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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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Life After Divorce: Do you REALLY have to be friends with your Ex?

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In some was I was lucky, the conditions of my divorce made my split extremely cauterized.  When I discovered my ex-husband was gay, I wanted out of the marriage immediately.  I saw no hope for reconciliation and had no desire to work anything out.  We had no children so I didn’t see the point in keeping him as a major part of my life.  For the first couple of years it was hard to sever that connection, but ultimately I think it did us both good to move on.  My divorce messed me up fairly badly, and I am still coping with the after effects on a day by day basis.  That being said, I have also found a disturbing and somewhat annoying trend with at least a half-dozen men that I have gone out with since my divorce.  They do the following:

  • Openly talk about their ex for most of the date
  • Admit to buying gifts, presents, for their former spouse – in one case she was already re-married
  • Remain Emotionally connected to a former lover even if they’ve moved on
  • Constantly post loving messages on their former partner’s Facebook wall, Twitter account or other forms of social media
  • Every status update, every twitter post – is somehow about their ex.
  • One man admitted he sabotaged his marriage because he was still not over an ex-girlfriend
  • On guy went so far as to ask me on advice on how to get his ex back – I was on a date with him at the time

Obviously this is a universal problem that effects men and women of all sexual orientations and gender identifications.  I think part of this stems from the relatively new concept, that one has to get along with his or her ex.

If a couple has children, then I totally see the point of wanting to maintain a positive, healthy relationship.  Otherwise, I am not sure it is always best to keep your former significant other as a huge part of your life.  I say this because time and time again I don’t see good outcomes.  Instead of the pain being intense, difficult and swift; the agony gets played out slowly and arduously for one if not both partners – sometimes for years.  One or both partners remain in a state of arrested development.  They might derive sexual pleasure from others, but they remain emotionally connected to someone who is using them, completely over them or toxic to their well-being.

Too many times one half of the union will still rely on the other for

  • Emotional stability – comfort
  • Some type of ego boost
  • A sense of normalcy
  • A place to dump their emotional baggage

Keeping a former love around in your life, even if just in an emotional capacity, can cause a person to not seek out that role in someone new.    I have known some couples that drag on this pseudo non-relationship far too long for anything healthy to come out of it.  Your relationship fell apart for a reason.

  • You constantly fought – damaging each other up in the process
  • You couldn’t agree on major life decisions – where to live, how to spend money, whether or not to have kids
  • You grew apart
  • One if not both of you couldn’t stay honest to the commitment – Infidelity or deception
  • Complete loss of trust
  • Untreated substance abuse
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Lack of respect or boundaries

Sometimes all the therapy in the world cannot change the fact that two people are simply not compatible.  Broken relationships are not necessarily a failure.  The damage that occurred in the partnership could be too great to repair.  Instead of holding on to an idealized version of an ex, a person should asses what went wrong, take responsibility for any mistakes or destructive behavior and then move on. Or they should do everything within their power to repair the damage, make up for their mistakes and get their former spouse back.  The middle ground is what can be so agonizing for so many.

In the cases of a straight spouse, sometimes our former spouses are just using us as an emotional crutch after massive deception and betrayal.  It is important to establish strong emotional boundaries so that a former spouse does not end up exploiting your emotions after they have just wrecked your life.   They need to grow up and deal with the consequences of their actions.  I have seen men and women complain about this problem repeatedly in straight spouse chat rooms, and discussion groups.  Our former spouses sometimes act like emotional vampires draining us of what little we have left.  It might feel scary to imagine life without your former spouse, but in the long run you will be better off if you allow some distance.

Relationships do not have to remain static.  It is more likely to rekindle a friendship with a former partner many years after a break up rather than immediately after the fall.  Just because we were at one time in love with someone doesn’t mean we won’t fall in love with someone new, or have a full life without them.  I have been guilty of this as well.  It’s human nature to want to fight for something that we once loved, but sometimes the best thing to do is move forward and not dwell on the past.

Dating Online: The Body Experiment

Anyone who knows me and knows this blog understands my complicated relationship with online dating websites.  For the most part I loathe the entire online dating experience, but when I go offline I rarely meet anyone appropriate.  I noticed that my online dating profile was becoming a magnet for the most pretentious men in New York City. My inbox filled up with book long diatribes full of ostentatious vocabulary and self-aggrandizing biographies.  I had no idea what was attracting these men.  I just knew it had to stop.

I wiped my profile clean and started over.  My current dating profile has next to no information on it.  I mention that I am a performer, I live with two cats, I am a vegetarian, I am a liberal and little else.  My profile redesign gave me an idea.  I decided to create a blatantly sexual, shallow and slutty profile and see what kind of mail I would get.  I was not shocked by what I found, but the numbers were overwhelming.

I won’t mention the dating website I used for fear that they will have me banned for life.   For the purpose of this article I will refer to my alternate profile as “German Girl”.

My actual profile.

Age 39, Vegetarian, Cat owner, Agnostic, Bachelor’s degree in the arts.  My regular profile has 10 photos on it, but for space I will include only three representational photos here.


One performance photo, one from a wedding and one of how I look while at home writing.

German Girl – The Body profile

Originally I had these two photos associated with the profile but they were taken down for violating the rules of the website for being “extreme close-ups”

I am a pear-shaped athletically built woman with a small bust and wide hips.  So I decided to go with my best assets…my abs.  I also used somewhat blurry photos on purpose, to hide my identity and to cover up any flaws.  I don’t think I have a perfect physique or anything, and I am not 25.

The following three were perfectly acceptable and approved for use on the site.

The lingerie shot, the abs shot and the bikini shot were the three photos that made up German Girl.  I made myself one inch taller at 5’8″ and six years younger.

My profile went along the following lines.  I am editing it for length.  .

The first things people usually notice about me

My eyes. I am not showing my face for a number of reasons. But I am blonde and most people would find me attractive. I might send you a photo, if I like yours.
1. Sex
2. Creativity
3. Music
4. Intellectual stimulation
5. Open minded people
6. Freshly baked bread.
Finding men that are compatible with me. I am a bit strange. I like them smart and nerdy. The nerdier the better.

You should message me if

You aren’t a total jerk.

I added freshly baked bread as a bit of a joke, as I keep seeing bread references on nearly every other profile.  German Girl was also a vegetarian, atheist and non-drug user.  I also gave her a Masters degree in the “Arts”.  My alter-ego was childless like myself, but without pets.

Here is what happened.  In the course of two weeks time, here is how these two profiles did in a head to head competition.

Regular Profile – Total emails – 15

German Girl – Total emails – 541

The headless photos of myself…got 36 times the email that my regular profile.

Here are just a few of the breakdowns of the emails sent my headless body.

  • 193 – Quick simple one sentence message
  • 92- Emails that just said simply Hi
  • 43 – Used humor in their emails
  • 32 – Asked for more photos
  • 27 – Asked for Sex Directly
  • 18 – Referred to me as gorgeous, cutie, adorable, beautiful  – (I am not sure how a body can be “adorable” but their words not mine.
  • 13 – Sent a mild insult
  • 12 – Were also profiles of photos of male bodies with no face.
  • 11 – Sent a several paragraphs
  • 11 – Sent a message that was obviously a cut and paste that is sent to dozens of women
  • 9 – Requests for BDSM Sex
  • 8 – Asked the simple question where is your face?
  • 1 – Told me I had a nice smile
  • 1 – Called me curvy (I wish I was curvy but I found that compliment to be way off especially with my flat abs and B cup breasts)  I have hips but I don’t exactly have curves.

German Girl got email from men of all ages, demographics and parts of the New York Metro area.  The profile even got email from out-of-town men who asked to meet up for a drink or sex for the brief time they would be in New York.  My favorite comment that I got repeatedly was “I can tell by your profile we have so much in common” which was especially funny since there was next to nothing on the profile.

About a week into my experiment I got a strange email from one of the founders of the company urging me to answer some of my hundreds of emails.  It felt like a mild threat, as they seemed to know that my profile was fake.  I decided to send some responses but I did so in the weirdest way possible.  A few of the several hundred men got one or two-word cryptic answers.  For instance:

Man: “Hey there!  I like your body what are you doing this weekend?”

German Girl: “Weekend?”

Or if they would say something like

Man: “Girl, you are hot I would love to get to know you”

German Girl: “Know me!”

My bizarro answers would deter some but most men would still try to chat with me anyway.  I was only answering a few emails so the site wouldn’t kick me off.   I didn’t want to lead anyone on.

In the case of the handful of men that emailed both profiles they tended to write a lot more to my actual profile. German Girl was lucky to get a sentence.  Nearly 200 emails simply said…”Hi!” or “Hey there”.  It gave me amazing insight on communication with men.  When they are thinking of you as a just a piece of meat, they won’t bother with much chit-chat.  When they are hoping for a girlfriend…they might send several paragraphs.

In the case of the men who emailed both profiles, if sent German Girl an email I didn’t take them seriously on my regular profile.  The whole thing acted like a screening process.  A few men that I knew, looked at German Girl but did not contact her, a fact that I found reassuring.  Not every man took the bait.  I am sure many found German Girl tacky and vacuous.  A few guys I had gone on dates with didn’t recognize me and sent German Girl an email.  These were men I had just had a drink with and nothing else.   They hadn’t exactly seen my body!

I also got several emails from men that looked exactly like German Girl – all photos were of body shots and no head.  So a headless body was sending another headless body email begging to hook up.  I actually respected the direct hook-up requests seeing as German Girl herself was fairly straight forward.

When I briefly added another shot of my mostly obscured face, the flood of emails slowed down.  I would love to do another experiment with one profile with a face and one without and see which one gets more mail.  Somehow a face made me too intimidating, it was easier to send mail to a detached body.

I am not surprised by the outcome of this experiment.  I knew the body shot profile would get more attention and more email.   Any woman seeking casual sex and posting bikini photographs is going to have a full inbox. What shocked me were the overwhelming numbers.  I have had multiple friends find partners, even spouses online.  I am beginning to feel though that their success had more to do with sheer luck than anything else.  If I ever decide to just start hooking-up with random strangers though, I might just resurrect Ms. German Girl and give it ago.  Maybe I will get some freshly baked bread out of it, or an STD.  For now, I will just stick to my profile with a face and hope I get lucky.

Dating After Divorce: He’s Just Not that into You…no really he is just not that into you.

Cover of "He's Just Not That Into You: Th...

Cover via Amazon

After I left my marriage emotionally scarred and damaged, I have discovered that I am the world’s worst dater.  No really…I am the world’s worst dater.  I am terrible at it.  I talk too much, reveal too much, ramble on and on…and I think I come across as a neurotic idiot.  No, make that a desperate neurotic idiot.  If I am not into a guy I get bored and can’t really hide it, I stop asking him questions and just blather on about any nonsense.  Somehow my brain tells me if I just keep going then maybe something will click, when instead I should just make up an excuse and get out of the situation.  If a man is rude or insulting to me, I don’t think to just get up and leave, even though there were many times when I should have done just that.  And on those rare occasions someone sparks my interest, all I can think of is

“Please like me…please don’t think I am a weirdo…please don’t run away”

And call me crazy, but I think my inner monologue might be projecting…because so far the ones I seem to fancy…run away.

In my never-ending search for dating advice I turn to self-help books.  Books have always been my go-to when I need information about anything.  I own a couple hundred books on various subjects and have an entire shelf dedicated to the subject of “DATING”

One best-selling tome promotes a simple premise “He’s Just Not that Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.  From what I know of the back story, a male comedian and writer came up with the premise for an episode of “Sex in the City“.  The episode was so popular that the concept transformed into a book and then a movie.  Millions in sales later it remains as a classic for women to turn to when we get so damn confused by men.

The wisdom contained in the book is simple

  • Men really aren’t that complicated
  • If a man wants you, he will stop at nothing to get you.
  • Don’t chase a man, or pursue them
  • Don’t waste the pretty if a man is treating you badly don’t put up with it.
  • If a man doesn’t want to commit, cut him off, don’t look back
  • There are quality men out there, but it may take a while to find one.

All of this is great advice and will help any woman to stop obsessing about every little move a man makes.  It also helps women to stop giving inconsiderate men second and third chances.

This is all great medicine, but like any medicine it comes with some side effects.  For instance, I have desperately tried to live by its ideals but I rarely go on second or third dates…I am starting to believe that “No one will ever be into you”  I have had to deal with…

  • Men I barely know try to booty call me even though I gave them no indication that I would be game for that
  • Ignored text messages, emails and phone calls
  • I have sent invites to my shows – only to have them ignored
  • Dated men that rarely if ever gave me a compliment
  • Been blown off completely – countless times
  • One man decided an ex-girlfriend was more important to follow on twitter than I was, even though he was emailing me every day…for months.

So when I apply the “He’s just not that into you” philosophy it leads me to the conclusion

  • There is something wrong with me
  • Who marries a gay clown? – A freak does
  • I repel men
  • I am a total weirdo and no one wants to stick around
  • I am a liability or an emotional wreck
  • They saw your blog, videos or stand-up and have decided your are not dating material

These are irrational fears that swirl about in my head, completely untrue but persistent nonetheless.  The more I seem to stick my neck out in the dating pool of sharks, the more I seem to get bitten.  I have honestly given up trying to figure this out, and I think I am finally done with online dating.  We are after all commodities on any dating site, and any potential suitor might think they can always find a shinier less damaged version out there.  I have had friends find the loves of their lives on online dating websites but whatever reason most of my dates end in tears.  If not immediately afterward I usually end up crying days later when I realize I am not going to hear from the guy.  Either I walk away somewhat disgusted or discouraged by the men that I meet or become crushed when I thought there was a connection and then I never hear from the guy again.  I have met some lovely men who were nice but I didn’t have any chemistry with or felt were more compatible as friends, but then that happens to everyone now doesn’t it.

I think I am going to throw the books away, get off the dating sites and hope that the universe releases me from this undeserved penance.  In a fit of self-protection I can feel a thick emotional callous forming around my heart and I don’t like it.

 

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.

Dating After Divorce: Mr. or Ms. Angry

Raiva-Ager-Icon

Raiva-Ager-Icon (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.

We have all been out with someone like this, and I will freely admit that I have been this exact person.  I am writing this in part, because I need to remind myself of this bad dating habit.  🙂  And as always all of my examples will remain confidential and I will change certain details to protect the not-so-innocent.

Mr.or Ms. Angry

  • Usually over 35 (Or any age)
  • Any occupation
  • Any socioeconomic background
  • Any level of physical attractiveness from gorgeous to hideous

Bad behavior

  • Immediately starts complaining about something on a date
  • Bitches about their ex
  • Goes on and on about something negative
  • Gets angry with you over nothing
  • Shows disrespect to a server or another service based employee
  • Says horrible things about their family members
  • Plays the Victim with no shades of gray

I will openly admit that I have been extremely guilty of being a “Negative Nellie” while on dates.  In my case I am more of a Ms. Morbid or Ms. Negative than Angry but they are really just different shades of the same color.  A date with a “Mr. Angry” will usually go something like this…

You meet somewhere for a quick bite or drink and your date immediately starts into a rant about something horrible in his or her life.  It could be one of any of the following, divorce, breakup, finances, politics, mortgage, lease, problems at work, hatred of something, even a former lover.

Mr. or Ms. Angry starts his or her first conversation with a virtual stranger with a complaint of some sort.  Are they justified?  They very well might have plenty of reason to rant, but doing so on a first date is a terrible idea.  I know I have a bad habit of talking about my divorce but it is difficult for me to avoid this topic since I am currently writing a book about it, I blog for the Huffington Post in the Divorce section and has been the single most traumatic and transformative event in my life.  It is difficult to not speak of the elephant in the room.  But try I must, because when I’m meeting a person for the first time and I find myself  just ranting about some injustice the red flags are blowing in the wind and sirens are going off, Danger, Danger…RUN!

One man insisted on calling me before our date.  I hate calling men on the phone I haven’t met, but we had a mutual friends so I agreed to it.  He started our conversation with a 20 minute rant on how much he hated living in Los Angeles.  He then went on about an illegal sublet and an unfair landlord, and spoke at length about his complicated realtionship with his ex-wife.  Which he said and I quote “Any woman is just going to have to DEAL with it, but I still love her!”  Why I didn’t get off the phone is beyond me, but he topped off the conversation by referring to  Kermit the Frog as a “Pig F*cker”.   And he said as much with pure venom.  I won’t get into what this man did for a living to protect his privacy, but his job was sort of related to children’s entertainment.   Most examples of Mr. and Ms. Angry will complain about a former partner, as complaining about an ex seems to make sense to a new potential mate.  I’ve done it myself, but I wish I hadn’t.  As I have said many times on this blog and in my stand-up.

Any man who trashes his ex in front of a new woman, don’t be surprised if you are next on his list.

And of course this goes for women as well.  We have all dated psychos and some of us have experienced extremely bad behavior – cheating, deception, physical violence, disrespect, obsessiveness, controlling or manipulative behavior .  We may feel completely justified in our rants, but listing our grievances presents us in the absolute worst light to a new suitor.  It is also a huge red flag is EVERY former partner of a Ms. or Mr. Angry is:

  • Crazy
  • Psycho
  • Abusive
  • Addict or Alcoholic

You have to ask yourself, what is the other side of the story?  And why does this person keep picking unstable or cruel people as partners? Some are real victims as bad relationships happen to nearly everyone, but if literally EVERY former lover is pure evil…chances are these situations have far more shades of gray then Mr. or Ms. Angry will let you in on.

When Mr. or Ms Angry starts off with a bitch fest, they are also letting you know that any new person in their life is a dumping ground for emotional baggage.  If you end up dating that person, you will become the new rubbish bin.  Of course we all complain about our lives to our friends and lovers but it should only be part of the relationship, not the main part.  Ideally you go on dates to get to know a new person, find things you share in common and if you are really lucky discover the intangible and elusive connection.  Your date is not your therapist, and you shouldn’t let someone treat you like one either.  I outta know, I know of where I speak on this one. 🙂  I have been both accidental therapist AND the ranting lunatic.

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Life After Divorce: Phantom Babies

Discussion

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I get in so much trouble with this blog as it is.  My life is rather unconventional.  I’m a children’s performer by day and a raunchy comedian or a burlesque emcee at night.  My dual occupations seem to scare most potential mates away. No, actually it scares all of them away except for the very young and the very old.  I also seem to attract stalker types and men who live far away from me.  So basically anyone who I might actually date is usually terrified of me. Then I go and do something crazy like talk about babies on my blog…and I do it on more than one entry. What the hell am I thinking?  I don’t know. I have given up trying to figure these things out.

I will be 39 years old in about a week. My grandmother and one of my aunts had children in their early forties.   I’m in excellent health, ideal weight, no smoking, no drinking alcohol, no drugs, no major health problems.  I should have a few more years left, but just a few. I have had to accept that motherhood won’t happen for me. Before I did, I had problems walking past playgrounds on bright sunny days and not bursting into tears. And yes, this exact scenario has played out for me multiple times. What can I say?  I used to try to suppress tears and since my major depression I just let them come when they are going to come.

In my day job I work with children, so they are a constant reminder of something that I will never have. I love children and because I work with them I realize the added responsibility and expense of raising kids. I understand the completely life altering changes children make to a person’s life and how being a parent is the most demanding job on earth. It’s truly a lifetime commitment. You can relocate across the country, move to Europe, change careers mid-life, get a divorce, remarry, but unless you sign away parental rights, a child is forever. Even if you abandon your child or leave their upbringing to another person, once grown the child could still look you up and expect a relationship. Knowing all of this I still feel a strong urge to reproduce.

And I was on that path, married at 29 years old and had a fairly stable relationship for most of its duration. I conformed my lifestyle to suit my husband’s and completely committed myself to the marriage in heart, mind, body and spirit.  Right about the time my ex-husband was pushing for a baby my marriage completely dissolved into a pile of dust and scattered with the wind. More mirage than anything, it was all over in an instant. What I thought was a straight man, was instead a closeted homosexual. We didn’t have to worry about birth control, natural or otherwise, since the relationship had become celibate. I thought it was especially cruel of my ex to pressure me for a child when he had no sexual relationship with me whatsoever. And it wasn’t until the last few months when he started to blame me for the lack of sex.  Which was absurd if you knew the exact details of our relationship.

Things started out normal and slowly dissolved into something completely dysfunctional.  Meanwhile, I believe he was having an extramarital affair of some capacity with a man. He claims it wasn’t physical but I at this point I don’t care. He is gay and there is no changing that.  I thought I was doing the right thing by remaining loyal to my husband despite our problems, but my loyalty cost me dearly.

Now I have a recurring dream of a blonde haired girl with ringlets and blue eyes. Which is funny because curls don’t run in my family and both blonde hair and blue eyes are recessive.  For whatever reason there she is, this fair-skinned doll-like girl with huge blue eyes and a mess of blonde curls.  Sometimes my dream child is a boy with large brown eyes and floppy hair neatly dressed in a preppy little outfit of plaid or argyle gripping my hand as we walk down a Manhattan street.  Other nights I can feel the weight of an infant resting on the right side of my chest. The scent of half digested milk, baby powder and diapers all mixed together in the indistinguishable smell that means baby.  I can sense the breathing and the tiny heart, feel the vulnerability of a minute human who needs me more than anything else.  Then I  I wake up and it is back to reality living alone with OKCupid, Match.com and lots of painful awkward dates.

I could move back to Missouri live with my parents try to find some type of traditional job, maybe go back to school get a master’s degree and teach.  Maybe I could go to a sperm bank, get some sort of anonymous donor and raise a child on my own.  Moving back with my parents seems horribly regressive and only something I would turn to out of extreme desperation.  I have lived on my own since college.  Even during college when most students went home for Summer vacation, I continued to take classes and work. Living with my parents at this point would be like living on another planet.

I could do as some have suggested and have a baby on my own here in New York, supplementing my income with welfare and food stamps.  Purposefully living off of government programs just seems irresponsible.  I also have no family here and no support system other than my friends most of whom are childless and single.

I could see myself as a step-parent or possibly adopting.  The problem arises with finding a partner. I don’t want to completely give up, but I think I almost have to give up.  I have to mentally let go of it, or it is going to choke me emotionally.  I just have to accept that my life didn’t work out the way I wanted it and see a new future and new life ahead of me.  Instead of diapers and cranky sullen teenagers I will have solitary nights used solely for writing or whatever creative endeavor I choose.

It’s not easy.  But so much has not been easy since my divorce.  I believed since my earliest years that if I followed the rules at least some things would work out for me.  But instead I followed the rules, things crumbled and then without half trying new opportunities arose for me.  The universe and just made a new path for me and I am not fighting its momentum.   My new reality may not include motherhood, and that is OK.  So the phantom babies will have to belong to someone else, and eventually the dreams will stop and be replaced by new ones.

Life After Divorce: Dealing with Loneliness

English: Lower Manhattan at late dusk.

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I wish I could write snappy little sentences on this topic, compile a top ten list of things to combat the sense of being utterly alone.  I could give obvious tips like surround yourself with friends, or don’t hide up in your apartment by yourself.  But it would be disingenuous of me to give advice because I don’t have any answers.  I didn’t sign up for being alone in my late thirties: no children, no spouse and very little hope of change.  Someone from my distant past who I don’t know well, put the following on my facebook wall

“Why don’t you just learn to be happy without a man?”

He couldn’t understand that this ridiculously dismissive statement upset me.  Needless to say we are no longer friends. His declaration just seemed like a death sentence.  I should just resign myself to being alone the rest of my life, that somehow wanting a relationship is a weakness.  I can’t imagine someone going up to a man who had ended his marriage and telling him

Who needs a woman?  You should be happy on your own!

I guess some might, but it seems socially more acceptable to espouse this sentiment to a woman instead of a man.  Up until recently women had fewer choices in life than men, it was either get married or struggle on your own.  Now we have a myriad of variations of a healthy adult life.  I am not searching for a partner for a sense of financial stability or cultural acceptance.  I just prefer to live in a committed relationship and not have a series of short-lived affairs.  Not everyone likes the same flavor ice cream and not everyone likes the same lifestyle.  I don’t know how it is a weakness on my part to want to share my life with another.

There is some truth in his statement:  I should learn to love living on my own and I shouldn’t need a partner in my life.  But I am hardly 80 years old.  I don’t think I should accept my fate of a permanently single woman bereft of any romantic endeavors.  Some people tell me I am trying too hard, and I should just let nature take its course.  Well even though I keep trying to convince people otherwise; I really don’t meet anyone in my daily routine.  I work with children in my day job so I meet a lot of married dads, and at night I host burlesque and comedy shows.  Any men that I seem to attract from my performances are not attracted to me in a healthy way, in fact some of them have acted more like stalkers.  They aren’t seeing me, but a fragment of my personality heightened for the stage. These men tend to put me on such a high pedestal; I would have no way to go but down, if I actually tried to have a relationship with any of them.  I have no desire to end up with another comic and further complicate any professional ambitions in that field.  Online dating has been a bit of a fiasco for me, yet I still keep trying with no luck.  I feel entirely stuck.

I also get the criticism that I am not trying hard enough.  I should force myself to go out with nearly any man within reason, including men I have no attraction towards or are much older or younger than me.  I don’t know why I should have to put myself through that hell.  Even going out with age appropriate men I am reasonably attracted to is difficult enough.  Occasionally I will get my hopes up on someone only to quickly give up as they don’t feel the same way towards me, or I discover huge compatibility problems.  As I watch nearly everyone in my social group “couple up” at least temporarily I wonder –  What is it about me that is preventing this from happening?  Is that the trauma of my divorce and subsequent depression too glaring to hide?  Is it due to my lack of trust in other people I read as suspicious?  Do I just seem desperate?  Is it this blog? (So far at least one man has blamed it for changing his mind about a second date).  I don’t know.  I go through periods of not caring at all and then waves of feeling like it is never going to change.

The loneliness is stifling.  I am envious of women with children because at least they have someone in their life who is a part of them forever.  My marriage was little more than lies and deception, but at least I had someone to come home to every night.   My spouse was someone I thought was supporting me and with whom I could share my life.  Now it is just endless nights wondering if this is just the new normal.  I didn’t sign up for this when I committed my life to my husband.   As I watch my fellow single friends start dating people they care about, I know I won’t get to talk to them as often or see them as much.  I am happy for them, but it just makes me feel that much more alone.  I wish I had some sort of pep talk for myself and for readers of this blog.  I don’t.  I continue to hang out with friends who love and support me and reach out to loving family members, but the elusive romantic partnership seems lost to me forever.  The most searched for phrase for this blog is the following.

Why is it so difficult to date in your late thirties?

Although I might be lonely, I am definitely not alone.

Unconditional Love – Why it is such a bad idea

unconditional.

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I have a feeling this post might upset some people.  But I have thought that before and it hasn’t stopped me yet.  As Valentine’s Day approaches I think of the cliché line that is often uttered in Victorian novels, romantic comedies and tales of epic romances.

I will always love you, unconditionally

I find this statement not just unrealistic but downright dangerous.  The only vessels on this earth that should receive unconditional love are children and pets.  For one adult to pledge to unconditionally love another adult is a little fantastical.  As we all have conditions on lovers and their behavior.  Many a lifetime has been destroyed trying to live up to this myth that true love will conquer all, or that somehow no matter what the obstacles love will live forever.  I would agree that if the obstacles and stresses are external that this type of love should be striven for in every intimate relationship.  For instance, if one is stricken with a horrible disease it is noble and inspirational if their partner stays by their side through thick and thin.  That kind of unconditional love is a beautiful thing that we should all hope and strive for in this life.

But what if one partner begins to abuse, damage or hurt the other partner?    What if they have sexual relationships outside the relationship without the other partners consent?  What if one repeatedly puts their own needs before their partners?  What if one weaves a tapestry of lies and deception living a secret life without their partner’s knowledge?  Is it right to love them unconditionally despite this extremely destructive and hurtful behavior?  Abusive behavior should not be brushed aside due to some vow of “unconditional” love.  We should never become a doormat to an idea or notion that is unattainable.  I stayed in my marriage years longer than I should have because I thought that if I loved my husband enough, that it would save the marriage.  But my marriag,e constructed of lies more than anything else, was not salvageable.  I had no hope in keeping it together no matter what I did.

I know of some relationships that take great pride in the length that they have survived as a couple, yet some of these relationships are no more than two co-dependent toxic people who cannot live without each other.  I think of the example of the play Who’s Afraid of Virgina Wolf  in which Martha and George, have been together for over two decades in a relationship of constant bickering, fighting and mutual destruction.   The main forces keeping them together being fear, co-dependence and alcoholism.  Is that “unconditional” love?  We all know couples in our real lives that exist this way and they are nothing to envy.

I also used to find it romantic when a spouse would lose another due to death and then never remarry.  After my divorce I find that notion horribly depressing and sad.  Sad that the surviving spouse was never able to make that same kind of connection with another human being.   They should still love and honor their deceased partner, but with enough time to grieve should try to find someone new to let into their life.  As most partner’s would not want their surviving spouse to remain lonely forever.

Unconditional love  is ultimately self-destructive unless it is unconditional love for ourselves.  I am not saying that we should love ourselves in such a way that we don’t see our short-comings, poor choices or mistakes.  We should never see ourselves as anything but the flawed human beings that we are, but if anything we should have so much love for ourselves that we don’t allow another to treat us in such destructive ways.   And to hell to the silly novels, lame romantic comedies and articles in Cosmopolitan that tell us otherwise.  A healthy adult relationship should have boundaries and conditions.  To love someone who is abusive to you is not love, and it is nothing noble it is a form of self-loathing if nothing else.