Do you want me? No? How about you?

** I wrote most of this in December, but got distracted and didn’t finish it until now **

Dating.

One word, but a big topic. It’s tied up in pleasantries and conversation, intimacy and chemistry, compatibility and subtleties.

I’m not panting. I’m not chomping at the bit. I’m not too horny to think straight.

Some months ago, I discussed how the 4th Quarter of 2011 was a turning point and how life had changed for me now. Well, as I just said, some months have passed. They haven’t been quiet months. There have been lots of different things on my mind. There have been lots of odd adventures and there have been troubled teens that needed attention. It’s been a challenge and a roller-coaster ride. Some of these tales won’t end up in future posts…

I’m single. Not in the technical sense. I’m separated and divorce is still in the future. But I’m at the point where I can date anyone I want. I’m free to pursue and to be pursued.

Months ago, I assumed that I would reach this point and pondered who would be suitable for me. I already wrote about the particular things that appeal to me.

There are also practical considerations for me because I’m not a young, post-college guy with no commitments. I’m a dad, I have full custody of three children who are in different stages of the local school system, I have a house, and so on. In short, I have roots, and a woman doesn’t just have to be compatible with me, she has to ‘fit’ my family configuration, and vice versa.

At first, I considered three likely outcomes. Then a local friend of mine came up with another outcome that I’d never considered but matched the profile of some of her own friends, bringing a fourth option (bear in mind that I am only considering scenarios that lead to long-term relationships not short-term dating):

  1. I might meet a woman in my age range with kids of a similar age to mine, or even older. In this scenario, we’d both be done with schools and kids at a similar time. Depending on the exact ages of the kids, we might not even share a house until the kids were all in college.
  2. I might meet a woman younger than me and/or with kids quite a few years younger than mine. In this scenario, to some extent, I’d be ‘starting over’ and helping to bring up more kids. It would be a classic Brady Bunch scenario because her kids would definitely live with mine. It’s not a scary outcome.
  3. I might meet a woman quite a few years younger than me, with no kids. She might want kids, but this would be difficult. (*Making* kids is not difficult πŸ™‚ It would be difficult because the kind of commitment necessary to have another baby doesn’t happen overnight and the wait for certainty would make me an older father — and she might then be too old to have kids herself.)
  4. I might meet a woman in my age range with no kids because she’d been too focused on a career and/or the wrong guy and just left it too late. But she still loves kids and is fine with being a surrogate mom to someone else’s kids. As I said, I never considered this as I don’t know anyone in this category, but I’m told it might be more common than I think.

I have ignored other kinds of scenarios. A 20-something with no kids yet — what could we have in common?? Someone with no interest in kids — I don’t plan to give mine away so that wouldn’t work.

Breaking it down in this way helps me understand how it might work in the real world. After all, I can pretend it’s all simple and romantic but it’s not. If I ignore these harsh realities, I could try to make a doomed relationship work. Sorry, but I’m not that guy. For me, and for anyone in a similar situation to me — male or female — finding a way to build a new and different family means not just a relationship between the couple, but relationships from each set of kids to the ‘other’ adult. Not trivial to accomplish.

Over the course of 2011, I have met — not just virtually but physically — a number of fellow bloggers (without exception, you’re all wonderful). I have met local women for coffee, and there’s a future post to tell the tale of the day I was having coffee with date #2 when date #1 showed up at the same coffee shop — oops! As you may recall, I have been set up by one of my daughters. Meeting someone new is not complicated.

Figuring out who is ‘interesting’ and who ‘fits’ *is* complicated. Also, it’s very strange and completely unfair but *she* has to like *me* too. If you can imagine.

To be continued…

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About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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30 Responses to Do you want me? No? How about you?

  1. Nice post! I’ve never found dating to be much “fun” either. Good luckies! ~P.

  2. tat2dmomma says:

    Well I don’t think I have ever thought of it that way…imagining a “real-life” relationship scenario. Hmmm. It definitely makes sense. As a single mom, my experience has been that I am very limited to options due to the prospects that are before me. I don’t think much about dating lately, although I am emotionally ready for it…my lack of opportunity keeps those thoughts at bay. Let’s hope there are more men like you out there that are willing to be open to various relationship scenarios. πŸ™‚ Most men I meet are NOT interested in a single mom. Go figure. The thought of meeting someone new sure sounds nice though. Best of luck on your journey!

    • I wonder why other guys are not interested in a single mom. I don’t know how old you are, but after a certain age, most available women would be expected to come as a family package of some kind. Expecting someone single and child-free is not just unrealistic but also begs other questions.

  3. Hi SD. I’m a #4 … I’m 40, re-singled (my new, much nicer work for ‘divorced’). I’m unique – all my friends are still married and have kids. I’m not sure how old you are but, after my experience, I prefer older, more experienced, more mature men… I think most women, single, divorced w/ or w/o kids want this. So, the good news is that you understand your options. I think it’s really important that YOU be very clear with yourself and others on what works/doesn’t work for you – you are a busy man and don’t want to waste your (or the ladies) time if in the end it just won’t work. The great thing about love a second time around – you will know and it is so much easier, at least this has been the case for me.

    • Hi Paula,

      I’ve been following your success for some time. Yay you!

      For what it’s worth, I’m in my late mid 40s. (I’m not considering it late 40s yet!)

      I think you’re quite right that, second time around, it’s easier to see what kind of person might work for me. It doesn’t mean that person wants me back, but I can quickly decide if someone is not right for me. Fortunately, it often applies the other way too. It’s much better to hear “Sorry, but it’s not going to work for me” from someone else than be wondering for a long time.

  4. mysterycoach says:

    Zactly right… lots of things to think about. It would certainly be most helpful if they liked you too LOL πŸ™‚

  5. The thought of being single with kids or SWK has been overwhelming for me. It is strangely comforting reading your insights. Thank you for sharing.

    • I have to say that I personally found the idea overwhelming at first.

      I found it even harder still when my girls were all bickering all the time and I thought no one would ever want me once they saw the bickering.

      Things change…

  6. Caroline says:

    I think liking is essential!!! I await further installments!

    πŸ˜€

  7. backonmyown says:

    Good post, SD. I look forward to hearing more.

  8. I think you are bang on with age and interests. Then relationship building. It will happen when you least expect it to πŸ™‚

  9. Lost in France says:

    I am liking the analytical approach.

    Can almost feel a spreadsheet developing.

    Good luck

    • Ha LIF! You think like me!

      I decided that a spreadsheet was too impersonal … and might one day be found by someone else. Too worrying. I had to use my memory. Imagine that. In this day and age!

      • Lost in France says:

        password protected spread sheet has to be the way forward.
        You can then have a number of desirable attributes with individual weightings.
        Oh it could get to be so much fun.
        My memory just would not cope.

  10. SD it sounds like you are both a grounded AND an optimistic man. I’m sure the universe is doing her bit for you. I look forward to hearing more πŸ˜‰

  11. “In short, I have roots, and a woman doesn’t just have to be compatible with me, she has to β€˜fit’ my family configuration, and vice versa.”

    I also think this same way. I always factor in the “are they going to fit with our family” equation. I also think I do tend to over-think things a lot though… which may hinder me to a point.

    • Over-thinking is OK in some ways. You don’t want to let someone in too close to discover you’ve missed all the signs that he’s completely wrong for you.

      On the other hand, you don’t want to over-think HIM. I have friends that do a LOT of analysis of what their guy has done. The poor guy has no idea innocent comments are being examined for hidden or secondary intent. That seems to be over-thinking… πŸ™‚

  12. 1smiles says:

    The dating thing is much more complicated that I ever imagined it to be. I have done several ‘scenarios’ in my head as well, and oddly enough or ironic I suppose, the one I’ve met that likes me too.. has it’s own scenario.
    Best of luck to you!

  13. It’s so difficult to think about moving toward another life. But rest assured, you aren’t the only single tortured soul out there trying to figure out how to open up again. You need patience, more than luck. πŸ™‚

    • Hi CDH,

      First, what a terribly sad ‘handle’ … I hope you one day feel the need to change it to something more upbeat as your fortunes change and improve.

      It took me a long time (by my measure) before I was really ready. I felt ready a few times last year, but realized I wasn’t. Knowing when you’re actually ready is not easy…

      • Laura says:

        Actually I do feel as if I’m a lot more upbeat and positive than my handle infers. I took the name because in fact, I have a very squishy heart even though I pretend otherwise. It is difficult to judge when you’re ready at the end of any relationship. But at some point, I felt free and ready to be open to someone. That’s when I knew.

  14. Seriously after the roller coaster week I have had dating. I think I was better off before when I wasn’t. Mind you if I had listened to my better instincts and stayed off of the dating site from hell, I would have avoided it all, but maybe not learned anything. I am not writing him off, but I am freaking exhausted by all the work it takes. I am thinking it shouldn’t be so hard this soon on. I think that maybe just waiting (maybe forever) to meet someone in real life by crashing into them with a shopping cart is the way to go…we shall see.

    • Re: “…crashing into them with a shopping cart…”

      We can joke about that, but something like that is often needed to break through the barriers we have up. So many people talk about their love and how chance played a role. Often chance plays a role in forcing a meeting of the minds and, from there, with the right person, it all takes off.

  15. Isobel says:

    I’d like to point out that age has no true definitions after the age of 25. (when your car insurance drops) If you take a look at my most recent post I’m finally putting it out there, the man I love is in his 40’s and I am in my 20’s and we have a surprising amount of similarities and yet enough differences to keep it interesting, anything is possible when you stop looking and trip on the impossible.

    • Isobel,
      You’re right. There are people for whom the age difference is not important. It has to be someone very special. There are definitely rare times when it works. I’m sure you’ll forgive me for commenting on the general case, not the execeptional exceptions?

      • Isobel says:

        I will always forgive.

        as long as you keep taking care of those girls. I wish as strong as my mother was through my childhood that she paid half the attention you pay your girls. *Sending good thoughts your way*

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