Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field, Act 2

Continued from previous post….sfcablecar1

Sure enough, The Beau met Old Flame on Thursday night in San Francisco (liar, his phone was not off, duh!)

The Beau then took about 25 minutes to tell me something that really only required 5 minutes discussion and which I already knew anyway.  I kept wanting to interrupt and say, “Cut to the chase, please” but I refrained due to the remote possibility that I could be wrong and he could be telling me that he finally once and for all put it on the shelf with the Old Flame and wanted to move forward with me. 

I now understand the very definite advantage to going silent.  If someone is going to give me that kind of news, I’m not sure I ever want to sit through half an hour of hearing about how much fun they have with someone who is not me in what happens to be my favorite city in the whole world.  That was the most painful part.  Da** him!  Now I have to pick another favorite city. 😀

Apparently, The Beau and Old Flame (who is, get this, almost 21 years younger than he..I so knew my being only 11 years younger was an issue for him) picked up where they left off, but since she’s living with a fiance of 5 years that she’s supposedly leaving, and because she lives in Texas, there are complications.  Even so, before leaving her on Friday, he told her “If you’re leaving him, I’m interested in pursuing us.”

This, from a man, who couldn’t make a 90 minute twice a month commute work out with someone who has no five year live in fiance still in the picture.  

Yeah.  Like I said: When a man is into a woman….he knows, she knows and there is no obstacle too great.

5blarge5d5banimepaper5dwallpapers_range-murata_dioma1_6__thisres__70420Okay, so none of this came as any surprise to me, though it was painful because it was so disappointing on so many levels. I really liked The Beau. He travelled easily and by this I mean, he fit seamlessly (from our perspective) into our family. I absolutely know, and I speak with confidence from experience not from arrogance or wishful thinking, that we could have blended our families so easily. There was just a high level of mutuality, compatibility, communication and willingness to negotiate without giving ourselves completely up. And we agreed on expectations for behavior from the kids. He also had a wonderful way of calling the kids out respectfully, humanely and without overstepping his bounds, something that is such a must have for me. I think that is important in a relationship but especially when kids are involved.

But for all that The Beau really liked about me and he did “like” me, I was, for him, what the I.J. was for me. Everything, EVERYTHING about me for him stacked up in the “works for me” category for him, except one very important thing: chemistry (while we had it in spades, or so it appeared, it just wasn’t what he had with the Old Flame) .

In addition, The Beau simply was not emotionally available because he had a ghost from his past that just wouldn’t die. He has to follow his heart. I get it. I do wish him all the best.

I did tell The Beau this, “Remember way back when I told you my When A Man Is Into A Woman Philosophy and you disagreed with me?”

He nodded. hes-just1

I continued, “You just proved my point. You think nothing of trying to pursue something in Texas, when 90 minutes killed you with me. When a man is really into a woman….” I let my voice drift off. 

What could he say?

I told him, he needed to follow his heart ( like he needed or cared about getting my permission) and that I totally understood. (I really do understand and I wouldn’t want him hanging anywhere near me if any part of his heart is still somewhere else.)  I told him that I am disappointed but only because the way he feels about the Old Flame, is how I someday hope someone will feel about me and vice versa.  I am unwilling to settle on that score.  I reminded him that this is what I was trying to tell him a month ago, when the status of our “whatever we had” changed. I also told him, that I predicted he’d be married to her by the end of the year. We shook on it.

I also told him I was removing him and her from my Facebook. Not because I’m angry, but because I don’t need daily reminders that I came in second. Not that love and romance is a competition. It isn’t.  I don’t view it that way.  But I do not need reminders daily that I spent the last three months entertaining the idea there might eventually be something, when in fact, there never was the remotest possibility.  Ghosts who are not dead are fully capable of reincarnating themselves.  The real and vibrant living have absolutely no hope against the imagination especially when it centers around ghosts from the past and thoughts of what could have been.  In dating situations like this the the playing field is just.not.level.

Cue sad, romantic music.  Lights gradually dim as The Wild Mind sitting pensively at computer (stage right), picks up coffee mug, leans back in her chair and stares thoughtfully into space (somewhere stage left).   Curtain drops on Act 2 as music fades.

To be continued…

The Blogroll Game

I’m procrastinating again. 

I can tell.  I follow a particular pattern in my procrastination.

First, I get out the work I need to do. Today, I must prep math lessons in powerpoint and develop a promotional flyer for the school’s afterschool math club in April.

I then leave the laptop and the curriculum and the file for the afterschool math club on the table and go pour a glass of wine.  Then I get online to check my email and Facebook account activity.  I change my status message at Facebook, read the one email I have on Facebook, delete all the messages I received in my yahoo inbox from Freecycle.org and then I go read what all my bloggy friends have written since Friday. 

I get distracted responding to their posts.

I then play The Blogroll Game.  This is the game I created for myself to keep myself from being completely productive and to keep myself from using technology efficiently.  I go to a bloggy friend’s blog read all their stuff.  Maybe I’ll leave a comment, but then I check out their blogroll. 

This gets me in big trouble every time.  I lose hours of productivity and fall further behind in life as the result.  It’s a great game!

Today I was over at Zeus’ blog, “On Becoming A Universal and Narcissistic God” and after reading his most recent post, which admittedly was way over my little head,  I checked out his blogroll.  Personally, I love checking out his blogroll (hee!hee!) any chance I can get, but it usually discourages me because he has some great bloggers listed there.  Oh well, when I grow up I want to be like them. 

Anyway…today…by chance I clicked on the blog Zeus had listed as Dad’s House.  (I was actually heading toward CMajor7’s blog, because reading him also makes me happy or at least want to move away from here, but got distracted.) If you are a single parent or even a single post-marriage individual in your late thirties or forties, you need to check this blog out. His blogroll is amazing and will connect you to others who are dealing with the same parenting/dating quandaries we all seem to experience at this stage of the game.  David Mott’s posts are entertaining, well written and have just enough substance to them that you can do something with it and not be completely overwhelmed (unlike my own posts.  Oh well, I want to be like David Mott when I grow up too, so there).

Join me in The Blogroll Game and procrastinate away!

Okay, now that I’ve frittered 90 good minutes away in cyberworld, I think I can finally get to work…hah!  Maybe.

Hypothetical (Ha! Ha!) Dating Dilemma #453

So…..what’s the right thing to do here?  Is there more than one right answer?  I’ll set the parameters, but read on and decide for yourself what you might do in this particular situation.

What do you do if you are dating/seeing someone (whatever they call it these days)…not “officially” in a relationship…whatever that means, but seeing them pretty regularly several times a week?  They are not seeing anyone else, you are reasonably sure.  You have not been seeing anyone else, but not because you’re all that into the person you are seeing.  You just haven’t seen anyone else, just because.  (It could be for any reason that you are not seeing anyone else but not for the reason that you are really, really into the person you are seeing, because you are not.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how great you realize they are…and they are great…you just don’t “feel it”.)

So, it appears to be an exclusive situtation on the outside (to everyone else, maybe even to one of you), but it isn’t.  At least, there’s been no real discussion about that or about feelings for each other or what not.

There’s been no discussion (does there need to be?) about the direction things might be going, but we all know things can’t stay in a holding pattern forever.  Things haven’t really moved forward for about 4 weeks now. Do they need to? Should they?

You enjoy being with the person, they really are wonderful and kind and enjoyable to be around, but you’re really in the end just not that into them…at least…not in the way you need to be in order to be something more significant than very, very good friends.

You know it probably isn’t going to mature into something more from your end, but the other person is really, really into you.

What do you do? 

Have a talk and tell them straight up how you feel? 

Chill, say nothing till they bring it up and keep seeing them? 

Chill, say nothing and stop seeing them?

Begin phasing out your contact with them?

Some other approach?

What would you do if you were in this predicament?  Have you ever been in this predicament?  How did you handle it?

Expectations, Schmecpectations

Alright, alright.  I give.  Expectations for the perfect match are important.  They are real.  We all have them and we all better be clear on what they are up front because they color our behavior toward our significant other in so many  ways.

I know I need to spend more time exploring this.

I also know I’ve already spent the last three years exploring this and, once again, the terrain is beginning to shift.  I need to revisit the topic.

But tonight, I’m a bit tired.  It is late and morning comes way too early on work days.  I need to get to bed.  But I will be back to fully address this topic in far more detail and intelletual capacity than I am currently able to provide.

Thanks for being patient with me.

Conversing With The Italian Job

So, I went for a walk tonight.

It wasn’t just any walk.

It was a walk to remember.

First off, it is the night before a school day and that, for me, is usually fully packed with no time for me. Hence, no walks and no workouts in the evening for me.  And, evening is when I work out best because I have to be at work at 0’dark thirty so getting up even earlier than that, well, screw it.  I simply refuse.  Let the world reject me.  I don’t care.

I hate doing anything before 6 a.m. unless it is making love with the love of my life whom I’ve yet to meet, so whatever already.

The I.J. and I decided to meet and go for a walk tonight.  We decided this on Valentine’s as we casually talked about stuff.  You know, stuff.  The conversation that is no conversation.  It’s fun, but takes you nowhere or it takes you everywhere depending…on…so…many…things.

So, we decided to set the time for 8:30.  I felt I could have my home reasonably settled down by then.  All kids would be back from events, dinner served and cleaned up and the two youngest in bed or heading that way.  At 8:20, I was in Target picking up some things I needed for tomorrow night’s presentation (thank God, these will be over for the year after tomorrow night) and I called him and said, “Let’s make it 8:45 and just come on up to the house.  He said okay.  We clicked off.

8:45 comes and goes.  I’m ready and waiting.  No I.J.

8:50 comes and goes.  I’m ready and waiting.  No I.J. and I think, “This is so not like him.”  Okay, now that thought right there freaked me out.  That I could, with complete confidence say, this was not like someone, was just…well…something I’ve NEVER been able to do where a guy was concerned.  I’ve always questioned and doubted because…welllllll….because I never really could trust the stupid guys because they were always so inconsistent.  The I.J. has yet to be inconsistent and therein lies the freaking out point….I knew without a doubt that he was not standing me up but that there had been a disconnect somewhere in our communication.  (Wow!  Amazing concept since the last two significant relationships I’ve been in were all about the guy playing games to manipulate and control.)

My son suggested I just call him.  I balked, but only for 5 minutes.

I call at 9:00. 

“Hey, where are you?”

“I’m down here on the corner waiting for you.”

He’d not heard me or misunderstood that I wanted him to go ahead and come up to the house.   I knew there was a reasonable explanation and, to be honest, this also freaked me out, because after my last few experiences with husbands, men are definitely not to be trusted, so my completely trusting him and not even questioning it, was a huge thing.  Yes, I’m getting healthier with respect to all that, but it says more about the I.J.’s complete consistency and unwavering reliability than it does about me.  Had he been anything less than honest, I’d have figured it out.

So, I headed out the door for our walk and he met me halfway between the corner where he was parked and my house.  Don’t tell me meeting halfway isn’t significant, because I, in my mid-40 wisdom, know so much better.

The minute he met me, we turned in unison and began walking.  As we did so, he asked, “So, hey, do you want to go on up to J’s or do you want to go for a real walk.”  A man after my own heart.  J’s  is the little sports bar that is located in the little neighborhood strip mall between his house and mine. We’d talked about my walking up there and just meeting him there but he didn’t feel so comfortable with that with it being dark out and all.  I’ve never been to J’s.  I’m a tad bit old fashioned and only recently have been going in and hanging out at bars by myself and J’s is not one I’d explored yet.  So, we went to J’s.

I’m sad I didn’t get my full 40 minute workout in.

It’s okay, I worked out earlier today with my son.

And….drumroll please….

The I.J. and I had some real conversation.  (To know why this is important you’d have to read my password protected post so there.  If you want to read it ask for the password otherwise, just guess what it’s about from the context here and be okay with that. It’s up to you.)

I dont’ even know how this happened, but I simply started by asking questions, but not third degree type questions.  These questions were “what’s your opinion on that” kind of questions.

First off, I have to back track a bit and make it clear that I did clarify with him where I was on the fact that his divorce, filed though it apparently is, is not final. He seemed to understand and accept my perspective here. At least that is what he said…mind you he said it…not implied it…not grunted it…but said, “I totally understand that that is something that needs to be resolved before we can move ahead.”  Well, okay, honestly, I can’t remember exactly what he said but that was very, very close.

And, of course, my head was spinning about that statement alone.  I mean, wow, it was so…what an adult would say.  Go figure.  No tension, no drama, just the straight up reality.

He ordered Scotch, and strangely I waffled.  I usually go for a Long Island Ice Tea hands down every time and completely with confidence, but tonight was feeling like it needed something different so I ordered a Bombay Sapphire Martini.  We sat and chatted over our drinks, but it wasn’t just light small talk chat.

We covered a great deal of ground.

We talked about a lot of stuff that isn’t just small talk joking trivial fun stuff.

We talked about his recent dating history and mine.  We talked about a lot of stuff!  In a short amount of time! 

At one point, I shared with him my “Are we building a house or a playground” analogy (see previous posts about this).  I actually shared this with him in the context of saying how important I feel communication is in relationship and how, disagreement and differing perspectives don’t freak me out nearly as much as simple non-communication.

He cut to the chase with that and said, “I’d love to build a house with you.”

He told me he understood that “building a house” didn’t mean marriage or LTR, it simply meant an exclusive relationship where we take it a day at a time and see what happens.

He told me that my baggage, and he knows what it is, doesn’t phase him.

He told me he understands that I cannot even begin to build the house until I see proof the divorce is final.

He talked.

We talked. 

It wasn’t small talk.  It definitely moved us forward, or somewhere.  And, it gave me a glimpse into the fact that quite possibly here might be a man who could very well surprise me in so very many really wonderful ways.

Houses or Playgrounds?

Short and to the point: The Beau is no longer “The Beau”.  (Surprise! Surprise!  Gasp!  Does that really surprise anyone? N0.  Didn’t think so.)

Don’t know how to quite explain all the details to myself, except to say that it was a mutual misunderstanding.  I can’t share really how things started declining from his perspective, only from mine, though he’s enlightened me through discussions over the last week.  And he makes some valid, very understandable points.  I only wish he’d shared where he was with all that a month ago when he began feeling that way.

Things with us started off really great.  Had they kept going really great, no doubt, I would not be writing this post.  Now mind you things weren’t going badly…they just kinda weren’t really going like they were before.  Sometime after the second weekend I went up to visit him I noticed a bit of a “pull back” from him.  It was slight and subtle but very, very perceptible to me.  Things like no longer reaching out to hold hands in the car when we went places, no (and I mean absolutely none, where before there had been plenty) physical affection other than a quick good-bye peck at the door as he left or I left.  Things like calling me really late at night after being on the phone with others (who were just friends, yes, but nonetheless female and not me).  Things like a reduction in the number of texts or other contacts in a day, making it feel a bit like he was just making the obligatory once a day phone call.  Things like simply not seeming as interested as he previously was.

Now, The Beau, is not, was not, a bad guy.  Something changed for him…or he saw something that gave him reason to pause.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  In fact, there is quite a bit about me that would give most people pause, not the least of which is 4 kids, a fixer house and a very tight budget and this blog.  I really have a problem with none of that.  It is totally understandable to me.  

We’d been dating about two months and he’s the one that mentioned not dating anyone else and taking off his profile from said dating sites.  I did not bring up this conversation…he did.   I guess I didn’t ask enough questions about what that meant for him.  I guess, maybe, that conversation was premature.  Maybe I misunderstood the seriousness of that kind of behavior.  To me that means, “I really want to focus on you.”  To him, well, I’m still not clear what he intended by even bringing up that conversation, but that’s okay too.  I don’t need to be clear on that.  It just didn’t appear to indicate a single purpose to him quite the same way it did to me or he thought better of it after he did it.  That’s alright too.  I just wish I’d understood all that before I stopped dating the four or five other very fine men, that I stopped seeing to date The Beau exclusively only to have The Beau get cold feet.  (j/k about the 5 guys, disappointed about the cold feet, but aware that it happens and am not losing sleep or wasting tears over it)

I guess the best analogy is this one:  “Are we building a house here or are we building a playground?”  My thinking is that the foundation for either of those endeavors is very different and you can’t exactly change projects midway, without some serious investment or strife or, at least some conversation.  Both of them serve their purpose and are wonderful projects.  Really, I don’t care which one it is, but if he wants the house and I’m thinking playground or vice versa things can and will get weird, misunderstandings happen, communication begins to miss and, well, feelings get hurt.  Further, if  both begin with the understanding that a house is to be built and the other changes what they are building without telling his partner, things can be really messed up and strange. None of that bothers me, it’s called relationship.  This is why human beings were given the gift of speech, so we could address these misunderstandings.  (P.S. I know the analogy is weak and flawed, but it worked for us and it helped us both understand each other better, so I’m going with it.)

I thought he wanted the house (no the house does not equal marriage, LTR or anything other than a mere exclusive dating relationship and the interested behavior to match…there are never ever any guarantees, I know this.  Yes, the playground does equal the non-exclusive, let’s just have fun and be friends casual dating kind of thing).  He probably did want the house for a couple of weeks there, maybe a month, but then had second thoughts and he backed off to the playground project, which is fine with me or maybe he found another house or playground he’d rather explore a bit more.  Only problem was, he didn’t tell me about it.  Well, yes, he did, just not with words.  That’s okay too. I was able to figure it out, pretty accurately without the words. Maybe I’m getting better at reading that nonverbal stuff more accurately. I don’t know. This time hearing the words only confirmed what I already knew several weeks ago was true. 

I guess I just don’t play the game well.  I’d rather have a guy just say “I’m not that into you” than to waste my time pretending he is in an effort to avoid hurting my feelings.  Cowardly as it is, even going silent is a bit more honest than continuing a game that one simply isn’t sure they want to play.  I won’t waste time (and it is a waste of time if  someone is not being completely honest and candid with the other person) spending time being with a person I really like who’s kinda sorta not sure he’s that into me. 

Now, true, it’s not like I’m the only consideration here.  I know that.  I come with a lot of  “baggage”.  I prefer to refer to it as responsibility, but face it, kids, fixer, finances, two ex’s—yuck, it’s just baggage to most people, no matter how neatly folded and tucked away it may be. (That reality does make me very sad sometimes, but I can’t fix any of that, so I just feel sad for a bit, then get up and forge ahead.  I mean really, what are my alternatives?)  He’s got lots to consider before making any serious commitments where I’m concerned, but I am not even remotely talking about that nor was I even remotely expecting it.  I just wondered how come he no longer wanted to hold my hand, be with me as much or he preferred talking to others instead of me.  I’m just talking about enjoying spending time together and it seemed to me that somewhere along the line, that changed for him. It seemed really, like he was no longer as interested in being with me and that I was not as attractive to him anymore.  It changed for me only because it changed for him.  My feelings for him and my attraction to him never dimmed or wavered.  I’m just not willing to be in a place where I feel less than desirable, like I don’t quite do it for him, or where I’m just not all that big of a deal to him. 

So, that’s where it stands.  My understanding has been cleared up about what his intention is and where he stands with me (the words now match the behavior)  and, to be very honest, I’m relieved.  No one enjoys feeling like the person they are with is just not all that excited anymore about being with them. 

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Brave New Post Marriage Dating World

I have several friends lately who are just newly divorced and starting to think about dating again.  After many years in a marriage, no matter how bad it was, one can really miss the companionship of another adult.  And, yes, one misses the sex too.  Although, in some cases, the sex might have been nonexistent long before the marriage ended or it might have the reason the marriage ended. 

Whatever the situation, many of my now single friends are trying to negotiate this new world that I refer to as “Post 40 World” (even though some of us are not really post-40, all of us feel like it) where we are now single, in our 40’s, not ever wanting to be here at this stage of our lives and with a boatload of responsibilities (aka, baggage).  We try to date, and if our personal worlds don’t bring us near any prospective individuals that we can even consider talking with over coffee, we turn to the online arena.

Online dating has advantages and disadvantages.  It’s been said that in 2006, 1 in 8 married couples met online.  I can only imagine the number has swelled in the last few years. As one who recieved her graduate degree online, and feels fairly comfortable with the way the digital world can expand our ability to connect with those from places we might otherwise only read about in books, online dating doesn’t scare me.  However, I say that, knowing full well, I’ve been very, very fortunate so far.  Those I’ve met have been decent people.  Only one in probably a hundred or so folks have lied about their age and that’s pretty good.  No one, so far, has stalked me, though there have been several that I wished would have.  

Today I received an email from a friend who is just recently and hesitantly venturing out into the world of online dating.  He’s a card carrying member of “Post 40 World”.  Married his true love and when he did so he did it for life but she didn’t have the same agenda.  She’s moved on and now he’s here in “Post 40 World” wondering how to navigate the terrain.  Well, like I’m the world’s greatest expert in this.  Anyone who reads my blogs can tell I struggle with trying to figure out how to do the dating thing when things are so very different than they were when you were in college and had your whole life (and your best body) going for you.  So, I gave my friend some pointers.  Here’s what I said.  Look the advice over and see what you would add:

1. Create an alias and don’t reveal your true identity until after you have met the person in the flesh.  Okay, you can give out your first name, but much other than that, just don’t!  Remember, if they have even your last name they can find out exactly where you live.

2.  Don’t believe the pictures. I’ve been burned and had many friends who’ve been burned by the fake picture. It’s disappionting and a huge waste of emotional time and energy when it happens. Hold everything at arm’s distance until you meet. 

2a.  Be very cautious of someone who doesn’t post any pictures and isn’t willing to send you any.  Be equally cautious of the person who posts a picture that looks airbrushed or like it is of a magazine model.  (It just might be.)

3. Don’t spend a lot of time chatting online.  Exchange a few emails, get to know enough to determine if you would like to meet or not, then meet.  You can create this big fantasy online and then when you meet be completely disappointed and heartbroken.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it does.

4.  Be cautious of the person who after a few tries still finds excuses not to meet or talk on the phone.  I personally hate to talk on the phone, but will do it.  I’d rather just meet. If the person is unwilling to do either, suspect that a.) they are not really interested in a relationship like you are or b.) they are not really female. 

5. Be very suspicious of those who cannot communicate reasonably well in writing.

6. Never entertain further communication from those who ask you for money…it is probably a scam from someone outside the country.

7. Trust your gut (you already know this, I know).  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

8.  Don’t make a dinner date your first meeting. Something light and casual like coffee or a walk is great.  It can be shortened or lengthened as you feel and you don’t have to endure a long night with a lot of expense if the interest factor just isn’t there.  

9.  Obviously, don’t tell anyone where you live until you’ve checked them out and know they are who they say they are. 

These items are the most salient points I could think of on the fly.  I realize I am pretty inexperienced in this realm, after all, I’ve only been dating for about a year and a half. I’m still evolving in my view of what it is all about. I feel I’ve had a good experiences overall with online dating, but I’ve also been very foolish and very lucky because worse things didn’t happen than did (in other words, it could have been so much worse and you could have read about me in the papers…I’ve really been that fortunate).  I also live in a much smaller area and not a big metro urban area…so, maybe the risks are fewer?  Not sure about that one, but it sounded good.

What else can everyone add to help those out who are trying to find their way in this Brave New Post Marriage Dating World?

How Can A Woman Be Sure?

You know, much has been said about how men and women see the world differently, especially when it comes to dating.  I’m just wondering, since I am female, how I can know for sure that a man is really into me.  I mean, what specific things should I be able to rely on in terms of his behavior, attitudes, words, etc. that let me know he is into me or he is not sure he’s into me or he’s not into me?  Sometimes I think women read things differently than men intend.  I just want to know…how can I tell if he is really interested, or not so much?

Any thoughts?  Guys, please don’t hesitate to respond.  Your words here could be golden.

Online Dating: 10 Things Men Should Definitely NOT Do

Don’t you love all these dating advice sites for guys that are written by guys?  I think they are funny.  Here’s a guy telling another guy what works with women.  What the first guy is really getting from the guy he gets advice from is what works for that guy with the gals he’s meeting or being successful with…doesn’t mean it will work for you…unless what you want is what he’s getting exactly. 

To put it differently, it would be like me going to ask advice about how guys think from a woman.  How the hell will she know???  She’s not one of them.  She might be close.  She might even be right on.  I might even listen to her and take her advice, but not before I check it out with my guy friends.  The ones I know I can trust.  The ones who feel comfortable with me enough to tell it like it is.  These are the guy friends I would never date or become romantically interested in for one of two reasons:  a.) because they are married to my very good girl friends or b.) they would tell me point blank, “Hey, it’s just really hard to get romantic with one of the guys”.

So for all the guys out there, who hope to try to make an impression with a woman online so that you can put yourself at the top of the email pile and maybe even make it into her favorites list, I’ve provided this list of my top ten most reliable behaviors that will get a guy blown off, ignored or deleted.  

I confessed in an earlier post that I was a bit of an online dating junkie.  At one point, I was on, I think, three different sites at one time.  I’ve explored nearly all of the really notable ones, free and paid, for long enough to form a strong opinion about which approaches from men really work and which don’t work at all.  I’m pretty successful in the online forum for reasons that have to do with sincerity, truth and a good picture that really looks like me. Plus, I think it helped that I grew up as a tomboy.  (The Barbie Doll shoes really annoyed me.) I kinda get the mentality of bonding over doing something  instead of  the just talking thing…something most women don’t get but which many men, bless their hearts, endure anyway. 

But I’m talking and not doing, so I’ll cut to the chase.

10 Things You Should NOT Do When Approaching A Woman Online

1.  Don’t be self-absorbed.  Clearly, this should be a no brainer, but I’ve received a ton of emails where the man talks only about himself.  If I don’t know the guy, there’s nothing there to help me connect with him.  What you are thinking is you want to give her information that will help her make an informed decision about you.  Sadly, you’re assuming too much in what it is that she is making her decisions upon. She’s thinking, man if I get into relationship with him am I going to have to put up with him talking about him all the time?  She’ll hit the delete key, send a “thanks but no thanks message” or, worse, she’ll block you.

2.  Don’t treat this online forum as a job interview.   Would you do that at a cocktail party?  Would you start interrogating someone you were attracted to about their past relationships, their preferences for sexual frequency and whether or not they’d be comfortable with you coming up from behind and grabbing them by the boobs in public? (Yes, all these things have happened to me and to other women I know.)

3.  Don’t fall in love too soon.  Dude, until you meet her and date her…a lot of times…or, at least until she tells you otherwise…she is still just a digital image paired with some words.  Don’t go being all smitten and stuff and talking about how gorgeous she is and how you think the two of you were meant to be.  She’s making decisions based upon how you treat her, talk to her and think about her.  If you think she’s an “object” instead of a person, she’ll disappear. Treat her like another human being, not like the beauty you are attracted to.  She’ll become that beauty in your face-to-face life if you can respect her and love her for her mind and her contribution to this world (beyond just the airbrushed or real beauty).

4. Don’t be afraid to be you.  Women are all about relationship.  We want to connect.  We want to connect with those we relate to. If you are trying to be something you are not, we will see through this eventually.  Hopefully, for everyone involved, this happens sooner rather than later, but there are plenty of divorce statistics out there that state otherwise.  If you are a funny, humorous light hearted sort express that.  If you are more serious and thoughtful let that be apparent.  The woman you are hoping to attract will be attracted to the real you.

5. Don’t try to impress her with how many dates you’ve been out on recently.  That might work if you’re trying to impress the guys, but for use female types this simply translates as “we’re just one of many options” you have.  No one wants to be an “option”.  All of us want to be the person you’d slay dragons for.  If you try this approach we will read it as you’ve already decided that “you’re just not that into us”.  We’d be fools or unhealthy to invest in that.

6.  Don’t expect her to do all the work in setting up the first meeting.  Take the bull by the horns.  Suggest something, anything.  It is never okay to make her a.) call you when she’s free or b.) tell you what it is that she wants to do if you’re the one approaching first.  In this area, you must take risks and forge ahead trusting that if she is not okay with it she’ll be decent and kind enough to counter your proposal with another option.  If she kicks you to the curb because you missed on the first idea for a meeting, is that such a bad thing?   After all, if she treats you like that after such a kind gesture, do you want to be in a  relationship where that treatment is the norm?  I mean, really c’mon.  You’re a great guy.  You deserve some respect.

7.  Don’t ask her how successful she’s been in the online dating forum.  This question shows up like this:  “So, having any success here?”  or “So, I bet you have all the guys wanting to meet you!”  First off, we have no idea how to respond to that with kindness.  If we are successful and we tell you that,  what will you think?  (Please note that women, especially ones with good photos and well written profiles…okay…skip the profile…ones with good photos and lots of them…are going to get more mail than they could possilby respond to in a 24-hour period if they worked straight through.) If we tell you honestly that we aren’t having much luck…well…what will you think then?

8.  Don’t give up too easily.  Guys, remember, that many of us are single moms with careers and we might be homeowners in our own right as well.  (Meaning, we bought the friggin’ house ourselves and didn’t get it gifted to us as the result of a divorce settlement, death, or judge’s signature at the expense of some poor man who may have had to claim bankruptcy in order to avoid contempt of court charges.) This requires our time and if we are real people we won’t be able to respond right away all the time.  Kids have concerts, we have lives, houses need to be maintained and we simply need to sleep sometimes.  Be patient.  Don’t assume that because we didn’t respond the first time we didn’t care.  Don’t also assume that if our response is brief that we are just not that into you.  We might have wanted to connect, but the kids were demanding our attention, the account we have to have that big proposal ready for  is meeting with us the next day or the car dropped its rear differential in the street three hours ago and we have no idea how we’re going to get that repair done.  Please cut us some slack. We are willing to make room for you in our busy lives, but not till we know you’re going to be willing to accept our busy lives. Be patient.  I cannot say this enough.

9.  Don’t come on too strong.  I know that sounds strange after what I just wrote, but listen, if you pounce, you’ll suffocate.  You’d run too.  Have fun with it.  Don’t make it the end all most important thing ever.  Relax.  Friendships, relationships, love, is a bit of a dance.  Don’t force, just be the fun you, the thoughtful you, the true you that you are but be very careful of overdoing it.  I might add that if you feel like you are being you and at the same time you feel like you are coming on too strong, maybe you should pull back.  A woman in love can never get enough of her man’s attention or affection and she is always deeply appreciative of it even if she can’t necessarily carve out the time to respond at that exact moment.  If you are feeling weird about things, listen to that.

10.  Dont’ go silent.  Say something.  Understand that women are verbal creatures.  On the playground as kids you guys settled differences by physically laying into each other.  We, girls, learned the “more socially acceptible” method of being catty, using our vocabulary and really learning that words, as well as sticks and stones and fists, can hurt and leave deeper scars.  We also learned that words can create worlds, characters, perceptions and evoke really positive emotion too.  We live and love base on the words you tell us (as long as they match your actions).  Please, don’t just email us and say, “Hey!”.  Don’t email us with tons of pictures of you and your life and no verbal explanation.  Don’t just grunt.  We need to connect with you and we do it with words.  This is never more important than in the online forum where the first meeting is completely textual and verbal.

And I might add, that if you really want to make an impression you should consider what your elementary schoolteachers told you and use good punctuation, capitalization and accurate spelling.  Even if she’s not all that smart, your emails will be easier for her to read and understand.  If she is all that smart, she won’t give you the time of day if you can’t communicate well in writing.  If you find that too tedious, take your chances.  If  you can’t present yourself well in writing, what  makes you think she’s going to think you can present yourself well in person? 

Okay, have fun with that one fans and skeptics alike! I’d really like to hear perspectives that maybe I, in my finite wisdom, have not considered.  Do enlighten me.

In the meantime, enjoy your online dating experience.  It can be frustrating, heartbreaking and disappointing, but it can also be a great way to get to know other people in your world when your world doesn’t allow you to cross their paths in real time.  It can also be a great source for putting yourself in the path of romance.  After all, 1 in 8  married couples in 2006 met online.  I’m sure that statistic has grown since then.

Demise of the Fairy Tale

Ahhh, infatuation, passion, romance…love!  The fairy tale everyone seeks…the nightmare many experience after the “I Do’s” are said.  The truth of the matter is the relationship before marriage is carefree, romantic and, yes, dreamier, than it often turns out when reality hits.  This is the shock many face when the fairy tale crumbles and deteriorates:

Vodpod videos no longer available. Okay, so life and romance don’t always crack up to be what we hope or expect when we enter in.  However, this is not to say that things can’t be very, very good in spite of the garbage that life can throw at us and that we heap upon ourselves with our own insecurities, weaknesses, and stuff.

I think, if two people can be realistic enough about how life can really zap the romance and passion out of a relationship and if they can remain focused on the good things while still working to improve the less than ideal things, then maybe, maybe they will weather the storms of life and the natural progression of romance from something passionately fiery to something deeper, more settled and completely secure for both people.  That is, if something completely secure can occur.  I think many mistake the transition from fiery passion to a settled deeper love as a loss of love rather than a transition to something better, deeper, finer than what the first relationship could contain.

I know I’m looking for that first passionate relationship that is fiery, exciting and fun, but I’m also long past the days of believing that a good stable long term relationship will stay this passionate, exciting way forever.  I believe it evolves into something deeper, richer, more fullfilling and wonderful than any romantic passion could do alone.  Yet, it is not without romance and passion.  It is just that the nature of the romance and passion have changed.  The relationship beocmes deeper, richer and far, far more meaningful that the first romantic involvement was.  It is the glance across the table at dinner when my kids are squabbling and he squelches the riff raff effectively without excalating the tension.  It is the brief touch at the counter as the dishes are being cleaned up, indicating “I’ll be there for you later.  Meet me at 10 in our room.”  It is collapsing in bed after a grueling and discouraging day, too exhausted to move and finding the energy to say physically, “I love you, no matter how tired I am.” It his him returning the favor in ways that are meaningful me that might be tests of sheer endurance for him.  It is simply knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are good for him and he is so very good for you and that together the two of you are better than either of you ever were apart. It is knowing that he has your back and you have his…no matter what. 

The fairy tale doesn’t exactly look the same after 5, 10, 15, 20 years of marriage.

I think it is even better than most can even imagine. 

The deal is, it just doesn’t happen by accident. 

more about “Hulu – Saturday Night Live: Aladdin“, posted with vodpod