Post-divorce dating can be fun… it can also suck incredibly bad. Well dating at any age can suck incredibly bad.
The key to “enjoying” dating is to not take it too seriously. And it’s odd to say this but… don’t take it personally. If you meet a guy and he doesn’t call you after the first date… don’t take it personally. I used to take personal inventory after every date and tried to figure out every possible defect that would turn this guy off and the truth was… nothing was wrong with me, he just wasn’t attracted. Now one would thing, “Well if he wasn’t attracted, I must not be attractive!” No no no. See you are perfectly lovely, he just didn’t feel like you… clicked is probably a better word. You just didn’t click.
Oh yea, I used to beat myself up over that all the time. I am woman, I must please everyone. So even if I wasn’t attracted to them, I needed to make sure every Tom, Dick and Douchebag found me attractive. Hey, I never said I was always sane.
I cringe now but I even did stupid stuff like lash out at them because of it. Oh God, I’m so embarrassed.
Which now I ask myself… was I really ready to date then? Well sure I was, I mean who is ever totally ready? It’s a really emotional, self-esteem roller coaster of joy and cruelty… but you learn as you go. It’s the various levels of dating that you might not be ready for. And you need to kind of check yourself on that. If you think, “Oh I’m so ready for a relationship!” but you’re still pining over your ex… you’re not ready and will probably have disastrous results if you hop into something.
However, you can’t always wait ’til the planets align to venture out into the dating jungle. I knew a few people who had just gotten divorced and kept waiting and waiting and waiting. They’d even meet someone and they got along great but they were just too afraid to go on a date or get more deeply involved. There’s a fine line between “Wait until you’re ready” and “Jesus Christ, just get in the water already!”
Then there was the guy who we dated several times, one day the look in his eyes and tone in his voice feels like he’s falling for me. The very next day he was telling me he can’t see me and needs to date others. Wham! That happened more than once. I used to get so hurt and angry. Oh so angry. Angry enough to write scathing emails and make a complete ass out of myself. Saying things like “If you knew you weren’t ready, why did you date?!” The truth was… he probably didn’t know he wasn’t ready until he got to that point. We don’t know how we’re going to feel about everything ahead of time. A lot of things in life, well… you just don’t know until you get there.
So the prospect of feelings scared him after getting burned by his last relationship. Or he was just full of shit and found someone else he liked better. Whatever. The fact is, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it when that happens. You can’t force a person to date you or like you. I needed to just accept it, which was hard at first but I later mastered it. The harder part however, was not taking it personally. As I said above I kept thinking, “It must be me, it must be me, it must be me”. Well, yea even if it is me, ya’ know something he didn’t like, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person or fat or ugly or whatever the hell I was obsessing about that day. Sure maybe I could improve on this or that but just work on it and move on.
See, I told you it wasn’t easy. It blows. But just try to keep yourself in check, and everyone is entitled to their own likes, dislikes, wants, needs… and anyone can change their direction or feelings at any given time. Just know that. Also remember no one owes you anything. Well, maybe just to be treated respectfully, if they can’t do that you are perfectly entitled to kick their ass to the curb. But remember, nobody owes you a second date, a call back, or anything. If it doesn’t happen, move on and just know there is something better waiting for you.
For dating horror stories, check out my book “When Life Gives You Lemons… at Least You Won’t Get Scurvy!”