I went on a date the other night. It was meh, just ok. No sparks. No connection. Nice guy but nothing indicated I would want to see him again. Made me think just how much I have changed and grown over the years since my divorce. Even before that really. When you are just getting out of a relationship the validation you receive from outside yourself can be very intoxicating. The attention I received from another was quite exhilarating actually. But like I said, oh my how I have changed.
I tried the online dating thing and discovered it was not for me (http://justmedebbi.com/?p=168). I am quite firm in my resolution to not date someone who has not been separate or divorced from more than 2 years. Why you might ask. Well, I like to learn my lessons the hard way, bang my head on the wall until I figure out it is not going to work that way. I’m just thankful that I eventually learn from my mistakes and then go about trying to figure out how I can change my behaviour to gain a good outcome.
About 6 months after I left my marriage, I figured I was ready to start dating. That was about 5 and a half years ago and a million lessons back. I say I thought I was ready, but in reality I was nowhere near ready. But I put my bruised and battered heart on the line, the online dating line. Now make no mistake, I was the one that left my marriage but that doesn’t mean that my heart wasn’t hurt. No one enters marriage with the thought that someday they will be going through a divorce. Well, maybe there are some. I wasn’t one of them.
I met a few interesting characters in the online dating world. But there was one really sparked my interest. His profile was funny and witty. We had a lot of things in common. During our first meeting, we discovered we had more in common than we thought. We had basically grown up together! His parents still lived in the same neighborhood as mine. He was a couple years younger and had actually played sports with my younger brothers.
The best thing about dating him, was we had fun. Oh did we ever! We laughed like school kids. We enjoyed many of the same things. He reintroduced me to a number of activities that I had loved before marriage and kids. Quadding, skidoing, horses, etc. We both had kids and they all fell into line in ages. The bonus was that once we introduced them, they all got along. It was really kind of too good to be true.
That too good to be true carried us farther than I ever thought would. When I met him, I never expected to jump right into another relationship. Not that quickly anyway. But we did. We were soon spending all our time together. Looking back now, things really did move way too quickly. But hey, I was having FUN!! And isn’t that what life is about?
Unfortunately, we were both still fighting the demons of our recent separations from our significant others. But at the same time, we needed to go through this relationship. Unlucky for him he found me. I was quite determined that I would not be relying on a man. For ANYTHING! I had just spent 14 years relying on my ex-husband to provide financial stability. So this poor guy got my “I’ll be damned if I show weakness to any man again” game face. I was a force to be reckoned with.
But we were what each other needed. Funny how when you look back you can see all that. So while we had fun together, there was the side of me that felt the need to exude my new found independence. If I didn’t want to do something, I wasn’t doing it. If I didn’t feel like going, I wasn’t going. I believe more than once he asked me why I had to be just so damn stubborn. It was kinda of my way or the highway and I really didn’t give a shit about the outcome. Let’s just say that there was very little if any compromise on my part. In my defense, he didn’t seem to mind, I mean he didn’t leave.
That relationship lasted for around 2 years. Every now and then I would wonder why we stayed together. Don’t get me wrong, there were feelings for him. At one point I thought about how lucky I was to have found him so quickly after my separation. But it was almost like a lesson plan prepared and waiting. So yes, I did have deep feelings for him. He still holds a special place in my heart. Always will. But I also believe that we were never meant to be together forever, just a short walk together as our paths crossed.
So this time around being single, I have learned a few things. I kind of equate it to going grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You buy groceries, just not necessarily the ones you need. With that line of thought, I have written down a list (with some prodding from a friend). About a year ago, Eric encouraged me to write down all the traits that would constitute my perfect man. I agreed as I rolled my eyes. Not kidding, he chastised me! Ok, OK… I promise I will. So I started my list…
Medium to husky build
Living on his own (no roommates)
Divorced or separated for more than 2 years
Then it got a little harder, what exactly was I looking for in a man? I knew what I didn’t want. Can’t I write out those features instead?? But it doesn’t work that way. But I had to write out the don’t want features to get to the do want features. It’s harder than you think to come up with the qualities you find desirable in someone else! (Or maybe that is just me) But the effort didn’t end there. I had written down family man. But I didn’t want to date someone with young kids (learned that one the hard way too). So I had to fine tune my list. This sounds all so methodical and it is. It forces you to see where you are willing to compromise and where you are not. So yes to a family man, but with kids around my kids ages or older. Good compromise Deb. Thank you, I thought so.
So armed with my list, I still date. I still open myself to meeting new men. Not all of them make the cut. I don’t date hoping they will change into the man I want. I don’t date hoping that my prince charming is really a frog I will need to kiss. I date to learn things about him. To see if we are a good fit. I am also not afraid to stop dating someone if I discover they are not the ‘one’. That doesn’t mean they are not worthy or good men, just means they are not who I am looking for. I have also had to learn that I actually do deserve the man I listed on my paper. Ok, more like 3 pages, but I am willing to compromise. I am NOT willing to give up the values I view as core values, but there is some wiggle room in the rest the things I listed.
Yes, I am still single to date. Yes, I am open to dating. Yes, I have taken my profiles off the dating websites. I know what kind of a man I am looking for. And I would rather stay single and wait happily for the right one to come along, then I ever will feeling stuck in a relationship with no end in sight. So I will keep my list close, amend it every now and then when I discover that something on there no longer fits me. Until the ‘one’ comes along, I am quite happy with the single life.