The Game by Any other Name is still…..The Game

blue heart

Originally this post was going to be about the back and forth game that we singles play in this dating circle.  I was going to compare the two species and our different techniques to attract and conquer the opposite sex.  I got about half way through my blog when I realized that I really don’t have a clue!

Recently my daughter and I spent the weekend together and we were talking about our dating experiences.  Now she had some great analogies and stories about dating in your twenties.  That’s the time when the game is really at its peak isn’t it?  The boys are all strutting around showing their masculinity with their wallets and their game talk while the girls are fluffing their peacock feathers done up to the nines, with make-up, short skirts and stilettos.  Each of them doing the dance with the hopes of attracting a partner, even for a night.  For the boys it’s a high five story they can tell over breakfast and for the girls it’s usually a morning “why did I do that” cry with the bestie.  Only to repeat it all again the next weekend.

It’s a tradition that young singles have been doing forever and it’s one that will continue as long as there are people on this earth.

Those boys I could talk about all day long.  I get their game, I understand their strategy.  It’s the over 40 men that have me stumped!

For example:

How the heck can you be 45, I be 41 and I am too old for you??? I recently saw a profile on a dating site of a guy who I thought was quite attractive, shared some of my same interests and lived close by.  I decided to send him a quick message to let him know I was interested in getting to know him more.  I drafted the message, hit send and was immediately greeted with a “We’re sorry but you cannot message this profile as you do not meet their age requirements”.  Uh what? Casanova actually had his age requirements set at 25 – 35 year old females only!  Wow.  Whatever, I will just take my walker and leave then.

How about the over 40 guy who “says” he wants an independent woman who can be his partner and equal in life?  This guy comes with baggage of past experiences where he was clearly taken advantage of and doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice.  So you come to the table with your independence, strength and your own ideas.  You spend time showing him that you are his equal in every way and for a short while it seems to be going well until you discover what he actually really wants is the exact thing he said he didn’t want.  All this one leaves you with is an empty wallet and a headache.

Finally, the mama’s boy.  This one could come to you as either a divorcee or a never been married version and they don’t have to be younger than you to have this condition.  Oh no!  They can be over 40 and carry with them some major momma issues.  This one looks good on the outside. Handsome, good job and great friends.  He fulfills your checklist.  Then you start to date him. Before you know it, you are picking out his clothes, monitoring his calorie intake and scolding him for not brushing his teeth!  And he likes it!  No thanks.  A 200lb baby is not on my bucket list.

So, are there men out there over 40 who are really looking for a partner and a friend to share life’s experiences with?  I’m sure there are but for this explorer I have yet to find that lost city of Manlantis.  However, I will continue to forge ahead ladies and let you know when I find him.  Oh and of course, I will see if he has any single friends!

“Check Please”

This is a blog I recently wrote for my girls at Sex and The Suburb.  Check them out at www.sexandthesuburb.com

 

check

 

Ah yes. That moment on the date where the tension and awkwardness comes as unwanted guests to crash your party. Out of the corner of your eye you see the waiter approaching your table with that little white piece of paper. The bill.

Here is where the trouble begins. What is the right thing to do?

In today’s dating world, sometimes the traditional rules apply and sometimes they don’t. It’s all so confusing. In times like this, having an official First Date Rule book would be a handy thing to whip out of your purse and refer to Rule 10 Section 12 Subsection A – Paying for Dinners. But alas, life just isn’t that fair. Instead we are forced to sit there awkwardly and look desperately across the table for our date to save us by quickly scooping up the bill and allowing us to breath a long sigh of relief.

Now I am not against paying for my portion of a date but is this something that should be discussed and finalized prior to the commencement of the date? This minor detail can actually be quite stressful! If the guy asks me out for dinner I have to admit that I assume he is paying. Is that wrong?

Is there a clever “maneuver” we can do that can save us from the torture? I am not endorsing any of the following suggestions and I won’t admit to doing any of them but hey, you might find them useful:

1. Do the fake grab for the wallet to “pretend” to go for the cash and hope to god he stops you before it’s too late!

2. Having the bill trigger a much needed bathroom break. A quick escape for you to go and wash your hands, fix your make-up or stare at yourself in the mirror wasting just enough time so when you get back to the table the transaction has already been rectified and you can sit down and enjoy the rest of your evening.

3. The proactive approach. As soon as the bill comes rip off the band-aid and say something like “Thank you so much for dinner”! This is a gutsy move but could produce an immediate result.

The men that I have talked to about this say that they don’t mind paying for a first date but want the girl to at least offer. Why? If you ask the girl out for dinner, a movie or anything else that requires a monetary commitment, are you not also taking that monetary responsibility on? If I was to ask a guy out I would assume as much.

It’s those weird mutual “Hey let’s do something” moments where you both agree you want to get together and you both agree to a place and an event. Those are the times where the paying rules may get blurry. However, my rule for this one is I come fully prepared to pay my share and actually go all the way for the wallet for this date.

How do you handle the first date bill? Girls, do you have any tricks you use to get out of that awkward moment? Guys, do you actually want the girl to pay or at least offer?

Relationships after Divorce – To Jump or Not to Jump. Hmmmm

shoes

Went through all stages of grief….twice!    Check

Made sure kids were all good with mom moving on      Check

Finalized Divorce      Check

Emotionally prepared myself for dating     Check

Went on a few feeler dates to get back in the game    Check

So with the checklist all complete and really feeling like I am ready to move on and seek out a new love, why then do I look at the possibility and say….”Meh”

What does that mean?

I know I’m ready but maybe the problem is I’m not willing.  Willing to give up my new found independence and freedom.  Willing to compromise on doing what I want to do when I want to do it?

Advice comes from all angles. From my married friends, my single friends, my divorced friends and yes of course, from my mother.  Yeah Yeah mom I know!

“Stay single forever” some say.  “You would be happier in a relationship” others say.

Yes, there is definitely a part of me that misses having someone to share my experiences with and be there for me when I need support but come on ladies.  How many women out there in a relationship right now can check “Emotionally supportive” off as one of their partners list of qualities?  Very few I’m sure.  And isn’t that one of the biggest problems we all face once the relationship has settled in to being a habit?  “He never listens to me”.  “He’s not there for me emotionally”.

I think after being in a relationship that spanned almost 20 years, there is nothing new for me to experience.  I went through all the “firsts” with him. I feel like I already ran the marathon, got my participation ribbon and proved to myself I could do it.  I don’t feel like going back to the starting line and running the same race again.  My feet are TIRED!

So.  Where does that leave me?  Am I bitter?  No I’m not.  I love men.  I have some great men in my life who make me feel beautiful, strong and worthwhile.  I just don’t know if I want another ribbon.

Maybe if I find the right pair of shoes it won’t feel like a marathon.  Maybe it will be a nice comfortable jog  (Ok. Did I go too far with the whole “running” comparison?)

What do you think?  Have you been around the track more than once? (Seriously, I will stop now!)

Apparently I’m a Cougar??

cougar

Something has been happening to me over the past few months.  It has started happening so frequently that I just had to write about it.

Why am I getting hit on by boys in their twenties??  I say boys because to me, that’s what they are.  I have a 21 year old daughter and an 18 year old son so to me anyone under 30 is a child!

Instead of wanting to interact with these boys I feel like asking them if they are finished their homework and remind them to brush their teeth before bed.  What in god’s name would we possibly talk about?  Their cool new jeans?  The new Pitbull song?  The new club that just opened up downtown?  I’m tired just thinking about it. I need a nap.

Let’s be clear about something.  I am in no way offended by this new found category of potential suitors.  It’s actually extremely flattering but ulitmately not possible.  Where the heck did they all come from though?  So I finally just came out and started asking.  Why me?

The responses were sometimes typical and sometimes suprising:

  • They want a confident woman who knows what she wants
  • They don’t want to play games and want a woman who is done with that
  • They think older women would be more faithful
  • Older women are more “experienced” than girls their age
  • They have mother issues and are looking for someone to take care of them
  • They want to check it off their bucket list (that was a funny one actually)
  • They are old souls and have nothing in common with girls their own age

All valid and truthful responses which I respect.  I then started to seek out why women my age would ever date a guy in their 20’s.

Simply, they want to be wanted.  As a single woman in my 40’s most of the guys my age are looking for girls in their 20’s and 30’s! Mid life crisis much??

So we are left feeling like we are used up and expired.  Then along comes a boy  who looks at us like we haven’t been looked at in a long time and compliments us.  This feels good right?  That’s all we want.  We just want to feel beautiful and wanted.

This is a short term solution though.  Ultimately we are looking for a long lasting and fullfilling relationship with someone who can be our partner through our journey in this life.  Taking on a relationship like that would just be taking on another child and for this cougar, I’m done.

Have you had any of these experiences either as a cougar or a cub?

The Business Behind the Game

Rules

 

Game.  The one word that perfectly describes dating.

The definition of the word game is : A form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.

According to rules.  Who’s rules?  They are so conflicting:

  • Make the guy chase you.  Guys don’t want a girl they know they can have. Or…
  • Be straightforward with the guy.  If you want him, tell him.  Guys like a girl that takes charge.
  • Make him wait 3 dates, 5 dates. 1o dates. Or…
  • You’re a woman and you have needs, if you wanna give it up on the first date go for it!
  • Protect your heart.  Be vicious before he can be.  Or…
  • Be sweet and show him how caring you are.
  • Don’t let him pay for anything.  Be independent.  Or…
  • Don’t pay for anything.  Make him know you’re a lady

Blah!  What the heck is the right answer??!

If I feel like going one way, I’m told it’s wrong and that’s just going to make the guy not want to be with me. So I try to go the other way and am told that I shouldn’t try to be something I’m not and I should just be myself.  Uh, I was trying to be myself and was told that was wrong!

Does either sex even know what the heck we really want?  Or are we just trying to fulfill an obligation we have to our other single brothers and sisters in ensuring that we conform to the rules set out by every website, book, relationship expert and movie where having a successful relationship is based on these supposed easy rules?

Lately I have been looking for common factors in this world of dating. Now, I am definitely guilty of looking for that magical formula for the best relationship.  I have filled out the checklists, taken the quizzes and applied the systems but yet I am still single.  So I’ve decided that there’s a new answer, a better answer.   Get ready for this because I’m going to go against everything you’ve probably heard……..

There are NO rules.  Screw the system!

The common factor in everything I’ve read or watched, is me.  I am my own rules.  What is best for me is what’s best for me and who better to define that then me!  If I screw up, then I screw up.  If I fall down, then it’s my ass on the ground.  It’s all on me and I’m good with that.

If I meet a guy and we hit it off and I want to kiss him, then why can’t I?  If he calls me the next day, why do I have to ignore the call and play hard to get?  I like him, why the heck would I want to play hard to get?  Just get me already!

If we spent more time actually focusing on and listening to the person across from us then we wouldn’t need a book or a self help video to tell us what’s wrong with them, we could see it for ourselves and make the go, no go decision. And if the decision is that you like that person, then go for it damn it!

How many times have we all been burned by the “rules”?  Times where we did something the rules said we had to do rather than what we wanted to do.  We were left empty handed, brokenhearted and with that little voice inside us cussing us out because we weren’t true to ourselves.  Damn you rules!

So I say screw conformity!  There’s a million dollar business out there right now with “experts” selling you the magic potion to finding happiness.  Well I say to those so called experts; you keep your DVD and paperback and I’ll keep my $29.95.  Thanks!

You are the only rule book you need folks.  Just keep it simple and keep it true.

So, how have the “rules” worked for you?

A new relationship – What exactly is “Ready”?

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Lately I have been asking myself the question:  Am I ready to have another relationship?

What does it mean to be “ready” I’m not sure I know.

What I do know is that I wouldn’t change anything about my journey over the past two years.  Choosing to heal first has allowed me to discover so many things about my personality, areas I need to make self improvements on and what my role was in the ending of my marriage.

Yes, there were many nights of tears and role playing all the things I never actually said to him.  My mirror had the starring role of my ex many times! But there were also many times of self discovery.  Moments of sudden clarity on an issue that I had previously blamed on his failure as a husband, was actually clearly attributable to some internal struggle I had been facing at that moment.  By not giving me the verbal or physical response I needed at that time, my mind deducted him a point and labelled him uncaring or judgemental.

I like those little moments of clarity.  It is in those moments I know I am healing.

While my day to day life has gotten back to normal and even improved in some ways, there is still the matter of my heart.  That deep place inside your soul that only a select few people get to visit.  For me, it was a place I held very tight, until I found real love.  Then without even knowing or trying, I gave it all away to him.  It’s something I will never regret because feeling true, unconditional love is a strength and beauty that can change a person forever.  But when it was all over, I was left with my heart in pieces and no glue.  So started the ordeal of rebuilding, re prioritizing and redesigning my ability to love again.  So this get’s me back to my original question: Am I ready to have another relationship?

The answer for me is yes AND no.

First let me tell you why I say no.  A big part of a good relationship is compromising. This may mean compromising on a small issue like what to eat for dinner or a big issue like buying a car or a house.  It’s all about taking the other person’s interests and feelings in to account and sometimes putting those above your own.  Since I’ve been alone I have been forced to be the only financial contributor to my household, identify and make repairs as needed on my home or my car and be directly responsible for my success or failure in this world.  There’s no one to lean on, rely on or consider.  And you know what?  I don’t hate it.

As a mother and a wife my role was to run my house and while I didn’t always do the best job, I put my personal wants and needs aside to do what was best for them. Over the past two years I have had to make all of the hard decisions on my own but I also get to experience some of the joy and excitement in being able to listen and take action on what I want.  Am I ready to give some of that up?  Is there a balance? I don’t know.

Now for the yes.  I feel pretty again.  Climbing up out of that dark hole of being separated from the only life I really knew was a long hard road of self doubt and self hatred.  For a while after I could barely look at myself.  I was a failure.  He didn’t want me and he was supposed to be my soul mate so why would anyone else want me?

Day by day though I found myself again.  At first it was just an odd smile here or there but eventually laughter rejoined me.  That black cloud that loomed over me ever day thinned away and was replaced with blue sky.  I started to look at myself a little more each day until I was able to not only look at her but take pleasure in what looked back at me.  Welcome back Ann.  I’ve missed you.

I believe that I can contribute to a relationship now.  I am present and am actually a little excited about sharing my space and time with someone who makes me smile.  Someone who will wrap their arms around me, tell me how much they care and make me feel like I am the only girl in the world.

I am not broken.  I am forever changed but I’m here.

So while right now I would rather walk barefoot over hot coals then get remarried, I am now both nervous and excited about what awaits down the road.  Road trip!

So what is the definition of ready?  Is there a personal check list that needs to be filled out before we can take on the responsibility of being a significant other?

A Simple Guide To The Not So Simple World of Online Dating

The number of online dating sites out there today is staggering. Whether you are looking for a casual hook up or a serious relationship, you can find it all with a few clicks.

          ONLINE DATING

Online dating has become so main stream you can’t watch TV without seeing some carefully crafted commercial depicting two seemingly normal people enjoying laughs over a dinner and drinks. Two people who are clearly made for each other and will live out the rest of their days blissfully happy and thankful that they chose that site to find their love. So what you’re saying is that all I have to do is join your site and I too will become blissfully happy and never eat alone again? I’m in!

So you embark on the journey of finding all the sites that may have what you’re looking for. In my particular journey I have tried A LOT of them both paid and free. In my experiences, they are all basically the same. You enter in your personal information, post what you are looking for in a partner and upload some pics. After that the games begin.

So on to the purpose of this post. I’ve come up with some guidelines for both guys and girls when boarding the online dating train. Of course, these are just my opinions and experiences. Feel free to comment with any of your suggestions.

For The Guys

In the spot to put your profession don’t just put “Got one” or “Yep”. Unless you work for the CIA just put your profession. It’s annoying, not intriguing.

When posting a picture of yourself, please post a picture of your face. You may have a six pack but we don’t need the bathroom pic of you holding up your shirt and pulling down your pants. You’re not a Chippendale dancer so calm down.

If you are looking for a one night hook up, I believe there are services for that. Don’t troll the online dating sites messaging pictures of your private parts. If you do that, you are just a creep, period.

If you message a girl and you can tell that she has read your email but not replied, she’s not going to. You don’t need to send repeated messages. She is NOT interested. Move on.

Respect the privacy of the ladies. If she is interested in getting to know you and possibly even wants to meet, it’s ok if she wants to keep her digits private. You have to understand that for women, the world is a little scarier than it is for you. Understanding goes a long way.

Try to actually read the ladies ad and respect her wants and needs. You are just setting yourself up for failure if you don’t. If she loves to travel and does many outside activities but you’re afraid to fly and hate the outdoors, you’re not a good match. It doesn’t matter how pretty you think she is, move on.

Lastly guys, chivalry should not be dead. It doesn’t matter if we are in our twenties or our fifties, women love a gentleman. This doesn’t mean buying us diamonds or spending your entire paycheque on us. Simply opening a car door or complimenting us will go a long way in winning her heart.

For The Ladies

Ok girls. Unless you are looking to be an escort or a stripper (and no judgements here), why would you post pics of yourself half naked or in lingerie? It makes it even more confusing that your relationship need says “Looking for a long term relationship”?! Why are you laying out the buffet before you even meet the guy? Have some self respect and cover up the goodies. A guy should work to see your assets, not have free access to them online.

If someone messages you and you’re not interested, don’t message them back. Just let it go. As well, if you message someone and they don’t message back, don’t stalk them! Just move on to the next profile.

Keep your contact information private. This includes your home number, cell number, private email and especially your address! Even if you decide to go ahead and meet face to face, all online dating sites allow for private emails as well as instant chats. Use that until after even a couple of dates and you feel that you can become more personal.

Take your own vehicle. If you don’t then essentially you are getting in the car with a stranger and that goes against everything our parents taught us. If you don’t have a car, ask a friend to drive you or pick a place that you can walk to.

Unless a random hook up is what you are looking for, never give it up on the first, second or even third date. If they are worth it, they’ll wait (This is definitely a firm rule with me and I have had guys never call me again because I was very clear what my rules were. Guess what they were looking for??). This rule should actually apply no matter where you are finding you’re dates!

Do not assume that the man will pay for the first date. Whether it’s meeting at a coffee shop or a restaurant, this is a meeting to determine if there is a spark. Be prepared to pay for your own meal. If he offers to pay then great but bring your wallet ladies!

Finally, just be yourself. The online world can make some people take on a persona that really isn’t them. Online you can be anything you want but when you take the next step to actually meet someone face to face you have to back up your online persona. Don’t change your interests or your intentions to suit someone just because they may seem successful or good looking and you want to meet them. You are just setting yourself up for some serious hurt. Just be you.

Like I said, these are just my guidelines. Feel free to post any of your own in the comment section. I would love to hear them!