It’s Becoming A Habit

At first having the freedom and newfound liberation to go and sleep with strangers when I wanted to, if I wanted to, was kind of thrilling. But it has become a bit of a habit, and now it just makes me feel awful about myself. Especially when I learn more about the One Night Stand and they seem like guys I’d like to have something more than a ONS with. Although I only find this out through cyber stalking. And you know, they clearly don’t feel the same. None of them have exactly tracked me down the next day to ask me on a date. And why would they when they already got what they wanted?

It takes a pretty strong, confident and noncommittal person to have a one night stand. My pattern is simple. I drink to much. A cute guy buys me some drinks. We flirt. We kiss, and I am his. I am that easy. It all feels wonderful at the time, but the next morning my flight instinct kicks in and I am gone before they awake. I really am the ideal ONS. No strings attached.

But there are strings attached. To me. To my emotional state of mind, which quite frankly has been pretty fragile the second half of this year. I thought this was supposed to get easier? Time was supposed to heal?

The solution seems simple. Don’t go out. Don’t get drunk. Don’t kiss cute boys. Any or all of those would be a good start. But then I sit home, alone, lonely, and end up feeling crap about myself anyway. Surely the right solution is to just figure out how to not get emotionally attached to a ONS. But is doing that really that easy? What do you think?

 

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All The Stars

I’ll just say it. The last time I dated there was no Facebook. There was no text messaging. I am old! There was online dating…it was new! But you still had to call people. There were still dating “rules” that included, among other things, not calling for at least 3 days. This was the appropriate amount of time to not look too keen but not look disinterested. Dinner was not a first date – too serious. You certainly didn’t have sex on the first date! This could be expected maybe around date 3 or 4, sometimes even longer!

Dating this time around is very different. Everything is instant. Instant messaging, often with the ability to see if your message has been sent/delivered/red and OMG THE HORROR – NOT REPLIED TO!

I’ve yet to meet someone who has shown a genuine interest in getting to know me rather than just get in my pants. Some of them I have let into my pants, because hey, a girl’s got needs too and sometimes the company and attention is nice.

But the one thing I have realised is that this time around, I don’t have time for bullshit. I don’t have time for “maybe that annoying habit will grow on me”. I don’t have time to settle for less than exactly what I am looking for. And I don’t have time to let people treat me like anything less than a princess. Which is what I’ve been letting people do.

The problem is, it’s not as easy as it seems. There are so many things, as a single parent in her late 30s, that have to align. Child-free weekends is a good start! If you have alternate child-free weekends, it is pretty much impossible. You know, unless you have really good babysitters or really understanding exes.

The next challenge is meeting someone who is on the same page and in the same stage of their life – moved on from the past and ready to settle down for the future. Anyone who just got out of any lengthy relationship is probably not really ready to embark on another. I know I certainly wasn’t. It’s coming up on a year now and I feel like I am finally ready to meet someone I want to keep around for a while.

Actually being attracted to each other is hit or miss. It would be easy to find a date online for every night of the week, and it might even feel like there is chemistry online, they look cute in their pictures, but rarely does this translate into real life chemistry (it did twice for me so far and I reckon I’ve been on at least 9 dates from online).

Then, finally, you have to have a similar level of interest in each other. One can’t be over keen because it scares the other one away (been on both ends of this one and think I am currently on both ends of it). I have met someone who ticks all my boxes and who I feel there’s a connection with, but I am not sure it is reciprocated. And I met someone who has flat out said that I tick all his boxes, but I already know I don’t feel that connection/spark. And while I know sparks don’t last, I think they need to at least be there at the start. Right? Or am I wrong?

And then after going through all this, I kind of think maybe it’s just easier/better to be on my own. I am a pretty cool chick, and quite the catch. I could do much worse than myself. And hey, my schedule will never conflict.

 

All The Emotions

Did you know, that even if you are the one who wants out of your marriage, and you’ve felt like you’ve wanted out for a little while, it doesn’t make actually getting out any easier. Not in the slightest. I feel like some people think, “Well this is what you wanted, so you must be over the moon?”

While the overwhelming feeling may start off as relief, it is quickly followed by doubt, regret, loneliness, fear, more doubt, and more loneliness. It is also often followed by irrational jealousy, a sense of competition and bitterness. So much bitterness.

A counselor I saw said it was important to recognise what I am feeling, explore why I am feeling it, allow myself to feel it, then move on. The last two parts of the process are the easy ones. The first two parts however are another story.

Recognising and exploring why you HATE the fact your ex has a new girlfriend is hard. Feeling spiteful and resentful that they have moved on so easily when you’re the one who wanted out feels just plain yucky. And the worst part is, there’s nothing you can do to stop the feelings.

I finally stopped trying to fight what I was feeling and figured out what she really meant by accepting it and moving on. It is OK to be jealous that your ex has moved on. It’s OK to feel resentful and spiteful. What’s not OK is holding on to those emotions. It’s not OK to be so focused on your ex’s life that you forget to start your new one.

And so that’s what I did – I started doing all the things I love to do on my child-free weekends. It gives you something to look forward to, and it also makes you get out and meet new people. Plus it is just good food for the soul, and something more people should make time to do, whether they’re in a relationship or not.

I won’t go in to how time-poor we all are these days, but finding even 30 minutes could be the difference between an average day and a great one. So, next time you’re feeling all the emotions, figure out why, allow yourself to feel them for a little while, then move. the. fuck. on. The only person who suffers when you hold onto it is you.

 

10 Things I Believe About Single Parent Dating

Kristy at My Home Truths is asking us to share 10 things we believe in her I Must Confess linkup today. I started writing a post about 10 Things I Believe About My Path, that was going to be so incredibly deep, moving and uplifting that it made me gag and I decided to write about 10 Things I Believe About Single Parent Dating.

I’ve been back on the market almost a year now. And as a woman on the wrong side of 35, who has a majority of custody of her son, this has not been as easy as I first thought it might be. In any case, I hope you enjoy these 10 things I believe about dating as a single parent.

  1. Dating in your late 30s and 40s brings even more baggage and ingrained personality flaws  traits that can’t be changed. If you thought you had to sort through the shit and the issues when you were dating as a 24 year old,  you have not seen anything yet. We are all walking around with the scars of our previous relationship, which after a marriage usually includes nastiness, hurt and multiple heartbreaks, because there is no heartbreak like a child’s heartbreak.
  2. Online dating is easier than meeting someone in person. As a single parent, it’s easy to sit online once the kids are in bed and “meet” people. It is convenient, and you can sort of get an idea if you might be attracted to that person or not.
  3. Online dating is harder than meeting someone in person. Meeting them online is easy, but it is impossible to gauge any kind of chemistry through a picture, a description and a few messages. In my experience thus far, online chemistry never converts to physical chemistry.
  4. Time is precious for a dating single parent. Personally, I only have every other weekend completely child free. There is too much going on during the week to date. I don’t have time to waste meeting people I am not a little bit keen on. And I don’t have time to waste thinking, “He could be ok” after I’ve met them. If there isn’t something there on that first date, I won’t bother going on another one.
  5. A 12 month break from relationships post-separation is a great idea for single parents. I met someone I was really interested in, just a couple of months after my separation. He kept telling me I needed 12 months on my own. I didn’t want to hear it. But he was right. As a mum/wife who also worked and studied, time on my own wasn’t something I was used to anymore, and I didn’t know what to do with my time. It took about 6 months, but I finally realised my child-free weekends were my time to re-discover what I love doing, and to do it!
  6. It is OK to date around and have fun. I have known lots of people who have jumped straight into another relationship. Probably because they weren’t told about #5 and panicked, thinking they needed to fill that gap that was now there. Just because you meet someone for coffee doesn’t mean you have to marry them. And if you want to have casual sex, then feel free to go for it. People may judge you, but it’s usually because they’re slightly jealous and wish they were free to do the same thing.
  7. Anyone under 30 without kids does not want a relationship with you. They just want that casual sex mentioned above. And you know what, if they are hot and you are keen, I say go for it! Then brag about it to your mates.
  8. Men without kids don’t get it. I’m sure they’re lovely, but if they are in their late 30s or 40s and don’t have kids, they may be ok with you having one (or some) but they’re not ever really going to understand what it means to have your kids always come first. They won’t understand why you can’t just get a babysitter to dating during the week. They won’t understand when you cancel on them because your kid is sick and just wants his mum, even though it’s his weekend at his dad’s. There may be exceptions to this rule, but I’d say they’re few and far between.
  9. It’s OK to wait for the right one. You’ve already wasted however many years on the wrong one. Don’t waste more. There actually are Plenty of Fish in the sea (FYI – the most successful dating site I’ve used is Plenty of Fish. Successful in that there is lots to choose from and they have to offer more information than Tinder). And I believe The Right One is out there for me. I might have to meet 100 other guys first, but he is out there.
  10. You have to put yourself out there. I don’t know about you, but hot available men don’t usually come knocking on my door, asking me out to dinner. Since separating I have upped the activities I do in my child free time, and I’ve joined a couple of different dating sites. It is scary as hell to meet someone in person sometimes, but I’m yet to have a date that was so bad he couldn’t at least hold a conversation. I’ve even been on a few 2nd and 3rd dates. The bottom line is, you’re not going to meet anyone sitting on your couch, so get out amongst it! It can even be fun!

Would love to hear your beliefs on single parent dating if you’ve done it. Or even if you haven’t, what your perception of single parent dating looks like.

Linking up with Kirsty at My Home Truths for I Must Confess

Having Opinions

People love to have opinions. I know, because I love to have them too. And I think…no, I know….that I’ve been guilty of having absurd and unfair opinions before. To those on the receiving end of said opinions, I apologise profusely.

Because since my break up, I’ve been on the end of some pretty ridiculous opinions myself. See, it turns out that when you tell people your marriage is over, there is no appropriate response or opinion to have.

“Oh I’m sorry.” Don’t be sorry, I am not. Why are you sorry? Because I finally got a back bone and did what I had wanted to do for so long?

“Oh, you’re much better off.” Really? How do you  know? Do you have a crystal ball to see how things are going to be? Are you going to worry about my rent and car payments?

“Divorce would never be an option for me.” I honestly hope it is never something you even have to consider. I didn’t think it was an option for me either, until it was my only option other than a lifetime of unhappiness and wondering what if.

“Well it was a long time coming, wasn’t it?” *Blink*

So you get through the initial pain of dealing with the responses to your separation, only to get more opinions on when you should start dating again, and who you should date, and where you should meet these dates, and how soon is too soon to have sex with someone who is not your husband.

“Oh you’re on TINDER?!?! Isn’t that just a booty call site? Isn’t it too soon for that?”

“Oh you’re dating someone? He makes you happy? Isn’t it too soon for that?”

I pretty quickly came to the realisation that there are some people who are jealous because you’re no longer as miserable as them. And unfortunately, when you make the decision to put your  happiness first, and to no longer be bound by the fear of the unknown, not everyone is thrilled for you or overly supportive. Fortunately for me, I could acknowledge that was on them, not me. It was a reflection of how they felt about their situations, not mine.

Now, almost a year later, I no longer let others’ opinions of what I choose to do with my life affect me. Be happy for me and follow me on this wayward journey or don’t. The choice is yours.

Just A Bend In The Road

When I finally got around to telling my family that my husband and I had separated, my cousin sent me an email with a poem inside.

Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And he knows that it’s only a bend-

The road will go on and get smoother
And after we’ve stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow-
You’ve just come to a bend in the road.

-Helen Steiner Rice

And so it is this poem that has inspired me to create this blog, and navigate this journey on an unexpected path. I hope you’ll join me.