My divorce was finalized in February and I think I’m ready to date. Many of my friends and co-workers tell me to get online but I just can’t imagine meeting someone like that and I’m not even sure where to start. Also, I’m honestly afraid of meeting anyone I like at all.
My divorce has soured me on romance and I wonder if I’d be better off alone.
I guess that’s two questions, sorry!
Actually, that’s zero questions. Here, let me help:
- Should I look for dates on Internet dating sites, and if so, which ones?
- Is it possible that I am so damaged by my divorce that I will never be able to let go of the pain and allow myself to fall in love again?
Readers, here is what I gleaned from subsequent emails with Sally:
- Initially she did not want the divorce but she recognizes now it absolutely had to happen.
- The divorce was ugly and took almost two years.
- She is 49 years old and both her kids are in college so she lives alone.
- She has a great career but money is an issue so she works a lot.
- Her ex-husband moved on immediately and showed no emotion over the breakup of the marriage.
- She has a nice group of friends and is making new ones.
- Sally is frisky as hell and hasn’t had sex in a long time. So long, in fact, that I asked her to grab a hand-mirror and check to see if her hymen has grown back.
#1: Should Sally look for dates on Internet dating sites, and if so, which one?
I guess that’s a compound question. So sue me.
My answer is “yes,” but with a caveat. Internet dating sites can be a great way to meet wonderful people, but they can also be a great way to meet creeps. Please see the story that appears at the end of this blog for an example.
The good thing about these sites is they can eliminate unsuitable people for you prior to your ever wasting time meeting them.
For example, if you are a die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter and find the idea of dating a Trump supporter physically and morally repugnant (and vice versa), you can immediately exclude those people from consideration.
(Bad fit – get it?)
You can also exclude people of certain ages, number of children, races, religions, education levels, incomes – the list goes on and on for those people who are more concerned about what a future partner should not be, rather than who they are as a human being.
So I suppose Internet dating does a lot of the initial work for you – it tells you all you (think you) need to know instead of you having to get that information on your own through the ancient and nearly-extinct art of “conversation.”
So go for it! But before you do, ask your friends if they know anyone you might get along with. If they do, ask them to set you up in a very low-pressure way.
For example, one little trick I like to pull when I think two people would get along well and both are looking for love is I have a cocktail party and invite them both. I only tell one of them about the set-up so there are no awkward feelings or pressure.
Your friends who know and love you are more likely than a computer program to introduce you to someone with whom you will click. Unfortunately, your friends may not know anyone single right now. If you are really ready to date, I encourage you to start online but to be very cautious.
Robin’s Tips for Online Dating:
- Until you know them well enough to trust them, always meet in public places.
- Until you know them well enough to trust them, never give anyone your home address.
- Until you know them well enough to trust them, communicate only through the website so if and when things turn bad, they cannot electronically harass you.
- Beware romance scammers who are looking for money. Hint: if you are a 68-year-old well-off man whose better days are in the rearview (and not the bathroom) mirror, that 25-year old blonde buxom hottie may be interested in you for more than your great charm and personality. Same goes for you middle-aged ladies out there.
- Until someone starts paying me big money for advertising, I’m not plugging any particular site or app. Do you research, talk to your single friends, and you’ll figure it out.
#2: Is it possible that Sally is so damaged by her divorce that she will never be able to let go of the pain and allow herself to fall in love again?
Of course it’s possible. I know people who never got over their breakup and for whom wallowing in misery and bitterness is a full-time job and the only life experience they have besides eating takeout solo on the couch with the cat.
If I may pile on for a moment, it’s also possible that you are so damaged by your divorce that even though you may find love again, it won’t last because you have not fully explored the havoc and destruction that made up your lengthy and acrimonious divorce.
You’ve been through personal hell and never spoken with a therapist about it or even pondered how that has affected you and could impact you in the future. Your divorce beat the shit out of you and until your wounds heal through deep introspection and critical thinking, I don’t think you are healthy enough to get back in the ring.
Yeah, that makes love and relationships sound like a fight, I know.
“Back in the ring? Why would I want to go there? I don’t want to get knocked out or cauliflower ear or a split eye! What about the risk of brain damage?”
OK, let’s switch the sports analogy.
Love is like a team with a common goal. If your knee is still healing from surgery, it may not be a good idea to pick a new doubles partner to play at Wimbledon with you this summer.
How about I drop the analogies and remind you your letter to me said this:
I’m honestly afraid of meeting anyone I like at all. My divorce has soured me on romance and I wonder if I’d be better off alone.
It sounds like you think you should be dating because a requisite amount of time has passed and your husband has happily fallen into another woman’s vagina.
Recovering from divorce is not something people all do at the same rate. Your husband jumped on the first woman that came by and your friends are telling you to get on out there and find love again but I don’t think you are ready.
This is your journey, not anyone else’s. Find a good therapist and delve into what happened in your marriage and divorce. Once you identify just how much injury you suffered, you can then heal yourself.
At that point, you won’t be asking me, or anyone else, for advice. You’ll be out there, trying people on for size, breaking that hymen and having a ball.
Good luck! Sex and dating and love are wonderful things so enjoy them, but remember to be safe and to take care of your body and heart.
Robin’s Funniest Match.com story
I don’t want to identify this gentleman (**ahem**) by name, but here are some clues:
1. He considers himself to be a real big shot in our town;
2. He is so pompous that he wouldn’t tell me his name until we met in person, and only identified himself until then as a “local celebrity” (who, by the way, I had never heard of, and I’ve lived here my entire life); and
3. He was once nominated for a Grammy. It’s an honor just being nominated, you know.
When I first met this fellow, I was intrigued. He wasn’t all that handsome but he carried himself like he was looking at George Clooney’s reflection in the mirror. Within ten minutes on our first date (and after he finally told me his name, looking crestfallen when I didn’t recognize it and instantly throw my panties at him), he explained to me how different he and I are from the general population.
“You see Robin, it’s like a bell curve,” he said, and traced a bell curve on the wall of the little Italian restaurant. “You and me, we’re over here,” and he gestured to the far right of the curve. “The rest of the world, they’re over there,” and he waved his hand dismissively to the left.
While I certainly appreciated his quick recognition of my brilliance and overall superiority to, well, everyone, it did feel a little strange. He didn’t know me well enough to know how fabulous I am, as that takes at least four dinner dates, three happy hours and a trip to a karaoke bar.
Was he trying to flatter me? What was his angle? I was puzzled.
Despite the fact I found this man a little strange and I didn’t like his shirt (if you know me at all you know that can be a real deal-breaker), I accepted a second date with him, during which he told me he loved me.
I then accepted a third date, planning it at a restaurant owned by a friend so I could break up with him there and watch him leave, then sit at the bar and commiserate with the owner about the lack of decent single men in Portland. I had the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” speech written on 3 by 5 notecards in my purse and I was pretty optimistic that I could get ‘er done by the salad course.
The conversation did not go as I planned, however, because of what happened when he picked me up for our date.
Mr. X showed up at my door that evening with four things, each disturbing in their own way; one especially so.
1. A dozen red roses with baby’s breath. Can you say “trite?” I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but for Christ’s sake, it’s all about the tropical flowers these days;
2. A teddy bear for my son Jake, who was 5 at the time. He had never met Jake, and Jake eyed him suspiciously when handed the stuffed bribe bear. “You do know I’m five, right?” he said, tossing the offending item on the couch and returning to his game of Grand Theft Auto;
3. His scrapbooks (plural!) put together by his mother, detailing every major event in his life including significant bowel movements and the date and time he discovered his first public hair, and last but not least;
4. A wrinkled brown paper bag that looked like it had seen better days.
“What’s in here?” I asked him, and started to open the bag. He remained silent as I pulled out not one, not two, but three different brands of personal lubricant.
“Um, what’s with the lube?” I asked, trying to shield my son from seeing the bag’s contents and simultaneously conjuring up a really good excuse to get this guy out of my house immediately.
“That’s for you, sweetheart, ’cause I’m really big, and you’re gonna need it.”
To say that I was flummoxed is the understatement of the century. I was so shocked that I actually got in his car and went to dinner with him. I think I knew that ending this “relationship” should take place in a very public arena and away from my innocent child.
I also sensed that my prepared remarks would no longer be adequate, and that I needed something more concrete to ensure he would lose my number, and fast. We sat down, ordered drinks, and I told him the following:
“You are such a great guy, I really think you are wonderful, but I can’t date you anymore. The truth is, and I’m so sorry for not bringing this up sooner, I’m actually dating someone else, and we are in love, and we just decided to get married. So technically, you see, I’m actually engaged, and really shouldn’t be here at all.”
“I don’t see a ring on your finger,” he astutely pointed out.
“Oh, well, we don’t buy into those social conformities,” I laughed, and illustrated this point by wriggling my fingers and raising my eyebrows. “He actually proposed to me with a salmon. A really fresh salmon. We are getting married next month. At a salmon cannery. It’s going to be very special.”
“Aren’t you still married to your first husband?” he querried, clearly not buying into my story.
“Oh, um, yes, but it turns out we weren’t really legally married after all, because I was very drunk at the time and he was still married to his first wife, so I’ve got my lawyer working on an annulment.”
He was starting to turn purple and his breathing became rapid. His eggplant-colored silk shirt (ugh) started to show sweat stains in the armpits.
“Why on earth would you need an annulment if you were never legally married in the first place?” This was a good question – a very good question indeed.
“You know,” I said, in my very best lawyer voice, “Since you aren’t a lawyer you really can’t understand. It’s very technical and has to do with res judicata and habeas corpus. I’d explain it to you but I’m really not sure, despite your position on the bell curve, that you would get it.”
For weeks afterward, this man called and emailed me incessantly, telling me I would never meet someone like him again (well damn, I hope not). I did not answer any of his emails until the last one, which was so threatening in tone and content that I felt I had to address it.
Dear Grammy Nominee Who did Not Win a Grammy:
While I appreciate your enthusiasm for pursuing a relationship with me, I am busy planning my wedding to the salmon guy, so please do not contact me anymore. I know you will find someone soon who can appreciate all your interesting qualities. Fondly, Robin.
I pressed send.
Immediately, yahoo mail shot me back the following message:
“You have been blocked by this yahoo customer. You are not authorized to send mail to this account.”
He got me. Damn it, he got the last word. I hate that.