he’s not going to be someone I fall madly and passionately in love with. If there is chemistry of anything more than a platonic friendship nature, I will be astounded. The man’s really nice, intelligent, thoughtful, and maybe, if I weren’t so damaged from my history with men, I might be more interested in him as something more than “friends”. I don’t know.
Anyway, I asked him what he was doing on said sleazy dating site. He responded with a lengthy tale which included information about his divorce, financial situation, job history, etc. This just proves my theory that, “So, what is such a nice guy like you doing on a dating site like this,” is a perfect question to ask if you want to get some really intimate information from a person. They usually end up spilling everything about their past and present to you. I got a lot of information, all of which reinforced that this is truly a genuinely decent guy. None of which convinced me that he was my next Prince Charming. So, of course, when he asked the question in return, I threw the game. Read the rest of this entry
Five, almost six, years ago, I left The Evil Ex. It was a devastating divorce and not exactly one I want to rehash here. Suffice it to say, that I spent a number of months, just trying to survive: figure out the family budget, put food on the table, get to work and keep my job. These were the priorities. Then one evening, my oldest daughter decided to create a profile for me on an online dating site. I mean, dating after divorce has to be okay if your kid is suggesting it, right? Yeah. No.
I was in no place to be dating back then. I was just finalizing the divorce for a marriage where I was still in love with the person I was divorcing. The reality was, he just did not love me, and never would. While every relationship has it’s tough places, this one had more than most, and I needed to leave regardless of whether I really wanted to or not. What I wanted was for things to change. This was not going to happen. I left in order to survive. Needless to say, I was a basket case. Insecure. Frightened. Totally unaware of the things you need to be aware of when online dating. Yet, here I was, putting myself out there. (Honestly, as I look back I wonder that I am alive. I made so many stupid mistakes.)
One of the first people I met was intelligent and fun. He was digitally articulate and his profile was interesting. He lived nearby and we arranged to meet up one evening after I left a Christmas Party I was attending. Yep, you guessed it. Mistake number one. Dates occurring after 9:00 in the evening read one and only one way: booty call. Suffice it to say, I met up with the guy, had a couple of drinks and then went home. Let’s just say it was a late night, but I made it to my own bed that night. We ended up going out a couple of times and, though I found him intelligent and attractive, something out of my recent abusive experience told me to run. I did. I just ended up not returning his calls or emails, etc. I think I finally had to block him from my phone, my email, any dating site I happened to be on…you get the picture.
Guess who contacted me within the first hour that I signed up on this dismal dating site? Yep. He contacted me the minute he saw my profile go up. He’s trolling the new members. He’s a desperate and lonely soul, or maybe he really is just a creeper. Here’s how the conversation with A Happy Man 4 U went:
Happy Man: Hey, is your name _____?
Me: (not realizing who might be contacting me) Who’s asking?
Happy Man: I’ll take that as a yes. You look like an Ex of mine from a few years back.
The conversation progressed to the point that I was able to figure out who this person was. Happy Man is most definitely NOT a happy man. He’s negative, has a victim mentality and it exudes from every contact he made with me. 5 years later, I am amazed that I didn’t see it. But I didn’t see this poisonous individual, because I was in so much pain and clearly not in any place to be meeting others like this. In the end, my conversation with Happy Man 4 U, ended pretty abruptly, but not before he referred to me as one of his “Ex’s”. Yes, that is the word he used. Really? I’m an Ex? We went out three times, if that. I paid my way most of the the times. Since he was referring to me as an Ex, I responded with the fact that he didn’t sound like and of my Ex’s (from marriage). Of course, I reminded him, I couldn’t tell because the only picture I have to go by is one of a forest stream. (By this time I’m fully aware of who he is, and I suspect he’s on to me too. Also, yes, he’s reduced himself to putting up a forest picture for his profile. It doesn’t show his face. I’m not sure how he gets away with that.) I then said that I once dated a guy from his town who was bitter, negative and had a victim mentality. I went on to say that because of these qualities, we didn’t date long, maybe three times, and certainly not enough to refer to that person as an “Ex”. He must have me confused.
He responded with “Yes, I must have you confused with someone else because my Ex was fun and nice.” (Really? She’s your ex and you’re not sure you even recognize her. She was fun and nice…really…there was nothing about the way he treated me five years ago that indicated he thought of me as anything other than a potential testosterone release valve, let alone “fun and nice”. Needless to say, I deleted the conversation…after a great deal of laughter.
The truth of the matter is, this man is not a safe person. He’s bitter, angry, and unhappy and that is just not anything I want to be around. Like I said, I made some mistakes. Five years ago, not recognizing this man immediately, the way I could today, was one of them. For a couple of dates, I thought he was decent. When I wouldn’t sleep with him on date three and he loudly called me out on that in public, I got out of there as fast as I could.
A Happy Man or a sick one? I think you’ve probably figured out by now that there is nothing about this individual that is happy.
His byline read, “Who does this?” It was a valid question, after all. Who does this? Who displays a bunch of photos so anonymous strangers, trolls really, can view them and thus make a decision based on whether or not they will contact you? Who goes through this in hopes of finding a viable long-term relationship? The sad truth is, everybody’s doing it, or so it seems. Even more pathetic, I have jumped in this pond again.
I deleted Who-Does-This’s initial email to me. He didn’t say much other than hello or how are you; a simple cut-and-paste statement made by trolls when trolling. I discarded it without even checking out his profile. But he contacted me again. His second contact was no more brilliant than the first, but I looked at his profile this time. 54, okay, that was good since I’m looking for someone who has to be at least 45…if you could call what I’m doing, looking. I cruised through his images, impressively, he had many, and he was attractive. Then I noticed he lives about 90 minutes away in a city near me that I am not even remotely interested in visiting, let alone spend significant time in. Dealbreaker. That’s when I saw his byline. “Who Does This?” Maybe I should have been cynical, but it cracked me up.
I ventured a response, “I have the same question: Who does this? And why are we here? Are you really 54, because you look 45.”
And now he wants to chat. All will be well and good until I have to actually meet the dude. This will involve getting dressed up. Getting dressed up means I must wear shoes. Shit. Why didn’t I think this through a bit more thoroughly?
There are givers and takers in life. Which are you?
I’m not sure people can be classified so distinctly into one or the other category. I know that throughout my life, I have been both. TGBF, while it would seem took more than he gave, actually gave quite a bit…at least there for a while he did. I gave a lot, but I also, especially at the end, took my fair share or as much of it as I possibly could, once I knew he was going to bolt.
We both gave and we both took. He gave time and effort to making sure the daily routines in our home ran efficiently. He truly was at our beck and call and seemed glad about that. He did so much for me and I was grateful. I gave more tangible things, food, shelter, stuff, because I was able and glad to do it…at least there for a while I was. Once he made his decision to leave he began to ease up on the giving and started doing more taking. Sensing something was wrong, I backed off on giving and because to focus more on taking…or getting paid back…for things he promised he’d pay me back for, which he never did, and which, I now realize, he won’t ever. The relationship deteriorated to the point where iI asked him to change or leave and he threw the neutron bomb of relational endings by moving immediately to a place far away. (He later texted me and told me he did this so we wouldn’t get back together. My response? Good to know.)
This is all water under the bridge, as they say.
I ponder these things, in the wee hours of the night, because, well, to be honest, I don’t know the reason because. I just do. There’s a part of me that wants to try to make sense of the confusing turn of events. There’s a part of me that wants to try to learn from whatever went wrong so I don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. There’s part of me that wishes that, if it wasn’t going to work out, it had never happened. There’s a part of me that is just still really confused and bewildered.
Last weekend, the night that TGBF was to come and get his things, I met up with some friends for drinks. One of the women stated, “If the guy doesn’t make more than I do, I don’t give him a second thought.” She’s been taken advantage of and made her costly mistakes. Apparently she’s learned her lesson. A lesson, I suspect I need to learn. (When men treat women like this, is it any wonder women begin to put demands on men like this?)
The saddest thing of all, for me, is that the man took two years of my life and I have nothing but his furniture and a whole lot of painful confusion to show for it. It’s reason enough to never date again, or, if I do to make sure I’m less of a giver and more of a taker the next time around.
Yeah, I’m so not ready to date.
I’m really okay with that.