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Dear Chump Lady, Do I have to date for dull to find decent?

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badboyDear Chump Lady

I am wondering if it’s normal to get totally depressed by the dating jungle?

It’s been 18 months now since I kicked my ex out. Still not divorced because he won’t play fair and provide a fair settlement and I’m not the boss of him etc. But since going through the shock, anger and distress of believing his infidelity (still denied), I’ve attempted to move on. I bought a new home having finally sold the old place, got busy, become an exercise nut and really got stuck in at work.

Now I’ve signed up to match.com to seek out a new boyfriend. Trouble is, apart from the total fear of another master manipulator, I am terrified there’s no one else out there. I’m attractive, slim, intelligent (genuinely) and yet desperate for company and to love and be loved. Now I’m in my early-mid 40s, all the men interested are a lot older, have more baggage than me and the only date I’ve had, he was a really nice guy but dull. What’s a girl to do! I can’t fathom dull vs decent, financial solvency vs plain materialism on my part, career ambition vs personal contentment. It’s tough out there.

I’d like clever, honest AND sparkly. Do they exist though!? I feel really gloomy. Like I’m going to be on the shelf forever and all prospective partners will always be dull and nerdy to be kind and reciprocal.

Please can you advise on whether I’m settling again out of desperation or needing to be ‘realistic’?

Lotusblossom

Dear Lotusblossom,

YOU’VE ONLY HAD ONE DATE!

ONE!

Uno!

the only date I’ve had, he was a really nice guy but dull. 

And from this, and online shopping at match.com, we are to infer that “all prospective partners will always be dull and nerdy to be kind and reciprocal.”

So much to bitchslap in one short letter…

1.) Don’t date for sparkles. Fix that picker. Sexual attraction is great and necessary, but sparkle is something all together different. Sparkle is the charm onslaught, the I’m The Most Interesting Person In the Room braggadocio — and aren’t you lucky to be with me? You there Lotusblossom, so desperate for validation from Mr. Sparkles will fall for this shit head. He’s not special — he’s slutty for kibbles. Your kibbles, anyone’s kibbles. And you’re awesome and the Best Person He’s Ever Met! so long as you keep up kibble production. Until you can’t — because you can’t be 50 people at once.

2.) Nerdy and decent is WONDERFUL. Look, you probably asked the wrong person, because I’m married to Mr. Nerdy N. Decent. I’m a flaming dork myself, so personally, I prefer to swim in the dork pool. You beautiful people can swan about elsewhere, but if you can’t appreciate the nerdy and decent, leave ’em for the other appreciative chumps.

Why not come up with a list of character traits you’d like in your next partner? Get out of the sparkles vs. nerd dichotomy.

I would look for qualities like responsibility, restraint, self-discipline, to name a few. If you have just one of those qualities, the rest follows. I’m responsible, ergo I have a job. Ergo, I pay my bills. Ergo, I’m an involved parent.

Get away from superficialities, and take the time to learn someone’s character.

3.) YES, the problem is “I’m settling again out of desperation,” “I am terrified there’s no one else out there,” “desperate for company and to love and be loved.”

As long as you think “no one is out there,” you will feel desperate. As long as you think you need to nail down this Get A Boyfriend thing instantly, you will feel desperate. You’re not even divorced yet. You need some time to grieve. I’m not against dating while separating (a lot of people are), because I know some states can drag out divorces for years (and so can fuckwits you’re trying to divorce). That said, you’re often too wobbly and yes, desperate, to be a proper partner to anyone right after filing.

Do NOT self medicate with other people. Do not date until you can maintain your boundaries and dump people who aren’t a good match — and NOT be deeply wounded by dumping or being dumped.

Oh, and you know who loves the settling and the desperate? Disordered fuckwits! You’re CATNIP to those freaks. So toughen up before you put yourself out there.

4.) Yes, be realistic. There are issues and then there are Issues. If you’re over 40, you’re going to have baggage. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to date a man without baggage. If you got to be over 40 and you don’t have some kids and a divorce or a war wound or two, I’ll assume you live in a bubble. With your mother.

Middle-aged people are going to have some battle scars and that’s okay — it’s what did you learn from it. Are you still engaged with life? Do you have friends? Do you get out much? So long as you’re not dragging your baggage around like 300-lb leg irons, you’re fine.

Capital letter Issues are deal breakers like cheating, untreated mental illness, addiction, inability to hold a job, etc. Yes, don’t settle for that.

5.) (Everyone hates this advice.) Be okay being alone. Really get okay with it. Date yourself, learn to just BE. I know it sucks sometimes. But you know what sucks worse? Being with a cheating fuckwit. Start small with friends who treat you right. Find a passion that brings out your best self. Work on you. That’s the person you’re going to have the longest relationship with, so cool your jets, Lotusblossom. Forget dating for awhile.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
      • Thanks! I think there are two Amis – I am not the one whose letter was featured recently. I may have to change the name I’m using now so folks can tell us apart. I am betting you are thinking of the other Ami, yes?

        • Oh whoops! Yes, I was thinking of the “new” Ami. Maybe you can go by “Ami the elder” or something like that. 😛

    • Not to confuse things, but I married dull, stable and responsible becauseci loved him. I thought he was great, but certainly all of the above. In the natural, he was dull in terms of “not sparkly” and not funny, but I wanted to have a famiky with him and thought we had the same values, goals, got along well, etc.

      Fast forward and I am going through one of the most hellish divorces I’ve read about, if I do say do myself. (I never wanted to win in this category.). Anyway, the point is that I firmly believe he is a COVERT N. So in other words, you are not entirely safe with sparkly or boring. If I could tell you some of the things my dull, stable N has done is this divorce you would know that you need to watch out for different kinds of N’s.

      We are in an in-house Separstion and our agreements says I can stay until end of February just to save some money. I already moved the divorce way up for him. I could have dragged it out and stayed way longer. Anyway, of course he wants me out now and I knew once the divorce papers were signed he would start his campaign to get me out. Yesterday, he tells me there will be frequent utility interruptions and that he and the OW whore will need to come in the house to work on his “projects” as she is his “helper.” This isn’t even a good example of how evil he has been, but it happened yesterday, vu was able to shut that shit down right away.

      Anyway, my boring and stable is a holograph. No empathy, therefore no ability to live or form a conscience.

      • Susan, sounds like we married the same person. I thought my X had all the qualities that would make a stable, devoted, husband and family man. X was boring, a homebody, he wasn’t interested in going out with friends as couples, I thought that showed his devotion to me and family. .
        He turned out to be sneaky and manipulative. I’ve gone through the divorce from hell with Satan.
        One of the things that hurts me the most is he fooled my family, my parents loved him like their own son and he treated them like garbage too.
        True, boring and stable, no empathy, no conscience. Pure evil.

        • X had me evicted after reducing his support to the exact amount of the house payment.
          I foolishly thought he was taking that amount out to pay the house payment. He wouldn’t answer my calls. I got the notice while visiting family in Europe, when I came home I only had three days to do find out what I could do. Every experienced eviction attorney I spoke to which was at least three told me they had never had a husband evict their spouse who was co owner which I was. Horrible experience, when I got back into the home everything of value of mine was gone, all my photos from when I was growing up, gifts from my parents, the house was pillaged, ransacked, what was left thrown everywhere, filthy mess. makes me physically ill thinking about all the irreplaceable items I’ve lost.
          To show you what a snake he is when I came to get some clothing he hid behind the front door as I went in to get a few things. I never imagined anyone could stoop so low, my house was destroyed.

          • Brit–I’m so sorry. Would other family members have photos you could copy to at least re-construct some of your scrapbooks? Did you check pawn shops for some of your stolen gifts.

            I wish I could wash my mind of all the cruelty exhibited by cheaters.

            • Brit and Susan,

              I married the same guy. He appeared dull, unassuming, “safe” and responsible. Mine was an Ivy league, catholic attorney. Boring as all hell.

              Please be careful, LotusBlossom, as Chump Lady advises: rework your picker. Brilliant advice,

              Take Care. xoxo

              • Brit and Susan, OMG. I am so sorry. Honestly, it is the hardest thing to even begin to understand how a person you once knew so intimately can turn into a monster. Please know it is Narcissism in the highest degree. They are, and I do not use this word lightly, evil people who are so disordered they know nothing about playing fair and being honest. It’s difficult to begin to believe the depths of their disordered and it’s quite a process to even begin to accept it (I am still floored by the games ex wants to play, like using the tax deduction for our oldest daughter when it was my turn according to the divorce decree, stuff like that). It’s shocking and ugly and horrible to live through. My highest regards to both of you for enduring the impossible. I am sending you both boatloads of understanding.

      • Wow Susan & Brit same here! I hate sparkly! I like genuine, real, authentic. He was Mr. Reliable and Responsible & Predictable. I used to joke that he was so predictable. He was totally covert. He rarely went out with friends & if he went out he went out it was with me. We are both introverted. Little did I know every time I was at work, and he was home……never saw it coming…….so sorry I’m one month in and still hurting a lot….

        • Sorry you are here! I don’t think it matters if you’re an introvert or extrovert when it comes to cheating. It’s just a lack of character! You’re lucky to have found CL so early. Read the archives, post, and seek support here. This website did more for my recovery than 6 months of therapy. I know it’s cliche, but time does make it better. You just need to identify people and things to get you through the first few months. Then the fog will begin to lift and you will see hope and a future. Be strong!

          • So true lostntx! fighter: This site is the best therapy ever! I need it and have truly come to understand myself, ex, and his ass-a-holic character disorder which has nothing to do with me. That has been some of the biggest healing for me, separating my part with his (as a chump I lived in self-blame for a long time but not anymore). CL truly gets it and has a knack for conveying the truth and supporting the right orientation toward life which includes honesty, integrity, decency, taking the high road, focusing on one’s self, being the sane parent, and many more gems. This focus, on me, vs the focus and reaction on ex has been life saving for me.

            Also, CN and CL, I just wanted to thank you all so very very much for the encouragement of getting a lawyer. Wow. I found the perfect most helpful affordable lawyer. Note this: I have a great friend and family support system (they are always in my corner cheering for me, rooting me on, supporting me). But my lawyer (love that phrase), he is actually protecting ME in the action that is needed, e.g., going after ex., going in to fight for me, going into battle so to speak.

            I have to say this has helped me to turn a corner in my healing: I was pretty depressed, not doing self-care but how things have changed. I’m not so riled up, so stressed, so trying to figure things out legally myself.

            So forever cheers and gratitude for all of your suggestions to get a lawyer (for anyone who says they cannot afford it, there is always a way, please read past posts about this). And though money is very tight, somehow it is working out.

            THANK YOU CN and CL!!!!

        • Welcome to CN fighter, I am so sorry to welcome you to the club that no one wants to join, but I am glad you found us.

          I can so relate to your pain, and can tell you from experience that unfortunately there is no way around it, the only way is to get through it and use that pain to grow and gain wisdom and self-respect.

          Like you, I married Mr. Reliable and Responsible and Predictable, he made me feel so safe after the higher roller coaster relationships I had had before. I thought at the time that he was mature and I had reached a point where I was ready to build the next chapter with him. We talked a lot before deciding to move in together. We seemed to share the same values and the same life goals, both with life experiences and in our 30s, so when he asked, I married him.

          Fast forward 12 years and a kiddo later, and BOOM my life exploded when I found out about a secret email address (with >600 emails) he had been exchanging with his mistress.

          The more I found out, the more it hurt. His responses were textbook what CL and many others in CN experienced. His affair was not discussed, he wanted me to believe that it was my reaction and anger about his affair that were what was killing our marriage. He kept lying to me about not being in touch with his mistress, showed no remorse in private although he claimed he wanted to stay married to me during the MC visits I of course, chumpy me, schedule for us.

          It took me two weeks for the reality to sink in. He wanted to stay married for image management purposes. My marriage was dead and had been dead for longer than I was aware of. I had no good choices available to me. It was either divorce (and hurting my kid and all my family members in the process) or putting up with his disrespect.

          I went through hell and back for 15 months to divorce this certified POS, and I can say that it gets better.

          It is an awfully painful process, no question about this. But the more I read about Cluster B personalities (Lundy’s Why does he do that, Brown’s Women who love psychopaths), the more I could distance myself from the pain and learn what is within and beyond my control when it comes to parenting with my X. I am almost at Grey Rock with my X, and enjoying doing things for myself when my kiddo is with my X.

          There is no painless choices when you’ve been chumped… Apart from joining CN :)! I send you a massive hug fighter, and please comment, participate in the forums, CN is with you for support, humor, and to help you reach as many Meh moment as possible.

          (((fighter)))

  • Dear Lotusblossom,

    “I’m attractive, slim, intelligent (genuinely)”

    I’ve been told that I am all three by others.

    “I’d like clever, honest AND sparkly.”

    I’ve also been told that I’m all three by others (well, the sparkly part comes every two weeks or so, when I play out in bars and restaurants in my rock band). I’m also nerdy at times, and damned proud of it. And my job… well, not to put too much personal info. here, but whenever I meet people and tell them what I do for a living, most of them ask me if I need an assistant because the field in which I work is so amazingly cool.

    So… we’re out there. Believe me, we **are** out there.

    • Having said that, I should add this, in a small attempt to bolster what CL is telling you:

      When my cousin asked me if I was interested in meeting new people, and I answered sure, she then asked me what I was looking for in a date. Blonde? Brunette? Red head? Taller? Petite? etc.

      My answer: “Let’s start with someone who has honesty and integrity, and take it from there.”

      Now, I am NOT one to downplay attraction, and I recognize it’s vitally important in a relationship, but I’ve had my fill of beautiful women who have sucky-ass character problems.

        • My divorce attorney plays guitar in a local band that has won some competitions. Lol….I actually like that about him…They’re signature song at the end of their set is Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the name of….which is now my anthem. It’s pretty cool to head bang with your attorney to that song.

          I gave up looking for my “type”. Like you Sephage the qualities I look for have changed. After being betrayed and chumped….I won’t settle for anything that doesn’t have integrity and morals.
          How do you treat your ex wife??
          How do you treat your kid?
          How do you treat animals?
          How do you treat the elderly, homeless, misfortunate?

          I didn’t ask those questions 25 years ago. Had I….it would have been different. But he hid how he was too.

          Dating…..lol…..it can’t even
          imagine. it will take someone who can look at what craziness has entailed my life to say they’d date me. Lol….it’s not for the faint at heart.

            • Agreed with CL and all of you!

              I’m far from ready to date again, but for now, I feel very grateful to have a great circle of friends that have the maturity, honesty and integrity needed to turn their life’s “baggage” into wisdom…

          • I am one year out from my divorce. I would love to have somebody but I am having fun dating me:) I am looking at life as an adventure and pushing myself to learn to go to concerts, museums learn to paint, going back to school and meet fun people along the way.I figured somebody will come alongside me and do life with me but I am not looking.
            Please take your time to heal, figure out who you are.

            • I am starting to do the same after almost 4 yrs of trying to make sense of what the hell I went thur! (( 3o yr marriage blew up after hubby’s affair, which I really did think was a good marriage))

              I’ve been seeing someone but just as fwb as neither want more right now, but do want the intimacy that sex brings us. He’s in his 50’s, me in my 6o’s, for right now,we just “fit” right for our lives.

              This is my time… Hubby changed the direction of my life in ways I never ever expected in the 3 cycle of my life, I never thought I’lld be able to survive 4 yrs ago.

            • It’s been about 15 months since I was chumped for the last time. It’s funny how stbx is now dragging his heels after pulling the rug out from under our 20 yr marriage. Lotus, no dating sites for me (stbx was all over them). I discovered who my good friends were, spent time examining my “pleasing” patterns and have now become true to my needs & wants. The freedom and strength I’ve gained has been unbelievably amazing. Recently, I started going out with friends and I am learning how to enjoy myself a little bit again. I’ve met at least 3 men (chumps themselves) who are decent, responsible and have demonstrated integrity. I can only imagine how beautiful life would have have been with a loving and thoughtful partner. I’m in no rush to become a ‘couple’ again but my faith in humanity has been restored. Real sparkles happen when you connect with another human in an authentic, non-superficial way. This takes time and you must be willing to look deeper into the person before you.

          • I think the ability to hide how messed up they really are, and to be able to appear as they want you to see, is the hallmark of a seasoned sociopath. This is their bread and butter. At first I kicked myself for being duped. But I know better now. They are con men and women and I refuse to be paranoid. Normal people don’t walk around trying to sucker people for their personal gain. And I will not allow my ex to have some sort of twisted legacy in my life.

          • My GO TO anthem when X-hole was sparkling his best and shoving his affair in my face (we were still co-habitating) was Halestorm’s “I Miss The Misery”. I would put that on, plug in my earphones and beat the absolute shit out of the hanging bag in our gym. Still play the song, it’s a great reminder that it was MISERY!!

            https://youtu.be/YpJAmlnBxoA

    • Lotus

      Instead of going on dating sites, I’ve been doing things I would never have done before. I had to laugh about your ‘nerd’ experience since I have been going to Nerd Night Events. While there I met a young man who offers meditation classes next door to the venue. I’m going to a class on my vacation week. Nerd Nights are hosted in many cities.

      • Thanks, Donna–just looked it up for my city! Sounds like fun (though I will be opting out of the Nerd Speed D! ugh)

  • Amen to all the above.

    Desperation utterly reeks through a person’s pores like last night’s garlic. And the disordered fuckwits out there can detect a molecule of it at 1000 paces.

    Way. Too. Soon.

    I would go further and say that sparkles is a sure sign to RUN LIKE HELL. When there is a buzz, a thrill, a nice little hot tingle with an almost complete stranger, this is a sign of a disordered person on your radar. It is also a sign that you are still very vulnerable.

    You must learn to protect yourself, parent yourself, best girlfriend yourself, and above all learn to love yourself, and the best way to do that is through being single. When you have had a real hammering, this is imperative. You must give yourself more time.

    I always worry when I read about chumps still legally embroiled with their cheaters who are at the same time trying to date again. Have you thought about what kind of date you will actually make for someone? You are embroiled in the biggest legal, financial and emotional mess of your life, and you think this is a good time to DATE?

    Yikes. For me it’s been two years, and we weren’t married, and I am only now just starting even to think about it again. And I am well into my late 40s. There is no rush. The building is not on fire.

    • Totally agree with everything you say above, Lola! I was a mess through my divorce. How unfair on some new guy, to have me be “unpresent” on any date. Plus, I would think choosing the status “currently separated ” on Match is going to also steer good, healthy men away from her, naturally. Most people don’t want to get involved in that shit storm.

      • I needed to be TOTALLY honest on my match profile – 60 years old – teacher for special needs students, former dairy farmer. I listed myself as currently separated, because I was. Cheating Ex was doing everything he could to hold up divorce process – needed to file motions to compel and for sanctions. Who knew how long it would last in limbo?

        There is no dress rehearsal for our lives – I wanted to move on. I met the most wonderful, decent, sweet, loving, caring widower in the world. We’ve been together 3 years and are peaceful, content, happy beings. Together we have 9 grandchildren, 5 adult kids and TONS of baggage. He’s the best husband I never had. Get to know yourself and then a mental “want ad” for who you want in a partner. Make a list, stick to it and by golly, you’ll get it

      • Million times agree with Lola…Plus remember unless you have 100% learnt to protect yourself and learnt to love yourself stay I’d advice you to stay off dating website.
        Dating website are ground zero for emotional unavailable, cheater (guys with wife who have no idea what their SO are up to) and the emotionally damaged (the not over their ex’s, their mommies, etc)
        Remember, my cheating asshole fucktard ex is on Match.com right now. He met the red headed whore on OKCupid. You need the ability to weed assholes like him out when dating. Good luck.

        • I laughed really hard when I read this. Thanks for the laugh and the good advice. I really feel so overwhelmed and serious. My husband is a completely different person than when we met and not for the better. Of course all of it is my fault, and of course the only thing that he could do was cheat on me. He’s leaving for someone else and going straight to a new relationship and as I was married, I have no one set aside. I can’t believe he would treat anyone like he’s treated me, But I “deserve” it evidently. I never had to have anyone but now I’m this pathetic person who’s afraid I’ll never be loved again. This isn’t really me but it’s how I feel right now. Nice to see people going on and succeeding. I’ll get there.

          • We all have that fear to some degree Kay, no one who is alone is exempt. It’s OK to let that feeling come in sometimes, just don’t let it stay too long. You are loved, romantic love can come again, when you are ready. I’m not there yet either but I have gotten past the fear, so will you. Jedi Hugs!

          • Kay
            My good friend often reminded me that anyone could go out and pick up someone at a bar and start a relationship as sociostunted and slunT did. The difference is that I wouldn’t. Neither would you.
            At first it is lonely but that will pass.
            I keep in mind he has no self respect and never respected me,
            Gaining a life for us is painful and heartbreaking.
            You NEVER deserved this and your NOT pathetic. They are.
            Every time you do something for yourself your fears will lessen.
            Start with you and list all your good qualities starting with loyal, kind, and loving. Then list the disordered’s character traits. I’m sure it’s long.

          • Kay–I”m fighting some of the same feelings you’re having. What helps is thinking “Hell to the — X will not define the rest of my life.” Yup, it was my fault he had his “one affair” (plus the other two I know about, and the Craigslist hookups, and the conference fucks….but I digress). I sucked as a wife, as a human, as a roommate, as a dog owner, as a driver, as a passenger, as a dinner party hostess, as an egg-frier….you get my point. It takes a long while to overcome the criticism and cold-shoulder moments and gaslighting and blameshifting that we endured for decades.

            But it is on THEM. They’d have done the same thing to anyone else they were married to. They’d have done the same thing if we were popular with their friends, and intelligent and caring and…. oh, wait, we were. Fuck them, and fight against internalizing all that manure that was heaped on your head before, during, and after D-day. Don’t let HIM win–you rock.

            • You’re absolutely right Tempest, X’s are in the honeymoon phase of their latest relationship. Eventually they will transform themselves into the same inconsiderate jerks we know them to be with OW. It’s only a matter of time. They’re setting themselves up for the inevitable. Once the Honeymoon phase begins to fade, OW’s faults will soon be noticed, then magnified by X . OW will begin to be annoying questioning him, having the nerve to ask him to do something when he doesn’t feel like “jumping through hoops.” All giving him permission to cheat because he deserves someone who understands him. Viscious cycle.., I can’t imagine knowing my X like I do having an honest open conversation to compromise.

              We aren’t jumping from one relationship to another we have this time for reflection and to think of ourselves and what we like rather than wondering what X would like or anyone else. I think this is important for us Chumps to value ourselves enough to put our needs and feelings first as much as we do everyone else. Fairly of course.
              We all can agree we know what we don’t want.

              I think it’s fair to give dull guys a chance, I’m probably not particularly exciting at first, I’m a little quiet until I get to know someone. I’d be considered dull, but once
              I feel comfortable I think I’m fun, intelligent, have a good sense of humor, most people enjoy my company. We can give dull men a chance, sparkle is disposable.
              We need substance and from our horrific X’s and being more mature we must promise ourselves to listen to our gut, and be very alert to the red flag.

    • Hand raised here! I KNOW I’m not ready, I’m not even remotely interested at this point. I’m still finding my way back to me, only a better and even stronger me than I was when I met the asshole. No way will I ever tolerate an ounce of mistreatment ever again.

      I don’t even know that I can find the words to describe exactly what this has done to me and how it’s changed me. Violated is one. The realization that every minute of those 8 years of my life that I spent with that asshole I was being duped and mindfucked and didn’t KNOW it is enough to make me consider celibacy for my remaining years. Not sure I will ever completely trust anyone again.

      I’ve been alone for much of my life, concentrated on raising my first child as a single mother, now it’s round two with my son (daughter is grown, awesome, responsible and has her own place). I was fine on my own before X-hole, I can be alone with myself unlike him.

      I know that, although I am not perfect, none of this was about me so I don’t internalize this shit anymore. When my son is with X-hole I go out and drink and dance with a group of friends from high school or my girls (my daughter, my sister, x-holes ex wife and her sisters and oldest daughter) and I have a blast.

      I’m absolutely fine with where I am right now all things considered.

    • Yes, yes, yes, Lining! As I explained to my grandmother yesterday, who was trying to set me up with whom she described as a brother-in-law’s cousin’s OhMyGodSoHandsome son:

      It’s kind of like walking into Baskin Robbins, looking at all 31 flavors, and saying to yourself, “Eh… Don’t really feel like ice cream today….” and walking out without buying anything.

      That’s my attitude towards dating. Two years after separating and 6 months after being officially divorced, I’m no longer blaring Alanis Morissette and chanting incantations over a pot while cursing my ex.

      I’m just “Meh” about dating. AND THAT IS OK. No need to rush into anything. Being single is not being lesser.

  • How interesting are you Lotusblossom?
    It’s part of the date yourself thing, be that which you seek.
    You want a guy who does skydiving and climbs Everest? Go do those things. That’s how you find authentic.
    Do you know who is really good at bragging about the things they have done off the top of the conversation and being sparkly?
    The people we’re ALL running from.
    I’m damn sure the nerdy around you are very interesting, but you have to sit down and talk, have a conversation and find out.

    I am dating again and I love it. No commitments and no relationships. I’m not ready yet and everyone is aware of the situation. I will revisit the issue after one year of being single and not a day before.
    Everyone I am seeing would be considered nerdy or dorky by you lotusblossom. They have full time jobs, kids, parents who need help, responsibilities, and in a nod to CL the one without kids has actual war wounds. It turns out they are all really interesting with a keen sense of adventure no one would expect from looking at them.

    We go out and do things together, no bars, no parties, but hiking, boating, ice skating, art museums, zip lines, new foods we have never tried, day trips to see new things.

    Stop looking for immediate coupling to feel satisfaction. Get out there and do things you find so interesting and you will meet new people who also do things that are interesting. Talk to them and get to know them and you may just find out how interesting they really are.

  • The only thing that sucks more than getting cheated on and seeing your marriage ruined and your life derailed, financially, emotionally, and mentally for a lengthy period of time is…it happening a second time.

    If you go for the shiny object twice, you’ll get burned, twice. Better to reset yourself, understand in yourself what is and is not acceptable, and find out what you truly want.

    I made a list of things I wanted in a partner, yes physical attraction was on there, but not as high on the list as one might think. Ethics. Values. Humor. Grace. Dignity. All far more important than “hot, cool, sexy”. Part of dating a contemporary is understanding the needs and wants change. Sounds like the last time Lotus dated was in her early 20’s, when hot, cool, and sexy was the gold standard. It’s not anymore. When you get older, you really want someone who matches you well that you can grow with and share yourself with.

      • Getting into a rellationship seeking sparkley while feeling desperate? No, No, No!!!
        This will make you so vulnerable to the disordered who can spot vulnerability in a crowded dark room.

      • “Ethics. Values. Humor. Grace. Dignity. ” and I would add “Superior intelligence and a love of adventure” ….these are all character traits that are super “hot, sexy, cool” to me…

    • Hi Scott, my ex husband of 37 years was never ever sparkly. In fact he was a real nerd and still is in many ways. He was the complete opposite of my violent and alcoholic father and I thought that I had chosen a wonderful man to share my life with. In me he had an intelligent, moral woman who still does have ethics, values, humour, dignity, grace and they are the words that I have directed at me by others and the ex has chosen a 23 year old 3rd world prostitute to share and grow with !! Apart from the sex she provides and the money that he provides, this relationship does stand a chance of flourishing because he is hell bent on keeping his young girl. So we have both grown older and I got turfed out for growing older. I will see out my days on my own now and I don’t need a list of what or who would be for me. It is way too late.

      • When I met X 28 years ago, he was nerdy, he wasn’t sparkly, a homebody, we had the similar values, (I thought).
        My friends thought he was too nerdy and boring for me. I felt a little sorry for him and thought being with someone this nerdy he would be less likely to cheat and value family. I thought he’d appreciate me more than the sparkles I had dated previously.
        The first few years of marriage were good, we were busy with school, jobs, moves and a new baby.
        Gradually as he succeeded in his career he became more of a pompous ass, indifferent, sarcastic
        and eventually cruel.
        Not sure what the solution is except to listen carefully to what they say and compare to how they act.
        X is looks like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island today and I know he can be very convincing.

      • Maree, it was actually 37 years for me also if I count the cunt year I threw him out and he moved in with desperado. Fourty two if I add the five years of dating.
        Screw that shit we are going to have adventures this year. Let’s make a bucket list for 2016. I read about a woman’s group who paddle down the Colorado river and camp along the way. I could do that!! What do you say? I have the summer off and want to take road trips. I want to see the blue ridge mountains. Are you in NE area? What’s on your list?

        • donna, I am in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia unfortunately and by that I mean I am so far away. I am actually planning a trip to the Greek Islands with 3 girlfriends mid next year. I have always wanted to visit them and now I am going to and we will have a ball. I wish you every success also donna. By the way, 46 years of so called friendship with my ex husband just flushed down the toilet. They do not know what they throw away or maybe they do but they cannot let on for fear of looking like the old fools that they are!! 🙂

          • Out with the old and in with the new. I’m so happy your traveling with friends. I’m planning a cruise with my two daughters in February.

        • Donna–Depending on when you plan your trip, I’d be up for a canoe trip. A British chump I met last summer had also mentioned a trip to Yosemite/Grand Canyon, etc. I’ll start a thread in the forums this weekend if we want to see what can be cooked up.

    • Beautiful thoughts, Scott! Values, humor, and grace, love it. I feel very strongly that we can manifest what we want for ourselves. First you have to define it, so you’ve got this down! The Chump men on here are helping restore my faith in guys.

    • Exactly! Not to be overly boastful, but I am in my early 30s, attractive, dress well, etc. I get the unsolicited “you’re so hot” messages. Well, actually it’s usually “your so hot.” Ugh!

      I am also a *HUGE* nerd. Like seriously huge nerd. When I have a free minute to kill while waiting in line or whatever, I pull out my Wikipedia app and read encyclopedia entries. Learning is fun. See? NERD!

      As a nerd, I’d much rather date someone I can actually talk to, who gets my jokes, and who doesn’t say things like, “I had to look that big word up in the dictionary. You could have just said crazy not schizophrenic” when I make a joke about wearing a tinfoil hat.

      If I wear my “Harvard Law Alumni” tshirt with my waist-long blond hair (I went to LSU) and pink sparkly high heels, I want someone else to get the Legally Blond joke. Or at least snicker a bit.

      It’s no fun to laugh yourself into an asthma attack over a tshirt that says “Number 1 Star Wars Fan” that has a picture of the Enterprise on it while your date looks at you like you’re insane.

      So, saying we nerds are dull is actually kind of insulting. Just me?

  • The best advice I ever heard about this sort of thing is to think of charming as the verb not the adjective. What I mean is, if you find a guy you meet is charming, he is likely actively trying to charm you. To me now that means he is doing the Pay No Attention to the Man behind the Curtain machinations rather than being himself, and trying to rush me into an infatuation phase before I can hear all those alarm bells going off.

    Then again, I could be jaded. 😉

    • Yep, and we ladies were raised on fairy tales about living Happily Ever After with Prince Charming.
      No wonder we’re confused.

        • “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.” -Prince Charming, Into The Woods.

          If you’ve never seen it, and can handle musicals, I recommend it /highly/. The Disney version from last year is pretty good, but eliminates one of the best songs (and the corresponding plot arc for the main character). The original Broadway cast DVD is amazing, even if it has (necessarily) weaker production values than the movie version.

          • HeatDeath, I completely agree with your assessment of Into the Woods. The movie was prettier, but cutting the second princes’ song was a mistake. The second song is crucial, and damned funny too.

            • I was actually referring to the Baker’s “No More”. They eliminated pretty much the entire arc with the Baker and the Mysterious Old Man. I missed that a lot.

              But yeah, the Prince’s second song was sorely missed too. It takes their weak-but-plausible characters and pushed them straight into the land of cartoonishly-irrational NPD that we all know too well.

  • Yeah – check that picker, lady.

    It wasn’t until after gross stbx walked out, and after starting therapy, that it occurred to me that all three men I’ve ever been in love with have been different in many ways, but NONE of the three has been a talker or really in touch with their feelings at ALL. When I dated guys who were, I found myself bored with them very quickly.

    Now, it’s impossible for me to say, after I had been with stbx for the last decade and am older now, whether I would have tired of my current bf. But I’ve realized, ohhhhhhhhh–THIS is what people mean when they say healthy communication and openness in a relationship! Sensitive is good!

    And seriously, Lotusblossom, at 40+, what’s your hang-up with nerdy? That’s for teenagers. I was popular in HS – who cares? Nerdy guys can be awesome, or shitty. Just like non-nerdy guys can be awesome, or shitty.

    • Xisgross, every time I read you name I laugh. The guy I’m “friends ” with is the geek/nerd type. Not exactly someone I’d have a relationship with as I’m planning on doing everything I want for a change. I was stifled by the drip I married. I love Georgetown, the Mall/museums, libraries, cathedrals, hiking, reading, jazz festivals and spontaneous adventures.
      And he liked masturbating to porn in the basement, getting high/drunk and pretending he was a rock star endlessly playing the drums (never in a band), and looking in the mirror. All while leading a double life with gross pigs.
      I’m all set with boring. I like my own company at the present. I’m planning on enjoying my freedom.
      I’m not sure what to call him now. It’s either “the limited or the MASTER-BAITER.
      Shit I wish I bought some wine.

  • This is more a practicality thing but Match has a reputation for attracting a certain type of person. You might have more luck on a site like OKCupid or an app like Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, or Tinder. I met my boyfriend on Tinder, (along with many other awesome men) even though it gets a bad rap.

    Look at the profile you are putting out there. Is it clichéd (I like laughing and having fun!) Or does it show off your personality. Try being the one to send the messages. Get better at that charming silly texting banter you do before meeting.

    Ultimately go out and BE the person that is interesting and funny and you will attract people to you. In the year of my divorce I rode motorcycles and climbed mountains, travelled alone, started doing open mic storytelling and standup comedy, took a flying trapeze class. Basically I was liking myself, feeling more confident, and that energy attracted people to me.

    • I totally agree, Kim. With the disclaimer that I am in my early thirties and don’t have kids with stbx, I’m sometimes annoyed when I hear people complaining about the pool in online dating. I’ve seen lots of profiles and most of them are so boring and contrived, and don’t tell you anything about what the person is ACTUALLY like. I couldn’t tell the difference between so many because on OKC (where I met my current, fantastic boyfriend) loved “kayaking, hiking, biking, anything outdoors, really,” and 9 of 10 women enjoy “sitting down with a good book and a glass of wine.” Snore. Tell me something interesting.

      • I am also in my early 30s so I do acknowledge a difference there, but I have a daughter. I expected everyone would be so turned off by a single mom but with a couple exceptions nobody has even batted an eye. I have never even introduced my daughter to anybody I’ve dated, so unless we get serious it’s a non-issue.

        Keep a sense of humor about it, I actually like getting those creepy sexual messages because I will play along with them and string them along and watch them squirm. It’s fun! I also made a pact with myself that my first year of dating would be casual and I wouldn’t date anybody exclusively. I was honest and upfront about that, and while a few people wanted more and thus we parted ways there were many people who liked this arrangement and we would get together a few times a month and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was really nice to see what was out there and not feel like every man I went out with was THE ONLY MAN LEFT IN THE WORLD.

    • Try doing match.com in your 60s! It’s a desert out there. I would try Tinder but it requires a Facebook account, and I don’t trust myself on Facebook yet. I’d go straight to the moldy frizz pie’s FB page and/or her client, er, I mean husband’s. I don’t need extra reasons to feel bad about my life. I like what Kim said about getting out there and doing stuff, never mind dating. I’ve done a little of that, but could do a hell of a lot more. Thanks, Kim – I’m inspired to change it up.

      • Me, divorced yesterday, have no interest in dating none. And the horror stories I’ve heard about dating sites, I think not. I’m never getting marries again nor live with or have them live with me. I’m rediscovering myself. I’ve way too much healing to do. I’ve got to make myself happy first!

  • My new therapist (whom I chose carefully, based on her real university diplomas, and her will to learn more after that), said: STOP DATING.
    I can’t tell you how relieved I was.
    A professional, a reliable figure of authority had told me to stop dating. I was allowed to spend time on my own at home, painting the place, looking for a publisher, sorting papers, etc., and not feel guilty.
    Yay !
    I needed that. Because I cannot find the strength to do it myself, there is always a voice that says “you’re not getting any younger”. The therapist has silenced that voice.

    • Meanwhile, my Ex has opened a Facebook account, where he has three contacts at the moment: his father, some colleague, and a very nasty looking Russian woman. Finally I got to see whom he invited to visit the area (Russian#3) (he complained that she didn’t even say thank you). She is large, muscular, with a round face, thin long blonde hair, and her eyes are cold, her jaw is tight, her expression is tough and mean. I would not be the least interested in meeting someone like her. She scares me. She is slutty and brutal. Can’t believe he destroyed what we had for that !

      • “She scares me”. Sorry I couldn’t help laughing. I’m not being insensitive, the MASTER-BAITER’S dream is scary ugly as a package. I found out they both screamed at his lawyer and that’s why she withdrew. Ugly, crass, saggy titty crack whore with gruffly voice – lol she LOOKS like a troll. She might like to blow but damn get some glasses and try not to use a plastic bag over her head, paoer covers better. God I love slunT bashing.

  • Thank you for this post CL, I sort of needed it too.

    I’ve been divorced for a month now, so not very long at all. And I’m not actively dating, won’t even think about signing up for online dating until I feel ready.

    I struggle a bit thinking that my Ex is dating someone (his AP), and he doesn’t have to deal with the sucky parts of being single. I know that’s not a competition I should get into, because who wants to follow in the life path of a cheating narcissist?

    I’ve been dating my girlfriends and trying to enjoy being alone, but I must say it is super hard to do when you come from being with someone for all of your adult life. I’ve never lived alone until now, and it just gets lonely a lot. I don’t know if I will ever be one of those people that love being single and like their alone time.

    • D25, I struggled with the same thing at first also. My ex already had her affair partner and I was living alone. Been dating myself and ,making new platonic friends of both sexes. One who is really interesting and may eventually be a real dating partner but still not quite ready. I was lonely for the 1st month or so, now living alone feels pretty good. After being with someone for 35 years the change is really refreshing. Give it a little more time.You will probably grow to like or at least be ok with living alone.

      Oh and the ex is still with the AP 1 year later. Saw her the other day, she still cries when she sees me and cries when she is alone(according to her). They can have each other. I believe I am much happier being alone then they are together. Not that it really matters.

    • D25, I know exactly what you mean about knowing they’re out there, dating or already coupled up, while we’ve been spewed out, alone. Throw in a couple of very small children (one with behavioural issues), while they’re free to go out, drinking the bars dry, and it’s enough to make you want to shake your fist at the world for the injustice. Rah!

      YET – I read something within the past week (I must remember to bookmark pearls of wisdom when I come across them, as I’m nowhere near as articulate) that helped me with this. It was along the lines of that when they go straight into another relationship (particularly with the AP), they are not giving themselves any room or opportunity to learn from the experience or grow as a person. Us Chumps can work on ourselves, we can grow- but they won’t.

      It may sound simple, but it brought me comfort. It’s a case of “trust they suck” and guess what- they’re not growing as a person coupled up with their disordered AP, so they are still going to suck! We get to blossom and bloom- they will just droop further.

      It sounds very odd, but a massive part of me actually hopes my ShiTBoX is still with his AP, as when I think about it, how sick is their relationship?! What good can ever come of that? It will always and forever be a tainted relationship.

      Early days for me, but aside from being a single mum, I’m actually proud to be single. I get to do cool and fun stuff to grow myself- I’m my own next project! I do feel very alone sometimes, but my plan is that every time I recognise I’m feeling like that, to use it as the catalyst for me to go and make some fun plans.

      Or else just pop over here to Chump Nation. 🙂

  • Oh Dang Lotusblossom, CL speaks the truth here. I dated too soon after separation and got burned. I wanted to be a couple again. NOW. It just doesn’t work that way. My vulnerability was like a beacon to the vultures (at least two). After being burned bad recently, the idea of dating actually repulses me. I hate being alone but, right now, the alternative is worse.

    So, no dating for me right now. I hate it that I am not ready….but it’s where I am. I am officially divorced (as of October), still doing court for equitable distribution of marital assets and ass-wipe isn’t showing up for court. Plus I live with my sister and her family. I am not on my feet yet. I also have a son who needs his mom real bad right now. I am going to do that for a while.

    CL is also right that I DO NOT LIKE the advice of “be single for a while”. Ugh. But it’s good advice. It’ll make me stronger. I will find happiness again because I am pretty free to do and try new things. Find who *I* am and be a fun date when I am ready again. I know i have all that real and good stuff: I am honest, ethical, funny, active, nurturing, responsible, pretty (I think).

    Take your time. There ARE good men out there. And you won’t have to chase them.

  • First Impressions are not always accurate. A person who seems quiet and dull at first can be alot of fun once you get to know them. On the first awkward date, you cannot always see his awesome sense of humor, intelligence, character, etc. Give the “dull” guy a chance! I bet hes really not so dull after all.

  • Lotusblossom, a warning about online dating sites. My former spouse trolled for his affair partners on Match.com while married to chumpy, unsuspecting me. He married his final affair partner (5 months post divorce) he had met on Match. She believed him to be single at first and was rebounding from a break up, desperate for validation and ripe for the picking for a narcissist looking for kibbles. Once she found out he was married with children, she was already caught in his web and settled for mistress status. Don’t be that woman. Follow CL’s advice and be very cautious.

    • My XH pretended to be separated & was on match.com describing himself as a prize, but he was not! One OW lasted 8 years, and he even moved in with her for a few years, telling her that I was fighting the divorce. Online dating is a perfect opportunity for narcissistic predators!

  • Many people have a fear of being alone, without recognizing that they may end up alone in the middle of their marriages. Most of my (older) friends are not part of a couple, either through divorce or death of a spouse. Not a single one of us has any desire to remarry. Some of us don’t even want to date. Why? Because each of us gave so much of ourselves that there was nothing left …for us. Being alone is amazing! I love it more than I ever thought possible. Do I sometimes get lonely? Hell yes, but that does not change the fact that I am happier than I ever was while married.

    Now, I have raised my family. I have been part of a married couple, and I can say that having children was a very large part of why I married in the first place. For this reason, I have no regrets about having married my X. If I were a young woman today, though, I think I might look at other options, including having a child on my own. What I would not do is be with someone because of my fear of being alone. Making a decision out of fear is a guarantee that the decision will not be a good one. There are far, far worse things than being alone; loving someone who is incapable of loving you back tops the list! Maybe it is time to step back from the dating world and focus on healing, deciding what is important to you and envisioning what you want your future to look like. I think you might be pleasantly surprised what you discover when you give yourself time to be alone.

      • I spent much of my married life putting everyone else’s needs above my own. I was constantly stressed about trying to maintain the illusion of the “perfect” family. My X was very demanding, I worked full time during my entire marriage and still was responsible for all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, homework supervision AND home maintenance. If something broke, I was responsible for seeing it was fixed. I also did all the bill paying, college saving and financial planning. X worked and made a good salary, but that is where it ended. I left one job to work my home job. Now, once I finish my work day, my time is mine. I cook what I want, watch what I want on TV and generally, get to spend my time as I choose. My kids are mostly grown and I am finally acknowledging my right to actually have needs and wants. I was alone in my marriage, but I was working far too much to even know it. Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever managed it all. One thing is for sure, my efforts were never appreciated and I am very content to come home to peace and quiet!

        • Violet, I do hear what you say. My situation was similar, except I was not married. I had expected that you would give another reason but it’s that same thing again: working too much while the other person can’t be bothered to participate.
          I used to think that he couldn’t do it (not enough talent, not enough experience, whatever) and I was even proud to be in charge ! In fact, he chose to let me do it. I worked till I dropped. And as soon as I was on the floor, he started chasing other women on line.

  • I dated too soon (had not met my therapist yet) and both dates ended quickly and badly.
    The first one was a tall dark man in his late forties. We agreed to go for a drink near his place, I gave him my phone number. Then instead of suggesting the name of a bar, he sent a sentence that meant nothing (it was supposed to be poetry). And then another. And another. Until I had 30 meaningless messages on my phone that kept buzzing while I was concentrating on some software development. I asked the guy to please stop sending non-informative messages. He tried to call in vain, then got angry, and insulted me. I blacklisted him.
    The second one was a blue-eyed dad, also in his late forties. I suggested we could have a meal after I went to a conference in his town. He said it was a good idea, that he would pick me up. When the day arrived, I did not feel like going (weather was cold), but I went because I am a responsible person. He stood me up. He said that he had to disassemble furniture urgently.. He did not see the problem. Then he admitted that he had forgotten. Still did not see the problem, though. I told him, may a thousand camel flies infest your loins.
    I plan to close my dating account. I am 55, but still fresh, and can’t imagine what I would do with any of the old farts that the site is sending me. I have just no use for them.

    • ‘May a thousand camel flies infest your loins’ That is funny CFF. I am 66, 17 months post Dday, and am comfortable alone. I love the peace I now have in my life, without all the chaos asshat created.. At this point I have no desire to be another relationship, I love my freedom.

  • Lotusblossom, I m very curious about you dumping him for cheating although you never caught him and he never admitted to it…I m wondering because mine has never admitted and i only had circumstantial evidence, this produced an immense about of anxiety for me since I could never prove it. How did you make the decision to leave him??? Hope to hear from you…

    • Hi fbi. I basically had had enough. I was truly neglected. No sex. No time. Nothing. Then he showed classic signs of cheating(which I didn’t realise st that time) but he was even more distant. It came to a head and my mother(!) sussed him and asked if there was an affair! I then basically threw him out. Changed locks and in chucking his stuff into garage found a letter to erstwhile young lover (I knew who she was) and it was clear he was chasing her. That was it. Filed the following day or two after. My issue now is having a fling no commitment or relationship as such but miss physical intimacy and looking for my own kibbles I guess. Hoping that’s not wrong but terrified, feel guilty but also frightened Mr Nerdy could be a creepy stalker in disguise. FYI. I am very much more confident nowadays so hoping I am ready. Dipping toe in water.

      • Hey lotusblossom–A lot of people miss physical intimacy. While a good vibrator can help with one component of that, the other component is touch. A lot of Chumps say that regular massages, along with the mani/pedi can help. You do get someone touching you.

        I also think that part of dating is just the fact that someone finds us attractive. When our Cheaters Cheated, they cheat us of our self-esteem, effectively telling us that we’re not desirable. Having someone desire us makes us feel good, and yeah, it’s kibbles, but Chumps have been on a starvation diet.

        But let’s get back to your issue. Really, if you think you’re more than a little nervous, I’d not go down the dating rabbit hole. Instead, make sure your picker is really fixed before you go there. The other thing is to make it clear that you aren’t interested (yet) in anything more than companionship. If the other person wants more, then it’s okay to break things off before they begin.

        Good luck!

      • Sorry Lotusblossom I took so long to reply, it’s hard to find the entries because there are so many!!! I m happy so many replied to help you with your situation, it must have given you the courage to keep going! In any case I admire your convictions to kick him out based on institution, it paid off since you found out the truth with the letter he had written. One piece of advice: DO NOT feel guilty about how you feel and want. If it feels right for YOU, then do it! You deserve happiness after all you went through. I wish you all the best and happy holidays xo

    • I’m not LotusBlossom but I was in the same situation. I never found a “smoking gun” of any kind that proved sexual contact, and my ex to this day denies everything. The only proof I had were emotionally-charged texts and e-mails with a co-worker and ex (often complaining about me), long, unexplained absences, and the fact that he was spending a considerable amount of time and effort with these “friends.”

      I made the decision to leave, because I finally woke up to the fact that his inappropriate “friendships” with these women and his callousness toward me whenever I confronted him was just another symptom of his his disrespect and indifference toward me.

      He had no boundaries with anyone (except me). He let his inlaws and friends abuse me. He never kept his promises to me. He ignored me whenever he was angry instead of trying to work things out with me. I always had to be the one to plan quality time for us, but he would cancel our plans at the drop of the hat if someone else needed something.

      The infidelity was really just the straw that broke the camel’s back, but now I’ve come to be grateful for it. If he had been a perfect husband in every other way except for his interactions with women, I might’ve wasted another 10 years of my life until I found more conclusive evidence (like catching him in the act or finding sexts), and who knows, by then, I might’ve had a child with him, caught an STD, and suffered even more than I already had.

      • I am impressed with your determination! When we are treated as an afterthought by our supposed ‘love’, it gets so confusing. I spent many years like that, but never felt I could leave, or even ask for more. FOO issues at work.
        I learn so much here! I am just happy to know that someone like you could do it, Lulu, what I wish I had done. I needed to be my own advocate, but I always had so much fear, mostly of being seen as a failure at life, and of being alone. Now that I did divorce the careless guy who liked to abuse me, friends are actually praising me, and I feel like a success! And, I love being a single woman, because I can still see a man who loves me, and desires my company, but I don’t feel trapped. It’s so much better. I think I could be all by myself, too, if that happened. I no longer am worried about what may happen to me, I’ve already been through the hot fire!

    • I left based on evidence of an EA, not a PA.

      What that evidence did for me was get me over the “He may be an asshole, but he’s MY asshole” attitude.

      I put up with a shit ton of emotional abuse over decades because he managed to convince me I was the only one for him. That no matter how hard it was, true love was worth it.

      The EA made me re-evaluate our entire relationship. It opened my eyes. It allowed me to recognize abuse as abuse. I’d never heard of gaslighting and had no real understanding of narcissistic abuse. I do now. I lived it.

      Having lived it, I knew instantly the EA wasn’t even worth discussing with him. I KNEW how he’d react. I KNEW how he’d blameshift and gaslight and trivialize it. I KNEW there would be no confession, no remorse, nothing but a big bloated sack of entitled abusive bullshit, and I KNEW it was over then and there.

      I had been gaslit regarding my suspicions about other women over the years. The first time I met the EA, I had a very bad feeling they were too close – years later, I was proven right. That allowed me to re-evaluate his other relationships with women, where my gut feeling was that it was too close. I think I was right about at least one of them, too.

      The biggest part was understanding how badly I had been impacted by the abuse. It drove me into a deep depression, destroyed my career, and self-medication to numb myself almost killed me.

      I understood it just wasn’t going to get better. I could clearly see he was well into the discard stage, but the only reason I had not been jettisoned was finances, and whatever sick thrill he got out of manipulating and degrading me.

      I was extremely fortunate that a number of factors made it easier to leave at the time. So I pulled the trigger and got the fuck out and filed for divorce as soon as I was able.

      No regrets. I will be better off in the long run, I just need to keep my cool and patience throughout his bullshit legal shenanigans.

      • You nailed my story down SnakebitNoMore almost to a tee with only one exception that I can add, my X’s assistant male coworker ratted him out after a business trip together and told me that X picked up a prostitute and X admitted to it. He was cornered and had no way out because he knew who told me.

      • x3 on the years of emotional abuse (though my story is different inthat my X’s penis was clearly Community property, meant in a broad sense)

      • Snake, “I had been gaslit regarding my suspicions about other women over the years.”
        Apparently my x decided that he should come clean about the “other women over the years” after final AP and d-day. He told me he was “sorry” for the “other girls”, these other girls were the EA’s that he made my life miserable with for 20+ years. Can you imagine what I felt when he “apologized” for them, for making me feel like I was such a crazy bitch for all those years for even hinting at much less straight out calling him out on those damn bitches. It was so sad for me, but soooo damn freeing!!!! We are free, finally free.

        Go out and live your life. Love yourself and live. Make your plan, fight and get out and don’t look back, just live free, finally!!!!

  • I agree – you are too close to your divorce to be ready for dating. Get to know yourself, get comfortable with being alone, start doing the things you are interested in and you will (when the time is right) find the right guy. In the meantime, take it easy and think of getting to know yourself as a long term investment.

    I have started to renovate my house on my own, I have started kayaking again, climbing and diving – all things I enjoy. If and when I find a new partner – they should have similar interests, or ones I am interested in trying – I’m not in any hurry – I cook and bake and have friends over, I head out with my girlfriends to movies and ‘dinner dates’ – we laugh, we have fun, we are enjoying life. I am in no way feeling like I am missing anything by not having a partner.

    Take time, learn about yourself – who you have grown into and enjoy.

  • I don’t hate the advice in #5, CL, I love it!

    Five years out from when my cheating fuckwit walked out on me and my children, and I am “alone” and loving life. Except I wouldn’t say that I’m alone at all. I have a wonderful relationship with my three beautiful children, and meaningful friendships with fantastic people who are loyal and kind and funny, strong relationships with my family of origin, and terrific colleagues and a new career that I adore. And I have myself! Healthier inside and outside than I ever was in the 25 years I spent with the jackass. I am really blessed with all of it.

    Would I like to be with someone who is kind and emotionally healthy? Absolutely! I have no idea how to find that person, though. I’ve spent a lot of time working on my picker, which may be why in five years I’ve only had three dates with three different men and I’m totally okay with that. What I really would love is a match service just for chumps, because I have become convinced that if there is anyone out there for me, it’s another chump!

    • This article is exactly the advice I give anyone single. If you KNEW for certain you were going to be single for the rest of your life, then HOW are you going to live that life?

      It really gets you thinking (yes, there is an initial bit of grieving and mourning, but do get past that, because what’s on the other side is dazzlingly interesting and wonderful).

    • ANW- I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing. Just what I needed to read right now.

      For the past week or so, I’ve been singing along to Whitney Houston’s The greatest love of all (original version, obvs). It fits perfectly. Try it!

  • Hi LotusBlossom!

    As lonely as you are, I really don’t recommend dating until you’ve had some time to heal and aren’t feeling lonely and desperate. My first (but thankfully very brief) relationship after my ex turned out to be a psycho, precisely because, as Tracy says, my picker was still broken and I wasn’t seeing the red flags clearly through the fog of loneliness.

    If possible, take some time to cultivate friendships, through activities and hobbies, or meet-up groups based around shared interests. These are ways you could meet your next love, too, of course, but I think you need to take the pressure off dating and find meaningful friendships and connections outside of any expectation of romance. That was a big part of my healing.

    Lastly, focus on getting the ink dry on those divorce papers so you don’t put off any people who are serious about commitment and won’t date someone who isn’t officially divorced. I know it sucks (because divorces can take forever, especially if a state requires a certain amount of legal separation before filing) but you certainly don’t want to the cloud of your marriage darkening any future prospects.

    Good luck!

  • Learning to be alone is what makes you mighty. I love the time to myself at this point in my life. It makes me more attentive to my kids when they are with me.

    Dating has turned me off a little bit. It seems like everyone wants to get married again. What’s the rush? That is a deal breaker for me.

  • I have watched my “charming” husband date his whore. I’ve read their texts, he bought her an engagement ring 5 months after meeting her…we are STILL married…so their entire engagement…he has been married to me. Which I find hilarious.

    He charmed the pants off of her…literally. Her texts to him were so sappy….and I poured out sonnets…..I could not believe the stuff he said to her….not in 25 years did I ever hear anything remotely close to what he said to her…..stuff like…” soon my love I will have my wings…”
    “Being 450 miles away from you pains me….I have such a strong love for you.”
    Throw up bag please….. he was still married saying this crap to her….
    He showed her photos of our farm….our beautiful home…and said he was already separated….charming……

    I’ll take nerdy…. please. I about choked on his charm.

  • There are two great books by Shel Silverstein called The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O addressing this very subject.

    Two easy enlightening reads.

  • Separated April 2013, so a year and a half of being alone. Its great. I am working on me. After being with the cheater who totally suckered me, my picker definitely needs retuning.

    Not interested in dating. I do have male friends I go out to eat with, lots of female friends who I cherish for their sincerity and frank talk. But not really interested in dating. for the 1st time I get to indulge me, my interests, my feelings. It would be hard to give that up for a guy who didn’t share those things or commented on my activities.

    alot of guys seem to feel the need to comment. A couple of them have said things so inappropriate, I couldn’t even respond. Disrespectful. So I steer clear of those.

    Not looking for bad company and have certainly had opportunities for that. Yuck.

    When I am ready I will put myself out there and do some dating but I know the discard pile will be alot higher than any time before. I don’t have the patience to wait and see if someone can be nice, polite and listen. those qualities show up onthe first date or forget about it.

  • One thing I think you need to rethink is the whole “Dull is decent” thing. I picked Mr. Responsible cause I thought he was decent. Guess what, it was all for show cause he is a fucking selfish cheater who just wants to look good to others. Not much fun, sorry in bed, and totally selfish (under that caring facade, of course). And a lying, sneaky fucking cheater, to boot. Yes, he “had it all “. Mr. Nice Guy.

    • After dating bad boy musicians and artists I felt the need to “grow up” at the age of 25 and marry a respectable nerd. Yup that boring, dull nerd was a lying, sneaky fucking cheater too. Everyone was shocked to hear of his cheating that went back 4 years. And he told all of his skanks he was divorced. He even told me how he had to adapt his pronouns from “we” to “I” when describing his life to these women. He said they were mostly divorced women whose husbands cheated on them. Nice. Real nice.
      It has been 6 months since I kicked him out and I am so not ready to date,
      but I am scared at that prospect. Lurch met his “ladies” on Plenty of Fish saying he was single. I will never try online dating so help me god. It would trigger my PTSD!

      • My experience was similar. H#1 was a charming artist, good talker, fascinating blend of blue collar and intellectual. Cheater, didn’t want to work but at least he fathered some good kids that I raised. #2 seemed so different superficially, seemed hard working, owned his own home. Turned out to be a sociopath, serial cheater for 16 years. I’m 60 now and won’t date. Ever. And I’m under strict orders from my therapist to “stop hooking up with freeloaders.”

    • ITA– I married a total nerd who seemed completely responsible and honest. While he did lovebomb me when we first met as teenagers, he wasn’t particularly charming in general. He did not have a sparkly personality that drew people in. My family thought he was a dud, frankly. I think he did what he could to lure me in because I would make him look respectable and help him to win the approval of his mommy. She was thrilled when we got engaged. I gave him the requisite children and contributed to his “normal” facade.

      The real person I married visited Ashley Madison for at least half of our 13-year marriage and thought it was perfectly okay to meet a woman off of that site (and she’s the only one I know about) and have unprotected sex with her while he was having unprotected sex with me as well. I married what I thought was “safe” and then divorced what I knew what disordered.

      Cheaters come in all stripes. What I think you need to be on the lookout for is a sense of entitlement– if I had bothered to really examine my ex, the red flags of entitlement were everywhere.

  • First let me say I believe everyone gets to want what they personally find attractive and I’m not in any way implying LotusBlossom should toss out her particular desires, but (you knew that was coming didn’t you) …

    IF ” I’m attractive, slim, intelligent (genuinely) AND YET (my emphasis) desperate for company and to love and be loved” also means, attractive, slim, intelligent people are deserving of love but someone who is conventionally unattractive, fat, nerdy, dull or just plain interested in things your are not interested in, is somehow less deserving;

    that says something about your attitude, combine that with desperation and you might be less attractive than you think to clever, honest, decent people.

    • Attractive is better than unattractive
      Slim is better than obese
      Intelligent is better than stupid
      She is on the “better” side AND YET she hasn’t found her significant other, I fail to see the problem with this thought.
      Clever is better than naive
      Honest is better than cheating
      Decent is better than slutty
      There is no proof that attractive/slim/intelligent people are less clever/honest/decent than the people who are unattractive/obese/stupid. There is no idea of “deserving”, here; it’s just a fact that more people will go for someone who has a lot of good qualities. Nothing new.

      • Thanks for your thoughts ChumpFromF but I believe you’ve misunderstood my post. Blame it on my long winded run on sentences but i was not trying to make the judgements or equivalencies you seem to be responding to.

  • I joined match too and find it scary at times but I’m trying, TRYING to keep an open mind because I’m not getting any younger. I was very clear in my profile that I’m only looking for friendship at this time, I don’t care if that backfires btw because I’m just not ready for anything more at this time. One thing I am doing is going with my gut instinct on everything these days, if anything feels off, I run. I also look at the age these men are seeking, if it’s young then I’m not interested, for example, I saw a guy seeking women 30-45 and he was 55, he contacted me to go for coffee, my email back to him, “No thanks, I see your seeking women as young as 30 and I have a daughter 31, I’m sorry. Men seeking that age creep me out and that’s a dead give away to me that they’re a player. I think my picker is getting better even though it took till I was 51 to get there. I also ask God to send the right person to me too. Hope my sharing in this helps you Lotusblossom. All the best to you.

    • Kate50, I admire your attitude. You are correct about many ‘older’ men now seeking out girls young enough to be the grand daughters. I have a 36 year old daughter and a 33 year old son and my 63 year old ex husband is living with a 23rd year old in a 3rd world country with her 2 little boys of 5 and 7. I personally think he is a sicko and so do most moral people but no one I know is yet to call him out on his crap because I am told I am too judgemental. You bet I am because he destroyed our marriage and our once lovely family and now his is playing happy families with an ex prostitute. He is her only client at the moment!!

      • Thanks Maree, your ex, well ack! Speechless I am, well sort of, mine went after prostitutes too so no better really. Something my Mother said to me once made a whole lot of sense, she said get to know them, really get to KNOW them as a friend before you move out of the friendship zone, and you can tell when you get there because everything feels right and you have no hesitation at all. I thought that was such good advice, if I’m even uncomfortable about a subject I want to talk about because I’m scared it will make them run, I found an answer in that to, that I can’t be myself. It seemed wise to me, that advice. I’ll just let nature take it’s course for both myself and who I meet. Btw, I can’t image how your kids feel about your ex!

        • My kids love their father, it is me they hate and have cut me from their lives. They accept his life as a normal thing. I raised 2 very nice and intelligent people without the ex’s help but they have his weak character sadly. For them to accept something so warped is sick and to me very, very unusual.

          • Maree, the karmic justice with your kids is that they can’t share that side of their lives, ever, to anyone else in their life. If they did, they would be shown to be the shallow disgusting twits they are.

  • Dear Lotusblossom,

    First of all, I hope you aren’t dating to get even with or back at your ex. There is nothing more obvious than that, and everyone around you will know it. And yes, what CL said about prepare yourself to be dumped, ghosted, and passed on. It can be brutal if you’re not prepared.

    Looking for Sparkle is looking for trouble. Fix your picker, because sparkle = drama you don’t need. That doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find someone wonderful and interesting! There are a lot of players and married people on dating sites, and a lot of cheaters (current and past) use dating sites to keep a stream of kibbles coming their way.

    My red flag checklist for dating sites:

    • Are their profile pics cropped to eliminate a previous wife or girlfriend? Tacky. Are they all selfies? What, they don’t have a friend who would take a snap? Bathroom mirror selfies and photos half naked for no reason (are they swimming with their kids or trying to show you how hot they are naked?) get the boot immediately!
    • Do they go overboard very early to impress you verbally or otherwise with their job, money, car(s), house, fashion labels, or connections? They will complain later about money-grubbers and are usually the most cheap and selfish in all ways.
    • Do they over or under talk about their past relationships or marriage? Too much gab, and they’re likely still in rebound; too little and they’re probably hiding something. Do they, will they, share what they think their part in the breakup was?
    • How long have they been on the dating site? How many are they on? Don’t take their word for it, a Google search of their profile pics (right-click on the photo, and one of the options should be “search Google for this image.”) If they’ve been on forever, they’re probably playing the field or desperate; same goes for multiple sites.
    • Google is your friend. For your safety’s sake, I highly suggest doing at least a cursory background check before meeting someone, and afterwards. Facebook, LinkedIn, Intellius, etc. Does their talk match their online data?
    • Too much or too little communication: does their initial email go straight to asking you out? They aren’t interested in a connection, just a date or a conquest. Emails that go on, and on, and onnnnnn… There’s a reason they are trying so hard, and it’s probably not a good one. Same rules apply to their profile information; too much or too little usually indicates a problem.
    • Do you have anything in common, do your lifestyles and values mesh? It’s okay to date someone who’s different than you, or even who lives at a distance, but if you’re looking for a serious relationship, do yourself a favor and cull the prospects. If it doesn’t work on paper, it won’t work long term in real life.
    • Do they press for something serious or a commitment very early? Please run.

    I had a lot more when I was in dating mode, and I absolutely DID go through the list before I let my heart even think about getting involved. I recommend meeting earlier rather than later if their seems to be a connection. If you email too long, you build your own mental version of a person that isn’t usually what they are. Get on the phone before you meet so you can get a better idea of who they are. Keep your first meeting short and sweet, like coffee in a public place, and buy your own. It’s easy to get away if they’re a dud, but you can always stay longer if you like. I had a rule of absolutely NO drinking alcohol on a first or second date, and I kept track of my cup or glass (hey, it’s a weird world out there).

    I met my new husband via a Meetup group, doing an activity that we both love. The bonus is that you get to interact with someone with no nervousness or pressure, because you aren’t there to date them. And you’ll probably get a better picture of who they really are. It’s easy to make a deeper connection if you’re both interested, but just as easy to say you’re not dating, you have a boyfriend, etc., if you don’t want their attention. Bonus: I’ve met some really great friends on various Meetups!

    Oh, and when we met, I was 53. You are not even close to being too old to find love.

    Good luck and be safe.

    • Wow great advice and really lovely supportive note. Very grateful to Kalli and the amazing people here for all the responses. I’m taking copious notes here!

  • I’m living with a fellow chump who I went to high-school with. When we reconnected, he had been divorced about a year. We had a long distance thing for awhile, then I skipped state and moved in with him. We’ve been together for a year and everything is pretty awesome.

    Before that happened, I wasn’t looking for anybody. I was socializing with friends when I did go out, but mostly I spent time at home doing things that I wanted to do. Gardening, painting, re-making the house and wiping away every trace of the X as I went. I tried new recipes, read books, played games till 4:00 am on the weekends if that’s what I wanted to do and it was great. If that’s what I being single is like, I’m in. I really had no plans to date anyone.

    I think the biggest thing is you need to really be OK with the idea of being single. Single does not mean alone. I loved the freedom I had. I loved meeting new people, and doing new things, and being able to just say “Fuck it. Who’s going to Chicago with me this weekend.” Plus, you can’t look at every date as a prospective husband. It’s OK to have fun. It’s OK to just have a good time with someone. Just because you didn’t click with a person doesn’t mean the date was a failure you know?

    Now with the man I’m with now, neither one of us were looking for another person. But once we decided we wanted to be together, we were. We’re both 50, both independent. We appreciate the same things. We laugh at the same things. Even politically we’re a match, which is a nice change from what I’m used to. (Pretty sure the X will be voting Trump. Ugh)

    All I am saying is, there are billions of people out there. You will find one eventually, but the trick is not to make that your goal. You just want to be happy. That should be your goal. When you are happy all on your own, your kind of person will gravitate to you.

    • Rumblekitty, I truly love being on my own and I know that no male ever looks in my direction. I don’t try to engage with anyone because I am an ‘alone’ kind of person. I think the vibes that I send out are ‘I am not available’ and ‘stay clear’. I am okay with that because it keeps the duds away as well as everyone else and besides, I make a great platonic friend and men are not interested in platonic. The day I meet one who is interested and interesting then maybe I will be interested and interesting also. Although it is highly unlikely now. All the very best to you and your partner.

  • Hey fellow chumps! Raise your hand if you’re dull, boring, and not really worth dating. [Crickets] See? There are a bunch of us who are loyal, funny, attractive, smart, and charming. Remember that the cheaters are the ones who demand instant gratification without time and investment. When dating, we have the opportunity to practice our values and newly honed boundaries, and I think that’s pretty cool.

    • Hi FreeVixen,

      I absolutely agree! Dating again – once ready – is the perfect time to practice our values. I hate who I became with my STBX – angry, jealous, suspicious, self flagilating, and generally unhappy. The cause of ALL of it is gone! Poof! I can once again trust. I can be giving. I can approach new, deserving people with an open heart because they’re a clean slate. I’m now longer slogging through a decade of lies to try to solve the issues alone because those boundary violations are no more!

      I am not anywhere near ready to settle down and get serious but I’m open to meeting new people, seeing where things go.

      This morning I realized I never have to have another fight about him withholding sex (that went on for years!). I don’t have to wait at home for him to finally show up – the last on his list of priorities. I don’t have to anxiously await another Christmas or birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day knowing there will be no shared celebration. No more New Year’s Eve on the couch with him doing everything possible to avoid ringing in the new year with a kiss.

      The clean slate is something I’m excited about. I can be me again!

  • Have you ever thought about being a foster parent for rescued dogs, or actually being a foster parent? I have a friend who was deserted after 20 years. I mean he went off the radar. She became a foster parent to many children and when they left her home they were healed in so many ways that they often stay in touch with her. I asked her if she would ever marry again and she looked at me as if I had lost my mind.

  • Yes to all CL said. Be okay with baggage. You said you’re over 40, you’re going through divorce (aka baggage) yet you’re taking a jab at people older than you that have baggage? That doesn’t add up. It sounds more like the baggage you’re uncomfortable with is yours and you’ll need to address that first before you date. Know what’s in your suitcase, how it’s helped/hindered you, what you want to ditch/hang onto, how it’s helped/not helped you grow, etc. You can’t always control what goes into the suitcase in the first place but you can control how you un/repack, how you carry it and how to use it.

  • I personally don’t think there should be a specific Waiting Period for dating again as long as you are single, or not involved with the ex. Separated is OK, if you aren’t looking to get back together.

    And for goodness sakes, I hate dating sites, but that’s just me. Just go about your life having fun is the best way to get dates, in my opinion. Try new things, pretend like you are a college student again, minus the wild partying.

  • Wow, I was going to address this very issue on the forum in a day or so but here goes….

    Yes, there ARE good ones out there. I know this all too well. After my being alone for 4 years, a man approached me on OKC, we dated for 7 weeks. Yesterday this remarkable man (who possesses all the wanted qualities and none of the unwanted) very gently and courteously (and reluctantly) ended our relationship due to my inability (sheer terror actually) to open my heart and give him a fair try. I am sure he felt he was ‘letting me off the hook” and trying to do me a favor.

    I am 61 and I doubt another man with such qualities will ever come along. I truly regret how this has turned out. I had no idea just how attached I was to him until I’ve lost him. He is everything a woman would want. I cried all night long and can hardly see through my tears as I write this. I apologize if it is random; my thoughts are hard to organize.

    I blew this chance at happiness due to the asshole narc cheater who crushed my soul and turned my heart to stone. He’s still in control and it PISSES ME OFF.

    Three weeks ago I was telling an acquaintance about this wonderful man: how he treated me like a princess, gave me sincere compliments, was always concerned about my welfare and happiness, etc. I also told her how ‘afraid’ I was. She had been in the same boat in the past. The last thing she said to me as we parted was “Open your heart. OPEN your HEART”. I sure wish I had been able to in time…..

    • You were only dating for 7 weeks and he had an issue with you not opening your heart? Unless you were totally rude and or aggressive with this guy, he does not sound like a catch to me. Most solid relationships take time and I think 7 weeks is way too soon to be “opening your heart” to anyone.

      • Oh, Hesatthecurb, I am so sorry that you are hurting. Life is a phenomenally wild and crazy and downright devastating ride at times.

        However, for what is is worth (and I realize the value may be zero! ha!), my hair was standing up on end as I read this. You put your kind and generous qualifiers on how he did this, but I just got that he was pressuring you. 7 weeks is somewhere between the gestational period of a gerbil and a porcupine. Cripe. I’d need more time. As Lola Granola said, “The house is not on fire”.

        I believe that if your Wise Self (you know, the one we are always shushing) KNEW he was the one for now, she would have nudged you in that direction. She didn’t.

        I agree with KB22 and I’d even wonder if maybe you dodged a bullet here. Hope I haven’t hurt you more. Definitely not my intention. {hug}

    • “I blew this chance at happiness due to the asshole narc cheater who crushed my soul and turned my heart to stone. He’s still in control and it PISSES ME OFF.”

      Your X is not in control. He didn’t turn your heart to stone. If that were true, you wouldn’t be feeling shitty right now. Take a breath. If you are not happy within yourself, content with yourself, no relationship you find is going to work. No matter how wonderful this guy is.

      I agree with a lot of the people here about taking your time and being mindful and all that. But in the future, you can’t live your life like a scared bunny stepping around traps. You have to be brave. Sure you could get hurt again, so what? You have to open your heart to others because otherwise what is the point of being in a relationship?

      Don’t beat yourself up over this. I agree 7 weeks is a little early, but you didn’t specify exactly what he said. I guess in my case, there was never a time where we officially “opened our hearts”. It’s supposed to be organic and what not. 🙂

    • Have you tried to just talk to him since? Don’t just let him go if you think there is a connection. But first be honest with yourself if you can let him into your heart. If you can’t, then it may be best to let him go. You may need more time to heal. I question if i’ll ever be able to let someone have all of me again. I have decided if at some point I want another relationship, I’m am not going to bring distrust, etc. from my marriage to it. I will give them all I have. I have to let go of the past for a new future. I will take the knowledge i’ve gained to make sure I pick the best I can this time. For me that means determining what I want and what the deal breakers are. I hope if you really feel strongly for him, you discuss this with him. After re-reading your post, 7 weeks isn’t very long. Expecting you to open up in just 7 weeks seems really urgent on his part! Proceed with caution!

      • Hi everyone….Thanks for your input. I was VERY off base when I described him as ‘walking away after 7 weeks because I didn’t open my heart’. Those were not his words by any means-it was my inadequate descriptive. After my message posted and I re-read it, I anticipated the reaction I got from you guys. 😉 He has not pressured me in any way. He’s is totally understanding of what I have been through with both the narc cheater at the curb and my abusive narc ex husband.

        In retrospect, this happened due to something that I said to him. When I said it, I was not at all concise and he misinterpreted it and thought I was saying I wanted him to quietly exit my life.

        Since I wrote the above, we have been in contact. He acknowledges we are both tentative and unsure of ourselves. He has apologized if he’s upset me in any way. This man takes complete ownership of his actions which is very refreshing considering how the previous two men in my life were allergic to doing so.

        As of now, we are going to take some time to reflect on the situation. I anticipate that at the very least we will get together and have an honest and open discussion about if and how we wish to proceed.

        I will keep you posted. I want a relationship but believe me, CN, I won’t do anything that I am uncomfortable with, nor will I spend time with a man who pressures me into a relationship.

        Love y’all!

        Your tothecurbkickingbuddyinTexas

        • I forgot to mention that this great guy seems to live to put a smile on my face. His only ‘scheming’ is to come up with ways to do so…..

          BTW–as a ‘bonus’ so to speak, he’s a widower after having been happily married for 40+ yrs. Not a lot of baggage so he can (very willingly) help carry mine 😉

        • If he breaks up with you over a simple misunderstanding, its a red flag. Sorry. This sort of stuff can be patched up with an honest conversation.

    • Attitude is a huge part of this, D. Would you want to date someone that said, “HI. I suck. Why bother?”

      I’m as thin as I’ll ever get at 49. And I don’t give a fuck. If someone doesn’t dig me . . . that’s cool. The planet is full of people who might.

  • There’s a lid for every pot. What one person finds boring, someone else may find a lovely and comfortable fit. I’m a man in my 50s who likes embarrassingly earnest folk music, re-runs of the old Bob Newhart Show, and Lucky Tiger Bay Rum aftershave (about $10 for a huge plastic bottle). My middle-age dullness street cred is beyond reproach. And yet, . . . I’m happily partnered up.

    My sense is that anyone who was chumped for an extended period is pretty awesome, typically hardworking, loyal, and a free dispenser of kibbles. We were kept on the line for a reason. There are thousands of people out there who would make any individual chump miserable, but there are certainly folks (at least ONE) with whom you could be happy. Don’t be in a panic to find a happy fit, but don’t give up on finding one, either.

  • I thought my husband (not the ex) was a very nice nerd when I went to a movie with him. Way too nice and quiet for me. My type was the guy in the open marriage who I was convinced I was madly in love with. (No cheating, his wife was all for it. Told me it was a relief to share the burden of his moodiness with someone else, which should have sent me running immediately. He had way too much ‘moodiness’ for two women, or three, or….

    Well anyway, that collapsed. And after I went out with my nice nerd once and shared a dinner with friends with him a little later, I decided quite clearly to see how far a relationship with this nice, quiet guy could go. So we’re celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary in April.

    I wasn’t looking for Chumplady, but when I saw her referenced in a Dear Abby letter I was curious, and then I was hooked. My first marriage was a disaster, which I fled from after only two years because I was miserable and confused and my best friend rescued me with a bus ticket.

    I have learned so much about my ex-husband’s character, or lack of it. Lovebombing, gaslighting, isolating me from my friends getting me to leave my home and give him all my retirement money, etc., and I’m pretty sure the cheating wasn’t far behind.

    You ladies and the hell you’ve survived make me well aware of how blessed I was, to meet a man who crammed everything into one fast and furious mindfuck instead of years of manipulation. Chump Nation rules, and I see slow signs here and there that the message is being heard. Rock on!

      • Hi, Nomar. I messed that up. The letter to Dear Abby was from a betrayed spouse. It was a commenter to that letter, advising the writer to check CL out, that turned me on to Chump Lady.

        • Hey Pearshaped, was the comment from me perhaps? I’m always dropping ChumpLady’s URL in the comments on advice columns like Dear Abby and Hax 🙂 Anyhow, glad the site helped you!

          • I don’t know, ‘Wuf. I tried to hunt for a little while in the Dear Abby archives, but I gave up eventually. Hey, I’ve wanted to say this for awhile, but to my weak eyes your avatar always looks like a smiling cross-eyed kitty before it resolves into two wolves. I can’t not see it, but either way it’s cute!

  • [Raising had] Hi, my name is ‘betrayednomore’ and I’m not sparkly at all. I am the opposite of sparkly.

    My cheating wife fell head-over-heals-in-twu-lurve with another guy who is incredibly sparkly. He was an absolutely amazing guy. He left her sexy/lurvy-durvy/sweetie-pie texts for when she woke up. They would share their sparkly lurve on the phone while she was at work. After getting home from work, she spent her afternoons with him on the phone. They ended their evenings falling asleep together in the afterglow of mutual masturbation and the glow of their phones.

    Contrast that with me (my wife did); I’m dull, tired, and boring. I have a steady career that provides for a roof in a good school district for my children. I am also responsible for car payments, insurance, education, retirement, utilities, food, and phones for everyone. I am also the yard guy, occasional maintenance guy, cook, and house IT administrator who keeps everyone’s’ interwebs, computers, and assorted devices running. I also share in laundry duty. I’m have a few minor hobbies that keeps me (somewhat) fit and involved in things other than work. In conversations, I tend to be the guy listening to others showing interest in what they have experienced.

    But none of that mattered.

    You want sparkly? I say go for it. I wouldn’t blame you at all. Ain’t nothin’ else out that replicates the body’s neurotrasmitter cocktail release of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. Sparkly people feed that addiction for you like a heroin dealer.

    • Yep. Like I said yesterday, the good things you do get taken for granted, then expected, then demanded. And if you’re not sparkly, narcs get bored and go looking for sparkles, because they’re addicted – they literally cannot live without ongoing continuous sparkle-escalation. [At one point I actually seriously contemplated writing an app that would randomly determine days and dollar values of surprise gifts, just to keep things completely non-deterministic. Any predictable, repeated kindness was of literally no interest to her. when you need your stimulation completely random to maintain interest, that’s a sure sign that you’re feeding an addictive behavior. Pure Psych 101 stuff there.]

      My wife had a text file she would copy and paste out to potential boyfriends on chat. It spoke of nonnegotiable requirements to be “romanced” and “craved”. It defined “romantics” as a special class of people who literally cannot be satisfied by other people who aren’t romantics. It basically told any reasonably saavy sleazeball online exactly what lies to echo back to her to get into her virtual (and sometimes literal) pants.

      I deleted all of her chat archives, for my own mental health. But I sometimes wish I’d kept a copy of her romance manifesto. It literally defines how textbook NPD feels from the inside.

      • “romanced” and “craved”!!!! hahahahaha. My ex was looking for someone to “adore” him! They should just say I need your kibbles….

      • Was just talking about how empty and bored ex was, needed constant stimulation. You’ve captured it very well in your post

    • Hey man you stole my identity! You aren’t the only “dull” person out there! STBXW had me convinced I was a horrible person and very boring. I’m in my late 40’s and don’t want to go out to a bar on Friday nights! How dare i want to stay home Friday night after working all week while she stayed home screwing around. I mean screwing around literally! Either ran around with her mom all day or screwed around on fake book or was screwing a boy friend. She wasn’t one of those hard working stay at home moms. Didn’t cook, clean, wash very often. They just weren’t things she wanted to do. And it wasn’t like we didn’t go out some. During the pick me dance, I did a lot of interesting things with her including dance lessons, shooting ranges and comedy clubs. How many boring men are going to take dance lessons? I’m sure you aren’t nearly boring as she made you feel. I’ve discovered other people actually like me for me. Making new friends and looking for stuff I like to do now. I too generally listen when in a big group of people. I’m ok with that. I enjoy listening instead of trying to be a sparkly diamond. Screw it, just not worth it. I am who I am and if you don’t like me that’s ok. Go find those shallow people who like to shine and spout out 95% BS. This time around, if I find someone else it’s going to be while doing activities I enjoy doing. I’ve done the total opposite relationship and I won’t ever do it again. I like to stay in shape and do stuff outdoors. Hike, raft, mountain bike, ride motorcycles, fire pits, boating, or just hang out outdoors. I’m sure you have some stuff you like doing as well. You are interesting to the right person and so am I! Don’t let her definition define you. She was just a self-serving slunt that need to blame you for her shallow personality. You are mighty!

  • “I’d like clever, honest AND sparkly. Do they exist though!?”
    For the most part no, because 99% of the time, sparkly equals narcissist, and narcissists by definition are not honest. They are often clever, though, so perhaps you can get two out of three.

    I agree with Chump Lady. You’ve been on one date, you are still in the midst of the divorce nightmare and it sounds like your picker is still set on drama and guaranteed heartache.

    As for online dating, many people here rail against it, but I met Nice Guy on POF and my brother just married a wonderful woman he met on Chemistry.com. IMHO, online is no different than anywhere else, except that you can “meet” a larger number of potential partners much faster than you generally can in the real world. That means that most of the men are not going to be suitable for you for whatever reason (and a fair portion are not suitable for ANYONE because they are losers or cheaters) but that doesn’t mean you won’t meet a great guy eventually. It took me 2.5 years of online dating to meet Nice Guy, but I took several breaks during those years because it does honestly wear you down after awhile.

    Anyway, I strongly advise focusing on yourself for awhile…. if you still think “decent” means boring and “sparkly” means a suitable partner, you are in for a rough ride.

    • GIO, “They are often clever, though, so perhaps you can get two out of three” cracked me up… Thanks for injection of humor into my afternoon!

  • Hi Lotus…I was single eight long lonely years before I met my partner. I tried dating sites and went on the 50 bad coffee dates for sure and got really discouraged. Met guys that were single because they cheated on their wives. Burned rubber off my shoes getting away from them. Had gross old guys tell me they always dreamed of having a threesome. Eeewwww. Had a guy send me dick pics. OMG. Met men with more baggage than the airport. I honestly was ready to just forget the whole thing. I met guys from work or out and about and nothing seemed to click. I was getting to the point where I figured I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. I was having a good enough time alone. I was remodeling my house. I had a great job. Had lots of friends. I traveled.

    Then I decided to go back on Match. I met two different men within the first month and the second one turned out to be my future husband. I have a gorgeous ring on my left hand as I type this. Designed from my mother’s wedding diamonds. He’s everything I could ever hope for! He’s gorgeous, fit, beautiful on the inside and the outside, intelligent, a former chump, and he makes me laugh so hard every day. I love him beyond what I ever loved my cheating XH. I had no idea I could love anyone this much. We both recently turned 60 so don’t give up. We are active and bike and hike almost every weekend. Not to mention the best sex I’ve EVER had in my life. I could go on and on kids.

    Garth Brooks ‘Unanswered Prayers’ came on the radio the other day and I really thought about that. I used to pray every day that my XH would come to his senses and come back home to me. I’m so glad he didn’t answer that prayer. Sometimes God doesn’t say ‘yes’ for a reason. July 23rd I’m walking down the aisle with this darling man and my God son is going to marry us! He was just recently ordained as a minister. I can’t wait to be this man’s wife.

  • I didn’t get married until later in life because I actually enjoyed being single – and not in a Sex-In-The-City sort of way. I was “married” to my profession. Working my ass off in a male-dominated field, I was considered “one of the guys”, and we all had a great time writing and producing newspapers.

    However, especially in my very early twenties, I dated a lot of men: Out to dinner, movies, parties, concerts, nightclubs and dancing. At first I was attracted to the “Bad Boys” because I was a total dork in High School. I was incredibly shy, suffered from acne, never went to dances, still took the bus or rode my bicycle to school, had fellow nerds for friends (and that was long before nerds were considered remotely cool).

    Graduating from HS, I “grew into myself” (plus my skin cleared up tremendously), and turned out to be considered attractive (much to my surprise). The handsome, “sparkly” living-on-the-edge guys wouldn’t have given me a second glance in High School, and I wanted the Bad Boy experience, just to see how it felt. It didn’t take me long at all to realize, for the most part, Bad Boys = Bad News.

    After that two-year phase in my life, I always sought substance over style.

    Which is why I found it so baffling that my now-ex turned out to have a harem on the side. He’s average-looking on his best days. He wears non-descript clothes, has sloopy shoulders and a slightly funny walk (I could only describe it as “swishy”). His quiet, calm, humble manner and self-deprecating humor attracted me, and his show of compassion, that I now know was an act, reeled me in. In other words, he presented himself as a loveable, dorky man, and I was hooked.

    Just as not all that sparkles are true gems, not all dorky, nerdy people have a heart of gold:

    http://facesofnarcissism.com/2014/11/18/ten-narcissist-traits-that-we-dont-always-expect/

    Lotusblossom, I agree with CL, your picker needs a tune-up. Hell, I’ve given my picker a sabbatical. My divorce was final in February, and I’m in no way interested in dating yet, if ever. And that’s okay, because alone is not the same as lonely. Alone can be liberating, sometimes exhilarating, and full of contentment. Really.

    • “Narcs think that you are “abusing” them when you refuse to let them abuse you anymore.”
      Just checked out that link–whoa. This statement is powerful. I am currently testing the narc waters with my husband who cheated–trying to figure out if reconciliation is possible. A lot hinges on whether or not his narc-ish character flaw that allowed cheating is pathological enough that it is un-mendable. With my new boundaries I am quick to expose certain things that I did not before and refuse to tolerate others, like saying to him directly “Wow, you are being very passive aggressive right now and it’s unattractive and annoying.” Or walking away from conversations wherein he is doing back flips to convince me how “right” he is about a certain topic with a simple “I know my mind and opinion, it’s not the same as yours. Stop trying to bully me into your opinion.” In essence, disallowing him from verbally and emotionally manipulating me. His responses have been fascinating and wide ranging so far. Sometimes a blow up, sometimes a denial, sometimes an apology. TBD There’s so much brackish water in these types of people, but my mind is getting clearer and clearer.

      • kc, I did a lot of this ‘not taking his bullshit anymore’ in my relationship with my ex. I was still loving, caring, affectionate, and polite. But I gradually stopped letting him bully me. Finally I got to the point that I told him, very calmly and coolly, that I wanted us to separate, because he was just too crabby, negative and mean to be around. He said clearly that he didn’t want that, and started treating the kids and I much, much better. I became hopeful about our relationship for the first time in years! And the kids and I showed him so much appreciation for his improvements! He still wasn’t Mr Fun, Loving and Zen, but he was clearly making an effort to be better to us.

        So, of course, it was less than a year after that setting of limits that he started Affair #2, while working out of town 4 days a week for several months. I kicked him out right away.

        In some of the many discussions we had over the following year or so, it became very clear that;
        a) over the last few years of our relationship, he was super, super resentful that I wasn’t bending over backwards, was no longer taking responsibility for his moods and happiness, wasn’t letting him define the conversation and bully me anymore.
        b) all his improved behaviour over the final year was only that, improved behaviour. Inside he was thinking the same negative, mean things, just biting his tongue on them. And resenting me for ‘making’ him do that.

        I think some narcs can be maneuvered into treating us better. But they do not become caring, empathic people. They will not lovingly care for you if you are ever ill, as we would do for them. They will not be faithful when presented with opportunities to do otherwise, as we would. They are someone you have to MANAGE, all the time, someone with whom you have to constantly set limits, and enforce them.

        I want better than that in a relationship, I bet you do too.

        • There is a whole school of thought that “you teach people how to treat you” so not only are we responsible for how we treat them, we are also supposed to set and reinforce the boundaries for other peoples behavior. Well that might make sense at work or with neighbors, but our partners are supposed to have already agreed to treat us with decency and charity and bring myself was hard enough work without spending endless hours trying to get him to be decent too.

          Like you I was able to make some improvements but later learned that the few superficial improvements he made were accompanied by ongoing hidden betrayals.

          I love my new partner but Im not going to spend my life coaching his decency. We can discuss details but I need to be able to count on a reasonable baseline to start with.

  • Kali’s advice is spot on. I pretty much followed it while I was dating.

    I entered the dating pool about a year ago and still wasn’t completely divorced. I did so because I wanted to move on. I wasn’t looking for serious at the time. I had felt “alone” for 17 years while married to the asshole so was interested in getting out there to meet and talk and maybe hook up… seriously… I admit it. I am 55 so up in age, so was concerned that I would never find anyone. I wanted to make sure I was still desirable to help me feel confident for when I was ready for serious. (My ex replaced me with a 20 year younger version of myself.) Here is what I learned…. just sharing…. maybe something will click.

    1. Be very careful about picking another sparkly. My first after the divorce was just that… another one just like my ex and it sent me into the therapists office in tears. I saw the pattern and he made me list the qualities that I was looking for. None of which either my ex or him had. This got me to re think relationships entirely. Word of warning… the sparkles don’t like to be dumped so if you dump one expect them to pursue you extensively.

    2. The therapist also told me that in all the 30 years he had been counseling people through divorce that everyone he knew at that point in time had met online. He lives in LA and knows a ton of people.

    3. I went on a lot of bad dates. The “how many more minutes do I have to endure before I can make a getaway” kinds of dates with men who “had a 6 year affair on his wife” and “I got fired at work for looking at porn on my computer” kinds of dates. Its depressing but I looked at is as a step closer to possibly finding someone. You have only been on one date! Take it as an adventure. It gets easier and you will get very proficient at reading people quickly. You are also young!

    4. I met someone when I was really not serious about a relationship… I just wanted to play the field… hahaha. I was open to possibilities and thus opened my heart to someone I might not have if I was focused on finding the “right man.” Instead of a selfish 1% world traveller I hooked up with a financially solvent sexy ex muscian who wore more jewelry than I do but with my guard down discovered a beautiful caring man. We are still together.

    5. Yes you can have stable, honest, and exciting. Your excitement might come from a different place though. Instead of sitting through dinners in Italy with my ex wanting to commit hari kari (on him) I learned to love the string lights my boyfriend hung in the backyard because I mentioned it would be nice if we had some. I find learning to trust someone and be vulnerable exciting. He has an artistic side to him which I find exciting. Point is that the exciting comes from a real place instead of something created by the narcissist as bait for kibbles. Oh yeah… those trips I took with my ex where pretty much paid for by the University he works for… waiting for that one to come tumbling down.

    6. Like CL says you have to be in a position to set boundaries and get dumped. You have to be able to express your needs. You have to be willing to walk away.

    7. Its so nice to have someone love you for you and not what you can provide them with. Like CL says you can’t be 50 people. My ex was that way. I could never do enough… trophy wife, career woman, soccer mom etc etc…. it was never enough. Now I am loved for who I am inside. I can relax and take the time to discover and explore me. YET I HAD TO LEARN TO DO THE SAME TOWARD MY PARTNER and not expect him to provide me with the external sparkly status items that I once expected out of a man. I say this because this too required a few trips to the counselor!

    8. In my psychiatry class during medical school (a long time ago) I remember vividly the professor saying that the most difficult thing to do psychologically was to be in an intimate relationship! Having to be a complete human being and capable of setting boundaries while at the same time opening your heart and learning to compromise requires that you know and value yourself while respecting the other person… very difficult. I honestly don’t think you can have a healthy intimate relationship until you have some experience (baggage) and learned from it. Hence it gets better with age.

    9. In my divorce support group there were several men there trying to figure out how to divorce their spouses while causing the least amount of pain or even if they should divorce. Some tried to reconcile while others went through the pain of separating. Point here is that there are people in your age bracket out there that have integrity. You are just going to have to weed through them hence Kalli’s advice.

    Good Luck and Happy Dating…. or hooking up… hahahaha.

  • I guess my main problem with online dating, speed dating ,(lol) etc. is that it’s just really hard for your average person (myself included) to “look good on paper”. And in my experience, those who usually do are psychopaths, or are in a lot of cases. My “good qualities” are hard to define, and even harder to appreciate on the internet or in a forced situation, like dating.

    I don’t go for looks, or prestige, or whatever. I’m more interested in a person’s aura, or total vibe, or actually the way they relate to the world around them. And it’s not really as new Agey as it sounds, but you can do it better in person, in real life. But each person has their own preferred style of finding someone.

  • Dear Lotusblossom,
    It sounds as though you’ve gone through a lot–and you’ve done a lot in a short period. (Good for you!). It also sounds as though you are experiencing a lot of conflicting emotions and asking yourself and CL important questions. Chronologically, I am at about the same place you are in the D-Day timeline. Like you, I have felt many conflicting emotions and asked myself a lot of questions about what I should do.

    I am not going to tell you to date or not. When my STBX left, I thought that I would be single for the rest of my life, not a pretty proposition, considering that I had felt alone for my whole marriage of a decade and didn’t want to be single. I very briefly tried Internet dating just to find out who was ‘out there’ (available to date). I went out for social activities (hike, lunch) a couple of time but did not get into anything serious. Unlike most (?) posters on CL, I started dating my boyfriend less than six months after my STBX filed for divorce and nine months after D-Day #1. (I should probably add that I had known my boyfriend, a fellow chump, for almost thirty years.) I did not plan to date my friend, but we were attracted to each other. (I think that we were probably attracted to each other’s personalities more than anything else, although I think that we are satisfied with each other’s appearances, too.) I think that we realize and accept each others quirks, at least for now. I dislike being alone, and I am struggling as a single, middle aged, virtually unemployed parent of young children, one of whom has special needs. However, if for some reason I lost my boyfriend, I don’t think that I would bend over backward trying to find a replacement or crawl back to my STBX, although the door is currently open. In some ways, I’ve felt most alone when I have been with a partner (especially my STBX). Life with an abuser is a special type of hell. Some of my most serene moments have occurred during my separation while I was completely alone.

    As you have just been through a whirlwind of activity, to gain clarity, you might benefit from just ‘sitting with yourself’ for awhile. I mean doing things like meditating or writing in a journal for a short time (10-15 minutes) each day and paying attention to what comes to mind. By doing so, you might be able to answer some of your questions in ways that work for YOU, ways that are feasible and feel good to you.

  • Please give yourself time to get out of one relationship and heal from the betrayal before you jump headlong into the next. You are NOT ready to date until you do just that! Don’t let the guy who could be the one you really want next to you when your old and no longer ‘sparkly’ be the rebound guy that you dump all your frustrations and fears of more betrayal upon and runs from you screaming in terror. Learn who you are now. You are not the same gal you were before you found out about selfish boy’s affair. Once you have healed, done the soul searching to find the new and improved you, you can find someone who fits the new you. One that is not as fearful of being hurt again, one who is just doesn’t want to be alone and will settle for anyone again, one who knows the difference between ‘sparkly’ and inner light, and one who won’t get trapped in a narcissistic nightmare with a new life partner ever again. And know this deary, sadly a lot of the men on dating sites are still married. My own husband for example. So wait a bit. Learn a lot. Be happy in just being you first.

  • I’ve not tried online dating, but was wondering if anyone has put “no cheaters need reply” in your description? Honestly, I don’t think I’d even want to go out with someone who cheated on their partner.

    I’ve been dating someone for several years that I’d known for a long time. Always thought of him as a friend, and really appreciative to have had him help me get through the divorce, etc. He was very patient but kept letting me know he was interested in something more. Our friendship has blossomed into a deeper relationship, but don’t think I am too keen on giving up my ex’s social security and compromising my financial security in retirement to get remarried. Also not sure I’m willing to give up my independence for anyone ever again. Still, it would be wonderful to have a partner like Syringa describes finding for herself!

    • I would be worried any kind of “no cheaters” statement would only make me a bigger target for cheaters, like it would give too much information to people who could use it against me or something…

    • Most cheaters do not believe they are cheaters. I have put ‘must be single’ – and still got married, not quite divorced, exploring options, etc., lol

    • I didn’t put “No Cheaters” in my description, but I did put:
      NO Alcoholics
      NO Beer guts – because you are an alcoholic
      NO coming home on my birthday at 4:30 in the morning on a Thursday and throwing up off the side of the bed cuz you are wasted, and therefore my birthday has become wasted
      NO SEXTING! If you are trying to sext me and I find out you are married, I will have no problem tracking down your wife and letting her know what a piece of shit you are.

      Beleive it or not, I’ve actually still had a few guys wanting to talk to me…. 🙂

      • That’s funny LadyStrange! I think some people appreciate honesty. You made it humorous too, maybe they got a laugh out of you description.

    • Cheaters are disordered, and will just attempt to trample straight through your boundaries. So it wouldn’t make any difference.

  • Lyn…..you wouldn’t have to give up your ex’s social security! Or any other financial security you have to be with someone. I will still get my first husband’s social security because we were married for more than 10 years. It will be more than mine. Just saying. Check on all these things. Go down to your local social security office and talk to them. They did a print our for me and told me exactly what I would get. I will get my first husband’s social security and my cheater’s retirement and still remarry. Yay me.

    • I actually went to a SS seminar and found out that if I were to remarry before age 60 I would lose my ex husband’s half of the social security. It’s much larger than mine since I worked mostly part time while we were married (32 years). My ex already split his retirement with me at the time of divorce, but I’m also getting a decent amount of maintenance from him every month. If I were to remarry I would lose that. It just really concerns me that if I remarried and things didn’t work out, I’d be in much worse shape financially. It all seems too complicated!

  • I agree. On-line dating for a woman over 40 is depressing. It is not just you. It can be a soul sucking experience. I still do not understand why so many men behave so badly in that environment. They say and do things that they would never ever have the courage to do in the real world. (Sorry guys, but your toes would curl from the messages I have been sent! Seriously, what’s with the dick pics?)

    Stop on-line dating. It is discouraging.

    It is not the only place to meet people. I wish everyone would stop believing the advertisements that it is a magical place and that the computer is a matching wizard. “Computer says we are a 99% match – so it must be true.” Yes, every now and then you hear a success story. But guess where else people meet: the dog park, in a bar listening to some live music with girlfriends, at the gym, volunteering, church group, etc.

    Personally, I think that it is a bit too soon to date unless you can define what exactly you want i.e., I just want someone to go to dinners and the movies with and nothing more.

    And – of course you will meet someone!

    Hugs

    • I can’t speak to online dating in your 40s, but I can say with certainty that men behaving badly on dating sites is not an age thing—just go on Instagram and browse #byefelipe and #tindernofilter.

  • You know what, I fell for all that crap, about how wonderful I am. Yes, I am wonderful in my opinion but being told how attractive and wonderful you are sets up barriers, I had the man that everyone thought was worthy of me and you know what? Turns out he wasn’t!!!! Now I am dating a fabulous man who is kind, respectful and trustworthy, yet because he isn’t a stud, he is not ugly just ordinary, I get crap from some people that he isn’t good enough for me! What do they know ? Nothing actually, because they are judging on a superficial level. People of substance tell me he is wonderful and is good for me, you need to sort your picker out. You are being shallow and frankly that’s what got you into trouble in the first place. I say that knowing I was the same back in the day, learn your lesson. Go for substance and good character. You will happier in the long run.

  • Chump Lady nails it again! After I got chomped I made quite a few mistakes but I ended up meeting my new husband through Match. He is “boring” in he sense that he goes to work every day, eats he same thing for lunch every day, and has hobbies and interests I don’t share. But — he is kind, affectionate, loyal, reliable, and he is a wonderful stepfather to my children. He adores me and the feeling is mutual. Don’t lose hope!

  • I haven’t dated in a zillion years. But boring is how a lot of people come off to me at first meeting. If they are nice and stable and grounded, and sometimes a bit introverted they are going to not over run you with their accomplishments and their weird stuff and their interests and whatnot, it will just be pleasant. Boo hoo you had a perfectly lovely time with a guy who didn’t tell you about his magic trick collection that he uses for shows at sick kids hospitals or that he secretly collects cocktail napkins because it sounds weird but it’s actually a cool way to remember the stories of good or funny or bad times… That’s not a first date thing. It’s a ‘you don’t suck so I will continue to get to know you and see how many layers there are in this onion” adventure. I am excited about getting to that point where I might want to explore that. Take it slow and steady. See what happens.

  • I was alone in my marriage for so long that after a socially required 6 month mourning period after husbands death, I was all ready to date.

    I likely horribly botched the first few dates with verbal diarrhea of the emotional baggage sort, but for an extreme extrovert like me, I probs would have done that on my first few dates whether I waited 6 months or 6 years…for me I needed to get that out of my system.

    Back when Major Cheaterpants was alive, I remember saying to myself “If I am ever single again, I would sooner date a burn patient with no face over an unkind person”…so “kindness” was first on my list.

    I asked God for this:

    – If there is no good man then bring none, I dont want some bad man.

    – I need a man who is kind
    believes in God & can marry in the Catholic Church even in not actually Catholic
    sees value in a relationship
    has at least one child
    is my age or older
    is not a threat to my financial well being

    I got married 5 months ago to a man who is
    kind (working on making him a better tipper though)
    a Lutheran who believes in God and had a XW who annulled their Catholic marriage
    sees value in our relationship
    has one child who is so well behaved she makes my adult children look like circus animals
    is 6 months older than me
    has more money that me

    I actually dated him 30 years earlier but I was so attracted to the dark brooding (sparkily) bad boy who I later married …this mans niceness seemed nerdy and dull. OMG…26 years of abuse were quite a 2×4 to my face that I had not chosen well. I was remarkably blessed at a second chance.

    I now really appreciate the predictable calm of our lives…I care for dying children and he is a Special Agent, so on our off time we DONT crave excitement. There is some dorkiness in us, but I wouldnt trade it for all the sparkle in the world. Hugs, success and happiness to everybody !!

    • My (current) husband asked me out in 1985. He is my brother’s best friend and sweetest guy in the world, always has been. I told him “no”, I had just started dating my former (cheater) husband, super sparkly guy who was love-bombing me and who asked me to marry him in less than 5 weeks.

      After 25 years of marriage I discovered my ex was living a completely double life and divorced him. Three months after my divorce was final my current husband and I were connecting on Facebook about our respective children’s pictures, and decided to meet for a drink. He had been dumped 8 years before by his cheating ex-wife. I was so nervous I almost cancelled.

      But I went and we started dating and the differences between this nice and normal guy and my ex were stunning. How did I not see how shallow ex was? Why did I not understand that he lacked basic love and even empathy? How did I miss it, it seemed so obvious in comparison!

      My new husband and I were married last year and he is just true, loving, calm, thoughtful, and sincere. He is “non-sparkly” but we have amazing chemistry because we connect and can bond on so many levels, levels our cheating exes do not have. I recall I believe Nomar saying something like he would rather be in a hotel in Albany with his current wife than touring the capitals of Europe with his cheating ex. That Is how I feel my current husband. I never understood how your spouse could be your best friend, but I understand that now. I am so thankful that I caught ex, I shiver to think I could have gone to my grave chumped and never really having known this kind of love. I am not sorry to have lost ex, I just wish I had lost him sooner.

  • CL, I am in the “Be okay being alone” camp. As a matter of fact, I love being alone. I really enjoy getting to know myself and what truth looks like for me. I’m able to define that by being alone. No distractions, no drama and my focus is on me. If I ever come to the point where I actually want to date, I will know what I want. I wouldn’t care what men want, what others think I should want, but rather what I want. It’s freeing.

  • Great advice. The “being alone” part is key. For many people, it is this fear of being alone that kept them tethered to a jerk–that intense desire for love and companionship. After enduring the trauma and heartbreak of being cheated on, and all the fallout that accompanies it, the thought of “getting back out there” sounds unseemly and I can’t really understand the drive. I see wanting to spend more time doing things you love and with people you love, but knowing that even GREAT romantic relationships come with a lot of emotional work, I just don’t get how anyone could want to begin that work so soon after. 18 months?!? I would love 18++++ months of being left the F alone, please, to laugh and drink wine with my girlfriends, and play solitaire and read novels! That sounds rad. I’ll take a decade of that and if love with a non-asshole happens to fall into my lap then I suppose I can deal with it then, or not! More wine and novels!!

  • Sparkles are a massive red flag – for disorder. “Boring” is not a bad thing! In fact, people who involve themselves in too much stuff I find is also a red flag for “If you aren’t constantly stimulated by things you will rage” – there is absolutely nothing wrong with bumming around the house, or doing absolutely nothing, every now and then.
    At face value, people might look ‘boring’ but if you get to know them – they actually do have things they enjoy doing. Its really about finding someone who is willing to do activities they may not be 100% into – compromise is important – and they might actually find it enjoyable.
    As an aside: I don’t ‘date’, and I never will. Men are always friends of mine before they become something more. “Dating” is a crock of shit, really – an ‘interview’ process which only sets up in favour for sparkly narcs and other disordered types. Also, spending hours primping yourself up is the opposite of ‘being yourself’.

    • I’m so with you on the Dating thing, Lania. And I definitely hated the reconciliation advice telling you to “date your husband”. What the fuck ? I got married so I wouldn’t have to date.

      • Yeah. Its all bullshit, Anita. I never dated – even when I was in my teens.
        Plus, the RIC advice to ‘date your husband’ is just the pick me dance by another name.

  • Are nerds just as dangerous?

    I have seen several responses here that mirrored my own experience of Mr Textbook Nice Guy, a 40 year old who had never had a girlfriend. HUGE red flag which I missed there. Rampant mummy issues and a string of emotional affairs.

    The key is not nerdiness, but whether the person thinks they are smarter than you. THIS is what can predispose them to infidelity. Nerds are used to taking comfort in being brainier than other people, so nerdiness doesn’t immunise the relationship against infidelity.

    Same with if they think they are more attractive than you, or a better catch. Mr Textbook Nice Guy thought he was a very good catch, and on paper, he was. I so dodged a bullet there.

  • All I can say is Please please please do not even think about getting involved yet. I know this because that is exactly how I got mixed up with my STBX. I had been married 18 years-married young. He was not a cheater or a liar but we grew apart and I just felt like a caged animal being tied down from such a young age. So 3 months after separating, I meet my current Narc who I was with for 13 years. OH yeah I am loyal to a fault. Big mistake. I thought he was fun, sparkly and everything my ex was not. So I tried to make a ho into a househusband for the past 13 years. I was naïve. Don’t be like me. Take some time to decompress and enjoy yourself. I am older and wiser now. I will not be impulsive like that anymore. So as you can guess, I am approaching 50 , single, but believe me, it is gonna be better than what I have gone through with this last fuckwad.

  • Lotus, if this helps, BOTH of my disordered freaks ARE nerdy and seemed very decent for quite some time. Neither of them were the typical talk, dark & handsome…far from it, they were more like 5’8, pale, scrawny. The most recent jerk, not yet a cheater, didn’t give him the chance, was very defensive, volatile when communicating any problems, neglectful, lacked self control & aggressive to the point of pushing me was a nerdy IT guy with bad posture and an affinity for all things superhero.

    Try if you can to stop judging the package so quickly because I can tell you from personal experience that even nerds can be sickos. Try looking deeper.

  • I want dull and decent, come over here! I have done extremely good looking moody (and self-absorbed). My criteria now are this: the ability to meet me half way, on the whole. In listening, hearing, looking at me, tasks, asking for help, having a laugh, playing, telling me what he is thinking or doing.

    What he looks like and his ‘vibes’ pretty low on my list. Thank God for growing up. What I used to find irresistibly fascinating (moody Heathcliff shit) now makes me very impatient and averse. That picker is slowly fixing.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with CL’s advice, especially #5 … Be ok being alone. I went from all longterm boyfriends to 2 husbands without ever being by myself. Terrible mistake! I have now been divorced from my second husband for a little over two years. I promised myself I would not date seriously for at least a year and get to know me. And it has been a wonderful two years so far. The first thing I did was make the decision to go on a trip by myself, no friend, relative or boyfriend along. Secondly I decided to make the trip a bucket list item and really go for it. So I trained for 9 months, traveled to Africa alone, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on an amazing safari. Not only was it the trip of a lifetime, but I got into amazing shape at the same time. The trip was awesome and I met new many new friends. I got the trekking bug and have now done a second trip this past September to Machu Picchu, Peru. We climbed for 4 days up to 15,000 feet and then dropped into MP. Again amazing trip! I now have a trek scheduled for Patagonia, Chile in Feb and will be climbing Mt. Rainier in May. And just so you know I am 51 years old and was never a hiker before this. Taking the time to open yourself up to new things and new challenges really helps the healing process move along. I am so busy with my job, my kids (10 and 15), and my hobby that I have no time to worry about whether or not I have found a man. I just assume if I keep busy having fun, that eventually I will meet someone I find interesting, but I no longer worry about it. I no longer wait to see who will go somewhere with me before I do it. If I want to do something I just go ahead and do it … it’s been very liberating:-)
    All of this is not to say that I don’t have days that are difficult or that everything in my life is peachy … but what I do find is … when things are not going well I think back to hiking up a 19,340 foot mountain in Africa and remember how hard it was and then I put my latest problem into perspective and forge ahead to work it out. I have finally come to realize that the only person that holds the key to my life is me!
    So get out there and be alone, try new things, and find yourself … if you really make it a priority, I don’t think you will regret it at all! Go for it!

  • OK, confession time:

    Once the divorce was filed, I had a friend help me set up profiles on various dating sites with my picture- I was honest and witty and thought that I presented myself as “real” as I could…needless to say, it did not go well.

    The ones I contacted did not contact me back, or the ones that contacted me were just plain creepers that just want someone to get down and dirty with. I had one guy that was great-“too good to be true” because he was. He & I spent a week texting, talking on the phone- finding all these things we had in common, etc.. He asked me out on the date for that Friday, and we went out and had a great time- he brought me home and spent 15-20 minute trying to convince me of the great sex we could have…I told him no, that I was not that kind of girl and he said he understood . We texted back and forth after he dropped me off telling me how great of a night we had, etc. and I have NEVER heard from him since.

    Right after that, I took my picture down from my profile and still got a few guys that seemed genuinely interested in me and we got along- but I could definitely could tell my picker had been revamped because one guy kept offering “emotional support” to me, but didn’t have a job, car, etc. and all he kept nagging me about was sex texting or phone sex…needless to say, I blocked him and got rid of him…the others just lost interest and went away. I met a guy that I had seen out and about for a few months as my divorce and shit cleared up, we never spoke of dating, but I let it be known I was interested…anyway, not long after my date with Major Moron , I was talking to him and we started “dating”…it was OK, but I wasn’t seeing stars and rainbows with him either…then one night he came over and wanted to have sex, but I didn’t so he left…haven’t spoken to him since, and when we see each other, we just ignore each other, but we catch each other looking at each other…

    I had one brief fling with one, then no action at all for over a month…I have profiles on two different dating sites and neither one of them have my picture for that reason- I want someone to be interested in ME, the person, not some image….anyway, I doubt I’ll find Mr. Wonderful that way, but at least I’m trying to get out there in some capacity….

    I have met various men over the last few months, but nothing “awesome” or “magical” has occurred and Chumps, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. That’s what I have realized- I am FINE by myself, I am in NO hurry to get involved super-serious any time soon….that’s what my mistake was after the first divorce- I met The Evil One six weeks after my divorce was final, and and ended up stuck with him for almost 13 years- even though I loved him, I was no where near ready to be in a super-serious-committed relationship at that time…

    So, I am optimistic, but cautiously realistic too. I have a lot to offer someone, but I know when the time is right, the stars align, the heavens open up and bless me with the right man, I’ll know and it will be awesome…in the meantime, I am happy being out with my friends, going out alone if no one’s available, or just chilling at the house..’cause at the end of the day, I would rather be alone than with The Evil One any day!!!!

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