Dating post-divorce can be like having your wisdom teeth pulled - except that might actually be more fun. For me, and I'm assuming with most women who have half a brain and an ounce of self-esteem, between working full time, juggling the kids schedules, and navigating the co-parenting world with your ex, it leaves little to no motivation to get out there and meet new people (read: depressed, insecure men disguised as confident, happy, successful men). But alas, the sad eyes your friends, co-workers, grandmother, or random strangers give you when they ask if you're dating anyone and you respond with "not right now," gives you the motivation to get out there with an open mind and meet these guys.
Because my life is so busy and full with all of my normal adult responsibilities, I find it easiest to resort to on-line dating. I first dipped my toes in those magical waters when I joined Match about 3 years ago with another friend who was recently single. We considered ourselves "catches" so to speak. Great jobs, fun personalities, healthy self-esteem, physically active, and physically attractive - our pictures were all recent and didn't lie. Our inboxes were flooded with notes from men of all ages. If a guy was attractive in his pictures and could write a few complete sentences, then he was worth my time and we'd do some back and forth on messenger until we'd decide to meet for a drink or two and see if there was any chemistry. More often than not, their pictures were very old and/or they'd lied about their age. I hate wasting time - my own or anyone else's - so there wasn't usually a second date. My friend met her future husband about a year into our Match adventure. They haven't stopped smiling since the day they met and just a few weeks ago, I attended their wedding. That's not how it worked for me. It took a little over a year to realize paying an on-line service to find me mediocre men to occasionally meet was pretty dumb. So, I moved myself over to one of the free on-line dating sites.
There are a LOT more men on the free site. Unfortunately, there are also a LOT more crazies, and you must be diligent when weeding through them, so you can find the good ones. And there are good ones, I promise. On this free site I've met several men I've developed relationships with. I'd maybe respond to one man out of 150. That is the man I'd have a relationship with. He had a well written, thoughtful profile, nice pictures including a smiling face, and would initiate a witty message meant to engage, showing he'd read my profile (which was also thoughtfully written) and we'd have some back and forth and I'd know, without a doubt, I'd be dating this man for a little while with the hopes it would turn into a long while.
Unfortunately, almost always, a "while" is about two months. That's how long it takes me to really see a person. They could be absolutely perfect, just not perfect for me. More often than not it was me who was initiating the break up, but sometimes it was them. Either way, it was a mature and adult parting of ways. I don't have the mental capacity to be in a relationship with someone that I can't seriously see myself falling in love with someday and potentially sharing a life. Now, it's not like I can tell or expect to have this feeling on the first date, but I do know myself very well and I do know that anyone that makes me feel a little "meh" in the beginning, isn't going to last.
There are two men I've met in my adult dating life (read: post-divorce) that are still in the mix. I met them in a bar setting (you know, the old fashioned way!). They don't live that close to me, but with each of them, the chemistry was magnetic the second we met. I am still in touch with both of them. If either is in town or I am in one of their towns, we call each other to get together. Why? Because when we are together it's awesome and I want to do it. But, this is only if I'm not currently in one of my relationships. I don't cheat.
As I write this, I find myself single again. I've just ended another one of my "two month" relationships. This one got farther than anyone else - I actually allowed him to meet my friends (that's a big deal - to date, no potential suitors have ever met my children). I never do that. My friends are amazing and I don't want to be parading different men around every few months for them to meet. But this one wasn't necessarily a depressed, insecure man disguised as a confident, happy, successful man - he was a narcissist in disguise. Once his true identity was revealed, I knew it was time. There are a million Huffington Post articles written about these kinds of men. To summarize all of them - STAY CLEAR AWAY!
Oddly enough, everyone I know who was also divorced at the same time as me is now remarried. Again, good for them! But it's not for me. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I highly doubt it. My motto and words to live by are IF IT'S NOT AWESOME, I DON'T WANT TO DO IT. Please know I mean this only in my romantic life. Work isn't always awesome, but it's necessary to pay the bills. Being a parent isn't always awesome, but you have to stay the course in order to raise children who will turn into ACTUAL confident, happy, successful people - no disguises needed. Maybe I'm not meant to have the kind of relationship society deems normal. I like my house, my career and my independence. Maybe I'm not ready to settle down yet. Or maybe I'll be ready once I know I've met the one who's perfect for me. Listen to your inner self. Get to know it. Don't question it. If it's not awesome, don't do it. Who has the damn time?!