A new relationship – What exactly is “Ready”?

hand heart

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!

3 Dates in 3 Days….Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

I thought I would apply the “Go hard or go home” philosophy to my first post marriage date.  3 guys, 3 nights.  Yes.  This was a good idea….or so I thought.

conceited

Bachelor #1 was a mortgage broker.  His profile and pics were intriguing.  We shared some similar interests and had some good ha ha moments over texts, phone calls and instant chats.  I was excited but nervous.  This was my first real date in over 17 years. I made the decision to go for coffee instead of dinner just in case I wanted to make a quick escape.

I read and reread his profile and came up with some good questions that would help me learn more about him.  I was prepared.  His profile said he was 5′ 10″ so I knew I would be safe wearing heels. I’m 5’5″ and my heels made me 5’7″.   I got ready and took one last look at my choices before I headed out on my new adventure.

I arrived at Starbucks first.  I got my coffee and found a nice table outside.  Eagerly awaiting his arrival, my stomach fluttered as I saw him approaching around the corner.  My first thought? Liar!  I think Mr. Mortgage Broker added a 0 to his height! As I stood up to greet him I knew I was in trouble.  At full height with my heels I had to almost crouch over to give him a hug.  Sigh

I won’t go in to all the details about our encounter because there just clearly isn’t enough space on this blog but let’s just say that I knew about 5 minutes in that this was NOT the guy for me.  He definitely needed someone who admired him as much as he admired himself.  Too short, too conceited and WAY too self absorbed.  The final straw for Mr. Mortgage Broker was after our dinner.  Yes, I know I said I didn’t want to do dinner but he was hungry and asked if we could go for sushi just down the street.  I guess I was a little hungry so I agreed.  He proceeded to order almost everything on the menu and alcohol.  I had two items and a diet coke.  When the bill came he takes the bill and says “So I guess we can just split it”?  Uh what??  The bill was over $40 and my portion was $7!  No Mr Cheapo we are not going to split the bill!  Bachelor #1 date?  FAIL!

KILT

Bachelor #2 was from Scotland and worked in construction.  This time I went even more casual.  I arranged to meet him at the dog park.  As I saw him walking towards me I was definitely impressed.  Tall, dressed well and very handsome.  Finally!  This was going to be good.  I think I was already planning our second and third date as I watched him walking towards me.

We found a bench to sit on as my dog went off to find his friends and I was excited to get to know my possible new boyfriend.  However as he opened his mouth I quickly longed for that happiness I felt as I saw him walking towards me.

If it was possible to contribute absolutely nothing of value to a conversation then Bachelor #2 had that down pat.  The next 20 minutes consisted of extremely boring and bland conversation about absolutely nothing.  What sealed Bachelor #2’s fate was when I found out his living situation.  He lived in the same house as his ex.  One lived in the basement suite and one lived in the apartment above the garage.  Ok.  I get that it works for the kids  but he actually got quite defensive and angry when I asked if it would be awkward to see her bring any guy home. “Oh she will never date”!  Oh my lord.  He was NOT ready to be dating anyone other than his wife.  Bachelor #2 date. FAIL!

gangster09

Bachelor #3.  All I can say about Bachelor #3 is Oh……My…….God! I cannot even go through the whole story.  It was years of torment and torture wrapped up in to one day.  So I am just going to bullet point the highlights….

  • Forgot to inform me that he had a very large “67” tattoo’d on the back of his head! Apparently from his LA gang days.
  • About 5 minutes after meeting me he said he couldn’t look me in the face because he was pretty sure he was falling in love with me.
  • While at the dog park he said it reminded him of the prison yard!  Another thing he forgot to mention was he spent 6 years in prison for manslaughter but it totally wasn’t his fault!  The guy totally deserved to die!
  • Mr Creepy was all hands all the time. I pretty much needed an all over scrub down after that day.  
  • When I just couldn’t stand it anymore I told him it was time to end the date.  He walked me to my car and said “So I will call you later”? to which I replied “I’m sure I will talk to you again”.  To which HE replied “No! We are going to talk every day right”?  RUN! RUN! RUN!
  • He wanted to give me a present to remember him by so as I was getting in to my car he was shuffling through his phone and presented me with what he said was a  “preview of what’s to come” . Yes ladies, it was a picture of his penis! 
  • About 5 minutes after safely arriving at home, he calls to yell at me because he noticed I had not deleted my profile yet on the dating site.  Safe in my house I let Bachelor #3 know that my face is a face he would never see again and to feel free to delete my number from his phone because I already did.  Based on his reaction I was really happy he didn’t know where I lived because I’m pretty sure there would have been police involved.
  • I then proceeded to shower the creepiness off my body and burn my clothes.  

Disclaimer: You may be wondering if I embellished this story for dramatic effect but sadly it is all true.

So that was my initiation to dating post marriage.  Looking back on it now clearly 3 dates in 3 days was not the best idea.  Instead of just putting my toe in to feel the water I closed my eyes and jumped in.  It was a cannonball of disaster.

What did I learn?  I learned that there are rules for dating in this new world.  Next up are my rules for dating after divorce.  Stay tuned…

The Online Dating Inbox aka…The Twilight Zone

It’s almost a little like Christmas morning as I log in to my online dating account and wait for the screen to load.  Will there be a a little number beside my InBox icon??

girl on laptop

There is! I eagerly scroll down to the message my anticipation building.  Who is it?  Will he be everything that I hoped for?………

Wait a second.  I think someone is punking me.  Did someone change my profile of what I was looking for??  Because this guy that I am looking at is not even remotely close to my dream guy!

I think the above has happened to all of us brave souls who put our pictures and our lives out there on the world wide web.  We hope that we are going to be the exception to the rule of online dating and somehow our perfect match is going to find us.  However like I said, that is the exception.  The rule is much different.

As I click the message I am at least hoping for some interesting opening line.  An opening line that may possibly intrigue me to get to know more about him but I am met with “You’re hot” or “Hey.  Want a massage”?  Sigh.

This is a heads up to all the men out there.  If you are going to message a woman you don’t know but want to get to know, do not start the conversation with “You’re hot”.  Try to be a little creative and give us something to respond to other than “thanks”.  Also no, we do not want a massage, a foot rub nor are we interested in any of your fetishes or fantasies.

What we do want is a guy to show genuine interest in is.  Give us a message that we can grab on to and respond to.  A compliment is always nice of course but follow that up with a little about yourself and then, I don’t know, be wild and crazy and maybe ask us something about us!

So what about when the message is not outright offensive but is somewhat polite and interesting?  I respond of course and a conversation ensues.  Back and forth for days or sometimes weeks.  Then my mind forms the thought that it may be a good idea to meet this nice guy.  Let’s give it a try!  I can’t just live my life through this darn computer.  I have to get out there in the world and start dating again.  That’s it!

“Would you like to get together for coffee or dinner”  I throw out there.

Oh my god I’m going on a date!

Next up….my three date weekend. I thought it was a good idea at the time!

Online Dating – Welcome to the Jungle!

online dating

It seems easy enough.  You post your picture and describe yourself and what you are looking for and then you just hit the enter button.  Then magically you are connected through the powers of the internet to the man of your dreams.  Right??  Uh wrong!

Instead you are thrust in to a very large pool made up mostly of men you would rather run across the street to get away from then date let alone start a conversation with.  So you go to the ever so convenient advanced search option.  Yes, that’s what I need to do.  I will just click a few more detail specific buttons and then my guy will appear.  Again, nope!

So you commence with the tedious task of scrolling through the list of all the eligible men out there looking for a mate and it’s funny how you can all of a sudden become a picky princess.  You are sitting alone on a Friday night with absolutely no prospects banging on your door or lighting up your phone but still you disqualify the list of suitors laid out before you for being too bald, too fat, too short, too girly or whatever other sabotaging negative your mind decides to conjure up.  I’m not perfect but you better be!

What does this self sabotaging mean?  Are we not ready to date?  Are we looking for something better than what we had previously settled for?  I know that my mind has all the details of this perfect guy already formed and I just went through page by page looking for him. He wasn’t there.

Well until our perfect guy falls in our lap let’s lower our standards a little bit and look at some guys who may meet most of our wants and needs.  Let’s send out some messages! Yah!  That’s fun right?  Nope.  That just kicks off a whole new level of creepy.

Next up.  What happens when you check your online dating site InBox.  Stay tuned…..

Over 40 and Single – two words I thought would never go together

To be successful in anything, it is always better to be true to who you are and who I am right now at 1:24 am on a late Saturday night (or an early Sunday morning for you picky people) is over 40 and extremely single.

Two and a half years ago I was married, had the big house, financial security and the normal suburban life.  But I had that one pesky thing that has a tendency of messing everything up.  I had an unhappy marriage.  Damn you marriage! So we did the only thing we could do to salvage our insanity.  We decided to shut down our 17 year relationship.

I say shut down because it is almost like the liquidation of a business that is finally closing their doors.  We had to sell the building, divide the assets, reduce the inventory and balance the books.  I won’t go in to all the drama that followed the doors closing.  You hear enough about the tears, the threats, the begging and the all around feeling of being a huge failure.  No.  What I want to talk about in my blog is life AFTER divorce.  The bizarre and mind numbing trials of being over 40 and single.

It’s been 2 years since the split and what I am learning is that the world of dating today is MUCH different since the last time I was in the game.  This is a brand new game with a whole new set of rules and I need to get my hands on the rule book or I may be alone for a REALLY long time!

Stay tuned.  There are some good stories to follow.