Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Where Are All the Single, Available Men?

Dear Chump Lady,

Please throw some light on the very stormy waters of the dating world out there. The last page of your book encourages to love again strong and true, and I get this implicitly but WHERE do we meet these new guys? (Especially for those of us who were dealt the wonderful shit sandwich in our fifties and over…)

Where are single available men? (If I hear one of my friends ever mention the grocery store’s alleys as possible love lanes one more time, why, I am liable to wring her little wrinkled neck with my very own hands! The judge will understand and go easy on me..) Chump Lady, help us understand where we can spot and get to speak with these mythical creatures. On line? If so, which sites would you recommend? Please let us know. We are getting a bit lonely and would really love to hear your take on the dating scene live or online.

Thanks,

Pascale

Dear Pascale,

The supply of Single Available Men are all in a knotty pine-paneled man cave, enjoying brewskis and watching the Detroit Pistons in Ferndale, Michigan. I’m not allowed to divulge the street address. To do so would compromise the national Single Available Man strategic reserve.

Occasionally one is released into the dating pool. There you must discern for yourself amongst the thousands of douchebags, predators, and married men if he’s really Single, Available, and Decent. Please know you are competing against hordes of other 50+ year-old women for the only Single Available Man. Hope you look 30 and your tits don’t sag. Best of luck!

May I just say how much I hate this question — where are all the single, available men? There is NO RIGHT ANSWER. The whole question is a set up. It’s a total no win. To answer means I think a) there is a national Single Available Man shortage; b) I think you need a partner to be happy; and c) they’re all hiding somewhere and I can tell you how to find one.

A) I don’t think there is a Single Available Man shortage any more than there is a Decent, Not Batshit Crazy, Solvent Woman crisis. There are just people. Some are awesome. Some suck. Some are perfectly okay, but not a good fit for you. Go figure it out and have some boundaries as you explore.

B) Don’t require a partner to be happy. In my book I say you should love again and I’m very clear that does not necessarily mean a partner. I say go adopt an orphan, join a historic preservation society, or grow peonies. Quote, “I have no idea what your personal happiness looks like,” unquote, it just doesn’t belong with a cheater.

I do think you should have courage and it is not impossible to love another person again. But don’t let a cheater be the last thing you ever invest in. Why would you give a fuckwit that kind of centrality?

Maybe the demographics suck. Maybe you don’t want to take the risk of another broken heart. Okay. Love SOMETHING. Your children. Your career. A worthy cause. Just because whatever-it-is doesn’t wear a dinner jacket and can’t be your plus-one doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your time. Really most anything is a better use of your time (cleaning the lint filter, scraping gum off your shoe, sitting through time-share pitches…) than time spent in a shitty relationship.

C) I can’t tell you how to find a Single, Available Man. I only really know a few men very well. I’m married to one. He is not available. My son is single, but if a 50-year-old woman came after him, I’d run her off waving a shovel.

I’m really the last person you should ask how to date. I’m a flaming dork. It’s only by the grace of God that I met my husband (another flaming dork). The only dating tips I have are know your worth and healthy relationships are reciprocal. After that, you’re on your own.

Ack! Tracy, this is very unsatisfying advice! It’s all very fine and good for you to be so blithe about partnering up, you there from the smug comfort of your married status. Apparently you’ve forgotten the dating trenches! You suck!

(Sigh)

Having a good partner is a great blessing. I won’t lie. It’s awesome. BUT IT’S NOT THE ONLY BLESSING IN LIFE. Seriously, live life today as if it’s never going to happen for you. Because you don’t know if it will or won’t. Do not predicate your happiness on finding your One True Love. That very expectation sets you up for unhappiness. Makes you feel a wee bit desperate. Makes you compare yourself to the Fabulously Coupled. Don’t do this to yourself!

We don’t enjoy every blessing. Not every one of us is rich, thin, healthy, fertile or possessing friends, a loving family, children on the honor roll, or six-pack abs. We all get some blessings, but we don’t get ALL the blessings.

And that’s okay.

I’m not saying every blessing is equivalent. Having healthy children isn’t the same as having thin thighs. I’m just saying that it’s okay to not have EVERY blessing.

You have to adapt and overcome. Look, you might not be born rich — you can go out and hustle and work three jobs and it might happen for you. You might become better off than you were, your hard work might get you a Lear jet. Or, it might just make you an exhausted person who works three jobs. You can do things to improve your odds, but you might not achieve that blessing. And it won’t be for a lack of trying.

You might not be able to have children. Maybe you really want children and maybe God gave you a crap uterus. You can let that fact make you miserable. Or you can adopt. Or you can be an wonderful involved aunt or Big Sister. Or you can take all that money you would spend on daycare and frozen pizza and vacation in Europe instead. What you cannot do is predicate your happiness on having a functional uterus.

Similarly, you might want to find Mr. Right. You can online date your heart out, get fixed up with every widower in your parish, and lay in wait in the frozen vegetable aisle. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. But don’t predicate your happiness on it happening. Go be your best, happiest self without a relationship and see what happens.

For what it’s worth, I think the odds are good of pairing up again. All people (unless they are sociopaths) want to bond with other people. We crave intimacy and connection. I do think we should all be open to connection with others.

Good people are not “mythical.” They exist. You exist! Just get out there and live life and I trust you’ll cross each other’s paths eventually. Maybe this will result in a boyfriend or maybe a really great set of friends and a vibrator. I don’t know. Good luck.

This one ran previously. On vacation this week.

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.
  • I think on some level, after everything bad happened to us and we worked so hard to get free, it’s a tough pill to swallow that we now have to work again to find someone. Meanwhile many of our FWs danced off with their APs and are still with them. It’s like another shit sandwich.

    But I think once you recognize how great it is to be free of FW… the “Gain a Life” part can be really terrific. Reframe it like CL says… go for the things you want to do… places you want to see… and if you’re ready to date, just date. Don’t just seek out “the one.” Go out and meet different people and take your time. Maybe you’ll meet the one… maybe you’ll just go on dates. But do it for you. Enjoy the process and the freedom. (This was what my therapist recommended to me… it helped me. I dated and met someone. I’m now in a 4+ year relationship)

    • After years of bad dates and red flags – I was asked out by one of my long term hair clients. We had known each other for over 5 years and I even did his x wife and kid’s hair on occasion.

      He is very shy. He is very much a chump and he did hide out in his man cave for over 10 years cheering on the Leafs and the Lions before dipping his toe in the dating pool again.

      I honestly don’t think he would have asked me out until the day I asked about helping me move a bed with his truck. He brought the bed, the truck a d flowers!

      We are getting married in two weeks. We have dated for 3.5 years now. We went slowly and carefully.

      I was done with dating and not looking at the time.
      Funny how that happened.

      Ps – we are both in our 50’s

      • Taking time is important.

        H and I were together almost five years before we married. Though I stayed with him a lot after a while, I still maintained my own little house.

      • Wow Lucky… I remember one of the Red Flag Bearers from before Mr Truckflowers and I was sad that you had that bad experience. Good for you, Im happy for you!!

        • Thanks Unicorn ❤️

          We get married this Sunday. I kept my little place at the beach and we go there on weekends and in the summer. I moved into his house this year. No drama, no stress / just easy.

      • I love this story! And I love how the “first move” was not either of you asking about a date but you asking for some friendly help. That opened the door!

        • I know, right !? My husband would still be sitting in a room alone watching old movies if my father had not set out to find him. My dad called him and asked if he was married or had a girlfriend. When beloved said “no” my dad gave him my number.

          We spoke on the phone and texted for a week…one goofy thing he did on that time endeared him to me. When I finally drove to see him at his house, he was so excited, he ran out the front door to greet me.

    • Yes this , how do they get the relationship and in many , many cases another marriage and family ?

      Like why ? How ?

      My ex has not spent 1 hour single in 21 years . I was with him 19 years and he just moved out of the marital home straight in to theirs ( they bought it months before he left ) and has been with her ever since .

      They have been married more than a year now while i have been on 3 coffee dates and i was rejected by them all . One of them had blocked me by time i even drove home from the date !

      Sometimes i think i am ready to date and sometimes i think what’s the point ?

      I just hope someone knocks on my door most of the times , just a nice random stranger as i really can’t be bothered with all the drama dating .

      Its really a pity i am not as lucky as Ex who just seemingly went to work and found the love of his life

      • Right? Why do they get to land in another warm bed? I struggle with that. My ex FW (engaged and he was living in my home) dumped the OW on D-Day – he cheated way down. But 2 months after meeting his new supply and having a “heart change” he might in with her.

        We’re all in our 50s. He charmed her into moving in so he wouldn’t have to live in his shithole unfinished house.

        He’s jealous that I wasted no time in meeting someone. A guy in his 50s who is patient and gentle with me because of all I went through. A decent man, smart, nerdy like me.

        They’re out there. He was on the saying sites and had many bad dates. I found him on Bumble, with a profile his friend set up so it had only a picture and location, no stupid bio or picture of him with a fish.

        I have learned to love living alone, but it’s nice to have someone that cares about me in that way, that sometimes warms my bed, but also gives me space.

        • ChumpedNoMore…. (Gently), perhaps reframe that thought? It’s not a cozy, reciprocal “warm bed” with your X…. Any bed with him is a nasty, STI infested, bed of lies and abuse… no thanks!

      • “Yes this , how do they get the relationship and in many , many cases another marriage and family ?”

        Because they have sub basement level standards and paired up with another creep. It’s easy for shitty people to find each other. There’s lots of them and they’re of, shall we say, easy virtue, so hooking up is a breeze. You’re selective, not a slut, you dated a few guys, and you weren’t their cup of tea. But you’re bound to be somebody’s cup of tea. You might meet that person or you might not, so you can’t predicate your happiness on it.

        The love of his life? Don’t be fooled. They’re trash. They don’t do love, don’t even know what it is. They use people and live on Fantasy Island, but reality is never far off. When that hits them in the face, it sucks. There’s nothing good or real to envy.

        • ^This! The problem many of us chumps have is we insist on projecting our values onto our ex FWs and their new relationships. We insist on seeing their new relationships with rose colored glasses. It leaves us stuck in a familiar place were they are still torturing us even though they are out of our lives. We are still giving them centrality and valuable headspace. In reality this thinking is nothing more than self flagellation.

          Abusers don’t change without years of hard work with trained professionals. There is plenty of literature out there that demonstrates that very clearly. Intellectually, most of us know that but we refuse to believe it when it comes to our ex-abusers. The great majority of abusers never change even if they attend a program to change their worldview and teach them how to not abuse their intimate partner and children for that matter – they just change their preferred modes of abuse. When they leave and fall into a shiny new life all they really did was find a new victim or victims.

          • Excellent points! Yes, they do just find a new victim. It’s interesting that sometimes they actually *become* a victim. More than one chump has told of a fuckwit who was abusive to them, but went on to be with a schmoopie who was abusive. My ex fuckwit’s schmoopie was a covert aggressor of massive proportions. He was her slave, completely submissive to her because he admired her for her cold, domineering, abusive ways and held me in contempt because I have empathy and care about others, which fuckwits see only as a weakness to exploit and sneer at.

            I think fuckwits can only be predators or prey, because their worldview is all about jockeying for power. Somebody has to be on top. They just don’t do equality. I really hate the way so many chumps romanticize these sick “relationships” as bring the twu wuv fuckwits say they are. These people don’t get character transplants because they found a new hole or pole. If they suddenly became awesome mates for the new person, that would mean the chump *was* the cause of their shitty behaviour. I can’t stand to see chumps believing that lie.

            • Wow, OHFSS, you are so right! My father was disrespectful and abusive to my chumpy , kind mother for almost their entire marriage. He remarried a cold, snide, arrogant and smug woman, who now abuses him emotionally and financially. Sometimes I feel sad for him, but he is still so abusive to everyone else but her, that my sympathy is overcome by the need to get out of his presence.

              • Yeah, as a typical fuckwitted abuser, he sees relationships as a zero sum game. Somebody has to lose. It’s the other person up until when he hooks up with an even nastier disordered wing nut and must bow down to her superiority at being evil.
                Damn, these people are freaks! I’m so sorry your dad is one of them.

          • The thing I come back to is how faulty this notion is – that we are the cause of their abusive behavior. No one can cause a non-abusive, healthy person to abuse their partner, including cheat. A normal non-abusive human would leave before they would allow a partner to impact them to the degree they violate their own values around integrity and not committing harm.

            Abusers want us to think we made them abuse – but no one makes you abuse. At best someone could inspire you to raise your voice or say something unkind once or twice – but a decent person would address the problem, not escalate into full on cheating and other abuse.

          • Exactly!
            I saw the narc with the new supply doing to him the exact same thing that she did to me. Staying to make him attached to her, then leaving for a few months to make him feel agony on seeing her again. Playing the same game. They don’t change. No relationship, just toxicionship

        • It took me a while to realize this. I did when I discovered a photo of him kissing girlfriend#1, a closeup, a kind of selfie with another person who is completely unaware, and the exact same photo of him kissing girlfriend#2. He had been… collecting photos of himself kissing women. I had thought that girlfriend#2 was the Love of His Life, because she was very nice, but now I doubt that he ever loved anybody.

      • He didn’t “get lucky and find the love of his life” (write that out 100 times as a punishment). He just found a “hole” who will or at least used to boost his ego for a time. She’ll do until the next time he gets bored. These twats don’t find the love of their life ever! You on the other hand seem to have a great bunch of friends (I remember the comment about him abandoning you in Poland and taking your passport and your friends were just gonna tell the border guards you really were who you said you were)! It speaks tons about your personality. Believe me, a fun personality is so much more attractive than being tall, thin and blond (or whatever), and you’ve definitely got that in spades girl! I don’t know what you look like of course, but I see my ex’s latest posted on her FB page a picture of herself next to a picture of Sharon Stone. My niece’s husband posted a picture of himself next to a picture of Paul Walker. I don’t get that AT ALL. I was telling my sister about it and said if I did that I’d have to post a picture of Sarah Millican and she roared laughing. Now who would you rather spend an evening with?

      • Though I realize it is one in a million, I have a friend that had been single for 20 years and said she was “over” men. One day she got a knock on the door and it was a guy looking for work. Was a handyman, carpenter, large project doer finishing another job in her neighborhood. Anyhow, she hired him to work on her pool deck, and now they have been together for about 5 years! I kid you not. A higher power may have been involved, but she also had to be open. Sometimes I believe we think we are open, but we aren’t yet. It takes a bit of time in many cases for these bad/horrible experiences to fade and your subconscious to take a break and allow someone in.

        • OMG. For years I have been saying if God wants me to have someone in my life he better send a handyman knocking at my door. So happy for your friend!

          • That’s how my FW got his Schmoopie. He was a handyman remodeling her house, then her condo on the beach. Sigh…..

            Reading these handyman stories makes me realize even more that they were written in the stars like he says. Sigh….

            How romantic.

    • “I think on some level, after everything bad happened to us and we worked so hard to get free, it’s a tough pill to swallow that we now have to work again to find someone. Meanwhile many of our FWs danced off with their APs and are still with them. It’s like another shit sandwich.”

      I love this blog post – I think it’s one of Chump Lady’s finest – because it addresses the core concept of ‘gaining a life’, which does not mean ‘gaining a new partner’.

      Uncoupling ‘gaining a life’ from ‘gaining a partner’ is revolutionary. It flies utterly in the face of the RIC, where it’s all about saving the relationship at all costs. (THAT is the real shit sandwich.)

      It also flies in the face of Disney princesses, sunk costs, intermittent reinforcement, and the just world hypothesis.

      Realising that gaining a life didn’t mean gaining a new partner was hugely healing for me. It made me reconsider all the things that I’d thought were important up till then.

      I was able to throw a lot of emotional baggage overboard and have sailed happier and lighter ever since.

      So if the thought of having to work hard to find someone new exhausts you – as it did me – don’t do it. It’s that simple.

  • As a (somewhat) single male chump, I’ll tell you the the hang-out house with the wood paneling is starting to smell of men’s socks.

    So I hit the dating scene and learned a lot.

    1. You are not ready for a real relationship with any remaining anger or feelings for your X. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date, just know if you want to get serious, work on yourself first.

    2. It’s ok for relationships to fail. Most will while dating. This was a hard one for me.

    3. Have high standards, but meet lots of people. You learn more about yourself.

    4. Enjoy the quiet times when no one’s swiping on you. (Another hard thing to do)

    5. Build up your interests. Remember who you really are and what you really like.

    6. Trust that you’ll be ok

    After learning all these things, I met someone very special and it’s going really well.

    • I think this is really great advice.

      One of the big problems that Chumps have is that they see their Cheaters with their new Partner of the Month (or former AP) looking all lovey-dovey or–more triggering–married. And the Chumps wonder how the Cheater can get the dream life. The answer is that cheaters don’t really bond well. They are all about superficialities. Relationships are transactional and temporary. Today’s honeymoon is tomorrow’s divorce proceedings.

      But a part of the Chump wants to show that they, too, can have the fairy tale, so they date before they’re ready and they get burned.

      I really like what you have to say because it’s been so true for my friends who’ve gone back to the dating pool.

      It is 100% okay for your first date to be your last date. While hard to accept, this isn’t about rejecting anyone for being a bad or unattractive person. It’s just an acknowledgment that you can spot that you two wouldn’t work together for the long haul. It is also true that it’s 100% okay for the 5-month relationship to end. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to see that there are incompatibilities that would sabotage your partnership down the road. Why go down that road if it’s clear now that things wouldn’t work out?

      It’s also important to do stuff that doesn’t involve dating. Interestingly enough, dancing has been a common activity for a lot of my friends who’ve discovered that their second marriage is a whole lot better than their first. They started dancing as a fun way to exercise and to be with others. Clogging, country line dancing, salsa, swing, etc.–you have to dance with a lot of people, and occasionally one of them will seem as if they’re fun off the dance floor as well as on the dance floor. One of my friends met his wife through swing dancing, and says that the best part of swing dancing is that there’s a club in every city. When work sends him someplace, he can go dancing in the evening instead of hitting the bars.

      Thanks for posting!

      • I’m someone who met my current partner at my local dance social.

        When I was 1 year out from D-Day and was in the midst of finalising the divorce, I decided to celebrate by going to a dance taster, not knowing anything at all about the dance, but I just felt this strong urge to get out of the house to celebrate. I was alone, but the dance looked fun (and I’m very competitive, LOL!), so I went a couple of times a week, determined to master it and having lots of fun along the way.

        The goal for me when I went dancing, was to get in lots of platonic touch. Being in a safe environment was what I was looking for, and I knew myself well enough that didn’t want to get into a casual sexual relationship while I was fixing my picker. It was wonderful. I made lots of friends, and the dancing really helped after being touch deprived for a year.

        I even went out on first dates with a couple of guys. While it was nice to get attention from guys, I knew that just because they liked me, doesn’t mean I must like them back. I knew from going out in groups or spending a bit more time with them, that we didn’t have much in common. It was an easy, no pressure way of slowly dipping my feet into the getting-to-know-guys pool.

        A couple of months after my divorce was finalised, I was paired up in a dance workshop with a lovely man. I wasn’t looking to date, but our relationship soon blossomed after getting to know each other. It’s been 2 years, and I feel safe, loved and cherished – even though we’re currently separated by the pandemic.

        I’ve also been NC with the ex for 3 years, and throughout this time, even before I started dancing, I didn’t care if he’s still with the AP, and was not interested to know anything about him. I still don’t.

      • Dated a guy for 8 months. Was great in the beginning then some red flags popped up. Blame shifting for one. A super trigger for me. He was not for me. An amicable split.

        I am getting a dog
        62YO

        • About a year after my divorce was final I met a man online. He took me on a real date – we ended up spending almost the whole day together. He was extremely handsome, charming, funny. We had such a great time together. After about 4 months something felt off. He’d go without texting or calling or even responding from 3 days to sometimes even a week. Then he’d be great – but act like he didn’t do a thing wrong. He asked me to move in together, buy a house together. I absolutely adored his kids. His kids were very trying and I got attached to them. After 8 months, ten months, a year year and a half I kept telling myself something isn’t right I have to break it off. I let him know I needed a break and that something wasn’t feeling right. I need to get my head clear and maybe we could see where we are in 2 weeks. (I mean he’d freeze me out for this amount of time without a word or explanation). We’ll he raged for 72 hours would not leave me alone (I’d never received so much attention from him – so no to a break). I did learn that I could end things. That I didn’t have to sign up for a lifetime of shit because I invested sometime. I wished I had called it off earlier – done a lot of thing different- dating after divorce but I got better at boundaries and listening to myself – and being able to walk aways from a life even though it looks perfect and I’m the ‘envy of some social circle.

      • Not silly.

        I think I meant that Im in a serious relationship that I want to be my next marriage but we’re not engaged and still making sure we as sure we need to be (so “optimistically-cautious”)

        So… tried to sum it up as “somewhat single”

        Dunno… make sense?

    • Dating is about meeting people and having a social life with those for whom you have attraction. I love your list but I would gently reframe the “fail” idea.

      Dating can be just about having social companions for events of mutual interest. You can date Person A to go to a football game and Person B to go to a super-hero movie and Person C to go hiking.

      Dating can also be a vetting process if what you are looking for is a long-term monogamous relationship or partnership. It’s not “failing” if you decide someone is not that person for you. And it’s not “rejection” if someone decides you aren’t that for him or her. You are meeting people, enjoying life, but being very choosy and selective about deciding to be “exclusive.”

      What a lot of people experience, I think, is “serial monogamy dating,” where Date #1 turns into a string of dates with the same person, essentially being exclusive before they know enough about the person to decide on the fit. And I think that leads to a lot of so-called “failed” relationships and also for chumps, getting stuck in something that isn’t quite right–or maybe actually wrong in many ways.

      • 100% LAJ.

        About a year ago (and in the middle of a pandemic, no less) I was contacted out of the blue by the local branch of Lunch Dates, wanting to know if I’d be interested in meeting a client of theirs. (How they found me is a whole other story.) I was sick of sitting in my house working so I gave that date a shot.

        Long story short, I’ve been about 12 first-and-only dates through them since then, only two of which progressed to a second date. Only one I’ve seen more than three times, and I guess she’s what you’d call my current ‘regular’ dater. We’ve seen each other about pretty much every other week since January (I don’t make any such plans with anyone on weeks that I have my girls); she’s a real survivor, has all priorities in the right places, and is someone I genuinely enjoy spending time with, both in and out of bed. 😉

        But — and here’s the thing — I still get contacted each week by LD whenever they have someone who they think might make for a good match, and I almost always accept. Not because I’m someone who’s inclined to date more than one person at a time (I’m not), and not because I’m looking to bed as many women as I can (as I noted, all of the dates since I’ve met “Jenna” have been one-and dones).

        It’s because (1) I still really enjoy being ‘single dad’ and balancing the time I dedicate to my girls with slowly creating a social life that doesn’t involve them; (2) I continue to work from home and these dates are how I keep my ‘social skills’ in tune; and (3) I feel strongly that I owe it to myself to get acquainted with as many types of people as possible and not fall into the trap of ‘serial monogamy dating’ that LAJ describes. It’s how I learn more about dealing with others and how I learn more about myself. I deserve to experience as much of humanity as possible, slowly and deliberately, while I make a better and more satisfying life for myself in all other areas.

        And if things ever turn more serious with ‘Jenna’ it will be because we took the time and effort to find out if we’re a ‘best-possible fit.’

        • Lunch Dates and It’s Just Lunch have a shortage of middle aged/older men on their roster. A couple of friends have used the paid service and realized the same men were being used to keep the women subscribed 💵 (they compared notes). I’m betting some of the employees are paid to scan social media as well as approach men in real life to “date” eligible women. You were contacted “out of the blue” and they didn’t even know about your talent as a lyricist !
          Keep dating and let “Jenna” know that you are, so she can do the same.

          • Yes, SPbaS — LD told me that they saw my profile on LinkedIn. It makes sense — if they restrict matches only to people who have subscribed, that’s a much smaller pool from which to ‘fish,’ and from what I understand a subscription promises a certain number of dates. So casting a wide net, by whatever means necessary, is logical.

      • Yes, I totally agree that it’s important to actually date and meet a variety of people. It helps practice keeping boundaries strong, whereas the predominant pattern of instant serial monogamy can muddy things up and make it easy to settle.

        Dating can be really fun if you focus on the present and the person in front of you. There are so many people that can be fun to do things with and get to know, while not being “the one”.

        And if it’s not fun to spend time with them, you don’t ever have to see them again!!(I’m not talking about ghosting people when they get less sparkly. I’m talking about going out once or twice with someone and moving on if you don’t click).

        I think that currently we attribute so much significance and import to dating and being in a relationship that it can seem daunting to dive in. Instead of being a fun bonus, dating is discussed like it’s a gauntlet to run, teeth gritted, eyes steely.

  • I will admit that after so many years in a toxic relationship, I wanted a good one. My first attempts were premature and somewhat disastrous. Im really fortunate that I didn’t get cought up in any real messes. As ill-advised as my early dating was…it taught me things I needed to know. One of those things is that is really is better to be alone than to be with a dreadful person.

    My now husband was dumped by a woman who is selfish, disordered and money grubbing (he never said these things about her, he was actually rather respectful. She demonstrated these traits to me her own self) but she gets points for waiting until she moved out before she started dating. She then dated with such zeal there was at least one restraining order obtained against her by a guy she crushed on.

    In the wake of his divorce, he didn’t date a lot. He was single for about 12 years and when we reunited, he had not had a date in 6 years. Sometimes he says things to me that indicate that he spent years without female companionship…his complements are so awkward that they make me laugh. We dated briefly 37 years ago so I understood some aspects his quirkiness.

    Honestly, if we had not met before and had just had a 1 hr coffee date, I would have likely passed on him. I was patient with his quirkiness because I knew that he was a good person at his core. Since we have been together, he has bought 7 butter dishes. I have had to forbid any future butter dish shopping but I can work with that.

    My story is just N=1 so you can’t make decisions based on any advise from me, but my limited experience indicates that the world does have some lovable dorks who have never been on Match.com.

  • I’m sure it’s unintentional, but what do you think, “There aren’t any good men available out there” implies about the thousands of male chumps who read this blog everyday? They are for the most part available and good, your inability to see them notwithstanding.

    As CL says, it’s best to date for character. And character isn’t always easily known, the way height or hair or income level is. If you don’t want to put in the effort and take the emotional risk to find out, that’s fine. Plenty of reasonable people question whether that’s worth it at 40 or 50 or more. But that choice is no reflection on the men you haven’t gotten to know.

  • I know where there are hoards of single available men! Your local animal shelter. You know they are disease free and neutered. 🙂

    Seriously, if you are looking for a companion, I really would suggest a pet. Pets have a healing power and they help you focus on something besides your situation. I adopted a cat and a dog shortly after my divorce and do not regret it at all. They were a lot of support and comfort.

    • My yellow lab Odin, faithfully lies next to me no matter where I am. He loves me unconditionally. He provides me the reason to get up off my a@$ and go for a run. Truthfully pets have a healing power- just by always being there.

  • Being AOK solid on my own with or without, a partner being an OPTION and not a necessity, is my first and most necessary state of being that will protect me against abuse. I’m not asking where all the men are. I’m asking myself the following questions:

    1) What do I want?

    2) Who am I?

    3) What do I want to do? Be? Have? Learn? See? Experience? I am writing out The Ultimate Bucket List and I need to be on my own to get really clear.

    4) Where do I want to go?

    5) What brings me joy? Makes ME happy?

    6) etc……

    ……WITHOUT A PARTNER.

    My life has been based on having a partner since I was first attracted to one. I made them the Christmas tree and everything else about my life were the ornaments. I had it backwards.

    Me and my life are now the Christmas tree and if there is ever a man in it again, he will be one of the ornaments, easily removed if he harms me and my tree.

    I now think, like fame, finding a partner is a nebulous and tenuous goal. They are both circumstances which depend upon the willing participation of other people, something I can’t control. What I can control, what I want to control, is becoming great at what I love to do and great at being on my own. If partnership happens as a result of those efforts, fine. If not, fine. I have me, my daughter, my animals, my friends, and there are lots of people in this world to be of service to whom I can help. But I am not going to make finding a partner a goal ever again. I am also staying the hell away from seeking partners online. Attraction rather than promotion is the way it’s going to be for me.

  • I liked being married. My ex traveled a lot. And I liked that but it just stretched out our finite time together – but it was a doomed relationship cause he was a cheater and liar. With the wisdom of time and distance I’ve come to realize that I love being on my own. I don’t have to accommodate some guy anymore. No more placating. No more golf running my schedule. I never knew how selfish I could be til it was just me. I know. I feel giggly about it because I wasn’t brought up to be selfish. I knew how to be a good partner. But my picker was bad. I’ve dated and I like all my friends’ spouses. There are good guys out there. But I think I’m done with marriage. In fact, I told everyone I would never get married again because it was just too exhausting. My life is good. My only limit is money and arthritis. I have a rich inner and outer life and I’m rarely bored. Once I got a taste of freedom, I got real comfortable with it. I have friends that a miserable bordering on squirrelly if they don’t have a partner. They are even willing to be freeloaded off of just to not be alone. I thought I was more like that but it turns out, I’m not. Nothing tastes as good as being free feels. Ok if Barbra Streisand pops off, James Brolin is mine!! Cause he’s got a pick up truck and knows how to use it.

    • I feel the same way! I love living alone and I can’t see myself ever wanting to marry again (why would I want to chance going through all that trauma again?). I’ve fallen in love with my own independence.

      • I know. It’s a glorious thing to discover about oneself. I’m much more confident now because approval is no longer sought by someone who makes it all about them.

    • Same here Trudy. My kids are off my hands, FW is someone else’s problem and I just LOVE being single! No way will I marry, live with or mingle finances ever again. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy male company – I love it, but I love my freedom even more. And sad to say, most of the marriages around me are (according to the women) truly sodding miserable. That’s not to say they all are, of course, but so many end up staying together for economic/practical reasons and end up hating their other half!

      • Right here with you. I won’t be mingling my life again in any ways that give someone else say over my finances, shelter, etc, and I can’t see even cohabitating again. My alone is so good, someone would have to really bring something special to the table.

        • Yes, yes, yes! I can’t see living with anyone again either. I mean, I know better than anyone else to “never say never” (Formerly known as “My H and I will never break up; we are just that bonded”), and, sure, someone surprising and special may come along unplanned but I really like not having to run any decision-making past anyone: I get to run my own life and my own home. That’s intoxicating!

          It really resonated with me when you said “My alone is so good, someone would have to really bring something special to the table.” I feel this in my soul.

          I always thought that I’d be “still death do us part” married. I was bonded and committed. I was also a doormat. And when I think about how *wonderful* it is to be independent, I realize–again–how traumatic that marriage really was.

          “My alone is so good.”

    • I find it funny that even though I value my new marriage greatly (and I appreciate the human experience of a real marriage) I’m also very aware of how much accommodation it takes to have a life partner.

      I genuinely appreciate my spouse, but If I am single again in the future, my partner going forward from that point would have 4 legs and a tail.

  • I love the Christmas-tree metaphor.

    I also appreciate your questions. They seem so simple, yet for someone like me who has spent the better part of her life catering to another’s needs, it’s not. I mean, I forgot what I want and what brings me joy. It’s a slow process to regain that knowledge.

    Thanks, VH.

  • PS….I am sure the traitor I married was “dating” for years before he met the one he left our mirage for. No way was she the first one out of the gate. He is/was also not loyal to her. Neither is worth what they cost. He’s a liar and and cheater and a thief and she is a Casual Encounter from Craigslist with crap for character, a missing moral compass, a drinking problem (aka untreated alcoholism), and serious deep issues. They’re a good match. All that effort for for a downward move. Did he say, “Gee, I’m a cheater and a liar and a thief. I had better spend some time on my own and figure out some shit before I am qualified to be in a committed relationship!” Nope. It’s laughably ironic that the cheaters and their cohorts, who demonstrate the complete lack of relationship skills, are the people in a relationship, and their loyal victims are experiencing the world in terms of partnership as Scarcity Central.
    Well, a relationship can only be as healthy as the people in it, and affairs are dysfunction by definition. There seem to be hordes of humans with very low standards. I don’t want to be a low standard partner so I am in no hurry. There is a lot of very critically important things I have been learning about myself these past three plus years that I NEED to know that I would have not have learned had I been in any kind of relationship. Taking this sabbatical has been essential.

    It’s a wise person who learns from other people’s mistakes. I have no idea if I am wise but I can definitely NOT take a page from his playbook by jumping into the dating pool before completing my homework and healing assignments.

    • Obviously, the way to quickly snag another person after your divorce is to (1) get a head start while you’re married, (2) lower your standards, and (3) include everyone of the appropriate gender, not just the single ones. This often allows you to line up a replacement spouse before your first marriage is even over!

      Since we chumps don’t employ these techniques, it will always take us longer to pair up than it takes the cheaters. That’s not a statement about our relative worth as a partner (compared to the cheater), but about the constraints on our tactics that our ethics impose.

      • Love this! My ex-fuckwit used exactly those three criteria, hunting the halls of the hospital where he worked for months and possibly even years until he found one. She checked all three boxes! What a stroke of fantasy luck! Twu wuv.

    • Velvet Hammer wrote: I am sure the traitor I married was “dating” for years before he met the one he left our mirage for

      I’m sure you meant marriage, but mirage is probably more accurate.

      Thanks for the smile, I needed it today.

      • I think she meant mirage. It is a fairly common term used on CL a lot. Perfect to describe my 20 year marriage too.

        • I registered the word play, and I agree. It’s an apt term for anyone who married or partnered w/a fuckwit to describe that relationship. Looking back, that’s what my almost 25 year marriage seems to have been: a mirage. Now if I could just get the memory of that mirage and the fuckwit XW out of my head. Having to text her information about picking up our son from his aunt and uncle’s summer camp vacation location, where he’ll be spending a week, seems to have mildly triggered me. After texting the FW XW the info late last night, I had a dream about having to deal w/her and her AP. Ugh. Maybe I should have saved the text reply for the morning, and the days events might have eroded some of the trigger effect? I’ll try that next time.😐

      • I meant mirage. It’s how I refer to my “marriage” since finding out it was a sham.

          • Yea, mirage instead of marriage … me too.

            I think he had 3 cells in him that had a conscience and those 3 cells occasionally tried to warn me what the other billion cells were doing. He used to say “you love an image” but never explained what he meant.

            I thought he was accusing me of having a shallow love for him (so I doubled down on love). I now see that he was trying to warn me that he wasn’t what he portrayed himself to be. He was likely dating others from the moment we met onwards.

            Any effort an actual spouse might have put into the actual relationship he expended hiding his betrayals.

            • >He used to say “you love an image” but never explained what he meant.

              Mine did only once. He was really happy about something I said once, and he was like, “Now I can believe that you understand me!” So it’s not fun for them that we love a lie. Of course, he never stopped deceiving me until the discard, so no wonder I was confused.

              • “So it’s not fun for them that we love a lie. ”

                Yea…I think it is at first because it helps them get away with things then if they have moments of decency, they might realize they have done horrific damage.

                When we married, I was an invisible supporter of his, people didn’t even remember meeting me. I worked hard, found my niche and eventually became a well known/respected person in my community. I was asked to give speeches while he sat at the table making sure that the waiter didn’t take my coffee and dessert. I think he was (by then) ashamed that he had a deep, dark closet of terrible sins. He was still a selfish ass, but towards the end, I think he came to hate himself. I remember looking at him and thinking “he looks like a person with a terrible secret”.

    • Velvet Hammer: “Did he say, “Gee, I’m a cheater and a liar and a thief. I had better spend some time on my own and figure out some shit before I am qualified to be in a committed relationship!” Nope.”

      Believe it or not, mine kind of did recognize that he had been really shitty to me as a husband. But he felt that he learned so much from marriage counselling and all the articles I shared with him that he could apply in his affair relationship. That was his self-improvement. He even once said to me that he now knows how to be so much better in a relationship but he would rather start from scratch with someone else instead of applying it to the marriage with me. That was his great enlightenment.

      So, he believed that it was a better use of his time and effort to monkey branch into his affair relationship, which he had been cultivating for 21 months by that point and he would be so much more successful and happier. He left 3.5 years ago and they are still together. I don’t know how they are. She has never met a single member of his family. She’s only seen my kids about a dozen times at all, and their father has only ever called her his friend. She hasn’t met any of his hold friends whose wives are still my friends. He just walked into a whole new life, new scene, new people, but mostly I think it’s a big bubble when they get to be the tragic Romeo and Juliet.

      Not sure that’s improvement on his part or healthy in any way. Thank God he’s not longer in my life and thank God I’m not the woman whose standards are so low that I accept being kept in some man’s double life.

  • After 42 yrs of marriage and sixty yrs old with a obvious disability, I assure you. They are everywhere. I am no beauty, don’t wear makeup, jeans/ T-shirts and mostly, not looking for a mate. I have been asked out and flirted with, often. By married men too, POS. IDK , why? My daughter says, seriously mom! What are you doing, I’m often with her. After five years single, I don’t want to couple again, ever. I’m still getting giddy, realizing, I get to pick or do what I want. I have absolutely no special attributes to attract men. I have found there are many men out there who are lonely. I am not, lonely! I can’t stress enough, build your perfect life, if you meet someone special, great. But you still have a great life.

    • Hcard, my grandmother attracted men to her like honey attracts flies.

      She was married to my grandfather for about 40 years before he literally dropped dead of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s at that time. An old childhood flame showed up. He was a widower and thought that maybe they could get together. Nope. she would have none of it.

      This was common for the rest of her life. She was a grandmother and looked like someone’s grandmother. She had gray hair, done up in that kind of early 60s gramma tight perm. She was short, and her figure was what we would call “matronly.”

      Men her age were swooning over her.

      What she did have was the widest and best smile. Also, she was a kick-ass cook of the old roast plus two veg school (nothing wrong with a great roast and gravy!) and a kick-ass baker. Baking skills get better with age.

  • Several months ago, I threw caution to the wind and (some here might argue prematurely) tossed my dating profile into the online ring. At the time, I was moping and complaining to my therapist that I would NEVER meet anyone. I was depressed. It’s not that I need a man, but I needed to feel hope for the future. I’d moved to a new city during the pandemic and was wallowing.

    I also wanted to experience true love since I never really had that, despite having been married for 35 years.

    I know that a better life won’t simply come to me. I know I have to go out and get it.

    I put very little effort into my online profile–a quick write-up, a few pics (unedited) that I could find in Google photos. I think I figured that I would be less hurt if I didn’t put much effort into it.

    Then I started to get some texts from various men. Many set off red flags (shirtless pics in the gym!), but I did enjoy text exchanges with some, and even met them for “dates,” which, during the pandemic, were outdoor, masked walks in a public park. No touching! #pandemicperk

    I’m happy to report that I actually met several very nice people. It was interesting. No bad experiences.

    Then I saw someone who wrote about his adult daughter’s messy room and his pandemic weight gain. I was taken aback by his honesty and sense of humor so reached out. We hit it off and have been doing things together for four months. He’s funny, kind, well-planted, and financially secure.

    I’m extremely alert to red flags. I’ve had him meet friends and family and asked them to tell me if anything about him hits the wrong nerve. So far, everyone gives him the thumbs up. My sister said, “It’s good to see you laugh again.”

    I’ll never marry again. I will never intertwine finances. I will keep my own place. As I see it, the only risk to me is having my heart torn out and stomped on…again. But, as CL says, my heart was forged in a blast furnace. I think it can take it.

    • My friends egged me on to try internet dating when FW left and eventually I did. I’ve written about this before but the site was called Swissfriends!!!!! (because I was working in Switzerland). I didn’t put a picture because (a) I truly take a terrible picture and (b) I’d spotted colleagues on there so no thanks. But I wrote a funny profile about being “fat 50 and menopausal” etc and got SO MANY replies from men my age (and much younger) saying “thank God for that, someone who isn’t sensual, romantic and loving long walks on the beach”! I met up with about 8 of them (just one weirdo) for drinks or dinner and dated 2 of them (not concurrently of course) – one a millionaire and the other 14 years younger than me and I had fun. In the end I couldn’t be bothered and when a long-time colleague persistently asked me out I gave in and we dated for about 5 years. We’re no longer a couple but still friends (go walking together and tomorrow I’m having lunch with him) but really I’ve decided I’m so much happier on my own why screw that up. We all know there are plenty of FWs out there but seriously, there are plenty of nice guys too! Good luck if you’re looking!

      • Forgot to add, since I still wanted to travel I went on solos travel trips all over the world (have also written about that before). On my second trip to Peru I met Steve, who was living in England (me in France) and we clicked instantly. He came out to me twice and I spent a week with him in England, plus 10 days in Greece together. I think we could have made a go of it that suited both of our needs for independence but sadly he died of cancer two years ago. RIP buddy!

    • I love this! I forgot that CL assured us our hearts were forged in a blast furnace. It’s still so scary – knowing my heart most likely will get stomped on. If nothing else, we are resilient beyond superhuman level.

  • I should also add that his downward move has not gone well for him. It hasn’t turned out as he planned. Damn those people who won’t comply with His Lordship’s expectations! It hasn’t gone as I thought either. Though I am gravely wounded by his actions, I am on an independence high and I have the feeling he is jealous of me.

    No matter how you slice it, the honeymoon wears off, the high stops working, Real Life with Real People Problems sets in, and you gotta Deal With Someone Else’s Shit if you are in a relationship. It feels like a migraine to me that I do not have and it looks to me like he is envious of my freedom from that with which he saddled himself.

    He didn’t read the fine print on the deal
    he made with the Devil when he signed.
    Poor unfortunate “sole mate”.

    😜

    • 👏👏👏👏

      Yay you! I’m pleased on your behalf. My almost-at-meh self hope my own ex is having some oh-shit-what-have-I-done moments.

      The fine print, indeed.

  • I recommend athletic clubs like running and cycling groups.

    Cycling in particular because it’s 90% men, all of the single ones are looking, and it tends to attract a little older crowd (think 40’s and up) because it’s not a cheap hobby.

    I met my bf this way on the 1st day I showed up. There were others that showed interest but he’d already grown on me.

    I’ve seen women join just to meet a guy and then quit once they did. I also know a number of couples who met this way and they’re all comparably aged.

    I also know a guy who joined meet up and met his gf…another guy in his 50’s with a gf in her 50’s. There are meet-up groups that exist just to socialize.

    OLD is a shit show.

    • I second Meetups and clubs. Have fun with people who like what you like. You already have something in common with them. I cycle too and it weeds out the couch potatoes, haha.

      OLD turns my stomach. Its like posting a resume of yourself and each date feels like a job interview. Yuk. Thank God I’ve never done OLD but even meeting women IRL feels like an inquisition sometimes. Within 15 minutes of “casual small talk” they have already determined where I live, what I drive and how I make a living (indicators of wealth), my relationship status and the number and ages of my kids (indicators of my availability), and views about my Ex and family and friends and the world (indicators of my stability). They should work for the FBI.

      So much better to meet people organically.

      • Even organically though, women and men will vet each other. At least if they have any sense.

        I met my now H after I transferred to a new work facility. I liked him, but you can bet I asked questions about his past. Luckily for me my boss grew up in the same area as him, and had known him for a while. She kind of became our match maker as she got to know me.

        Did I want to know about his work, how he treated folks, how his marriage ended, was he financially responsible and stable? You betcha.

        I had good values, so I was not going to date someone who did not.

        I do think it is easier though if you meet them in person either at work or through common interests etc. My h and I talked for several weeks before he asked me out. I am sure he was vetting me too.

  • I was 46 when I was “kicked” into the dating pool. I LOVED being a married man. Never been interested in being a player. I was 46 years old, disabled, two kids with ADHD, and a narcissist/BPD ex wife. I dated a couple of old friends. It didn’t work out. Had a month long vacation planned and booked to Europe. Then my now wife came into the picture. As my friends have told me “you went way outside of the box”. My wife did also, she went outside of her box. We never didn’t think we were ugly when we met, BUT the more we got to know each other the more we were attracted to each other. A person who is beautiful on the inside will be all the more beautiful on the outside.

    I met my wife playing Words With Friends. My wife worked with an ex high school girlfriend of mine. What was a huge turnoff for me was desperate women and women whose basic life was messy. I felt I was thrown into a shark filled pool after my divorce. I was asked on dates the day AFTER my divorce. I was set up for blind dates without asking me. One good way to have male/female companionship is to do things with mixed single groups. I did that through my church. I went on trips, museums, dance classes, and hikes. I got my sea legs back in talking with single women as I was married 24 years.

    Marriage can be harder when you are older because your life is more complicated.

  • Yes, my divorce attorney encouraged me to date at signing and explained what a prenup is. My ex is retired, and I’m still working.

    I said, “Yeah, you tell all your clients that because you believe in love despite your profession.” He celebrated his 40th during my divorce process and seemed to have true love and respect for his wife who was the business manager of the firm. In general, I wasn’t too happy with men then, but could appreciate a handful I knew who were solid individuals like my attorney.

    He said, “No, I say that because you have a lot to offer. A lot of people come through these doors, and I know when I see quality.” It was a crazy divorce, and I guess he did get to know me.

    I’ve had asks, but no one I wanted to spend time with. IMHO, it will be very gradual and someone I’ve known for some time. I have several friends whose whirlwind romances through the apps resulted in difficult marriages because they really didn’t know each other. I don’t want that of course and am not prepared to comb through the duds to find a gem.

    I do have love in my life. I have my dog, my friends, my work, and two adult children who live with me because it works for us. They largely go on with their own lives, but it’s nice to have them around for some meals and when I occasionally need help. They do pay rent and do chores.

    So it works for me!

  • Reading yesterday’s and todays posts brought up many memories for me. I don’t have to call them triggers anymore, because time has passed, and I’ve done a lot of work on my picker. But I am a “girl of the 50’s” and live in the USA. I come from FOO with big dysfunction(s). I can tell you from my point of view we are programmed to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after endings, and that is not healthy.

    Learning that it is not selfish to take care of yourself, and more than ok to have interests you love is a major step in self esteem. We want to be happy, and we have every right to be happy, as long as we are also realistic about the world we live in. I truly believe that people with a strong value system and good thinking skills are rare. Chumps are a minority group, because we believe in commitment. We may agree to different types of terms, within the group, but we all agree a deal is a deal and should be upheld. Unfortunately, I believe the vast majority of people in the world believe a deal is only for the moment it is made, and they can change the terms unilaterally. I wish I was wrong about that, but my age and experience tell me I am right. I would love to be convinced otherwise.

    It does not mean you have to seek out the version of happy you believed in when you were a teenager. Hopefully you learn from life’s experiences, both good and bad, and you BECOME the person you were designed to be. You have a say in how you turn out. It is not all genetics, and predisposition. You can choose to live a life of value. No one knows how many days they have, but when you reach my stage of life, I believe some of us reflect. The things I think I did right, things I value and am proud of now, have nothing to do with possessions. I’ve had many identities — daughter, sibling, lover, spouse, mother, and many work titles. What matters to me are the human connections, and whether I behaved in a way that made my world better, instead of leaving a trail of destruction behind me.

    Other’s may feel differently, but I cannot add successful marriage to my list of accomplishments, and I doubt I ever will. I don’t feel bad about that. I did try, but I did have a faulty picker. My picker is fixed now, but somehow my desire for a spouse has dimmed to the point of faint tinkle (like a little star). I am happy most of the time now, and my life is nothing like I expected it to be. I think that is just fine, because most of my expectations, were not realistic. Fairytales are not real. Living a good life takes effort, not a magic wand or a fairy godmother.

    • Portia, this is one of the smartest things I’ve ever read on this board.

      “I can tell you from my point of view we are programmed to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after endings, and that is not healthy…It does not mean you have to seek out the version of happy you believed in when you were a teenager.”

      I was like that once, and I can trace it back further than the teenage years, back to when I was a grade school kid living in a screwed up family, longing for love and comfort from someone. I attached that longing to the idea of marriage. I would get married someday and I would be loved. That was the idea of an 8-year old that I carried into adulthood, where it warped my life.

      There is no way to fill childhood’s longing for love and comfort in an adult relationship, to fill childhood’s deficits in a marriage. There just isn’t. For me, getting past that involved acknowledging what I missed as a child and discovering the unhealthy assumptions and patterns formed in those early days. Kids in dysfunctional FOO often find ways to compensate for what they experience and what they miss and those compensations might have worked well enough at 6, 12, and 16. But they are no substitute for learning how to have healthy relationships once they are adults. We have to learn about things we failed to learn in childhood and we have to unlearn lots of dysfunctional behaviors, assumptions and “life hacks” that got us by when we were kids. For me, therapy was a key in figuring out this stuff.

      The fairy tale I loved the most as a child was Sleeping Beauty, who lay in an enchanted sleep in a castle until the prince came to wake her up. Think about how dangerous THAT fairy tale is for girls. The Disney version, with it’s three cute fairy godmothers and Maleficent and the dragon, is particularly enchanting.

      • I loved many of the Disney movies as a child, and I read a lot of “Children’s Lit”, even as an adult. I have nothing against fantasy and art and dream worlds, even the song “Someday My Prince Will Come,” as long as you talk about what fantasy is with your children. I’ve never experienced animals actually speaking to me, although some of them were quite good at communicating their needs. I never met a fairy godmother. In my life there were a lot of frogs, but I still haven’t met a prince! Shocking, I know

        LAJ, we lived in different places, and our families had different, but similar dysfunctions, but our experience, our journey, has been amazingly alike. When you long to be loved and comforted, but you have never really experienced that, you feel you are outside the “real” world, looking in. I believe it makes you vulnerable. Fairy tales with unexplained fantasies increase your longing, and offer unrealistic solutions. What I think we both needed, badly, was a sane parent. I had one I am sure was insane and another unable to successfully bridge her FOO dysfunction. I know I tried very hard to become that sane parent, and while I was fixing my picker I believe I became a better parent than I started out being. Therapy, common sense, keeping an open mind, and an observant nature all helped me to evolve into who I am today. It was not an easy journey, but it was a rewarding one. I believe you travelled many of the same paths on your journey, and you kept your compassion. Your advice always targets the heart of the problem at hand. Chumps really need that — they have wasted too much of their precious time on fantasy! We cannot wait for a prince to slay our dragon, we have to develop that skill set by ourselves.

  • This is such a bitter pill for me to swallow. My ex left me for a prostitute. He’s seeing a different woman now, that he’s spending tons of money on—doing things he never did with me, taking her to events, going out at night. He’s cheating on her with the same prostitute. I guess his dance with secrecy continues. He doesn’t want the new girlfriend to know about the hooker (who thinks SHE is his girlfriend). He won’t introduce our kids to either one—the hooker for obvious reasons and the new girlfriend because he’s scared they will tell her about the hooker… he’s already made Thanksgiving plans with the girlfriend. Apparently he never intends to see our children again. He puts on a show to all of his patients that’s he’s a humble doctor of the year… yuck. Meanwhile, I wonder if I will ever meet another companion. I’m moving to the opposite end of the country in 2 weeks to start completely over on a very tight budget. My life as I knew it has been destroyed. From a paid off house on a golf course to a tiny apartment in my 50s with no job skills.

    • Oh, Faithful Rage,

      Good luck with the move! So hard. I hope you and the kids thrive without him. Clearly, he sucks.

      ((hugs))

    • Good luck, Faithful Rage! You’ve got this. Let us know how the move goes.

      Here’s to realizing everything you’ve still got, and building a new life for you and your kids!

  • I’m also in my 50s, was married 25 years to cheater, 4 kids, a very demanding profession, pets, rental properties, a big colorful extended family….a lot of life lived! I loved being married until Dday and despite being devastated by XH’s devalue and discard, I never blamed the tons of available wonderful people in the world for his dysfunction. Most people are good.

    I know many eligible single men. I met my significant other at the YMCA in a HIIT class… he was also going through a hellish divorce from his long-time alcoholic and mentally ill wife. We dated for five + years and slowly grew closer. Last January we got engaged. Enjoying this stage and have no immediate plans for marriage. We signed legal docs keeping all assets separate when we moved in together 3 years ago. Life is grand.

    • “I never blamed the tons of available wonderful people in the world for his dysfunction. Most people are good.”

      I agree. Oh I went through a time when I withdrew, but once I started to heal a bit I started to open myself up.

      My H and I were engaged for two years. I loved that time, sparkly ring. Lots of fun times etc.

      I think had we not had to make some work decisions in terms of relocation; I would have been happy being engaged for another couple years. So far doing great, and still enjoying each other and our family.

  • I feel that the day that the postman delivered my divorce decree, I was baby Jessica out of the well. “Please don’t lower me back in again,” I tell myself.

    There may come a time where the sting and the scent of “burning relationship dumpster fire” is no longer clinging to me, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m just not ready.

    Yep. I can still smell the sulfur of the antichrist.

    And I hope and pray that when I am ready I find somebody in a method other than online dating which seems to be like fishing in the toilet.

    • Back when I went through the discard and D, online dating was just in its infancy. My best friend who was married to another police officer had just gone through her D a couple years prior. She went on a Christian site and as far as I can see, after a few failures the man she met and married is a great guy. They have been going strong for thirty years now.

      Having said that, I was like you; I just didn’t feel like I wanted to go that route. If I met someone organically that was fine. I worked for DoD though, and obviously my chances of meeting men were a lot better than hers.

      I had several that were interested, but I just wasn’t ready. I did meet my now H after transferring to a new facility and a new job. We started dating and indeed we are still together (26 years married, and almost five years before that of dating).

      I think you just know when the time is right. But I spent a lot of time working and taking classes and getting myself stronger.

  • I know there is no shortage of love on our planet. If you want to experience love, be loving and kind. A feels love for a teddy bear, though it is an inanimate object. I had this same feeling for my beloved stuffed animals, and my real animal family members.

    This lesson is completely lost in cheaters and their partners in crime. They are focused on what they are getting. Which is why I don’t want to catch what they have. If I feel lonely and I want the experience of love, the solution is as close and immediate as my own actions toward others….any others.

    Romantic love as the most desirable or only form to me is an error in thinking, and highly overrated.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026

    • TYPO…

      “A CHILD feels love for a teddy bear, though it is an inanimate object.”

      I still deeply love Kittycat, my 57 year old stuffed animal, who would be going with me along with my child and real animals if my house caught fire. Some people are loyal, and other people pretend to be with their dial set to “GET”.

      • I still have a stuffed animal I got as a baby! I’m pondering how our ashes can be mingled so no one else will ever love him as much as I do.

        • My daughter wants Kittycat when I go. I think he may be cremated with her when her time comes, and we are both going to become trees with BioUrns. All of my cats ashes are in exotic wood boxes that correspond to the color of their fur; those boxes will be cremated with me and they’ll go into the BioUrn.

          Or….I may want to donate my body to one of those forensic research facilities where they leave bodies above ground to study decay for forensic research…..

  • Oh God the fish pictures, and the ‘no dramas’ and the ‘what you see is what you get’ and the pics with a toilet behind them, and the pic of their car. However I must disagree, I do like a bit of bio – a picture isn’t enough for me.

    • I was recently joking with a newly single friend about how it seems men read the same article about what to put in a profile and copy it verbatim. There is the picture holding a fish on a boat or just on a boat, the picture with the dog, picture on a motorcycle, picture on a mountain and the bathroom selfie. She laughed and said, “no way.” So, I pulled out my phone to bring up the dating app I was playing around on, and lone and behold, the first guy I brought up had exactly five pictures and they were exactly what I listed. Very entertaining.

      Now I don’t want to disparage all the men out there doing their best, and women are all in the same boat (would love a list of all the typical crap women put out there so that it can help me avoid the same pitfalls), but if there is one piece of advice about the photos…please, please don’t show me your grimy bathroom in a selfie. Try, just a little.

  • I’m a guy that I would hope would count as good (good job, no bad habits, workout a lot, good health, well educated) but I was so damaged by my previous marriage that I just can’t make myself even think about someone.

    A lady I had worked with txt me not so long ago wanting to hang out and catch up on things. We txt back and forth some and I could tell it wouldn’t be a good idea. More drama than I needed. So it could be the good guys are all damaged and scarred from previous experiences. My guard is up super high.

    • Same boat Justin. Same damn boat.

      Im sure hoping that some more therapy and some EMDR will lower my guard a little. Sucks to feel like Im “damaged goods” cause I have this trauma in my life. Certainly not going to subject anyone to the issues I have to deal with now, and that will for sure happen with a new relationship. Which is not fair to anyone involved.

  • Mr. Sparkles abandoned our family for a OW (she was not the only OW through the course of our marriage, just the one that had “more” than his current marriage to me, so he went after it.). When she dumped him, he already had a new flame at the gym lined up (our son used to have to go “visitation” with Dad that included Dad getting in his workout while son played on an iPad and son witnessed Dad’s flirting… good times, but I digress.) Less than about 18 months after dating… the GF and Mr. Sparkles signed a mortgage on a $300K house. Would you do that? (If so, go fix your picker, you’re likely not ready to date.)

    Oh Pascale… it is human nature to want to bond and “mate”… but there is a big life out here to be lived and as a single female chump who hasn’t yet been on a date (though I’ve tried the dating sites) … I just keep on living life. I’ve got a trip to Europe planned for 2022… I’m going to swim with pigs in the Bahamas next month… I’ve got two tickets to a Farm to Fork peach festival dining event and will take a friend if I can’t find a date… GO LIVE… and if you’re doing it right, you’ll likely find you’re too tired to be lonely 🙂

    • Oops. not sure why this popped up here. It was meant for Motherchumper99, but I guess it applies to all of you who are staying vertical and finding love in dogs, cats, gardens, friends, art, or whatever.

      Onwards and upwards, fellow chumps!!!

  • My X has had a relationship with three woman that I know of while we were married. The first was an emotional affair with an old girlfriend while our kids were going crazy with drugs and I was trying to “save” them and dealing with the grief of losing 2 siblings and a nephew. The other two were after he filed for divorce. I had left him after hearing his “therapeutic sexual disclosure” in his counselors office. I learned then what I had been married to was not the man I was in love with for 35 years. It shattered me. The women he was with seem like good women. (the one who emotionally cheated on her husband with my husband while we were not getting a divorce must have some character issues). The other two dated him while we were still married but getting divorced. I think dating while divorcing is wrong but many don’t. He has been with the last one for a year and they seem very much in love. I feel like damaged goods. Old, fat, and broken. I hate it. I want to at least get to the point of living again. Dating seems impossible.

    • He seemed very much in love with you once, too, right?
      He is not who he seems and his feelings are not what they seem. That poor woman will find out.

      You don’t have to date. Obviously, if you feel broken, there’s a ton of healing to do before you can even consider it. I hope you get there, ChumpyChumpy.

    • ChumpyChumpy, if I may, I would like to suggest a different take on “old, fat, and broken,” particularly because you said you “hate it.”

      I’m old too but it’s not a bad thing: good friends of mine died young. Being old is a pretty good alternative to being dead. Also, in some cultures, age is revered. Elders are valued. I’m much wiser now and definitely wouldn’t want to go back to being younger but much stupider. Remember when you knew much less about life? Experience and wisdom are yours now because you’ve lived as long as you have.

      I’m overweight but I’ve lost about 20 pounds since my divorce over a year ago. Still have more to lose but I like who I am and anyone who shares MY values doesn’t judge someone based on their weight but rather on the quality of their character. I have people in my life of all shapes and sizes – I’m guessing you do too and you know that’s a sign being able to value what’s truly important and being able to love the person not the package.

      I’m a tree-hugger: I love trees and in bad weather they are more likely to bend than break. If you’re still functioning, you’re not really broken. Maybe a little bent, but like the rest of us chumps, you have survived a hurricane. I think it’s more correct to say the storm roughed you up but you are still standing. You will heal. With love and support from family and/or friends and by being kind and gentle with yourself, you will get stronger; it DOES get better. You will “get to the point of living again.”

      Sending you chumpy hugs (((ChumpyChumpy)))

  • Once I decided I don’t want another romantic relationship I felt a shift in my attitude. Somehow it was freeing and a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Just not having that burden of “I have to find someone” really helped. I have zero desire to have a romantic partner and can completely see myself being happy like this for the rest of my life (I’m 51). I’m finally working on my career, my kids won’t be out of high school for 4 years, I have several hobbies and two cats and interact with my university students (during class) who are awesome. I DO miss other humans though. I had to get rid of ALL of my family (toxic) and all of my “close” friends (also toxic). So maybe once the world is more interactive I’ll try “meetup” and do some social things with other humans again. Other than that I’m tired from years of cleaning up the Ex’s messes (physical and psychological), and have very little interest in taking care of anybody but me and my two kids.

    • Oh I’d forgotten that. I was just exhausted from being beaten up (literally) and being his chaos janiter so I’m absolutely never going to do that again!

  • This is very timely for me. My divorce is not yet done and seems to be dragging out by stbx.
    I have to say I long for a man in my life and would be fine with someone just to go out and do things with. I’m not looking for a hook up. I enjoy the company of men and have some male friends.
    That being said I met two men who I would have been fine being friends with but they both just wanted a sexual fling so they are gone. These men were 64 years old and it surprised me. Naive I have been.
    I need to spend more time fixing my picker and loving me because I ignored all kinds of red flags with these guys before it ended.
    I believe there are good men out there but for me I seem to do a good job of attracting the wrong ones.
    So maybe it’s just too soon for me to wander into that dating world.
    I’m interested in other’s experiences.

  • I’m grateful I got lucky and found a real sweetheart, but I hear the “no good men” complaint frequently.

    Since finding myself suddenly single, my social circle consists mostly of outdoorsy single/divorced groups. On some gatherings its as high as 90% women, which you think would breed a little bit of humility. Yet I know many “mature” women carrying around the same shopping list they had in their 20’s (the standard 6-feet, 6-figures, 6-pack, 6-inches flaccid… of which <1% of men qualify) and unwilling to "settle". Expectations are way out of whack, even the 5's think they "deserve" 10's it's crazy. BTW these "top" men are often the assholes women complain about. Why? Because they can be! They are spoiled for choice. Every women swipes right on them!

    If you are 50s/60s and terminally single, maybe its time to "settle" just a bit. It's not about LOWERING your standards, its about an honest assessment of what you yourself bring to the table. Try giving a 5'6" balding guy with a dad-bod and a blue-collar job a chance. They might surprise you by being the "good man" you seek. Happy hunting!

    • Yes, height in particular is a good one to compromise on, when setting the online match parameters. Men my height or just an inch or two taller work a lot harder on personality, values and achievements than the super tall guys! Also, when setting the online match search filters, you can set them for professional groups that tend to have more men than women, such as military, law enforcement, high tech, construction, etc, to improve your odds. I also found it helpful to get professional makeover advice and actually follow it–for example my face shape has changed a lot with aging, so I needed advice to adapt my hair and make-up, and my clothes became more flattering when I stopped following certain new fashion trends. But what helped the most was joining things I like anyway, like community choruses or theatre or political action groups, then inviting the women and men I wanted as friends to dinners and parties I gave. I asked them to bring their own friends and partners, and introduced folks to each other. After a while people started doing the same for me, but even if they had not, I had a really good time! Like Chumplady says, do what gives you joy, and look for joyful people to do it with.

    • That list, goes BOTH ways Quantum.

      I’m 42, a size 2, and have a solid career, hobbies and such, and a 53 year old “dad bod” in between careers potential suitor told me I was: “Interesting, easy to talk to and kind, but a little TOO OLD and a bit too TUBBY” for his taste.

      • Wow. Never met a “tubby” size 2! LOL.
        I’m sure today’s over-inflated ego entitlement thinking runs in both genders. As a guy I just notice one side more than the other. I hear women loudly and proudly proclaim the 666 requirements. But if I proclaimed I only date “under 110 pound, gravity-defying D-cupped blond bikini models with trust-funds”, I’d be excoriated as a shallow misogynistic pig! Crazy world.

        • I’ve been thinking and maybe those women are loud with the crazy “6” wishlist, because they are getting crazy entitled expectations from men. They think well I’ll never be the 6ft 100lb glamazon blond trustfund baby, so here’s a crazy list back at ya bud.

          Or maybe they just suck. 🤷‍♀️

            • I read it up thread. A man who is 6 ft tall, with a six figure annual salary, with six pack abs and a six inch penis, flaccid. Actually 6/6/6/6
              You guys and gals 😂 with your humor !

      • Wtf 😳 Mr. Unemployed Dad Bod announcing that you (a size 2 !) are “tubby” ! Plus you’re eleven years younger and “too old”. It reads like he wrote this kiss off rather than telling you in person. Too bad because I would have burst out laughing in his face. What a delusional tool 🤪

  • I so needed today’s post. I am now 46. Divorce finally June 6, 2018. Ex was cheating for a year and a half with someone 15 years younger. His best friend was also cheating decided it was a good idea to set my ex up with his AP’s niece. He stayed with his wife who found out before I did. I stayed through two reconciliations and set my ex free after the third finding. My friend decided to stay with her husband and two weeks after the third finding of my ex my friend went out with her husband, my husband at the time and the AP. I lost my friend during this time as well. The pain was almost unbearable. I still to this day can not 100% get over this but life moved on. My ex-friend ended up divorcing because her husband kept cheating with the same person. They all just went underground. My ex-friend still this day hangs with my ex-husband and his AP even though it was her aunt that cheated with my friend’s husband. Soooo messed up!!! Point is, I am now 46. I have not tried to date at all to this day. I am finding peace with my two boys, great friends and work. I am scared to even try. Being alone is secure for me. Am I the only that feels this way?

  • I also suggest attending Meetups. It’s a web site of clubs that anyone can participate in or start their own. There are groups for hikers, music lovers, left-handed crochet… It is for meeting up with people with like interests. It is NOT a dating site but I found many active fun-loving singles in my area. (Those married folk are so boring, LOL.) I was apprehensive at first, and sure I was going to die alone (and still might) but I decided I may as well go out with a smile on my face. I did meet a lovely lady friend in my travels, but again it is not a dating site. But when you hang out with like-minded folks, who knows what can happen?

    • This is what I’ve done is join some meet up groups. I’m going to dinner and dancing with a group this weekend. I’m nervous but I could use the socialization. I went with this group once before and liked the fact there was no pressure to hook up. We just had a good time dancing.
      Before I met one man in person after chatting and texting then talking on the phone I thought he was a nice guy and I could at least make friends with him if it did not go anywhere. But after meeting him once in person he texted me how disappointed he was that I did not proposition him. Then he ghosted me.
      I think you are really lucky if you have been able to meet someone online that you can establish some type of relationship with.

  • Whatever anyone ends up doing to meet a new partner, please be very careful when online dating. Even the most well-adjusted of people I know have had some terrible experiences with online dating. It’s people shopping, mostly, and that leads to all sorts of problems. Much better to join groups with like-minded people and attend activities and social events and see what happens. Say “yes” to invitations to go places and try new things.

    My current partner is an old boyfriend from decades ago, so I was thankfully spared “dating.” Although, I just wouldn’t have done it. I might have, eventually, been open to meeting someone organically and seeing what happened. But even that requires time and energy and, per CL’s wise advice, after my divorce I opted to spend almost all of my time and energy on my kid, my career, my home, and my immediate family.

  • I am separated for 3 years now and divorced for two. I had a number of dates – online dating and women I met in real life. I had a couple of short relationships with some really wonderful women – but after an initial dating period , they talked about having babies. And I respect that , but I have two young kids from my marriage who I adore. I have ended those relationships and realized that I am traumatized from my marriage and divorce. This may make me look incredibly shallow but I just can’t see myself trusting and committing to a woman anymore to a degree that I would have another child.
    For now I have opted to be single which on balance seems to be better for me than having a relationship with someone whose expectations I can’t fulfill. I love the company of a partner, but if they want to take the next step, I would just disappoint them.

    • You are doing the moral thing, not being shallow at all. If only our fuckwits had the honesty to face their inability to commit to us and the decency to not subject us to being hurt by it.
      Good for you for commiting to doing no harm. 👏

    • There’s nothing wrong with stating your boundaries, in your case not desiring any more children.

      One of my mother’s friends divorced her husband after raising her two sons, one with Asperger’s. This was couple of decades ago when there wasn’t much support for children on the spectrum. Her second husband (15 years younger) had a son from his first marriage and son’s mother had some problems. H. made it very clear to C. that she was done mothering and wanted to focus on her career. C. and C’s son’s mother would have to figure it out.
      It was very telling 🚩 that the man I was dating at the time took great offense at this. Glad I paid attention.

    • I usually put it up front that I’m not keen on having children. I went through years of fertility treatments for FW’s only goal to have a biological child and now pretty much done with that. I had a guy try to convince me that it’s not what I really want and that I’ve given up. Liked the guy but recognised this was a red flag. Another guy didn’t want more kids, has 3 from 2 previous marriages. But ‘sexual chemistry’ is high priority for him in his next partner. So bid adieu to him as well. Learning a lot about what I want from talking to people, though. I realised I need to be single for a while as well.

  • I met my guy on Match.com. He’s a wonderful man. I had to wade through a few bad ones, and I had some not so great dates, and then we met and we’ve been together ever since.

  • I recently got National Geographic’s “Destinations of a Lifetime” book. It’s an instant bucket list for 20.00. There are a number of similar books in their “….of a Lifetime” series. I have recently entered a phase in my infidelity recovery where I don’t even feel like I have time for a relationship. There is a lot I want to do that fell by the wayside because for years I was pouring energy, unreciprocated, into a black hole of a marriage. I have an urge to make up for lost time doing those things and so far my visions don’t include a partner. I often feel really scared but I don’t feel like finding someone is the answer for that. That is is great place for me to be and I am really enjoying it.

  • There are lots of good guys out there.

    Online dating is the most common way to meet one. You have to have a thick skin to date; some you won’t care for, others won’t care for you. MeetUps are good as well.

    I suggest having a list of criteria. For me must have’s were: employed, kind to strangers/wait staff, has friends, financially stable, a good relationship with at least most of his family, looks after his health, doesn’t bash his ex constantly.

  • Here’s some data on single people from a reputable source which may be of interest: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/08/20/a-profile-of-single-americans/

    FWIW, I somewhat disagree with Chump Lady on this one; I think we 50+ women have a choice of finding happiness without a relationship (agree with her on that!) or “settling for” someone 15+ years older to have a relationship with. I think the demographics of remarriage statistics show that women over 50 tend to remain single, while men remarry, and usually with a much younger wife (because they can). Of course there are exceptions to this, and if you are lucky to be one, acknowledge your exceptionalism and be grateful. (I don’t think I am that exceptional and have a terrible picker, so I have withdrawn from the dating pool and am working on happiness outside of relationships.) But I think Chump Lady is wrong to ignore the “baggage” that previously married people (whether chumped, “normally” divorced or widowed) bring to the table (reading between the lines, I gather that Mr. Chump Lady was never previously married). And she was likely 2 decades younger than the 50+ year old letter writer.

    • That’s interesting data DH. Thanks.
      Mr CL is a previous chump, in his first ‘mirage’ His wife was a pretty bad wingnut, too, as I remember. And Chumplady was 40, when she was last chumped. Or maybe a little older.
      We can get chumped at all ages, as we know! The deception hurts at whatever age we are.
      As far as the baggage, I try to just think of it as living life, and learning lessons, because I really don’t want what X did to me, to color my world view. I’ve always been a hopeful person, who loves people, and I’d like to stay that way!

    • DH, Mr. CL was married 22 years to a serial cheater. When we met, I was 42 and he was 45. We both have “baggage” — and kids. I don’t think mid-life remarriage is particularly unique. I have a friend who remarried at 72 and my former boss remarried at 87 (the groom was 92! and they’re still having adventures). I’m not saying there aren’t demographic challenges, but who knows what life will present you with?

      • A classic movie to watch from ‘89 “Shirley Valentine”. Tired of being an overlooked wife appliance ,who talks to herself because nobody listens to her, goes on vacay with a girlfriend. And finds herself in midlife.

  • >