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’?
YOU’VE ONLY HAD ONE DATE!
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.