As I’ve mentioned in passing on this site and on Facebook, I’ve decided to start dating again. I’ve been divorced for two years now and for most of that time I was absolutely content being single/alone, more recently I’ve felt like meeting new people and having some fun.
Although about as soon as I’ve started I’ve felt quitting. It’s time consuming, filled with anxiety, and I’ve encountered some not very nice people. I’m not exactly shy but I’m not outgoing and meeting a new person makes me very nervous. People who’ve known me for awhile are surprised when I mention this though – apparently I project a facade of confidence.
My divorce forced me to make more practical changes with my life such as having primary parental responsibilities and adapting to less than half of the income that I had been living on. I dealt with that and made the necessary adjustments. Since I felt like I had no control over my life, I decided to take control of my weight and lost about 30 lbs. I also started this site as a distraction.
Once I dealt with this and adapted, I was hit with the blow of my Mother becoming sick and passing away shortly after. When I got past the intense grief, and the grief and sadness apparently doesn’t go away, I decided to make more changes. Life was much too short to spend it doing things that I really didn’t want to do.
Since finances and health insurance were really my most pressing concerns, the first changes were with my employment. I decided I wanted to freelance full time and worked hard to make this happen. I devoted the entire summer to this and have mostly made a success out of it although with more effort I could be doing even better.
Shortly before I left for Vermont I started to feel lonely. I spent the entire summer home alone primarily working and knew that I needed to spend time with friends, make new friends, and maybe try to meet a man. But at first I felt bummed out and down. Fortunately, my vacation refreshed and revitalized me and gave me some quiet time to come up with new ideas.
So, because this is all slightly quirky and I’m not good at meeting people, I placed an ad online. I’m always on the computer, right? LOL ;-) I’m not sure if I would do this again but I’ve learned a lot in a very short time. So enough background and on with the ten things I’ve learned. Oh – I should mention that since I met my husband, got married and got divorced I have not dated in about 10 years. Some things have changed while others haven’t.
- Texting is the new phone call – Making plans via text messaging has replaced the phone call. Part of this may be because I’m dating slightly younger men. And, actually, I don’t mind. I hate talking on the phone and a couple of quick messages is a lot more efficient. Of course, I do prefer to speak with someone prior to meeting him because I think a voice can tell you a little about a person but a text is fine for plans.
- People are flaky – You can have a series of email conversations, seem interested in each other, and then when it comes time to making plans for meeting they become really flaky about it. I’m not sure if they are shy, anti-social, not presenting themselves honestly, or married but the point to all of this is actually meeting and even though it makes me nervous I have plenty of email buddies and I don’t really need new ones.
- Odd first date requests – Ok – I know that I’m far from normal. I don’t act my age, I have a child but don’t feel like talking about her non-stop with other parents, I play video games, I hate shopping, I don’t wear makeup, I would rather rent than own, I’m a vegetarian, I’m left-handed, I sit cross legged at my computer desk, I’m obsessive about schedules, I love British soccer, I don’t really drink, etc … the point is I’m very open-minded about people, what they are into, and things they suggest doing for dates. You never know what might end up being really fun. But for a first date/meeting, I am not prepared to jump into a Barney costume while you make balloon animals at a kid’s party. Even if it will really help you out of a jam. Maybe after I actually know you I’ll be Barney, but not the first time I meet you.
- People can be very different online than in person – I had some email conversations with one guy that were a blast – he was so much fun and I couldn’t wait to meet him. Then the 90 minutes that I spent with him were some of the most awkward and uncomfortable minutes of my life. He didn’t seem like he wanted to be there, he would barely look at me, and he hardly said a word. Like I mentioned, I’m not all that outgoing at first and I make that clear with someone before we meet. And me desperately trying to pull a conversation out of this individual was torture – I couldn’t get anything other than a yes or no response. It’s almost as if he had asperger’s syndrome, which I suppose is preferable to tourettes.
- Men are still obsessed with sex – Ok, nothing surprising about that and women are too to an extant. And while it is often the basis of interactions between men and women a little more subtlety about it would be appreciated. Maybe I’m naive, maybe things have changed, or maybe I just blocked this out from my encounters from a decade ago. But if you are having a pleasant back and forth email conversation don’t suddenly ask me my bra size, at least don’t if you want me to write back. I’ve even had to cancel plans because after making the arrangements have been asked if we would be going back to my place. Dude, I haven’t even met you and don’t know if I will even find you attractive but right now I can definitively say, no, that isn’t going to happen because I’m not going to meet you.
- Alcohol – A lot of first meetings revolve around alcohol in some way. Since I don’t really drink, I’m not really into that. Although it can take the edge off and alcohol would have definitely helped with the guy who wouldn’t speak. I’ve had more alcohol in the last two weeks then in the last 5 years. Don’t get the impression that I’ve been drinking non-stop – for me it’s a glass of wine or a guiness. But, ugh …
- People lie – Again, this isn’t so surprising but I try to be straightforward with people. For example, even though I’m not exactly looking for a husband I’m not going to tell someone that I have a kid after we’ve been out a bunch of times – that will be known from the beginning. The best was the guy that seemed cool, we planned a date and he then asked me if was ok that he was unhappily engaged. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! He must think he is very special or I am especially desperate if I’m going to think that’s acceptable. I have way too much respect for myself and for his fiancee. I suppose I should be grateful he told me before I wasted time going out with him.
- People are wishy-washy – This ties into being flaky. I’ll get a message from someone I’ve met and that I like asking if I am free on a particular day. I’ll say yes what do you have in mind. He will then say I might be able to clear some time. What?!?! Why did you ask me if I was free if you weren’t. I am admittedly obsessed with schedules but I also have a limited free time – if he can’t commit to a plan, I’m not going to wait around for him to figure it out. I’m going to make other plans. This went on for a bit with someone I did like but I finally decided to just not answer the messages any more. It’s a waste of time.
- I’ll call you tomorrow – Oh, this one is still going strong. Men can’t seem to get over this line. If you have no intention of calling, don’t say anything or say it was nice meeting you. Or don’t say it and then call three days later. Silly silly games. People really don’t know how to be honest. Oh – but sometimes now it’s “I’ll text you tomorrow” – LOL
- Mismatch – This one is still going strong too. The ones you like are the ones you never hear back from. And the ones that you didn’t like are the ones that ask you to go out again. ;-)
So, it’s been an interesting study of human behavior but it hasn’t exactly been fun. I’ve met some new people for better or for worse, had some alcohol, and a lot of cases of the nerves.
photo credit: ZakVTA