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Top 10 reasons why Being Single on Valentine’s Day is the Greatest!

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1. CHEAP CANDY DAY – I actually think this needs to become a real holiday that happens twice a year.  Once on February 15th and then again on November 1st.  I know the candy makers will figure this out and find a way to screw us, but for now they are both splendid days indeed!

2. No gifts to buy! –  What does a woman  buy a man for Valentine’s Day? Most just want sex, and well that’s usually going to happen anyway….anything else just seems silly, yet the expectation is there.  For men the whole gift/night to remember situation is not only daunting but expensive.  In New York City a couple could blow $1,000 on an ice cream sundae, and that doesn’t include the Broadway show tickets!

3. No pressure to act like you’re having a great time when you’re not – We’ve all been there.  Our partner’s plan out some elaborate event and absolutely everything is dreadful.  The restaurant is too crowded, the waiter is mean, the food is lousy, the concert is terrible, the moonlight carriage ride is smelly and the driver is rude.  Meanwhile you have to pretend like it’s the greatest night of your life, because you don’t want to her anyone’s feelings.

4. No poorly timed monthly visitors – There’s nothing worse than planning a big romantic evening only to have Ms. Flow show up early.  Sure you can work around it but she really does ruin the mood, especially if she brings along her friend – Ms. Cramps.

5. No annoying flower battles at work – I don’t have a traditional job, but I remember when I did how the never-ending bouquets would come pouring in the office all day long.  It seemed like the bigger the flower arrangement the more precarious the relationship. Sure the married women with 20 years under their belt would get a sizable display but the couples that kept breaking up only to get back together again always included several mylar heart-shaped balloons.  Then there was always some sad sack in the office who had a boyfriend but who didn’t get anything.  She’d tell everyone it was waiting for her at home, but we knew that her boyfriend would break her spirit as much as her soul-crushing job did every day.

6. No expectations of some life-changing event – No one is going to propose to me! I’ll never have a joint bank account again!!!  I won’t have to worry about checks bouncing because my husband just blew several hundred dollars on something stupid!  I’m sure plenty of divorced men can relate to this one.  Blowing money on stupid purchases is a universal human trait!

7. No awkward sexual experiences – Sometimes couples like to push the envelope on the big day and take things too far, only to find themselves in compromising or embarrassing situations.  The porn actors make it look so easy, but they’ve got multiple takes, a crew to help them with angles and lighting. Ask anyone who works in film or television production, it’s all about good lighting.

8. No drunken crying spirals of despair – With expectations so high, also comes disappointment.  Anything could happen. What if you happen to find out  that he’s cheating on you?  Or that you’re NOT getting engaged even though he’s been hinting at it for months?  Or what if in the middle of the salad course, you just look into his eyes are realize you can’t stand him, he can’t stand you anymore and you’d both be better off on your own.  These things happen.  Then you end up slamming a few back, and wind up calling your best friend at 3 AM to tell her that everything you believed in was a lie and that the universe is collapsing in on you.

9. No forced emotion – There’s nothing worse than hitting Valentine’s Day with a guy you’ve just started dating.  Should he send flowers or will it make him look overeager?  Should you make big plans, even though you haven’t even been to his apartment yet?  Should you buy him something or will it make you look like a stage 5 clinger?  If you’ve only been on three dates or less, just act like February 14th is a day like any other and skip right over it.

10. FREEDOM – You can REALLY just watch Netflix and chill.  Throw on a onesize, order some Chinese takeout and watch a marathon of Breaking Bad, The Making of a Murder, or maybe season 2 of Orange is The New Black again.  Everyone knows season 2 is the best season.  You don’t have to get dressed up, impress anyone, fake an orgasm, or act like you care about some dumb ass chef’s special that you know is overpriced and overrated.  You can dance around in footie pajamas and stuff your face with General Tso’s Chicken if you want. (I eat the vegetarian version)  It’s your day!  LOVE IT!

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Dating After Divorce: I like you…but you’re not HER.

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The situation goes something like this.  I meet a guy who shows interest in me.  A few have even invested quite a bit of effort and energy to win my favor.  Just when I think I might be letting my guard down enough to actually bond with him, I find out about her.  She might be an ex-girlfriend, an ex-wife, the mother of his child or the one who got away.  She have helped destroy his marriage, or gone out with him on wild benders.  She could have, slept with his best friend, stolen his money, joined a cult, realized she was gay, or stuck around in his life just enough to emotionally manipulate and abuse him.  There are so many ways to become “her.”

I find a problem with “her” in nearly every middle-aged single man I meet.  To be fair I’m sure plenty of women also obsess about a “him” from their past.  It seems as we get older we become a patchwork of our former triumphs and traumas and can’t help but bring them to the next relationship.  Our nostalgia and idealization of former lovers keep us trapped.  Some men are more transparent about this than others.  I’ve had the following happen to me while on first dates with men I barely knew.

  • One admitted his marriage fell apart because he was still in love with his former girlfriend.  He never worked it out with the former girlfriend but his obsession destroyed his marriage.
  • Another said he was still angry at his last major girlfriend.  Not so uncommon except he had dated her over 20 years before I sat across from him nibbling on tapas.
  • One said and I quote “I still love my ex-wife.  My friendship is very close with her, even though she’s with someone else and if you or any other woman has a problem with that, I’ll always choose my ex-wife.”  This might be understandable if they had children together but they did not, and she lived halfway across the country.
  • Another guy told me that he was still in love with his ex-wife, even though she had told him she “never wanted to have sex with him”, and she had left him for another man.
  • The worst one was a man I had dinner with who went on and on about another female comedian he had corresponded with on OKCupid.  When he found out I knew her he said, “I find her fascinating and would love to have drinks with her.”  I blocked him from my phone on my way home.
  • I even had a man ask me for advice on ways he could get his ex back.  This was WHILE he was on a date with me.  I honestly felt sorry for him, but give me a break.

Even in my first major relationship right out of the gate post-divorce, my partner openly pinned away for the woman he had just dated before me.  She lived on the opposite coast and had never actually spent any significant time with him, but in his eyes she was somehow perfect.  Because she was inaccessible she was without flaws, yet an available woman who actually wanted him would never measure up.

This happens so often that now when I meet new guys I almost want to just ask him,

“So where are the bodies buried when it comes to your ex?  Do you hate her?  Do you still love her?  It doesn’t matter as hate and love are two sides of the same coin, so either way it’s bad.  How many times do you talk to her in a given month?  Are you actually divorced yet? Get it all out now, so I can leave before we might feel obligated to actually order dinner.”

 

When I see this pattern repeated it just reinforces every insecurity I have about myself.  All of the following go through my brain at the same time

  • Why is he so obsessed with her?
  • Why is no one obsessed with me?
  • Why am I OK for a backup but never the primary woman in any man’s life?
  • Why do some men obsess over women who treat them like garbage?
  • Do men only want women that they can’t have?
  • Why would he still want her if she left him for another guy?
  • I’m not good enough.  There’s something about me that makes me disgusting or unappealing.
  • Why did he chase me if he really wants her?
  • Would he take her back if she wanted to try again?
  • If I improved myself or changed my personality would that help?
  • What magic do these women posses?

I admit none of those thoughts are healthy or useful.  It’s my neurosis going on overdrive.  I find the constant struggle against “her” extremely demoralizing and a disaster for my self-esteem.  I can logically tell myself it’s not me, the guy is just hung up on his ex, and he’d treat most women like this.  I want to grab some of these men by both shoulders and scream

  • “She doesn’t want you anymore, let her go.”
  • “She’s so mean to you, you deserve better.”
  • “”If you think you guys still have a chance, then do everything you can to get her back, just leave me alone.”

The hardest are the men with children.  I don’t have kids myself, so I honestly have no idea how strange an intertwined a relationship with an ex could get.  Even if two parents absolutely hate each other they will still be deeply entrenched in each other’s lives for many years to come.  So far I’ve encountered men who bend over backwards to keep their ex happy, and men who constantly battle with their ex over every decision involving their kids.  Both are a nightmare for a new partner.  If a man is spending all of his energy towards the ex there’s nothing left for anyone else.

This rarely happened in my 20’s. Men that age just didn’t seem to get as worked up about a former partner.  It seemed like people were breaking up and hooking up with new partners all the time, without much second thought  Once we get older and put much more investment into a relationship, it just gets harder to let go. When our own personal “Happily Ever After” story gets crushed, we have a hard time imagining a new one.  In and ideal situation I would just pass out a psychological evaluation to every potential new partner with lots of questions about how they view their ex.  I know that would never really work, but it would certainly save us both time and energy.  *I’m not really serious, that’s sarcasm….but honestly it would make things easier.

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Dating in NYC: Love and Real Estate

I’ve lived in New York City now for fourteen years. I’ve been single for the past six, and I started searching for a co-op about a year ago. I couldn’t help but notice the eerie similarities between hunting for real estate and looking for love. Both are rare and precious commodities. New York City’s vacancy rate hovers around 3% and never goes above 5%.  About 3/4 of all apartments are rentals, leaving only the remaining 1/4 available to buy.  Most of the apartments on the market are co-ops that require financial gymnastics, and approval of an overly scrutinizing board. Even if you find an apartment in your budget you still have to get  80% financing and then impress upon your soon to be potential neighbors that you’re a low risk addition to their building.

Dating here is not much better, especially for single women.  New York City has 150,000 more single women than single men.  It might not seem like a huge number in a city of 8 million but it’s enough to throw off the odds a bit.  To make things worse most New Yorkers work long hours, live scattered over five boroughs and have little disposable income to throw away at dating. I’ve found it’s best to not get too emotionally attached to any one partner or property.

I once was the only person to show up at an open house for a cute prewar newly renovated studio in prime condition. Just as I was about to start the long and arduous process of making an offer, an all cash buyer walked in before I had a signed contract and snapped the property out from under me.  I watched in horror as the same scenario happened again with other properties.  In dating, I’ve had a few amazing dates with men who seemed almost perfect only to have them vanish without explanation.  My text messages went un-answered, my emails ignored and I never knew the reason.

I couldn’t help but see the similarities and the heartache that went with both, so I devised a glossary of sorts of common terms used in NYC real estate listings and how they equate with the dating scene in New York City.

Prime Location = Is the trip between Astoria and Bushwick worth it? Can a man in the Bronx find love with a woman in Staten Island? Is Queens to New Jersey even possible? Finding someone on the same subway line = prime location

Low Maintenance Costs = Cheap date

All Cash Buyer = Partners that offer everything up all at once with very little drama and no strings attached. The downside is they could flip you. Just as quickly as they find you attractive, they’ve moved on. They can just as easily make another offer as quickly as they made the first.

Unit has pre-existing long term tenant = Married.

Board Approval Required = Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn – everything dissected and analyzed for risk assessment. Are you friend’s with an ex? Is your job stable? Do you post NSFW videos, sports clips or cat memes? How many friends do you have? Are your tweets too personal or do you post political rants? Do you change your status update 20 times a day? Do you hardly ever check your profile? Are your photos of landscapes, or of your family

No Board Approval Sponsor Sale = The person either doesn’t know how to use the internet or doesn’t care. No questions asked as long as you fit the criteria. You are dealing with a risk taker or at last someone over 50 who doesn’t understand this thing called “the internet.”

Move in Condition = Easy going personality, no glaring compatibility issues, similar hobbies and interests.

Needs TLC = Major emotional baggage – divorce, nasty breakups, children from a previous marriage. – Anything that might need fixing or at least managed.

Pet Friendly = Deal breakers or selling points depending on your allergies or your furry friends.

Building has Bad Financials = A date has bad financials – no job, huge debt, poor credit

Seller is Seeking All Cash Buyer = Just someone looking to hookup

Lack of Inventory = Are you a woman over 35? Then you know exactly what this means. Most men in your age group are married or at least coupled up. You’re going to have to look a lot harder for what you want, or settle for someone much younger or older.  It’s not as a big of a problem for men.  If you’re wondering why, it’s called babies, biological clocks and a patriarchal culture that values younger women over older.   Although no one is immune, both genders can have unrealistic age standards when it comes to dating.

As impossible as the New York Real estate market is right now, I’ve had far more luck finding a new apartment, then a partner.  Let me rephrase that for emphasis.  I’ve actually had an easier time finding an affordable apartment in a year than I have finding a partner in the nearly six years I’ve been divorced.  I’m not even kidding.  In my search for an apartment I had the help of an attorney and real estate agent.  I also looked EVERYWHERE from the far reaches of Brooklyn, to Queens, upper Manhattan and even parts of the Bronx.  I called and emailed at one point about 25-30 agents and saw as much property as I could possibly fit into my schedule.  There wasn’t much on the market in my price range but I viewed everything within reason.

I’ve basically tried the same approach to dating in that at this point I’ve probably been on at least 25-35 dates.  Most have been awkward and painful and a few men have had full blown meltdowns.  I’ve been out with men who complained about their ex-wives the whole time, bragged about their drug use, openly insulted me, or expected sex on the first date.   The vast majority of emails I’ve gotten on online dating websites have been from men under age 25 or guys looking for no strings attached sex.  Most of them men who do contact me never follow through with a date. So far nothing has worked, and I haven’t gone out with anyone for more than two or three dates in over five years.

For now, I’ll just settle for the apartment of my dreams rather than any prince charming.  Real estate is more stable anyway, it won’t have a midlife crisis and leave me for a younger seller, develop a substance abuse problem, grow mean and bitter and blame me for all it’s shortcomings, develop a gambling or ignore me and go play golf.  It may not cuddle at night but it will increase in value, and in the end I might get lucky and unload it to an all cash buyer.  I certainly couldn’t ask for such certainty with a new boyfriend.

My whole real estate search also made me ask some questions about myself.  I’m definitely a pet friendly unit with good financials and low maintenance, but one that needs some TLC.  I’d also say my board is fairly strict and rather picky of any potential candidate but the opportunity for a long-term investment is solid.  Now, if I could just find the right buyer, I’d be all set.

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Dating Online: Advice for Men – Photos Revisited

I written about this topic before, but after a long hiatus from online dating, I’ve decided to revisit it.  It seems like men’s photos are getting worse, not better.  As I’ve said on the blog multiple times, If I was going to give men any advice on how to create a successful online dating profile it would be this.

Have a trusted female friend look over your profile before you publish it.

I could type that 100 times for emphasis, but I’ll restrain myself.  Don’t use your mom, or your sister, use a trusted female friend.  You want to use a woman who doesn’t see you as a a nonsexual being, so your relatives are out of the question.

Here are my top 10 tips for picking the right photo for your online dating profile.

Serial Killer

1. Don’t look like a serial killer – What does a serial killer look like?  It’s hard to say really.  It could be the outdated serial killer glasses, or the slicked down side part.  We just know it when we see it.  Show your friends, and simply ask – Do I look like a serial killer in any of these shots?  If the answer is yes, then don’t post them.

2. Don’t look like a pretentious douche bag – What does that mean?  It depends on the person.  Are you standing in front of your flashy Porsche or McMansion in your photos?  Are contemplating the universe with the caption to match?  Are you holding a pipe while wearing a bow tie made out of pipe cleaners?  Looking like a prick is relative to the woman who is viewing your visage.  If you use terms like “visage” in your photo captions, you might look like a pretentious douche bag.

3. Don’t use several group photos – Some guys have nothing but group shots.  Don’t make a woman search through several photos playing – Where’s Waldo?

4. Don’t cut your head off – I’m going to assume you’re married or hideous.  Don’t give me bullshit about having an important job. I once had a date inside the United Nations, it wasn’t the greatest match but his job wasn’t exactly mundane.

5. Don’t use professionally shot modeling or acting photos – They look a bit forced.  You can use one or two but don’t have a slew of them.

6. Don’t limit yourself to one photo – Use at least three.  The more you show the more likely someone will respond.  If your only photo is  of yourself from a far distance, no potential date is going to have any idea what you look like.  Use a body shot, a crop of your face and one that’s from the waist up.  If you have more than three that’s great but three should be a good start.

7. Don’t use a landscape photo as your main profile picture – Again, I will assume you’re hiding something or married.  SHOW YOUR FACE!

8. Please don’t post a dick pic – I said please.  I’m begging you not to do it, unless of course it’s a hook-up site or a woman asks specifically to see your junk.  An unsolicited dick pic is bad enough, a dick pic as your profile photo is the absolute worst.

9. Don’t post a photo of yourself with an ex – Or really even a sister, a friend or any woman other than maybe your mom.  It’s confusing, and distracting.  I’m going to be trying to figure out who the woman is, rather than just focusing on you.  And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t use a photo of yourself next to your ex, with her face blacked out.

10. Limit or eliminate bathroom selfies – You’ve got a smoking hot bod.  You want to show it off.  Well come up with a more creative way than a self-portrait taken with your cell phone in the bathroom.  You could snap one of you working out, or on the beach.  I’ve probably seen 10,000 bathroom selfies at this point.  Just don’t do it.

BE HONEST – One of my favorite all time profiles was of a beautiful black man in his late thirties.  Half of his photos were in typical attire of oxfords, ties, jeans and slacks.  Every other photo was of the same man in full women’s drag complete with wig, makeup, lashes, and padding.  He openly admitted he was a cross dresser but was straight and interested in women.  I APPLAUD this man for making such a bold move.  Sure it might turn off a lot of women, but the perfect woman for him wouldn’t mind at all.  There were no secrets and I admired his courage for putting it all out there.

If you follow this basic advice I promise you’ll get more emails on your profile!!!  And again, when in doubt have a female friend give it the once over before you publish it!  You’d be surprised how much having a woman’s perspective could help you out.

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Top 10 Rules for Dating in New York City

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It’s been five years since my marriage completely disintegrated.  I found myself suddenly thrust back into the dating pool at age 36.  My single friends tried to warn me, but I honestly had no choice.  My marriage was dead and there was no saving it.  I made every dating mistakes a few times.  I’ve evolved from overly emotional, clingy and starry-eyed to cynical, jaded and emotionally bereft.  I keep hoping things will get better, but they never improve.  I’ve tried online dating to no avail.  Most of the guys online never follow through with dates, so I find myself carving out precious time only to resort to sitting in a coffee shop by myself or watching House of Cards on Netflix when my date cancels.  You know it’s bad when you think to yourself that doing business is easier than dating in this town.  I’ve honestly been treated better in most professional relationships, than I ever have been in romantic ones.

So I’ve devised this list.  It pretty much encapsulates what’s become of dating in the city that never sleeps.  From what I’ve heard this across the board for men and women of all sexual orientations and gender identifications.

How to Date in NYC


1. Lower your expectations – I’ve gone from thinking “Maybe I’ll get remarried someday” to “Just answer a simple text message, I only sent you one in the past three days.”


2. Become numb – Get rid of all of your highs and lows as they will not serve you.


3. Show no weaknesses – Don’t let on your hopes and fears too soon.  Show no signs of insecurity.  These things can come later, but since this person probably won’t stick around for any length of time, they don’t need to know any of this.  Put your game face on and keep it on.


4. Expect rude behavior – If you send a simple “What’s up?” text, do not expect a response.  This is after you’ve been out with the person and seen them check their phone every ten minutes. Expect last minute cancellations, constant excuses for why they aren’t available and angry rants about ex-partners.  These are all par for the course.


5. Completely give up on the notion of age appropriate – I’m hit on by men as young as 18 up to around 27 or 28, then the next largest demographic is mid-fifties.  I can’t explain this, but I’ve given up trying.  I just go with what’s offered.


6. Google everyone – Knowledge is power.  Don’t stop at google.  Youtube, Facebook, Twittter even Instagram hold few secrets.


7. Trust no one – Because we live in a city of strangers, a person has to earn your trust before you just believe anything they tell you.  “I had to work” could easily mean – “I was hooking up with one of my other regulars” You might eventually trust your partner, but until then, take what they say with a grain of salt.  Note inconsistencies, never assume they are legit.


8. Get used to the phrase – “I’m just so busy” – You’ll say this yourself.  But you will also hear it as an excuse for everything.


9. Get used to the phrase – “Oh but you live so far away.” New York City is a big town.  We sometimes meet in the middle of this Metropolis in Manhattan.  Only later do we realize that a Bronx to Queens commute is just impractical.  Although some expect to put in absolutely no effort whatsoever.  Basically they will only consider dating you on a regular basis if you live two or three stops away on the same subway line they take every day.


10. Have fun with showing off your dick pic collection, and you’ll get one…trust me you’ll get one. – I don’t know if there is a lesbian or straight woman equivalent, or if this phenomena is as common with every sexual orientation.  I only know that straight women and gay men easily collect dick pics and full frontal nudes. I’ve scrolled through dozens in my gay friend’s phones. I’ve gotten several and I never once requested – “Please send me a photo of your cock. Preferably a self-portrait taken with your phone.  A bathroom shot would really be something special!”  I’ve also gotten requests for photographs of body parts or my mouth wrapped around dildos and various objects.  I’ve never complied. Who said romance was dead?


11. Accept your fate as a crazy cat lady/eccentric bachelor. – I know this brings us to eleven.  For men I guess the crazy cat lady equivalent is the weirdo eccentric bachelor.  We all know a few.  The guys who never got married and have that apartment just full of strange things from their youth.  It’s small and rent stabilized and they’ve lived there for years.  They’ll probably die there but they won’t be eaten by their pet cats, instead someone might stumble upon their mummified corpse after neighbors complain of the smell or they are a final no-show for their eviction in housing court.  I hope that’s not my fate, but things aren’t looking so good lately.

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Dating After Divorce: Becoming Comfortably Numb

 

I wondered when it would happen, then a few months ago, it hit me.  After countless bad dates and a dating scene that feels like a wasteland, I’ve finally become comfortably numb.  It’s not what I expected.  I thought I would be more negative and more jaded, but it’s honestly somewhat comfortable.  My expectations have just hit rock bottom.

When I first left my marriage I was completely unprotected.  My heart was overly sensitive, my mind ravaged with depression and my instincts set at high alert. I needed to calm the beast, or I never would have survived. I used to cry after bad dates, usually on the subway home.  As soon as I would just sit down, I’d mildly lose it.  I don’t think I had unrealistic expectations.  Multiple bad dates had trained me not to think beyond the first encounter.  Then on the rare occasions I had a second date, I taught myself not to get too excited.  I’ve only made it to three dates with one man.  We had hardly gotten serious, we hadn’t had sex yet when he had a slight meltdown.  In his case, I don’t think it had anything to do with me.  From what he told me, he had some seriously unresolved issues with his ex.  Unresolved issues with exes is just a reality for people over 35.

Some guys would rather remain virtual.  I sort of “dated”  a guy who just wanted to email.  He claimed he wanted to see me, but then created countless obstacles.  I lived in Brooklyn and he lived in Manhattan, so it shouldn’t have been that difficult.  He also wasn’t over his ex, and I suspect was still trying to get back together with her.  I’ll never understand why I kept talking to him, or what was going on in his head.  I found out months after I gave up, he found a good match and they are inseparable.

I’ve had a few casual flings.  I forced every jealous atom inside of me to stay cool.  Hooking up with guys when I knew they had other women in their lives, wasn’t easy.  It really took Herculean strength to not react, to tell myself that it didn’t matter, we weren’t serious, this won’t lead to anything. I managed to stay calm, but inside I was miserable.

They haven’t all been bad.  I had a strong connection with one guy.  We found out on the date we were both straight spouses.  His wife left him for a woman, and I thought that maybe our shared experience might work to our advantage.  Despite obvious warning signs that he was clearly not over his ex-wife, we made out in his car for over an hour.  It was highly unusual for me, as I usually don’t even kiss a guy on a first date. Then he completely blew me off.   I guess the situation was too much for him, I don’t know.  I can’t remember his name or face.

Now I still have a few men who hover but do little else. They might send a dick pic, or a request for sexting that will lead absolutely nowhere.  I’ve learned I’m not the only recipient for their x-rated self-portraits.   If I say I’m interested in something more, they tend to bolt.  Of course I still get harassed on the street by any number of men of all ages.  I guess that might end when I have to use a walker or cane to get around.

The worst was my rebound relationship, something I never should have gotten myself into.  It was completely exhilarating, but ultimately soul crushing.  I had so many conflicted feelings towards him, at least two years after the fact.  Now I don’t see him.  I have no idea what’s going on in his life, and I have no desire to find out.  I harbor no ill will, but I also don’t want any contact with him.

I’ve become someone I would have never recognized five years ago.  But in a way it’s not completely awful.  It’s not what I thought it would be.  I’m not angry or bitter, just numb.   I take everything men say and do with a grain of salt.  So what if the guy sent me several texts in a row – It doesn’t mean anything until he backs it up with actions.  I rarely text anyone because I can’t stand being blanked back.  I would rather just have nothing than the feeling of being ignored.

I just stopped caring.  So what if the guy from OKCupid sends me eight emails only to cancel the same night as our date.  I don’t even blink if some man rants about his “bitch ex-wife” for half the date.  It no longer surprises me, if he insults what I do for a living, or complains about my crappy neighborhood. This is dating after 35 in a city where only the strong survive, and you’ll be judged on everything your job, neighborhood, past relationships, pets, hobbies even your hometown.

Some of my dates have been so rude and so horrible that if I recreated them in a movie, I would be accused of being too fantastical.  I try to keep an open mind, stay positive and keep moving forward.  My horrible experiences have given me armor.  I rarely have crying fits on the subway anymore.  I’ve just learned to block the disappointments out.   Most divorced people never think they are going to end up like this.  Few of us expect this as our future.  If we learn more from our failures, I’ll be a genius by the time I finally meet a compatible match.  🙂

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Online Dating: We just aren’t that into you

Photoboothedit

This is for everyone who tries online dating.  I’m going to write it from a woman’s perspective, but I’ve heard numerous stories from men about this very universal problem.

On the first or second date a lot of guys assume the following

  • I’m madly in love with him
  • I want to have sex with him as soon as possible
  • I have an overwhelming desire to make-out or touch him
  • I’ve somehow had this long-enduring crush on him and FINALLY got up the nerve to ask him out
  • I’m completely sold, my date is the man of my dreams
  • I think he is my next husband, or I’m already dreaming of our nuptials
  • I just called my mom to tell her about how excited I am about this date

None of this is true.  I’m sure there are some women who really do think that when they go on dates with men they’ve met online.  There are always crazy people out there, but honestly most of women that I’ve talked to about online dating feel the following:

  • He doesn’t look like a serial killer
  • He’s alright, I hope he looks like his photos
  • I guess I could go out with him you never know
  • He sorta looks OK
  • He has nice eyes
  • He isn’t allergic to cats and lives in Brooklyn

That’s about as deep as it goes.  HONESTLY.  And this is usually what goes through my mind before a first date with a guy I met online:

  • Don’t let this date stretch on forever
  • I can’t spend a lot of money
  • I hope he isn’t psycho
  • I’m not sure if I even want to go through with this
  • I don’t want to put too much effort into this because most of these dates dont’ work out
  • Please don’t stalk me after this date
  • Maybe it’ll work out and I’ll go on date #2 with this one.

I actually do try to keep things positive, but this isn’t my first time at the rodeo.  I keep my expectations nice and realistic.  So when I meet a man online and he decides to take things physical way too soon, I just hate him.  A hookup site such as Tinder or Adult Friend Finder might be quite different, but most people don’t regard dating websites in the same way. If they are just looking for casual sex, they usually indicate it on their profile, or they should.  Because I’ve never had strong feelings towards a first date, I usually assume they don’t have strong feelings towards me.  No one really knows if there is actual attraction or chemistry until they physically meet.

I have had guys grab my hands, or put their arms around me when I have no real attraction to them, and it just makes me uncomfortable and I’m never sure how to handle it.

Where does this misperception come from?  I’m not sure, but I think it’s people of both genders assuming online dating is like regular dating.  When you were 20 years old, the sight of the cute boy in your biology class could make you weak at the knees.  The two of you would chat a bit and eventually the guy would finally make his move and ask you out.  Within hours you were cuddling in the booth of a diner asking about his favorite food, and his nickname in high school.  Online dating is just not like that. It’s two total strangers who thought from a few questions and photos that they MIGHT be attracted to each other.  With online dating you don’t even get the sense of physical chemistry you might get when meeting a guy in a bar.  It’s just so inorganic and actually goes against our instincts in almost every way.

Sure we know beforehand that the guy isn’t allergic to cats, lives near us and also likes goofy comedies, but at the end of the day that information isn’t going to make us weak in the knees when we are around them.  I’ve equated the whole endeavor to a crap shoot.  Sometimes you get lucky after the first roll of the dice, but most of the times you are both out of luck.  So fear not if your date seems bored and you just want to go home 15 minutes into it.  It’s not you, it’s not necessarily your date, it’s just random luck.  So gentlemen of online dating – please see these dates for what they are – two strangers just trying their luck at a seemingly impossible task. This isn’t college and you aren’t the cute boy in Biology class, but it’s OK.  We can’t go back to that simpler time in our lives, we just have to keep rolling the dice and hope that we eventually hit the jackpot.

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Dating in NYC: Top 10 Tips for Dating Multiple People

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Before I even tackle this subject I will openly admit I’m a solidly monogamous person.  As I’ve written before the whole idea of multiple lovers, hookups and sexual relationships with near strangers baffles me.  I can’t keep several plates spinning while I’m trying to write this blog, work on my memoir, get stage time in New York City and pay my rent.   I’m writing this though because this issue comes up all the time, and I’m annoyed that most of the articles I’ve found about this topic are written only for men.  I’ve based these tips on experiences I’ve had and what a lot of my friends have gone through.  I not advocating for any style of dating, nor would I say this would work for every person.

There are many variations on dating multiple people, too many to list here really.  The key to having multiple partners should NOT be about lying, sneaking around and deception.  Lies are evil.  As I have said before:

I would rather have an honest sinner than a phony saint.

The following are just guidelines.  It’s really about what any two people are comfortable with in any partnership.  If you only have sex with a person once, they really don’t need to know much.  But if you are seeing more than one person on a regular basis, communication is key to keeping everyone happy.

1. Let a new partner know early on that you are not looking for a sexually exclusive relationship: Of course this can change as the relationship develops.  Neither partner should assume though that a casual open relationship will turn into a committed monogamous one. When in doubt – communicate.

2. Avoid getting involved with people who aren’t also honest with their primary partners – A friend who has been polyamorous for years put it to me this way.  “I avoid being the ‘other’ woman.  If a man tells me he is in an open marriage, I tell him I will have to speak to your wife about this, just to make sure”  It might sound crazy, but if the couple is in an open marriage, this sort of request probably happens to them all the time.  It’s better to make sure everything is above-board, before you find some woman calling you a home-wrecker or threatening to kill you for sleeping with her husband.

3. Don’t assume one lover wants to hear details about any others – Some partners honestly may not mind this, but not everyone is different.  One woman might not want to know that another regular partner is younger, thinner, lives closer to you or has a cat.  If these relationships truly are separate, then there is no reason to share this sort of information.  Simply establishing that you are not exclusive is usually enough.  If you want a change in your relationship, then let your partner know.  NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! 

4. Always use protection – If you are having sex with multiple people – DON’T BE AN IDIOT.  Use condoms and practice safe sex.  Other than the usual STDs we all fear, there is a strain of antibiotic resistant Gonorrhea going around New York City that is all sorts of awful. Spreading STD’s is irresponsible and reckless.  If you want to have condom free sex, then maybe you might want to find one primary partner and at least use condoms outside of the main relationship.

5. Beware of Social Media – If you tweet naughty messages to one woman know that anyone can see it. You don’t know who knows each other or which partner might be a regular cyber sleuth.  Facebook profiles are even more transparent – comments, likes, even old conversations with partners are there for life unless you remove them.  A simple comment like, “You are so beautiful” could get you in trouble if you post it where another, more neglected lover, could see it. Basically you have to treat all comments on social media as if you are standing on top of a mountain declaring them for the universe.  The internet holds no secrets.

6. Don’t treat you casual lovers like girlfriends/boyfriends – Again there are no hard rules to this, as some polyamorous relationships are anything but casual.   This is the number one complaint I get from both men and women about casual relationships.  You can’t expect someone who you see only for sex on occasion to get that emotionally invested in you.  They aren’t going to necessarily want to meet your friends, go to social functions with you, listen to your neurotic ramblings or bring you chicken soup when you get a nasty cold.  When these lines get blurred, people are more likely to get their feelings hurt.  Anyone can have a primary relationship and still have multiple lovers on the side, but not without some boundaries first.  You should never assume a regular hook-up is a girlfriend, or even wants that role.

7. Treat everyone with respect – This should go without saying in every dating situation.  I’ve seen a lot of alarming language on dating sites, where a man or woman will go on and on about their primary partner and then send an email that is just rude and inappropriate to a total stranger.

8. Don’t make anyone feel like they are last on your list – This might be OK with some partners, but overall you don’t want to make a person feel like you literally called up three or four people before you decided to settle on them.

9. Don’t complain about other lovers – This is just rude behavior.  If a woman complains to a partner about another man she is seeing, he is likely to assume she will turn around and do the same thing to him.

10. When in doubt communicate – Of course you can lie and sneak around, but there is a good likelihood that you’ll get caught.  When you get caught a betrayed lover might slash your tires, show up at your workplace and scream “Whore” as you walk down the street, stalk you or one of your other partners, text you incessantly for hours, post naked photos of you online, write Facebook statuses trashing your name, or even threaten you with physical violence.  Deception brings out the worst in people.  Some people are emotionally unstable, mentally ill, cruel, narcissistic or have deeply entrenched personality disorders.  No amount of open communication can prevent a person from reacting in a completely irrational or psychotic way.  However a string of lies is more likely to make a perfectly well-adjusted human being buy a ticket to a place called crazytown.

It’s really up to you and your partners – Other than practicing safe-sex and respect, it’s really up to each person.  When in doubt be open and COMMUNICATE. Some of the biggest problems in any relationship come from not understanding what both partners want.

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Dating Online: Advice for Men – How to completely mess up the First Date

English: stamp with the words "Fail"...

English: stamp with the words “Fail” and “attention to detail” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written about this before in my article What Men should NOT to do on a First or Second Date, but I decided I needed a shorthand version – a cheat sheet if you will.  Also ladies, consider this shorthand for extremely negative behavior.  If some guy is doing several of the things on this list…RUN!!!!!   I’m making this specific to online dating because I think it’s a fairly unique way to meet people, and fraught with peril.  If you totally want to sabotage a date early, here are a few sure-fire ways to do it:

Say any one or more of the following phrases:

  • My bitch, crazy, psycho, ex-wife or ex-girlfriend – I get it, you had a bad breakup.  This is not the time for a festival of bitching.
  • I’m still in love with my ex-wife or ex-girlfriend – This has happened to me more than once…no joke.
  • I have to pay way too much child support – Well maybe you think you do, but would you rather have your kids live in a box on the street?
  • How many guys have you slept with? – Are you kidding me?

The following will make you look like a liar, even if that wasn’t your intention. 

  • I lied about my age on my dating profile
  • Oh by the way, I have a girlfriend – This information should have been on your profile
  • Oh by the way, I have kids – This information should have been on your profile
  • Oh by the way, I’m married – This happens more than you would think…and of course…this should have been on your profile

How to look rude

  • Make frequent text messages
  • Receive phone calls or make calls
  • Constantly check your phone in front of your date
  • Never ask your date any questions about herself, just give her a non-stop biography
  • Take your date to an expensive restaurant and then ask her to split the bill – If you are on a budget do coffee or drinks
  • Insult your date – You would be surprised how often this happens
  • Discuss politics or religion – Unless of course you know 100% it’s OK to go there, it’s not exactly romantic
  • Show up late or cancel at the last-minute – things happen but if some catastrophe occurs, contact your date immediately and BEG for forgiveness.

How to freak out your date

  • Assume it’s time to start making out, when your date has given you no indication that it’s cool do go there
  • Drink to the point that you’re a drunken sloppy mess
  • Assume your date does drugs, and then tell her it’s a deal breaker if she doesn’t
  • Force your date into a social situation with a ton of people she doesn’t know
  • Have an emotional breakdown and then treat your date like a therapist
  • Focus the conversation on sex, and ask intimate sexual questions right off the bat – The only exception to this is if you both agreed ahead of time it’s a casual sex type of encounter, or you met your date on a hook-up site.
  • Get angry when it’s obvious your date doesn’t want to have sex with you – Even if you met her on a hook-up site or with the expectation that you would have sex.  You might have freaked her out, she might have changed her mind.  No always means no, so chill out and let it go.
  • Send your date a dick pic – Although I love making fun of these in my act, dick pics are rude, goofy, and way too forward.  Your date could cancel completely, scream at you or threaten to call the police.  The only exception is if your date has asked to see your business…otherwise DO NOT DO THIS!

My personal #1 Pet Peeves

  • I’ve always thought I was funny, I bet I could do stand-up.  Could you help me get started in comedy? – If you want to get started in comedy then go to an open mic or take an improv or stand-up class…and never ask me that question again.  🙂
  • Get competitive with me about comedy.  Insist your are funnier or try to one-up me with jokes – Unless you really are a comedian…please just stop…no really just stop
  • Never laugh once during the date
  • Demand I tell you jokes, or want to see my act, right there out of context, while on a date – I basically hate you now.
  • Proclaim that you can’t stand cats – When then say that I know 100% that it isn’t going to work out.

Dating Online: Confessions of an Accidental Cougar

English: North Amerian Cougar

English: North Amerian Cougar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I call myself an Accidental Cougar, because it’s exactly what it feels like.  I didn’t seek this out.  I never thought I would become a 40-year-old woman trolling for younger men.  Although I think the term “Cougar” is inaccurate as in my case, I’m hardly predatory.  In fact, the young ones usually come to me.  I have been a wimp when it comes to dating since as long as I can remember.  Any time I’ve gone outside my comfort zone and tried to be aggressive with men, the results have been disastrous. I’m just not good at it.  So I guess I’m younger man bait, but not exactly a cougar.

Many younger men seek out a liaison or even a relationship with an older woman.  Most 22-year-old women might demand more time with their partners.  Whereas a more mature gal might actually desire significant personal space. Most women past 40 would also not rush into a major commitment right off the bat, or could prefer a more casual relationship.  A cougar would probably be more mellow, calm and less likely to flip out over something that might upset a younger cub.  Of course there are exceptions as there are plenty of immature women in their mid-forties and up and even-keeled emotionally grounded 23 -year-olds.  There really are no rules here, as people don’t necessarily grow emotionally as they age.  But the perception by many young men is: older women know what they want and are less of a hassle.  That’s at least what I’ve heard from any number of them.

Some younger men have issues with their mother, and openly seek a more maternal relationship with a partner.  While others view a more emotionally complex middle-aged woman as a greater conquest.  And of course, for some the appeal is the sexual experience of a woman who has been having sex, longer than they have been alive.

I view the dating game as a totally different beast than I did when I was younger.  At 25, if an obvious player type hit me up, he would be instantly cast aside as a lecherous pig.  Now, I size him up – he might be a lecherous pig, but is he attractive?  Will I get bragging rights?  Can I show him off to my friends?  As I’ve often said many times on this blog, I would rather have an honest devil than a lying phony saint.  So I’ll take the admitted man whore for a few spins around the block, as long as I know everything’s above-board.  Afterward I will be sharing my exploits at the next girl’s brunch, or BBQ with my married friends.  Once you hit a certain age, it’s difficult to tell who’s the hunter, and who’s the prey.

It’s not to say that all younger men are nefarious lotharios, or good for nothing but sex.  A close friend of mine has had a long-term committed relationship with a man 16 years her junior now for nearly three years.   Another has been happily married to a man 14 years younger than her, for over a decade.  Age and maturity are relative.  At this point in my life, I feel like I almost don’t have an option anymore.  Most men in the 35-45 age range are one of four things: married, in a serious committed relationship, crushed from a breakup/divorce or confirmed bachelors.  It’s just so rare when I have an age-appropriate man even approach me.

Yesterday for my article about online dating profiles I had to re-start my defunct OKCupid account.  I wanted to search through as many names as possible to get the best sample.  I knew when I did this that OKCupid would treat my account as if it was brand new, and promote it heavily.  My inbox overflowed, I got over 87 emails in a 24 hour period.

Here is how the ages broke down.

  • (Ages 20-25)  17 or 19% of the Total
  • (Ages 26-30)  34 or 39% of the Total
  • (Ages 31-35)  14 or 16% of the Total
  • (Ages 36-40)  4 or 4.5% of the Total (10 minus 6 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single) 
  • (Ages 41-45)  5 or 5.7% of the Total (12 minus 7 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single)
  • (Ages 45-62)  6 or  6.9% of the Total (10 minus 4 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single)

The largest group of me to send me emails were 10-14 years younger than me, the second largest group was 15 years or younger than me.  The two groups totaled 51 men or 58% of the total amount of emails .  When I subtracted the men who didn’t live in NYC from the 36-45 age group I was left with only 11 men.  I removed the men who didn’t live in NYC from the older categories as they didn’t even live in NY state.  Some lived as far away as Italy, the UK and Spain.  I also omitted men who openly admitted to being married, or in a committed relationship.  There were some non-single men like this in the younger groups but their numbers weren’t significant to count.

I indicated on my profile that I’m seeking men ages 30-45, but that didn’t seem to stop 51 men from making a go for me.  So am I a predatory cougar?  It looks instead like a lot of younger men couldn’t care less about my age and are just as predatory and aggressive with me as they would be with women their own age.

The creepiest email of the day ironically came from a 36 year man who simply said.

“I would love to come over and videotape you”

He didn’t indicate what he wanted to video tape me doing.  Maybe I should have offered to clean my bathroom, or my cat’s litterbox – but then someone probably has a fetish for exactly that activity and the next thing I know I would be on a kitty litter cleaning porn site.

Admittedly, I look very young for my age.  Everyone in my family including both of my parents seem to have some magical youth gene.  Most people think I’m in my late twenties.  My youthful appearance might have skewed my results somewhat, but my age is very clearly indicated on my profile.  It seems most men don’t give a f*ck, at least not on a dating website.  If they are looking to have children or a long-term committed relationship the age difference might mean much more to them, but if they are trolling for ass online, age seems to matter very little.

The 35-45 age group of single men is still as elusive to me as a well-paying steady job with health insurance.  In theory such a thing exists, but I have no idea how to get it.

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