So, it’s now been 19 months since I separated from my ex-husband. It has taken me this long to finally be ready to start dating again… here we go.
Since we separated, I’ve had one first date with a guy I met at a coffee shop. I bombed it. I’m thankful for the practice, but I wasn’t surprised that a second date didn’t happen. I also had an off and on “situationship” that was never going anywhere. It was easy, convenient, and comfortable- that’s it. I will always be thankful for the role he played in my life, but I’m confident we are both happier without each other in the long term.
Other than what was easy and just kind of happened, dating hasn’t really interested me. I didn’t want to meet someone that I wasn’t ready for. I didn’t want to include someone in my life solely to fill the empty space. I knew I didn’t want to start something new while I was in the middle of big decisions. I was still feeling a lot of negative emotions about my ex, my marriage, and uncertainty about my future. I could go on with reasons, but it comes down to I wasn’t ready to invest energy in someone else while I was trying to lay my own foundation. I only had so much energy, and I needed to invest it in myself.
The papers have been signed for over a month now. I’ve been served the papers from the courts and it will be finalized any day now. With each day that has passed since signing, I’ve felt better. The depression I’ve been dealing with has lightened. My anxiety about the future has calmed. I’ve done some work on my self-confidence. I’ve had time to figure out what I would like in a relationship, but also importantly, I’ve had time to figure out what I can and want to bring to a relationship. Again, I could go on… I’m sure there will be some kinks to work out, but I’ve been feeling ready for and interested in sharing parts of my life with someone special.
So, after several draft messages and a few pep talks from friends; I went for it. I asked someone out. (Screaming- that was terrifying!!) He had asked me out months ago, I said yes. Then I got sick that day and canceled last-minute like an asshole. When I went to try to reschedule, I couldn’t hit send. I realized I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t fair to him, it wasn’t right for me. He seemed like “one of the good ones,” and so it was important to me that my past was in the past and not still weighing on me. Unfortunately, now the timing isn’t right on his end. He is talking to someone, and since it was enough talking to mention, that’s not something I want to get in the middle of. Maybe one day the timing will work out and we can see if there is even anything there, but it’s not going to be during December 2019.
I was bummed, but that was a huge milestone for me, and after a little moping, I chose to focus on celebrating how far I’ve come instead of dwelling on disappointment. I gave myself a pat on the back for the courage it took. Felt gratitude that he was upfront and kind. Maybe this doesn’t sound all that courageous or even like a milestone since I had nothing to lose, but it has been over a decade since I’ve asked someone out. Vulnerability and setting yourself up for a rejection is terrifying. But I did it, he said no, and I survived. ::takes a bow::
I found myself scrolling Facebook later, and I noticed an icon that I hadn’t really paid attention to before- “dating.” I didn’t want to overthink it, so I just signed up. Setting up my Facebook Dating profile took under 5 minutes, and I still haven’t bothered to write a bio. There were no apps to download. Nothing to really think about. I picked a few pictures, put in what I was looking for…
Boom- swipe time! (Yikes!)
It was easy to spot several personality types that I know I would clash with based on the types of pictures they chose for their profile (I’m over gym selfies) or their (military) occupation. It wasn’t long before I was out of people to swipe either direction on. So, I increased my location range, broadened the age range, and kept going. It’s a fun little adrenaline rush to feel like you are in control. The app doesn’t give you enough information to truly get excited about individuals. (Keep in mind this is a first time dating app user in her 30’s. I’m sure this is ancient news too many of you.) I quickly ran out of people again, but the app is fairly new, and I know what I’m looking for.
Then the matches started happening. Wait- people are interested in me? People that I expressed interest in looked at the limited information on my profile and said, “sure!” Sweet! I guess it wasn’t a total surprise, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little relieved.
Cue the circus…
To my friends who have never been married that have been doing this sh*t for years- I salute you. I wish I could buy each one of you a drink, you’ve earned it. I’m already over it and feeling even more okay with being single.
Let’s explore some of the interesting moments in my inbox… I’ve had a man tell me he loves me. I shut a guy down who’s rapid-fire small-talk questions made it feel like an interrogation and not a conversation. I had a guy criticize my hair color(s) and one open conversation by criticizing my love for French fries. I even had a guy hypothetically ask what would happen if he broke my legs. At least I hope it was hypothetical, I won’t be meeting him to find out. I’ve disappointed guys by not being as outdoorsy as my Yosemite picture suggests. I had a guy mansplain how to train for a race by explaining how intervals work and telling me I should do a long steady run once a week. I had someone stop talking to me after he asked what company I work for. I don’t have much out there, but I’ve had a “match” criticize pretty much every part of my basic profile. I’m sure there have been even more moments I forgot to share, this is all in under two days.
This online dating is exhausting business; I haven’t even met anyone in real life yet. I guess this is dating in (almost) 2020. I get a tiny surge of adrenaline every time I get the notification that someone is interested in me. The potential is fun. Thankfully, there are a few guys who can hold a conversation who might be worth my time getting to know better. I’ve had to remind myself that I’m most likely not their only conversation. It’s okay to be casual and explore, especially this early on. It’s still scary to be vulnerable, even with the walls I’ve kept up. It has all been such a big mindset change from being with the same person for a decade.
I do feel confident knowing what I bring to the table and that I can be picky. I’m not looking for another marriage. I’m not interested in children. I’ve got all the time in the world (or at least a few decades) to find the right fit. I know the value of my time and energy and don’t want to drain it or lessen the value. We’ll see how it goes. Even though I’m a little over it, I’m still cautiously optimistic and in no rush.
People sure are wacky though. Wish me luck.