Dating After Divorce: Swimming in a Shallow Pool!
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By Angela Lutin, Contributor - May 07, 2013 - Updated October 02, 2013

Dating After Divorce: It Doesn’t Take Long to Realize You are Swimming in a Shallow Pool!

Fotolia_49869326_XS.jpgThe dating world is getting smaller…

Take, for example, the microcosm of divorced dating.  It would seem that with a divorce rate of 50% that leaves an enormous amount of people, people you don’t already know, in the pool as potential dates.  Think again.

I have a friend who is the Don Juan of divorced dating. Just this month he has been on 14 first dates and countless follow-up dates.  He has crib notes to keep up with them all.  According to him, any time you juggle over 5, you need specific notes…about everything. (I stopped him there. I did not want to know exactly what “everything” he meant.)
When he comes across a new victim potential girlfriend, he calls me and we play a game. He gives me five tidbits of information about the woman, and I guess who it is.  I’ve been correct every time.  There are only so many single “blond yoga instructors with a great rack and two sons that play baseball” in this town.

Whether you live in a city or suburbia like me, the reality is, when you enter the dating scene again, it doesn’t take long to realize the pool you are swimming in is very, very small…and filled with OLPs. That’s Off-Limits Potentials for those of you not familiar.

There are the obvious OLPs:

A friend’s former spouse. Don’t do it. Quite honestly if you’ve ever sat at a table with them and watched her feed him or, more likely, confess to you in the bathroom how she’d secretly like to stick a fork in his jugular, it’s too close for comfort.

The sibling of a friend. Making out with your friend’s brother is just icky. If they are twins, it’s practically incest.

Hottie at work. It’s best to avoid that awkward moment at the vending machine when he grins at you and you realize it’s because he’s remembering that time you insisted on doing a drunken impromptu strip tease in your Hello Kitty underwear.

Anyone that, if things go badly, would cause you to rearrange your entire gym schedule/lunch place/watering hole/hair salon. Do you really want to find a new colorist? I mean, hands down I’ll take good color over good…

There are the “gray area” OLPs:

Former boyfriend of an enemy. Of course it’s tempting, but for all the wrong reason. The brief smug satisfaction is not enough to deal with the leftovers of someone you despise.  As Reese Bobby so eloquently said in Talladega Nights, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Word.

Produce guy at the grocery. Scabies can be contracted by extended exposure to foreign produce.  Random fact I picked up in college.  It’s a dangerous enough place out there dating. I don’t believe it’s necessary to open yourself up to another avenue of disease.

Your best friend’s Dad. Don’t judge! Some of us are partial to older men, ok? But having your best friend call you “Mom” is a power trip that’s only amusing  until her kids start calling you “Grammie”

Someone that has access to your medical chart. Let’s be honest. There’s a lot of embarrassing shit in your medical chart. Remember that whole irritable bowl thing you had going on in ’07?

And then there are “why do I have such an effing moral compass?” OLPs.

Which, of course, is where I personally always get screwed.

Or don’t. Depending on how you look at it…

Someone wanted to set her me up with a “great guy”. (Ever notice how no one wants to set you up with a mother fucker?)

In what has become the modern day vetting process, I stalked his Facebook. We had mutual friends.  Wait, we had a mutual friend that happened to be a former FWB. Yep. Potential, is friends with former FWB. This is not good…

I decided this information morally required my due diligence.

I texted former FWB:

Me: Hey, miss you! Hope your Holidays are going well.  Someone wants to set me up with this guy ___________ (aka “Potential Awesomeness”) and I saw you were friends on FB.  In fact, I think I even remember you mentioning him before.  You guys tight?

FFWB: My best friend since 10th grade.  Awesome guy. Go on a date and see if you like him more than you liked me.

FFWB: Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Couldn’t be happier…love you both…miss you. xx

Me: (realizing that the first text was truth & the 2nd was spin, I carefully constructed my reply while I kicked myself for forgetting the golden rule- forgo permission and ask for forgiveness later.)
No, no.  Definitely would not do that.  I mean, we haven’t seen each other in 6mths and he’s been your friend 20 years.

FFWB: Good answer.

Me: (Clearly Potential was now off-limits. Time to re-strategize.) Hey, come to think of it, why haven’t we hung out in 6 months?

FFWB: I tried. Many times. Gave up after that. You would rather make love to your keyboard.

Me: (Perhaps I could salvage something out of this) Awww, don’t say that.  Seriously, let’s fix that.  When do you want to hang out?

FFWB: I’m seeing someone now, but I do think of you, doll. xx

And that’s how a base hit becomes a double play.  Outs on first and home…

That’s what you get for not returning my calls. I strategically blocked the Potential runner at first and then, just for my own enjoyment, made sure you would never score on me again.

So what do you do when you realize that: Of that 50% of the divorcing population, 48% is, for all the reasons listed above, ineligible?

You campaign really hard for the 2%. And this is how…
Online dating. I’ve said it in every interview and countless times in my column.  Anyone who is single and does not have an online dating profile is taking 20% of their opportunity to find love and throwing it in the trash.  That’s right. One in five couples met online, and the numbers are steadily increasing.  We are a society of over scheduled, time-starved individuals.  In the time it would take you to order a drink at the bar you can siphon through a cadre of individuals on a dating site that can filter every whim you desire in a partner. Stop being ridiculous and try it. 
It’s not for losers. I certainly am not a loser. I am someone who maximizes every second of my time, and there is no better time saver than online dating. 
Shameless self-promoting. Unless you tell people you are single and interested in meeting someone they won’t know.  For example, we had a male stripper entertain for my girlfriend’s 45th birthday.  After he left my girlfriend quipped about how many times I mentioned I was single. My response? “Ummm, yeah. Strippers have single friends too, you know.”

Self-promote. 24/7. You are a walking billboard of singleness until you are not. Be Shameless.

Give up the hermit lifestyle. If I had it my way, I would stay home every night in my footie pajamas.  But eventually you will want to share the Cherry Garcia with someone you love. You must get out there.  I know it’s hard, but just do it.

If you don’t, this is your future…

“I know! I can’t believe she got a rose! Bitch!”

Just say NO to the Snuggie.

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