Being on Your Own

Someone asked how comfortable people are being on their own post divorce and how comfortable they were during their marriage. The responses were about half and half. Yes, I’m comfortable with living on my own. /No, I’m not comfortable.

Yes, I was comfortable being independent during my marriage./ No, I was not very independent during my marriage.

No matter how long your were married, it is probably going to take some adjusting to your new life.

When I was married, my ex worked nights and slept during the day. If I had to go to the store, majority of the time I went with my daughter while ex slept. I did not drive out of town. If I did, I knew the exact path and did not venture any from it. It took years for me to be comfortable to drive on the interstate without my anxiety paralyzing me. Being in town alone was the same story, if there were too many people I started having a panic attack.

That is why I stayed with him for so long. I could not function – or so I thought – on my own.

It takes a lot of adjusting living alone.

Silence.

The silence when my daughter was with ex drove me insane. I found myself either listening to the TV shows that she watched or sitting in the dark staring at the wall for hours.

Become comfortable with the silence. Give yourself a chance to reflect, relax, and even enjoy moments of silence. More than likely you are always going, always trying to survive. Take a moment. Breath. Relax.

Money.

One positive thing I will say about my ex is he was a workaholic. He always volunteered for overtime. He was always working. He also allowed me to be a stay at home mom for five years. Granted we didn’t have as much money as he is making now, but we survived. We were young. We were comfortable.

This is one area I cannot give any advice. I live paycheck to paycheck. I have entertained the idea of having a sugar daddy just to save money in case something breaks.

I see this being an issue for several divorced individuals.

Do what you have to. You start making choices and changes in your life. Things you thought you needed, you realize you can not afford. You start deciding what you actually need compared to what you just want. My daughter is cared for. I am still wearing the same clothes that I have for almost a decade. They are worn. I cannot justify buying new ones.

Social life.

This is another area where I struggle. I did not have friends while I was married. I never had a girls’ night or a mommy and me group to hang out with. I took care of my daughter, the house, and my husband during my marriage. I sat at home while he would go to drill each month. After he finished on base, he would go out drinking. I remember seeing one receipt where he spent six dollars for a beer and left the waitress a fifteen dollar tip. I was so crushed. I could only imagine what flirting took place.

I see several people make a comment about how they lost friends after the divorce. Remember it is quality not quantity. But definitely make time to stay in contact with your true friends.

Relationships.

Third area that I struggle with… relationships. I have been divorced for five years. I have been done with my ex for about three years. I seriously did not think I would still be single by this time! I decided to do online dating. I thought I could easily find a man. Well… little did I know online dating is full of married men and creeps.

I do want a relationship. I do want to get married again. I don’t know if either will ever happen.

I took about a two week break from online dating. I decided to get back on there yesterday. Immediately, a couple of twenty-one year olds message me – ha!! A married man messages me – NO!! And a gamer messages me – nothing in common.

I guess I am going to continue to give online dating a try. I mean, I want a relationship so I have to make an effort, right? Really doubt Mr. Right is going to knock on my door. I have to go out and try to find him.

Or maybe decide I really just want fwb. Ugh… Sounds fun. But, can I do that? My anxiety, depression, and trust issues – is fwb a good choice for me?

I do miss having a relationship. I miss having an adult to talk to and share with. I miss being married to my best friend.

Identity.

Final thought. After your divorce, it is hard to find your identity. I was always known as ex’s wife, or my daughter’s mom. Never known by my name. Never known for me.

Figure out who you are. Figure out your likes and dislikes. Find yourself.

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Weakness of the flesh

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Haven’t posted in awhile. Been busy with my daughter’s activities, work, and trying to catch up on sleep. Think exhaustion is taking its toll on me. Sad thing is I hope I have enough self-control.

So, I haven’t been with anyone since April. Kind of a long time, but not really. I’ve gone without sex for eighteen months – twice. It’s not fun, but it’s doable.

The other day, out of the blue, I had this HORRIBLE thought… Ready?… I actually wondered what my ex would do and say if I asked for sex from him. What?!? Why?!? What the hell is wrong with me?!? Am I that desperate?!? I do have to say, it did make me laugh. I don’t plan on doing that – or him – EVER again. I don’t find him attractive anymore. I’m not in love with him anymore.

Then the next day, I had a guy message me on a dating site. Not a bad looking guy. He is local – actually lives in the town about five minutes away. However, he is not wanting a relationship. He, of course, is just wanting to have some fun.

Temptation.

I really do want a relationship. But, some fun doesn’t sound so bad either for right now.

I did have self-control. I told him we would have to go on some dates and get to know each other. I’m sure that will run him off. Doubt any guy just looking for some fun will want to work that hard to achieve it.

Another reason being divorced and single sucks some days.

But, do have to brag about myself for a second. My detective skills are getting pretty good thanks to technology and social media. Had another guy message me. And in less than thirty minutes, I already knew his real name, place of employment, and that he was engaged. Sorry assholes, I’m not as an easy target as I may appear. Don’t waste my time.

Be Strong

All night, I continued to think about something I wrote yesterday – are people who have a history of being abused, have depression and/or anxiety not worth being loved? I found myself actually debating on finding guys online – that I’ve already dismissed – just to have a date, a quick hook up, or even just some human touch.

I didn’t.

Why do that to myself?

I need to learn from my mistakes. I need to realize I AM worth so much more than what those “boys” have to offer. Several of them would string me along then disappear, then reappear to ask for sex, of course I would turn them down. Another one told me I wasn’t relationship material, but if I was dtf let him know. So, actually I didn’t even get online.

Instead, I did some painting.

Yes, I’m not going to meet a man by sitting at my house painting, but at least I’m not going to let my depression make me do something that I am going to regret in the long run.

My daughter and I paint and hide kindness rocks. I painted some for us to hide when she gets back home from ex’s. I also painted one just for her. She loves the movie IT. So I painted a rock with an IT theme.

 

Adventures of Online Dating… The sequel?

It has taken a few months, but I am mentally ready to try online dating again. After spending seven months falling for a serial cheater and catching him back in April of this year, I have been leery about trying to date anyone. I found myself wondering what are they lying about, what are they hiding, are they my next life lesson.

I got back online right away after the serial cheater, but I kept my walls up – thicker and higher than ever before. I told guys I was just there to chat. Chatting doesn’t leave you heartbroken and feeling like an idiot. Sadly, conversations haven’t been that great. No one lasts more than a day.

I do want a relationship.

Yesterday, I received a message from a guy. He lives about 40 minutes away – not too bad. I refuse to try to date out of state again — there is a reason they are looking out of state. The serial cheater was the perfect example – he’s fiancee lived in the same state as him. With me living in a different state there was no chance of her and I ever running into each other – I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see his reaction when I sent him a screenshot of my and her conversation of finding out we were not only seeing, but sleeping with the same person.

Yesterday’s guy did not have a profile picture. Okay, I know that is a red flag, but occasionally if you request a picture they will send one. This one refused. He said that if our conversation goes well he would think about sending a picture to me – At this point of the conversation, I’m think he is married.

I have also been called shallow because I want to see a picture. First off, I can use the picture to research this person – and I am a pretty good detective when I try. Secondly, I truly believe there needs to be some physical attraction. Online dating is like window shopping – the appearance is going to make me want to stop and look.

Okay, forget he did not have a picture and he refused to give me a picture. He asked for my phone number. I don’t hand out my number. I’ve done that and got a crazy guy that changed his number and even used other people’s phones to contact me. So, I use an app to text, video chat, and send pictures. Second red flag, this guy got mad that I refused to give my number. He said he wants to get to know a person without using an app — um, hello, welcome to online dating: the whole idea of using an app/site to get to know someone.

Finally, the dreaded question: what are you looking for on here? I answered “I am chatting until I find someone worth dating and see where it goes from there.” To me, that seemed like a logical response. Relationships have to begin as friends, which you have to chat to in order to see if you click with one another. Apparently my logic and his were complete opposites. He went off saying that he was not going to waste his time just chatting. He refused to go through hoops for some jaded chick.

Okay, later loser.

I guess I will try a different answer – I am looking for a relationship. Because that is really what I am looking for, but I don’t want to sound creepy thinking every person I chat with will lead to a relationship.

I will admit I am jaded. It happens. I have been treated like shit by one too many guys. I have been cheated on, hit, assaulted, raped, ghosted, emotionally and mentally abused, and treated like a piece of ass. Yes, I am jaded. And the man that is my “forever” better be tough as nails, because there are scars, there is a wall, there is fear. But underneath it all there is a loyal, caring soul.

So, my online dating adventure continues. I know I want a somewhat local person. Granted I live in a small town, so locals are rare – and they are not my type or complete red flags. I think they need to have a picture. And I will try telling guys that I am looking for a relationship. Let’s see how this goes.

Feeling stuck.

Ever look at your life and think this is not what I pictured for myself?

Even though I could not imagine a future past the age of thirty with my ex-husband, I didn’t imagine going through life alone.

Even though I was madly in love with my ex during and after the divorce, and was still faithful to only him for two years after the divorce, I really believed the man of my dreams would walk into my life. We would be able to build a life together: live together, have kids, share adventures. I didn’t imagine five years down the road, I would still be waiting for this dream man.

I have been divorced for five years and now I’m feeling stuck. I continue to go onto the dating sites. I don’t really try. Most guys are scams or just wanting a hook up. I haven’t been on a date since April. I want to date – ideally, I want to be in a relationship – but I don’t find anyone on those sites interesting.

I think its hitting me a little harder right now because money is super tight. I am budgeting on a very small amount of money – I have maybe $100 to my name until the end of the month. I do miss the double income house lifestyle of when I was married.

My ex is about to return from his deployment. My daughter will start going back to his house, and I will sit at home alone with the dog. I am not really used to having “kid free” time; and not dating anyone, I’m not sure what to do with that time right now.

Seeing other couples also makes it hard. I saw one couple celebrating their 15 year anniversary and posting it to social media. Congratulations to them, but a comment she made on the post about ‘they were still together only because they were not quitters’ kind of stung. I am not a quitter. I am not divorced because I gave up on my marriage or gave up on this dream I had for my little family. Another post that really hit hard was a pregnancy announcement. I am happy for her. She is in her second marriage. Her child from her first marriage is a year older than mine. So, I’m hoping there is still a chance for me to have that true love, an amazing husband, more kids, a great life.

However, until then… I’m feeling stuck.

Single and Feeling Alone

It’s been about a month since I found out the guy I was seeing – and in love with – was living a double life. I’m sure he has moved on to another victim. I’m still single. I got back on the dating sites right away after I found out about him being a serial cheater. I refused to let one asshole ruin my search for finding the one. However, as the days and weeks passed, I am having more of a negative outlook. I don’t have the motivation to try to seek out possible suitors. I delete messages without viewing profiles because they don’t fit in the age range I’m wanting. Or their spelling and/or grammar are such a turn off. Or, and this is a major one – and a very common one – they gross me out with messages like “let daddy take care of you” or “looking for a good time. text me.”

I’ve tried chatting with four guys and one girl since the serial cheater. The first guy, we’d chatted off and on for several – and I mean SEVERAL – months before the serial cheater was even in the picture. All of a sudden, he is demanding pictures. When I refused, he blocked me. The next guy, way too young for me. His immaturity showed. He really just wanted to hook up with an older woman. The third guy, first off used an older picture of himself – very misleading! – then turns out he was still married. The fourth guy, I just wasn’t feeling it. He texted me every morning – “good morning” or “how was your night?” But then was silent most of the day, then I received the “how was your day?” text. He didn’t try to get to know me. And, honestly, I couldn’t even remember his name. Even though I have been attracted to girls since middle school I have never acted on it. I confessed about having a crush on a friend of mine in high school, and she completely freaked. She stopped talking to me. So, I decided to just stick with guys. So, this one girl online contacted me first. I figured it would be weird or awkward chatting with another female with the interest of dating and being intimate. Surprisingly, it wasn’t. It was very natural. We chatted. We flirted. Went well for about a week and a half, then I figured she lost interest. I’d sent a message; she’d read it. No reply. Well, I’m not going to chase or beg. So, I deleted her.

I don’t want to throw in the towel. I want to date, but I am sick of going through all of the creeps day in and day out. Isn’t time for me to find a decent person?!? Might not be my soulmate, but come on a date isn’t too much to ask for – or is it?

Most of the time, I don’t mind being single. But weekends like this – my daughter is staying all weekend with a friend – I want to have a date. I want to chat. So, I scroll through hundreds of online profiles and can’t find anyone I want to try to chat with because I just think to myself: are they married? what are they hiding?

Music: what would be on your playlist?

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I have always been a big fan of music. Growing up, my dad told me that it wasn’t good music unless it made your eardrums bleed. Obviously I still have the same taste in music: metal, rock, alternative. I am always on the quest to find new songs and bands. Why? Because music is healing. You can turn it as loud as you want, and feel the emotions. You can scream and cry with the music. You can laugh and smile at the music video. You can connect and relate to a specific lyric.

What would your healing playlist look like? Which genre would be in your playlist, and why?

My playlist started years ago, and I am still creating it.

I was listening to music, just randoms bands and songs that came on the station online. One song that I had never heard before caught my attention. It talked about being the last to know after the relationship failed. I had to find the song and lyrics.

**Last to Know — Three Days Grace

I felt like this song was written for me. This was after my divorce was finalized, and I had continued to see my ex-husband for two more years afterwards. He was in a relationship with someone else. He chose her. This song talked about being lost. Why didn’t the person communicate before leaving? I understood that feeling completely!! The end of the song changes the attitude from losing this amazing love, to realizing it wasn’t as idea as one had hoped. Exactly.

**Fuck Away the Pain — Divide the Day

This song talks about getting over a bad relationship and now having a friends with benefits situation. There is just pleasure and fun. Enjoy the moment and forget the past. Once again, I related to this song. That is how I got over being in love with my ex-husband, I finally slept with someone else after three-and-a-half years after my divorce. Amazing song.

**Get Well — Icon for Hire

This song is about depression and hurting, but as long as you have company. You know the saying, Misery loves company. Talks about being tired of explaining scars. I felt the same way. I get tired of explaining my scars – physical and emotional. This song is positive and powerful.

**Flesh — Nightcore (cover song)

I stumbled across this song one day by accident. Wow! Okay, this song is hot and completely sexual. But it represents – for me – what I want. I want this amazing, passionate, steamy love. Sex is important in a relationship. In my marriage, I never said what I liked and did not like in bed. I went with the flow. Now, I know what I like. I know what I want. I speak up. I make requests. I make suggestions.

**It’s Not Me, It’s You — Skillet

This song was suggested on a social media page for divorce and separation. I am a fan of the band, so I listened to the song. Great lyrics.

There are so many amazing songs. Several of them I tend to listen to on repeat. I think this is a solid start for my healing playlist. I know I need to add more to it as my journey continues.

So, what does you playlist look like? Why those songs?

Being with Someone New

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Today’s post is risque, but it is reality for individuals after divorce: sex with someone new.

Now, I know some people may not think a thing of it. However, this was a major step for me after my divorce. I was with my ex-husband a total of fifteen years. He was my first, and for a long time, he was my only. I do think this was one reason I stayed with my ex-husband. (Even after the divorce, I continued to sleep with him for two more years.) It takes so much trust for me to be comfortable enough to sleep with someone.

A little insight of why this was such a struggle:

I had my first boyfriend in seventh grade. I was innocent. He was older, in high school. He would pin my arms and pin me against the wall.

Now, many years later I see what was wrong with that picture, but growing up I was always told if a boy was mean to you that means he likes you. (Remember playing on the playground and a boy would snap your bra, or pull your ponytail? Yeah, supposedly that was code for “I have a crush on you.” NOT!! Please do not teach your children to believe that is what love is.)

However, that behavior continued. Different boyfriends, same behavior. As I got older and into high school, the behavior got worse. Actually, much worse.

So, first reason it was so hard for me to be with someone new: trust, and boundaries. What happens if I change my mind and say “no” how will the guy react?

Next, body image issues. I have been overweight since third grade. I lost a family member that I was very close to, I did not handle it well. I became an emotional eater. The only time in my life that I was not fat was during high school when I starved myself. I also learned negative coping skills growing up. I started to self-injure fairly young.

Second reason: I don’t like my body, why would anyone else? There are scars and stretch marks. There is fat every where. And come on, during sex there is a lot of motion…

Okay, so with a little insight it is a little easier to understand my position. After my divorce, I could not see myself with anyone else. I remember talking to my ex-husband – I knew he was already sleeping with someone else – saying that I would want to be in a relationship with someone for a year before I decide to sleep with them. He laughed and told me no one would ever wait that long to be with me. For a long time I believed that.

Fast forward to eighteen months completely finished with ex. I met a guy online. We got along. He was attractive. He made me feel attractive. He had a tongue ring – first person I’d ever kissed with a tongue ring. I highly recommend it. I felt comfortable with him. I asked him if he would be interested in having sex. Yes, I asked. He did not ask, nor did he force. Wasn’t the fireworks I was hoping for, but wasn’t completely horrible.

I’d jumped a major hurdle, being with someone new after my divorce. I finally believed the saying: the best way to get over a man is to get under a new one. It was true. After that I found I wasn’t in love with my ex anymore. I had love for him – he is the father of my child; he was my first; we have so much history together. But, I wasn’t in love.

It is human nature to want and to need intimacy. However, I still have my struggles and issues. I did find another guy. The sex was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E!!

Now, I am back in the single life and online dating scene. What does that mean? Constant inappropriate pictures and Netflix and Chill offers. I am hopeful the right person will come along though.

So, really bite the bullet and have fun. Remember, you have the right to say “no.” And remember to be safe. But divorced life does not mean the death of your sex life.

Netflix and Chill

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Despite what happened with the last guy I was seeing – he was living a double life, and was actually engaged – I continue to try online dating. Conversations are usually pretty lame. They consist of the small, awkward chat – typically every conversation begins like this:

Person: Hey *insert some pet type name* (baby, gorgeous, sexy, beautiful. I’ve even been called princess. – All of which make my skin crawl. I don’t like random strangers referring to me as sexy or baby.)

Me: Hello

Person: Hru? / Wyd? What’s up? (My next pet peeve with online dating… the misuse of the English language. Seriously? You are a grown up, write out your words and sentences. If I am not worth the effort to write out “How are you?” then I’m probably not the person for you.)

Me: Not much./ Doing well. You?

Now, the next line really depends on the person… It could get nasty, fast or there could continue to be the small talk. That is if the conversation actually continues. Be prepared for ghosting.

Last night’s guy, in particular, the conversation continued as:

Person: What’s up? (Now keep in mind, we have already went through the “what’s up?” “not much” and he said “you’re sexy,” I followed the response with an “okay.”)

Me: What do you want? (I have been doing online dating off and on for two years. I know I come off jaded at times.)

Person: What do you mean?

Me: Is every other thing you are going to say going to be “what’s up?”

Person: Do you like younger guys? (He was ten years younger than me. Now, I know age is just a number, but it really depends on that “number” for me. I don’t want to feel like I am robbing the cradle. Maturity level plays a major factor too.)

Me: If they don’t annoy me.

Person: Do I turn you on? (Now, this is a trap. I had looked at his profile, he was a very attractive guy. But, my response could make things go south very quickly.)

Me: No.

Person: Damn.

Person: I’m just messing with you.

Person: Tell me about your sexy self.

Me: Like?

Person: Hobbies and stuff.

Me: (By this time, I’m not sure why I have continued this conversation. Maybe pure curiosity. Maybe I realize I’m jaded and I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss. So, I answer – granted, I keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Safe topics.) Music, movies, tattoos.

Person: How many tattoos do you have?

Me: 12

Person: I have one on my ass. (Another trap.)

About thirty minutes go by and I don’t hear any more from this guy. I figured he was working his magic on someone else.

Person: Come over and watch TV with me.

Me: (It is 10pm. He is an hour away. – I would never consider going to a random person’s house without meeting first. Forget it was late, and he is not local.) Ha.

Afterwards, the conversation fizzles out. He asks what is funny. I tell him the invitation. He asks if I would want to hang out or something. I decline.

Now, I know he did not use the phrase Netflix and Chill, but same thing. Are people so lazy that they cannot make more of an effort? And, when are booty calls considered a date?

I get Netflix and Chill offers often. I decline each and everyone of them. I usually get told that I don’t know what I’m missing out. Yeah, I do. I’m missing out on the possibility of being raped and chopped into tiny little pieces. I’m missing out on the chance of being treated like an object, and once the guy is done I get tossed aside. I’m missing out on making a mistake and not being a positive role model for my child. I’m missing out on the Russian Roulette of STD’s and pregnancy.

I know if I find someone I am truly interested in, then hanging out and staying in sounds amazing! I miss cuddling on the couch and watching a movie. I miss falling asleep in someone’s arms. Yes, I even miss being intimate.

On a positive note, during this conversation, I was having a conversation with another guy. He is also younger (only by a couple of years.) This conversation is progressing a lot better. We chatted about music mostly. He was psyched to find a chick that listens to metal. We’ll see how this conversation continues…

Dating After Divorce

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Dating after divorce, scary concept for some – myself included. I know some people start dating right away, and that is great. In my case, I wasn’t ready to start dating. It took years before I went on a date. I wasn’t over my ex-husband, and the fear of getting to know someone else scared me. I don’t mean just talking to them, but spending time together and eventually being intimate. I was with my ex-husband a total of fifteen years. He was my first. So, I was a little sheltered entering the dating world as an adult. You know the world of online dating – people just want fwb (friends with benefits) and quick hookups. Yeah, that world… I wasn’t ready for it, and it was a culture shock for me.

The first online dating site I tried equaled no dates, sadly. I did chat with a couple of guys. The first guy was a great example of online dating. He had over fifteen sexual partners, and then called me a liar when I disclosed that I had had only one sexual partner. We chatted for a couple of weeks (years later, I cannot remember about what). We decided to meet in person. Ghost. My first experience of being ghosted was hard – not because I had feelings for the guy – because I was being rejected by another man, and I didn’t know why. He was a great life lesson. My first experience of online dating in the books.

I continued my adventure of online dating for a few more months. I also created profiles on other dating sites. Ghosting was common, and it hurt each time. I found I would find one guy, and focus on him. All this time, I was still madly in love with my ex-husband. The next guy I started chatting with, he was my second life lesson, honored me with my first experience of the famous *inappropriate* picture. Remember I said I was sheltered? Well, this was the first picture (other than ex’s) I’d ever seen. Size difference, well… major difference. I was not expecting the picture; so, what happens? I drop my phone in brief disbelief. In the process of trying to catch my phone in midair, I call the guy! I hear the phone ringing and I quickly hang up. A few seconds go by and my phone begins to ring… yes, it was him calling me. I am now utterly embarrassed, but I answer the phone. I explain what happened. We laughed. I continue chatting with this guy for a couple of months. I knew I didn’t want a relationship, but it was wonderful to have a guy to chat with. He was also the first person I sexted with. I started to develop a crush on this guy, which we never met in person. We planned on meeting in person, and … ghost… However, it was another life lesson. I was slowly easing into this insane world of online dating. I wasn’t sure what I wanted – fwb, dating, a relationship – but I continued the adventure.

The third life lesson, this one was the hardest. I started chatting with a local – he lived about twenty-minutes away. We seemed to have a lot in common. We text back and forth all night long. We planned on meeting in person. He bailed at the last minute. When I tried calling him, he would not answer (which we never spoke on the phone, only through texts). He texted me and told me he bailed because of his anxiety. I completely understood – I have anxiety and stress disorder. I also have depression. I was willing to give him time to feel comfortable to meet with me. We continued to chat for a couple of months. During those months we continued to plan on meeting in person, and for whatever excuse we never met. He eventually wrote a long text explaining that he could not continue doing this to me, and that he would not contact me again. Rejected again. It hurt. I cried. I dusted myself off and went back to the online dating sites. I started chatting with a new guy – I will tell more about him later. However, months went by, and life lesson number three returned. He found me on Facebook and explained to me that he had be receiving help and medication, and he was ready to try chatting again. I, of course, agreed to try chatting again. I have a history of giving second, third, fourth chances… We started chatting again. Once again, we talk about meeting in person. Before it is time to meet, he messages me about how he could not meet up with me because I don’t drink or smoke, and that were both habits of his. This time, I didn’t cry. This time, I was annoyed. I blocked him. I continued chatting online with guys, trying to find Mr. Right. Several months later, life lesson number three enters my life again. He had found my profile on a different dating site. As soon as I seen his message I was annoyed once again. The message was short: “FWB?” How dare he?!? He behaved the way he did, and now he thinks I’m just going to jump into bed with him? I gave him my answer. I blocked him afterwards.

My life lesson number four. I needed this guy. We lived over ten hours apart. We knew a relationship – or even a date – was never going to happen. But a friendship was formed. We chatted daily. We chatted about life, music, movies, dating. It was like I had a best friend away. My ex-husband had been my best friend since high school, and with online dating I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my experiences and situations. That was what this guy was for. We talked about people we were chatting with, and dates we went on. He was trying to be a player and date multiple chicks at a time. I would help by quizzing him on each chick before his date. This guy and I chatted for a couple of years. It was great to have a guy’s point of view and to have someone to vent to. Eventually, he found a long-term relationship and disappeared. I cut my losses and deleted him from my social media.

During this time, I did have a couple of dates. Umm, five to be exact. I chatted with guys, but I didn’t find anyone I wanted to date. Psychos pretty much. I had one that about thirty minutes into the date started talking about how rape would be fun. I decided that was all I wanted to do was date and see how things go. I went on a date with one guy, the first date was okay. We decided to go on a second date – the next day. I went to his house and we watched a movie. Afterwards, we started making out. I hadn’t been with anyone since my ex-husband. So, when things started to get too extreme I panicked. I wasn’t ready to have sex with this guy. He was all over me, and I remember him putting his hands around my neck and I know he was getting turned on by this act, but I didn’t know him. I didn’t have that trust. By this time I am thinking I need to get out of here. I get him off of me. I cry. I leave. A few other dates, nothing excited. More losers. More guys that wanted sex or just to contact me when it was convenient for them. By this time, I didn’t give multiple chances. You mess up, you’re gone. I was learning.

Then entered life lesson number five. At the time, and for months afterwards, I hated this life lesson. I regretted this life lesson. I now don’t regret it. I embrace it. I met this guy online. My child was with ex-husband for the weekend. I was bored at home. At the time I wasn’t chatting with anyone really online. I wasn’t trying to date anyone. This guy sends me a message. We talk about tattoos for a few minutes. He asked what I was doing. Told him I really wanted to go to the movies to see this new horror movie, but didn’t want to go alone. He said he would go. Yes, that’s right. I chatted with this guy for maybe ten minutes and then went to the movies with him. Scary. It was scary sitting in the dark movie theater, arms touching, with this complete stranger. We made it through the movie and he invited me to continue the date. We went to the park – a public place where we could talk. We talked for hours. We were both relaxed and it was nice. We had a whirlwind relationship. Yes, relationship. He asked if I would like to be his girlfriend. It was Facebook official. haha. We called, texted, and met up. This whirlwind relationship lasted for two weeks. In those fourteen days, I seen him about ten times. Swimming, movies, just hanging out. I wasn’t in love, but I did like him. I decided he was the one – no, not Mr. Right. The one I wanted to have sex with. I had been waiting for eighteen months to find the right person to have sex with. The sex was fun. Nothing to brag about. I’m pretty sure he was seeing other people, but I didn’t care. We had sex twice. Then…ghost. At first, I was so angry. Angry at myself for letting my “needs” cloud my judgement! Who was going to want me if I slept with random people? It’s been almost two years since life lesson number five. Like I said, I embrace it. I am an adult. I made an adult decision. It helped me get over my ex-husband. I learned men found me attractive. I found I wasn’t forever bound to be miserable and alone.

After him, I stayed with online dating for a couple of months. I started chatting with another guy. Once again, we planned on meeting and ghost. After that, I needed a break. I took a year break from online dating. I took the time to focus on myself and my child. After the year break, I decided I was ready to try online dating again.

Enter life lesson number six. My most recent life lesson. This one still stings. I was back on the dating site for maybe a week or two, when I received a message from this guy. He was attractive. He typed in complete sentences – he was grammatically correct! It was a breath of fresh air. He had a tough personality. I found him interesting. We continued to chat. He wanted to video chat. It was wonderful! We called, texted, and video chatted for three months before meeting in person. We lived in different states, so that was the excuse for the long wait before meeting. He took me on a real date. He was the type that would hold the door open and slap your booty as you walked in. I fell for this guy. I tried not to, but I fell hard. The distance was impossible for a relationship. I forced myself to trust this guy. He was military. Never been married. Had two children. Had a job. I was comfortable with him. I slept with him. It had been another eighteen months since I’d had sex (not sure why eighteen is my magic number). The sex was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I never got an answer if we were just FWB or what he was wanting from talking and being with me. But I didn’t care. I was happy. I was like a giddy school girl again. Seven months. Yes, seven months of being with his guy. He wouldn’t say he wanted a relationship. He told me he really liked me, I was a rock star in bed, and great company. I continued to date here and there, and chat online because I figured he was doing the same. Why should I sit around and wait for someone who would not do the same? I finally decide it is time to introduce him to my child. Two days before our date, I had an odd feeling. I couldn’t explain it. I asked him if he’d ever cheated in a relationship. He said “nope.” I left it for a little bit, but this feeling I could not shake. I start looking on social media. He would not add me. Actually, I don’t think he knew I had already found his profile months ago. I was looking around on social media, and I found it. A picture of him and another chick. She is kissing his cheek. The hair was different. His facial hair was different. There was a weight difference. But it was him. I sent him a text asking if he was seeing/dating/in a relationship with anyone else besides me. He said “no, why?” I told him I found a picture. I didn’t tell him where the picture was or what the picture looked like. He said that he hadn’t taken any pictures with any girls in a very long time. Then he added, if that was even him in the picture. I couldn’t let it rest. I had to know. This man was about to meet my child in two days. I messaged the chick in the picture. They were engaged. They had been together for three years. He was a serial cheater. She knew and continued to forgive him. I screenshot the conversation and sent it to him. I told him I had made a friend. I did not ever hear from him again. She blocked me also. I cried for maybe thirty minutes. I don’t think I cried because I had fell for him – I had told him I loved him. I cried because I was hurt that he could go through with all of this, with meeting my child, and behave like nothing was wrong. I had told him when we first started chatting not to play me, because I will show him how the game is played. I cried because he played me. I do think I played the game well though. I know I didn’t make a difference. She will forgive him. He will choose another innocent victim. I don’t miss talking to him. I miss the sex.

I know my experiences sound crazy. Why would anyone want to do online dating? Why would I want to continue with online dating? These life lessons have made me who I am. I am happy with who I am.

I am going to leave you with some advice and tips for online dating. These are things I have learned the hard way. They are signs that I know I ignored for whatever reason:

*meet in a public place. Let someone know where you are going and who you are going to be with. If you need to send a screenshot of their profile picture or a description of them and/or their vehicle, do it!

*if you feel uncomfortable, leave! Make up an excuse or just walk away.

*no means no. It is okay if you give consent, and then take it back. It is your body and your choice.

*research the person. Research name, number, photos. Look on their social media. Figure out everything you can about this person.

*what for red flags. If they will not add you on social media, red flag. If they will not call you on the phone, red flag. If they ignore you for days. Hey, I get it. We all have busy lives, but it has less than five seconds to say “I’m busy. I will text you later.” There are several red flags, pay attention.

*if you are intimate, protect yourself. You don’t know who else they have been with, or when they were with someone last.

*handle ghosting and rejection. Don’t expect closure. You are never going to get an answer for someone ghosting or rejecting you. Brush it off, it is their loss. It is not you. They were not the right person for you.

*have fun. Dating is fun. Yes, it is insane, but I enjoy doing online dating. It might not be for you – maybe have a friend set up a blind date, or walk up to a cutie in the store and ask them out. Whatever works for you.

*reflect and learn. As you can see from my experiences, there has been a lot of refection and learning for me. Do the same. Take each experience as a life lesson. Learn from the lesson and continue on.