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Dating After Divorce: The What the Hell was I thinking? Stage of a break-up

Photograph of blue sky

Photograph of blue sky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am adding the following disclaimer to all of my dating related blog posts.  I change details, and create composite characters when I write about dating archetypes such as “Mr. Houdini, Mr. Angry, etc.  I would hate it if someone wrote about a high energy blonde comedian negatively in a blog, so because of that I never include a person’s occupation or anything about their physical description.  I also change enough details that I doubt anyone I am referring to would even recognize themselves if they read one of my articles.   I have split one person into three, or taken several people and put them all into one example.  So simply put, I am very ethical on this blog.

One of the stages of a break up is my personal favorite the “What the hell was I thinking, I am trying not to laugh, why did I date you again?” stage.

I am using myself and a former lover here as an example but this of course applies to both genders and every sexual orientation out there.  The post breakup “see the light” moment is universal.  Everyone can relate to this.

Not every break up leads to this epiphany as some are just too painful.  And you probably will never reach that level in a divorce since most marriages are so much more overwhelming than a dating situation.  But when you finally reach that point post-breakup it is a bit exhilarating. And if you are able to reach this with a former spouse then kudos to you!

Since some of my regular readers know at least one person I have dated in the past I want to clarify that none of you know who I am talking about.  From my past mistakes I have learned to keep some things to myself and none of my friends actually ever met this man.  And that is all I am going to write about it.

But I just thought I would share this blog entry since last night, something reminded me of how wonderful the feeling is, and I know we have ALL BEEN HERE.  Men and women alike, gay, straight and bisexual we have all wasted time pining away for a lover that was just no good for us.  I also won’t comment further on the nature of the relationship or breakup but I don’t think he was really crushed when I broke things off.

Stages of a break up.

1. I really can’t be with you anymore, this has become toxic we have to break up

2. Did I do the right thing…maybe I want you back?

3. What if situations could have been different – run through all of  the scenarios in your head

4. I can’t see him, I don’t want to be around him too painful

5. What the hell was I thinking?  The man is a weirdo a loser and I am better off. 

You finally get to a point where you feel like nothing he says or does will touch you because you just don’t care anymore and it is wonderful.

No matter what stunt, or dig your ex tries to throw your way you just laugh it off and think to yourself…LOSER

No matter who he ends up dating, even if he tries to shove it in your face you think to yourself poor girl he is a …LOSER

If he insults you, to your face, you merely laugh…try to not insult him back and think again…LOSER

If he posts things on Facebook, Twitter or other social media trying to get you upset you only think…pathetic LOSER

You are finally free, free of the demon of regret that haunted your mind.  You finally woke up and decided that you broke up for very good legitimate reasons and you are truly happier and healthier apart.  And it wouldn’t matter when you dated or the place you were in your lives you are simply not compatible.  Or you realize your former partner was just not a very nice person and did not treat you well.  It may take a few days, it may take months it may even take years but once you reach that nirvana it is indeed pure bliss.  I hope if any of my readers out there are lamenting about a former lover that you one day end up at that special place.

Girl Scouts of America – Why I will always be a proud member!

Designed by Juliette Low, the sole emblem of t...

So there is a religious extremist group and a sadly misguided teenage girl currently attacking an organization I was a proud member of for eight years.  The Girl Scouts of America.  When I originally wrote this piece it was an angry tirade towards the group attacking the GSA.  I decided to change my approach and I am just going with the following.

When I was a girl scout I learned about

Also to anyone who would attack GSA and to say they are somehow anti-religion, my troop meetings were held in the basement of a Catholic church and I received not one but two optional badges that were religiously based.  I still remember that first meeting when at the age of five I became a the youngest type of girl scout, a Pixie Girl Scout, now called Daisy Girl Scouts.  I can still vividly recall my bridge to Junior’s ceremony and the many camping and field trips that I proudly attended with my troop.  On one camping trip my parents accidentally got me to the lodge late, but when I entered the room I was going to spend the night it, all the girls cheered my name in unison and came to embrace me and get me set up.  As a troop we visited the state capital, Lincoln’s home in Illinois, nursing homes, wildlife preserves, national parks, animal shelters, museums, concerts and of course camp.  We learned how to build a fire and how to cook on one.  We learned how to paddle a canoe, ride a horse and draw a bow and arrow.  We learned basic first aid, safety and what to do if we were ever lost or needed to help a friend who was lost.  We volunteered and donated and helped spread good will and positive energy in our community.   Many of my happiest childhood memories are a result of the Girl Scouts of America and as a good girl scout I will defend that organization with the same vigor and spirit that I had when I was a scout.

The Girl Scouts were founded on March 12, 1912 several decades later I was born on the same date!  I even share the same name as our founder Juliette Lowe, I just happen to spell my name differently!  🙂  So I was destined to be a girl scout!

So before they try to attack a group is a wonderful organization for girls let me just reprint this here

The Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

To my young girl scout sisters I pledge to fight back against this ridiculous campaign to tarnish your good name and your wonderful organization. www.girlscouts.org   And I fully support the Colorado council for allowing one transgendered seven-year old into a troop.  I don’t think any child biologically born a boy but who has lived as a girl and is treated like a girl by her family will be any threat to the other girls in the troop.  Solidarity to my sisters who wear the badges and sing the songs.  Girl Scouts Forever!

 

Dating in NYC: How to self-sabotage a date

English: (ship) half-submerged and sinking.

English: (ship) half-submerged and sinking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway this is meant as self-deprecating humor.  I am after all a comedian.  I am a lousy dater because for my entire adult life I have been a serial monogamist so I really don’t know how to do the date thing.  I talk to much, I reveal too much, and I am too hyper…but I am hardly nasty and I have heard so many stories from both genders of people being extremely mean or shallow on these dates…so please anyone reading this…the piece was meant as satire, self-parody…don’t take it so seriously!  YIKES! 

Dating is not marriage, dating is one big job interview after another.  Marriage is trying to keep the job you have had for years already have interesting and exciting.  Going from a long-term marriage to the dating pool is rough, I have no idea what I am doing, but I do know when a date is clearly not going to work out.  And to avoid having “the talk” with some guy I barely know, I tend to instead self-sabotage the whole endeavor.   The “talk” is the short brief chat about why I don’t think we are compatible as a romantic couple.  I don’t like getting “the talk” from a man who isn’t interested in me, and I hate giving it.  Since I date mostly men I meet online, it is a total crap-shoot.  I can’t really tell much from a profile, and I have no idea if I will end up having any type of connection with the person.  Most of the time I don’t, and that is not their fault, but merely the nature of the beast.  I don’t get offended or upset when I can tell a man is not viewing me as a potential match.  It is the meeting of two total strangers, it is rare when sparks fly.

I don’t really understand what makes attraction work, but I do know that on a few dates I wanted to crawl over the table and start making out with a guy I had just met.  I didn’t publicly make-out with a total stranger, but in the two times that I have felt that right away, I ended up briefly dating those men.   The two suitors looked nothing alike and had totally different personalities, I can’t explain why both of them were appealing to me, but there it is.  When the initial attraction is not there and the conversation is forced or awkward, then it is time to have “the talk” or resort to self-sabotage.

There are generally two methods of self-sabotaging a date.  The first I call the super clingy needy crazy girl, sometimes the super clingy needy girl act can backfire, and it also makes you look crazier.

  • Talk about marriage immediately
  • Talk about babies immediately, wanting to have babies, your friends babies etc. anything about babies
  • Discuss with your date things that you will do in the far future, things like “I can’t wait to hang with you at Christmas!”
  • Ask way too many super personal questions right off the bat, such as “How many women have you slept with?”, or “How many girlfriends have you had?”
  • Talk about how much you love the man’s neighborhood and would love to live there

The dark torpedo – my preferred method and honestly I do this a bit subconsciously when I don’t even mean to go there.

  • Go on and on about my divorce
  • Talk about being on medication for my clinical depression due to my divorce
  • Ramble on about every ex-boyfriend I have had, or my ex-husband
  • Don’t ask the man any personal questions about himself
  • Discuss politics, history, world wars or something incredibly dark or horrible
  • Lament on all of my family drama and dysfunction
  • Say things like “I really shouldn’t be dating anyone right now”

The torpedo of darkness usually works, and the sad thing is that it sort of comes on me automatically.  It isn’t that I have a master plan and want to be mean, I just don’t watch my bad habits if I am not really into a guy.  And if he isn’t getting the hint I tend to lay it on even thicker.  I would rather have him think that I am broken and not available than to think it is something about him that I don’t like.  Because usually I don’t know why I am not attracted to the guy, I couldn’t tell you if you put a gun to my head.  It is just a quality that can’t be explained, but if it is not there, then it is not there.   I know I have gone through the opposite myself.

Some of my worst dating stories involve the following

  • A date who got noticeably offended and disgusted when I revealed I was from Missouri
  • Another man who bitched about an ex-girlfriend from….20 years ago.
  • A date who said his ex-wife was a bitch in the first five minutes
  • A date who proclaimed  “I don’t get emotionally attached” and then kept trying to steer the conversation to sex
  • A date who told me how much he missed his ex and hoped they would get back together
  • A man who openly told me he wanted to date a friend of mine – and yes this did happen.

If you are stuck in a situation where you think a guy is a decent fellow but you don’t really feel the urge to take the relationship further, use this as a simple guide to drive him away.  So far it has worked every time.  I accidentally learned these techniques from having one horrible date after another and trying to date too soon after I got divorced.   And if you meet a guy you actually want to see again, I strongly suggest you avoid doing any of the above, because you really want to look your best and not like a crazy clingy woman or a dark cloud of doom.

Life After Divorce: Some Basics I try to remind myself of every day

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This is a blog post from another blog that I used to write, that due to confusion with this blog I am shutting down and moving my better articles over here.  🙂

So I was sort of acting as impromptu counselor for a friend who is facing a separation/divorce.  And I will repeat what I have said numerous times.  Divorce is much different from a regular break up.  You stood before your entire family, you committed your life to another person, you had legal and financial obligations, you had to go to court to actually break up, you have a wedding ring, and on and on and on.   There is just such a perceived permanence to marriage, even with a 50% divorce rate.  If you were betting on a horse, a 50% success rate wouldn’t be so bad, so thinking you might stay together forever isn’t really that far-fetched.

Divorce is hell, I am still over a year from separating from my husband and I still have dark nights of the soul, crying fits for no reason, insomnia, and the occasional panic attack.  I am doing a MILLION TIMES better than I was just a few months ago, but it is still a daily struggle.

But I try to live by these very basic rules every day.  Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t, but I try and, trying is half the battle. This is sort of what I was telling my friend tonight (who shall remain nameless) and I thought it would be good to write it down.   I get a lot of “Think Positive and I think that is a lame way of saying “Be Happy for me there is a bit more to it, and I am breaking it down.

1. Don’t Dwell on what You cannot control – Like it or not, we cannot control other people.  I can’t control the main factor that lead to my divorce, so I have to let it go.

2. Get Rid of Crazy People in Your Life – Not exactly crazy people, but people that make me crazy or encourage crazy behavior, especially self-destructive behavior.  Sometimes this is impossible if it is a family member or a roommate but if you can avoid people who make you do crazy things, do it!  They might not even know they make you crazy or are actively trying to make you crazy…..but it doesn’t matter.  People that put you into CRAZYTOWN, should be avoided.

3. Do Not Hurt Yourself – Avoid the trappings that seem like an easy fix to a complex problem, drugs, alcohol, sex with people if it is in a self-destructive way, lashing out at loved ones and friends.  I don’t do any substances and for the most part have avoided dating, but I definitely find ways to mess up my life…..trust me.

4. Surround yourself with supportive people – This one is hard with my crazy schedule but I try, I wish I could do this more often.

5. Focus on the Future not the Past – I think it is important to know your past, but not to dwell on it.  This is HARD especially while in therapy, because in therapy a therapist is usually trying to find a cause to the core problem.  I actually saw my future as a black hole when I left my husband.  I am still extremely uncertain what lies before me, but it is a little less black and more gray now.  🙂

6. Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes – This one is also very difficult for me especially.  I won’t get into it, but because of childhood issues, I have difficulty letting go of things and especially with forgiveness.  My biggest problem is forgiving myself.  I tend to beat myself up over things that I cannot go back and fix.

7. Ask for Help when you need it – This one is beyond hard for me.  It always has been, but I tell myself that I am a weaker person when I DON’T ask for help.  No one is perfect, everyone needs help sometimes.

8. Stop Saying “What if?” –  What if I had not dated so soon after leaving my husband?  What if I had left him earlier?  What if I had never married him in the first place?  Do these questions really do me any good?  NO, they just make me crazy.  And they will never stop, so I have to stop them…..I will never know the answer to WHAT IF?  So I have to stop asking!!!

9. Don’t ignore reality – When I start to spiral I say to myself, I have a great apartment, I am working, I am healthy, I have the best friends, supportive family, and the two world’s greatest cats, and compared to how a lot of people live in this world I have it pretty good.

10. It is going to get better – This has become a mantra I say to myself nearly nightly, although it is usually “It is going to be OK, It is going to be OK”  Life has a way of constantly changing, and even though things are bad now, they could very easily get better soon.

11. Find something that makes you really happy and do it – For me that is performing and more specifically singing and music.  One good thing that has happened through this whole mess is that I have re-found my love for singing that studying music had sort of beaten out of me.  🙂

12. Try to throw away the bad advice and take the good – I can’t tell you how much well meaning bad advice I have gotten.  It is extremely difficult at times to just let this stuff roll off of me, especially comments about my Ex-husband and judgments on myself and my marriage when the people giving the advice are uninformed.

13. When in doubt find my cats – They are pure love, they are furry, they purr, and they never let me down.

Dating Online – The Insult Approach

insults [default recourse of the ignorant]

insults [default recourse of the ignorant] (Photo credit: the|G|™)

So online dating is a window into a portion of humanity that both fascinates and repulses me.  I have met people from walks of life I never would have normally.  Some of the interaction is positive as I get a fair share of compliments from men from all walks of life.  That part is extremely interesting to me, but since I am dealing with human beings of course there is a negative side as well.

The Insult Approach

I really don’t understand this one.  Here is a recent email I got on JDate.com.  The website I joined with the fewest members yet where I am most popular.  I guess it is the Shiksa effect.  I removed his name to protect his identity, but really what the hell was he thinking?

I just love everything you have to say, well perhaps not the 2 cats in a small apartment … and although being a classic liberal jew, not a big fan of unions … I can explain 

Would love to speak to you about it.

I mention in my profile, that since both of my parents were union for most of their careers, that I am a lifelong democrat.  And I am extremely pro-labor, probably more pro-labor than most democrats.  I also briefly mention that I live in a small studio apartment with two cats.  Meant as a slight self-deprecating joke, but true.  I actually prefer to live in a small space if I am living alone anyway.  I am not exactly a materialistic person.  I buy most of my clothing off of ebay and I ALMOST NEVER PAY RETAIL. I also don’t have cable, have a working television or a car.  I live simply and I like it that way. 🙂

So what is this idiot thinking?  If this was his attempt at humor, he missed the mark completely.  I have learned the hard way that sarcasm is difficult to pick up on in written form.  TRUST ME!  I still get in trouble with this all the time.  HA!   I have what I like to call “Foot in mouth disease!”  And I couldn’t even count how many times an attempt at a joke on Facebook or in an email missed its mark.  So when I communicate with complete strangers online, I try to leave the sarcasm out!

So what is he doing? Insulting me for living in a small apartment?  Insulting me for owning cats?  Well I am not giving them up for anyone, the only exception being if I had a child that was allergic.  I certainly wouldn’t give them up for a relationship!  I did that once and I would never do it again.  I am sorry I am not wealthy, I guess I need to step it up and get that bigger apartment in this dreadful economy as a working artist.  And then he bashes unions?  Well sir I don’t care if you are a big fan of them or not, I put that on my profile to weed out the libertarians and republicans.  Sure I have plenty of friends that are both, but I would usually avoid dating one.  I can’t say I would never date someone with different political leanings, but relationships are hard enough, and I am passionate about politics, so there is no way I am going to have THAT fight repeatedly for the rest of my life!  And what did he mean that

“I don’t like unions…I’ll explain”

What was he planning on some lecture on his view of economics?  SNORE!

I have also gotten things like, and these were all from men I DID NOT CONTACT in any way, these comments just showed up in my inbox.

  • I can’t believe you like the Beatles, that is so typical (I have nearly every song memorized!)
  • I guess you are just one of those bitches that only emails the mean boys – (I wasn’t even sure what this meant)
  • Why would you like nerdy smart guys?  What is wrong with you? (There is a problem with liking smart people?)
  • Why are you so uptight about your age range? – My age range is 33-43 (That is 10 years!)
  • I guess you have a basis against older men, you should really be more open-minded. (From a 55-year-old)
  • Vegetarians are losers! (Wow, well now that you said that total stranger bring on the bacon!)

I have heard that men get the same treatment.  Does this ever work?  Do men or women respond positively to the random insult?  Are some people secret masochists that think,

Hey now this is my kind of woman/man!  They already hate me!

Or maybe some folks out there who like a dominating partner, and this kind of

  • Let me tell you something sister…
  • Let me tell you how to live your life…
  • Or what you don’t understand is…

I guess some people like that sort of treatment, I can’t stand it. Generally speaking, if I want advice I ask for it, I absolutely hate unsolicited advice as I think most people do!

The passive aggressive approach of men and women who, resentful of a person they think may not respond to them otherwise, figure that getting a negative reaction is better than no reaction.  Sort of like the man on the street who will cat call a woman and then immediately insult her.  I remember one such instance, as I was crossing the street in Washington Heights, no makeup, my hair in a pony-tail while wearing big baggy jeans and a puffy coat, I hear this from a car waiting for the light to change.

Hey Sexy!”

When I don’t show any response, about 5 seconds later I hear

“Fat Ass!”

And  I am certain he couldn’t even see my ass, as my coat was covering it.  But whatever, sort of the same effect.  I did respond to Mr. let me insult your apartment, your cats, and unions.  I won’t print my response here, but it was something to the effect of

Sir, if this was your attempt at humor, you blew it.  You are blocked.

Oy Vey!

Dating Online – Things on a profile that completely turn me off

So this is re-posted from another old blog of mine, but since I am on a roll with this topic so to speak…

Because I am a freelancer and my social life revolves around the New York Burlesque and Alt-Comedy scenes, I don’t even KNOW a lot of men.  And I have a strict NO-COMEDIANS rule.  Which leads me to online dating.  I know it is hell out there trying to date in NYC.

Things that make me Cringe.

1. Semi-nude or posed shirtless photos.  I am not talking about hanging with your friends at the beach photos, but obviously staged photos of yourself as naked as possible, the “classiest” taken by yourself with a cell phone into a mirror.  Now would you walk up to a stranger and flex while half naked? Maybe you would.  Then you are not the boy for me.

2. Overly long profiles.  I don’t really bother if they are super long.  The photo tells me so much, if I am not attracted, I am not attracted and when I see a really long profile I just think “oh great work!” and I move on.  There are thousands of guys out there.  Keep it simple.

3. Overly ANGRY profiles! Don’t complain about all the other women you have dated in your profile!!!!  We have all been through the mill, who doesn’t bitch about an ex or two?  But please not on the profile!  It is also not a great place to tear down my entire gender.  You are looking for a WOMAN right? Then stop bitching about them.  And my favorite line so far “Be EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE…leave your baggage at home, think positive and let’s have a good time”  And yes he used all caps.  So I need to be emotionally available for him, but I am not allowed to discuss my own problems.  Well at least he is straightforward.  HA!

4. Don’t lie about your age.  This one is fairly obvious, oh and pay attention to my age range, if you are 10 years over my limit….seriously???  And I think the magical age on these sites is 49, we all know you are not 49, who are you kidding?  If you are looking like my dad, we know you are NOT 49.

5. Sunglasses in your primary photo really? They warn you not to do this, and I can see why, they make you look incredibly pretentious and I can’t really see your face?   Brooding?  Sexy? Mysterious?  No.  I have over 200 in a search I am not going to take the time to see what lies beneath!

6. Don’t continually pester me repeatedly if I don’t respond to your “wink” I am doing you a favor, I am not interested, there are so many women out there.  And my least favorite tactic is when I spend all of 5 minutes checking my e-mail on there and I get a “Hey I see you are online, did you get my “wink”?, What is your number?  We should go out some time?”  This has happened more than once, so do these guys LIVE online?  Ready to pounce?  Creepy!!!

7. Less philosophy – Just the facts – Now some women may disagree but the more “crazytown this is how I see the universe” you get the more I want to hit that little X button at the top of your profile and never see your mug again.  I get it, but then I don’t get it.  And lines like “What can you expect from me….the unexpected!” or “Your Mr. Right is Right here!” honestly?  Does that work for anyone????

8. Limit on the Action/Adventure shots.  OK I get it you like Scuba diving, but one photo would have been enough, seven of you with goggles and I still can’t see your face!  And what is up with Scuba diving?  Maybe its fun, I don’t know I never tried it, but it isn’t exactly the sexist sport out there.  And I think I have seen hundreds of scuba diving photos at this point..hundreds!   Now a rowing, rugby or mountain climbing?  DAMN!  Those are sexy sports.  And even the classics like baseball, basketball, football or soccer can make you look good depending on the context of the photo.  But Golf?  Golf is so BORING, and it might but a joy to play but, still photos of you playing golf……are not exactly chick magnet material.  And OK so you run marathons, that is great, but can you include ONE photo where you are not covered in sweat, and wearing tiny little shorts?

9. Be realistic about distance – OK I live in BROOKLYN, dating someone in the Bronx would be considered a long distance relationship.  Philadelphia? Don’t they have women in Philadelphia?  I don’t want to move and that is just way too much effort if I don’t already know and love ya!

10. Try to look STRAIGHT! – Now this is probably the most controversial thing I am bitching about.  Because after all what is looking or acting straight?  I of all people should know, I married a gay man, HA!  We all know there are many shades to the rainbow.  But having all your photos be of yourself in clubs surrounded by beautiful men, perfectly manicured with stunning wardrobes and amazing haircuts, isn’t really screaming “I love women”!   I think I have sadly seen many a deep closet case looking for the wrong gender on these sites.  Sad.

11. Boys, be Realistic about YOUR age range. – So you are 45.  And your age range is 22-28?  Are you independently wealthy?  Are you devastatingly handsome?  Are you hysterical and loaded with wit and charm? Maybe you can bag a 22 year old, but my suspicion by the look of your photo/profile is that you have never dated in your life!  Come on!

12. I am MORE than a womb! – So I just saw a profile where all the guy talked about was wanting children.  He wanted 2 children and wanted to start trying in the next 1-2 years.  I am like DUDE!  Let’s go on a date first!  I understand his need to reproduce, but if your entire profile is about baby making.  YIKES!

13. Poorly written or Overly jokey profiles – If you entire profile reads as sarcastic, most people might think you are a jerk.  Lines like – “What is a typical Friday night for you?” and you answer – “Being completely awesome while I hunt for puppies and unicorns!”  I guess for some women, that might be perfect, but I will just think your crazy!  Or abuse of the written language such as: “R U the 1 for Me?”, or obvious misspellings.  Call me uptight, but it make me think you are of lower intelligence!  Yes I am a bit of a snob when it comes to language…..I am not the world’s greatest writer, and I will openly admit it!  But language is what separates us from all other SPECIES ON THE PLANET!  You don’t exactly see chimps writing novels, so USE SPELL CHECK, or open a DICTIONARY!