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Archive for the ‘Dating Over 40’ Category

There comes a moment when you are newly single where everyone in the world seems to ask you the question “when are you going to start dating?”  During “fake divorce” no one asked this question because we all thought we knew the situation.  After “real divorce” took hold, the inquiry took on a new life.  People seemed to forget I started dating my ex-husband when I was 18 and even before that I only had a couple boyfriends.  This was a completely new area for me where I had no experience.   In fact, I didn’t even know where to start.

It seemed unlikely to meet someone substantial trolling bars on weekends in a drunken haze, not that I snubbed my nose at the fun downtown experience.  Although, I do see it probably doesn’t have the responsible intellect I’m looking to have in my life.  I also could never go the route like Ex by picking up a 30 year old love-of-my-life at the  workplace.  The phrase “never shit where you eat” is burned into my brain for that kind of non-sense and it really leads to too many ethical dilemmas for my taste.  A couple girlfriends suggested Tinder and Bumble for the jump off point.  Tinder was for hook ups and Bumble was if I wanted something real.  Since I wasn’t sure of what I wanted, I decided to enlist in both.

Let me first tell you, the idea there are more respectable dating potentials on Bumble is false.  Both sites are relatively the same in how they present and what people expect.  One guy I met on Bumble said he “swiped right” on every woman with the hopes someone would message him so he could score a quickie when passing through new towns.  He did get points for honesty even though I left our conversation a little horrified.

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Here’s a glimpse at pictures I used for my profile.  While I tried to pick realistic selfies, I also wanted body shots so these dudes knew they were getting a plus size girl.  Also, no filters. Why false advertise?

The first time I opened a Tinder profile, I didn’t know which way to swipe.  I ended up liking all sorts of dudes I didn’t want.  In a panic, I deleted the app immediately and hid my phone for a few hours like they had a tracker on it.  When I gave it another go, I didn’t really know what to look for in searching for a potential date.  It didn’t take long to pick up things I liked (a well written bio) and things I didn’t (naked chest selfies in the bathroom mirror.)  Here are a few things I learned along the way that will hopefully make your first experience with on line dating apps a little easier.

Ready to Scroll:

While on-line dating apps may seem like an easy concept, you quickly learn it’s quite overwhelming and complex.  For one, the apps only pull profiles from the area you are in at that moment.  So if you’re traveling and located 1000 miles away from home, you are only going to see potentials in that town you will probably never visit again.  I’ve been burned several times by men who were traveling through So. Oregon.  They were cool with looking in this area, engaging in a chatting relationship, but then it fizzled when dates were few and far between.

Another thing to remember is some key differences between how the two programs are set up.  To view a Bumble profile, you scroll up.  But be careful  because swiping up in Tinder creates a “Super Like.”  I can’t tell you how many times I screamed “No, no, no!” after Super Liking someone I wouldn’t even like a little.

Weeding through Profiles:

My Cool Cousin (CC) gave me some great tips about profiles and I’m going share her wisdom with you in a shortened version.

  • No picture/Body shot with no head/pictures of inanimate objects/memes = Married.  Sometimes they will say in the profiles they’re looking for an affair, but even if not, know they are hiding their identity for a reason.  CC made an excellent point of “Don’t you think their wife recognizes the bathroom she probably cleans all the time in the background of their mirror body shot?” Obviously strong critical thinking skills are not these men’s strengths.
  • Self-Employed/School of Hard Knocks= Unemployed/No education.  They may try to jazz it up with something fancy but it comes down to the same thing.  They have nothing to back up the category.  If job or education matters to you, just go ahead and pass on these.
  • Keep the message simple = if you want sex, say it.  There’s no reason to beat around the bush (literally…ha!)  If you’re only on the site for hook ups, put it in your bio.  When CC utilized Tinder, she even got down in the nitty-gritty by setting expectations of how many times a week for sexual encounters.  So many people write “looking for someone to have a good time with” which really gives a false impression.  They’re looking for someone to have a good time with that night.  Clearer communication will make the experience less disappointing and frustrating in the long run.

Swipe Away:

Tinder and Bumble are both set up with the format of swiping the picture to the right if a “yes” and to the left if a “no.”  If the other party has also liked your profile, when you swipe to the right you will get this affirming message of “It’s a Match!”  Be warned, this is where this process starts to wear on your self-worth.  You can match with someone and they may never write you back.  Or you could think “Hey, this cute guy is attracted to me” and then his opening line is “Do you like to suck big dick?”  Since people usually scan through profiles when bored or lonely, you can quickly become addicted to needing the “match” validation.  Remember to keep focused on what you want, not what you can get.

Ready to Message:

At first, I didn’t understand why men would say “I want to meet right away to see if there’s a connection” or “no pen pals.”  I thought it was so rude to say you didn’t have time to chat a little before meeting in person.  After talking with a few potentials I swiped on, I realized exactly why this happens.  People want to fill their boredom or loneliness by talking to someone who is interested in them.  It fulfills a need for intimacy without any real effort.   You can be sexting in no time.  Just know, in the end, it’s a huge time waster.  If you’re really trying to find a connection with someone, set up the date to meet like normal people once did.

Extra Motherly Warnings to Remember (that I most likely didn’t follow):

  • People lie
  • Meet in a public place
  • They’re putting their best foot forward
  • They want to have sex with you immediately
  • They will say anything to have sex with you immediately
  • People use people
  • Don’t rush into trusting
  • If not great, move on quickly

Those things may seem obvious, but dating changes a person.  It can increase confidence when you find several people are interested or decrease it when you can’t even get a nibble on the line.  You may be wondering what kind of people did I meet.   Do you?  Are you wondering?   Never fear, those highlights are coming up in the nex bloge and they may even include a date showing up in a sloth onesie. (True story.)  As for now, happy hunting, I mean swiping and good luck finding a fantastic match.

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Reality Check

I’ve gone back and forth about writing this blog.  Obviously, I’ve decided it’s best for me to do this blog series and this is the starting point.  That doesn’t mean it’s best for you to read it.  I’ve chosen to open up about my personal life a bit to reveal what’s really been going on in my world for the last couple years.  I want to give a disclaimer before I start: this blog is my perception.  Other people may have different views or experiences and I’m not here to say they’re wrong.  With my own biases, emotions, and agendas, this is my version of my life.

Two years ago my husband of 17 years and best friend of 25 years asked me for a divorce.  I limped back with the asking to go to counseling, but only after two sessions, he remained resolved in his decision and we divorced.  But we really didn’t.  While we lived in separate homes, we really changed nothing of our relationship.  The only difference was we didn’t have to ask each other permission to make choices with time and money.  I see now that I was in complete denial I was actually divorced.  I should’ve had a good sign when it took me a year to take off my wedding ring while he had his off the day he asked for the divorce.

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A friend made this meme for me at the time and I’ve waited fo finally get to show this amazong piece of gold.

We grocery shopped every weekend together, ate dinner as a family regularly, and we never ended our physical relationship.  I still imagined us growing old together as we always had talked about.  I called it “fake divorce.”  I referred to him as my husband/ex-husband.  People asked why we even did it and I really felt it was because he was trying to prove the point that I wasn’t listening to him at the time.

After the first ten months, I decided if there was any chance for us to get back together, I would need to fix some things in my head I felt led to him ending our marriage.  I started therapy and worked for months to get to root causes.  After each session, I shared with my ex-husband all the progress I was making in finding myself again.  He occasionally would find new female friends where they had innocent outings, but nothing serious.  We agreed he would tell me because our on-going physical relationship.  I never even had an interest in dating since I knew we were working to find our way back to each other.

In October 2018, after being divorced for 18 months, tragedy rocked my world.  My father was dying.  In a devastated state, we flew to California to say our good-byes.  My ex listened as I told my dad not to worry because we were still working as a team.  The trip to California actually cancelled a trip Ex and I had planned to take to Portland together.  When we returned, he asked if I wanted to join his trip to Portland the next weekend.  We packed up the kids and made a family vacation out of it.  I even put back on my wedding rings after telling him I missed them and he said “then you should wear them.”

As I drove on the way home, I noticed he was checking his phone a little more often than he usually does, but he was four months into a new job and expectations were high.  We returned to our separate homes and that night I had a nightmare he was dating someone else.  When I woke up at 4am in terror, I considered calling him.  I waited until 6am without sleeping another wink and shot of a text asking if he was.  He wrote back “that’s ridiculous.”

Two days later, I asked Ex to come over for a cocktail and appetizers on his way home from work.  He declined, saying he’d had a long day and needed to fix dinner for our children.  I texted him later to ask if he wanted to come over for coffee for a break, but I didn’t receive a response.  After a few hours, I called my daughter to ask why he wasn’t checking his phone.  She said he wasn’t home.  He had to go out for a work function.  Although I thought it was odd he hadn’t told me, I didn’t think much about it.  Later that night when he returned, he only sent back a one line text of “it was a long day.”

The next morning was when the bomb dropped.  Ex sent me a text admitting he had actually gone out on a date the previous night.  My stomach dropped.  It couldn’t be possible.  The day before his date he used the word “ridiculous” when I asked.  Then he said he kissed her. Physical contact.  The one thing he knew would break the relationship we had shared for the last 18 months.  He told me he liked her and didn’t know what it meant.

We now experienced real divorce.  I lost my mind.  Really.  This isn’t an exaggeration.  I left work, got ripped drunk the entire day, and sobbed.  I took an occasional break to yell at him when he called. Screaming the most hurtful things I could imagine so he could feel an ounce of the pain that I was.  The following days continued to spiral.  I told myself it was a fluke. He would stop seeing her, tell me he was sorry, and we could go on even though I kept yelling at him how much I hated him for being a fucking liar.  He continued to see her and my anger continued to rage.

Two weeks later my dad died.  I wondered how my life had hit rock bottom in the one month of October.  The two men who had watched me grow up and influenced the woman I had become were gone.  Ex came to the funeral and brought my children.  In our conversations, I learned not only was his relationship with his new girlfriend increasing quickly, but that she’s 16 years younger than him.  A child in my mind.  He had gladly thrown away our lives for an immature thirty year old.  When I thought things couldn’t get worse after a long funeral day, we sat on the couch and I told him how I thought the day went as best it could.  My mom was happy, as much as one can be when your heart is broken.  Ex took the moment to tell me he had invited his new girlfriend over earlier that week to meet the children.  I lost my mind…again.

We repeated this process for the next couple months as I learned they slept together, he wined and dined her with expensive dates, such as flying her to Seattle for dinner. They regularly took out of town trips together while I struggled with a new business.  Then came the worst news.  After only two short months, he admitted he was in love with her.

Each time, I lost my mind.  I’ve never seen myself get so ugly with rage.  Even though I’ve continued with my therapy, I can’t process this idea.  I scream terrible things at my once best friend and love.  He can hardly be part of conversations with me where I don’t talk about how much I hate his girlfriend for ruining my family.  (Yes, I’m working on this.)

I needed distractions.  I thought dating might help, so I checked that out. Wow, that’s an adventure all in itself.  Maybe burying myself in work since I have just taken the big leap of opening a new business was just the thing to keep my mind occupied? Check.  Until I realized baking is a solitary thing and leaves you a lot of time to be alone with your thoughts.  So now, I have decided I need this sweet blog.  Maybe if I share the things I’ve learned in going through this betrayal, divorce, and trying to establish a new life, I will be able to feel like there was a point to it.

So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m going to share MY experiences since my “real divorce.”  I’m going to try to stay out of what my Ex is doing because that doesn’t help anyone.  He made his choice.  This blog is about how I’m living now and what I’ve learned along the way. It will incorporate starting my own business all by myself and maneuvering through the complicated world of dating when your over 40. Some of them are humorous and some are heartbreaking.  And as I have always done, I will be transparent, which may be more cringe-worthy than all those concert fails totaled up.  Here’s the place where my mom should really hit the “unfollow” button and anyone else who doesn’t want to know about my sex life.  (Yes, the horror, I am going to talk about that.)

I hope this will be good for all of us in the end.  I have no idea where I’m going, but I do know I’m going to be one bad ass muthafucka when I get there.  This is all about what it’s like to work towards being the person you were always meant to be, even when it’s nothing like you imagined. Wish me luck.  I’m gonna need it.

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