, you make me cry

I was ready.

I mean it, ready.

Two years out of a divorce. Lessons learned. Progress made. Ready to try to fit someone into this crazy life.

If you know me, you know I hate online dating. I’ve been clear about that already.

But I also know that with a schedule and locale like mine, meeting anyone besides small children, teens and their married parents gets a bit tough. These tend to be the people by whom I am surrounded.

And given that none of those folks are going to keep me warm at night and put up with me into old age on a one-to-one basis, I figured I had best cast my net a bit wider.

If I could force each of my friends to round up one suitable suitor and present him to me, I certainly would. Chances for a great match are pretty good that way. Life, alas, does not work that way. Most of us get married and stay that way into our middle age.

Sans coercion of friends far and wide, online dating seemed the logical route.

I was loath to try it again but promised myself I was in a different place and would keep an open mind.

Which I did. Until about 12 hours in.

When I burst into tears.

Hello card with heart bokeh backgroundMy friends tell me I’m nuts. I burst into tears because I was overwhelmed by the response to my profile. They think the flurry should make me happy. And it would. If these men were anything remotely close to those I love and respect.

Out of the many men that reached out, I saw one that seemed like he might be a kindred spirit.

One. Who faved me and then went radio silent after I emailed him.

One out of . . .  well, a lot. Just not a lot who seem to run in my circles. Who seem to have much in common with me other than the fact that they would like to have a love life again.

Do they just look at the photos? And not read the clues in my profile?

I’m thinking so, as I get headlines from them that speak only to what they like about the way I look.

Now before you tell me I’m being too picky, listen up Bucko.

I’m not.

I just know some things at this point in my life.

Like . . .

If you’re wearing a gold chain or flashy ring of any sort, we will not have great, intelligent, engaged conversation. If, at the end of that chain, is a medallion depicting a mermaid, an Italian horn, a money symbol or an astrological sign, we won’t have any conversation at all.

If you are on a motorcycle with beer or whiskey bottle in hand in your pic, we will not meet. Not even virtually. I respect your right to burn rubber—just nowhere near me. “Two on a hog” is not my Saturday afternoon motto. And I hung up my chaps after a recent horseback riding stint in California.

If you live states away, why are you contacting me? I can barely find time for Friday night wine or Sunday AM coffee with someone local, let alone an interstate commute.

If you like to dress up like a pro football player every time you watch your team play, we probably will not have a lot in common. I do not wear a tutu when seeing Martha Graham’s old-school takes.

If one more of you tells me you just want a woman who is “fun” to “go on an adventure” with you, I will gag. So many of you want to rediscover the youth you lost and you’re quite sure your ex-wife stole it from you. Let me tell you something—she doesn’t have it. And my job in life right now is to raise two young men and make a living. Making you feel young again is not on my chore list. Having fun together? That’s ok. Helping you feel anything but middle-aged? Not so much. Newsflash: we are middle aged. Act like it.

I like college degrees and have an advanced one. Chances are, if you work in a factory on the night shift, we will not have a lot in common. That’s not snobbery; it’s just common sense.

I like a modicum of success. That can mean you’re a wealthy investment banker or a rock star teacher. But show me you figured something out.

I don’t like cutesy comments about women who wear capri pants or carry an extra 10 pounds. You’re talking about some of my best friends there. They are married to men who seem to care less about the pounds and capri pants than more important things.

And now, after that bout of crankiness, here’s what the tears came down to: most of these men make me miss my ex.

There. I said it.

Not my ex in his last few years with me. But my ex as I fell in love with him.

Kind. Caring. Intelligent. Loved boxing and a good cigar but also art museums and classical music. Looked delightfully nerdy and handsome all at once when reading a good book with his specs on. Brought me flowers and appreciated my fledgling attempts at gourmet meals. Talked politics and nonsense with me.

Damn. I miss him. Truthfully, I’d give anything to go back and give us both advice on how to navigate the rapids we did not know we would hit.

But, I cannot.

Online dating abstractI must move forward. And the guy I fell in love with no longer seems to exist.

But please, gentlemen—could at least a couple of you give him a run for his money?

Who knew a new beginning would bring back old sadness? I held out so much hope before facing the online onslaught.

It’s about a message to the universe, I guess. Hey, I’m here. I’m going to dinner parties solo. Going to parent nights solo. Being the third wheel cheerfully. And now, doing this God-awful online cattle call—well, at least sort of. Do you see I’ve put some skin in the game?

Meet me halfway, Universe. Just not on a Harley with any bling. And let’s let the word “adventure” rest for a bit.

I’ve had my fill of those for a while.




36 Comments Add yours

  1. hollyhinson says:

    I loved this post! You totally captured the juvenile nature of so many of these men trying to recapture their youth and the “seeking adventure” posts that are so numerous. So many losers, so little time. I will now spend that time enjoying my life and forget about the need to fill that space beside me. Maybe I will get a dog!

    1. candidkay says:

      I must admit, Holly, I met the man I’m currently dating online (but not on Match). I do think there are other compadres out there. It just takes a lot of frogs first. Most of the people I know do online for a bit and take breaks. Otherwise, I think it can get really discouraging for someone who really wants a relationship. Best of luck to you . . . and I hope you meet a wonderful guy at the–hmmm–dog park? 🙂

  2. So well done. I can’t imagine dipping back into the dating pool, but you know yourself well and I bet the universe will send someone great your way. Sounds like you deserve it. Keep the faith.

  3. lisafab says:

    So, just discovered your blog and I am a single, educated 40 year old woman, Never been married so obviously have been doing this dating thing waaaay too long. One thought I had was you might want to consider dating that man who works in a factory at night. Two of the best relationships I had were men who actually did not have college degrees but we had other things in common (music, hiking, camping). We were able to have stimulating, thoughtful conversations. They were very kind individuals…sometimes it’s good to not judge a book by it’s cover…

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks for stopping by! So glad you discovered candidkay. I look forward to “chatting” going forward:).

  4. Jim Simon says:

    Are you a Star Wars fan? People complain about the 3 prequels and how awful they are… but the thing they don’t realize is that nothing will ever be as good as the original was because not only do you love the original, it carries sentimentality and feelings that you cannot recreate. I say love the prequels because we got to see more Star Wars! Not remakes, but new stories and realize that what is in the past is in the past.

    “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” – Buddha

    I hope you find what you need. Peace.

  5. I can relate. It was strange to start dating after my marriage of 20 years ended. I resisted for a few years and went on random dates. When I signed up for match I had a great response and it was a good ego boost. I met someone who I had a nice relationship for about six months, but knew he wasn’t the one, so I ended it. After a break, I tried again. I have been with the same partner ( he lives with me) for four years. We have had some ups and downs but it feels nice to be loved– and more important to be with someone who “gets me” ( as much as that is possible). I know it is not easy, and your children are a priority. But your man is out there. Don’t give up. Oh, and that missing your ex– and the life you won’t have with him–is normal. Grief comes in waves and two years is not a long time. Have a good cry, and keep going. You got this. Big hug.

  6. Amy says:

    I happen to know four amazing, happily married couples who found one another through eHarmony or Your special someone is out there, my friend, I just know it. And I’m already thinking to myself what a lucky man he is to have wonderful you in his future. Makes me smile. xox

  7. Wow…I was just reading about me.

    Same story. Did match on and off for NINE years. Maybe about 2-3 months each year. Lots of first dates. A few second dates. No third dates.

    I knew what I wanted and had resorted to the fact that he was out there, but most likely married or had small kids at home or an ex-wife he let rule his world.

    Then one week before my monthly subscription was up…I got an email.

    His second email to me was a request for dinner.

    And begrudgingly, I went on my last first date. (Because I was tired. I was fine being single and I was tired of the dating stuff.)

    That first date lasted 5 hours. The conversation never stopped. No awkward silences. I knew when he stood from the table, he was the one. I blushed. I giggled like a grade school girl. I could hear my heart beating with every word that left my mouth.

    We married 8 months later.

    At the end of March, we’re having our second anniversary. And I promise you, I love him more today than I did the day I married him. I look forward to our hours of conversation about nothing and I sometimes get sappy with tears when someone says, “So, how’s married life?”

    Please don’t stop searching. Please don’t give up. Pray a lot. Don’t settle. He’s out there. I promise you he is.

    And he’s going to find you. Let him find you. Let him search you out and let him court you and let him give you butterflies.

    He’s searching for you right now. And when love comes, it comes out of left field. When you least expect it. And you won’t recognize it, but it’ll recognize you. Then it’ll be as clear as a beautiful sunrise.

    I promise.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, you were a poet AND a savior this AM:). You made me cry. Thank you for the hope. It’s hard to imagine butterflies and giggles again. But that sure would be nice. When the novel that’s your life suddenly gets rewritten in the middle–you’re left wondering what the hell happened. It’s nice to know that plot twist can be phenom. You really were kind and good already this AM . . . know that. You made a difference.

      1. I was telling him about your post and my reply the other night. We both started talking about how neither of us ever thought there was this kind of love in the world. And to think we found it online? Ugh. We both cringe at that fact…but if that’s what it took…online….it was so worth it. Otherwise, we just don’t know where/how our paths would have crossed.

        You sound so much like me. I didn’t need love and I was just fine being ‘me’. Well, I love ‘me’ more because of the ‘me’ he’s made me. I heard so many people tell me to “hang in there” and “don’t give up hope” and I just wanted to flip them off. Then there he was. Kind and full of faith and the part of me that has been missing all these years.

        And to top it off, he’s the cutest boy in the world. I still ask what did I do to ever get HIM?

        You’re a beautiful soul and it may take a little time…but I promise you, once he finds you, it’ll be something you’d wait for all over again.

  8. I feel for you Kay. I’ve come to realise that most men are not that good at self-awareness, or self-description. If I’d seen my partner’s photo, clothing, description and list of interests online I’d have run a mile. Thankfully I met him in person. Hope you find what you’re looking for – or even better, hope you find someone who will surprise and delight you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Exactly! I am far more forgiving when I meet an actual person in a no-pressure situation. But meeting someone purely to evaluate and be evaluated? Makes my skin crawl:). I have a feeling it will be kismet, and life in general, by which I meet someone. But, I don’t want to look back and say I was a ninny:). Thanks for the kind words, Deb!

  9. From all these comments, clearly you are not alone, but I thought you might like this blog post from a friend of mine in Australia. I sent her the link to yours and she’s shared it on her Facebook page too. I lasted a week on a dating site, with similar results to you (although I made no contact with any men, and had no dates). But I was appalled at those who contacted me! Not going there again!

    1. candidkay says:

      Laughed aloud, Lee. Thanks for sharing! She and I will have to share a virtual glass of wine and chat about our experiences some day. I have a feeling I would laugh until I cry!

      1. Oh yes – you definitely would. Maybe the two of us should come visit you sometime and have a real glass of wine and a laugh together!

    2. candidkay says:

      You’d always be welcome here, Lee! If you ever head toward Chicago . . .

  10. It’s hard to let go of what we had and thought we would have for a long time to come. Then we didn’t.

    My first husband was an MD now earning a LOT of money (like 3 x my current husband); plays two musical instruments well, etcetecetc. But he was unfaithful and left me, so who cares what we had or could have?

    I think it’s not easy to be open to a very different sort of person when you start dating again but my second husband is extremely different from me and many snobberies could have prevented our marriage — like he attended state school on scholarship (he works hard) but has had a fantastic career and done very well within it. He’s the most loving person I have ever met but he does not fit my once-preconceived notion of who I might (if lucky) marry a second time. So that’s, perhaps, your challenge.

    I agree (kindly) with Mark B on this one….It is NOT “lower your standards” but choose your top priorities and see what happens. Much as an advanced degree may feel imperative to you now (because?), there are many super smart, fun, interesting and accomplished men out there without one.

  11. markbialczak says:

    As always, I wish you the best, Kay, because you show you deserve it with the heart and soul you pour into your life as described in every post. Your brush with online dating makes me even more thankful, if that’s possible, for my dear wife Karen, whom I think you know from our repeat visits and comments to each other’s blogs, is my second chance at this happiness opportunity in life.

    All this said, I hope our familiarity allows me the space and grace to air this one little voice that keeps yapping at me since I read one sentiment in your recounting of your expectations. I think perhaps you should consider that an academic degree is not necessarily the sole indicator of wisdom accumulated during the course of this life nor the ability to converse intelligently and succinctly about many things big and small. People who have chosen other paths to fulfillment and achievement may be a match for you, too.

    Good luck in the search, my blogger friend.

  12. This was very profound. I have faith that God has prepared your heart and continues to heal it and that you will find someone who not only brings you peace, joy and good conversation, but someone who will make your spirit feel alive.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, such beautiful and kind words. Thank you. I certainly hope so!

  13. Ain’t it always the way? I tried for a while in 2012, after a big break-up. The problem was that there wasn’t anyone who lived close enough to me that also struck my interest. Some of the women I contacted were nice, though. I never commented on their physical appearance (for the reasons you named above), and instead focused on their love of books or dogs, etc., because these things–the things that fill up our souls–are the things that make for great first dates and, if it goes on, great relationships. Looks are important, we can’t deny that. It’s important to be physically attracted to someone, but for anyone who has that as their first concern, well, I fear they’re going to have very superficial relationships, if they have them at all. Perfection isn’t perfect looks and perfectly matched interests. Perfection, instead, is the mismatched chairs in the living room that somehow go SO WELL together. My fiancee and I are mismatched chairs. And I’m overjoyed for it! But it took all sorts of pain and sorrow and loneliness before it happened. Best wishes to you. Chin up, keep marching! =D

    1. candidkay says:

      “Mismatched chairs”–I love that! And it’s heartening to hear that some guys get it re: physical appearance. “I like long, tanned legs” just oozes arrogance and judgement. I guess I should be thankful they’re putting it out there for me to see so I don’t waste time . . . thanks for stopping by and for the kind words!

  14. Lauren says:

    This is why I’m a Match dropout! If I read one more “I like to have fun!” profile I was going to scream!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh yes. Not only “like to have fun” but they sound as if extreme sports are the norm in any non-working hours. I’ve found there is a difference, at least on Match, between divorced moms and dads. Many of the dads don’t seem to have a lot of kid time. I am hoping this is just Match and not the real world, b/c I will need a guy who loves his kids as much as I love mine. And dating doesn’t come before them, right now. Maybe when they’re launched or need me less–but not now.

    2. hollyhinson says:

      Lauren, I am with you – it was so self-esteem killing and disheartening that I cancelled my subscription and decided I didn’t need it. I’m going to spend more time working on my self-awareness and becoming the bet Holly I know how to be – and if it happens, it happens. I am done with putting myself out there for now. I will continue to do the thing I love and be open-hearted but not forcing this to happen any longer.

  15. Cindy Tartz Dadik says:

    I loved Mark’s comments. It’s a great way of looking at closure and your next step.
    I can see where it would have brought up a lot of past memories of what was and damn what it could have been! But you do have a benchmark to go from. And IF anything, Krisse, it’s getting you back out there. Just dating. Not taking things too seriously – but just enjoying life. I know you don’t have the time to ‘just date’ – but it would get you out and get your meeting more people. This post was another wonderful one – you have a such a way with words!!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Cindy!I loved Mark’s comments also. They’re so insightful. And you’re so kind for always reading and supporting!

  16. suemclaren24 says:

    Kudos to you again for an excellent posting. I’m not into recommending dating sites but I helped my divorced blind step-daughter, with two children, reach out years ago on EHarmony. I was impressed with the questions they asked to help hone the “cattle call” (well said!). She has been happily married to an EHarmony mate for several years. Her “new” husband’s elder daughter found her husband on EHarmony (they now have twin sons). I haven’t been game to try a dating site myself. Yet.

  17. candidkay says:

    Friends, a fellow blogger just happened to write a wonderful piece on the same topic this week–and made me cry–yes, again:). As well as laugh. Check it out:

  18. Wendy Kate says:

    I do hope you get to meet some interesting men and come back and tell us all about it! 🙂

  19. trillie says:

    “If one more of you tells me you just want a woman who is “fun” to “go on an adventure” with you, I will gag.” => that made me lol in spite of my commiseration. You’re very brave to even stick it out for so long. It’s insane what people put in these profiles, ugh!

  20. I hear you. I’ve also made my feelings clear about it and yet I put up a profile recently. Tonight I’ve contacted ‘help’ and asked them to delete my account – logging on to a naked photo (and a very unpleasant one at that ha ha!) finished me..

    1. candidkay says:

      Ugh. Really? Amazing the trolls you find out there.

  21. I think you hit the nail on the head Kay with your comment, ‘Who knew a new beginning would bring back old sadness?’.
    And that is the core of it. Until you make that next move, you haven’t had the chance for that final let go of the past. You’ve never had the chance to be in this position and it too has issues.
    But in doing it, it will finally allow you to step into who you can now become. Releasing old feelings and those wishes of what may have been.
    Remember them yes, but not allow them to hold you in their pattern.
    Your Pierce Brosnan is out there somewhere, and remember this is the time of change, you will step into unknown territory, but beware of measuring it against what was. Good luck! Namaste

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Mark. You always have words of wisdom. Pierce Brosnan, Tom Hardy, Hugh Jackman–any will do:). And you’re right–this is a release I did not expect but a necessary one nonetheless.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Drop me a line.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s