Friday, June 5, 2015

Our Story (14): The Dating Scene

"No matter how love-sick a woman is, she shouldn't take the first pill that comes along."
- Joyce Brothers -

(continuing from last time...)

It’s intimidating to get back into the dating scene after almost two decades. You don’t know where to start and what to expect. But one thing I did know for sure was that after so many years of being in a horribly toxic relationship, I knew exactly the type of man I didn’t want to be with. Much wiser, and certainly more confident, I wasn’t going to be with someone who didn’t appreciate, respect and deserve me. And since I wasn’t emotionally needy nor did I mind being alone, time and patience were on my side.
My girls made every day special.

I was pleased to discover that despite what my ex had said, other men did take an interest in me. And my first experience with that was with shy Danny; the sweetest, kindest and gentlest man. We were in the same computer programming course and became good friends very quickly. He nicknamed me “Athena, Goddess of Wisdom” because of my high grades, and when school came to an end, he finally got up the nerve to ask me out to dinner. When I told him I would take a rain check because I was moving that weekend, he didn’t pursue it. And neither did I. The chemistry was there for friendship but not for romance. And I didn’t want to lead him on.

My second experience was a friendly type of dating with Alan, a man I met while doing my computer programming internship. We hung around at work all the time, spoke on the phone, went to the movies, out to eat, for coffee and to several other places. I wasn’t interested in more than friendship and he never pushed for anything beyond that, so I assumed he wasn’t either. But we enjoyed each other’s company immensely, got along wonderfully and he played a huge role in helping me rebuild my confidence. Unlike my ex, Alan made me feel intelligent, fun to be with, interesting and attractive in every which way. Eventually our paths took us separate ways and we lost touch, but the time that we shared was priceless.

But the vast majority of my experiences with meeting new people – welcome 21st century! -  were through an online dating site. And if you’ve ever done that, you understand all about the mostly good, sometimes bad, occasionally ugly and downright weird and wacky people online (waving to Robyn). Boy of boy did I run across some interesting and somewhat entertaining men. Here are a few that contacted me online:

- The married cheat: Number one clue? No photo. And when I asked him for one privately, he made every excuse in the book. I mentioned in a message that I suspected he was married and he quickly slithered away never to be seen again. Jerk.

- The control freak: I always thanked everyone that contacted me, let them down politely and wished them well. Most appreciated the kind gesture and moved on. But this one guy wouldn’t. He replied to my ‘rejection’ email, highlighted some of my sentences, dissected them for deeper meaning or contradiction or unfairness and demanded an explanation. Holy crap. I didn’t even know this guy and he was already trouble. Block!

- The material worshipper: His profile read like a brochure and listed all of his material possessions. Expensive material possessions...just so you know. His photos had him posing in front of his car/house/boat. Brag, brag, brag. Drag, drag, drag!

- The mama's boy: The profile picture that included the umbilical cord that hadn't been severed yet was definitely a red flag. Then he contacted me and said that if I hooked up with him, I could enjoy the beautiful home in Greece that he owned right by the beach. Okay, his mama owned it. And okay, we’d be guests. Of mama. Gawd...

- The egomaniac: His messages consisted mostly of two words: me and I. In any case, we never would have been able to meet because his fat head wouldn’t fit through any door.

Did I meet anyone in person? For sure. One guy invited me to lunch and boasted about how his friends say he looks like Woody Harrelson. Not even close. At least the lunch was good. One guy chased after me for months and I finally caved in and met him. We went on two dates and I ended it there. He was a nice guy but the chemistry just wasn’t there. Another guy met up with me twice and when he mentioned that he was codependent, somewhat needy and a recovering alcoholic, I bolted. Call me insensitive but that wasn’t what I was looking for. There were a few more short-lived encounters and after a few months of disappointments, I called it quits, canceled my membership on that dating site and concentrated on my new job that I started in November 2001.

In January 2002, a friend of mine set me up with one of her clients who was recently divorced and in search of a new romance. He was just a few years older and had one teenage son with his ex wife. I thought this might work out better than all the online fiascos. It didn’t. We clicked somewhat and went out a few times. But it didn’t last long. He was emotionally unavailable, unpredictable and unreliable. He described himself as “intellectually adept and socially inept”. When it was over, I thanked my friend for wanting to help and jokingly said to her “From now on I’ll find dysfunctional men all by myself.

Later that night as I was lying in bed, I stared up into the sky and whispered “Where are you?” The hopeless romantic in me who also believed in reincarnation and soul mates and destiny yearned for that special soul. But maybe it just wasn’t meant to be in this lifetime.

Or maybe it was.

To be continued... (click here)

25 comments:

  1. Things would really start to play on your mind after those experiences. You have to have a lot of confidence to play in that game. You have to learn to trust your own judgement.

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    1. You got that right. But after all that experience, being cautious - and picky! - came easy. I wasn't going to settle for just anyone. It was an all or nothing deal for me.

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  2. Wow, Martha, the dating scene is not easy, I don't know if I would have had the stamina.

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    1. It wasn't easy but it was quite entertaining! Oh, the stories...

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  3. Oooh, I have such a strong feeling the best is yet to come! Love the photo of you and your girls.

    Your dating stories are somewhat entertaining; glad you avoided so many of those! :)

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    1. You just have to play it smart. There are a lot of good people on these sites that get lost in the crowd. But if you search carefully, you can find someone nice.

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  4. You are becomng such a tease!!!!!, week after week we rush to see what you have written on the friday and here I am saturday morning with things to do, rushing about getting ready to go to a wedding, but taking valuable time to sit and read your latest development.. makes amazing reading, and so happy you broke away from such a toxic relationship, which took guts... cannot wait for the next installment h aha

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    1. Hahahaha! I laughed out loud with your comment. Thank you for this. You know, there is a reason I'm playing it out like this. Well, a couple of reasons. 1) I have to make my deadline to the end of this series, which is planned for June 26 and 2) my life was unraveling like this at the time. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow and always with unexpected and unpredictable moments. It was like a roller coaster ride.

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  5. A straight friend of mine did online dating for awhile. She said she was shocked how many married men were on the make. She got discouraged but eventually did find a wonderful widower and lived happily ever after.

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    1. There are quite a few married men on these sites. Bastards. You just have to be smart about it and filter them out.

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    1. I did online dating for awhile a little over five years ago. Women aren't as good as men at being crazy weirdos online, but I met a few. Luckily none in person. I chatted with a few girls on the phone, and they said "yeah I just got out of a long relationship and I don't think I'm ready to date anyone yet". Then why did you join a dating site?

      Met one girl who had no job, no college, but every-time we were suppose to date, she said she was too busy. She stood me up (though I waited for her to call before I left), and then apologized saying she forgot. I stopped talking to her right there.

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    2. "Women aren't as good as men at being crazy weirdos online..." That is funny! I wonder if there are statistics for this? Hahaha...

      These sites can be exasperating; so many nutty people on them. But they make for great stories! Well, I'm glad you found your happily ever after with Daisy.

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  7. You have me chuckling over those poor sots online........really do they think people are as stupid as they are.......I can see your treading water very well at this point and it's just time for "that special someone" to throw you a life-saver ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ here it comes!

    All the best!
    Ron

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    1. Oh the stories... If nothing else, it was an entertaining period. Yes, by this time I was very, very stable in every which way and it was the perfect time to meet someone. And because of that, I was being very selective.

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  8. This is reading like an advice column, Martha....which is all good....... a must read for all woman searching for mister right.
    I too was chuckling over a few of your encounters and how you described them. You write very well and don't pull any punches!!
    Keeping us hanging, I see......

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    1. That was the story of my life at the time, Jim. A total cliffhanger from one moment to the next! LOL...

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  9. a friend of mine from college (who is our age) posts excerpts from her online dating encounters. Never calling anyone out by name of course. But the things some of these guys say is down right hilarious! It really must be so odd to try to 'sell yourself' on these dating sites. I am so glad that my dating years were long over by the time those arrived

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    1. I think that once people realize that being yourself rather than trying to sell yourself is the way to go, they are pleasantly surprised!

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    2. well the profile you did right was so honest that I would agree it is much better to just be yourself. But as you also said .... it is a needle in a haystack to find a guy that isn't a blowhard! I'm on the edge of my chair with your story .... looks like it is just about time for the most wonderful man in the world to enter the story!

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    3. It really is a needle in the haystack but well worth the tedious search and patience!

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  10. Oh the stories I have heard about on-line dating! Thank goodness I didn't have to go through that. My youngest sister met her husband through a very early dating service back in the late 80s. That one took! I'm glad you got through all this to your soulmate, Martha!

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    1. It can be quite crazy but if you play it smart, you'll filter through the craziness and find some decent people. There were some really nice guys around when I was online but most of them didn't interest me. I'm sure they made someone else happy.

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