So it has taken me a while to decide to broach this subject so I tread lightly. Dating is not something I openly talk about in public and I know since I’m public, anyone can read my blog. I, very carefully write my post to talk about my point of view, keeping in mind that my family, ex, and my kids may read this.
I have a lot of funny stories and one day I’ll hopefully write about them, but I took a good break from dating as I experienced more downside than the good in this day and age. In the 10+ years I was married, so many things have changed that going back into it was frightening, exciting, but gosh all so different.
Dating is HARD and I find even harder now than before. The combination of my age, having kids, being divorced, and how much is done online vs in person has me looking at it all differently. I have several single friends and our experiences are similar. I thought I would touch upon why it is hard, discouraging, and maybe get some clarity in sitting down to write about it.
The biggest differences I see:
–Online vs. in person. It is hard to meet people in person now, I find that people hide behind their profiles, and men don’t feel as comfortable going up to women or women like me in person. I’ve been told several times that my date would never have talked to me if they saw me somewhere. But my takeaway is, I want a man that does feel comfortable doing so and not one that hides behind their phone.
–Communication or communication skills are slowly disappearing. Texts, messages, games, not responding, flaking. It is all gotten so much worse as people are talking to 5-10 people at a time. After my last relationship communication is #1 for me, so I find that if someone doesn’t communicate well I don’t give them my time. It is ok to talk to 5-10 people (see below on my comment on the numbers game), but why not really get to know someone over the phone? A few have wanted to talk on the phone which is refreshing, or better yet, met up and see in person. Meeting up is the only way to really know.
–Planning Dates. What happened to old fashioned times where men planned the dates? Also slowly disappearing, but the positive is, meeting for drinks rather than a formal dinner gives you time to pack up and leave after 30 minutes if the spark isn’t there. Being more laid back about this has enabled me to pretty much weed out all the bad ones right away.
–Ghosting. This happens to EVERYONE and if it hasn’t happened to you, please give all of us tips. When has been it acceptable to just disappear after having a great conversation? Or a good meet up? Or simply not showing up at all when a time is booked. It’s extremely disappointing and the stories I hear and what I’ve experienced is that people just don’t give a shit about anyone’s feelings as they aren’t vested in it yet. Hiding behind a phone does not make it right to ghost someone or not show up. I’ve been honest if there are no feelings and if someone asks me out, rather than avoid the conversation I simply say I wasn’t feeling the same way. No hard feelings and come on, we are grown adults. I am lucky, I don’t take it personally and am happy that I know what the other person is like before diving into more time, but many women get discouraged and then give up on dating. Ladies, if someone doesn’t show up in conversation or on a date, they are not for you and it has nothing to do with you.
–Inappropriate behaviors. Photos, comments, and things that are said immediately without much context or knowing the person behind the phone happen often. MEN, before messaging, think, is this something you would want your sister, mom or girlfriend to get? Some thought before messaging is much needed, but as I said, easy to weed out quickly if you feel uncomfortable. For us ladies, if you are looking for that, go ahead and have fun. For those of you that aren’t, don’t be afraid to shut it down or block it.
–It’s a numbers game. And it sure is, don’t date 1 person at a time, you’ll get your hopes up and if it doesn’t work out you’ll be upset. Try to date a few and get to really know people. And connecting with 5 online typically maybe means you only meet with one. So swipe or meet away! Think of it as looking for a job, you don’t stick to applying to one, you apply to many and you figure out where you fit. I know it sounds like a job, but it is! It is a different world out there and you got to roll with the punches.
My opinion: Dating after divorce with kids is complicated. There’s so much more to think about and honestly, I am quick to decide if the person is worth knowing. My standards are higher, what I’ve learned and experienced is more, so I don’t really put up with much bullshit. I do feel lonely at times, I love affection and it’s the part of a relationship I miss (not that I got much of that :), but as I’ve said before. Better to be alone than be in a relationship where you feel alone.
Overall, dating can be quite fun, if you are looking to have fun, get to know a lot of people and don’t take it personally. The #1 thing I find is, know what you are looking for, what are your goals are and weed out quickly. Don’t waste your time hoping for a text, a message, a phone call or a date. Move on and there is plenty of fish in the sea to swipe or meet. I’ve heard stories from men that women ask immediately if they want children, marriage, and what their stance is on things that are serious topics more in line with maybe date 5 (or down the line). Don’t rush things and certainly don’t aggressively text for answers.
Taking a break, date a lot, do whatever makes you happy, and although it can be daunting, tiring and redundant, putting yourself out there just helps you know what you want and what to avoid. Plus you’d be surprised how much fun you can have even if you don’t end up dating the other person.
I’m not in a place for something serious, convenient, or a placeholder to have. I have two boys and often, I think, is this a GREAT person, inside and out. Because I only want that in my life and for my boys (eventually if they met them). I don’t want to waste my time with someone who isn’t great and neither should you. I’m having fun in the meantime and spending a lot of time with friends, rather than dates.
I would LOVE to hear any stories you have as I would love to compile them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have one :).