Damaged buildings

Damaged buildings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think I might be beginning to snap.   Not actually have an emotional break down, I am healthier than I have been in years.  I am just so tired of living in New York, but I love New York.  My entire being has become conformed to this strange reality of subway commuting, 3 am evenings, manic intensity and creativity overflowing in every direction.  How could I go back to a more mundane existence?   Not that there is anything wrong with a mundane existence.  There are days I downright envy it.  I have waking dreams of just falling into friend’s photos on Facebook and melding into their lives.

My friends have diapers, school schedules and mortgages to worry about while  I am struggling to keep a float.  It’s like I am watching everyone else grow up around me.  Proud parents showing off their babies with stories of first words and tears.  Why can’t I seem to get anything together?  Why do I snap and run at the slightest provocation?  Have I been burned so badly that the sight of the first sign of flame causes me to bolt?  Why am I surrounded by so many stuck in a permanent state of adolescence?  Those who refuse to live beyond their 19-year-old ambitions.

A few of my friends who got divorced around the same time I did are already getting re-married.  I can’t even go out with the same person for more than two or three times.  I was a serial monogamist but now I just drift around, scared to get too close to anyone.  And I am constantly hunted by the predatory types.  New York is never at a shortage of people who would love to get to know you really well for an evening and nothing more. I have given up on the notion of children, completely abandoned the idea of a second marriage.  I just want to hang out with someone on a semi-regular basis.  I couldn’t really handle a polyamorous lifestyle and I dread sleeping with more perfect strangers.  I want off this ride.

Is it different somewhere else?  I think its worse here but I have gotten emails from people all over the country who confirm my fears that things aren’t much better elsewhere.  Yet I see happy couples all the time here.  All I can think of is “How did they manage that?”

When I first got divorced I fell back on my usual habits.  I would do my borderline co-dependent, nurturing routine – which was too much and I freaked out pretty much every guy I tried to date.  Now I am hesitant, somewhat cold and distant.  I don’t ask a lot of questions, or get too personal because I figure I’ll never hear from the person again anyway.  Why bother opening myself up to more disappointment.  Months ago, one young man from another city who tried to seduce me looked almost astonished at the detached way I dealt with him.  He was so excited, and I was so matter of fact.  Yet none of this matters, I tell myself, they will find an excuse.  Too clingy or too self-involved -they can always find someone new.

Then I go out with perfectly nice men who I feel absolutely nothing for, other than the fact that they seem like decent people.  I don’t know what is wrong with me.  The fissures and scars that are still deep down in my bones won’t seem to heal.   And the words echo through my skull that I have heard so many times.

“Well you had an EASY divorce, at least your husband was gay”

Yeah, the primary relationship in my life, the one man I would have given my life for…was a fraud.  Not exactly an “easy” divorce.

18 comments on “Dating in NYC – Damaged Goods

  1. Joan

    I went through the same thing after my gay ex. I never did find love again – maybe its because what I thought was love is all messed up, now. I don’t know. But my point is, although I never found love again, I found myself. And that is even better. You can live a completely fulfilled life without sharing it with an asshole. Wow. Guess I still hold some hostility. Anyway, my advice would be to quit looking for the man to complete your dreams and complete your own. Its pretty amazing. Hugs.

  2. Lonesome Lou

    I believe you have over thinkers syndrome. Being involved with these idiotic burlesque types who act like silly 18 year olds thinking they are making art is not a way of becoming an adult. You need a change of scenery. NY is a lonely place for singles. Try San Diego.

    1. julietjeske

      Honestly it has nothing to do with my burly-Q friends or my fellow performers. Some of them are idiots but some are quite visionary. You really have to know the scene to understand it, and yes some of the younger performers cause me to shake my head a lot…but there are others that really do amazing things. Same with the comics, it is a mixed bag.

      What my husband did to me was fairly poisonous. The issues I deal with are textbook for a straight spouse. To have the primary relationship be such a betrayal…it is just hard to really trust anyone again. So deep down you can relax and just go with the flow, I wasn’t like this before my divorce. NYC doesn’t help as it is full of shallow people who act like they are 25 when they in their mid-fifties.

  3. kerryemckenna

    Learning to trust “again” is not about the other person you are with, it’s learning to trust your own instincts. Which is totally screwed when you trusted the first hubby. I get it. One thing we 19-year olds don’t do well is give it time! The only thing I know about trusting myself is that I’ll fall for another addict. Luckily, my addicts are sober, so that’s going in the right direction. Detaching from the outcome? Crucial. Getting real with what I, in fact, want? Crucial. I want to know what I want again. It won’t be the same thing this time…

  4. Lonesome Lou

    I don’t think there is any set answer when it comes to finding a mate. I had given up a long time ago after my divorce and got out of NY, moved to Illinois and found the love of my life in the produce aisle of a supermarket. NY is a dating cesspool of lost people. I lost all of my sanity living there and I am a native Brooklynite. It is just a nightmare these days. Has not been worthwhile since the 80’s. A city for the rich.

  5. Joe DesBarres

    As you become wiser you will become more vulnerable by choice! But do not blame yourself for the addiction, habits, etc of others.

  6. Dan

    It will and can happen my friend. Look at me, making the wrong choices in women on many different levels. Now, when I’d given up and resigned to the fact I’m too damaged to truly let anyone in, it happened. It’s not perfect, what my love and I have, but it’s a love of a lifetime. It can happen again for you, and I have to believe it will.

  7. NW Mama

    Boy, do I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon this authentic conversation! Somewhat disheartening, as it affirms my suffocating fears of never again finding a love…my one, my only, despite the struggle, left six months ago and I have never experienced the depth of this abyss of being alone…two kids, over 40, although I’m very healthy, attractive, etc…seems like times are different and options are quite limited and frighteningly over-analyzed. It appears futile to meet someone with fresh eyes and spirit after such a blow to my soul. I wasn’t happy all of the time, but to me, I accepted that this was the reality of marriage, and continually desired more connection and growth. My ex obviously felt life was short and women half his age gave him a new lease on life…right after moving out. I am stunned, overwhelmed and more bitter than I ever imagined I could be…I was always a “pull up my britches” kinda gal before marriage…married later in life, so thought I was “safe” from this daunting singlehood combined with raising children. Makes me sick.

  8. Kitty dog

    Perhaps people saying you had an “easy” divorce due to your husband being gay really mean that you had blameless divorce that essentially lets you off the hook?

    For you, there’s no need to waffle about how you “grew apart”. Your explanation closes the discussion and gives you unquestionable justification for leaving your marriage. It should also generate great sympathy in anyone in possession of a pulse.

    And what of all “the perfectly nice men” you keep going on dates with? I take that to mean there’s no physical attraction. If so, why are you going on dates with them?

    If they’re good guys, OK-looking, and you have some reasonably broad compatibility, AND you are desirous of a relationship, why not tell them of your various intimacy issues, and try going a little slow with them?

    Certainly, no reasonable man over 35 dating a beautiful woman in show biz will be SHOCKED to hear that you’ve had a rough time of it and may therefore be a bit high strung.

    1. julietjeske

      I am not going to address every comment here. There is just too much going on in one post. People have been quite rude to me in regards to my divorce, you would really be surprised. And I have written repeatedly about the comment “Well at least he didn’t cheat on you with another woman” which is inane, rude and clueless. That would be so much easier to deal with than…your entire marriage was a fraud…people cheat a person can understand infidelity however painful. However discovering your marriage was based on bullshit is far more devastating. The love of my life was using me as a beard? I am not going to discuss it further – read the rest of this blog.

      And I think men and women both deal with meeting people from an online dating website in which when once met in person – there is absolutely no physical attraction or chemistry. It happens to EVERYONE both men and women and it happens more often than not. I can’t explain it, but I have been on both ends of it. You can’t force these things. Some men are really nice but their personalities make my skin crawl, or they read as slightly gay, or they make me feel uncomfortable…whatever…it happens to them too, so I don’t feel bad saying what is a fairly common problem with online dating.

    2. julietjeske

      Just because a man has one or two decent photos and might have fairly normal profile doesn’t mean:
      I will have any attraction to him in person
      I will want to go out with him again
      He is not lying about his height – I have TOWERED over so many of them who should be my height – I don’t give a shit about height but most of THE MEN DO! Trust me!
      He is actually straight – so many closet cases out there
      He won’t be rude in person
      He won’t be condescending or judgmental of my situation – many are
      He won’t be creepy – this one happens all the time, can’t explain it
      He won’t go on and on about his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife
      He won’t be wildly inappropriate
      He might say something like – I don’t date people I only hook up – and then try to booty call me – this has happened more than once
      He won’t make out with me and then completely blow me off – that happened once
      He won’t freak out on date #3 and claim “I can’t have a physical relationship with anyone” – that also happened once, and we had done no more than kiss for about a minute
      He will bore me to tears – computer programmers, IT people…rarely are they a good fit for me.
      He won’t suggest I am a gold digger – my ex was a clown, so if I am a gold-digger I am pretty bad at it.
      He might flip out for no apparent reason on date #2 – happened once
      He might read this blog – also flip out and blame my blog – happened once

      A photo and a profile is a poor indicator of anything.

      So based on your quote “If they’re good guys, OK-looking, and you have some reasonably broad compatibility, AND you are desirous of a relationship, why not tell them of your various intimacy issues, and try going a little slow with them?” – I don’t want to go slow with them, I never want to see them again. I just want to forget it ever happened and move on. I honestly am not into the vast majority of people I meet from online dating sites. I don’t meet people otherwise…I am sick of explaining myself. I am 40 yrs. old there aren’t a lot of available sane people my age. Everyone is married, dating someone or half nuts. That is my reality.

  9. Kitty dog

    I meant my comments to be in constructive good faith and am sincerely sorry to have caused you offense and hurt.

    You are a lovely person suffering greatly and I do not wish to add to that suffering.

    With no hard feelings, I will abstain from further comment on your blog and wish you all the best.

    1. julietjeske

      You can comment, but just try not to be judgmental. Honestly it’s hard out there. I wish it wasn’t. I went out last night, and saw the same people I always see. It was mostly gay men and women and an ex-lover who I try to get along with but things are still fairly weird. I had fun, I went home. That is my life. If I was 25 I think things would be different. If I didn’t live in NYC, things might be different. This city is just full of people who want you for one night and not much else. Everyone is self-centered and ambitious so relationships are not top priority. I understand why people have to be like that in this town, its brutal. I have considered moving…but I am not convinced that it would help…and it would be fairly traumatic to do that at this stage in my life.

  10. Kitty dog

    I was not judgmental since I have no judgments to make about you, other than enjoying your writing, which I guess is a positive opinion, rather than a fire and brimstone judgement. I simply questioned what you wrote.

    I also question much of what you have said above since it is so contrary to my own experience as a somewhat older than you dater, but will keep those questions to myself and just leave it at expressing my admiration for you and my hope (and expectation) that your life gets better soon.

    Thinking of yourself as “Damaged Goods” is certainly doing yourself no favors, tho. You certainly seem to be very high quality “Goods” to me.

    As to internet dating, I heard a joke that does conform to your own experience:

    The odds may be good, but the goods will almost certainly be odd

    Best of luck to you!

    1. julietjeske

      I don’t know if you are male or female, or live in NYC. It is a very different game for both genders, and NYC makes it amazingly difficult. There are more women here than men, and when you factor in the amount of gay men…it really f*cks up the odds. Then the hook-up culture is driven by the never ending flow of women who are willing to sleep with men they barely know…so men get used to it and the way they treat women is sometimes abominable. I am not blaming women who sleep with men as soon as they meet them, it is a far more complex problem than that.

      My writing speaks for itself, I get sick of just re-explaining it. My situation is as a 40 year old female in Brooklyn. It is unique. I also have men who view me as undesirable because they are looking for a mommy for their future children. If I was 45 or 50 and dating age appropriate men…they wouldn’t even care at that point…they would either have children, or never wanted them. They are past that stage. But the 35-45 men – a lot of them have babies on the brain…so it makes it even harder.

  11. Pingback: Do you REALLY have to be friends with your Ex? | julietjeske

  12. anon

    Thank you for your blog. I am a single, 36 (almost 37) year old woman who has been thinking of moving to NYC. Your blog is making me think twice about it. I live in Toronto though and trust me, it’s all the same here as there for single women. No idea what to do next, although I’m starting to finally let go of the idea that I’ll ever find love in my life — I’d been holding on to that since my own divorce at age 30. Giving up!

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