Thursday, June 19, 2014

From Pariah to Pressure

Do I dare say it?  I have a boyfriend.  A real live, don't have to say things like 'someone I am seeing/having sex with', boyfriend.  He is someone who holds my hand in public, fixes things in my house, makes plans ahead of time and even willingly meets my parents.  He has friended my friends on FaceBook and I have friended his.  If that's not commitment, I don't know what is.

And with this new found boyfriend, I have suddenly gone from pariah in the eyes of my married friends back to acceptable.  Dinner plans for parties of six are arranged and nights out with other couples are scheduled.  I am no longer the third wheel.  I have let the realm of the uncomfortable single friend who may make conversation and seating awkward.  I am back in.  I am part of a team.  The team of couples.

But as fun as it is to be welcomed back into the fold, the joy is only briefly lived.  On a recent fantastic trip that my boyfriend took me on to a fabulous Caribbean Island, I began to realize it wasn't enough for us to just be together, basking in our happiness.  No, those married couples would not accept that kind of instability.  No longer single but still not married, were are in limbo.  A limbo that is clearly not ok.

Several times on the vacation I was introduced as the wife.  Not clear on the etiquette, I was unsure whether to correct the person or let it lie.  What I learned was every time I corrected it, I was then asked how long we had been dating and when we thought we would be getting married.  Sigh.  At first it was funny.  We would look at each other and laugh as people introduced me as the fiance but then it became grating.

In order to be accepted back into coupledom do we have to be married?  And do these married couples think that asking when we are getting married is both appropriate and not at all uncomfortable.  Should I start asking when they think they'll get divorced?  When do they think they'll have their first affair?  It isn't as if they are asking us what time is dinner.  They are asking us to commit to a life together in a time frame that they feel is appropriate.

Well dammit, it took me six long years to find a man who I didn't give an awkwardly appropriate nickname to and thus doom to being a short term thing.  So I am not going to live by the arbitrary couples rules that say I have to set a time limit for when my relationship goes from couple to married.  Let me bask in my happiness.  I have someone to go to movies with me, be my plus one and prevent me from being set up on horrible blind dates.  Let me be the fifth and six at dinner.  Let me have someone to go out with on a Saturday night that doesn't have boobs and bitch about being single.  Let me enjoy the boyfriend stage.

Because after all I am divorced and not married.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Times, they are changing.

I have been separated and divorced for over five years.  I have been dating for four and a half of those years.  I took a one year break after my ex-husband moved (was physically pushed) out of the house.  I have been writing about my dating life since the start of my post-marriage single life.  I have written about the bad, creepy and weird dates and sometimes written about the good relationships, after they ended and probably pissed me off.  It has been a fun ride.  I have met the most interesting, crazy, immature and completely self-involved men.

But something has happened.  Something good and unexpected.  I have met someone that is neither completely gross nor mentally unstable.  He is not insecure nor is he emotionally stunted.  He isn't looking for the next girl that might be better than me.  And he makes me laugh.  But most of all he likes me and I like him.  So now what?

How do I proceed?  How do I do a relationship post-divorce with custody schedules, work schedules, a crazy ex-husband and a mother that is just waiting for a marriage proposal and is determined to make it happen in her life time?  Well, I guess the answer is plunge in head first, goggles on, and just see what happens.

It is a hard world for divorcees who want to have a semblance of a normal relationship.  First there is the custody issue.  Should you and your potential suitor have your children on opposing weekends, just end it now.  You will never see each other.  The average man has his children every other weekend and Wednesdays.  Do the math.  If you have opposite weekends and the woman is free on Wednesdays and the man isn't that leaves....well you will never see each other.  If you happen to have the same weekend free, don't forget that your children will have events on those weekends that require your attendance.  Until you have introduced your new beau, this will keep you two apart.  Dating while divorced and with children is a lesson is dedication and patience.

My dating life is also plagued by a Jewish mother.  My mother has not so secretly been sure that my lack of makeup, sarcastic mouth and overall inability to choose a decent man will forever keep me alone.  So when this new man entered my life, I waited till I was sure he was not completely crazy, before I told her about him.  When I did, she asked for his full stats.  She had to google him after all.  He met her requirements:  breathing, Jewish, male and seemed to tolerate me.  Then came the big meet.  My mother avoided all eye contact with my beau.  Why?  If she scared him off I would be doomed to be the crazy cat lady.  Afterward he asked me what was wrong with my mother.  Where to begin?

So now what?  My friends have met him, my mother has met him.  Oh yeah - my kids.  That will come.

I have navigated many a bad date and relationship.  Now this is a good one.  I am not sure how to proceed. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  For the crazy to emerge.  I have no idea what the path is and how to walk on it.  In my twenties every relationship was focused on the end goal of marriage.  What do post-divorce relationships focus on - beside sex.  Is marriage the end game?  Or do we just move in together and live happily ever after?  And what do you call someone who you are dating post-divorce?  Boyfriend seems so high school.  Friend is too casual.  Special friend is just plain weird.

Navigating these waters is a new experience.  Past relationships and traumas, baggage from marriages, children and exes all play a role in the future.  But it is nice to be happy.  So happy I will remain.  Because after all I am divorced and single.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I've fallen and I can't remove my penis.

So it is no secret that I am in my 40's and divorced.  And it is no secret that while I have been sent dick pics from younger men and perhaps engaged in phone sex with younger men, I have never actually dated younger men.  Let's clarify.  Sure I have gone out with men that are younger than me, but only a year or two at most.  The 20-something boy toy has never held any appeal for me.  They may be young, virile and able to recover in a ridiculously short amount of time but they are still only 20-something.  This means they are inexperienced, self involved and focused on the end game not the subtleties of the warm up.  And they also speak. More importantly they are at a different stage of life that I have already lived.

But on my many dates with age appropriate men, I have seen a pattern when it comes to younger women.  Most of the men have, at some time or another, dated a woman who could qualify in age as their daughter.  And most of them, in fact almost all of them, profess to dislike dating younger women.  They wax on about how it doesn't satisfy their needs.  I call bullshit.

I recently lived this phenomena.  A man I had been seeing (ok sleeping with on a regular basis and not much more) told me how he had no interest in younger women.  He went on and on about how younger women were at a different period in their lives and he could not relate to them.  All this was tempered by the fact that like most men, divorced and in their 40's and 50's, he came with baggage.  It's hard to tell if his baggage started way back in middle school or was solely brought on by his marriage, but his deep seeded insecurity was tangible.  His need to be in the 'popular' group of divorcees running around these parts was a huge turn off.  His bragging about being in some inner circle of self-involved suburban Philadelphians was laughable. But his constant diatribe about older men dating younger women was the most amusing.  Why?  Because listening to this seemingly successful, pulled together man talk about his willingness to put up with crazy women, and relationships in order to remain in the good graces of the popular group, made it almost inevitable that he would end up in bed with a woman much younger than him. His insecure ego demanded it.

All these younger women have to do is bat their eyelashes at a slightly paunchy, insecure divorced man in his 40's and they come running.  These men can't believe their luck.  This attractive 20-something woman likes them.  These men are unable to see past the tight bodies and perky boobs to what really is happening.  The 20-something either has some serious Daddy issues, thinks the man is rich, or wants to be taken care of.  Mostly it is probably all of the above.  Eventually though, the 20-something wants more and the man, who probably has kids and a vasectomy, is thrown to the wind.

And here is where my story continues.  Because the man I am talking about slipped and fell into a 20-something.  And he wasn't man enough to tell me about it.  But the world of dating in suburban Philadelphia is very small and word travels fast.  So when I confronted him about this new conquest,  his response was 'I wasn't with her when I was with you'.  No, I am pretty sure you weren't, because I would have remembered that threesome.  I cut communication, cause really who needs to deal with that, but as expected he did not go away.  Days later I got an email from this man, saying he didn't want me to find out the way I did.  I read it as "I really didn't want you to find out at all'.  He then went on to say he really wanted to have 'meaningful contact' with me which I am guessing meant that he still wanted to have sex with me.  No thanks.

And now, although he is still with this young nubile lady, he is actively looking for his next woman, age appropriate or not.  I would like to tell this young naive woman that she is a short lived dalliance but I won't.  She'll find out soon enough.  Because rarely do these May/December relationships last. Eventually the 20-something wants marriage and a family and the 40's something wants retirement and Viagra.  It's doomed.  So when on a date with a man in his 40' or 50's who gabs on about his revulsion at dating a woman young enough to be his daughter, the correct response may be 'methinks thou dost protest too much'.  Once they are divorced, many men see it as their right and duty to bed a younger woman, if not to stroke their own insecure ego but also to show off to their still married friends.  It's a right of passage.  So perhaps the plan is to ask, 'Have you already bedded your 20-something yet?' at the beginning of every date.  Clarifying this may lead to a lot less hurt and heartache.  This is my PSA to all the single ladies out there.