I have been divorced and back on the dating market for 3 years now. All I can say is, so much has changed since the last time I was single back in 2002. Not only has our society changed so much when it comes to dating, I am now dating as a 38 year old divorced mom. It’s a whole new world I have had to learn how to navigate.
Getting back on the dating scene after being married for 15 years has been exciting, fun and scary. I love to have new experiences and adventures and enjoy meeting new people. I also get scared I’m going to meet some creep with bad intentions and end up a skin suit.
I think dating can be fun if you go into it with the right approach. Every date is an opportunity to get to know someone new from a different walk of life. Everyone has a story. I ask questions and hear their story, every man loves to talk about himself ;). My personality is a huge talker, but I do my best to ask questions because I am there to get to know him. Getting to know him is the only way I will know if I want a second date. Even if it doesn’t go any further than a first date, it’s always an opportunity to learn something. Something new he said about life, something new about myself, or learn more about what I want and what I don’t want. Even a bad date is not a waste of time if I can find the lesson to be learned.
Always be safe! I always meet my date at the restaurant. I never let him know where I live until I feel completely comfortable and safe that he has that information. For me, it’s at least several dates before I would let him pick me up and know where I live. Also, to be alone in a car with a man is a vulnerable position. This is another reason why I won’t let him pick me up until I’m comfortable. Before a date I always let at least one person know where I’m going, what time, what I’m doing, etc. And I check in regularly with that person throughout the date to ensure I am safe. Always take the necessary steps to stay safe.
In the past 3 years I have been on many first dates and have had 2 relationships (one short and one long). I have had many experiences; some good, some bad and some in between. I plan to share specific stories of some of my dates in later posts. There are some hysterical stories!
What do I find to be the biggest challenge? Being in my upper 30’s it’s a unique group of men that are single. I have found it’s either men that are divorced- which brings up all of those questions… What happened? Do you have kids, how many, how old? What is the coparenting relationship like? If he talks negative about his ex-wife on the first date, run! Then there are the men that have never been married. Which leads to a different set of questions… Do you have commitment issues? Are you a workaholic? Are you emotionally unavailable or have extreme mental health issues? No one is a clean slate, myself included.
I love the scene in ‘The Other Woman’ when Leslie Mann says: “The last time I was single the dating pool was everyone. Now it’s a shallow puddle of age appropriate men.” LOL!! Then Cameron Diaz goes on to say that it’s even worse than that! This is pretty much how I have felt!
One advantage is most people my age know what they want. They have an established life and aren’t going out on a date to waste time. More often than not, they are up front about their life and what they are looking for. The first date typically feels more like a job interview. You go over all the important things and ask the hard questions. I like this because I can make a logical decision before getting my heart invested. Everyone has deal breakers. You may as well ask right away and don’t waste time.
I have found it difficult to navigate dating while having young children. I am very protective over my children and always want them to feel safe. My kids are with me the majority of the time and I don’t want to get a babysitter so I can go on a date. I will only go on a date on nights they are with their dad. Which doesn’t provide me a lot of free time to date. I also keep my dating life extremely private from my kids. I don’t tell them if I am going on a date. They did know when I was in my longer relationship, only because they kept seeing his name pop up on my phone and they asked me about him. They knew his name and they saw a picture of him and that’s about it.
Still to this day my kids have never met anyone I have dated. I tell my kids “when I meet someone who is special enough that has earned the right to meet you, that’s when you will meet him.” And I take that very seriously. My kids will ask me about dating once in a while. They used to only want it to be just the 3 of us forever. But now they have let me know they want me to meet someone and be in love. I think as time as passed from the divorce and they are growing up, they don’t want me to live life alone. I also think they like the idea of having a male figure in the home, it adds something that I can’t provide. They have put in some special requests…. Caleb told me he wants a brother who is 9 or 10 years old. lol!
I spend almost all of my time with my kids, my family or working. This doesn’t provide me much opportunity to meet someone. This is another area I have found challenging. Where do I meet someone? I have tried dating apps – OMG! I could write a book on my experience on dating apps lol! I go out with my girlfriends for dinner, drinks, music; this seems like it would be a good opportunity to meet someone. But hasn’t ever worked out well for me. Some advice given to me from my brother: if I’m out at a restaurant, bar, wherever and a man approaches me he’s a douche bag. The good quality men don’t approach in this way, they usually just sit with their friends. Which puts the ball in my court to approach him. It’s good advice! But it’s a hard one for me to swallow. I believe in a man making the first move and pursuing the woman. I can be very old fashion when it comes to dating. But I’ve also been told that as a woman all I have to do is smile at a man from across the room that I’m interested in meeting. And if he is interested he will walk over and say hi. Again good advice, but hasn’t worked for me :/
I’m sharing this advice in hopes it will be helpful for someone. If it works for you let me know ;)
I’ve always been a positive person and believe in love. I am a true hopeless romantic. I love romantic movies and the big grand gesture that the man does for the woman he loves. I know it’s a movie, but I do believe that can happen in real life. After a failed marriage and 3 years of dating and I’m currently as single as it gets (literally zero prospects currently!), it would be easy for me to become cynical or bitter. But I refuse! I will always believe in love. I still believe the right man is out there for me somewhere. And we will find each other when the time is right.