If you ask any single person (young or old) how they feel about dating, you’re most likely going to get an immediate eye roll and a response saying something to the effect of “dating sucks”. I remember just before my marriage was ending, I would hear friends talk about how awful the dating world is and I would think to myself…how bad can it be? I used to think it would be so exciting to meet new people and feel those butterflies again–until I had to actually experience it for myself.
The truth of the matter is, that if you’re in a miserable marriage then anything is better than being with someone that doesn’t make you happy, but the grass is not always greener. I’ve been on the dating scene for about five years and it’s been an ‘interesting’ experience to say the least. When I first starting dating it felt so foreign. Granted I had been married for twenty years and had very little experience with dating before then, so when I found myself out at a movie or dinner with another man, I felt like I was cheating. I know…crazy, right? I had this strange feeling that I was doing something wrong because I had been attached to one person for my entire adult life. It was uncomfortable at first and my insecurities about how to act or how I looked bubbled to the surface as if I was an awkward teenager again.
After the initial extraneous feelings, I started to enjoy dating. I thought all the people that hating dating and all the sad songs written about loneliness were all lies because those people perceived being single as something negative out of fear of being alone. I embraced being single and absolutely loved having my freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted. I vowed to enjoy every minute of it and swore I’d never be one of ‘those people’. Now that I’ve been single for a while, I have to eat my words.
You see, when you first get divorced, it is exciting. Somehow you have men coming out of the woodwork showing you all kinds of attention and it feels good at the time. Then, you realize that all those men coming out of the woodwork are actually cockroaches that can somehow sniff out the desperation of a newly divorced woman. I swear it must be the pheromones you give off because men can smell it a mile away. It’s like you’re the new pretty freshmen girl in high school and all the seniors can smell fresh meat. Somehow you’re attracting all the douche bags that see you as an easy target. Sure, at first it’s fun and you’re loving all the attention but then you realize that you’re tired of being with douche bags and you want something more serious.
This is when dating gets a little depressing (especially when your over 40) because you realize that there are very few “good” men that are available. Sorry fellas, but it’s true and if you’re honest with yourself about your gender and how some (not all) men behave, you too would have to admit that good men represent 2% of the single population (and that’s being generous). If you want to believe that you are a part of that 2%…then go right ahead! Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t think all men are assholes and I believe with all of my heart that my “person” is out there. I just realized about two years into dating and over a year of celibacy waiting for the right guy, that he’s much harder to find than I thought and that dating is absolutely exhausting!
You see, dating is like a never ending interview process. You ask all the right questions and think that this person is completely the right fit for the position, only to find out that he sucks. Then you have to fire the guy and go through another endless series of similar interviews. The questions are always the same;
“What do you like to do in your spare time?”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Have you been married and do you have kids?”
“What kind of music do you like?”
“Do you abuse drugs?”
“Do you cheat?”
“Do you beat on women?”
“Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment…do you admire Bill Cosby, Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein?”
You know…you cover all the bases before you agree to meet the guy for drinks and then when he pulls up in a creepy van with no windows, you realize he may not have answered truthfully.
If you’ve read my blog, then you know I gave dating a go and went out with lots of guys over the years and tried to keep an open mind. I had some good experiences and some not so good (mostly not so good). I’m not saying I’m completely jaded, but I will admit that I did lose hope there for a while. At this point, I have decided to take a step back and not focus on dating at all. I’ve realized that I’m not attracting the kind of guy I really want to be with because I have some work to do on myself. Writing helps me put things into perspective and seeking personal growth will bring me closer to finding the person I am meant to be with.
If I rushed into a relationship right after my divorce just to avoid being alone, I surely would have ended up with the same man in a different body. If I wait too long, I’ll get very comfortable with being by myself and push every possibility away to avoid being hurt. There’s that sweet spot just in the middle where you’ve done a lot of work and you’re on the cusp of turning a corner and that’s exactly where I am now. I’m almost there, but not quite. I know what I need to do and I know I have to allow the universe to unfold and reveal to me why I had to go through all this shit. It’s so close I can almost taste it. All I have to do is be patient and believe that it will all happen when it’s supposed to and not a moment before. Dating is the dress rehearsal and you have to be willing to work and grow before you step out on that stage, otherwise the show will be a complete flop.
You have to believe that the best is yet to come and know your own worth before anyone else can see it too. People know when you’re just faking it and you won’t be able to attract anything positive in life if you hold on to the false beliefs that dating sucks and all men are assholes and all women are crazy bitches. Sure, they are out there and I’ve dated most of them, but I never gave up hope that the one for me is out there waiting for me to fully open my heart. Even if it takes another five years, I will never give up hope because I’m okay with waiting and I can enjoy being single until he shows up.
I was watching one of Oprah’s interviews with the author of “The Power of Now” and “The New Earth”. These books changed my perception years ago and I was reminded again of how we can change the perception of our circumstances by simply making a choice to do so. He said;
“What happens to you in life is ultimately not as important as how you respond to what happens. You can choose how you perceive difficult times and be conscious of how those thoughts will determine the rest of your life” ~Eckhart Tolle
This is an important step in this journey through life and even through tough times you have to choose to see the gifts those experiences have given you–otherwise you will wallow in self-pity and never find the true meaning of it all.