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Dating (or not)

Overall I've been making slow undramatic progress as I come close to 2 years, however a recent unfortunate dating experience is bringing on another rant! Good bits: I made it through Christmas without any tears, made better use of my free time in the recent summer holidays while my boys were away, tackling some overdue work projects, going to ocean swims and other fun evenings out with friends. And I only felt a brief pang of anger and grief when I recently noticed my ex was wearing a big shiny gold wedding band for the first time since his marriage 6 months prior. The sting is that he "lost" his ring about 2 years into our marriage, and admitted that was deliberate as he disliked it. Or rather he disliked what it symbolised and how it cramped his flirting style. So he's going to make an effort second time around to be faithful and play the devoted husband? I bit my tongue and said nothing. Anyway I'd been testing the waters in recent months with half-hearted dating (starting off with an otherwise nice part-time single dad who lied about his age, height and physical health, and used photos that were 5 years old - why do this??!) and had one brief relationship last year with another man which ended when he became excessively keen after a month. When he started hinting at a longterm future together and mentioned he loved shooting birds when he was younger, I panicked and cut all contact. Looking back he was totally ill-suited, we had nothing in common except we liked jogging, and he probably had some sort of dark past from a range of clues and antisocial comments like the one above. What was I thinking?! Since then I had been receiving emails from a man with whom I had much more in common who kept asking to meet, "no pressure!". Finally I agreed and met him twice, with lots of chatty and seemingly keen texting from him in between. After sharing a coffee and having a long chat in a park yesterday, he sent me a text today just letting me know that by the way he's been in a relationship for over 2 months, the entire duration of the time he's been pursuing me! I replied that he should be putting his time and energy into his relationship and his girlfriend wouldn't like him seeing other single females. Or more likely just keeping his options open and his ego pampered by seeing multiple women. Thank God I found out before it went any further. I know there are decent honest men out there (including our Wiki males), but do I have to meet all the bottom dwellers (as Driven calls them ) first? Clearly my bad guy radar is not working well, as I thought I'd been really fussy about potential internet dates, or perhaps these guys are too good at lying. Would a personality inventory administered by a forensic psychologist prior to a coffee date be too intense?! I realise life is pretty good compared with what others are struggling here when all I can rant about is the pitfalls of dating, but it's just a heartsink feeling when I realise I've met another liar or would-be cheat. Back to the drawing board.

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I feel quite strongly that being comfortable in my own skin was less about aiming for ideal and more about not settling for less than I deserved in any aspect if my life going forward.

For me it's less about pragmatism and more about self respect.
Might I say that I like Shoegirls comments- " always felt becoming truly happy with yourself and comfortable in your own skin as being a prerequisite for a successful relationship. "

However I see that as an ideal situation and, being a pragmatist, will have to get on with what I have now and enjoy the journey.

Good luck, Vastra. hope you find what you want- whether enlightenment or a new man- or both!

Actually the same to all of you- and me, too.
Yes thanks Mitchum that was lovely to be described as "youngsters"! ANd thanks for your kind and wise words.
Mitchum - sure I am not alone in saying I just love you! Not just for your description of youngsters :) but for the hope that you give to us and your dignity, wisdom, intelligence and kindness. Do not recognise your description of yourself as an "old woman" - you are an attractive, glamorous lady and a wonderful example of how life can be lived with or without a significant other in our lives.
Perhaps I have a different perspective. You youngsters in your 40´s and 50´s yep, and 60´s have a long and hopefully a happy life ahead of you with a new love in your life. But you´ve been hurt and cheated upon in one form or another and that hurt has damaged you. Fear of being hurt again must affect how open you can be to a new relationship, so don´t give yourself a hard time if things go a bit awry at first attempts at dating again. It´s important that you give yourself time to fully heal.

I was married to a man I thought was the ´love of my life´. He was in every way the perfect person for me, except at some point, I don´t know when, he fell out of love with me. I was truly devastated and I´ve had a very tough uphill battle to regain my sense of self and purpose, to invent my reasons to live and to become a woman with a mind of her own again. One who doesn´t need any other person to qualify who I am. I no longer need the love of any man to endorse who I am. I am at last happy with the life that was thrust upon me. I am also an old woman and life after divorce is not the same for me.

You have to trust yourself and your judgement, which you may feel was flawed the last time, but never ever lower your sights Vastra. When you met your husband you were a lot younger with different hopes and dreams. You´re permanently changed by the circumstances, but you´re still the same Vastra deep inside. You´re afraid of being hurt again, and rightly so. This time you have to be extra cautious, but that doesn´t mean that you will never find love again. There are plenty of good people out there, but I respectfully ask if you´re looking in the right places. I imagine you met your first love either at school or work or out with friends, having fun or doing sport together. When you´re involved in having fun you´ll meet like-minded people who like the same things and that´s one hurdle less to clear.

It would be sad if all you youngsters never found love again. Accept that it will be different this time, but it could be so much better if you give it a chance.
Hi Vastra

I don't know how I feel about dating or dating sites, I think I find the whole thing massive and complicated. But I do have hope in my heart for everyone who wants to be in a good healthy relationship with someone else.

Afon's description of being flawed hit a nerve and I think she's right. I'm flawed and was this way long before STBX appeared, he just finished the job off. The hope of finding a good one amongst the " bottom dwellers ", well I suppose it's not impossible but i think I'm a little to vulnerable to go there.

I suppose the more comfortable you are in your own skin the better the whole thing is. I'm sorry that your experience of dating has not been a good one. Just don't let the " bottom dwellers " affect you and undo or damage any of the healing that you have made. If you feel that it is damaging then may be shelve it until you are stronger and better equipped to deal with the bums....of which there are plenty unfortunately.

LG xXx
The key thing is to keep it light: Any meets / dates should be seen as just an opportunity to learn about where you are initially in the dating game. If its doesn't feel right then its not right. We all know that this is the elusive nature of it. Plus you will meet people who are at all end of the spectrum including a) they are still hurting bad and should not be dating themselves to b) they are absolutely ok and genuinely solid folks who like you are interested in a meet. We all know - those of us who can can remember what a raleigh chopper bike is - that dating is meant to be done initially from afar and by observing a potential friend for a while before we make our move. The truth is also that when we work, support kids and family still, that meeting new people is not that easy. So my advice would be try to mix it up. Try internet dating but also arrange a party of your own, invite yourself to friends parties, and although it sounds v cliche: join a club. Relax and have fun and don't try to see it as anything other than that. Most men and many woman too will want to rush to the 'end game' and that about getting intimate all too soon!
My take on this,
I am flawed,so anyone I am likely to meet is flawed,chances are they have gone through the horror of divorce also,and left with the
Residue feelings,unless some 20year old stud knocks on the door(Oh what would the neighbours say)so yes to share another relationship is hard,we have to learn trust again.
I have many male friends in my life for different perspectives,and I also have a very close male friend who I share everything with,unfortunately he bears the brunt of loads of stuff lol.

Online though would honestly not be for me,but touche to those that can,your saying about photo's out of date etc,but these people are selling a commodity,themselves...
Advertisers exaggerate when they sell also,they want it be seen as the best product out there,let's be honest it seldom is,so that is what these are doing also,selling themselves...

As they say,love will find if its meant too.
Actually though being single has its good points also ;) :D

Avon X x
Oh Vastra please don't think your expectations need to be lower!

Maybe we did expect too much in some ways from our xs, but perhaps too little in others. Maybe we need our expectations to be more realistic and I think that can only really come from knowing and being comfortable with ourselves first. Certainly when I got together with my x that was missing and it only got worse as I tended to trust him rather than myself through hero worship which arose from extreme if unwarranted lack of self esteem. And I was no child bride but an independent, successful, intelligent and well educated grown up woman of the world! It amazes me when I look back how I expected so much and yet so little from my partner. And was still astonished and distraught to see how badly it all went wrong. I don't think he was evil when we met, it's the old story of a meeting of two pathologies and I think now that we were both in the dark and both attracted to the very thing that would deliver a powerful message if only we would take the trouble to learn it.

You deserve to have high realistic expectations and to have them met. Don't settle for less, but maybe different. After all our choices first time around were not such a great prize in the end!
Thanks for all your funny and interesting comments as always. Like your comment Eliza about not seeing how flawed a partner was over 20 years together then how could you pick it over a few coffees, so true. And Shoegirl what you say about the dating pool being disproportionately dysfunctional makes sense (including me as a potential crazy rejected ex-wife date too of course!) I also love Stemginger's dancing solution and Teecher's friend's switch to women, not a bad idea! I did make a tongue-in-cheek offer to marry my fellow dumped wife yesterday (her ex was my ex's best mate) but she already has a boyfriend.
And no I don't feel that traumatised by meeting another wannabe cheat, rather am seeing it as a learning experience - my expectations just need to be even lower! Definitely don't want to be rescued by a man, and have no intention of marrying again.
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