Divorced, dating and wondering what the hell happened?
I’ve been dating again. I have one thing to say about that, what the hell happened to dating? I don’t have a lot of dating experience. I married my college sweetheart so had dated the same man for over four years. And, I’m thinking these 21st-century dating rules need to change.
Here is the thing, though. My ex and I dated. We actually went out on dates. We didn’t hang out all the time watching movies at his place or mine. We never got to a place where we took each other for granted. We were on the same page when it came to knowing that for a relationship to flourish a couple must plan activities and engage in those activities together.
A few months back I met a great guy. During our first month together, we went out every weekend. We took in movies, went hiking, visited museums and had definitive plans to spend time together doing things we both enjoyed.
And then, within five weeks of meeting him, our relationship began to shift. Instead of “what should we do this weekend,” it turned into, “I’ll pick up some carry-out and we can binge Netflix.” It didn’t take me long to realize that I had turned into a booty call that this guy didn’t feel like putting much effort into. And, if there is one thing I’ve learned, I’m worth effort and am no man’s booty call.
I hear this same story from other women. They are meeting men who, for some reason don’t feel the need to put effort into relationships. Who think women are there for their pleasure and should be happy with whatever effort they choose to bestow on her.
Somewhere along the line men got a memo that they don’t have to do anything to have a woman on their arms and get regular sex. It’s like a virus and it has spread like the Bubonic Plague. It’s made bad men worse and good men believe that all they have to do is show up and “hang.”
I’m about to say something that will piss a lot of you off. I think that memo was sent out by women. It’s us women who have given me the go-ahead to treat us like we are disposable. It’s us women who want a man to love who has taught men they no longer have to behave like a man who is interested in us. We did this to ourselves.
I’m a feminist. I can carry my own weight. Don’t need a man to take care of me. Believe in equality but, dammit, I want the man in my life to respect, cherish and savor me. And, in return, I will respect, cherish and savor him. I’m fabulous and want a man who understands how fabulous is treated.
This article is for other fabulous women who, like me, keep meeting less that fabulous men and are tired of wading in the shallow end of the dating pool. It’s to help us women learn how to tell the difference between a good man and a shitty man and how to stop settling for less than we deserve. If that’s you, read on.
9 Rules for Dating in the 21st Century As a Single Mom
Stop Pursing Men!
Yeah, I know, it’s 2018 and those rules don’t apply any longer. I have a question for you, how is that working out for you? How many men have you pursued and asked on a date and then turned into a long-term, healthy relationship? Exactly.
Here’s the reality, if a man doesn’t have the balls or the motivation to ask YOU out, he isn’t going to have what it takes to engage in a committed relationship. He isn’t going to have what it takes to sustain a relationship by helping with the heavy lifting.
You want a man who knows your value, wait for the guy willing to put in the effort of asking you out and planning ways to show you some fun.
Insist He Comes to You
Once you have his attention and a date with him, don’t screw it up by compromising on how you should be treated. He asked you to spend time with him, so he should come to you and be willing to go wherever is best and most convenient for you.
That means no meeting him on his turf, no driving to his area of town, no going out of your way. If this is a first date, keep yourself safe and consider meeting him somewhere close to your office or your neighborhood. You are laying the groundwork for the future of a potential relationship. Don’t skimp on the things you want to get out of it.
And make sure he is willing to go out of his way for you before investing time and energy into him. No need to worry, if he turns out the be the guy for you, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to go our of your way for him, too.
Always Have an Out
Whether you met a man online or in real life, if he asks you for date suggestions, give him three choices of things you like to do in YOUR area that are free or really inexpensive. Remember, this is a meet and greet. Don’t get yourself committed to more than you can get out of gracefully should you need to escape. If he turns out to be a douchebag or, worse yet, too touchy-feely don’t make excuses for him, don’t ignore any red flags. Make a quick exit and write him off as a mistake you didn’t waste too much time on.
Let Him Pay
Let him pay for the date! In fact, insist on it. If a man’s not willing to take care of you and make you feel special now, I cringe at the thought of your future with him. Besides, as long as women are still earning seventy-eight cents for every dollar a man makes, the men can afford to buy the damn coffee with the twenty-two-cent difference we are screwed out of.
It’s instinctive for men to want to take care of women. I’m not promoting becoming financially dependent on a man but, on a first date, there is no harm in letting him pick up the tab. If a relationship is built, then you two can share the financial load.
Expect to Be Respected but Don’t Be a Jerk
He is taking you out, buying you a cup of coffee or dinner as a down payment on companionship and sex, and if you’re not going to give him those things in time, you shouldn’t be accepting what he offers. And don’t get your feathers ruffled, dating is about finding someone your interested enough in to spend time with and have sex with. Don’t even try to deny that! No one is saying a first date transaction is about sex only.
It’s kind of a crass, but widely understood, social contract, so it’s really inappropriate to pretend you are agreeing to that if you don’t intend for it to go in that direction. If you meet him online and aren’t attracted to him when you meet face-to-face, don’t waste his time and money by forcing yourself to sit through a coffee or dinner date. Explain your feelings and excuse yourself. You’ll have done him and yourself the favor of not wasting anyone’s time.
If, after coffee or dinner you decide he isn’t someone you want to explore a relationship with, don’t ghost him. Show him the respect of explaining your feelings and don’t leave him to wonder where the hell you got off to.
Keep First Date Conversation Light
This should go without saying but, it is something that some don’t seem to have a handle on. There are topics that should be off-limits on a first date. Topics like your ex, your therapist, finances or health issues. Keep it to your kids, your pets, your job, your friends, the books you read, the movies you enjoy. Keep it light!
Stay Away from the Player
You’ll know who he is. If he is playing games with texts or phone calls instead of asking you on a face-to-face date, he’s just not that interested, or else he’s 50 going on 12. You know when a man likes you because he will jump in to save you from a serial killer or get rid of a poltergeist for you; no games will be necessary. Seriously, if you have to ask the question, “Does he like me?” the answer will always be no. You know the truth; you’re not stupid.
Don’t Drink Alcohol Until You Know You Can Trust Him
No matter how much fun you have on that first date or how into him you are, stay away from alcoholic drinks. Let’s face it, you’re with a man you don’t really know. You don’t want to end up a date rape statistic. Or, act on lowered inhibitions and do something you’ll regret terribly the next day.
You’ve gone through a divorce. You’ve suffered the repercussions of choosing the wrong man once. If you don’t hold your standards high and know your value and expect to be treated accordingly, you’ll end up with another wrong man. So, don’t take shit from a man!