Dating, Life, Love

Adventures in Dating Part 1: Laying the Foundation

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I have been mostly single since my divorce in 2010, minus a couple short lived exceptions. I never wanted to introduce my children to a bunch of men when they were young and then have it not work out so I kept most of my (almost non existent) dating life separate from my family life. My last relationship was 4 years ago and it scared me away from trying again due to the volatility of that situation. After only 6 months of dating that man, I had to take a huge step back to evaluate what happened to me and why I attracted that type of person. I listened to several audiobooks about psychology, love and how our past traumas and childhood plays a big role in the type of person you are attracted to. I learned about attachment styles, the male brain (&) the female brain among many other personal development topics. I came to understand that relationship as my rock bottom and I knew that if I was going to find the right person worth committing to and ever put myself in another vulnerable situation then I needed to do the work and make sure I was prepared. After many years of growth and discovering who I really am at my core and what I want out of a partner, I finally feel the urge & confidence to seek him. This year I’ve felt compelled to cast my net as far & wide to see what fish are out there. The saying goes that “what you seek is seeking you” and I feel a tugging in my heart. I plan to go on many dates and assume I will need to kiss a lot of frogs to find my King. Yes, I said “King” and not “Prince” because I know that I am not a Princess and what I need is a strong man to meet me in my Queendom. 

I decided to put more effort into online dating and have built up 3 profiles on different dating sites to see which one works best for me and also because I know that in order to find my man I need to take steps towards him. Maybe I’ll meet him in real life but at least this is my signal to the Universe that I am open. I set up a profile on Meet Mindful as it seems to be more geared towards people who want to live mindfully, health conscious and spiritual lives. However I’ve not had much luck interacting with people on that platform. Possibly because these people are also trying to be present in their lives and thus don’t spend a lot of time in the virtual world. It’s also hard to tell whether we have the same views on important topics that could be deal breakers. The site allows you to program your match preferences for things like height, age, religion, diet, education and a few other categories however there is no way of telling whether you’d agree or disagree on fundamental issues.

I also set up an account on OK Cupid. The site allows you to answer many questions on a variety of topics like political views, current events, likes and dislikes along with allowing you to rate the importance of that topic. You are matched based on how many things you agree on and whether those things are more or less important to you in a relationship. I made sure to answer a LOT of questions to really be clear about who I am and what is important to me. You also have the ability to select criteria like age, heigh & location similar to Meet Mindful. To avoid wasting time reading a bunch of dead end profiles, I have worked out a process for scrubbing potential matches; First I will only humor men who are a 90% match or above. If they pass the initial “cute/hot/attractive” test based on their profile pictures, then I will go one step further and click on the match percentile link to review the things we *disagree* on to make sure there aren’t any firm deal breakers. One thing I often run into that is a deal breaker for me is someone who is sold on the mask/lockdown/vaccine approach to Covid. Not to diminish the pandemic but I am very clear that I want a person who values building their immune system & personal responsibility over pharmaceutical drugs and government mandates. I also shy away from men who don’t like children or animals because I don’t know how any reasonable person doesn’t like them! If I get the impression that they are immature or full time partiers that will also deter me. I have spent enough time in the party scene to know that is NOT the person I am looking for. Finally, I can’t handle the “Woke” culture so anyone who is overly liberal and convinced that America is a racist, awful country is not workable as I love my country and am honored to be here. I have come to realize that despite being socially liberal (classic liberal) I am fiscally conservative and I believe in God, Spirituality and the individual over the Government, tribalism and bureaucratic science. I am NOT a Communist nor Socialist but I do care about volunteering, sustainability and locally managed social programs that help our communities. I certainly don’t fall into any political box and I am seeking someone who is a bit more open to alternative ideas. 

The last dating site that I created a profile on is eHarmony. They seem to focus more attention on the compatibility levels between people and use psychology to get to the root of what builds a successful and long term relationship. They ask questions more aligned to how you are within a partnership, your love languages, personality traits, attachment & relationship styles. What I gather from this site is that it’s good for people who are seeking a long term & committed relationship or marriage and family building. The only downside is that you have to put a lot of skin in the game. In order to even see a potential matches profile & pictures you have to be a paid member and it’s rather expensive. For example, Meet Mindful was $50 for 3 months of membership. OK Cupid was $30 for the first month and $60 every month after (or you can do an annual subscription that has some savings). eHarmony is more based on the length of commitment as it requires a minimum of 6 months at $42 per month (or $250 for 6 months and $350 for a year). For now I decided to start with the cheaper short term commitment sites to see how I like them and will consider eHarmony later. 

OK Cupid seems to be working for me the most. I’ve only been on the site for 2 weeks but so far have made a handful of connections and have had 3 in person meet ups. The first man I met is a 96% match and we get along great! He is a lot of fun to be around and we seem to agree on so many things and the conversation flows very well. I wasn’t sure if I was attracted to him at first but mostly because he asked me to meet him at a local dive bar and the setting was not exactly my cup of tea. During dinner we got to know each other more and found a lot of commonalities so he became more attractive to me. We have hung out twice now and both times were a blast! He met my friends and fits in well with them which is important to me. The only possible Red Flag is that he’s slightly younger than me and I tend to be mature for my age. I am looking for a man who is very emotionally intelligent and is fully established in his life. This isn’t a deal breaker and so far I enjoy his company enough to see how things play out. He also lied on his profile about being a smoker and that has always been a hard “no” for me, although I have dated men who vape and smoke on occasion. It’s not something I will be able to tolerate long term as it makes me sick to be around. When I asked him why he lied he said because A) He is trying to quit and wants to be around good influences who don’t smoke and B) Most women won’t even give him the time of day if he admits this. I do understand addiction is hard and to be fair, I didn’t disclose the fact that I have children. Not to “hide” that part of myself but I also don’t know that I want to attract other parents with young children. I am not closed off to the idea and I actually adore children… It’s more that I have taken care of people my whole life and I am at a point where as my responsibilities with my kids lessen and they get older, I have a strong desire to travel and be free for a little while. I’m not exactly looking to build another family or raise more kids..However I’m not opposed and always saw myself having a girl, even if she wasn’t mine. I feel like this is something to reveal in person with some added context. I also don’t want any man to think I need a father figure as my kids already have a dad. I want my man to be kind to my kids and get to know them while not trying to be their father figure. 

My second date was with a guy who upon meeting clearly lied about his height… and not just a little, a whole 4 inches! We met in a park to play with his dog and he proceeded to tell me all the things wrong with him and said multiple times that he is boring and his life is basically all about his dog. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs but if the only thing you do everyday is walk your dog and then go home to your apartment I can tell you right now that I would suffocate in that dynamic. He also smelled potent like he wasn’t even trying to impress me and had gone on a hike with his dog earlier that day. There was zero attraction or chemistry so I kindly told him I was cold and he walked me to my car. Word to those meeting a date for the first time; maybe try to tell your date the interesting things about yourself first and not bore them(?). Also if there is no time to shower, try deodorant!

The 3rd date was interesting because I found myself thinking about the date I had the night before with the 1st guy and how much fun we’ve had the last 2 dates… I wondered if this 3rd guy would be as much of a bore as the 2nd and was almost dreading the meet up. Upon first sight all I thought (and said) was “Ohh, you’re handsome!”. He was dressed casual with a button up top and jeans but smelled nice and had a warm smile. He hugged me and I could feel he was very strong. He also came to pick me up and got out of the car to come to my door which I liked. He has a nice (and clean) car. He paid for my drinks without even allowing me to try and he was quite the gentleman. For the record chivalry is NOT dead! The conversation started slow at first but as we got more comfortable I realized he is very thoughtful and deep. He asks a lot of great questions and wants to know who I am at my core. We talked about our past relationships, careers, childhoods and more. I felt that he was much more mature than my younger date and has established his life & career to a point that I feel he could add balance & stability to my life. He basically hits everything on my list and the physical connection is equally as strong as the mental one, if not more so. The only possible Red Flag is whether he will understand my artist lifestyle as he is in functional medicine and seems to be very healthy. I like to be 95% on point with my goals, career and healthy lifestyle however every couple weeks or so I like to let loose, stay up late and party! I wonder if he will fit into that dynamic or if he’ll be the partner that stays home while I go out. He seems to be open to new things and asked me a lot about Burning Man along with letting me take him to a local college bar and gay bar just to try something new… So I feel good about it and truthfully have had a smile on my face since our date. At this time I know that I can’t settle too fast and need to continue to meet more people and let things develop naturally. I will say however that he is not shy to tell me how much he likes me and it’s refreshing to meet a man I can connect with on multiple levels, who is not afraid of expressing feelings and who is actually available. I’ve heard there are a few other dating sites worth looking into, which I will. I am in no hurry and nothing good ever came easy 😉 For now I am single and just enjoying my freedom!

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