Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Avoiding Zombies, Sleepovers, and Guys in Their 20s: My 9 Lessons Learned After A Year of Post-Divorce Dating

A year ago, I ventured into the wild world of dating. It had been almost nine years since I was last single. Holy crap, stuff had changed. Online dating was hardly a thing in 2004. The only social networking site anyone used was Friendster. Texting? Yeah right. People still made phone calls on their Razr flip phones. And, most of all, I was nine years older and reentering the dating world with the experience (baggage) of having been in a sexless relationship with an upstanding guy.

Suffice it to say that shit was really different being on the dating scene again in 2013. But you know what? I’ve loved dating. It’s been fascinating to flirt, approach guys, kiss, screw, reject guys, get rejected. I love observing myself and reflecting on my choices. It’s like I’m opening this whole new side to myself, and, man, does she love dating!

Anyway, an old friend of mine, Pete, is recently divorced and attempting to date, so he’s been checking with me and asking about my dating experience.  So, let’s capture my post-divorce/mid-30s dating experience in this week’s blog entry.

My 9 lessons learned from getting back into dating:

  1. Don’t go looking for the next significant other or spouse.
    When you first start dating, just have fun. I had no idea what my taste or desire was, so I just went out with anyone who wasn’t a zombie, bigot, or murderer. Thanks to this approach, I met Jason, the Incredible Sex, who turned out to be the perfect person to help me rediscover my sexual self (without the messiness of emotions) and have peel-me-off-the-ceiling sex.
  2. It’s OK to have some requirements for dating – and it’s also OK to actually adhere to them.
    I said last year that I had four basic requirements for dating me, and I’ve violated them time and again. I came up with that list with a clear head. I was on to something, so it’s time to start listening to me! (For example, NO MORE 27-YEAR-OLDS.)
  3. Getting dressed up is fun.
    Indulge in yourself and have fun dressing for your date. Whatever your best asset is, own it and flaunt it. I’ve been known to send bathroom selfies to my girlfriends so they can tell me what to wear. After years of not being desired, it felt amazing to dress to be noticed and be called sexy.
  4. Sleepovers will be really hard.
    Honestly, I had more trouble with my first sleepovers than my first sex. Sleeping over is so very intimate, so don’t rush it. Waking up (assuming you were able to actually sleep) next to someone who isn’t your former spouse is super weird and pretty sad. I spent my first sleepover staring at the clock and contemplating jumping out the window (being on the 39th floor ruled that out).
  5. Don’t recycle.
    Give just about anyone a chance, but only one. If it didn’t work with the person on the first time, it probably won’t on the second, third, or twelfth. (See: me with Jason. Or Todd. Or John.)
  6. Deleting numbers from your phone feels good...
    I’m big on deleting people from my phone. After the “we’re not a match for dating” conversation, he’s out of my phone. I like the symbolism of deleting someone.
  7. …but deleting doesn’t make people disappear! 
    Every guy I’ve deleted from my phone has reappeared! Yup, Todd, John, Zach, Sean, Aaron. They have all come back. (See Lesson 5.) In most cases I could figure out who it was. The best was when I knew it was Aaron, who dumped me in February, asking me to get together for a drink sometime – at 11 p.m. on a Thursday! – and I responded, “I’m sorry, but who is this?” He didn’t respond, and I think it’s safe to say he’ll never contact me again. Ha!
  8. People are weirded out that I might blog about them.
    I’ve learned to keep my blog on the DL. Apparently dates don’t want to be written about. For example, Carl. (Too bad, potential suitors! I’m still going to write about you.)
  9. Stay true to you.
    I’ve kept a close watch over myself in this sense. First, I stayed single for a while and enjoyed my own company before jumping into dating. I had never been 33 years old and divorced before, so I had no idea what I was doing when I started dating a year ago. All I knew is that I lost some of myself in my marriage, so I had to make sure that I didn’t let that happen again. Part of the thrill of dating is the unknown, but the thrill doesn’t change that you are you. Don’t try to change to be anything you are not.

Don't go out with this guy.
He could be a bigot.
Most of all, I try to live by my brother’s advice: 

I will not be with someone who needs to be convinced that
he wants to be with me. 
He should see me for who I am and just want to be with me. 

As I’ve said before, Max was far from a perfect husband, but he never needed convincing to be with me. He always felt like he was fortunate to be with me.

I would much rather be single than be with someone who is only “meh” about me.

I had a second date on Sunday with Nick, a guy I was set up with on a blind date, then tomorrow I’m hanging out with Steve (pointless, but fun), then on Saturday I’m going out with Nick again, and finally next Sunday I’m going out with Andrew, a guy I met last night through a friend. Yup, I like dating. Who knows, one of these days dating might even lead to a boyfriend! And in the meantime, I will keep enjoying my life. I am quite good at being single.

What did you learn about dating after your divorce or breakup?


  1. LOL, i think this is where I point out that your last paragraph violates RULE ONE. Stop obsessing about the boyfriend thing and have fun!

  2. Oh no, it does read that way! I updated the last paragraph. I promise I'm not obsessing. :)
    As always, thank you for reading!

  3. I didn't think so! LOL! Great article - thanks for writing so I can read it!

  4. I wish you much luck with all of the aforementioned pending dates. I've run into my first ever situation with a guy I've been dating (when the hell does it move from dating to boyfriend?1?!?!) who reads my blog. So DL is starting to creep in to my shit.

  5. Oh hells no are any of these guys allowed to read my blog!! They ask, but I say no.

  6. Kat, I can't answer your question as I haven't started dating again (and quite frankly, I can't imagine doing so). I just wanted you to know that I found your blog tonight and have spent several hours reading it from start to finish -- and bawling most of that time. My marriage was also sexless for a long period of time. In May, my husband told me he didn't want to be married anymore and he left the house in June -- it's a long story (I've written about it on my blog if you want to know the gory details). I just wanted to let you know that your writing made me feel less alone and I thank you for that.

  7. Hi Jana -- I'm so sorry for what you're going through! Your saying that my writing helped you in some way is so flattering. I hope you keep writing, as I have found this blog to be tremendously helpful to my healing. (I'm following you on Twitter so I can keep up with your blog.) All the best to you.. hang in there. Things really will get better in time.

  8. These are great tips! Even as a married girl dressing up is fun! I totally do it for me, but love the reaction I get from my husband.

    I don't know what I would do if I had to start dating. I would be so awkward and painfully embarrassing for all parties involved.

    Have fun on your dates!

  9. Gluten Free A-Z BlogAugust 11, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I have been happily married for 42 years( mother and grandmother) and I want you to know I love reading your blog! You are a good writer, entertainer, and love your content.

  10. Oh yes, I think I was a bit of an idiot when I first started dating. :) That's OK, practice has made me a much better date.
    Thank you for visiting!

  11. That I enjoyed being in control. I had felt so unappreciated and undesired in my marriage. Things I wanted to do were "stupid". I didn't have that restriction any more. And yes, I blogged about my experience. Through going through that process I actually met my true love online. He followed my blog and I followed his. We did this for four years, talked on the phone and became really good friends. One day we decided to meet and the rest is history. You can read it on my blog at www.asavagetwist.com/ourcatfishstory

    So I get where you are right now. I was there. I'm 39 and extremely happy. Looking back it is amazing how it all came together. The journey has been amazing.

  12. Hi Eme -- Yes, I remember your story! I read that before. What a crazy way to find love again! Wonderful.

  13. Fantasy Dating™ GameAugust 12, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    These lessons are awesome! And so smart. I love that you love dating and that you're enjoying a brand new you!

  14. Sounds like you have a great dating outlook, but you are fabulous single as well!

  15. Thanks Lauren! I totally feel that there are positives and negatives to both being single and taken. There are plenty of ways and reasons to enjoy it all.