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Dear Chump Lady, I feel like I’m too available

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deadtomeDear Chump Lady,

I wish there were a few more posts about how to go about dating again.

My recent experience was with a man I met online, who in spite of the distance between us, was very keen to attempt a relationship. He is legally divorced (3 years now) and was not a cheater (I got a background check done through reliable sources).

After the first couple of emails, he would email only once a week, is available to talk only weekends. Will text if only I texted. He is not creepy, is not asking for money, is not crossing any boundaries. I didn’t make a move for an entire week and he calls me up on the weekend, very excited to talk! Tells me all about the fun events in his life, asks me about mine. He is always polite, engaging, and has a good sense of humour. He is employed and works normal hours.

It’s been almost a month and half and I am puling my hair out because I cannot get him to talk about how he wants to move forward in a relationship. I am done reading about “when he doesn’t text/call.”

I feel like the “available” girl and I am angry with myself for getting to this point. I doubt my guts so much. I am second guessing myself all the time.

Should I stay away from dating for now?

Rose

Dear Rose,

Maybe. But perhaps you should just stay away from fuckwits.

Oh, same difference, Tracy! They’re all fuckwits!

No they’re not. Good people exist, you just need better filters. AND if you’re feeling “too available” then you are. Pay attention.

Let’s talk about availability.

To have a relationship, both people have to be available. Sounds simple enough, right? But so many people fuck up this basic step! Are they married? Not available! Are they on the fence but first have to work through some deep, personal issues like their commitment to greater peanut allergy awareness? Not available! Do they act super into you and then ghost you? Not available!

Do you want them to be available, when they’re acting all Not Available, and are you making excuses and creating “interest” from the smallest indications that they find you mildly tolerable? Guess what? YOU are not available!

That means your picker is still on the fritz. You’re self medicating with other people. You want the validation of ANYBODY. This isn’t the proper mindset to put yourself through the dating meat grinder. The proper mindset is: “I’m fine by myself. Really FINE. However, I’m open to being persuaded that a relationship with you could be a good thing. Demonstrate your worthiness.”

For someone to demonstrate their worthiness, you must have boundaries, right? Because you’re not going to tolerate just any old crap to have someone in your life, right?

Your online fellow sounds like a Mixed Signal person. And hey, it’s been SIX WEEKS. That’s hardly enough time to get to know anyone, especially at a distance. So for God’s sake, don’t expect to have the Defining the Relationship Talk with a guy you’ve only texted and emailed for a few weeks! You don’t HAVE a relationship. You have a pen pal.

You were hoping it would be more? See picker, boundaries, and “demonstrate your worthiness” points above. Don’t be so invested so soon. It’s nice to hope. But fill your life up so this doesn’t loom so large.

Now, on those mixed signals. Here’s some red flags — you met this guy long distance online. On a dating site? You don’t say, but look, there are a lot of weirdos who just like online dating for kibbles. They like the validation of your interest, but don’t want an actual relationship. I don’t know what you mean by “was very keen to attempt a relationship.” Because men who are very keen to attempt relationships actually ATTEMPT RELATIONSHIPS.

Shocker. I know.

Mixed signals are just one signal — mindfuckery. Good people’s words align with their deeds. “I am not interested.” Words and actions say “not interested.” Interested? Good people ACT interested. The relationship builds organically. No love bombing. No drama. Just slow and steady, but the point is — it builds. One interaction leads to the next to the next. Can I see you again? When can I see you again? Hey, this puppy meme made me think of you…

Actual Available People do not require decoder rings. They act available. If you call them and they were busy, they call you back. If they can’t make the date Saturday, they offer Thursday instead. If you do something nice for them, they’re keen to do something nice back to you.

All this makes a person feel very safe and secure, over time. If you’re demanding explanations or desire more passionate professions of love after 6 weeks — whoa. Maybe you’re used to freaks and their hot/cold love bombing. Healthy doesn’t work that way.

And if after 6 weeks you suspect you’re in something unhealthy, or just plain unsatisfying? DUMP! Yes you can dump people! You can call the tune on this dating thing!

Chumps will work with anything to turn “potential” into love. (Cue “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”…) But refer to my first point — a relationship requires TWO available people. Not one holding the whole mess up. TWO invested people. You can’t spin unavailable or maybe available into available gold. That’s the pick me dance. And we all know how that ends.

Rose, pick YOU. You’re enough. When that really seeps in, then you’re ready to date. Or stay home with friends and Netflix. That’s good too.

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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.
  • Words + congruent actions = likelihood of integrity. Lots of this math over time = trust building.

    If words + congruent action over time match your life well, yay! If not, dump (or at least create more space and offer less vulnerability, depending on the type of relationship). Whether dating or friend or family, this math works. It has always remained difficult for me, but it’s so true.

    Spot on, CL.

    • No Rose, you do not need to stay away from dating for now, not at all. However, take some time to learn about the process of dating. Here are some suggestions for you:

      1. You don’t have to dump Mr. Email Penpal, simply lower your expectations. You can continue to communicate with him, and let it be about light and frothy material, so what? You are in the process of getting to know him, and he really doesn’t seem like he is a manipulator, does he? He’s just not ready to take it to the next level.

      2. It’s okay if you’re not exclusive right now. You can find another couple of men with whom you date or email. For now, always have three men with whom you’re communicating / dating. Remember it’s okay to not be exclusive yet, which is actually several stages into the selection process.

      • I know this is controversial here and some disagree, but I am a huge proponent of dating a few men at a time. In the early days of dating when I didn’t know what I was doing I would multi-date (while being completely honest about it with everybody) in order to get a feel for what is normal and healthy. It also kept the pressure off and I knew that is somebody mistreated me it would be easier to walk away knowing I had a few other options. I wasn’t looking for a relationship in those days, just people to spend time with, and things never really got emotionally deep. I did have a lot of sex, but I’m okay with having sex without deep emotional connection or commitment. After about a year of dating casually I started to realize that there was no shortage of interested men so I started to really try to find people who were more special and that I connected with in a better way. I had a few false starts, some things didn’t pan out as expected, but now I’m dating more seriously to find a more lasting relationship. I broke a heart, I had my heart broken, and I’m still at it, dipping my toe in with another guy and it’s been a month. I’m still feeling him out, trying to make sure I can trust him, trying to decide if he’s somebody worth giving my heart to. When I first met him I was dating two other guys, but I quickly realized that I liked him and he liked me back equally so I stopped seeing the other guys to let things pan out with this man.

        • I don’t think there is anything wrong with that as long as no one is getting played. I used to “multi-date” when I was younger too, but it was fine because nobody was “spoken for”. If I met someone I really liked and it was mutual, then we’d be exclusive. Oh to be 20 again . . .

        • Strawberry Jellyfish,
          I think it is a super plan. If I could find 10 men I liked and they were available, I would see them all.

          When I was in my twenties, I had this fantasy. I lived in a cabin in the woods, deep woods, like one hour from all the markets. And I made some money somehow (this was very vague) but I had 5 children from 5 different men. All the men would visit me from time to time, there was no deceit. I would spend one week with the South African surfer (a real boyfriend) and then have some time alone with my children, and then next, some time with my straight laced lawyer boyfriend and on it went. Each child had a different father, and they all learned from each other and their fathers. I would be with all the men, from time to time, and then have periods alone with my children, animals and books.

          I cannot have children, but I have plenty of books and 4 dogs. This was my ideal life. I don’t know if I was delusional or I was a fantasy slut (ha ha) but it still seems very appealing.

          We don’t have to march to the beat of what Western Society commands of us: College, Work, Marriage, Children. ( To me, the trick of the being an American Wage Slave).

          As long as we are honest, and treat people with kindness and respect, we can carve out a life that other’s may raise their eyebrows at…but who cares?

          I believe when we die, hopefully warm in our beds, and Death sits in the corner waiting, only two things are going to matter:

          1) Love
          2) Meaningful experiences.

          Yes, I have a tendency to wax too philosophical…but begin with the End in Mind and perhaps our life regrets will be minimized and our JOY MAXIMIZED.

          • Sabine, you might need to expand that cottage to a whole colony, because that sounds very nice indeed (although I’m not sure how well the kids would deal …..). I just wanted to point out the key to ANY kind of arrangements we make in our sexual and romantic lives; HONESTY! All the adults involved have to know what they’re getting into, they have to be fully informed as things evolve, and they have to be able to fairly easily back out if it gets too uncomfortable for them.

            The qualms about the kids are mainly because kids don’t get to choose, they have to live with their parents’ choices, so when there are ANY kids affected by our arrangements, there also has to be a really really high priority on doing things in a way that keeps things safe, stable and loving, for them, as much as possible.

            It’s simple – even if not always easy. Monogamy isn’t a trap, it’s a choice. And we can choose that, or choose other arrangements, while not hurting others by betrayal and lack of respect. But of course, that assumes that our goal is love, sex, companionship and authenticity, not cake, kibbles, selfishness and entitlement.

        • Once I start dating again, if I’m dating someone who is multi-dating, I’d probably say “no thanks” and move on. I realize there are some logistical overlap issues and a gray areas, but to me it is a bit of a red flag. If you actually start liking the girl and then found out there are 2 other guys after her at the same time and she’s dating all 3 – no thanks. Too kibbly. I don’t want to be in a position where I say “i really like you, can you please stop dating those other guys so we can be exclusive.?”

          I admit I feel this way because this is how my relationship with my cheater began. Yes, I fell in love and was determined to “win” her and I did beat out those other guys. But looking back, that was all part of the narrative of her entitlement, of her desire to have multiple guys pining for her.

          I’m just more comfortable if someone is looking for a serious relationship that they are serially dating. If they are just dating to date and have fun, then I’m fine with multi-dating. So I think it just depends on what one is looking for at the time.

          • I think the red flag you are pointing out here is that you were in a sort of pre-marital pick-me dance. I think “dating around,” as we called it back in my day, was the norm for many of us in high school back in the 60s and 70s. We dated different people until we found one we wanted to date exclusively. For me the problem would come if I felt I was juggling 2-3 people who all wanted more from me before I had a chance to figure out if that was what I wanted to. If someone says, “For now, I just want to date different people” and then is honest if that changes (“Sorry, I can’t see you any more because I’ve decided to become exclusive with someone else). I think the key is to figure out what works for you and do that.

              • Me neither and it sucks. I used to date just like that in high school and in the military. I dated multiple men at once to meet new people, experience new things, and basically have fun. I never lied about it and if the guy wanted more I either told him I was sorry, but I didn’t want more, or i stopped dating other people until we broke it off. Dating is suppose to be fun and if it was only ever one date, then I was okay with it. The guy was usually decent and I still had a good time, even if it was only that one time. I have never asked a man out in my life but always recognized the courage it took for him to make the first move. The best was just going out to clubs and dancing with anyone who asked. I never understood woman who refused. It was just a dance, not a life long commitment. I don’t think that happens any more.

          • “if I’m dating someone who is multi-dating, I’d probably say “no thanks” and move on.”

            This has been my experience. And there are some guys who, without any discussion at all, will simply back out of the dating merry-go round when they figure it out. In my experience, it was sometimes the one I considered No. 1 who would be backing out. So much dating experience at university.

            These days I can see it from a man’s point of view. Women still expect them to cover the greater share of dating costs. Why on earth would they want to pay for someone’s dinner week in and week out when they are only No. 3 in the pecking order.

            Of course, a lot of men don’t do themselves any favors when they act as if they are getting something for nothing when a woman offers to pay or to arrange her own transportation…….. and then turns around and uses that money saved on another woman.

            But if I had to be out there dating again, I would expect nothing less than the full package……. or else my first assumption would, you must be multi dating me.

            I think it is far better to beef up your social circles and personal hobbies. There might be clubs formal and informal in your area that have standing activities. They are a great protection against accepting 1) last minute dates; 2) sloppy offers; 3) and bait and switch.

  • Before marriage, I online dated for three years. Since my divorce I’ve online dated for two years. Countless first-dates, a few long-distance things, a few short-lived relationships, some freaks, many nice normal women. Consider me a veteran. Tracy’s advice is right on. If they are interested, they will SHOW you, show you consistently, show you properly, slowly and in a healthy way, and show you over a long period of time. Period. In my experience if they are unavailable or uninterested, they will SHOW you and VERY QUICKLY.

    Example: After weeks of great texting and phone conversations, I met a woman. Adored her right away in person too (which does NOT always happen. Phone convos and texting mean NOTHING until you meet face-to-face.) We agreed to meet again in a few days. She cancelled. We agreed, however, to talk on the phone that night instead. She blew me off. Around six months later, she texts me a long apology and asks if we could meet again. I agree. (Kicking myself now for not taking my own advice.) She tells me she had been dating someone when we met and panicked. Ok. I gave her a pass. BUT she was still seeing this guy. I become friends with her anyway, playing the pick-me-dance.

    This goes on for almost a year. I start falling for her as she gives me mixed signals (friends/more than friends). Never tells me she ended it with this guy and keeps telling me she is not ready for a relationship. Stupid hope propels me forward until I had enough and end it for good. A few weeks later I see she’s back on the dating site. I kick myself again.

    Point is, I should have moved on the first time she blew me off for a phone conversation. That was her showing me who she was. She was unavailable.

    You must have a tough skin and value yourself with this online dating stuff. Unavailable? Believe him and move on. Good luck to you!

    • David it sucks what she did.

      “This goes on for almost a year. I start falling for her as she gives me mixed signals (friends/more than friends). Never tells me she ended it with this guy and keeps telling me she is not ready for a relationship”

      But I learned my lesson with people like that many years ago. Won’t fall that bait and delay crap again. I was in high school, met this awesome girl. And yet, she string me along for 2 years like that. Never again.

  • Hi Rose-

    Now may be the time to step back and take a look at the whole picture. CL makes a good point when she talks about pickers being on the fritz and self medicating with people. It’s very tempting to get yourself wrapped up in the beginnings of a new relationship so you don’t have to deal with the sucktitude of divorce.
    It’s a nice distraction but the sucktitude will hang around and wait for you to deal with it. Ask me how I know.

    You sent a letter to chump lady about this budding online relationship and it reads as though something in your gut is telling you that it’s off. Listen to your gut! For what it’s worth, I think dating after you’re properly healed can and should be fun. If it’s not fun, e.g. your gut is sending up smoke signals, move on and date someone different. That’s what healthy dating is all about!

  • Urgh, I feel like I have had the exact opposite problem. I got out with guys who seem perfectly nice and are into me and I just cannot get excited about the prospect of dating them.
    I feel like I’m not interested in not being single right now, like I like the theory of being in a new relationship and being in love again, but then I go out with perfectly nice people and I don’t get invested. Then they want something serious with me and I panic.
    There are a couple of likes that I actually liked but things didn’t work out, it hasn’t all been other people being super into me.
    I’m currently on my fifth date with a very very nice guy, he is completely normal. He has a steady job, a strong moral compass, he like to hear about my day and seems to actually give a damn. And I really want to like him, I want to get excited about seeing him. I tell myself that this is only the fifth date that he is basically still a stranger. I don’t need to get excited about spending time with strangers. But maybe I’m just not there yet or he is not the right guy for me.
    I don’t want to fall for shiny jerks that are going to break my heart, you know the type good looking and arrogant. I want to fall for nice guy, who brings flowers (he brought me an Orchid because they are my countries national flower and then apologized for not getting me the right species of Orchid), he actually tells me what he is thinking like “thank you for tonight, I had a lot of fun, I enjoy spending time with you”. But I don’t really care, I enjoy spending time with him but I’m always pretty ambivalent about seeing him again.

    Chump Nation, what is wrong with me?

    • I totally hear you. It’s something I have discussed with my therapist and we’ve concluded that for me it’s that I’m addicted to sparkles. Not sure if this is the case for you, but when I met cheater ex, there was an instant exciting thrilling chemistry fueled by hormones, bunny sex, and love bombing. My idea of what a relationship should be based on was totally incorrect so I need to retrain myself. It is not easy for sure.

      I recently started dating someone I really like. He’s smart, nice, respectful, and taking it slow. He doesn’t need anyone to save him or mother him. He has a wonderful job that fulfills him and a full active life. Plus he’s very straightforward about the fact that he likes me and wants to spend time with me. And me? I really like him and see no red flags, yet I’m a mix of skeptical, scared, and just plain bored. I feel like it just takes practice learning how upstanding people act and learning that we really do deserve those nice, stable people. A while back I copied a comment I read on CL and it applies here: “Good people’s words align with their deeds. They’re steady, emotionally available, and fairly uncomplicated.” I know for me at least I’m addicted to drama so I’m learning what a healthy relationship is and it almost seems boring. Good luck 🙂

      • LOL so true, we are addicted to the drama where we define boring as a nice stable loving relationship. We need to retrain our minds for sure

        • It does seem that Rose is in a hurry to “have a relationship.” I don’t think six weeks is nearly long enough to expect some type of commitment from a person and I would be skeptical of anyone who wanted to rush into one after meeting online. Slow down, enjoy that person’s company, get to know the person, then decide where you want to go.

          • My therapist told me that she hears time and time again that when people come out of abusive relationships they will find a “healthy, balanced relationship” a bit “boring.” I agree. I was so used to drama, and working hard to be seen as loveable in my cheater’s eyes that when I met a nice, calm, healthy man who was kind, honest and available I found it odd and was unsure.

            I’ve taken things very slowly and trusted my instincts. And I do know now that if this relationship didn’t work out that’s ok, I’m good with myself and my friends. I know I will be ok either way. Life has become fuller and yes, peaceful since my cheater left. It just takes time to regain your footing and trust in your instincts.

            As to this guy if he’s hot and cold, in and then out, doesn’t text you back for days or love bombs you – run! If he manages you down, tells you when to show up or not to, etc….well, again, RUN! After infidelity and emotional abuse, it takes time to heal and I think some alone time is essential. However, I also think that there are more good people out there than narcissistic fuckwits.

      • I completely hear you. I’m like “This is what I need, no sparkles” but then I’m bored. I don’t think it is the drama, because I didn’t feel like I had drama with my Ex until the very end. But it is the excitement, being with someone who is just confident and has a strong personality, but a lot of guys like that end up being narks or plain misogynists.

        • I don’t know what I’m is going to happen to me. Everytime I read about grey rock I cry because I realize my ex has been grey rock on me for years. I’ve had chances to cheat but didn’t. If I have someone who is polite and kind, wants to talk and be nice to me I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I think I’m really messed up. I think my husband has treated me really badly for a long time but I just didn’t see it. I’m not dating at all but I just still feel pretty bad. How could I have ever thought grey rock was normal? I don’t think I’m addicted to sparkles but to saving.

          • Kay – I am so sorry you have to go through so much pain!

            I have found that working with a therapist with experience in complex PTSD using techniques such as EMDR and DBT have given me hope and skills I can use to rebuilt my ability to trust and set up better boundaries at work and in life.

            (((Kay)))

          • Kay–I’m sorry. My X was so sporadically unavailable that I thought I had learned to be fully independent. But after I kicked him out, I noticed myself tearing up whenever anyone was kind to me. It takes two things–time, and surrounding yourself with same-sex friends (with whom there is no chance of a romance) so that you can learn what normal, healthy relationships feel like. You have to get used to reciprocity. I’m 1.5 years out and still don’t think I’m fully comfortable with reciprocity (though I’m working on asking for, and accepting, help from other people when I need it). Hugs!

            • @Tempest and Chumptitude, thank for the comments. It’s so hard for me to ask for much help. I do have a great counselor and female friends. But it’s hard to be too close. Maybe asking for help will get easier? Hugs back you guys.

      • I read a book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Ignore the title; I don’t think it reflects the content or message well. Anyhow, it talks about how we spend too long looking for the wrong things in relationships, instead of the things that would make us healthy in a long-term relationship. And though it’s written for women, I’ve recommended it to a male friend as well as several female friends because I really thought she said some smart things a lot of us need to hear as we date and think about what qualities we value/need most.

    • Perhaps nothing is wrong. People can be perfectly nice and still not be right for each other. But if you’re holding out for that person who rings your bells on the very first date, that person has a higher than average chance of being a narc.

      • Indeed. I’ve been seeing someone for almost 8 months now and I still sometimes say, “Huh. I’m not feeling the sparkles! And then my friend comes over with ant traps because he noticed I have an ant problem. He is the least sparkly human I’ve ever known. But just exactly what is good for me.

        • Wow, LAJ. He is actually paying attention to YOUR NEEDS and then tending to them. This means…GASP!…he cares about your well being.

          Maybe…we could retrain our minds to get turned on over someone being a stand up guy. Get wet over someone who pays their taxes and gets their teeth cleaned! (sorry! I can be too graphic)

          Let’s shift the paradigm! NICE GUYS ARE SMOKIN HOT.
          Being responsible is sexy.
          Riding the roller coaster too long makes us sick, standing in the bushes, vomiting up carnival crap food.

          That stomach flip we crave is actually (I believe) our limbic systems responding to fear of abandonment and loss. And that ain’t sexy.

          • Yes, I think that’s the ticket. But to see that a kind man who is not a narcissistic whack job is, in fact, a wonderful person to have in your life, you have to have done the work of getting to meh or close to it and fixing that picker. Not dating for a year or two is a great idea. Once I got my head straight after finding CL, I said “no dating for a year” and it was more like 18 months before I took a shot at it. Even then, I wasn’t sure that I was ready and went slow so I would not fall into old habits and lose myself again. If you learn to enjoy your own company and have no fear about not being in a relationship, you are ready. Maybe. 🙂

          • “Let’s shift the paradigm! NICE GUYS ARE SMOKIN HOT.
            Being responsible is sexy.”

            Im all about this. My husband does laundry and bought me a Volvo.

            His bald spot & love handles give me more surface area to kiss – he looks like a Prince to me.

            • Good Morning Unicornnomore,

              That is so….beautiful. And that he has good style too! I love Volvos. I am so weary of everyone believing there is only one template to attractiveness, male or female. There are many. He IS a Prince.
              I don’t have a TV, but when I go on the Web or watch movies and I see the same old women and men, blasted and sanded and scraped and plucked to sterile boringness, none who look remotely real…it can trigger frantic searches to Korean Plastic Surgery clinics (don’t Google it).

              And that goes does that same swamp path…well…..if I had been more beautiful, would Meth Maggot have cheated?

              And it is all just a shit sandwich.

          • I can see how boring my EW must have considered me in comparison to her affair partners. I don’t jump out of airplanes, ride a motorcycle, flirt or scuba dive. No one would describe me as “dangerous” or a “bad boy.”

            I get that some guys aren’t as sparkling as others (and I do mean me, with no apologies). I just wish the women that saw us that way would not marry us, and then stay and cheat for 20 years because we give them respectability and a lifestyle they want but could never have without us. Sparkly or not, we deserve better than that.

            • Jk you do deserve someone who appreciates you. I was drawn to someone I could “help” and not really sparkly so I feel you!! It sux to feel used by someone who is calloused and sees honesty and morality as “optional”. I thought my ex was an upstanding honest person and not sparkly at all. Boy was I wrong. Hugs.

            • JK–you are sparkly, in all the right ways–intelligent, with a twinkle in the eye, and boatloads of compassion & integrity. Trust me–once you’re ready, you’ll have oodles of women willing to date you, and you won’t have to take up skydiving or racecar driving. Your wife was an anomaly. Let’s face it, every one of us on this page chose someone whose honesty was -5 standard deviations from normal.

              • JK, they will be beating down your door. All that bad boy stuff is ego and banty rooster strutting. I am just going to start saying, Like Tempest wrote, because she nailed it.

              • Thank you, Tempest and SS. You made my day.

                It really does boil down to having unknowingly picked people who were grossly lacking in honesty. I get that on an intellectual level.

                Still, one byproduct of betrayal is making the betrayed spouse question their desirability, adequacy, and value as a partner. It’s surprisingly hard to lay those feelings down, even when you understand that serial cheating is not a reflection of your inadequacies.

                Thank you for your personal comments. They made me feel good. They were heart vitamins.

        • That put a smile on my face. He would be my sparkly. I would love someone to just do those little things. I was thinking about dating a lot in the last few days, between my bouts of rage. I just want someone to read the paper with and argue about local politics because I lean a little right and he would lean a little left. I know I’m not ready to date, but I do miss being held and the physical intimacy. I missed it when I was married, so at least now there’s no disappointment when I’m at home alone.

          I also believe in just dating more than one person as long as there’s no expectation of exclusivity. I am wonder though if the man Rose is dating is just establishing his own boundaries. I know that it would drive me to distraction if I just starting dating someone and he felt he had to hear from me every day, or even every other day. If that were the case I would tell the person that I needed to move slower and if that wasn’t acceptable, I would end it. Maybe he’s just taking it slowly. I do think that she should have a conversation with him and simply ask him about it. If you can’t ask him about it, you’re not ready to join the dating pool.

          • I have a suggestion about the intimacy part. This won’t fill a sexual need, but it will help with that longing to be touched. I had (and still do have) a very competent and intelligent male massage therapist. He was always perfectly professional But for 90 minutes a couple of times a month, he would get the knots out of my shoulders, work on those tight quad muscles, and talk politics with me. It was the perfect solution because I’m not one for casual sex and I do love massage. I never care if the therapist is male or female so long as they have good hand strength. The human body craves contact. That’s why hugs feel so good.

              • LAJ – that’s an excellent idea! I’ve never really given massages a chance, and I went years without intimacy and touching from the X. Now that I’m alone, I do miss being touched….so much so that I love the hair stylist washing my hair. Only human connection I’ve had for years. I even like the X-ray guy moving my leg in the right position. Pathetic.

              • LAJ,
                I am going to have to meet you because everything you write, I just can’t believe how much I agree and like it. So thoughtful, your ideas.

                I do the same thing. I am a massage NUT. Being touched is integral to BEING ALIVE. It heals like no pain killer, or even therapy can. I actually feel high when I get off the table.

                I was so immersed in Meth Maggots sexual energy, I wanted a female energy.I went to a massage therapist who specializes in lots of skin contact (not sexual although that would be fine as long as she does not get caught) and she incorporates Thai where she does some body work with you and you are sort of rolling around on the mat.

                I walked out of there so blissed out. She was big and strong and kind. My skins was glowing and I felt like:

                Well, my heart is broken to bits, and I want to wail, but I AM ALIVE. I AM STILL ALIVE.

              • HEY SHECHUMP-
                NOT PATHETIC.
                Normal. Normal. Normal.

                Without touch, we die. You are NOT pathetic. You were with a FREAKSHOW who did not touch you and we all crave it.

                Even go get a pedicure. I tip them extra to extend my foot/leg massage longer and it feels sensational. Bring your own lotion…unless at a higher end place, they use cheap lotion. And don’t make chit chat….just relax.

            • Touch IS important. Babies cannot thrive without it so it seems vital to our well-being (nothing pathetic about it at all, SheChump). There are several ways to receive safe, healthy contact. Hugs from sweet friends, loving family. Massages, per LAJ’s good suggestion, hair salons and pedicures. I found group social or ballroom dance lessons to be a good way to enjoy touch and meet people.

              Many years ago, I was on an after-work rush hour metro, smushed against other bodies so tightly that there was nowhere to fall while the train was moving. Everyone was clean (yay!) and respectful, and I actually reveled in the contact as we silently rocked together while our train moved through the subway tunnel.

              • KeepNarcsAway,
                That was so beautiful and captivating image about the metro..I think you should write a poem about it….” as we silently rocked together while our train moved through the subway tunnel”….Wow.

                I think somewhere (probably San Fran!) they have hug circles. I know I have seen those laughing groups, and I would be laughing, but it would not be with them, more in fear that I have completely crossed the Rubicon into madness.

              • 19 years ago I was in Cairo, stuck in the middle of a massive crowd in the old part of the city. Everyone was for some reason moving in the same direction and it was like being in a river of humans, packed so tightly together, I couldn’t even attempt to move sideways. Normally I hate crowds and I would have felt afraid. Everyone was polite and calm, I didn’t understand the language and just had to go with the tide of human beings, pressing all around me so tightly that it felt like a body massage. Strangely i started to feel safe and happy, even though I was actually completely lost in a strange city. Everything went well, the “river” eventually slowed down to a more open part of the city, and I found my way to where I wanted to go. I never forgot that experience and try to remember that feeling, especially now that I am so bewildered by at what some people who masquerade as human beings and your family, are capable of doing.

              • Those who masarade as human beings are simply pod creatures thats what i call them. Asswipe is a pod and for 30 years i didnt even know. Move along pod boy baby shows over nothing left for you to gain kar maries show is going uptown you lying ugly beach whale fuck head and aint no tickets for him. Whore wanted that broken down sniveling, sorry excuse of a human male she can have him hes good and mad a nest of hornets and nothing will ever change that i feel better knowing he will never be a better man for her or anyone else just a broke down, whiny man whore bitch so glad he will be hers. After my move my life will be peaceful im shutting him down absolutely no contact for any reason. Fuck up my life you sorry ass “bad boy” i shut you down. My silence will kill him and make him more mad and guess what? He will take it out on whore juice! Be careful what you wish for motherfuckers!!!

    • I am not sure that it’s an addiction to sparkles, because it may just be you are sensing a personality mis-match that hasn’t presented itself yet. I met sweet guys like the one you are dating, and felt nothing. I met my husband, who was no different than the sweet guys I had met, but I lit up like a Christmas tree around him. While my husband can be frustrating (he has to save all receipts for exhaustive record-keeping: we can tell exactly what we did/where we went three years ago – all neatly filed), he and I just fit together.

      • The difference is that you were attracted to your husband, but you were not with those other guys. Chemistry is what was missing. And with online dating, a lot more men are available, which means that there will be a lot more men that we won’t be attracted to. It happens a lot with my gfs who online date. They meet a lot of men, but they are attracted to only a select few. I think it’s normal. We really don’t need convincing or to question ourselves when we feel chemistry with someone.

        • Chemistry is WAY over-rated IMHO. I’m that guy who gets ant traps, cooks healthy dinners for the family, does all the grocery shopping and a lot of the laundry and picked out strange but meaningful gifts for my wife (things that actually reflected on who she was or went with her favorite outfit) and is also the primary bread-winner…. but she had affairs with three total LOSERS who had the magic CONNECTION CHEMISTRY.

          She made the comment to me that my problem was I was too emotionally stable – WTF? She definitely needed the sparkles that narcs provide, in her case she likes to pick narcs who have fucked up personal lives but think they are SO AWESOME and if my wife would just save their asses (i.e. give them advice, time, money, and sex) then their lives would do a total 180.

          I like what CL said.

          The relationship builds organically. No love bombing. No drama. Just slow and steady, but the point is — it builds. One interaction leads to the next to the next.

          All it takes to have fire is a spark (a tiny bit of chemistry) and enough fuel (interactions) – you don’t need a flamethrower.

          • I would have loved that. I have always worked full time and never wanted to stop. We talked about him staying home, but that was unacceptable to me because he wasn’t motivated to do ANYTHING. I wouldn’t have minded being the bread winner if he could have managed to raise our sons into good men and if he could have kept the house. But he couldn’t so I insisted that he work outside the home. He got home 2 hours before me and would often call me at work to find out what I wanted to do for dinner, aka what I was going to make him for dinner. We were pretty much equal in the kitchen (neither of us could cook), and I’m processing the arrest of some ass wipe who just beat the crap out of his wife, and he wants to know about dinner (rage)! His concern was so great for me that I walked in the door and said, “Sorry I’m late. I had a barricaded subject with a knife.” His response, “Okay. What do you want to do for dinner.” (rage). I never cry at work so sometimes I’d come home crying and tell him what happened, like the time a dad found his 3 year old drowned in the swimming pool. Do you want to guess his response? (rage) Was it too much to just allow me to crawl in his lap and cry it out?

            Basically, I get enough drama at work. I want no drama at home. I am not exciting. I am loyal, funny, intelligent, and hard working. Deepn, you deserved to be valued for all the qualities that would have make someone like me forever thankful. I’m sorry you were not.

            • Annie, you speak for me as well. I am a teacher and while the drama in my job is, well, less dramatic, I’m dealing with kids whose grandma has cancer or whose dad was laid off or whose parents are divorcing or whose dog just died. I’m not interested in drama or “chemistry,” which is just another word for infatuation, limerence and intensity. None of which I need. I like “loyal, funny, intelligent, and hard working” on both sides. Add “honest” and “mature” and we’re home free.

              • Virtual high-five (one of these days I will take the time to learn this meme thing).

              • P.S. God bless teachers. You could not pay me enough money to be trapped in a classroom every day with kids. Plus, you have to deal with entitled parents. I would rather face a meth head than that. I only have “oh shit” moments once in awhile.

            • Annie, He was lazy. He could have put something in the crock pot, put together a chef salad or even got take away. Reading that, I understood your rage his apathy to your needs. It is a simple pleasure, but coming home to a hot meal and calm loving presence after a draining day…it is the Balm of Gilead.

              He made many withdrawals, but no deposits.

          • I’ve also decided to drop ‘chemistry’ from my list! It has usually meant either love-bombing or a blinding physical attraction, and I’ve done some really dumb things under its effects. Like having kids with cheater-pants! (Without the kids, I would have left much much much earlier.)

            I now look for interesting and at least mildly attractive, and I give it TIME!!!! It does take practice to get used to doing without the sparkles and drama, but I now get intensity elsewhere in my life, healthier places. Like ‘Insanity’ class at the gym!

            • My B-days not until April, but I’m really hoping for a shovel, lye, rope, and duct tape for Independence Day. I think that Chumps should get presents on July 4th. it only seems fitting.

            • Ha! Great gifts. I want a tool box upper and lower, power and car tools im pretty handy and knowledgable around cars especially ones with carbs and a cross bow for xmas.

          • I agree in principle that “chemistry” is overrated, but it can’t be absent. I dated someone for awhile with whom, I admit, I was kind of in love with as a person, but for whom I had zero sexual attraction. I tried to talk myself into the sexual attraction, I focused on this person’s fantastic trustworthiness and intellect and personality, but….nada. After a while, even kissing caused me to have anxiety attacks. A relationship can’t survive without some chemistry unless it’s just a friendship.

            • I totally agree Tempest. The chemistry has to be there, otherwise, you are like brother and sister. We’re not talking about blowtorching, mindblowing lose yourself feelings. But the attraction that is basic, has to be present, otherwise, the relationship won’t last.

              • Yes, I agree, Tempest and Kellia – chemistry is necessary or else it’s a platonic, friend-only relationship. Sexual attraction is something real and it has to be mutual. This is different from a cerebral connection. I’ve met guys I connected on a mental level but the sex may not mesh.

                I don’t equate chemistry with excitement or drama. The attraction is like a sort of shared rhythm or wavelength, where two people resonate. Very subtle, but is the other glue in the relationship besides character, kindness, being of the same mind.

            • I see two types of chemistry in my life.

              Healthy chemistry feels passionate, functional, present (not woozy or chaotic), joyful (not ambivalent or fearful), and fits well with the rest of my life and authentic personality. I feel excited, and I also feel like my self is intact and I am making solid decisions.

              Unhealthy chemistry is edgy, tension-filled, and awkward within the rest of my life. My personality is not really important. I feel thrilled but not deeply joyful and I am making decisions from an unstable place.

              I have grown to dislike unhealthy chemistry.

              • *ROARING APPLAUSE*

                When everything with X started getting clearly weirder and worse, I paid closer attention to my body’s responses to X and to other men. I definitely understood that the way X treated me and talked to me made me feel imbalanced, unnerved, OVERnerved, and sick.

                Other men didn’t cause or evoke those feelings. Even though sometimes just talking with them, or being in physical proximity, or sharing openly or vulnerably with them felt like a dare or a tremendous and unnecessary risk. I did this repeatedly anyway, for months and then a year, until I was sure that it *was* safe to be a woman around men — but *not around him*.

                Some months after going VLC, and not long after going fully NC, I encountered a man who was older but so physically like X that they could have been brothers, twins. Except the older man was so different. The good traits all matched. The bad traits were absent. The bad traits are still absent. I watched all this for months, with my heart in my own hands, and every other day, I noticed how this older man CARED, and how he did so without trampling my boundaries and without EVER *disrespecting* me.

                Both men are brats and that’s ok because I am, too. But X liked to hurt me, and this twin of his doesn’t like to hurt *anyone*. There is not even a hint of that malice or scorn in the older guy.

                I feel very safe with the good twin, although I don’t want (and can’t do) relationship at this time. I am still sorting out that between good men and bad, I do find good ones a little less exciting in key areas. But I also am really getting that those key areas and that stupid exhilaration are what I need to let go of, in order to have relationship that is truly safe and will last.

                X still sends baiting email, and until last week, they still registered in my inbox. I’ve taken steps to ensure I don’t see any future ones. And I’m looking forward to this next time of my life, where I continue to define what feels good and safe to me, and to excise anything or anyone that doesn’t.

                I don’t know why I didn’t reach this point sooner. All the reading and sharing here has been a real Godsend.

              • On the flip side, forcing yourself to be with someone who you are not sexually attracted to, even if they are Mr. Rogers, DIMINISHES YOU SOMEHOW.

                I have tried it with a Moneybags. (Thanks, Mom). He was attentive, fascinated with my thoughts, etc, but (I get an F for ethics here) I was highly interested in what THAT much money could do (This was about 10 years ago).

                Having to psyche myself up to let him crawl on top of me was soul crushing and I felt like a fraud.

                I DO NOT WANT TO SETTLE .

                *I want to rip someone’s clothes OFF and have them be honest and not insane, or high on meth, or having a double life.*

                Is this a fantasy? Is compromise the key word here…or is compromise the clean word for settling?

                I sorely hope not.

    • Hey Divorcedat25, I think it’s AWESOME that you like being single and don’t want to be “un single”. It’ took me a while to get to that point so be HAPPY that you are where you are. I don’t have any advice other than encouragement that it’s ok to not want to date. I also support what SOV stated above. That is quite relavent for us Chumps.

      • Thanks Conniered, I’m going to try to just take things slow. I feel like I’m in a relatively good place right now, and it is okay if I proceed with caution from here on

  • This is gold as always Tracy. I pick me, because the pickings online has been nothing short of disappointing.

    I’m 4 years out from Dday#2, and 3 yrs since divorcing him. The biggest hurdle for my repair has been dealing with him and his AP who recently became his wifey (they married in the midst of a CPS investigation no less; thier “love affair” started 5 years ago after being introduced by his mother, and I found out when I was 7 months pregnant. And this was not his first affair…that one happened when I was pregnant with our first one 9 years earlier and I figured it out after testing positive for herpes at 8months pregnant).
    Neither here nor there…our life has come to fruition without him in it, and my children flourish in my home. They are number one in my life right now, and they don’t have to feel they have to compete with anyone like they do at their dad’s. Oldest one is on counseling to deal with the mindfuckery his dad has inflicted on him in the same manner he did to me for 10 years (and still tries to do). My counselor calls it a significant case of emotional domestic violence, and it’s not easy to fix your picker when trying to recover from that.

    I am content being alone. I have standards that I’m not willing to negotiate for anyone. I envy those who are willing to do long distance relationships…for me, however, it is not an option when the world offers too many opportunities for deceit when you live in the same city, much less miles apart.

    Take Tracy’s advice and don’t tolerate anyon’s old crap just to have someone in your life. The value is in the company you keep, namely your own. And there is no greater love on Earth than self love. Good luck to you.

    • Seconding LDR being not an option, for me. Not interested in online dating or text/email based “getting to know you”, either.

      Rose, your situation raises a lot of red flags for me, and from the ethers of Internet community, I want to tell you to narrow your dating focus to where you actually live. There’s too much room for illusion and fantasy — and cheating — in LDR, and if you’re considering it after having been cheated on, (this might be projecting, but) I’m gonna suggest you might not be emotionally available for steady relationship. Nothing wrong with that, but, if it sounds like it might be true, it’s just something to be aware of. Please be discriminating, be careful, and know when to say “NEXT”.

      If I could get any kind of background check on a prospective partner (no idea how we’d even do that), I’d want the full records of his phone, email, and internet activity for the past year. If someone here knows how to get at that info, please share.

        • Oh my internet browsing history is so embarrassing. ‘Lobster Cobb salad’ ‘knit a tea cozy’ ‘Ryan Reynolds images’ ‘pornhub’ ‘one pan dinners’ ‘non toxic bathroom cleaner’ ‘amazon.com vibrators’ ‘pornhub’ ‘day school lets out’ ‘paleo diet before and after pics!’ Seriously.

            • Love it! I’ve also been guilty of ‘stars with cellulite, images’ usually while eating Nutella right out of the jar. I needed a giggle today after a bit of a weepy few days. Thank goodness for CL.

        • Ian: You have never hired a private investigator or a skip tracer.

          Lucky Seven, Just google private investigators and you will find more information that you ever wanted on someone, if the time arises and you decided to hire a real P.I firm. It is costly but they get down and dirty. Generic background search just gather aggregate public records information but that can also be a true eye opener. But the real P.I.’s go deep.

          But I agree with 100%.. the long distance dating provides far too many opportunities for weirdos to pretend to be a polo player from Argentina when they are really sitting in their mother’s basement, whacking off to porn.

        • I’m in a LDR and for me it’s a great thing. I don’t ever want to do a background check on someone or feel I have to hire a private detective. If that’s the case then I am not ready to date or put myself out there. There’s 100% chance this man I date could cheat on me but if he does I know I’m out of there and I will be ok. I KNOW it. Yes, I’d be sad, disappointed, hurt but I’m not going to let a cheater determine if, when and how I go forward in my relationships. I decide that.

          I trust the man I date and he knows that if there is cheating, it’s done. I know that. I have too much life in me to police him and don’t want to. Don’t let a cheater turn you into a person you are not. Be wise, be smart, trust your instinct and have good boundaries and I think the right people will start to enter your life.

          • I was speaking to a friend who had done a bunch of internet dating and she always hired a PI before going to whatever the next level is. She said it was well worth the money to avoid the creeps and catfishers. I am not interested in dating right now, I am actually loving my time alone, but if I ever do. I will hire a PI before I let it get serious.

        • Oh my God. Leave it to you to respond that way. I burst out laughing know some of the things that you’ve admitted to Googling.

          I would never go out with someone who demanded all of that. The good thing about being divorced is that I am free to go out with people who have never betrayed me. I won’t be stupid about it, and I will trust my gut and my instincts (plus I will actually know if they’ve ever committed a crime), but that’s as far as I will take it. If or when things don’t add up, no need for anything more than a solid goodbye.

            • It’s true. The MINUTE…the SECOND…I feel that panicked churning feeling to play Sherlock with someone…done.

              I can’t do it ever again. It did something to me that is taking too long to repair. It diminished me. It made me sad in my cells.

              I honor and understand the need for P.I services, and totally get it. Anyone that wants to analyze it here, I will help you 100%.

              But, for me…my limbic system cannot manage it. I don’t want any more horrible surprises.

              I am not being dramatic…I do not think I can manage it mentally.

      • I avoid long-distance relationships like the PLAGUE. Not only is there too much opportunity for deceit, it also means that if things get serious, somebody has to move … Moving to where your partner lives is very isolating, not a healthy thing at all, in a relationship that’s relatively new. And having your partner move to be with you, well, it’s a very good excuse for over-dependency. It’s too much commitment too fast – which narcs super encourage, of course.

        But I live in a big city; if I can’t find a decent partner out of 2 million people, something’s really wrong. I imagine it’s a lot harder if you’re in a small town.

      • LuckySeven – while I agree with Ian, there are also ways to find out more public record info about potential and/or current people in your life. I’m going to guess that if we have this free public search function in Okla., then you’ll likely have it across other states. You can see it at: http://www.oscn.net. You can go to “Court Dockets” and search by a person’s name, and anything done by a person in a county across Okla will show: marriages, divorce, felonies, being sued, restraining orders, etc. From there, just click in and you can read through court clerks’ notes on certain cases against, or done by the person you’ve searched. It’ll also tell you if there are public documents you can go buy (per page) at the court clerk’s desk. This is legal info, and offered by the state.

        This site became my best friend after the x-douchebag in my scenario was stupid enough to call me from jail 6 mos post-divorce b/c he got arrested and charged with two felonies for assault & battery and burglary after his “soulmate” whore that he abandoned us for cheated on HIM, and so he beat up the new guy in her bed. I didn’t have to do much more than click a few buttons to learn what was going on in those cases, and make my own moves for restraining orders for myself, my kids, etc.

        There are also county sheriff and local police dept. sites where you can search people by name for public records. Sometimes you’ll see a list of traffic violations, but these were how I got the x-douchebag’s initial mugshots and charges to go to my lawyer for an RO.

        Although these can be powerful tools to protect yourself, you certainly don’t want to become any kind of “relationship police.” NOT being like that is something I loved about myself, but it’s also what the x-douchebag exploited. I will definitely search for basic PUBLIC stuff when the time is right (not now – enjoying solitude and sanity too much after 23 years of serial cheating), but don’t make yourself nuts over all those deeper items that can just steal away your life and joy. Not worth it.

      • Thanks Lucky…
        Will keep them red flags in mind.
        Think I am ready to say next..
        I guess I am just sparkle- starved and looking for any kind of intimacy!

    • AloneandOK, I deeply admire your choice to stay out of relationships while both you and the kids recover. When I was in high school, one of my parents’ friends died, leaving a husband and 2 young children. The man remarried within a year. The woman was a horrific stepparent, alienating father from children and isolating all three of them from their former close friends. The man had been a second father to me and overnight he disappeared from our lives because he wouldn’t risk a failed marriage to this nut job. You are so wise.

      • Thanks, Lovedajackass. It’s been hard, especially when your oldest kept asking for a new “dad” and more brothers and sisters (like through pregnancy). He has never liked the AP and doesn’t consider her, or her 4 kids, family.

        I’m so sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. That does suck because kids are the victims in all this.

        But we have learned that a family with one sane, stable, and loving parent FAR exceeds a 2 adult home that is emotionally unsafe at best.

        Good luck to you in the recovery journey as well.

  • Thanks CL – this was a great read and totally get it. Your quote…The proper mindset is: “I’m fine by myself. Really FINE. However, I’m open to being persuaded that a relationship with you could be a good thing. Demonstrate your worthiness.” This is where we all need to be! I want this and am working towards it. I pray all of us get there…we will if we know we deserve it and we do 🙂

  • I am dating now too. I started seeing a great guy that is also a chump of sorts….no cheating but the relationship was tumultuous and they both tried to keep it going. He’s very attentive, has a great sense of humor, my adult kids really like him, and he’s very tolerant of my trust issues. I do feel awful though that the old tapes play and I find myself at times second guessing a great guy because my ex was an asshole. I’ve often wondered if I shouldn’t date as long as the trauma of my marriage even if it’s subtle…creeps into my new relationship. It’s not the theme daily or anything but he will see my eyebrow raise if I get a hint of something suspicious.
    I want to be able to really let go of that. To feel secure in my relationship and not let the trauma from that dickhead take that from me.
    My amazing boyfriend says all the time “look all you want, there’s nothing to find. I love you and would never cheat on you and the day you figure that out will be a good day.” A true southern gentleman…..I’m lucky.

    • Paint, I imagine that no matter how long you’ve been single again and no matter how much work you’ve done towards resolving the issues created by betrayal, this WILL all get stirred up again in a new relationship. And I think it probably should! A little over-caution is not a bad thing, when we’ve been hurt so badly. I love that your new partner responds in such a healthy way – THAT is what will help you feel secure over time.

    • I had to work through stuff from my relationship with my ex when I started dating my boyfriend. But thankfully, he handled it all well, and it helped me heal to see the differences between the two. Of course, I had already spent about two years healing while single before that, but perhaps there are some other things that heal when you are in relationships…learning to trust again, trying to let go of the fear that they will leave out of the blue, etc.

  • “It’s been almost a month and half and I am puling my hair out because I cannot get him to talk about how he wants to move forward in a relationship. I am done reading about “when he doesn’t text/call.”

    Rose, listen to CL, she gave you great advice. And why are you twisting yourself in a pretzel to move this forward. He isn’t moving it forward, because he doesn’t want to. Instead of asking if you’re too available, why aren’t you asking how come this guy only contacts you on the weekends? Isn’t that odd he disappears during the week? With the advent of technology, there are millions of ways to reach out to someone, so he really has no excuse to go MIA during the week and contact you only once per week.

    Also, you don’t have a relationship, this is a fantasy situation. If he works normal hours, then how come he’s not asking to see you? Have you been on a date yet? If not, why hasn’t he asked to see you yet? You really need to develop your discernment skills, instead of doubting yourself so much. There are so many signs that you are not picking up on, that are important.

    And he’s long distance. But things aren’t all that they seem, especially when it’s long distance. He can have a double life for all you know. If this guy doesn’t arrange a visit to come see you within the next few weeks, then it’s likely he’s interested in a pen pal situation, where he talks on the phone once a week and that is sufficient. There are so many signs indicating that this situation is bizarre. He may be a time waster…

    • Wanting someone to “move forward” after six weeks of online communication tells me Rose is going too fast. That is just my opinion, but if someone insisted I make some kind of commitment under those circumstances, I would look for the exit sign. But then I enjoy being alone and do not feel the need to be in a relationship.

    • I did not want to be a Negative Nelly, but Kellia spelled it out so well.

      Rose, if this man wanted to call you, see you, contact you….nothing would stop him.

      Shift the paradigm: Let him go! Find someone else who is available. You have not lost anything.

      It is not personal. Maybe this will help. It is bizarre, but it keeps popping in my mind regarding people and what lights them up.

      I represented a prostitute (yep…a real prostitute) and I was just riveted by the things she would tell me about the men who would hire her.

      One sticks out. He was a good looking and middle class man who hired her every week. MARRIED MAN.
      He hired her every week.

      Every week, she would dress up in an old gown, like a granny dress from Little House on the Praire, put on combat boots and a grey granny wig, that he provided. They would meet at some hotel and she would have to dance in this granny costume for him. He would masturbate and while he did, she would have to kick him lightly in the testicles.

      This is what he wanted sexually. He had a wife, kids, but this is what he TRULY wanted sexually.

      Why did I tell you the story? Because we never know what someone really wants or who they are, and his lack of interest in you is not a reflection of you. He could want someone who dresses like a Sumo Wrestler and beats him up. There is no end to the strange manifestations of people’s sexuality.

      So, he is not chomping at the bit to contact you? Who cares? Someone out there will be, and you can find them, just keep on keeping on….but READ THE SIGNS as Kellia said.

    • I totally agree with Kellia, as well. To me, it’s a red flag that he’s MIA during the week. He probably with his family, and you’d never find that out because it’s long distance.

    • Dear Kellia
      Guilty as charged:)
      After 6 months of saying Nay to a fair few of them, Even though he was long distance, he was the only decent one.
      Maybe I am being an idiot, trying to rush into a relationship … I am not unhappy being alone, but I so want to share my adventures and cannot wait to fall in love again 🙂

  • I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if he’s only available to talk in the evening and on weekends that he probably has a job. There is absolutely nothing unusual about that. If you’re texting/emailing occasionally throughout the week and talking on the phone on weekends, that sounds very appropriate for a long-distance communication with someone you don’t know.

    Chump Lady is right that you should not be having a “where is this relationship going?” talk, because there isn’t a relationship. What you SHOULD be doing is talking about whether you both care to meet in person. This is not “taking the relationship to the next level.” This is introducing yourselves to each other. So my question is which conversation he’s avoiding. If he’s avoiding the relationship talk, then that’s normal and healthy, and you are the one throwing up red flags (because figuring this shit out all over again takes trial and error). But if he’s avoiding the conversation of meeting in person, then it’s a red flag from him. I would ask him outright about it, and short a direct, satisfactory answer, move on.

    I have found great empowerment in ending things on my terms when I see red flags or it just doesn’t feel right. Be fearless and bold in your willingness to pull the plug.

  • Rose, I agree that I wish there should be more advice on dating again, I dipped my toe in the water after 4 years and wish I’d listened to my gut instinct, red flag red flag !!!!! But, on the plus side, I realised early on( first 10 mins) that I could handle it and I would extract myself from the disastrous situation before it got any worse, it was comical – I am saving it for the worst date ever ( post DDay) competition that I think Chump Lady should run!!!!

    What I was annoyed about was the fact that I wasn’t too available – I wasn’t sitting around waiting for him to contact me – in fact it took several weeks to set a mutually convenient time because I have a busy schedule and lots of ‘ me time’ at the weekend, this guy’s available times did not suit me. Why did I even bother ? I wasn’t desperate – curious maybe?

    Post disastrous date I found myself really appreciating the space and tranquility that I now have in my life – yes I live alone, but I am not lonely and I am not that desperate for a partner to eat out/ go to the cinema etc. because I do all this by myself anyway, sure it would be nice, but maybe someone will come along, who knows?

    Anyway, I felt very claustrophobic 10 mins into my date (well I thought it was genuinely just a neighbourly dinner) – that’s because he was a nutjob, my picker ain’t completely fixed but it’s no longer broken and I set my boundaries now, otherwise I know I shall meet another fuckwit!

    It took me a good few days to feel ‘ me’ again – having to avoid his texts ( yes, why did I give him my no to arrange the meal!so stupid) because despite politely declining his pursuit I am now trying to avoid him.

    In the meantime I shall continue to go out by myself and enjoy life regardless. I miss the familiarity and relaxed relationship I thought I had with my XH- I was one of those ghosted chumps – I never saw it coming.

    I know I am not totally ready for the dating scene – although it’s been over 4 years since DDay, I need some ‘fine tuning’ but my friends and sister reckon it’s time to move on, I think I have moved on quite a bit – maybe becoming too independent now because I believe I am good enough at the moment.

    Please run a dating disaster competition Tracy!!!

    • I would love the worst dates after dday. Although I haven’t dated yet, one of my girlfriends told me of an online date she went on and during her dinner with the guy, he reached into his coat pockets and brought out sock puppets. He began to talk to her through the puppets. She left via the ladies room window.

      • I’m just sick enough that I might find the sock puppets appealing in a quirky kind of way!

        (or perhaps he was an actor in children’s theatre? or a researcher testing children’s word-learning abilities with sock puppets? The possibilities are endless….)

      • Ahahahahaaha, see? I bet there would be some great stories….and lots….and lots of laughs

        Please CL run a competition…………..

  • “Dating” means just that: going on a date, or getting to know one another. You don’t have a “relationship” with someone you’ve only contacted long-distance.

    It has been shown that guys will stand on their heads to get to know someone that they are interested in. Like the movie says “maybe he’s not that into you”. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you, it’s just that he’s not as interested as you are. Them’s the breaks, Kid.

    Enjoy what you have, and continue to explore your options. Our society places too much emphasis on pairing up. Go out on Sierra Club hikes, wander around farmer’s markets (shop for veggies!), you never know who you’re going to meet. Learn to enjoy yourself.

    • I agree Soldieringon. And I have a feeling he has someone currently in his life, that’s why he’s not in a rush to meet Rose. The fact he’s not asking to see her is a huge red flag. How long are they going to correspond as pen pals like this? The whole thing doesn’t smell right.

  • “No love bombing. No drama. Just slow and steady, but the point is — it builds. ”

    THIS IS SO TRUE!

    My experience is that I dated too soon after splitting with my wife of 20 years (8 months after we split). I wasn’t dating for sex nor a relationship (I even joined a plutonic dating site), I started dating to meet new people, build my shattered confidence and self esteem back up.

    I connected fairly quickly with a fellow chump on a dating site, we got on really well via text and after a few weeks went out for a meal. The excitement and thrill of meeting someone new and getting on really well was lovely. Things progressed well, but I found myself constantly comparing her to my Ex Wife and wondered why I wasn’t getting the same intense feelings I got when I met my ex wife…i now know this was ‘love bombing’.

    Despite not getting the same feelings as when I met my ex I stuck at it. Something inside me was telling me this woman was a good woman, she had her faults (Very minor) but she listened to my opinion, asked me simple things like ‘How was your day?’ and ‘What did you do at work today’. Sounds crazy, but these simple questions completely threw me as my ex barely showed any interest in me, my life or work. I went into my new experience with the view that If it works out then great, if it doesn’t I’ll be disappointed but If I can leave a cheater, build a new life and be happy with who I am then I’ve nothing to lose.

    Ironically my ex used to threaten me by saying ‘You should try being with another woman to appreciate what you’ve got with me!” Well I’ve tried it my lovely ex wife and it sooooooo much better than putting up with the emotional and manipulative abuse you subjected me too!

    2 years later and me and my fellow chump are very much in love! It’s different, it can be a slow process, but for me there’s no pressure, no dramas. We don’t live together, we see each other when we can (Both have kids), we have days out with all our kids but nothing heavy…day at the park etc. But most importantly we are both happy to spend time on our own, without each other even when we don’t have our kids.

    My advice would be to enjoy the moment, don’t expect too much too soon. If it works out for you then great, if it doesn’t you keep working on ‘YOU’.

    • This is so excellent! Congratulations! It is so wonderful to hear the stories of love after chumpdom. Thanks for sharing.

      I haven’t met a “right one” yet, but I can definitely tell you that I have really honed-in on my ability to tell who the wrong ones are. And, man, have there been some doozies. My new skills of boundary-setting and red-flag detecting are two of the largest positives to come out of a shitty situation. I am hoping that when the right one comes, I am able to recognize the good ones too!

  • Tracy nailed it. It is called reciprocity. You do something good for me and I return the favor. We are both happy. The absolute best question/answer you can give/get………am I feeling good about this or is my stomach in a knot all the time? Really straight forward way to look at relationships. Move on. He is driving you crazy and you have already had that in your life.

  • For once I am going to disagree with Chump Lady. There are lots of great books on “Attachment” and Attachment Theory. The best one is by Levine and Heller… simply called “Attached”. It explains in scientific but simple terms why some people act distant, then gush, etc.

    This guy sounds like he has an avoidant attachment. About 25% of the population do and about 50% of the dating population.

    He may not be the worst guy, but if he’s not meeting your needs, then he isn’t great for you. But before writing off every distant guy as a loser/psycho, I would read this book or something like it. It’s great, you may learn a bit about yourself (I did… and I am a former “unavailable man”).

    Good luck.

    • I lost the thread of what you disagree with in your post regarding her analysis. That even if a man is interested, because of a disorder…he will not call or contact because of avoidant attachment?

      It would not just be “not interested enough to call”?

      I am not a big believer in mixed messages. I think people show us pretty clear who they are, but we do not want to see it because it is painful, uncomfortable or unwelcome.

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t advise anyone to date an Avoidant Attachment person. That’s another word for “unavailable.”

      Fix the avoidant thing and you’re ready to go. Who wants to be avoided and guess at another person’s intentions?

      I don’t like the timid forest creature crap in cheaters OR chumps. I didn’t say everyone was psycho. I said some people are Unavailable. The reasons for unavailability might be complete legitimate. But if you’re going to date? You should be available.

      • Yes, a healthy person will say “Would you like to do X on Friday?” and you say, “Yes! But I have a work thing Friday. Does Saturday work?” and there you go. Communication. Negotiation. Mutual respect. Transparency of intention and action.

        • Timid forest creature…I am rolling.

          I am a bit nutty buddy today due to No Contact Madness…but I am literally laughing out loud alone in this vile waiting room picturing us luring a rabbit out of the forest with a carrot and some bibb lettuce, gingerly advancing toward them as they cower behind a fallen log, bunny nose twitching.

          It is the opposite of sexy. I want a fucking wolf (not a sociopathic one) but an ALPHA to come and kick the door in and take it!

          You get what I mean.

          I am not Snow White, and I am not playing Animal Whisperer with anyone. If they have any disorders that involve not returning phone calls and acting like a goddamn human being who is available and CAN attach, then they can go play in the forest….ALONE.

    • Greaat advice that the person who has the attachment disorder should read the book and work on their issues. In the meantime, though, I won’t be dating anybody w/any kind of issues that leads to their not being available. That’s for THEM to deal with, not me!

  • Thick skin does help in dating…the very first go I had after my H1.0 died was asking an “interested texter” to dinner whereupon he turned me down flat. Research indicated he was real but (for whatever reason which made no difference to me) “not available”. I cried real tears over that one…felt rejected and marginalized…not fun.

    Soon after, I dated a really cute guy who I was into more than the other way but I was insane as I was so early in the whole dating thing after being chumped and widowed. (Note: I dont regret getting back into dating early, The experiences I had needed to happen for me to move forward whether is was after 6 months of singleness or 6 years. I dont feel bad looking back on that time and admitting to myself that I was out of my fucking mind, I just was but Im better now ). This guy was also “unavailable”…I did a 3 week “pick me dance” but the day he didnt have time to see me but did have time to update his dating site, I decided I was done.

    I wrote the nicest “were not dating anymore” email you ever saw.

    All in all, I had 5 first dates and one first kiss before my now husband called me up (we dated 30 yrs earlier and married other people..I thought he was still married but my father learned otherwise and called him up). I took a risk completely severing ties with all “interested parties” after our first date (in this century) but it all worked out…He was “Colonel Greatguy” at the DC Chumpapalooza.

    Note: Col Greatguy coped in exactly the opposite manner as I did, I avoided completely…he had one brief relationship in 12 years and otherwise took “singleness” to a whole new level. If my dad hadnt called he would still be thinking about possible considering the remote chance that he might later consider thinking about dating. Oddly enough, it worked out for him since he got someone as fabulous as me.

  • I have tried the online dating thing. Much prefer to stay home with netflixs, as my being online has resulted mostly in young men of a particular ethnicity thinking I am desperate and a possible visa source.
    The one guy I did chat with (briefly) expected me to spill my inner core to him after the second email. As he was “committed to getting to know me”. Amongst his word salad I discovered he did not have a steady job, had no real friends to speak of and when I made it very clear I did not need rescuing, he played the sympathy card claiming long term emotional damage due to the loss of his wife 7 years earlier.
    I felt an uneasy urgency in his emails, he was pushy wanting me to download a particular messaging service even though I had clearly stated I wanted to keep it to email for a while. He did like the the idea of small talk either. He wanted the secrets and inner workings off the bat. I sent him a no thank you after the second email. Never heard from him again.

    I want the organic, the small talk, the getting to know you as a person. That’s the fun stuff.

    • It is. The younger set have lost that wonderful notion of “anticipation”. Delayed gratification (also known as foreplay) is lost on them.
      What a shame.
      I have met some younger ones as well that have serious money problems (different economy now) and see someone who does NOT resemble a critter, has a few coins, and they want you to help them.

      It is a horrible, sex killing dynamic…so different from being picked up, taken to dinner, talking and then dropped off at home.
      That is a dinosaur idea now.

      They want to Kik, and FaceTime and ask you to take off your top in the first meeting, and they also love to send text of their privates.

      I want to tell them to all go read Jane Eyre!

      • I have to comment on males posting photos of their penis. When I first started reading CL I saw Craig’s List a lot and since I’m curious, I went looking, for entertainment purposes only. I learned quickly to NEVER open the ads with pictures. What is it with men thinking that we want to see that in a picture? In person and in context, wonderful, great, whip it out. In some sleazy ad where you think that any woman in her right mind would let a stranger tie her up in his basement, not so much. These people are absolutely delusional.

  • Dating is about learning. You are learning about potential mates, but MORE IMPORTANTLY you are learning about yourself. As CL said, the key is to be willing to walk away and dump someone if they are not up to your standards. It is okay to do that. That is why you are dating, NOT married. Have deal-breakers.

    It is hard living in the ambiguity between talking and officially dating. But it also means you are not officially committed either. To me, it sounds like you desire more engagement from your dates than this guy is offering long-distance. That’s okay. You don’t have to continue the relationship just because you’ve been chatting for six weeks!

    • Friendship and respect is the beginning of any relationship. Trust your instincts, why settle? He doesn’t sound like he’s a good match for you. Wait for the someone who isn’t going to make you question yourself and keep you guessing. Remember it’s a privilege to go out with you and if he doesn’t appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your life and treat you with the respect you deserve then he loses the privilege of being in your life. Enjoy your freedom to make decisions which are the best for you.

  • Rose, you couldn’t get better advice than what you got from CL. The thing that resonated most with me was “You’re self medicating with other people. You want the validation of ANYBODY.” That, right there, tells a big piece of the story of my pre-Chump Nation life. First, if you are at “meh” and ready to date, if you have done the inner work to fix your picker, you won’t NEED someone else to make you feel whole, happy, complete. If I could erase one line from American movies, it would be “You complete me” in “Jerry Maguire.” That’s self-medication, which is another form of using people. And when we “need” people, then we are both vulnerable to narcissists and other disordered folks and impatient with or bored by healthy, normal people.

    Here are the signs I look for in myself:
    1. Am I in a hurry to move forward to a commitment? Self medicating.
    2. Am I juggling my own schedule to fit someone else’s? Co-dependent behavior.
    3. Are the important things I’ve built in my new life being neglected because a man has appeared? Self-negation. Co-dependent.
    4. Am I becoming stronger, mightier, and more independent as I explore this relationship? Or am I lapsing back into “being a couple” instead of a person.

    I signed up for online dating about 3 minutes after DDAy but never followed through. Now there was a sign that I was self-medicating. I decided to not try to date, just to leave it up to the universe. But I got myself out there doing things I love, meeting new people, and trying to balance my life in a healthy way between work on the job, work at home, exercise, spiritual development, friends, etc. I met the man I am seeing now through an organized sports league. He was the first person to say hi to me, one sign of his kindness. I knew him face-to-face for over 4 months before we got together outside of our sport. And then it took another couple of months before we ventured into romantic territory. It took me 6 months after that to check MYSELF out as things went along to ensure that I wasn’t losing myself yet again. And just a few weeks ago, it occurred to me that this guy might be a keeper (as I define that at age 64).

    It takes a long time to know another person well enough to chose him or her as a partner for life. At every turn in my adult life, I’ve chosen drama, sparkles, and codependency when I could have had maturity, stability, kindness. So done with that way of living. Get out and figure out what you love to do. Enjoy the hell out of that stuff. And keep one eye out for someone who will want to be part of your life, who will want to add to that life, but who will also have a healthy life to share with you.

    • What a great reply thank you!!! Although all these answers make me wonder about our Narcs that left us Chumps. It almost seems we need to start living as they did…am I missing something here?

    • LaJ,

      I love this and will definitely use it when I’m ready to start dating. My ex was offended when I said in MC that I wanted him but didn’t know if I needed him. The bastard was offended with my honesty. I struggled with this question of want vs. need for months. It finally dawned on me that when I have someone who provides me with love, honesty, stability and they value me for who I am, then it will need them. If they don’t, or if they stop, then I will no longer need them. And I’m okay with that.

    • Yes, Yes Yes. This. Excellent post. I am screen shot-ting that and keeping it. I will re-read it over and over for when I finally get to “meh” and fix my picker. It gave me lots of hope ( at 55)…

  • Ughh dating!! I’ve been out in the Online dating world since March, In April I thought I found a really nice guy, steady job, great sense of humor, Kids almost grown, like mine, not too far from me, No immediate red flags, no immediate Sparkles, just nice and slow.

    Then withing 2 weeks, he starts sending me Dick Pics – ughh, like in the middle of my work day, no words, no earlier conversation during that day. At first, I ignored it, didn’t know if he was in the middle of sexting with someone else, or what, so I ignored, and thought, I’ll talk to him in person about this next time we see each other, and we didn’t text for a whole week. A week later, he starts texting again, and acting nothing was different, so I played along, until we saw each other again in person (he had been traveling). He then starts sending me dick pics again – I had it. I sent him a nice text, that this is not whom I am, if he gets off on this kind of thing, good for him! He wrote back an I’m sorry text. And I never responded again.
    I mean this is a 50 yr old man! Is this normal? Is this common? I just find it disrespectful! Or am I just a prude?

    • I had this happen to me and it’s more common than you think. Men think it’s how people date nowadays. I’m glad you never responded to him again. I’ve had to happen to me with men of all ages. And it’s usually a dick pic that will come in out of the blue when we never even talked about sex. They do this, because usually women out there start sending their own nude pictures when they receive dick picks. I was in lounge one day and met a guy who was a surgeon, he was showing me pictures of an operation he did and then he proceeds to show me a picture of his dick just normally and casually. I told him to get the f- out of my sight and walk away immediately. It’s very common, I was shocked at first, but I stay away from men like this.

          • I told her to go pound sand.

            It was the last in a parade of red flags worthy of Labour Day in Communist China.

            We met on OkCupid. She’s 10 years younger than me. We’d talked on the phone for a few hours at this point. Had each others real details. She kept pushing me to send a dick pic, and I wasn’t having it. She’d confessed to cheating on her ex-husband earlier that evening. I like vagina as much as the next straight guy, but sheesh. Narc much?

            This was months ago. I’m so not ready to date.

            • You did great, Ian. You had good boundaries and did not get caught up in her weird game. There are a LOT of screwed up people on dating sites (too many stories of my own to tell) so careful screening is still very necessary even when we are truly ready to meet someone.

      • Women send nudes in response to dick pics? How weird. I don’t know any women who have done this, and I’d never consider it myself. Is this some high-tech version of “I’ll show you mine, you show me yours?” Don’t people get past that stuff once they’re no longer playground age? I just figured some men do this as a form of aggressive nastiness — “made you look.” I’m about as interested in looking at a picture of a dick in isolation as I am in looking at a picture of an elbow.

        • I read that women send 2/3 more photos than men do. And men often times send dick picks to women, because they have come to realize that that’s how they will get nude picks back from women. Especially the younger generation. In the town where I used to live, this girl sent a picture of her breasts to her boyfriend from her phone. They were in high school. Her boyfriend ended up showing her breast photos to each guy in his class and charged them $5 to see the photo, and they all paid up. The girl was so humiliated and mortified from this whole thing, that she ended up transferring to another school.

          But I agree with you, I’m not interested in seeing a dick pick.

    • Dick pics (etc.) are a deal breaker. That’s such risky behavior, to send a picture of your junk to a near stranger. Ask the ironically named Anthony Weiner how that worked out for his career. The recipient can put your so-called “private parts” on blast, as my students say, meaning send them to everyone else. My own take on that is that the pic sender is trolling for sex or, as someone notes above, nude pictures in return. That’s kind of a porn addiction red flag, in my mind. Putting that bait out there. And I’m not interested.

    • I used to have this happen to me on a regular basis, sometimes on the first night I would meet a man. My first reaction was to send them to two of my friends for shits and giggles, then my second reaction was to end it. It is sad that it is so common (and not necessarily based on age, education, or success), and sad that women actually do respond with their own nude photos. “Oh, but you can’t see my face in it…” Where’s the self-respect and respect for the other person?

    • Sending dick pics is common these days? Omg, I wouldn’t know what to say. I find it disrespectful and disgusting. Inappropriate, I don’t know what to say now, except I hope I don’t meet anyone who sends me a dick pic. (ha)

      • So to prepare for the possibility, I’m wondering if this would be an appropriate response to a dick pic, “Ouch. Sorry for your loss. I’m no longer interested, but I can recommend a good doctor.”

        • No wait! Better idea. I will send him a dick pic back and say, “Look. I have one too. But mine appears to be bigger.”

            • Prepare yourself if you swim into online dating.

              Most men, on the online sites, demand X rated photos. They send photos of their dick before you have even met them in person.

              This is the best response I have come up with:

              “This is not a livestock auction. I am a human being. I am NEVER going to send you nude photos of me. That you want them makes me not want you. Good bye.”

              It is a result as well of too much porn use.

              If you want to immerse yourself in a captivating book this weekend, read “Pornified.”

              It analyzed and unpacks the effects of porn on sexual arousal and relationships but be prepared to HATE porn as I do.

              It is the lack of tenderness…the sexual gratification with no responsibility.

              It actually changes the viewers brain chemistry to where normal sex..man/ woman or whatever someone desires, naked in bed, getting it on…is as exciting to them as a box of turnips. They have to get upping the ante (perhaps like cheaters) to have any sexual response.

              Jaded.

  • Dating is hanging out with different humans to see if you find friends, activity partners or someone to audition for a relationship.

    I know many people who latch on to one person after another after another and call that ‘dating.’ That isn’t dating. That is a ‘relationship’ or ‘serial relationships.’

    Many of us want relationships. But latching on to the first available human who seems ‘not too bad’ and not seeing other people who are potential friends, activity partners and potential relationship partners is not ‘dating.’

    Please don’t think I’m mean. I did the serial relationship thing too. But one day I woke up and decided to actually date and not latch on to one human after one human after one human. Imagine my surprise when it worked!

    I dumped people who needed dumping immediately because I had other people to hang out with. I didn’t try to ‘make it work’ with people who weren’t relationship material. I’m not into socializing much, but I made it a point to go out every week with at least two new people (male or female) so I didn’t get stuck in a rut with one person

    I didn’t have any expectations regarding relationships. I decided that finding new friends and new activity partners would help me learn to relate to other humans and break my need for a relationship. If I found someone I was interested in for a potential relationship, well, I kept dating. Why? Because it helped me be realistic about all of the people I was hanging out with.

    At some point I met someone and decided to audition them as a potential relationship partner. We had some ups and downs. We both were a bit gun shy. We had a bit of a ‘push/pull’ thing for a while. But through it all we both treated each other with respect and honesty. If one of us was nervous, we said so. If one of us was wanting more, we said so. If one of us wanted more time to ourselves, we said so.

    No head games, gaslighting or mindfucks.

    We negotiated our way through it, compromised when we needed to, promised total honesty and that we would handle things as they came up instead of projecting far into the future.

    Guess what? It worked.

    Don’t latch on to one person. Get out there and actually date. Go out with people with no expectations. Don’t focus on potential relationships, just enjoy the interactions you have in the moment.

    I know it is difficult, but let go of any expectations, make yourself a priority, find friends to hang out with and do things with and stop focusing on relationships.

    6 weeks with a person who is only available on their own terms isn’t an indicator that he is ‘relationship material.’ Keep chatting if you like him, but dump all expectations of a relationship. If you aren’t getting what you think you need, move on. Don’t stop seeing other people. Don’t stop trying to find friends.

    At this point, when someone latches onto me too soon that is a red flag and I move on. I learned the hard way that people who latch on too completely and quickly too soon aren’t anything I want to deal with.

    Relationships take time. Get yourself a therapist to find out why you are focusing on a relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to want one. And I decided to avoid long distance relationships completely. I need to look people in the eye. Anyone can be anyone in an email or over the phone. Use caution and deal with people face to face to avoid getting involved with sociopaths.

  • Preach it!!!!

    “Healthy doesn’t work that way.”
    “Yes you can dump people!”

    This was my lesson to learn! It took some time to get there and some effort. First there was the Bartender without boundaries, the all about me accountant and the love bombing lawyer I had to dodge before I realized I was just looking for validation after Narkles the Clown made me feel unworthy. I admit it was nice to be wanted and complimented on a regular basis, but I didn’t connect with any of those guys, no great conversation or silly fun or comfort worthy of me letting my guard down. So I learned to say “I can’t do this anymore. This is not working for me” and I wasn’t lying when I said it. It was very difficult for me to do this. Not sure why now that I have done it. I guess I was scared of being rejected even though I was doing the rejecting. I didn’t want anyone to hate me. Two of these guys have shuffled onto other things. One is angry because I must have dumped him for someone else. “I see how it is.” “I get it.” Pretty sure he doest get it but I dumped him for me. I stopped looking to others for my self-worth and put time and effort into working on me. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a potential relationship with someone else in my PTSD group. I’m working on me and he is working on him. We’re taking it slow and intentionally trying to have a healthy relationship.

  • There was a book and movie not long ago, “He’s Just Not That Into You”. If you aren’t in the same level of interest in a relationship he will always have the upper hand, and you will always be wanting more, which you won’t get. Let go.

  • Hi Rose,

    I hope that you can create a life you love with or without a romantic partner.

    I am struggling to do so even four months after my post-separation boyfriend of a year/friend of 30 years (at least I thought he was my friend)/fellow chump dumped me in a very hostile way without warning. I have been making myself way too available as he said, ‘We can still be friends,’ and ‘We never argued because we care about each other,’ and I want him to demonstrate that he is a man of his word. Well, when I talk to him on the phone and say, ‘Let’s get together to run,’ or ‘Would you like me to support you at your (upcoming) race?’ he hems and haws or tells me, ‘Why don’t you join a Meetup.’ I have a hard time reconciling the Mr. Nice Guy image tons of people hold of him and the reality facing me. I often wonder why he is extremely kind to friends and even strangers (e.g., waiters) but is cold, ambivalent, not completely honest toward me. (I think that he treats his abusive, adulterous ex-wife better than he treats me.) I sometimes wonder what I did to receive such shoddy treatment–I wonder if I must be a crappy person to merit such treatment. I consider him, in many ways, the love of my life and miss him so much that, in spite of psychological treatment, I have felt suicidal for much of the last four months. For 30 years, I trusted my now-ex-boyfriend more than anybody else. Now I trust virtually nobody and am cynical.

    I hope that you develop strength and find happiness.

    • I am so sorry RSW. It sucks to be discarded and treated with such disdain. Been there done that. Twice. And came out stronger in the end. You will too.

      Please know, it has NOTHING to do with you. People who discard other humans lack empathy and the capacity to be HUMAN. He will do it to other people when they are no longer useful. He will. Trust that he sucks.

        • I don’t post often but it’s always good to see your comments here when I lurk here, RSW. I hope you’ll keep busy with things you enjoy and make your own fun. If you go on that way, I expect good things to come your way. Sending healing thoughts..

    • RSW!
      Know that I understand where you are. Your brain has been traumatized. You have to get help. It is “almost” impossible to do it alone, without chemical help and INTENSIVE therapy because the chemicals in your brain have been hijacked.

      My Meth Addict Cheater is the same way. He fawns over waitresses and would leave them a $100 tip and would talk to me like I was a piece of trash in the ditch seconds after we left. It is part of their image management.

      He is doing this because he holds you in open contempt. He does not respect you or like you or love you or even care about you.

      The only way to escape is to go full no contact.

      You cannot be friends with someone who does not even like you. I am not being harsh…I am right there with you.

      I am posting a lot because I am waiting to see one of my client sin prison and these guards get off on making me wait.

      I cannot share any of the materials because of their copyright, but these people are very good at therapy regarding sociopaths:
      The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction &
      Public Psychopathy Education.

      You can do Skype counseling or just over the phone. You have to qualify to get counseling and take tests to show YOU are not a sociopath and it is expensive, but it is truly helpful.

      You have probably been tangling with a psychopath and it is like the Green Bay Packers playing a Little League Team. You can’t beat him.

      Please do not go down the road of any more suicidal thoughts. STOP and get help. Believe me with all of your breath when I tell you:
      HE IS NOT SUFFERING. You have to climb out of the pit and reclaim some joy.

      I know how badly you feel. I was suicidal as well and cried until I had a tear duct infection.

      But he does not care. You have to save yourself. He will take you as low as you will go.

      NO CONTACT. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      • Yep. No contact. And you might, as you sink into that no contact, think about how taking that friendship to the “next level” merely exposed a part of your friend that had remained hidden while you were less involved. You are still attached to him and the idea of him that you had, but once you are a couple of months into no contact, you will see that you are better off.

        Jackass was my version of your friend, the guy who swooped in when my marriage collapsed and was going to be the “love of my life.” Until he couldn’t hack a real relationship. Enter MOW, ext Jackass. Let it go. Let him go. Grieve like you’ve never grieved before until you have burned away all the accumulated years of pain. Then rebuild. Focus on your kids, and you. No doubt you are smart, passionate and beautiful. You are still young (though you may not be able to see that right now, but trust me. I’m 64 and just realizing that beauty comes from that confidence you will have once you get grounded in your own life. Keep working at it. NO CONTACT! And NO MEN until you are healed and happy. (And yes, I know, it’s like going cold turkey from drugs. Been there, sister, and done that.)

        • HI LAJ,

          Thank you very much for responding.

          You said, ‘…you might, as you sink into that no contact, think about how taking that friendship to the “next level” merely exposed a part of your friend that had remained hidden while you were less involved.’ I often wonder if people, including friends, don’t see the hostile, messed up part of my friend-turned-boyfriend. When I started dating him, he had had psychotherapy weekly or twice weekly for seven years, and yet he still treated me in the dysfunctional way he did. I try to remind myself that my middle-aged ex-boyfriend’s long-term relationships with previous women were quite dysfunctional, involving cheating (although he did not commit adultery) and abuse (which he tolerated from his wife) or him abruptly dropping his partners at critical moments and that most of his relationships were short-lived (lasted less than three months). When he broke up with me, he said that he wanted to figure out (through psychotherapy?) why his relationships didn’t last longer than that although he wanted to get married (to someone other than me). He said that although he was good at his career, he was embarrassed about how bad his relationships went. It seemed as though he has two modes: love bombing/infatuation or devaluation/discard. He can’t seem to handle a ‘middle ground’ that involves honestly and tactfully expressing one’s needs and wishes at an appropriate stage and then working with a partner to make love grow.

          You also said, ‘You are still attached to him and the idea of him that you had, but once you are a couple of months into no contact, you will see that you are better off.’ I really hope so! I’ve barely talked to him in the last four months but still terribly miss him. It’s hard for me to shake the feeling that he will ‘ride off into the sunset’ with a new partner and that I somehow screwed up the best thing I ever had (acting too needy? too weak?). For the most part, when I could ignore the occasional devaluing/invalidating statement, I had a great time with him, and he provided things that I could not provide anyone. (I didn’t date him for financial reasons–I truly loved and admired him, even before he became (fairly) wealthy, but it was nice to live a life that did not feel impoverished/financially constrained.)

          You added, ‘Jackass was my version of your friend, the guy who swooped in when my marriage collapsed and was going to be the “love of my life.” Until he couldn’t hack a real relationship.’ I sometimes think this about my ex-boyfriend. He couldn’t handle the ‘real life’ of real (authentic) healthy relationships.

          Must keep reminding myself that I loved a facade of a human being, not the ‘real’ human being and that I, like everyone else, deserve love and respect, especially from those I treat like royalty.

        • RSW…PLEASE READ THIS.

          Remember this in moments when it feels bleak and you feel hopeless.

          *I HAD WONDERFUL MOMENTS WITH MY CHEATER* as well.

          The man had charisma. MOST SOCIOPATHS DO. Please read up on it. The air sparkles around them with electricity. “Sparkles”…not a coincidence.

          You are having POSITIVE INTRUSIVE thoughts about your EX. This is tripping you up.

          Read this carefully:

          All memories are not stored the same

          Positive memory is stored differently in the brain and is more easily accessible than some bad memories. Many traumatic memories are stored in another part of the brain that make them harder to access.

          Sometimes the more traumatic they are, the harder it is to remember. You need to remover the BAD THINGS he did to you. Make a list. How he devalued and discarded you.

          ***Unfortunately, what you NEED TO remember most is the bad part of the relationships so it motivates you to stay away from it. ***

          But instead, it’s murky and not always fresh in your mind about ‘why’ you should be avoiding the pathological relationship with this man who is clearly jerking your chain, and has no concern for your well being.

          But what IS easy to remember is all the positive memory….those memories where you had fun, and felt happy with him.

          In fact, what has become obtrusive and intrusive, is positive memory seepage–where all the good times and the associated ’senses’ (taste, touch, smell, etc.) are flooding your mind. You easily remember the good times and easily forget the bad times–all based on how and where these types of memories are stored in the brain.

          You NEED the bad memories but you REMEMBER the good ones—constantly.

          This is a mind fuck of the worst kind and is actually cognitive dissonance.

          *IT WILL TAKE YOU DOWN…COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.*

          Think clearly, breathe: Is this how someone who loves or honors you treats you?
          No. No. NO!

          • Hi SabineSavoy,
            Thank you for reminding of the difference between remembering good memories and bad memories. I think that one of my problems is I think that I deserve the bad treatment (e.g., I might have complained about my life too much sometimes, thus driving away my boyfriend). However, in more ‘balanced’ moments, I think that even if I did unintentionally do something ‘wrong,’ a good, healthy partner would have told me so instead of detonating an atomic bomb to end our relationship. (If I don’t like my partner leaving the cap of the toothpaste, instead of holding in resentment for months, I merely say, ‘Please don’t leave the cap off the toothpaste,’ and go on with my day. I don’t dump my partner!

    • RSW, I think that there are people (friends, old lovers, relatives) we hold in our back pockets at a distance because we are comforted that IF we need them to be more, they could and would. I have experienced that it can be so comforting to keep then in this “safe, Im not going to need them but if I ever did, they would surely be there for me” place but in reality , if we actually GO TO them, they are really just as flaky and self absorbed and distracted as everyone else in the world…but we are traumatized because our safe “ace in the hole” turned out to be a turd.

      This “friend turned BF” was a flaky person but considering him decent and reliable served a purpose in your mind for a time. You took the plunge of trying to make your fantasy a reality and got burned. That shit hurts. I have had similar things happen to me…not necessarily in the romantic realm but in the deep friendship realm and it hurt like hell. I learned about idealizing people and counting of folks who werent really there for me.

      Please don’t let this one misstep make you question yourself. You are mighty and have a good life to live.

    • Dear RSW
      So sorry , you got hurt..
      You sound like a nice person.
      Why waste time on an idiot who can’t treat you right?
      He is nice to waiters, yeah- he enjoys the free smile /adoration for a tip? Good riddance…
      I’m sorry you r hurting…but you deserve better.

      • Hi Rose,

        To answer the question (hypothetical or not), ‘Why waste time on an idiot who can’t treat you right?’ I often wonder what I did wrong to make him treat me the way he did. I often feel as though I am blameworthy. Other times I feel angry at my ex-boyfriend because I think that he treated me badly just because he could and he didn’t truly care about me. (I was just a convenience item to him until something more appealing came along.) Yet other times, I feel angry at the world (circumstances) for my ex-boyfriend and me not having started dating while we were young and unencumbered by the crap both of us encountered which made a life together now very difficult.

        I hope that you feel better soon.

        • RSW–you know darn well you did NOT deserve to be treated poorly, either by your sociopathic X or by your X-BF. That’s on them. You are smart and compassionate, and articulate and big-hearted. They were both users, whether that was evident from history or not. Your BF never really ‘checked in’ and from the sound of his dating history, may not be capable of actual substantial relationships. I know you hurt, and rightfully so, but banish those thoughts that you did ANYthing to deserve that hurt. And I doubt you were fully healed after your XH (who could be, given all he did to you?), and any wound that follows after that rawness is going to hurt twice as much. Big hugs to you!

          • Thanks for always looking out for me, Tempest!

            It seems as though everyone (except me?) here is incredibly strong and, conversely, I am vulnerable and weak. Don’t know how you all do it! Sadly, I set up a lunch meeting with my (last) ex-boyfriend for this weekend. In spite of a lot of psychotherapy and reading, I don’t know why I keep setting myself up to be a doormat. After all, what’s so bad about being a single late middle-aged mother to young (special needs) children and going to bed alone year after year? Why do I hate this lifestyle so much? I don’t have the worst life. I am probably setting myself up to be Plan B, the woman my STBX and my ex-boyfriend run to (or act welcoming toward) when they are lonely but will dump (again) once they see something that looks greener on the other side of the fence. I would like to fully convince myself that I am better off without ex-boyfriend but I have not been successful at that. I try to stay busy and have a thousand things to do, but I still miss ex-boyfriend. God, I hope that psychotherapy will soon help me feel OK without this guy/any guy. I would much rather be the cheerful, celibate old lady than the grumpy celibate old lady.

            • RSW–you don’t need more psychotherapy to avoid X-BF and stop being a doormat; you need ANGER. Who the fuck is he to treat you like that? And offer you plan B status? Fuck him and the snake he rode in on. Cancel the lunch–that will take back your power & put you in charge. Then go spoil yourself and do something mighty.

              Ali Rose posted a Bill of Rights/Respect a few weeks ago–I”ll try to track it down because we could all use it.

              Sending you some of my inner bitch–kick XBF to the curb!

            • RockStarWife, I commend you for single-momming and special needs momming, for psychotherapy, and for sleeping alone. GOOD JOB, MAMA.

              Now listen: I hope you can understand me on this: settling for Plan B with *anyone* is going to set you up to stay in psychotherapy. My version of being Plan B is that we are somehow therapists to these men. Therapists need therapy support themselves, to keep shouldering all the client crap and still get some care for their own needs.

              I don’t know all your story. If RSW means you were the wife of a rock star, I was too. On a minor level. But it sucked. HOWEVER: if RSW means you are a badass wife, from all your writing here, I see that is true. RSW in my view is not weak or vulnerable — you’re *strong*, just injured, heart-hurt. There’s a difference.

              You’re a total badass, mama. Don’t settle for second rate or Plan B, not with anyone, because YOU ARE WORTHY of SO much better. I know what it is to do all this with zero support, and no masculine comfort in the bed. It sucks and it seems like it will go on forever. But it doesn’t.

              Hold out for the very best. I am learning that we find ourselves along the way, and it’s worth holding the standards high.

              Never, ever, ever forget what a total badass you are. I mean it. I mean, just *look* at all you’ve done, and how far you’ve come. There are awesome things about you that *nobody even knows*. Right? You’re AMAZING.

              NEVER FORGET that. (((HUGS)))

  • What I find really strange is he’s been talking to Rose for SIX weeks, yet still hasn’t asked to see her. This isn’t even normal dating, it’s a virtual interaction, a fantasy. And he calls her only during the weekend, and goes MIA during the week. He texts her only if she texts him first. I think he has someone currently in his life, that’s why he’s in no rush whatsoever to see Rose. They’re not even dating. This pen-pal situation and can very well last up to 6 months +. I think he is involved with someone and is dabbling with distractions on the side. The entire thing is off… and he could very well be a cheater.

    • OOh Kellia
      I will own the red flag of rushing a relationship
      Will accept he is “not that into me” – hence will stop the pick me dancing
      ,but to think I am just a distraction- that will make me furious! Ok- he gets one more week and that’s that!

  • Lemme see if I can conjure the “manliest” answer I can in hopes of laying bare (straight) guy-thinking. (When a guy writes in a similar letter, y’all (straight) ladies can return the favor.)

    Take my advice, I’m not using it.

    I have begun to realize something about myself. I have a “picker” and a “feeler.” I can do all the work possible to fix my picker, but until I get out there and date, I can’t even begin the work of fixing my feeler. (All claims completely unsubstantiated by science.)

    My feeler is hardwired to be attracted to NPDs, BPDs, and abusers. (O my.) Why would that be any different post-cheater without new experience and analysis? My feeler is a complex mind-body system. I’ve got the best red-flag detection system I’ve ever had now that I got chumped. But I can’t predict how my feeler will react with any certainty yet. I get woozy and flush just being around narcs to this day.

    Three things stick out in your letter, Rose.

    “My recent experience was with a man I met online, who in spite of the distance between us, was very keen to attempt a relationship. He is legally divorced (3 years now) and was not a cheater.

    He’s not a cheater? O rly? Imma just leave that there.

    He’s divorced? Who left whom? Is he still friends with her?

    He’s online dating. Guys date online to have sex. He wants to have sex with people he meets online. Guys don’t date online to make friends. Got it? He’s looking to get laid.

    “In spite of the distance.” Why are you dating at a distance?

    “was very keen to attempt a relationship.” What makes you say he was keen? What do you mean by relationship? This sentence in particular is the most telling. I’ll tell you like I’d tell it to my younger sister. The fastest way to get a guy to put more distance between the two of you is to DTR him at six weeks. Buzzkill. He sees it as a shit-test. The more you push the further he retreats. Even if he’s keen for more, after he gets the DTR he’s gonna pull back.

    Assuming he’s the dumpee in his marriage, because it sounds like he is, otherwise he’d have already tried to see you in person, he’s likely got a lot of fear/hate toward women. Why would he put himself in the position to be harmed again. If he’s attractive, employed, and single he’s got lots of options. He has (in my opinion) a healthy fear of relationships, and even the faintest whiff of one is enough to send him scampering. (Read into my responses all you want. I’m pretty sure I got this guy pegged, but I’m still divorcing, so what the hell do I know.)

    If, on the other hand, he’s the dumper in his divorce, he’s just keeping you around for when he’s ready to pounce. If you’re cool with that, then by all means, game on. In reality, there’s not much to say about him except to use him as a means to gauge your own reactions.

    You said: “After the first couple of emails, he would email only once a week, is available to talk only weekends. Will text if only I texted. He is not creepy, is not asking for money, is not crossing any boundaries. I didn’t make a move for an entire week and he calls me up on the weekend, very excited to talk! Tells me all about the fun events in his life, asks me about mine. He is always polite, engaging, and has a good sense of humour. He is employed and works normal hours.” Yep. That’s dating.

    “It’s been almost a month and half and I am puling my hair out because I cannot get him to talk about how he wants to move forward in a relationship. I am done reading about “when he doesn’t text/call.”

    Ooofff. You said “relationship” again. Buzzkill. You’re ready for dating when you say you’re ready. You are *not* ready for a “relationship.”

    “I feel like the “available” girl and I am angry with myself for getting to this point. I doubt my guts so much. I am second guessing myself all the time.” You’re not the “available” girl, Rose. You’re a chump in recovery. You sound like a peach, and you deserve all the best. Take good care of your heart, and keep your cards close to the vest. What’s the hurry? You got this.

    • “He’s online dating. Guys date online to have sex. He wants to have sex with people he meets online. Guys don’t date online to make friends. Got it? He’s looking to get laid.”
      I tend to agree.

      • I do agree that some men are online for sex, but this guy isn’t even attempting to see her. But how can he get laid if he’s not even asking to see her? He’s been talking to her for six weeks yet I don’t believe they have been on one date yet or even seen each other. If someone wants to have sex, don’t they suggest meeting the person? He’s just happily talking to her on the phone once a week and disappearing in between calls. This chatting could go on for another 2-3 months… it’s weird.

    • Ian — I cannot tell you how great it is to have a man tell the truth. Even a man I do not actually know except for his words, who reads the Chumplady site just like I do — and not a real live man I can look at while he talks to me. Honesty has become one of the most important character attributes of all, to me. I put it right up there with Intelligence and Sense of Humor. It will be an essential component of any relationship I have now or in the future — and I expect it from men and women. That is setting a boundary — in a very real way!

      I think that growing up in a time where a note would be passed in school “I like you, do you like me, mark YES or NO” and having all my dating experience happen in high school and college, put me at a disadvantage in today’s dating world. I never enjoyed dating multiple people — I was very busy with school and working, so I didn’t have much time to date as an experiment. My marriages probably reflected my poor decision making processes when I was younger.

      Now that I have survived the rigors of the Chump Basic Training Gorilla Combat course, I have a much different attitude about dating — or even being friends with someone. I am quite content being alone, I attend events that I am interested in, either alone or with friends, and I actually do not intend to marry again, if I do change my mind about this I will be the most surprised person at the wedding. But I do enjoy male companionship on occasion, and my experiences with observing how Cheater used online dating sites, and the one time I decided to try it, keeps me off the online world. If men truly join online dating sites just to seek sex (and I don’t doubt your word, at all ) then women who do choose to use those sites should certainly take that into consideration. Go online with your eyes wide open, and your boundaries set.

      As for background checks and using rational reasoning techniques to determine whether or not an online — or even local — fellow is telling you the truth — good luck with that. They may confirm he does not have a criminal record, and that’s ok, but I really don’t care to spend big $’s investigating someone I have never met, Long Distance anything spells trouble for me — just call me suspicious, I won’t take offense. Anyone who tries to love bomb me, or sends me a dic-pic, is really barking up the wrong tree. If I wanted to see someone naked, I would certainly know how to encourage them to take off their clothes — unsolicited pictures will certainly make me remember not to contact them again.

      My dating advice to anyone would be 1) remember your “needs” are quite different now from what they were when you dated as a young person, and 2) take your time. Anyone who wants to push you into something you are not ready for is not the right person for you. Does the person you are talking to show interest in your life? Respect you? Make you laugh? Does that person share interests? How does that person treat other people? These things are all more important that whether or not they set off a 9.5 earthquake in your libido.

      Keep telling the truth, Ian. It is so refreshing to hear a man’s perspective, especially when he doesn’t give two hoots about whether or not he is impressing you!

      • Agreed on so much of this, and just wanted to add — when a man is telling you all about himself? It doesn’t mean he is interested in you, or in any actual relationship. In some cases (most, IME), when a person tells you all about itself, it’s really a “me” monologue, self reflection, request for mirroring or advice or approval. In short, for your investment. In them. Not just a one-way street, but really, a dead end.

        Make certain anyone like this is actually proving investment in YOU. I totally failed to recognize lack of reciprocity with X until it was too late. I was fully invested in him, but really, I was his audience. So, so, so awfully boring. He held center stage no matter what I did, and no matter what I did, it was like to him, I as a person had disappeared or, compared to his (really banal) awesomeness, my own didn’t count.

        I did get the chemical reward we get from deeply caring about others. He got the chemical reward of being the recipient of that nurturing. We both got the chemical reward of amazing sex together, along with that foundation of nurturing and receiving. He was lucky. And now that I get it about the tricks and traps of oxytocin in my own chemistry, I am lucky, too.

        Take your time and DON’T mistake someone’s frequent updates or self-reporting for their actual interest in you. Make sure their ACTIONS *prove* their interest in you.

      • Portia,

        Forgot to say *thank you!* I was hoping to do a public service by giving some insight into a LOT of guys I know my age.

        I really appreciated your insightful response, Portia.

        • Ian you crack me up and make my day! I love our male chumps. I have two great male friends for over 40 years like brothers to me unlike asswipe they always have my back and their wives love me both wives aware i consider them my brothers better than my own brothers. Im so sorry this shit happened to us here and ive got the back of each one of you guys and gals. I know guys hurt too. So if i ever do any man bashing when i vent and thanks to all for listening i never mean all the good guys or anyone here. Just man bashing the asshole cheater males i will go after the female cheaters too. I just banished a girl ive known 52 years for cheating on her great husband, bragging about it and hurting this wonderful man as much as she could. Shes been married six times she was so good at hiding it until she bragged about cheating on all six husbands. Piece of shit pod person. Banished her from my life. I want a chumpalooza where i can meet all of you! Shout outs to my honey girl jeep, maree, tempest, arlo, chumplady herself, jayne, you ian and everyone else love and big hugs to all.

    • I had a friend who had an online distance relationship for 2 years. They even met for a week in Florida. But what he wanted was online romance, sexting, and having someone hooked on him. So I think for some people, male and female, those online flirtations are all they really want. On the other hand, if a man who has a full-time job calls you on the weekend, asks about your week, and wants to go out, that’s a real dating situation. He’s dating when he has the time to pay attention to you, when he’s not working. If you are expecting an “instant relationship,” with texts on the hour, ever hour, emojis, phone calls, and meet-ups every day–that was Jackass. And you see where that got me.

    • Dear Ian

      Thank you for your comments& advise:)
      – I realise that ” relationship” is a buzzkill for some men
      – when this chap contacted me, I told him that I am very sceptical abt long distance dating and he didn’t back off. He pursued. I should understand that it isn’t necessarily for a ” relationship”.
      – his wife left him. My aunt is friends with his ex. No- he wasn’t a cheater.
      Ive an extended family spread across the globe.
      – yep, I’ll get back into running, gym, surfing ,salsa dancing and may be the piano.
      and fix that picker
      Aaaaargh

  • Wow,
    I’m a guy chump a little more than a year out. Funny as a Guy I fee pretty much the same. I have gone out with a number of wonderful women I’ve meet online. Some I’ve really like, most go NO WHERE. Not sure why? I suspect the following to be part of the issue: “how we feel (our baggage) inside is also projected on our exteriors”; it sucks, because I try to keep it hidden and put away and somehow it’s revealed (too Soon). LOL.

    One date reveled to me me that she didn’t feel that connection, but was attracted to me…. honestly for me as a male it’s somewhat of the same. At 50 with 2 kids and a job, new place…. the idea of instant connection with a stranger is something from my 20’s. I think it takes time on both sides to develop. I’m not sure meeting someone for dinner either is the best strategy?

    • We have the movies and “The Bachelorette” to thank for the idea that we will feel instant connection. Where did that get “Romeo and Juliet”? Shakespeare was taken with the stupidity of “love at first sight.” The biggest way to lose in a Shakespeare play (lose your lover, your head or your life) is to be in a hurry.

      • Yes, Romeo and Juliet is a great example of what NOT to want/do. Might not have been boring, but look where it got them… 🙂

  • What phenomenal advice. Just sensational. There needs to be a Government Cabinet position created for CL on Ethics and Behavior in the U.S..

    There are so many wonderful points. One that leaps out at me is something I learned at the corner of Hell and Shit Street: THERE ARE NO MIXED MESSAGES.

    I have that on my bulletin board in my office on an index card.

    If someone is interested in you, there is nothing to sort out. IT IS CLEAR. A man I was dating was stationed in Iraq, and he would wait in the un-airconditioned MWR office to call me, standing in line for one hour to talk for 10 minutes, sweating in the 110 degree heat, never complaining…said it was worth it. THERE WAS NOTHING TO ANALYZE ABOUT HIS BEHAVIOR.

    And to Rose (I am gun shy now after the last UBT writer cavalierly said, Oh everything is fine…that one was a head scratcher to me…)

    The guy does not call you as much as you want because I think you are not urgent to him. He is not chomping at the bit to get to you. Who knows why? It is not personal. I hate to say you have to play games…but I would not be so available to someone who did not call me all week. Just find something else to do, as CL said. Have your own life. The men can just be gravy. I have seen many men found through the online dating sites ARE not available for many reasons. Some are married (the best evidence of this is that they cannot talk easily at night) or they have other women they are stringing along so they are busy managing all their dates. But know this with every bone in your body: If he wanted to call you, he would. So, I would not waste any more worry or energy on him. Move on. You are already having to analyze someone’s behavior 6 weeks in. You want to have fun, not to be swimming back in the shit swamp of uncertainty.

    Another knock your socks off point is that I believe many of our “pickers” are off. I need to revoke my own dating license until I sort out WHY I believed all I deserved was a drug addict, no matter how rich or sexy or funny he could be…HE WAS WILDLY……TRULY…..DEEPLY….UNAVAILABLE.

    Even really smart people like to ride roller coasters, but that can’t be our life. It is not manageable.

    I am on Day 26 on No Contact with the Cheating Freak, and I have hit some type of wall of sadness that frightens me in its depth and stop me in my tracks grief. I almost want to howl.

    This I know: I CAN NEVER GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN. I would be reading ChumpLady from the group computers in the Rec Room at the McLean Hospital in Belmont.

    • Sabine, going no contact for 26 days is rather mighty. No small feat, I really mean that. The more distance in days, the clearer you’ll see him as someone you do not want. You’re doing great!

      • Wow! LAJ, RSW, KNA- You three above… your kind words healed me just now and I woke up so broken.

        Thank you so much. Truly. Just for taking the time to write that means so much to me.

        You understand and it it like a shot of morphine. No one else does. I count the days on my calendar. I am really doing it. I have ignored emails, VM, and two texts. This is like saying…I stopped eating for 26 days.

        But, make no mistake. He is much too self involved, drug addicted , cocky and “cool” to chase me now. He did for a while, but I have NEVER stuck to it like this. NEVER. I changed my number 11 times in the past year and this is the first time I have made it this far. I always called him sobbing after three days. To hear his Blazer in my driveway…it was a moment in ecstasy. To see his face, it was pure beauty and pure pain. (Always that fear of loss with him…did he engineer it?)

        The pain…it is so horrible that I stop in my tracks and put my hand over my heart and press. I have to frantically walk and exercise to banish the frantic need to contact him. I actually threw my phone over my fence and then had to crawl around in the bushes to find it. I was RELIEVED to be visiting a client in prison because I could not check my email for several hours while we were in the back.

        But, if I flirt with contacting him, here is what I know:

        HERE COMES THE PAIN.

        He cheated on me when I ADORED HIM.

        Honestly, LAJ, RSW and KNA…..WHAT IS THERE TO SAY? I loved you, we were supposed to get married and because I would not let you do meth in my home, you lived with and fucked a meth whore? Maybe more than one.

        How do we analyze that? Where do you go from there? There is nothing for it.

        He killed me. About two months ago, I was barely functional. If I did not work for myself, and be extremely good with money, I would be a hurting cowgirl due to his cheating. I almost lost my mind.
        I would lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for hours. I only got up to take care of my dogs and do extremely minimal hygiene and house things.

        *HE ALMOST RUINED MY LIFE*

        What do we have to talk about? There was no one….no one….that I would rather be with than him..IN MY WHOLE LIFE.

        THANK YOU FOR ENCOURAGING ME. Please send me positive energy that I don’t mess up. THANK YOU AGAIN.

        I can make it through this day now.

        *It bothers me greatly he has stopped trying, but I cannot mess up now*

          • Thank you Rose!
            I sure am trying. I am so worried I am going to send him an email that says this:

            Was it worth it?

            But I know it is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. He has no insight.

            • Don’t..send it … Write it in the notes and read it in a few days
              You will be glad u didn’t send it

  • My last attempt at dating:

    On second date, he has roses at the table and gives me a ‘gift’ of TWO FRAMED PICTURES of us that were taken on our first date. Oh, I forgot to say that almost as soon as we sat down at the table he says “I like you….a lot. Do you like me?”…needless to say I was very uncomfortable. We did have lively conversation and lots of things in common. I agreed to a third date.

    I guess I was doing ‘research’ as to ‘is this how he love bombs or is he a normal guy and I’m not used to normal?’

    On third date he brings up ‘if we were to go visit my sister, do you have someone to take care of your animals?’ WTF?
    Rather premature question about a topic that was sooo far away from being in my consciousness. He also begins pressing me about seeing him more often. Wants both days of the weekend in addition to one or two days during the week. I squeak by with no commitment.

    Two days later, I experience a major panic attack. I hadn’t had one in over two years. I mention it to him and he asks “do you think you had it because I am pressuring you?” Duhhhhh. I told him ‘yes, no doubt in my mind’.

    He had also asked at least twice if I had heard from POP (that’s the Predatory Opportunist Parasite for the unaware). ‘Uh, no. I’ve told you I don’t have any contact with him in over two years and will never do so again’.

    There was more but you get the drift of the data this ‘experiment’ garnered me.

    Needless to say, I gave this needy manipulative ‘latched on’ boundary pressing weirdo the heave ho.

    • “gives me a ‘gift’ of TWO FRAMED PICTURES of us that were taken on our first date.”

      This is psychotic behavior. If a woman did this on the second date, the guy would run the other way and be out of there in a millisecond. I suspect a Cling-On. Glad you ditched him.

      • @Kellia—yeah, it was pretty damn bizarre…..Was I supposed to place them next to my bedside? LOL

        “Cling-On”, thanks I will from this moment forward refer to him as that!

          • LOL! I know, I asked myself the same thing. Where the heck are you supposed to put the framed photos. In your office, your living room or your bedside table? Bizarro…

            • Flowers and gifts so soon are a major red flag to me. It was and still is X’s love-bombing MO and I fell for it like the naive chump I was. Even after he was rejected by the first woman he attempted to love-bomb after I filed, he’s still randomly dropping off inappropriate gifts at her doorstep (we’re neighbors, shared notes recently). I’m glad you recognized the behavior for what it is–disordered!

              • You gals are cracking me up! But, yeah, leave that nut behind, hesatthecurb. On a first date, years ago, I was asked: 1) would I agree to a prenuptial agreement, and 2) would I abandon him to care for my ailing parents. I’m guessing since he had turned 40 and was in a rush to marry soon, he decided to skip the let’s-get-to-know-each-other-first part.

    • Yikes. I had a cling-on in my inbox for a while. We were fixed up by a mutual friend and went out to lunch. He was over my age limit, but I thought I’d give it a chance. He talked about Led Zeppelin concerts he’d been to, which took place when I was in diapers and basically underscored the large age difference. He didn’t know any of the bands I knew, so when I talked about concerts I’d been to, he had nothing to say. He dressed and smelled like an old guy. And when I talked about my kids, he said, “Do you think a first date is an appropriate time to talk about your children?” First, I don’t consider a friendly get-to-know-you lunch to be a first date. Second, WTF? I said, “Yes, I do. My kids are so awesome, I think any time is an appropriate time to talk about them.”

      Given the lack of chemistry, I expected this should be the last I heard of him. Instead, he started bombing my inbox: when are we getting together again? why aren’t you getting back to me right away? I emailed you this morning! I was busy at my job, and honestly I wasn’t that interested. Finally I told him so.

      • Wow, he was a Stage 5 Cling-On, which is the highest rating you can have. These same guys who are up our butts in the beginning, are the same one who disappear after a few weeks. It’s not realistic to be joined at the hip, at every moment, 24/7. And I think it’s wonderful you talked about your kids right off the bat. It shows you care about them and love them. Nothing wrong with that.

  • I am so new to this, just recently divorced. My marriage was horrible for years but I never saw men as men. I’m not ready to date or sure if I want a relationship. Right now i’m focusing on me. But lately I’ve started to laugh a lot more freely with friends in a group, strangers, at the park and just going about my day and doing the things love.

    Online dating sounds scary. Penis pics and the ease in which people give it up or offer it makes it a little more challenging. My ex is patient, let’s women share their problems, pays for things, opens doors, very attentive. He is a highly paid professional at the top of his field. He is a quite deceptive and is willing to wait as there is always has another in the wings. To someone looking from the outside he is a catch. But for me and the few who really know him, he is a cheap, selfish, viagra popping, manipulating , surly drunk. If he doesn’t change, his next partner is in for a rude awakening.

    Take your time, look at his friends and family, take note of the small things. Most importantly love you first.

  • Rose says “and he was not a cheater. I got a background check done by a reliable source”.

    Huh? Where in the world can you get a background check that tells you whether someone was a cheater or not?

    Perhaps she means HE says he was not a cheater and I am misinterpreting this…..

    Be that as it may, I would say —let it go for all the reasons CL and the others have offered.

    Ian did a great job with the man’s perspective–I was seeing it that way too.

    • Dear hesatthecurb
      With internet, face book and if you are lucky to have friends and relatives abroad, you can get a fair bit of info. In this case my aunt is friends with his ex.
      Weird .. I. know…

  • Five years post divorce, I dated online and in person for two years, gave up and resolved to get a cat instead (at 55). I embarked alone on a backpacking trip, dressed in my oldest clothes, over Christmas, since I didn’t want to stay home alone, miserably waiting for text messages.

    As fate would have it, the guy sat next to me on the first plane ride was the guy I have now been with for three years. I am amazed he even noticed me, wearing no makeup, baggy old clothes, bad attitude toward men, etc…! It evolved slowly, long distance for two years (I dont recommend distance for many reasons) and then, on his suggestion, we resolved to move in together. I gave up a good job, moved across an ocean again, and now find myself well employed and living happily.

    This is not a fairy tale. It is based on the realistic attitude that I will always be alone but not lonely. I live as though I may be single again, through death, or breakup. I keep my finances separate. My partner is a fellow chump, honest, keeps his word, basically passes the character test, but he is lacking many things I would ideally like in a partner. Perhaps he feels that way about me. However for now, we intend to stay committed because we both know how hard the single scene is, and that sparkles and fireworks are very rare. We create our own passion but accept the dull realities of life. We have resolved to simply feel gratitude each day for what we do have rather than seeking yet more all the time.

    Being comfortable in your own skin, saying I love you to yourself when you pass a mirror…sounds bonkers, but I only stopped being sad sack when I started truly loving myself first.

    As for online dating…do your utmost to meet people in person. I think those dating sites are full of the dysfunctional, cheaters, and a few innocents but the odds are terrible. I was almost murdered by one nice guy I met online…he wanted my money….and went to great lengths to sucker me in. Please all if you, guard your privacy and be careful.

    • “sparkles and fireworks are very rare. We create our own passion but accept the dull realities of life. We have resolved to simply feel gratitude each day for what we do have rather than seeking yet more all the time.”

      This is my thinking as well.

      • Me too. In a relationship I enjoy, but not one I feel would be a good marriage. Not even sure I want to get married again, but enjoy having someone around who cares. I’m just grateful to have someone who’s a good friend/lover to spend time with for as long as it lasts.

    • Marci, such great advice. Especially this: “This is not a fairy tale. It is based on the realistic attitude that I will always be alone but not lonely. I live as though I may be single again, through death, or breakup. I keep my finances separate.”

    • Marci,
      You said, ‘…we intend to stay committed because we both know how hard the single scene is, and that sparkles and fireworks are very rare. We create our own passion but accept the dull realities of life.’ Love this saying! I wish that more people held this view.

      • I was trawling facebook this morning and reading the various sparkly posts put up by ‘friends’ who insist on pretending they have a glam life. It made me feel sad that even in middle age they have not yet accepted how short life is, and that they’d be much better off quietly appreciating everyday things, and NOT worrying what other people think.

        The same goes for dating. It’s hard to stop looking for physical attraction. I have found good character to be so much more attractive than good looks and wouldn’t trade my fugly partner for a handsome one nighter.

  • Rose, your goal at this stage should be getting to know someone, not “attempting a relationship.” You should be getting to know the other person, talking and having shared experiences to see if you want to take it to the next level… not deciding to take it to the next level and then figuring out how to talk to and see each other afterward.

    If seeing and speaking to someone on a regular basis is a priority for you, then this guy simply isn’t the right one… nor is any guy who is long distance, for that matter.

    Also (and this was a tough lesson for me to learn both before and after my divorce to fuckwit) feeling clingy or anxious about a guy is your inner alarm going off telling you that something is not right. Don’t ignore or rationalize that feeling away.

  • When I started online dating, it was long distance because I was planning to move to a different area as soon as my divorce was final and I received my half of the marital assets. So I began looking in the area I plan to move to.

    It’s been a few months since I signed up, and I still haven’t moved, because fuckwit snake is still dicking around on getting my money transferred to me. But I do have a relationship going now with someone I met on the site. Things are moving quickly, we’ve agreed to be exclusive, but I will still have my own place when I do move there.

    We had coffee about three months ago when I was there looking at houses. He kept in touch with me for almost two months, not every day at first. I was up there again, again looking for a house, and we had a couple of dinner dates and a day at the park, and well, there was definite chemistry in person. After that, we were texting/talking every day.

    Then HE made the next trip to come see me, where I am still stuck because of my fuckwit ex and delays in getting my house money. Ahh, what’s that? Reciprocity. He wanted to see me again as much as I wanted to see him.

    The next time I traveled to his area, again thinking fuckwit snake was backed into a corner and I’d soon have house money in hand, I had a hotel reservation, but after a couple of nights, he encouraged me to check out early and stay with him…. which I did. And without a hotel bill looming, I stayed a few extra days. As much as we’ve talked over the last couple of months, I felt very comfortable under the same roof (and in the same bed) with him.

    And he’ll be back to see me in a few days…. Again, making a real effort to see me and spend time with me.

    He’s not the only person I chatted with on the dating site. I had other coffee meet ups scheduled the first trip, but only one other materialized, the others cancelled. The other that did show up, nice enough guy, but no spark. I stayed on the site for a little while, chatted with a few others, but just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm for anyone else, and eventually disabled my profile (and so did he).

    We both can picture a future together, long term. It’s been discussed, but right now, I need to get my ass moved up there so we don’t see things through the romanticized prism of an LDR. And then we’ll see….

  • My house financing finally going through yay! Should be hours away from asswipe and here soon! Yippee! Three years out for me still no desire to date. Maybe once i moved will be different. But i dont care, im fine being single noone to answer to or ask permission from! If and when i ever date again frankly im terrified but if it happens i will be honest and up front. Want a wife…..keep walking want to live with me….keep walking. Want me to live with you…keep walking. I want to breathe and enjoy heal and continue rediscovering myself. If i date again it wont be with one guy. Maybe one day i could be exclusive with one guy but the serious relationships part of my life is over. Asswipe made sure of that. Im too old for this bullshit and i dont like stupid human games like the ones whore juice is playing with asswipe right now. They broke up and she threw him out on the basis of him still loving and caring for me and he wants to be my friend she cant handle that wants us both to stop caring about each other let her slip in the family have me love her as a bestie and one big happy family. What a delusional lunatic! And hes pissed at her because if he doesnt cut me out of his life even as our kids mom because i wont tow the line and do what she says if he doesnt they are done!!! Good luck with that shit asswipe yes i agree with him he truly is doomed. What an asshole! Almost 60 and moans i dont know i want. Wah wah wah! Fuck all of them!

    • “Maybe one day i could be exclusive with one guy but the serious relationships part of my life is over”.
      Kara marie, I always enjoy your “fiesty” posts because you come across as a very strong woman. I know that I will never, ever date again because I am now too old and I am invisible to most people now that I have lost my so called youthful beauty and also being replaced by a 24 year old has knocked me for six. My ex husband has destroyed my belief in everything I thought was good and decent in a man and I know I will never trust any man again as long as I live. Having said that, I read our CN male contributors and it gives my faith knowing that there really are some very decent and honest men in this world. My brother-in-law is one of the very best and I thought back in my youth that my ex husband was the same. What a nightmare that turned out to be !! Your ex husband (and ex wives) like all Chumps here has lost the very best thing that has possibly ever happened to him but they simply don’t care. Congratulations on your house financing going through.

      • Maree, we are the same age. We are not too old for anything except perhaps childbearing and learned how to ice skate and riding extreme roller coasters. Oh, and wearing miniskirts. You’re still grieving; you will get through this and then we’ll see. But at the very least, start looking at the beautiful, vital women over 60 who are all around you. Neither of us want the baggage of a marriage at our age. But the world is full of good people, and many of them are men. The fact that your XH had the poor judgment and poor character to take up with a child Schmoopie reflect on you not at all.

        • Thank you LaJ. Your support is very welcome and always appreciated. I am only grieving for my 2 children now and definitely not my ex husband. He is gone and good riddance and we will never cross paths again ever. I only have to read CL daily to know that the world is full of wonderful people who truly care about each other but no one will ever get through the wall I have built around me, not now. I also now understand that what my ex husband has taken up with is a reflection on him not me, although he is still the favoured one and I have been sent to Siberia by all and sundry except for a few very good people/friends who are most important to me.
          PS – I could not master the skills of ice skating or roller blading when I was a kid so it is definitely too late for me to learn those 2 skills now !!

        • It’s true; I talked to a former colleague today who has remained a good friend, and as a widower, he went on a dating site at age 79 (79!) and found true love. They’re still together 6 years later.

      • Thanks maree. I feel the same at 61 im too old for this bs and too damn tired to try to rebuild with someone else. Yes as im sure we all feel here guys and girls alike asswipe lost the best thing ever happened to him and ultimately his best friend. For sparkles and shine. I believe hes beginning to realize what hes done and how stupid he is. Good partners are so not easily forgotten no matter what they say. Ive read most of your posts and feel like i know you. Hope we can meet one day we need state chumapaloozas and then a yearly national one full of joy, music, hugs and yes tears. But fun. Big hugs to you! Fiesty is my middle name being a wise cracking smart ass i guess is just part of my charm i dont know how to be any other way but me. Kar marie 1000 points for the win! Asswipe zero. Loser!

        • And you are never too old to learn anything maree! I can bend over touch my toes, stand up from a full squat no help and can reach every place on my back. I stretch and stay very limber for me and being older and having male friends can be very rewarding. Your ex is a class a douchebag and a half. The best revenge is living well maree and your asswipe and my asswipe will rot in hell!

          • Kara marie, I always say to my sister that there is a special place in hell reserved for my ex husband right alongside his mother, who put me through hell itself because I stood up to her and she hated me for it.

            • Yes there is a special place. The thing that gets me lately since i still have to see asswipe is he acts other than crabby and nasty so when he is in a normal type of pod person like nothing happened he did nothing wrong and its all good. Like hes a great guy like we are good friends. Ha ha. Amazing! He really is demented. He acts that way with the kids too as in i give her money whats the big deal she should be happy! Demented!

  • Dating…..the hardest thing about being divorced/single. I now know that there are people out there looking for someone like to me…to use. What an awakening. I took a big fat break from dating after being discarded by a “Christian” guy. I’m almost 2 years from DDay and the divorce was final this past October.

    I did the online dating for 3 months and then didn’t renew. I had some good first dates but nothing REAL from the experience….but no dick pics either.

    I love my new little house and my cute neighborhood that i just moved into. i love going to the gym and hanging with my sister and spending time with my son. I am happy. I like the idea of dating but I’m loving my life too much to lose myself and what I have accomplished since DDay.

    I am dating a guy now. First thing he did when we first met in person (at an 80’s dance party) was make me laugh. He got me to give him my number! He texted me but he was still married (sleeping in separate rooms but still married) I didn’t even let him text me when i found out. 2 months later, he gets in touch with me, apologizes and says he is now legally separated and she has moved out. They created the separation agreement and custody agreement. We texted and talked. I didn’t agree to a date or meeting for about 6 weeks. Slow. He’s a good person. And there was no love bombing. Just genuine interest to get to know me. So, we are dating. Not in relationship (because I have said so). And as 40-something with kids our face-to-face time is limited so we do what we can. He makes an effort. Everyday. He is pursuing me. And if it “fizzles” and we become friends, I have gained a great one. I would be ok with that. I don’t want to move out of my house, I don’t want to move anyone in, I like that my son is incredibly happy and loving his new home.

    • “They created the separation agreement and custody agreement.” Ex and I were separated while we were in wreckonciliation. Needless to say he also continued to date and have sex with some of his other women. So many women bought his line hook line and sinker.

      This guy is NOT available. he is still married. You deserve a free, single, man.

      • I agee with Renewed on this. One of my rules gained by bitter experience is to never date someone who is not yet divorced.

        Why – mostly because the not-divorced person still has so much emotion to process, is still in contact with their ex, is still probably co-owning assets with the ex…they are simply not yet fully available for a new relationship. Watch him carefully. I wasted several months on such a creature(a supposedly fine man) then finally discovered the reason for his “separation” was that he had been charged with assaulting his estranged wife. He told me they had “simply grown apart”.

        I truly believe we all need to spend time single after divorce, if only to get back our “sense of self” as no longer part of a couple. We need to have a strong, independent self-image that excludes seeing ourselves as someone’s spouse. Second relationships do not often produce children, but they do carry additional challenges like step parenting, emotional baggage, outlaws, adult stepkids, agh, it’s a minefield.

      • Renewed and Marci, I understand and appreciate your warnings and advice.

        I dated when I was separated. I still had my (our) house but we were fully separated. I know that honest people can be separated.

        Having said that, he has his house on the market, he’s already put a deposit on a townhome. His ex (cuz that’s what he calls her) has already moved into an apartment and he is paying child support. It is a legitimate and legal separation and they are not in wreckconcilation. At all.

        • He may be pursuing you, legally separated, living in different homes etc but he is still married. Why waste any time on someone who is unwilling or unable to fully commit.
          He is testing the waters on his new found freedom at forty. He has a wife, kids etc. Sure he calls her his ex but what does he call you.
          If by some chance your relationship did become serious what will his kids refer to you as.
          Too many things wrong here.

          • One of the reasons that my husband and I are Legally Separated rather than just flat out divorced is because he claims to have had a “spiritual conversion” (after cheating and getting caught of course). So we filed, separated all assets, and he moved out.

            No one knows WHY a couple is legally separated…or if there are still some “hopes” for a future reconciliation. Time alone will tell…but it takes LOT’S of time…time is the acid test for some of us because words failed to show otherwise. Filing for a legal separation was not intended for either of us to start playing the field…but if that happens, it may as well be turned into a divorce at that point. Would any of you really want to be part of finishing off someone’s dying marriage without really KNOWING WHY a couple is living apart?

            This is why separated couples “should” be considered off limits for dating…because they are still legally married and because perhaps one spouse might desperately NEED proof that the cheater is serious about reconciliation.

            My husband needed to move out so that I could begin healing. He can now live his life on his own terms apart from my policing him, while proving to himself if his new spiritual commitment is genuine. We are no contact…yet plenty of people know us. The moment he starts the “dating” scene or gets yet another EA going and I get “wind” of it, I will be even more glad that I took this route and I will know that he lied once again about his intentions. His “temptations” are still his choice to act on regardless of if someone is pursuing him…but I need to see this from afar because I am finished with the close up kind of pain.

            The way I figured it is this… Unless he can man up and pay the natural consequences of his betrayal and remain alone (like the Bible says to do) for an undetermined amount of time, and until I am convinced and/or ready to resume the marriage, then he has not yet passed the acid test as far as I am concerned. If he gets frustrated and starts feeling “entitled” with living out these consequences and turns the legal separation into a divorce, then I know that his intentions are to remarry someone else and all bets are off. It is a gamble…but we are in our sixties and I will not remarry regardless.

            My point is that we should not be too quick to think that a “legally separated” man/woman is an “available” one…they are still legally married regardless of an ongoing separation. Some of us NEED to live apart to see if the cheater is going to be true to their new convictions…and believe it or not, we do have a flickering hope that our spouses just might pass the test of time.

              • Well, the way I figured it was that since he could not keep himself committed and “unavailable” WHILE enjoying all the pleasures and privileges of marriage being together WITH me…then he would need to feel the full impact of having lost all of those pleasures and privileges without me. If he can withstand this along with not falling to all the future temptations that he failed at in the past…I will then be more inclined to believe that his conversion is true and eventually might feel safe with him.

                His words meant nothing…he did not have any compassion regarding my pain other than to get sneakier…he simply felt “put upon” with any reasonable boundaries in marriage. His actions meant everything. Sooo…he now has his freedom and I will eventually see what he does with it. I have nothing to lose and my life will not change going forward since all the legalities are already done with.

                As much as I would like to “blame” another woman for tempting my husband (regardless of us being separated or not)…the choices are ultimately up to HIM to respond or not. He can play the sad sausage to hook a woman or demonize me for needing proof of his faithfulness…but either way, it is still his choice and I stand by that.

                I only know that I would not look twice at a man who is not fully divorced because I could be the “one” pushing their failing marriage over the cliff…or I could end up being deeply hurt by lies and half truths for jumping the gun. As you know…many men will turn their hearts even further away from their estranged wives simply because of their newfound freedom and taking up a “new friendship” with another woman rather than taking the time to deeply feel their losses or examining their own hearts.

          • The most dangerous person you will ever meet: The unhappily married man (or woman)
            Stop, Drop and Run.

    • Conniered,

      I am a bit concerned that the man you are now dating texted you to get together with you while he was still living with his wife and not yet legally separated. Lots of spouses sleep in separate bedrooms. Sleeping in separate bedrooms distinctly differs from being legally separated. I say this from having experienced both.

      That being said, I don’t necessarily agree with some of the posters that it is ‘bad’ to date someone who is legally separated. Some couples, like my STBX and I, have been legally separated for years merely because the legal system takes so darned long to process a divorce! In addition, my STBX lived in other countries and states while married to me and abused and cheated on me for years before and during our marriage. As such, should I or other chumps in similar situations wait years after legally separating to resume dating? I can understand waiting some months but several years?

      • I understand and was in a situation like yours for years. I used that time until the divorce was final to heal and and to get back to me. Any guy that really wants to get to know me will understand my convictions. Sex was not worth the sacrifice or fudging of my boundaries.

        Marriage and deep friendship are developed through trials. I am worth the wait.
        To each his own.

  • Rose,
    Ideally, as a woman, you want someone on your trail. You want to offer something that makes the guy follow your scent. You can do this.
    First you have to decide on Your trail: Your personal path through life. Set a destination and stick to your trail with delicate, tantalizing patterns of predictability and personal charm.
    Then settle for no one, except someone who will go on your journey by your side.
    Maybe you want to teach kindergarteners to hold their heads high. Set your course. Give the rest up. Somewhere out there a man needs your vision.
    One day, the right guy will find your ambition irresistible. It will happen. Ignore every man until then. You have a destination, men will either get it or get in the way.
    You might have to be patient.
    I had a screw-this rebound relationship that got me moving in a new direction, and I attribute that to providence. Best wishes!

    • Brave Again, thank you for this excellent and mighty advice. I have pasted your words in my dating journal. (I’ve been doing online dating since last October and need a good refresher.)

    • Brave Again,

      I appreciate you offering Rose and others support.

      However, I question the accuracy of your statement, ‘One day, the right guy will find your ambition irresistible. It will happen.’ Brave Again, I don’t think that we should offer false hope by stating absolutes that we cannot confirm. Rose sounds like a wonderful, attractive person, but many wonderful women I know, especially those who are middle-aged or older, who would love to have a good (not perfect), faithful mate cannot find one. I would love to have a good, faithful partner, but at 50, in spite of my best attempts to be loving, honest, smart, well-groomed, beautiful, fit, and fun, I can’t get even an honest, mostly disorder-free date! In a professional capacity, I have worked with communities of older adults. In some convalescent homes, the ratio of women to men is 30:1. These women may live for many more years–celibate not by choice. I have read that, even by my age (50), the ratio of women to men is 1.5:1. When you take into account legal, physical, and emotional availability and compatibility, the chance of finding a good partner is even lower. I think that it’s really important for most, if not all, of us, especially if we are women who are middle-aged or older, to accept the fact that we may involuntarily remain single and try to get comfortable with that possibility. I am trying to do so as I see no available men who want to be with me anywhere around me, even though I live in a highly populated area.

      • I hate to sound like a Dora Downer, but Im with RSW on this. In our 50s, men die a 4x the rate of women (according to some stats I read) and too many of the single ones are single because they are assholes. We have some great chumpguys here who are proof that there are SOME good ones out there, but I fear not at the numbers we would need for everyone to get what they hope for.

        I feel fortunate to be happily re-coupled but Im really careful to not act like a relationship expert to my peers and tell them a great guy is around the corner. I am careful here to not come across like new marriage is the litmus test for success. Success is us living a good, fulfilling, meaningful, bold life and if we find a partner then bonus.

        Before my nowH decided that he wanted to marry, I made a few goals and plans for myself as to what I hoped for if I remained single and some of them were rather cool. I put some/most of these ideas on ice (by choice) as they are incompatible with nurturing a new marriage and I again dont want to sound too pessimistic, but my first husband was as healthy as a horse before he dropped over at 50 and my 52 yr old H2.0 has some chronic health issues, so after learning the harsh lesson that “dropping dead DOES happen”, I try to keep myself optimistic and hopeful that if I have some single years at the end of my life that I could and would still be happy.

      • I agree, sadly, with RSW’s analysis 100%.

        It is just not realistic, even though it sounds good to state with cheer leader enthusiasm Rose will find someone. She simply may not. We may not.

        As we get older, the dating pool becomes much more shallow, small and weird. Even if they are somewhat sane, just the statistics are not in our favor.

        I am not applying this to any males on this site. (Please no internet beatdowns)

        But, the men I have found to be single, divorced or alone otherwise are…..deeply damaged or flawed.
        I am trusting a hope that one is out there, but based on my experiences, that hope could be a fool’s hope.

        Quick example.

        I worked in D.C. for a while and there was a lawyer there who had a crush on me. 43, never married.
        After having my head kicked in metaphorically by Meth Maggott, I started responding to his emails. Just chatting, etc.

        He immediately wanted to meet at a Bed and Breakfast. Long story short: I changed my mind and did not want to see him. I discovered through our chats he was cheap, racist, sexually inexperienced and even though he looked like a can of goo…expected women to look like a lingerie model.

        After I told him no several times, he send me an email that included these highlights (I HAVE NEVER EVEN KISSED THIS PERSON)

        Your mouth is a glory hole.
        You are a fucking loser.
        You dated a meth addict.

        (I made the mistake confiding in him).
        He was vicious, unbalanced, scary.

        This is a federal attorney. This is someone who purports to be a “good person” and has everyone is the office fooled.

        One example? Sure.

        But….the odds of finding someone as we get older, it is just not the realistic to paint it as optimal or even….likely.

        I don’t know the solution, because I do NOT want to be alone forever either.

        ***BUT THE ODDS ARE NOT GOOD AND MOST OF THE GOODS ARE ODD***

  • “They created the separation agreement and custody agreement.” Ex and I were separated while we were in wreckonciliation. Needless to say he also continued to date and have sex with some of his other women. So many women bought his line hook line and sinker.

    This guy is NOT available. he is still married. You deserve a free, single, man.

  • Anyone I would want to date would have to be more interesting than hanging out in the CL forums on a Friday night howling at NoMoreSkankBoy’s and HeLovesMeHeLovesMeNot’s cheater haiku. That’s a tough criterion.

  • Glad I lived long enough to have this explained to me. This is one to refer to again and again. Not interested in dating but if/when I do become interested at least I will have a guide. Thank you!

  • An interesting discussion. A friend and I were talking about craving the kindness and intimacy that was often missing for a long time from our relationships. We wound up talking about I guess “imprinting” on the first person (of the opposite sex) who showed us any kindness and compassion. For her, her mother was very ill and her boyfriend of 5 years broke up with her on the same day that her mother was put into the ICU. But it was a very empty relationship for a while and it was not fulfilling. She mentioned that she was “falling in love” with the male nurse at the hospital. I was recently traveling for work and spent some time socializing with one of the guys on the off-site team (who also just went thru a pretty brutal divorce). We were texting and joking. I sent him one text and he didn’t respond… and I kind of was doing the “what’ going on freak out.” I sort of “imprinted” on him as someone to flirt with and see if I could start a relationship with… because he’s nice and funny and not married. It took me a few days to realize that I was doing the same thing as my friend.

    So I think that’s part of it as well. When you have been through what we have been through, it can be easy to latch on to someone who is generally polite and kind. I think a lot of us liked being married/in a stable relationship, so maybe even subconsciously we want to skip all the drama and get to the part of relationships that are our comfort zone (i.e. being in a stable, monogamous relationship). I spent longer married (12 years) than I did being just a plain old single working gal… It’s really what I know.

    On the other hand, I can’t say that I have ever really fallen deeply in love (i.e. I have never really responded to sparkles). Was I DEEPLY in love with my Ex… no. Did he check a lot of the boxes of a spouse and seemed interested in me.. sure. I will admit that I fell into the “I just want a boyfriend” trap. I’m going to hang on for some sparkles and some excitement this time around. Not just date someone because I want a boyfriend.

    • “When you have been through what we have been through, it can be easy to latch on to someone who is generally polite and kind. I think a lot of us liked being married/in a stable relationship, so maybe even subconsciously we want to skip all the drama and get to the part of relationships that are our comfort zone (i.e. being in a stable, monogamous relationship). ”

      Yes, this. My case was perhaps a little more odd in that I never divorced…one day I was married to him in my house and the next day he was gone of planet earth forever never ever to return. Like you mention above, I would never have admitted it as it would have sounded insane, but some strange part of my brain was “looking for my husband” even though rationally I knew I didn’t have one.

      Nothing about how I came to be with my H2.0 was normal in any universe (we met as children, dated as teens and stayed friends for a time, lost each other for decades then reconnected 3 yrs ago) but he has a goofy silly side that gives him an odd vibe that I would not have understood if I met him today. If we had had a 1 hr coffee date, I doubt I would have wanted to see him again because I wouldnt have gotten his vibe. Knowing him as a kid /teen/young adult cut through that and I knew he was a decent person worthy of a chance. So glad I did.

  • Rose, it isn’t that you are too available – this guy is just not motivated and/or interested. You don’t even know what he really looks like (pictures lie) so don’t take it personally. Also, in the on-line world he could be talking to 20 women.

    Here are a few things I have learned:
    1) Expect dating to be a numbers game, especially on-line.
    2) Online dating is still as random as going into a bar. Don’t believe the marketing hype.
    3) Chat on-line or via phone & then arrange to meet for a coffee. This way you can see if there is chemistry & if you can have a real conversation.
    4) People lie & misrepresent themselves. Terrible, I know but…see #3.
    5) Anyone who is disrespectful on-line (e.g the dick pic) does not make it through your filter.
    6) Don’t take anything personally. You might only be great on paper.
    7) You may or may not be able to filter out the disordered. Some have fantastic masks, so back to #3. (Eg. the gentleman I dated who said he was divorced, but he meant from wife #1)
    8) Always be safe. Never give your home address or personal phone #. Also, if you meet it should be in a public place. There are many scammers on all of the online dating sites.
    9) If they are interested, they will call.
    10) Relax, it should be fun. If it isn’t, take a break from it.

    I know this is scary, but what if you try an experiment and go on 10 coffee dates? Yes, use your filters and vet guys before you meet. Spend an hour – no longer – and have a coffee and talk. You might click with someone and you might not. You might make a new friend. Relax. It is just a coffee. And you don’t need to do more than have a coffee.

    Dating was very stressful for me in the beginning. I’d never really dated when I was younger. Since then I have had many coffee dates and a few funny stories. It gets easier. Until you get to know people well, it is very difficult to determine if they are disordered. It is impossible to filter out online.

    Sorry, this was a bit long. Good luck!

      • These are really good points, moving forward. Nothing’s real until you meet the online date in person. Then, later, the litmus test of a newer relationship is getting through that first big disagreement or misunderstanding. How that was handled will reveal so much.

      • Online dating has gotten weirder during the last few years. Have to do a lot more sifting now and the saner folks may have shied away from using dating sites because of the numerous scams. The good thing about the online thing is that I got to meet people I would never have crossed paths with in real life. Smart, interesting guys. Some nice men, too (but no chemistry or were way too young for me).

        I now prefer joining groups and taking classes, meet people face-to-face. Social groups that meet regularly are probably better. I can observe someone over time and get a sense of whether someone is safe, whether we share similar views on things through our conversations. The only problem I run into is that I have to take more time to figure out whether a guy is already married. I refuse to join “singles” activity groups because of the expectation of meeting someone in those events. Too much pressure and too much disappointment.

  • “Because men who are very keen to attempt relationships actually ATTEMPT RELATIONSHIPS.”

    yep.

  • Coincidentally, I went to my favorite thrift store and found some books, one of which is He’s Just Not That Into You — talk about timing, huh?!?!

    I’m already about 2/3 through it and feel really … dumb right now to be honest. Cold hard truth of what I’ve experienced not only in former marriages, but the dating world I have been experiencing this past year. Besides Leave a Cheater, Gain A Life, this is just about the second most-helpful book I’ve read post-divorce!

    Anyway, I can relate to today’s post greatly. I’ve heard it all from the 20+ men I have met either online or in real life, talked to, then disassociated with for one reason or another- some of them were “dumped”, the others “dumped” me. I use the quotes because out of all of them, I have yet to have even one be boyfriend (potentially more than that) material.

    Granted, it has only been a year, and I’ve tried to focus on me, my children, getting back to being Me, Myself, and I.

    Keep moving forward, Chumps!!!

  • So what is it like dating fifties and over? Children are adults and out on their own. I tend to attract younger guys, so lovely to look at but I can’t go there. Men my age are old, act old and have old man issues. After being married since the beginning of time I like being on my own. I’m not sure I want the responsibility of caring for another individual.
    My ex was good at hiding his habits and illnesses. He has jokingly said his next wife will be a nurse. So in addition to e personality issues, health and finances are also important.
    Anyone else feel the same way?

    • Renewed, I recommend you join a hiking or backpacking group so you can meet guys who have the same energy level as you. Healthy men. They’re out there. Yes, even in their 50s. I’ve also met guys younger than me who were not in good shape .. bottles of pills on their bathroom counter and unable to walk up a hill without nearly having a heart attack. These issues aren’t a character flaw but I want someone to be able to do things with me. I won’t be able to keep up with a triathlon competitor or any serious athlete either because I’m more closer to being a couch potato, so I’ll understand if they won’t choose me.

      As for taking care of someone if they get sick later on, I won’t mind doing that for someone who would take care of me also, after he’s shown me that he’s attentive and devoted to me. It’s about reciprocity, as CL pointed out.

    • I feel the same way. Ironically, I have been friended by my first love, and managed to see him again after 35 years no contact. He is a handsome 56 yo man, but to me he looks… well, like an old man. I am used to attracting 40 somethings. I like a couple of them, but they are too energetic and I am not confident enough. Besides, the idea of having to adapt again to someone else’s needs and demands is quite repulsive. I have been so anxious to please… I don’t want any more anxiety. And if he is less skilled than me… which is always the case, alas… it feels contrived. I don’t want to be anybody’s mother ever.

    • Renewed,
      I wish that I could attract (and keep) younger men! I am 50 and tend to do things much younger people do (e.g., compete in triathlons, lift weights six days a week). A lot of the men I have met online (my age or older) seem to want a much younger, lithe super-model/athlete but have a significant paunch and get out of breath after just walking around the block! I wouldn’t mind if I guy were not in as great a shape/as slim as me, I just wish that they wouldn’t demand the sun, the moon, and the stars while offering only a bad (dishonest, flaky, entitled) attitude and behavior in return! It looks as though this 50-year-old is going to remain single probably forever–even though she would like to have a mutually happy, healthy long-term romantic relationship at least once in her life. Well, it’s time for me to switch from trying to ‘catch’ a mate or even a date to making myself as fabulous and as fabulous to deserving others (e.g., kids, animals) as possible! Must stop trying to convince losers that I am worthy of their attention and loyalty!

      • I agree. I had what i wanted or thought i did. I was blind and definately unappreciated. I would rather be by myself and content than settle. After taking of everybody all my life im finally going to take of me. My needs were always small i made them tiny tiny for asswipe. I was blind. I hope to make new friends and acquaintances when i move and just worry about and take of just little ole me. Asswipe can sail off into the sunset with whomevers and be miserable. Me im gonna try my damndest to just get some happiness.

  • For any Newbies reading…

    A “Legal Separation” is NOT the same as getting a Divorce in the USA. Either you have started the process of dissolving a marriage via filing for Divorce OR you have simply split up and moved out. Filing for a Legal Separation is a great idea if you are uncertain about finalizing the breakdown of your marriage OR if you both have strong objections about divorce for religious reasons regardless of the crimes committed against the marriage. A “Legal Separation” is something that you actually have to “file” for just like a Divorce is. It means that you do NOT intend to BE divorced…nor are you filing for Divorce, but rather, you are petitioning the Court to live separated lives but with Court Ordered legal protection in place…you would still be considered in the eyes of the Law as still being “legally married” ie…UNavailable for actually getting married to anyone else.

    A Legal Separation is filed EXACTLY the same as a Divorce would be filed as far as Settlement Agreements and Child custody/support issues and division of debts and assets…but you are still considered to be “married” and always will be until and unless you change it to an actual Divorce or reconcile and repeal it. Just moving apart is NOT considered a Legal Separation nor does moving apart offer ANY legal protection whatsoever. You are still “liable” for any marital debts, known or unknown…you actually HAVE to file SOMETHING in order to get protection and/or to expect any financial supports from your estranged spouse. Your spouse can be selling or moving assets and racking up a ton of debt or being sued in your absence…and YOU would be responsible for it if they did not pay unless you already have a Court Ordered LEGAL SEPARATION at the very least FILED. They can also grab the children and keep them for as long as they fancy…or even take them out of state without this legal protection. Additionally, if someone that you are interested in dating says that they are “legally separated”…it means NOTHING about their availability (morally speaking). They are STILL married…and perhaps, they only simply “moved out” and did not even bother filing anything at all, but rather, just want some CAKE and want you to think that they are in the “legal process” of dissolving their marriage. Ask specific questions.

    As a side note: If you wanted to date or get remarried and your Divorce process is taking way too long, you could easily file a “Bifurcation” which would give you back your “single/available” status within six months after you first filed for divorce…even sooner if your divorce process has already been going on. You could take your time hammering out the legal divorce settlement issues for years and years to come while being remarried if you did that.

    • Thanks providing once again the importance of seeking legal representation in these matters. My ex and I were separated for several years though not legally before I eventually filed. Legal separation does provide certain protections especially financially.
      In the case of my ex legal separation would have been an excuse to cheat while married. He wasn’t looking for a wife because he has one. Still married but single with women willing to spend their time with him. If a man or woman has truly moved on they will seek divorce. Otherwise it’s just a game.

      • He referred to them as lonely, desperate, thirsty women. If OW talked about marriage or divorce he quickly responded with “you knew my status before….” Don’t settle!

  • How do you not give out your phone number in online dating? Arrange coffee date by email only? Even if you on,y call the guys, they’ll capture your phone number, won’t they? All you experienced dangers, please advise.

      • Hahahaha! You gotta love spellcheck. I gave out my cell number to the few men I dated online. It’s easy to block them if things go south. But never an address or work address. But I’m 63, and the dating pool is just as described by other commenters on this post. Sigh.

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