Skip to comments.Dating After Divorce: Venturing into The Dark Abyss
Posted on 10/01/2005 7:36:14 AM PDT by teldon30
Guys, we all know that feeling. That queasy one in the pit of our stomachs, a date with a new lady. No big deal when we were 18, or 21, or maybe even single at 30. But weve been married for a while, forgotten how to date and forgotten more about that other species known as females than we now know. Also, truth be told, if were completely candid with ourselves, weve been spoiled and pampered, accustom to having someone take care of us, make sure that our socks matched, that we didnt embarrass ourselves at that party. Sex was a given, no need to shower, shave, appear desirable, or even interested. And definitely no need to think about her feelings, wants, desires, or idiosyncrasies on a second by second basis.
Fast forward to the present. Youre separated or divorced. You want to date, want to meet that lady of your dreams, or maybe lots of ladies of your dreams. But marriage or at least divorce has left a bad taste. Youre feeling uncertain about females, uncertain about yourself. Youre not even sure if youre desirable anymore, or what the present day modern female of the species is looking forward or considers desirable. And, to top it all off, if youre really candid with yourself, you have no idea how to go about this thing called dating. Heck, you may not be sure you even want to try.
Do women have the same issues? Yes, to a degree. However, women are far better prepared for the single life after marriage than men. Women live and breathe relationships. Theyve thought about them their entire lives. Theyve prioritized their relationships, and their feelings all along, as many of them clearly like to tell us, and so, understand themselves and their situation. Also, women possess a much more evolved emotional support system with lots of girlfriends. They have shoulders to cry on, emote to, get advice from, and generally are well positioned to move forward to this next phase of their life.
What do we men have? Squat- Less than squat. We dont tend to think about the big R word, relationships. We probably didnt think much about ours. Were essentially anti-social, with few, if any male friends. Sure, we can talk about the football game or the stock market. But talk about our feelings of insecurity, what we dont know about women or dating? Hardly! So, were generally ill equipped to approach that most sophisticated and evolved of all animals, the single American female.
So, whats the secret to getting back to a normal, healthy social life? Sorry, there are no secrets. Were all different and what works for Bob will be different than for Ted. However, there are seven basic rules that apply to all of us,
The Seven Secrets of Life for the Divorced Guy: (OK, we could do 10, but it doesnt have the same ring to it!)
1. Take time to know yourself
Youre single again, and just aching to get back out there and mix it up. Hold on there, Trigger. Yes, its easy to date and easier to find a female or females to spend time with you. But, do yourself and your partners a favor. Take some time off. Ideally, take a year or so after your marriage to get to know yourself again, your likes, thoughts, and feelings. After all, youve not been You for a long time; youve been We, perhaps for as long as you can even remember.
Its critical that you get back that sense of you as a valuable, individualized person. You need to know you before youre any good for anyone else. Trust me, taking a little extra time initially will pay off later. Youll be happier with your dating. It will be more meaningful, and youll be making fewer mistakes. Take it from someone that made lots.
2. Define and clearly articulate your goals
Ok, dont laugh here, but true story. When I came out of divorce, I sat down and wrote down the attributes of the female I wanted to meet, date, and be with, in detail, right down to hair color and body shape. Stupid? Yes, but it did provide a focus, and something to plan for. Of course, as I began dating, I found that I really didnt know myself that well, as most of what I thought I wanted, I found to be wrong/incompatible/silly/impossible, you take your pick.
However, it is very important to define, in a general way, what youre looking for in dating. Do you want to play? Have fun? Meet someone serious? Have a buddy only? Someone primarily for sex? Whatever you want, you need to be honest with yourself. You need to be able to look at that scraggly face in the mirror in the morning, mussed hair and all, and feel comfortable that you know what you want, and are in the process of finding it. Otherwise, youre going to find that dating is stressful, unfulfilling, and generally a pain in the behind. And, you certainly wont get high marks from the female crowd, which hurts all of the rest of us poor unsuspecting males out there, trying to bravely make our way.
So, do us all a favor here in the male kingdom. Know what you want, go get it, and leave the rest alone.
3. Be candid and direct
Guys, we all like low stress. We hate controversy, and wasted energy, especially in dating. Whats the secret to minimizing stress and drama? Ok, one key is avoiding females that like drama, but thats the subject of another column. Rather, its being candid and direct.
I know, I know, you dont want to tell her at the dinner table that her dress sucks. No, thats not being candid and direct, thats being stupid, otherwise known as being honest. A totally different concept.
Rather, what Im talking about is dont play games. Dont tell her you want to get married eventually if you dont or are not sure. Dont tell her you want kids, hers included, if you dont or dont yet know. Dont feign a love of sushi if fish, raw or otherwise, is simply not your thing. Rather, put yourself in situations that you like and are comfortable. Do not mislead the female of the species, they get quite a bit more than antagonistic later on when they find differently. And, they will find out the Murphys Law of Dating. If It Can Go to Crap, It Will. . Its far better to spend time with ladies that like the real you than sexy ones that seem fun, but arent really compatible.
Men, it may seem counterproductive and take some effort, but you will bring far less angst on yourself in your encounters, as well as earn the everlasting respect of your fellow female journey mates by being candid. They may even add you to the rare Good Guy list and who knows, maybe even set you up with friends that are far more interesting.
4. Be positive
Shes late for dinner. By two hours. Smile. Shes whining, now sending back her second undercooked entree. Smile, and laugh. She tells you about her evil ex-husband and how all he wanted was sex, for the entire three hours of the meal. Smile, even if you have to think about how lucky he is to not be here.
Dating is by definition, stressful. Its two people, who dont know each other, who are uncomfortable with each other, and perhaps even with themselves, auditioning in the biggest game in life, a relationship. Its also a wonderful experience, a chance to meet many, many wonderful people, learn something new about each and every one of them, and grow as a person.
There is no room for being negative, no room for false drama. Were all trying our best. So what if the date wasnt perfect, Most arent. But, youve had another evening with another wonderful person, learned a few things and had a few laughs. And soon, you will meet that one, or two, or multiple, people that you really cant wait to spend time with.
So, be positive. Convey a positive attitude. Nothing is sexier to a lady than a guy thats happy, confident, positive, and lets her know that hes happy to be there with her. If youre positive, shes going to find it hard to be less than positive as well. If not, think positive- shes gone from your life in less than three hours.
5. Learn from each encounter
You use the same three jokes on her that youve always used. She frowns, and stares at her food for the rest of the evening. Did you ever stop to think that maybe that off color joke about your ex is not such a good idea? Or, you arrive home from yet another date, feeling beaten and unfulfilled. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps dating women that are aggressive, forceful personalities, that leave little in the way of dialogue or interest in your needs, is probably not what youre seeking? Yet, you keep going out with that type?
Learn from each experience. After all, you do not have all the answers. We each come out of divorce like babes in the woods. We know nothing, and each experience gives us new knowledge. But, its only knowledge if we learn from it.
So, ask yourself after each date, or female, what did I like about her? Dislike? What lessons learned can I take to my next dating relationship? What have I learned about myself that will be important when and if I develop a serious relationship? Dont assume you have all the answers. I didnt, and still dont. But, Im learning.
Do more than simply pick lint from your bellybutton. Ladies, sorry if this offends you, but its an article addressed to guys. And guys, navel-gazing, as you well know, doesnt mean straining to see over that well developed stomach area. It means introspection. Dating is an evolutionary experience. The more we date, the more we learn about ourselves. And, the more we learn about ourselves, and what we want from a relationship, the happier we will be, and the happier we will make our partners.
In female vernacular, we arent as in touch with our feelings as women are. This is debatable, and the subject of another column. However, it is most certainly true that we men dont often take the time to consider our feelings. Were good at thinking, but avoid feeling. So, dont be afraid to navel- gaze.
7. Have fun
Dating is fun. Meeting delectable members of the opposite sex is fun, hopefully, more than fun. True, there can be a fair amount of drama or associated issues. But, dont get sidetracked. Dont engage. Remember, dating is fun. Life is fun, and you should have fun with the entire experience.
So, get out there, enjoy yourselves, make mistakes, learn from them, smile and above all, have fun!
Nope. I quit.
I found that the common element to all my failed relationships was me.
LOL, my thoughts too! I think his new guide should be to shower and not be so self absorbed, maybe that will make the relationship last longer.
Selfishness causes divorce, and he doesn't sound like he's picked up on that fact.
Just checked my wallet. Nope.
This guy sounds like a real winner. Is it any wonder that he's not still married? I sure wouldn't be taking his advice about anything.
I think that hell must be eternal dating. What a friggin nightmare.
What the he!! is navel gazing?
Good advice. Women like to talk, chat and be sociable. I've had a few dates that went like this:
ME: What do you typically do on your off-time?
HIM: Nothing much.
ME: Well...do you have friends/family that keep you busy?
HIM: Not really.
ME: Is there any place you dream of going or anything you've always wanted to do.... but couldn't until now?
HIM: I don't think about it much...
What's a gal supposed to do with that? I appreciate articles like this because it gives me a little more insight into the male species. *chuckle*
Is this the same guy?
As for challenges, Fleming said he's very concerned with the environmental turnaround of the Bush Administration in the United States coupled with a slowing world economy and implications on environmental and water treatment spending that's largely regulatory driven. "Ignoring politics, I think everybody would agree it really is clear the Bush Administration has pulled back on a lot of environmental drivers," Fleming said. Still, he doesn't expect that to stop his company from reaching its goal of $1 billion in sales and possibly pursuing an independent path within five years.
I'd be nice if the date actually shows up as promised to find out if dating is fun.
My first date didn't even bother to show up. So, my first experience was a horrible one.
Way too much credit given to single women here. We are not so itimidating. We have cartloads of insecurities and will compromise important dreams too easily and then distrust our own judgement... or I do anyway.
Thimk of all the mistakes being made by single women that are undermining our country's social and economic structures.. unwed motherhood, living with bums and predators and increasing drug and alcohol abuse.
Don't be afraid.. but, please, be careful.
Yes, he picks up on it. He has regrets for not appreciating what he had as a good thing when he had it...
Overall, I think this is a good article.
Either this is irony--and I don't think so--or he is telling the world what a lousy husband he was...
Of course it's an admission .. how could anyone honestly say that without realizing what he is saying? I'm sure he gets it, otherwise he would be too clueless to know that that is what had become of him. And it's not just about him, it's about divorced men in general, back in their pre-divorce phase.
The author lost his credibility with this statement. ;-)
I like the premise of the article.
Rather than follow the formula of complaining about how men do not understand women or vice versa, this one advises that before we can understand the opposite sex, we need to figure out ourselves.
He's done some introspection and has been honest about his discoveries.
Now he needs to write an article on reading comprehension.
What did she order? Top shelf? Is that her usual? Is she a power drinker> did she get your order straight? what did she do with the change? did she tip? Your money or hers? You are learning a lot already...
Put the change on the table, and see if..she orders again and uses your money (asks, does not, pays for it herself and buys you one of what you are having?)...
You can eliminate a lot of non-starters for a twenty.
You're absolutely correct. If you don't learn from your past mistakes, you will almost certainly repeat them.
No where to go but up then, right?
And what does that test say about you that is desirable to women?
If I were say.....a divorced woman out with this man that left the $20 and took off for the john, I'd be thinking,"Hell, I have done enough ordering and doing for the last one I was with, if bathroom boy can't wait to place an order, then to hell with this". Grab the $20 and run!
If that is how you thought, you'd have a lot of holdover resentments you'd be throwing at me at the slightest provocation.
Grade:F (for future? Maybe in a year or two, but definitely not now, if ever).
See how inexpensive it would be for me to find out that you were either not ready for a relationship (no clean slate there!) or simply not the woman for me.
See, I hate being blamed for all the things I did not do.
If you had done nothing but wait for my return, and explained your resentment, that'd have been a plus.
BTW, I live in North Dakota, and it would be eminently civilized to wait until I got to the bar to use the facility instead of just pulling off and urinating on the side of the road--it can be a long way between restrooms here. I'd have been on my best behaviour. (8^D)
I just don't want to get burned like that again. It's not fun. Although, I have a feeling more like that will happen. I guess I'll just chalk it up as a learning experience in the world of dating.
The trick is that no one knows it is a test. That is not announced.
For starters, there is willingness to trust.
For the thoughtful, that I'm not about to saddle some one with a guy who probably won't be compatible. Even if she failed, I'd finish the date, and have fun, but in all likelyhood turn down any offer to spend the night. No point in striking sparks where you don't want a fire.
Keep in mind, too, that when the test was devised, a $20 was a lot more money than it is now. In those days it would buy a couple of cases of beer or a really good steak dinner for two.
That photo you posted of the Pearl Harbor vet and the young Marine who was missing his arm is one of the most powerfully moving things I've ever seen!
I don't know but i suggest using a mirror unless you wanna hurt your back.
I just can't stop LOL'ing at your question.
What navel gazing is i do not know. But i'm sure it's something that women would find disgustingly gross.
Reading comprehension, people.
Well, what's introspection got to do with navels?
"Navel gazing" is a term coined during the '60s "Flower Power" era.Roughly translated,it means "looking within your self".Given that it was the '60s,this self reflection was,I believe,meant to be an exercise in narcissism.
They shoulda picked a less gross sounding term for this "looking within themselves".
Just laugh and get over it. Belly laugh if you will.
Tricks are for kids... Order your own drink and be honest with people who you want to be honest with you.
That statement proves that you're not a child of the '60s.The motto of so many such children was(and to all too many,still is) "if it feels good,do it".
ha ha ha ha ha
So, this is or isn't navel gazing? ;-D
If I recall correctly, navel-gazing was a term used to ridicule the hippie-types who dropped out of whatever they were supposed to be into to "find themselves."
I'm a grandpa now, 12 times over, and not in the market.
Feel free to post that photo as often as you like. Everyone in this country should see it.
Perhaps someone could show it to Kerry, so that he can see what a true war hero looks like. And wouldn't it be nice if that photo would make Kerry feel ashamed about his Purple Heart lies.
A girl can dream, can't she?
Fast forward to the present. Youre separated or divorced.
Gee, I wonder why!
It was meant to be humorous, kind of making fun of the person so wrapped within themselves.