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Dear Chump Lady, I’m ready to date. Now what?

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m well into the “Meh” — two years past my ex walking out on me and two kids for some schmuck she met online.

I went as NC as soon as possible. I had verification there was an affair in progress, and she basically has had very little contact with me at all other than appointments for the kids/lawyer etc… she calls the kids about once a week. I’ve basically ceased to exist in her world since then, it’s like the last 24 years never even happened.

It’s taken me a while to get my ducks in line since then, the weirdness of it all is like a bad dream. I decided to take a year to get over it. I didn’t want to get into a rebound relationship. I spent that time pretty much to rebuild my whole life. I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in years, both mentally and physically.

I’m okay being alone. Much of the time I’m out as the only single in a sea of couples and it doesn’t bother me much anymore, but I would like someone else in my life again to share these activities with.

The problem is meeting someone else, I’ve tried online dating, I’ve been to every gala /fundraiser event I can get to and have become involved with the theater and a variety of clubs…but I’m not meeting many that I get any kind of “spark” from, or the ones that do just don’t seem attracted to me. I’ve just about run out of options, any ideas?



Dear Mike,

Well first off, congratulations on getting your life back together, and getting in good mental and physical shape and achieving “meh.” You’re way ahead of the game there — so well done!

I’m hoping some of the guy chumps here will weigh in with advice for you, because from where I sit, you’re a catch! A nice man raising two kids, presumably you are employed, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you have most of your teeth and hair. You aren’t fighting the women off with sticks?

Hey, straight chump women — see? There are nice men out there looking. They exist.

Mike, before I urge patience and The Right Person Will Appear When You Least Expect It (everyone may collectively vomit… who doesn’t hate that advice?), I think we need to do some trouble shooting. Let’s just rule out some factors that could be hindering your dating mojo. Just check ’em off, and if I’m completely off-base — I apologize. But let’s rule these out before we proceed.

1.) You’re not really meh. If you’re over-sharing about your ex… If the narrative when someone first meets you is “Can you BELIEVE she walked out after 24 years for this schmuck she met online?!” If you’re oozing resentment or pain, people will sense that and keep their distance. And that’s a healthy thing, because for a good relationship, you need to be emotionally available for someone else. If you’re still hung up on the divorce, or the injustice, if you’re not actually divorced yet, it doesn’t signal to the other person that there is space in your psyche for them. At its worst, it’s a weird form of the “pick me” dance. New person vs. The Spectre of My Terrible Ex. Who will win for your attention?

You don’t have to be entirely healed. (Most of us carry some of the scars for life, but that’s not fatal. You don’t get to middle age without some scarring.) You just need to not be an emotional bucket of slop.

2.) You’re self employed with a weird job, have no job, or you write screenplays while living in your mother’s basement. No healthy woman is attracted to the day trader/struggling actor/painter of dog portraits. I’m not saying you have to be a “success object” — I’m saying you need a real job. Most women (unless they have trust funds and low standards) want a guy who can support himself. That’s not saying women are gold diggers and want a man who can support them (although those women are out there — avoid them) — I’m saying a healthy woman wants a fellow grown up.

From what you write, you’re supporting two children, I don’t think this is your problem.

3.) Hygiene. Have you put off dental work? Would you kiss you? Do you have odd tufts of hair? A hairy back? Do you smell of tobacco, sweat, and Hot Pockets?

Shave, floss, and deodorize.

4.) You’ve got fashion issues. Don’t trust yourself on this. Ask a woman or a stylish gay friend to be brutally honest with you. If you have fashion issues? Don’t feel bad, Mike, many men do.

My father has always had my mother dress him, otherwise left to his own devices, he would wear dark knee-socks with sandals and his pants hiked to his armpits. No one has broken him of the pen protector habit. (He was once an engineer.) He had a secretary who could tell the days my mother was out of town. “You dressed yourself today, didn’t you?” she’d say.

Fortunately, my husband was so wonderful I looked past his affinity for wearing polka pimp t-shirts and camo shorts — sometimes to work! (He works alone, he is not appalled by himself.) He wears dry-clean only clothing only under duress. It’s taken many years of gentle nurturing to get him to throw out  flannel shirts so disintegrated, birds refuse to make nests from them.

Some guys go feral alone. Or after a long, bad marriages of self neglect, they just sort of forget how to dress.

You may think I’m being superficial, Mike, but women are visual too. They want spiffy — at least at the courtship stage. The sexiest thing is effort — and a guy who wears a t-shirt on a date is telling us they aren’t making an effort.

Get some date shirts — some stylish, nice pressed collared shirts to wear with jeans, some cologne, some cool shoes or boots. You’re worth it! No… hang on, that’s what I’d write to a woman… to a man I should write — Do it! Because getting laid is worth it!

5) You’re fishing off the wrong pier. Make sure you’re dating people who are appropriate in terms of age, values, education, and interests. If you look like Billy Joel, don’t expect to win Christie Brinkley. I don’t know what constitutes a “spark” for you, but if that’s code for “I’m really piggish and I want to date 20 year old women who look like strippers” — you need to rethink that. There are plenty of hot women out there with good values — always date for character!

Don’t confuse “spark” with “sparkly.” Yes, you want attraction — but you don’t want crazy. Sparkly people — those disordered people who seem a bit more alive than everyone else, who love bomb you, who are dynamic and spontaneous and want to drive to Vegas right now and blow you in a parking lot and get drunk under the stars — are the same women who will steal your credit cards and wind up in a psych ward.


So Mike — if you’ve ruled out these hindrances, and you’re still wondering why you’re not meeting the Right One — just remember it’s a numbers game. You’re going to have to go on at least 50 bad coffee dates. Manage your expectations accordingly.

It’s also good to be honest with yourself about what you want. If you want casual — then you’re going to be less choosey. If you want to meet someone special worthy of a greater commitment someday — if you know you’re the sort of man who is happier coupled — that’s okay. You’re not alone. In fact, most men remarry within two years of divorce. It’s great that you know how to be alone — it’s essential really — but it’s equally valid to want to couple up again, with the right person of course. It takes a lot of personal strength to fix that picker and wait until the right person crosses your path.

Meanwhile, increase your odds. Ask those coupled people you hang with if they know any single woman they could introduce you to. Or better yet, send me your contact info — I’m sure any number of nice chump women here would love to meet you.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Mike –
    CL is spot on. You have a ton of stuff going for you – but you red flagged me a bit with the “I either have a spark but she isn’t interested or I don’t have the spark for someone who might be interested in me” conundrum. It’s tough to date – why do you think we all are so pissed about having to start it all again after not having to worry about it for a quarter century or more (my marriage ended after 24 years as well,.)

    I am still healing, well on my way to “meh” but I’ll admit – I haven’t found much to really “spark” me dating-wise. Sadly – and especially for women – the dating pool shrinks as we hit middle age – by the time we are in our 50s, it’s a wading pool. Guys our age want 30 year olds, and I’m not quite ready to give myself over to the 80 year olds. It’s obvious I either have to really ratchet up my game and get back to a current version of “peak – middle aged style” or I will have to change piers and settle for a different “type” than I’m used to feeling attracted to. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet- so the “year long plan” is underway and I’ll let everyone know if it bears fruit.

    So take a hard look at yourself – see if you can objectively judge what you can change, what you can’t – and set your sights accordingly. And as much as I’d love to fully endorse what CL said about “dating character” instead of looks – the simple truth is we are a shallow, visually stimulated species. A gal with great character and talents might be out there waiting for you – but if you don’t find her attractive – you’ve just made another buddy – not a date. And visa versa. So figure out if you fit the pier you are fishing from – and if not – cut bait and try an easier spot. Or improve your bait and stay where you are. Best of luck.

    • Good Advice, CL!

      I know Im probably one of the younger ones here (Im 24), but I have to tell you, finding/even casual dating is hard nowadays even when youre younger. They either want one thing or they are so much older I cant help but think to myself, “I just told you my age, and you look even more excited… doesnt it bother you you could be my dad?!”

      I went out on a date recently that was the date from absolute hell!! I met him out and I wasnt really into him but figured it couldnt hurt to give him my number… at least it will take my mind off of my x. He texted me the next morning asking to take me out which I thought was nice but I kind of didnt want to go. My friends urged me and told me to think of it as a test date that way I can be more comfortable when I go out with someone I actually like… BAD IDEA. I asked him what he did, where he went to school etc. He didnt seem to bad; he owned his own business, he went to a private high school as did I. I did get a little concerned when he told me he graduated in 1998. I graduated in 2007.

      Here are just a few things that happened:
      – I had to ask the majority of the questions.

      -Made the mistake of asking”what is one of your worst habbits (see why I need practice??) he told me when hes alone and concentrating he picks his nose. He was dead serious… I kid you not

      -We started to talk about insurance (I work at a brokerage firm)and he proceeded to tell me that they raise your insurance if your black. Told him that it was interesting he felt that way considering I rated insurance when I first got out of college and they never ask that

      -we got dinner and he ordered fried chicken and mashed potatoes and asked for ketchup. I asked him what he puts ketchup on and he replied”I know since youre white and all you probably dont like ketchup, but us black people put ketchup on EVERYTHING” (clearly he was half black and seemed to have an insecurity about it? I almost said: “I get it, youre black and Im white”)

      -Remember that private school he went to? yeah it was a baseball scholarship. He asked where I grew up and proceeded to tell me that he “grew up on the other side of the tracks” and used to hustle and is a republican when it comes to being able to carry your own gun. (At this point I though I was either going to die or I was on a freaking show.)

      -smokes weed everyday and used to take steriods (you could tell the steriod thing)

      -At the end of the date he asked what he would have to do to have sex with me. I was floored. clearly I wanted to leave when he told me he picked his nose… I just didnt know how to get out of it and didnt want to be rude. But at this point? I just decided to be an arrogant asshole. I tole him I would need a blood test and if you want a jaguar you need the papers (clearly I was not going to actually sleep with him). He told me that Im too conservative and couldnt we compromise and use a condom….??????? Plus he knew that he didnt have anything because he was hospitalized a few months ago for alcohol poisoning and he was clear. All I could do was give him a thumbs up (clearly you CANNOT judge a book by its cover, if you saw him he was very well groomed and spoke politely, etc) I said so you havent had sex since then? Reply: I have I just recycle THEM. I just said it sounds like you have a lot of used cars in your garage. He kept going until finally it was clear it wasnt happening.

      He texted me just last week telling me “Im missing out”.

      I feel like the young guys want one thing and the older ones want an ego boost. I seem to attract both. I dont think I do anything.. I dress well (not slutty at all)dont go up to people unless they start talking to me etc.

      • In think even though the pool may be smaller the older you get, hopefully SOME of the bullshit is out 🙂

        The more I meet people the less faith I have in the human race to develop good, kind people anymore lol

        I find myself whenever a guy comes up to me anymore I write him off almost immediately because I jsut dont want to deal with it. I have only been with my ex and if anyone thinks my second time is going to be with someone who asks to hook up youre out of your mind! (and you would be surprised how many guys, young and old, take that approach)

        • Haha! Yeah his outlook on things were quite interesting. Awful date but hey, I guess it makes for a good story? lol

          • Neither did I. After he told me that. I just looked at him and said oh ok well my brother puts ketchup on his potatoes but not mashed potatoes (attempting to get away from the awkwardness… which I failed epically at) and he replied with: Oh… is your brother black?

            Seriously? When I stay out of the sun long enough Casper the ghost has more color than I do… Why the hell would you guess that my brother is black because he likes ketchup?! ugh what a night!!

  • Good luck Mike, I think you’re a smart guy to take a year off to figure yourself out before you get connected to someone else. I’m sure you’ll find someone, even if it means casting your line in every dating site out there.

    I’m not ready for dating yet but I’ve heard so many times, let it happen organically, don’t do the online thing…. Well, my work consists of females and gay men (great as friends, not as boyfriends) and my home life consists of kids’ school and sporting events, not many single men hanging out at those places. I think CL should open up a dating site. 🙂

  • Char….
    I understand about the men your age wanting younger, but younger men maybe looking for you. I’m NOT talking about the” crazy cougar ” types that go after men 20, 30 yrs younger.
    I know someone who has a very attractive, successful man interested in her who is 8 yrs younger. They are getting along great ! Yes, just like “sprucing up a house you want to sell. or cleaning up an old car”, you may want to do a few “renovations” to yourself. It will make you feel even better to “recreate ” a new you !
    CL…. even more reason to start a dating site for Chumps !
    Char, Mike … whatda you think ?

    • I have to admit, SAT – I hadn’t thought about moving down the timeline! That is intriguing….and I will test that theory out, for sure. Love the idea of a dating site for Chumps, BTW – genius! You are guaranteed good people with a strong sense of ethics who’ve walked where you walked! CL – when can we start that project? 🙂

      • It’s not a bad idea, it’s just that I’m a bit overcommitted. Also, like Dat points out, I don’t know how I’d screen for people who aren’t actually chumps, but would like to attract one (aka cheaters, wing nuts). At some point, I’d like to improve the forum feature with more interactiveness (the ability to PM one another), and you all can do the introductions. But that’s rather at the bottom of my to-do at the moment after book writing/agent searching.

      • Char… lets “brainstorm” I am currently un-employed , need to work.
        Cl you can also help the economy. Where do I submit my application & resume ?
        Seriously .

  • Mike, I understand! I’ve been doing the online thing for 1.5 years now, and I’ve only gone on six coffee dates during that time. Only one resulted in another date, and that seemed to be going well until the guy suddenly said, “Can we go now? I just want to go home and crash.” Abrupt and rude in the middle of what appeared to be a great conversation.

    Anyway, it’s hard. I’m attractive, I have no problem talking with people, I listen and ask them questions about themselves, I support myself, I have a home, I certainly don’t talk about my ex to a date. I’m trying not to get discouraged, but it’s hard not to give up.

    • I’ve been casually dating and none have resulted in a second date, mainly because most men I’ve been dating are clear that they’re looking for an immediate spark and I am not sure that happens on a first date–at least not that often, particularly with online dating. It’s not like meeting someone at a party where things spark naturally. When you’re officially on a date it’s a lot of pressure to look for something happening.

      Oddly, I seem to have felt a bit of a spark with a man that I met through a business situation. We keep meeting for this business thing and have great conversations and a bit of flirty eye. I figure this is how things actually work and am not going to agonise. I’ll go on dates if I’m asked out but I’m so focused on other things that I figure it’ll knock me over when I’m not looking.

  • I’m obviously still in the emotional slop-bucket state, 1 year past d-day and just finalized the divorce. But this dating thing frightens me so, that I gave myself a year from now just to get back on my feet en well into meh. But that doesn’t stop me thinking, so many questions, so little answers.

    After being married for decades, I don’t even want to dive into the dating pool. Maybe it’s fun once you hit it off (if my cheating ex is to believed, it’s loads of fun…), but getting there, through all the near – and not so near – misses, puts me off. Second thing: how will I know my sparkles-radar is finally up and working? Will I not fall into the same trap? Or, maybe even worse, will I be too busy looking on my radar to find someone really nice? And will I even be attracted by nice, totally non-sparkly men?

    Think I have so much work to do, on me, for me… I know being where I am (with two children), I have pretty high standards by now too. In my early twenties I didn’t care if I made a mistake, the only one I could harm was me. Now I have to be more careful. I indeed have much more to loose. (And give!).

    • Dutch-chump, I just read a great book that helped me feel much better about my chances of not making the same mistakes in new relationships as in the old one. It’s called ‘How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk’ by J. Van Epp. I don’t know that I’d follow his advice to the letter, but it gave me LOTS to think about, and left me feeling like I had tools to suss out the good ‘uns!

      (It also made me cry about how unbelievably stupid and chumpish I’d been w/the ex – the warning flags, while fairly discreet, were totally there even very early in the relationship, but there are none so blind as she who will not see!)

      Anybody else read this one? Find it helpful?

      • Thanks for the tip! I need all the tools I can get… And will probably join you in finally recognizing the warning signs, they were soooo obvious. But will I see them next time? Will they be the same? They didn’t look so dreadful at the time, nothing I couldn’t spackle over.

  • Well I’m 6’2″ @ 185lbs 15% BF and do have all my hair and teeth 😉 I’ve had a fashion consult and cleared out my closet Ala “Crazy Stupid Love”. I’ve always been well groomed, had my hair cut by a stylist for the last 30 years and I’m generally one of best dressed guys when I go anywhere.

    I’ve got my own personal baggage down to “Carry On” size, but when women find out the kids are with me full time (they always ask about kids), they have trouble believing it, and want some details, I try and keep it as minimal as possible. Some can’t seem to accept the concept that yes, sometimes the X wife has gone off the deep end. The idea of a mother leaving the kids with Dad seems to cause them hit some sort of illogic loop that blows up evil computers on Star trek.

    Money wise, I’ve had my own business for 28 years, and while I’m not rich, my home and car are paid for. Everyone in my social circle already knows I’m single again, but most of them are still paired up and don’t really know anyone that would be a match for me. I’m not hugely picky on age, I’m 58 myself, but I would like to meet someone who is as phyically active and has a healthy lifestyle. To that end I’ve joined a variety of fitness related clubs, but most of the women are under 45 or are still married. So I’ll keep on looking I guess..

    • If you’re 58, how old are your kids? They’ve got to be teenagers by now? I’d imagine you’re in the home stretch toward empty nesting. My brother was a single dad with two special needs kids — he called this phenomenon “too much drama to date.”

      My feeling is, that if they write you off for being a single dad? Great. They aren’t wasting your time. They don’t have the right sort of character to date you.

      • My kids were 13 & 18 when it all went down, now 16 and 21, I didn’t get married until I was 33. My 21 year old has gone to the local college and has moved back in with me to save costs, but is hardly ever home.

    • Mike,

      I understand that you want someone that is physically activeand has a healthy lifestyle (which, lets face it, speaks to their physical appearance) but what about the emotional side?

      My mom always told me in business you have three options:
      you can have it done right
      you can have it done fast
      you can have it done cheap

      You only get two.

      Not saying that people are like business but if you had to choose which two would you choose?:
      you can have her attractive
      you can have her emotionally mature/caring
      you can have her faithful

      You sound like a great guy and I dont think there are many of you out there! (I explained in my previous post) Know that you are a catch and you are single and ok with it and its going to take someone very amazing to change that.

      Oh, and a woman that has a problem with you having the kids full time? Sounds like they have the problem.

    • Actually, I can understand why a woman might not want to take on life with someone else’s kids. It’s good to get it out of the way since they’re not for you.

    • My two cents is that its great you are into physical activity in the second half of your life. I would say start going on group trips where you bike, hike, ski or whatever activity that you are into – there are many people who are interested in staying active in their second half and tours that cater to them. At a minimum you will meet a great group of people but I have heard lots of single people (divorced and widows) do them.

  • Geez, Mike – you sound like you have the whole thing going for you – and girls will love the Trek reference – just that “geek” touch that makes guys even more appealing! But the fitness club – tough pier if you are looking for more than a hot bod. And sorry – but “physically fit” is code in the online dating game for “no fatties or frumpies, please.” There’s that expectation factor again. I’m not saying you are that shallow….but would you date a gal who might be more of a softie with a few extra lbs who was a fantastic match to your interests and personality? Or would you “friend” her and opt for the aerobics instructor? That’s the acid test you need to give yourself – and be honest with yourself. It will help you decide where to fish. But I wouldn’t recommend a fitness club – they are the gay man’s church – which would be perfect if you were gay – and the MILF and under 30 hangout for women. Just my experience with health clubs, mind you. What about a YMCA instead? That gets more across the board types in ages, backgrounds, etc.? Just a thought if you like that fitness setting.

    • Why not a bike or hike meet up? I’ve got a single woman friend this age (early 50s) and she met her boyfriend biking. She met another fellow in a class on how to build your own kayak.

      Yeah, there aren’t many 50-something women with 15% body fat like Mike.

      • funny story…On the dating website I tried, nearly every single guy said he is “fit and looking for someone who is also into health and exercise.” I crack up when I look at their pics and they are dumpy and/or have beer guts (not all, but many). Not at all saying that’s you, Mike. Just a funny aside that Char brought to mind.

        Also not saying I wouldn’t be with a guy who has a little extra meat on his bones – as a matter of fact, I prefer them that way. Just someone who is honest and self-aware (and owns a mirror).

        • I found this to be true also. Most of the guy’s profiles that I saw on line made it seem like they just took a quick break between swimming the English Channel and climbing Mt. Everest to pop in and check their match profile.

          1) I don’t believe most of these guys are quite as kenetic as they claim to be.
          2) If it is true, this is just another flavor of sparkly-faboulous. Huge red flag for me.

          (btw, my comment is in no way meant to be critical of Mike’s fitness level!)

          • LOL, River, I see that too. Sometimes I wonder how these guys even have time to go to work or sleep, what with their burning passions for constant hiking, mountain biking, motorcycle riding, gym workouts, boating and other outdoor exercise. Oh, and all the travel as well. Some of the profiles I read claim so much travel, I wonder if they are ever home at all.

        • I just got rejected by a guy who I had a number of common interests with who “preferred women who were fitter.” I’ve got a few extra pounds but am verrrrrry curvy. I can dance for three hours, bike 20 miles, swim a mile. But I’m not “fit”, meaning blonde, flat chested and with washboard abs. Trying to not have it irritate me.

          • Even though that sort of rejection hurts, I try to remind myself what they saved me from long term.

            Imagine you were super skinny so he did want to date you… then you’d be wasting time with a superficial asshole… who wants that?!! 😉

    • Char.. you are sooo right in the code for no fatties.
      I see profiles where the man says he has an “active life style” , enjoys biking, wants a woman who is active one who is “healthy”.
      I saw one profile a man said “no BEER bellies”on a woman. Men don’t realize as we age women get the “Men-o- pot,” menopause thickening in the waist.I guess for some, you could be a “crack whore” as long as you are thin !

      • Oh Lord SAT!
        You just explained my life! There were severe complications with my 2nd daughter which made it necessary for me to (under emergency) have the “old fashioned” C-section (up and down) with 21 metal staples….Doc said my stomach would never be actually flat – didn’t care, and neither did my gorgeous slim husband. Women used to stop him in the street to tell him how beautiful his “eyes” were (grrrr). But all that mattered was our daughter was fine. This was the husband that passed 25 years ago..

        But after that I had other great looking guys – didn’t matter if I was up, or down weight wise. Then menopause…..the XN couldn’t STAND that I wouldn’t fight the weight with every ounce of energy I had that wasn’t being spent on him…well screw that. Don’t get me wrong, I could definitely lose a few pounds, and will happy when I do. But I work with mostly younger people and they are…Young! When I was younger I was a lot more obsessed with my looks but I also have always believed in getting older with grace, not fighting the inevitable and trying to compete. Guess I’m lazy but if someone doesn’t love me the way I am he doesn’t deserve me. One thing that has never been in doubt with ANYONE that knows me is that I am a good person. Friend, lover, employee I am someone you KNOW has your back – meno-o-pot and all! And I have never gone without offers, even now, but that part of my life I have chosen to put on hold..

        Oh, and XN left me for crack whores. One reason he gave? They were skinny, I was fat…..

      • I can see the reason though guys put that “wants a woman who is active” on their profiles. I put something similar on my profile after getting some nasty replies from women who were clearly obese when I told them that based on their written profiles I didn’t think we were a good match. I’ve since tried to make it as clear as possible that I’m looking for woman who is already involved in at least some of the same activities I enjoy, so we can share them together. None of these activities are extreme, but involve a level of fitness that requires regular excercise and a healthy lifestyle.

        • Wow! I’ve never done the online thing but it seems to me people should want to do things! Maybe not run a marathon but biking, fishing , swimming, kayaking etc are not that strenuous and they are FUN! I wonder what these women want to do? Just be wined and dined? Someone good will want to snap you up soon Mike I’m sure – Just make sure you bring her by here and give us all the details so I can live vicariously through you and so we can watch your back! 😉

    • Ugh. I guess I’ll never venture to dating sites when I’m ready to date since it sounds like the typical male profile (whether factual or not) on the sites sounds like my ex minus the serial cheater part. I can’t see myself with such a guy again. I know I’m making an unfair generalization but maybe in due time I will be able to have a better picker.

      • “minus the serial cheater part”

        I’ve met several men on okstupid who admit to cheating on their wives and don’t seem to think this should be an impediment….. 🙁

  • I’m just dipping my toe into online dating – got recent pics and will put up a profile this coming weekend so take this with that grain of salt. I am doing this with no goal other than to meet interesting people and enjoy conversation, maybe someone to be friends with, maybe someone to date. In other words, I’m not pressuring myself to find a romantic partner.

    My expectations are low, I think this is key – if you are looking to hook up vs just interested in meeting cool people then it shows. It makes you anxious, at least it does me. I think if you find people you like it may lead to attraction. It reminds me of an old movie “Batteries not Included”, let’s call it “Sparks not Included”, it doesn’t mean a spark might not show up later.

    I have tried but I’m an introvert and it’s hard to get to know individuals when you are with a large group. So bottom line, going into the dating sites with no greater expectation than meeting cool people that you may like and see where it goes rather than going to coffee dates thinking “could this be the one?”.

  • I was with my ex for 36 years, married 31. After D-day an acquaintance through work that I’d known and trusted for many years started being friendly with me. He was also divorced, and knew I was in a vulnerable state. Mostly he offered to be my friend. He showed me how to dance and laugh again, and that there is life after divorce. After about 8 months together, I started to find myself emotionally attracted to him. Note that I didn’t say physically attracted, because he has no where the physique of my ex. But he’s cuddly, he makes me laugh, and I feel secure with him. I don’t know whether I ever want to get married again, but I sure feel blessed to have someone to spend time with that enjoys some of the same things I do.

    It’s hard for men because they’re so visual, they tend to put looks at the top of the list of things to seek in a partner. I’ve had lots of discussions with my friend about what he was looking for, and he swears he couldn’t be with someone he didn’t find physically attractive. I’ve read that if a man isn’t physically attracted to a woman the relationship won’t go any farther than being friends. But as a woman, I find emotional availability, intelligence, confidence, kindness, and financial stability very attractive.

    • LOL, mine, too, Witty. If we were meant to, we’ll get there. It’s certainly not something to rush and even our therapists can’t really gauge when we’re ready.

    • I put up a profile three months ago at the recommendation of my therapist. Not impressed so far. OKcupid has been better than Match in terms of interesting people, but SOOOOOO many married guys looking for a girlfriend. And lots of 55-65 year olds who want me (I’m 45). Two coffee dates. One guy was scary, one guy was really nice but zero spark and not as much in common as our profiles suggested. I’m trying to get myself to a point where I’m happy being single for the rest of my life.

      • I think that is very key Vivianne, getting to the point you are okay on your own. A lot of people fear being on their own and just lurch from one bad relationship to another. I was guilty of that when I was in my teens and early 20’s. I actually didn’t meet my X until I quit looking 😉

      • Oh no!!

        I’m sure when I venture out again I’ll make a few bad choices… still, I have already learned I am a lot smarter this time around….

  • I’m terrified of “dating,” but I sure could use a friend. Some nice guy to laugh with, someone to chat with once in a while, and someone to care enough to ask if everything is okay. I’m not really a pet person, but maybe that’s what I should consider… Safe, dependable, trustworthy, and loving, but I WOULD appreciate some interesting verbal feedback occasionally.

  • Go where the good guys/gals are. Habitat or soup kitchen volunteers, or someone at work knows someone. Large churches often have singles groups. My daughter said dating sites are ok if you have the kind of personality that enjoys “new” all the time but she got tired of being “on”. She is dating a good guy that services her work place and taking it slow. It was serendipity. She spotted him in the hall and got a co-worker to introduce him. She was chumped big time by a guy she dated for two years and is still trying to get over the gaslighting he did.
    BTW I second hiking clubs.

  • Dear Mike,
    You sound like a real catch, am I’m sure I could never measure up. I have had some incredibly gorgeous men over the years, good ones too, intelligent , not just looks. I am 53 now, went through “the change, gained weight, and basically look like my Mom when she was my age (she passed away about 30 years ago, only have pictures) and it amazes me how much our genes have to do with it.
    I definitely plan on losing at least 20 lbs. but I have reached a point in my life where I really don’t plan on being stressed or busting my ass to be what other people think I “should” be. I’m not talking about not having hygiene or being way overweight, but being healthy is enough for me and the only time in my life I’ve been alone is when I’ve wanted to be! My oldest daughter is 34 and I have 4 grandkids, one GD just becoming a teenager…let them struggle with image, I’m done with all that shit, if you don’t appreciate me then you are not worthy of me!
    This is NOT directed at you Mike, just a little rant about this country (and industries) that put so much pressure on men and women alike. Give me someone that is kind, well read and funny and good in bed and I will love his love handles!

    • Haha Well said Toni!

      Too many people are concerned about looks (not that Im excluding myself, but at least Im aware of it. Im 24 and have already have had botox but I do that for me and no one else). I dont believe in judging someone completely on their looks (parring bad hygiene). I would rather have an average man with a good heart over my sparkly ex. Plus, girls dont look at them as much 🙂 My ex was very attractive and anywhere we went people looked… it was nice initially until he started cheating and then you just get paranoid.

      I believe in doing something for you and look the way makes you feel good. Too many people my age thrive on guys complimenting their body… I find it obnoxious.

      Note to any guys: Please dont ask a girl if her booobs or butt are real… its rude. and if they like those comments? Thats a good hint you want to walk away.

  • They all do 🙂

    Good for you!! You sound like to have a great family and deserve to have your self worth back! 🙂

    Thanks for all you do CL!

  • Mike – sounds like you are in a good place to date. My first reaction after reading your letter is that maybe you are focusing you much on physical appearances, both yours and hers. Is there something that you’re passionate about, besides working out and beyond fit? Because when you’re passionate about a hobby or cause or similar, it’s a chick magnet. Just saying.

    • Duck – you hit it on the head. When someone is involved in something that they are passionate about and their focus is there (and not craning their neck around to see if a good looking woman/man just walked thru the door) THAT is sexy.

      Mike – I think there might be a difference between this: being “in your skin” and “living your life” and having your heart open for the possibility of who might walk through the door, and this: actively seeking connection to be your focus. It’s hard and it’s lonely and I literally want to punch people in the eye that say things like what I’m saying, but I think there might be something to it. Along the same damn lines of what CL said about “when you’re not looking…” (uhg! Fuck OFF!) But…. there is something to the energy that we put out, I think….

      Anyway, good luck to us all. Let’s focus on the moment, focus on the importance of connection and connecting to our fellow humans, no matter what form it takes. And in the moment (with no big future projections) that could be really lovely.

    • I kind of have a vested interest in fitness, heart disease runs in my family, only one uncle lived to my age, the rest died before 48. I had a few bad scares in my 40’s so I began doing all I could to keep my kids from being without a father and my former wife a widow ( my dad died when I was 15, leaving me the man of the house) . I don’t mind a woman with a little meat on her bones, my X was 145lbs @ 5’4″, certainly not skinny.

      I actually don’t have much empty space left in my life for more passion 😉 I’m a member of our local bike club, a Tuesday night movie club, our local community theater (been in three plays in the last year and a half ,rehearsals three nights a week 7-9:30, then performances five nights a week). I also get to all the charity events for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, heart/stroke and do waiter duty for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I just have to give it time I guess.

        • Do you ever just hang out at home? Maybe you are so busy ‘doing’ that it intimidates some women that might actually be interested and interesting. I know that just hearing your schedule and list of activities made me tired. I am 50 and fit and look decent but I would be exhausted trying to keep up with all that. I have been there done that ( the wife to the active husband, hosted parties, attended events, raised kids…blah blah blah ). I only do what I want to do now. Maybe I would go ride a bike with you at times but not every time. Your schedule is so full that I would wonder when you would ever have time for just me? All I am saying is that you sound like a good guy and maybe a woman just needs to know that you have time to just be without an activity planned…….You said,” I actually don’t have much empty space left in my life for more passion …..” If I were interested in dating you then I would recognize that as a red flag. I would want you to be passionate about me without having to compete for your time. Maybe if you made it more clear that you are lacking something in your life and that something is a woman then I bet you would have better luck 🙂

          I could be way off so forgive me in advance 🙂

          • Well, for one thing, most of the women I know who are single/divorced are way more busy than me, they’re all networked to the max and have activities scheduled out three months in advance with “The Girls”. 😉 If anything they have no time for me. I gave up on a couple of them because just setting up a coffee date was like trying to arrange an audience with the Pope. I’ve always figured if a woman interested enough in me they’d make time to do so, I’m willing to be flexible, but I’ll only ask someone twice and if they provide no alternative date or venue that’s it.

            I have a home office , so I do spend a lot of time at home, but get cabin fever after a while and need to get out. I generally get a couple of local papers that list what’s going on and pick out a couple of options that look interesting to do and often don’t decide which one I’m going to until I put my coat on. A lot of the things I do are not fitness related and could be shared with anyone, like going to a gallery, the movies, auctions, Farmer’s market or just going to the beach. I don’t really schedule much, the only one that is a “Must Do by” are related to my kids, the theater and charity events, the movie nights and bike club are just “show up and go events”.

            • From experience… are you giving them enough notice for dates? I had one chap angry with me because I was unreachable for dates, but that’s because he’d generally only contact me the night before or day of.

              I’m not super busy, but I generally have the next 48 hours planned out one way or another.

              • In some cases for bigger events I’d give a couple of weeks notice, nothing ever last minute because most people have kids. I’m not into games, if they want to go fine, if not let me know and I’ll take someone else.

  • Um, Mike … 5’4″ and 145 is certainly below average for most women in their 50s. That’s what I weigh (and my height) and I workout 4 times a week and watch what I eat. Perhaps your X wasn’t honest about her weight with you either?

    • 145 @ 5’4″ is right at the top of the normal Body Mass Index range (24.9)* anything over 24.9 is considered overweight. The sweet spot for a woman 5’4″ would be about 128lbs.

      We used to go to the gym together, so yes the weight was verified. She would vary from 138-145 depending on the time of year, but she alway cut back on junk food and got out the rollerblades when she hit 145+. She was 155 when we met.


      • Mike… OMG REALLY ?
        So do you have this website on your iphone, or is there an app for that ?
        I hope you aren’t judging a womens’ BMI over lunch.
        So were you doing “charity work ” when she was 155 lbs ?
        If that is your guide line… you may be a very lonely man, well until you meet a younger, prettier “gold digger”.
        I am 58. A GOOD 58, I am young in appearance and attitude, a very CUTE 58.
        I will be happy to tell anyone, “who I am is NOT what I look like”. I am SO much more.
        While my BMI is higher, I doubt you could ever find a more intelligent, confident, sexy, witty , warm , wise, agile … FUNNY women !
        A few years back, I met a Doctor online. Tho nice enough…. was grilling me about my weight.(Which is very RUDE !) I had seen his pic…
        I knew he was bald.
        I do not care much for bald .
        We chatted online.. never actually met. I told him I don’t subject myself for anyones’ approval. In a smooth move…. he came back with a funny proposition. He would buy me a corset , he would buy a toupee. HA ! At least he was trying !
        A few months ago I emailed him & asked…..
        “I have lost weight… are you STILL bald ?
        I have yet to hear back .
        Don’t be so judgmental.

        • SAS, totally agree. I’m 40 and routinely told I look 28, short and curvy, Ivy league educated, successful … but based on my bmi, definitely overweight. I probably always will be based on bmi, I’m simply built that way. Ethnic butt and hips and all.

          Mike, you seem like a nice guy. But you really need to rethink this weight thing. Look, I don’t want to be with someone obese either, but when I say that, I mean someone in the high 200+ range. You need to stop calculating bmi while the girl is sipping her starbucks.

          And leave some time in your schedule to just cuddle on the couch and watch tv with your girl. Most women out there just want someone to spend time with, they don’t want to be constantly running an activity marathon. Regardless of what they say in their online profiles. Wouldn’t you rather they be honest upfront? Because fyi, those girls who love to run and camp and be out doors? Yeah, most of them are lying.

        • I posted the link to the BMI site just to point out what the medical profession considers a healthy weight. I’m hardly being judgmental, I ‘m just being honest. I just want to meet someone that shares my lifestyle choices, finds me attractive and I her. Other than that I don’t care if she’s 4’9″ or 6’4″ , what race/religion she is, what color her hair is or the length of it. I really don’t think that is being judgmental or a lot to ask.

          • Weight is mutable. A shitty personality, not so much.

            Weight seems to be a major factor for you and that’s a little sad. It’s like women who need a man who is over 6′ or earns 6 figures.

            When the shit hits the fan, your partners weight/height or income (etc) is not what’s going to count.

            • Like! My serial cheating ex gained about 60 lbs after we married. And it was a brief marriage. He was shitty AND he got fat.

              Funny thing was — he was brutal about his ex-wife’s weight gain. Like that was the reason he had to cheat on her. (He’d never not cheated on her. And it didn’t explain the first wife, who was tiny and petite.)

              She dumped him and lost the weight. He kept being a serial cheater and got corpulently fat.


            • I seem to have hit a nerve here with the weight issue, but since when has being in a healthy weight range mean such a person must also have a “shitty personality” or be shallow or “judgemental” to go along with it?

              It’s not been my experience with the people I’ve met that are active in physical activities such as cycling, running and other sports. Most spend a lot of time helping others by participating in fundraisers and programs from food banks to women’s shelters. A lot of them are determined people that have made this lifestyle choice after suffering from major health issues and have decided to take charge of their lives instead of letting it happen to them.

              Unpleasant people come in all shapes and forms, I don’t judge people’s potential personality or worthiness based on any physical characteristic, I determine character by their actions toward others. I believe everyone has the right to the lifestyle they choose and if they are happy with it and not hurting anyone else in the process, Rock On. That said, people like me should not be considered “judgmental” or “Sad” for having no desire to date someone whose lifestyle is not compatible with their own.

              • I must not have expressed myself clearly.

                We are on a forum about people who have decimated our lives. In that context, at least for me, a guy being overweight (or for you, a woman) is immaterial. I just want someone good. Goodhearted, kind, honest etc….

                Or you can keep doing what you’re doing and getting the same results….. or you could choose a woman with a good personality … and help her lose the weight with all your fun activities.

                I am not overweight – but if you read all the older women here posting their dimensions, they are all saying they would seriously struggle to meet the requirements you are asking for in terms of BMI. Doesn’t that tell you something?

                I didn’t mention the word judgmental so it’s interesting that you added it in. But yes I think it’s sad (as in sorrowful) that you could potentially be ruling out women by assuming they are not compatible lifestyle wise. I don’t know how you can ascertain that information in 1 or 2 dates.

          • Mike… so you think you are doing us a service by posting info about BMI ?
            WE ARE BOMBARDER daily by BMI, counting carbs, counting fat grams, hormones that make us fat, how much exercise we should be doing, “lose 30 lbs by Halloween” , the Fast Diet, Weight Watchers, ……..and on and on….WE KNOW !
            We really don’t need you or any man to “help ” us . Most of us are active , we are trying to be what WE want to be… but sometimes we are fighting a losing battle.
            We KNOW what the medical professionals say !
            My BMI is around 29… no not “morbidly obese ” , but enough get me “out of the dating pool” by your standards.
            You want to meet someone “that shares YOUR life style choices”.
            Think compromise…. think meeting a woman that you can” build a life style with.”… she just may have a life of her own…YES IT IS BEING JUDGMENTAL !
            Be OPEN to all life has to offer . Stop measuring your self worth by the physical appearance of the woman beside you.

            • Look, don’t be so hard on Mike. If he wants to judge by BMI that’s his right. I’d say, hey, try to be more ecumenical in your tastes, but that’s my opinion. Some men only want Asian chicks, or chicks with big boobs. Some women only want tall men, or men with huge salaries or Ivy League educations — those people are out there, but you’re going to have to be very patient or go without for a long time, maybe forever. And they may have those attributes and suck as a human being. Choosing those qualities is your choice. But I don’t want to dictate people’s tastes. It’s not a moral failing to like thin, fit women — it’s his PREFERENCE. Would he have more dates if he dated larger women? Sure! But he wouldn’t be attracted to them, and he’s not do himself or that woman any favors, ultimately.

            • I’m not measuring my self worth by the “physical appearance of the woman beside me”, those are your own projections. I’ve never claimed I was looking for a bikini model or fashion model, just a pleasant woman who shared my interests.

              As CL has said, ” It’s not a moral failing to like thin, fit women — it’s his PREFERENCE. Would he have more dates if he dated larger women? Sure! But he wouldn’t be attracted to them, and he’s not do himself or that woman any favors, ultimately”. If I know I’m not attracted to a certain type of woman and don’t share their lifestyle choices, why should I be expected to date them?

        • I’m nearly 20 years younger than him and
          allegedly meet his physical criteria. Were there other criteria? I missed those.

          Phrasing. Rephrasing. Best I can come up with that’s postable right now is ” I would not consider dating him.”

      • You know Mike, I shudder to think what my BMI is. I’m 47, I work out pretty regularly — but I was just at the gym and looked at myself sideways in a full-length mirror, under fluorescent lights, doing some ridiculous yoga stretch to a video and I thought “Thank GOD my husband sees me through the drunk goggles of love.” I mean, really, thank GOD BMI wasn’t a determining factor in his attraction. We’re fairly attractive people for our demographic, but no one is bouncing quarters off our firm abdomens. I’m a squidgy, middle-aged woman going through peri-menopause and he’s a stocky guy with a full head of hair and bad taste in t-shirts. I guess what I’m saying Mike, is consider a dorkier kind of love. Accept — Makes An Effort and Fuck the Chart.

        • The only reason I posted the chart was that the idea “Average” is healthy isn’t. According to the CDC the average American woman is now 164.7 pounds at just about 5’4″ an increase of 24 pounds from what they weighed in the 1960s. The men are not any better @ 194.7 lbs. for 5 feet 9.5 inches.

          I had the husband goggles as well, I’d have taken a bullet for that women on her worst day. But now I have the right to kick tires on all the newer models 😉

          • IMO, if you have a preference… go for it! But dont rule out because of it.

            I can tell you that when I first met my ex I was 16, 5’8, 165 lbs, pant size 12, 31 inch waist, 49 inch hips, and 20.1% body fat. You see… none of that makes sense according to calculations but it is the truth. If you asked what someone thought I weighed, it was aout 145 lbs.

            Other factors: I was a dancer, I was active, I had big boobs and a big butt, and I could very easily bouce a quarter off my butt

            Sometimes calculations cannot be the eternal judgement.

            Grant it I gained quite a lot being with my ex and I know that I havent changed one bit as a person and would feel awful to think that someone I could have really connected with ruled me out because of what they thought* my lifestyle was.

              • LOL 😉

                My legs are really muscular – I used to hate that but I appreciate it now. I have no ass at all which makes me sad, but I swear my boobs weigh a good 30lbs lolol

  • Mike,

    I was single for 6 years after my divorce and ultimately met my hubby of now 8 years online. I did date using online, mutual friends, and getting to no people by participating in various community activites.

    For background (I’ll use past tense although it hasn’t changed), my hubby loved his job, was a great dad, and all around wonderful guy with a great sense of fun. He is/was also balding, overweight, has table manners that I would prefer were a little more refined, doesn’t take care of his nails appropriately, and really bad has a thing about always wearing navy blue shirts and black slacks (arghh) – and I pretty much knew he was the guy for me.

    At the time I met him, I wasn’t too slouchy and really didn’t have problems dating. But I fell:

    What did I find wonderful about him?

    he had tons of confidence without being arrogant.

    he’d been divorced for a while and while wounded he had moved on and didn’t
    speak ill of his mother’s children.

    he is a gentleman – he opened doors, escorted me when walking, smiled when talking to me, treated wait staff respectfully, and asked me my preference for dinner, movies, etc.

    he had his own interests and was happy be flexible in scheduling but would have never stood for anyone expecting him to give up doing things he loved. Likewise, he never asked me to give up something that meant anything to me.

    he knew how to have a conversation – he asked about me, my life, my job and talked about himself in give and take, without dominating.

    his adolescent children were clearly his top priority and he raised a stepchild from his prior marriage as his own. I knew he was capable of treating mine well.

    he flirted without vulgarity

    he didn’t bring up sex or push it too early, but he wasn’t shy about telling me he thought I was beautiful.

    he had a strong work ethic

    he accepted or pleasantly tolerated my friends and family

    He wasn’t anyone’s doormat but he picked his battles. He didn’t always have to be right or have the last word.

    he was good to his mom without being weird –

    Eventually he told me that his first wife leaving him left him confused and unconfident – so he had digested and read the Men are from Mars .. series to try and figure things out. LOL.

    We didn’t force togetherness for everything.

    I guess my point is this: when you are in a good place you attract people. Good people. Quality things like fine spirits, cheese, and wine all take a healthy amount of time – don’t rush it.

    • He sounds like a great guy Marcie, it probably was a battle for him to get all those qualities back. I can relate to how he felt when his first wife left, I felt worthless, my judgment in all things suspect… I reread the journal I kept from those days last week…. it’s a wonder any of us survive.

  • One more thought… to any guys newly on the market! Be open to considering someone different or moving outside your comfort zone a bit. .. not to compromise standards of character.. but don’t discount someone that maybe has some different interest.

    Don’t be shy about asking women friends, family, or wives of your good friends if they know someone that could be a good match…! Most women know a single friend looking and we love to be matchmakers.

    don’t drink too much – there’s a real risk of saying something stupid, doing something stuipid, or looking a lush.

    Accept a blind date. I had a date once with a really nice guy that was interesting, normal, etc. , but I just didn’t feel any kind of desire to go out again. When he called I was thanked him so much yadda, yadda, but didn’t think we’d connect – but I genuinely thought he and a single friend of mine may hit it off – so, I told him about a neat friend that I thought he could be compatible with ..offered the intoductions… and.he.whined. He whined about how frustrated he was dating, how things never worked out…. whine whine whine. Bad move. He may have really like my friend.

  • CL, you said “Get some date shirts — some stylish, nice pressed collared shirts to wear with jeans, some cologne, some cool shoes or boots. You’re worth it! No… hang on, that’s what I’d write to a woman… to a man I should write — Do it! Because getting laid is worth it!”

    You can totally write that “getting laid is worth it” to this woman, way more interesting than “You’re worth it” . I so cracked up when I read that…women want sex and such too, you know that! Sex rocks! You don’t have to be in love for that, it can be fun even if you aren’t.

    • Dat, I know women enjoy getting laid too — but most of them don’t need to be reminded to dress nicely. Forgive the gross generalization, but I think most straight guys need more help in the fashion department than women.

        • I wouldn’t, but I am not that visual with respect to fashion choices. I do ask for appropriate dress. In other words, if we’re going to an orchestra concert, I’d prefer to see someone dress in something nicer than jeans and a t-shirt. Also, if that individual showed up in jeans and t-shirt, I’d give them points for going along with an activity I liked, but I’d also figure out that he’d not normally go to classical concerts, and thus I’d miss out on an activity I enjoy if we were in a longer-term relationship.

          Also, Mike, I’m not going to ride you for preferring more slender women. It’s okay, and frankly, I think that if I were coming from your background, I’d probably really value someone who likes to hike, bike, and work out. For you, doing those activities carries life or death immediacy that others may not have. It’d be great to have a partner who also enjoys doing those same things so that you two can spend a significant time together doing stuff.

          You might check out the local triathlon club in your area. One of our local rec centers has a group specifically targeted toward middle-aged people who want to train for a triathlon. Originally, the group was all women, and it still is largely female. However, there are now men involved, and it seems to me that this is the kind of activity where you might meet someone who is interested in sharing the same lifestyle as you. She might not be in the ideal BMI range, but that she’s interested in the activity means that she’d not be jealous of the time you need to spend in order to keep yourself alive. She would also be a good example for your kids to emulate.

  • Mike,

    You just can’t rule out fate. You might try bracketing your age and dating women a few years older, as well as ones your age and younger. (Yes, women over 60 can be gorgeous but stable and also very sensual– contrary to what some men believe. We also tend to be more independent and self-reliant. Not a whole lot gets next to us because we’ve lived life and can handle a crisis.

    I will be 66 this month, would probably be too curvy for your BMI standards, but look early 50s in the face and am still naturally blonde. Have had no problem attracting men older, same age, and younger. Those suckers came out of the woodwork before the divorce was final, and I had to discourage them because I was not ready. A few were in their early 40s and probably players. Had to tell them, “Step off Sonny, I’ve raised my children. Two were in their late 70s, extremely well off and looking for a younger “trophy” wife. They wanted to impress me with lavish displays. I had to tell them, “No, I’m not for sale. And who wants a trophy wife in her 60s?” (One answered, “Well, sweetie, you have to remember than anyone under 70 is young to me.” Last year I “friend-zoned”, a hunk of a dude 10 years younger (and with whom there was what dudes euphemistically call “chemistry”) but he was a wee bit narcissistic, and I know better than to go there again…not going to be an “older trophy” either.

    I know a few people who have met their spouses online, but a very brief foray online convinced me that the Mother Ship has landed there. Coffee dates yielded way too many people with more baggage than Delta Airlines..none of it well pack

    It has been 4 1/2 years since the divorce, and this year I accidentally hit the jackpot. Met him at a vintage car show where he was showing an old Corvette he had restored. He is a widower who will be 67 in December. Tall, silver hair, self-employed, emotionally and financially stable, smart, obviously mechanically inclined, and owns a pick up truck, too! ( What more can a girl ask? Men with pick up trucks are versatile and valuable to a woman who does her own landscaping and vegetable gardening!) What a jewel! We both like peace, serenity, and a low-key but healthy life style, we have common interests and diverse interests (that give us things to talk about), and we can just “be” in proximity in companionable silence in total comfort. Yes, there is still fire in our furnaces, too; but I think the single most important element is we laugh…a LOT…even in bed.


    I suppose the point of all this is exactly what the others have told you. It will probably happen when you least expect it and probably in a place where you don’t expect it. Just be out and about enjoying life, and it will happen.

  • Bahaha… the letters “ed!’ hanging out in space make absolutely NO reference to erectile dysfunction. Those letters go with, “well pack….” @ end of third para.

    Good luck to you, Mike. Keep the faith, and it WILL happen.

      • datdam,

        It is like once you accept that single life may be your fate and that it will be just fine; that you can have fun and live-it-up (in a clean, fun way) like you did when you were young, single and not particularly ready to settle down, you relax inside and it is reflected in how you behave. It is at that point you begin to attract the kind of mate you enjoy and are comfortable with. You are at a good place with plenty of wise people to cheer you on. So, yeah, you are gonna make it.

  • Mike, I’m surprised you haven’t met someone from doing plays. Most community theatre groups are overrun with attractive, single women. I met a nice guy from doing a play and we see each other occasionally, but he’s really too young for me. Even if I never meet someone really special that way, at least I’m having fun and making new friends. Maybe you need to take a 3-month hiatus from dating and just enjoy life for awhile.

    • Joining the theater group was one of the first things I did after the split, one of many things in my bucket list I used to get back on track. I joined up three months after my X left, the distraction of playing someone else five nights a week kept me sane.

      I have met a lot of great women in the theater, but most of the girls in our theater are either late 20’s to early 30’s, married or over 65. A couple of the ones in their 30’s made their interest known early on, it did wonders for my badly damaged self esteem, but the age difference was a bit off putting and I was still in my self imposed one year exile from dating. Chances are good I will meet someone through the theater eventually, but even if I don’t the freindships I’ve made in each production have been wonderful.

  • LOL – 50 bad coffee dates?

    This is why dating really is more of a pain in the butt for men than women in some respects.

    I understand that women go out on dates, and then get stuck with guys who can’t stop talking about themselves and hinting around that she should go home with him for some instant-gratification sex and other varieties of weirdness as well.

    Men get weirdness dating. But they also have to repeatedly take the initiative, and honestly… a lot of the time you are wondering if you are just opening another can of worms, and you actively did that to yourself 🙂

    • That’s the main reason I’ve gone the route of joining clubs and attending social events instead, online dating seems like going to endless job interviews where they already decided in the first 30 seconds they are not going to hire you…. 😉

  • I’ll add some to your list CL, based on my experience. Here is the thing. Most women want a spark. They want attraction. The items above speak to logic, but I have yet to meet a woman who dates solely on logic.

    For example, I work with a woman who is very attractive, intelligent and kind. She’s been through the ringer a couple of times and thus she was very picky about who she dated. She goes through pretty much the same criteria. Is he financially stable, is he hung up on the ex, does he look after himself (hygiene, fashion) , is he nice to me and to others. Invariably , after finding a good match, she starts in on the “there’s just no spark crap.” And laments the fact that they don’t just want to be friends.

    I’ll also mention that she is currently dating a douchebag. She knows he a douchebag. She bitches about him all the time, but.. “there is just so much chemistry there” . She would rather risk dating a douchebag then taking the time to grow into a relationship with a decent guy.. and she wonders why her picker is broken.

    This isn’t an outlier. I see this very thing all too often.

    The secret is.. be a douchebag!! Ok.. that’s a joke. You don’t need to, but a guy is going to have to borrow those traits that appeal to most women’s emotions. So be all those things that you mentioned.. but also have:

    1. Confidence, confidence, confidence. And did I say confidence? Confidence is very attractive and coming out of the infidelity mess will shake anyone’s confidence to the core. It kind of ties to the first point, but regardless.. it is something one can’t fake. Body language is a huge give away every time. So how does one get it? Practice. Practice talking to women and being comfortable around them. Chat up any women who have a financial stake in making someone happy. My favourites are women at the scent counter or waitresses. I recently had a fantastic conversation with a knock out salesperson at the running store. Uncomfortable, nervous and fidgety is not attractive. I hear some women say they find it cute.. or flattering or sometimes even empowering. Bull.
    2. Be fun. Not all of us can pull off funny all the time, but I am sure we all have some funny stories to talk about or just talk about what we like to do for fun. Of course DO NOT talk about how the ex screwed us over but also don’t talk about how stressed we are.
    3. Be assertive but not bossy. Confidence required to pull this off. But don’t acquiesce to every request. Have a backbone. If one wants give-and-take later in the relationship, one starts with give-and-take at the beginning of a relationship.
    4. Be risqué but not a letch. Confidence required. Women like to “go there”. Keep it safe. Keep it relatively clean. It will take a little time to discover each individual persons’ tolerance level. But one can pretty much be sure going x-rated is right out.

    • Forgot to add one.
      5. Touch. This requires a lot of confidence, but if done well people will respond very well. This appeals to both sexes, but from my experience, women are far better at this than guys. You know that touch to the hands or a playful light punch on shoulder or gut? Its almost like its instinct. I’m not advocating coping a feel here. Something like a gentle touch to the elbow or shoulder. Later when both are more comfortable, .. perhaps brushing hair out of the other person’s eyes. Hovering your hand or a light brush at the lower back when opening a door. The risk is.. if the women isn’t comfortable.. touch will only amplify the aversion.. but if she is comfortable and happy.. a safe non threatening touch will amplify the attraction

      • About the confidence, you are so right, Hdan, and the TOUCH!! I did the online dating for a little while, met a guy who was smart, had a super interesting career of the ‘make the world a better place’ type, and seemed quite nice. We had probably 6 or 7 dates, over several months (I have 85% custody of my kids, and he had a job that took him out of the country often, and he had his kids most weekends). He never touched me at all, never said anything about finding me attractive, never did anything at ALL outside the friend zone. Then one evening after dinner we went to a local park to walk, he parked the car, and still in the car, we started to kiss. Within 30 seconds his hand was inside my bra! (Sorry if TMI, folks!) Considering we were on a public street, it was still fairly light out, and I’m NOT 16, I was not comfortable w/that and told him so. We got out of the car and walked for a bit, and he went right back to treating me as if I were his friend only! No hand holding, no arm around the shoulder, no nothing.

        This turned me off to the guy so much that I sent him an e-mail the next day, politely dumping him. It wasn’t at all that I wasn’t ready for something physical, I was actually wondering what was taking so long! It was the lack of any expressed interest in me as a romantic partner and/or an attractive woman, and the lack of any physical contact at all, until he was groping me, that was so yucky!

    • I’ve seen this same scenario play out over and over again as well, the ladies all claim to be looking for a “Good Man”, but have a long history of dating the “Bad Boys” 😉 The cocky, funny, confident, semi mysterious guy who isn’t afraid to engage women in conversation has it over the average Joe 1000-1. I got into the habit of talking to women everywhere, I get preferered service nearly everywhere in town because all the cashiers and sales girls know I’ve always got a funny story or flirty comeback…I’ve even got a couple of free coffees at Starbucks because I bet a Barrista who was having a bad day I could make her smile. Now if I was 20 years younger I’d be dangerous.

      • That wasn;t really directed at you since I saw in subsequent posts that you seemed to be in the right place. However, I disagreed with CL that finding a new mate is simply a cerebral process. Well there is nothing that advocates that this SHOULD be cerebral more than having to deal with a character disordered former spouse. However, people still fall into old habits. Women and men tend to make the same mistakes over and over because attractions isnt something they seem to control. I guess I was trying to make the point that it is possible.. to be attracted to a decent guy, but it doesn’t hurt to be work at being an attractive decent guy.

        • Hey Hdan, I don’t think it’s just a cerebral process. Of course you need to be attracted. If my husband looked like a bucket of slop, I wouldn’t date him. If I wasn’t mildly fetching, I’m sure he wouldn’t date me either. I enjoy a little objectification, in fact. But if that was ALL he liked about me? I don’t think it’d be a relationship for the ages.

      • It’s the same with the men. They write about wanting to find a soulmate, a relationship, a warm, kind woman, blah blah blah. But what they really seem to want is a bitch with big, silicone boobs and dyed blonde hair. Bitches always seem to get the guys. Nice women, not so much.

    • Hdan, if you are reading this, you are reading a comment by a woman who dated by logic for the last several years. It paid off for me.

      At some point a smart woman makes a decision that she just doesn’t have time for douchebags and their drama. She wants confidence with a touch of humility, consideration, kindness, and being treated like a lady (not a princess-a LADY). She wants a man who knows when to take charge and when to commiserate but still let her solve her own problems. And, of course, someone, who while not physically perfect, is clean cut and clean. (Although a recently sweaty man can bring out the tigress in me from time to She wants a man who expresses appreciation for the things she does that delight him and bring him comfort and contentment, and for him to reciprocate in kind.

      I will grant you that men like this are often a bit older and have developed maturity and a realistic picture of who they are (No, “Male Hotness Delusion Syndrome”) and what they have to offer. They are OK with that..OK with who they are.

      I call it “Romantic Growth” as opposed to the Limerance state that so many people confuse with love. The slow progression of a relationship via getting to know and enjoy the person, with an undercurrent of slowly growing sexual tension can make for some serious POW!!! when the two finally become physically as well as emotionally intimate. AND, they are doing that with someone they feel confident they can trust.

      People jump into bed too soon; and women allow men to jump into their beds too soon. Both parties get blinded by lust, can’t see the forest for the trees, and often it does not end well.

      Just my @cents worth.

      • but you basically confirmed my points.

        My larger point wasnt to throw reasoning to the wind. Far from it. It was to simply harness those more primal responses of what women .. or men find attractive.

        • I was very and am logical, even with my ex I was. The problem occurs when you have discussions about your life, expectations, etc and etc. before you let yourself go on in a relationship and the person you are doing this with LIES to you in fundamental ways. That is where I now feel confident I will not believe words alone ever again.

          Put another way, a sexual spark is great and I might very well take you home for sex, but that is far different from having a relationship. Getting laid is not that hard, finding someone you like enough to fall in love with is. I’m agreeing with notyou that the spark can often come after the enjoying of a persons company. It can also come after great sex, just depends on the persons.

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