Tag Archives: online dating

Do You Know What You Want? Dating Strategies After Divorce

WHOLE-2016-tangoFiguring out what went wrong in your marriage is a big puzzle. I hope you’ve done some work on your issues before you start looking for your next relationship. We’re going to start with the premise that you’ve solved some of  your own issues and identified some of the things that split you apart.

Online Dating

While I do think there is value in online dating, I also believe there are problems inherent in the social click-me culture. But let’s look at what’s great about online dating.

  1. Browse the available field from the comfort of your home.
  2. Put your personal value proposition together. (What you have to offer.)
  3. Put your wants, desires, and dreams out there. (What you are looking for.)
  4. Put what you like to do out there. (On Friday nights I’d like to be on the couch, or in a night club are two very different trajectories.)
  5. It helps you get your image together. (You didn’t post that one you took in the bathroom, right?)
  6. You can learn what parts of your profile people are picking up on. Because you’ll ask them on the date.
  7. Try some dates. Learn what you like and don’t like about “dating.”
  8. Low commitment of time to get a date lined up.
  9. Flirting online is fun.
  10. Seeing all the potentials is inspiring.

Offline Dating

The goal of online dating is to get to an offline date. Meeting is person is the only way to really see if there is chemistry going both ways. Photos are interesting, but they lie. Profiles are interesting, but they are about 50% made up. You’ve got to go toe-to-toe, face-to-face, to understand if you want to date this person.

Being with someone should be an energetic experience. Both of you should feel energized after being together. And you can’t find that through text messages or emails.

I found that my efforts online were fun and semi-fruitful (my first relationship after divorce was from Match.com) but they were lacking in the more fundamental aspects of relationships. 1. Do they like to do the things you like to do? (Not just say they do.) 2. Does your heart race when you are near them? 3. Can you pick up the returning vibe when you are with them?

Being with someone should be an energetic experience. Both of you should feel energized after being together. And you can’t find that through text messages or emails. And you can’t really see what a person looks like from photos. You get their BEST SIDE, but you want ALL SIDES.

Priorities

This is the biggest decision for you to make. What are your must-haves and what are your deal-breakers. And know this, these things will change. Things you thought were must-haves might fall off the list when you meet the right person.

A few of my priorities looked like this.

  • Must love being active.
  • Has a positive personality.
  • Whip-smart.
  • Athletic body shape.
  • Funny.
  • A single mom.

Then know that your priority list is changeable and resort-able. And you may change it frequently.

A Road Map

All of your ideas for who you are looking for are more like ancient treasure maps than today’s GPS-accurate maps. You do need a map, however. Here’s MINE. (The 6-Step Relationship Strategy)

Get your plan. Try online if you want. Get to offline. And then see what fits and what doesn’t.

And then you have to know this. Your map will be burned and charred from adventures. This is not a bad thing, it’s part of the process. You’re map is an idea of where you want to go.

When the right person shows up all of your priorities and maps will be blown away. At least that’s what you hope for. You need the maps and plans and strategies. But when the right person shows up, you will be amazed how little those things mean.

Get your plan. Try online if you want. Get to offline. And then see what fits and what doesn’t. It took me three relationships to find the ONE. And this ONE I hope to be the last relationship I’ll ever have. And we are both committed to that idea more than ever before. You need someone who’s willing to fight for their relationship. When you both played that role in your last relationship, you might have found a like-spirited person who will fight for your love, just like you will fight for theirs.

That’s my dream, and I’m sticking to it.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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Offline Dating: Setting Intentions and Actions in Real Life

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Let’s start with an assumption: you are looking for the next real relationship of your life.

Now let’s look at what’s wrong with online dating.

  • Primarily based on photos.
  • Photos can be retouched, enhanced, and from much earlier times.
  • Most profiles begin to sound the same (long walks on foreign beaches, red wine, and having fun).
  • Most of what you see in someone’s profile is what you want to see.
  • Many people are just playing on dating sites, just like Facebook, they’re killing time.
  • The “matches” are usually so far off, sites like eHarmony are actually depressing.
  • Age is just a number.
  • A lot of men and women lie about their age.
  • There’s no way to sense chemistry via an online profile, email, phone call or text. (Phone calls do get close, but it’s 2-dimensional rather than 3-dimensional.)

And there are some myths about online dating that might be more marketing than reality.

  • It ups your odds of finding the right person by making a lot more people available for dating.
  • Many people have found the love of their lives using online dating sites.
  • It’s better than the bar scene.
  • There are 1,202 women who match your search criteria.

Um, yeah, if there were that many women, that were attractive, charming, smart, and had a creative passion in their lives, I’d already be married again. As it is, I’m not even dating. And the one person I dated from an online dating site, WAS super, but she’s one out of at least 45 dates and perhaps 1,000+ out reach requests I’ve put into the system.

So what are the alternatives to online dating? If I’m not going to browse and click my way into a new relationship, what’s it going to take?

Here’s what I think.

For me, chemistry is part sexual attraction and part magic. There is no way to get a hit of either of these things online. But when you experience them in real-time you know it immediately. With that understanding, I think there are a several real world criteria that might help me find a relationship in 2015.

Spiritual But Not Religious. What this means to me is the person may or may not go to church, but their spiritual belief system is strong and vibrant in their lives. With that essential element to my perfect mate, I can assume that she probably attends some of the following places. Alternative churches in my city. Yoga studios all over town.

Health Conscious. I’m more likely to meet my next mate in a Whole Foods than in a McDonald’s. I’m not sure how you go about meeting someone while shopping, but I guess if people are putting out the “hello” vibe you can sense it. I need to be more observant, more conversational, more open to nuance and fresh produce.

Active Lifestyle. (Tennis and trail walking are my two favorite pass times.) She’s got a fitness program of her own, for sure, but wouldn’t it be amazing if she also played tennis? What if I started there? What if I actually worked at networking through some of my tennis friends to find a mixed doubles partner? The one woman who I dated since divorce, who played tennis, was a total turn-on when she smacked a top-spin forehand. Why wouldn’t I want to do my favorite sport *with* someone? Okay, note to self: tennis networking – priority number 1.

Creative Living. I went out on a couple dates with a woman who kept repeating, “You’re so creative.” At first I thought it was a complement, and I’m sure she meant it as a complement. But what I started realizing, is she was saying, “Wow, you are *so* creative. I am not very creative. I’m amazed by creative people.” Oh. So, I think I need to be with another creative person. Because this writing and songwriting isn’t going to happen unless I preserve some alone time. My perfect mate has to desire alone time as well, and when we come back together, has to be able to bring some of her creative energy.

Mind Over Body. I’m probably not going to get my six-pack abs back. I’m probably always going to have love handles. So I’m not looking for a body-builder girlfriend to admire and worship. What I know is my mate has to be happy in her own skin. If everything is about fitness and diet and beauty, then I’m going to be left behind. And probably a bit bored. We all need to work on our health and fitness, for life. We all need to live with as much vitality as possible. If fitness and working out gives you that jolt, go for it. (I know tennis does it for me.) But let’s hook up in our mental space as well. We’ve got to spend a lot more time talking than lovemaking.

In Joy. Happiness is not something you can buy or learn. (Though you can work on it.) Happiness is the feeling you get when you are around someone positive and hopeful. If I learned anything from my last marriage, it’s that I am very hopeful and very positive, sometimes to a fault. But that’s also who I’m looking for. Someone who smiles more than frowns. Someone who wakes up each morning with wonderment and a stretch towards what’s possible.

Intense and Low-Key As Needed. I am most jazzed when I’m performing. I do have type-a driven characteristics and when I’m ON I push hard for what I want. But I also have a quiet repose, where I recharge and relax. I do want someone who can jolt up with me and climb the mountain. And then the next day uncoil on a beach for a day without any objectives or requirements. In contrast comes my power and pleasure. Let’s spark one another and massage one another as needed, in the moment.

I cannot catch a glimpse of the above characteristics from an online dating profile. And sure, over time, over the course of a few dates, I could get there, but what if we just started in reality? What if we knew what we wanted and showed up at those places in those ways to be seen and to seek? That’s the real world method of communicating and that’s what I’m planning for 2015. This year, every time I get the inclination to open Match.com I’m going to make a concrete plan to do something in the real world that will put me in contact with real women.

I’ll let you know how it goes. (grin)

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

This post really began here:  Why Online Dating is a Distraction and Not a Solution and continues here: Action Not Intention Will Determine How Long I’m Single

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Thriving After Divorce: 6 Lifehacks Along the Recovery Process

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I’m going to say something you’ve probably heard a lot. “I’m happier after the divorce.” It sounds trite, but I am sincerely convinced that my divorce transition made me a better dad, a better man, and more conscious and centered man. It’s been a long process for me, these last 4+ years, but with some hints, perhaps I can spare you some of the mistakes I made and help you along your individual path towards divorce recovery.

Here are my six hacks for recovering your full and loving life after divorce.

1. Get Positive.

Holding on to resentment and anger is the biggest mistake I made after the divorce. I laughed when I would get in a particularly sly jab in a text response. I reveled in her long silences after I “gave her a piece of my mind.” I set my own healing back at least a year by holding on to my high-road illusion. It was her that wanted the divorce. I was the wronged party. Um, let’s rewind that a bit, and re-examine.

Once the divorce is final and the deal has been struck, it’s time to move on and recapture *your* positive approach to life. All attention you give to your ex-partner, even in jest or mock-playfulness, is attention you are focusing on negative energy. I struggled for a few years with my own reaction to my ex’s decisions after divorce. Get this: if it doesn’t affect your kids, it is none of your business. And if it’s about your ex and you, you need to take 100% of that venting elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong here. You will get mad and you will feel anger. But the hack here is to fundamentally understand that there is nothing else for you to work out with your ex. There are no stupid requests from your co-parent that require a stupid and angry response. Zero. I’m still actively working on this one. But I know, that my vitriolic texts or emails since the divorce have had no positive impact on our functional parenting relationship. When I smirked inside as I fired off an in-kind response I was actually shooting myself in the foot.

2. Co-parenting is all about parenting, money, and scheduling.

Outside of those three topics you should not have much to talk about. Sure, I know my wife has a boyfriend, and I hear from my daughter that he’s nice and has a huge grove of lemon tress in his back yard. That’s all I need to know.

In a divorce recovery class I heard this idea about dealing with your ex. Treat the transactions like you would in a convenience store. You are there to get a pack of gum. You don’t need to know about the clerk’s day or aspirations for life. Get in, get your business done, and leave. That’s the model for logistics and negotiations with your ex.

3. Flexibility is key.

Taking the flexible approach with your ex-partner will come in handy. I do everything I can to be flexible with my ex-wife’s scheduling requests. Even if they don’t make sense to me. Even if I don’t like them. One example, after my wife had been in a serious dating relationship for several months she requested that we switch up the parenting schedule to allow them to have the same weekends off. The arrangement actually meant that I gave up my 1-3-5 weekend plan and with it, I lost 4 – 5 double weekends a year. But it was a simple change that didn’t mean too much for my schedule. My first reaction was, “Why would I want to do anything to help her and her boyfriend.” But my next reaction and eventual response to the request was, “Sure. Let’s start next month.”

I didn’t get anything in return, but I lost very little. I could’ve been all concerned about my double weekends, or her boyfriend and their relationship. But what I focused on was my kids. If it would be easier on her it would be easier on them. You know the old phrase, “When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.”

4. Find What You Love.

Jumping right back into the dating game is a mistake. I tried it, failed at it, and wasted at least a year haunting Meetup.com groups and “working” the online dating sites. It’s a common mistake. You WANT some reward some validation for being released and newly single. You want to sew your oats. You want to party. Everything is new and everyone is a potential date. Um… Stop.

Loving your alone time is the first step to getting to know what you love to do, with or without a partner. For me those two main activities were playing music and playing tennis. Two things my wife didn’t really join with me on. She put in a few weeks in the early days of our courtship, since it was something I loved to do, but it never caught her fancy.

Since being single again my tennis game has picked up. And one woman I dated for a few months actually played tennis. WOW. That was a thrill. I’m willing to admit I’m powerless over tennis skirts on a cute woman. I’m learning to control my urges, but tennis is a love activity for me, so why not do it with someone you love?

5. Reclaim Your Joyous Life.

“To find someone to love, you’ve got to be someone you love.” — a lyric from Nada Surf’s Concrete Bed. If you are still hurting from your divorce, or still learning to manage your alone time, or time without your kids, get some help. Give yourself time to re-center in your own life, your new alone life, before trying to add someone to the equation. You can’t find another lover, a well-matched lover, if you’ve got a love sucking wound in your chest. Take the time to heal. Get the help you need. Seek professional help if you want to accelerate the process. And then rest. If we get too focused on finding a new relationship we’re going to miss a lot of the baby steps of discovering the new relationship with ourselves, alone.

6. Be Where You Like to Be.

I’ve been working on this one a bit recently. If I were with a woman today, where would we be? Where does she shop? What kinds of activities is she into? If she’s spiritual, where does she go for her community? If she does yoga, she’s probably part of a class. If she’s a tennis player, where do single women play tennis, or can I ask one of my tennis playing women friends who they know? Your next partner is already doing the things you want to be doing. Perhaps they are in a process of rediscovery too. And you can rejoin, rekindle a spiritual practice together.

Imagine where she might be, or where you might be together, and go there. Look around. Listen. Try something else.

Overall the process of divorce recovery has taken me at least 4 years. I’ve been in my happy place for about 6 months. If you can focus on the ideas above perhaps you can find your inner buddha quicker and move along into the next chapter of your life.

I’ve had two serious relationships in that time, and I’m hopeful that the coming year will bring a more successful coupling. But I’m no longer in a hurry. I no longer consider myself “dating” or “looking for a date.” Those activities might’ve been helpful when I was determined to be in a relationship again. Today I’m not. I’m happy in my own relationship. I’m longing for a relationship with another woman, but I’m not hurting from the lack of it.

Get right with yourself before moving on to partner with another person. You’ll be much more attractive to other healthy people, and better equipped to see and avoid negative relationships.

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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Playful Dating Concepts with Tinder

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Cupid’s Arrow strikes in the first 5 seconds: either you get a hit or not.

Tinder is the hottest thing in online dating since online dating. It’s simple. Picture pops up you swipe right to say YES you swipe left to say NOPE. That’s it. And I’m noticing several interesting effects of this new brain training game.

As I’m learning to take this “dating” concept less seriously, I can see how Tinder has taken off.

Perhaps the initial reaction, like an intuition or gut reaction is actually more accurate than our considered response. When I go too far into their profile: 1. other pictures; 2. similar likes on Facebook (the Tinder datastream); 3. profile descriptions (usually unoriginal dating fodder) I begin to get influenced more by MY projections. All of these secondary signals are more confusing to the heart, they muddy up the initial reaction with “consideration.” That’s not the magic of Tinder. The magic is the swipe.

And in the swiping you begin to see interesting patterns in your YES and NOPE preferences. Here are a few of mine, that I’ve only learned from swiping over time.

  1. Lipstick can be a real turn off.
  2. I prefer dark hair.
  3. Weight is less of an issue until “consideration” sets in.
  4. Smiles and happy eyes shine through.
  5. My preferences trend towards hippie-ish (low: makeup, high: joy).
  6. I’m a bit racist in my dating preferences.

And there have been some funny concepts that I’ve started putting together around the various types of people who pop into your viewfinder on Tinder.

3-fer: when three women are in the initial photo and you’re like, “Nope. Nope. Nope.”

Trifecta: when three women are in the initial photo and one of them is cute, but are they cute enough for more “consideration?”

Horns of a Dilemma: when there are two girls in the picture but you can’t decide which one is cuter. The dilemma, do you “consider” or swipe left on principle?

Wing-girl: when two women are in the initial photo and you immediately know which woman is the “friend.”

WTF girl?: when the photo is so bad, you go into “consideration” mode just to see what other horrible photos this person has put up.

Zombie-arm girl: when the best picture of them is obviously on the arm of an ex so they just cropped them out of the photo. Creepy.

Maybe-means-no: when you reject the initial swipe left to “consider” someone just because you’ve had ZERO hits on Tinder.

Too-Hot: when their photo is so amazing you know they’re either “working women” looking for work, or trolling for fun.

“Not Looking for a Hookup” bios: um, yeah, you’re on Tinder for a LTR, right? (Long Term Romance.)

As I’m learning to take this “dating” concept less seriously, I can see how Tinder has taken off. I’m offline at the moment, but I’ll be back in the game shortly. I just needed a reset and reboot. 2015 looks bright.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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Reference: How to Win a Breakup – the Atlantic

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The 5 Stages of Dating Again After Divorce: Letting Go of Expectations

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I’m not all that good at dating yet. I mean, I don’t really know how to BE. I try to be “myself” of course, but I’m too involved, to hyper, to talkative. I don’t listen as well as I should. But the part of the problem, that I’m just beginning to understand, is my habit of projecting any “potential” relationship off into some imaginary future. What I mean is, I sometimes have a problem staying present.

If we both felt a “yes” we should both want to feel it again, soon.

The fact that most of my adult life, post college, was spent married is a good place to start. I’m new at this “dating” concept. When I was last on the dating scene things were a lot different. I was more interested in sex than in “relationship compatibility.” I need to reframe my expectations and assumptions about dating vs. relationships. I’m going to attempt an exploration of what is going on in my head, to help illuminate (mostly for me) my issues and see if I can get some traction underneath the “issues” to them to let them go.

1. Before We Ever Meet

The process of meeting potential dates these days is “easier” but also more distracting. We’ve gotten online dating down to a “hot or not” process. And I’ve met plenty of “hots” that were not. And more women who were quite attractive who had nothing in common with me. The question, “Why am I here,” was a constant refrain in my early dating experiences, as I jumped at the opportunity with anyone who looked interesting. Notice the emphasis on look.

Looks are deceiving. Of course they are, because the outward appearance has very little to do with what is going on inside the person’s head. And with most of these “pretty dates” I never got to any expectations or projections because I was disinterested within the first 5 minutes. Sad when the extent of a person’s conversation is work, working out, and television. “But their profile seemed so lively,” I thought. Upon returning home I’d go into forensic mode and scour their online profile to see what I missed.

What I’ve decided about online dating recently is that it’s a distraction. Profiles are full of great things just like your fortune cookie after a nice Chinese dinner. You can see things in the words and pictures that can fire up your imagination, but it’s 100% made up. Until you meet there is no such thing as chemistry, or connection. All the texting and flirting via email and even phone calls are moot the second you meet in person. If I’m going to schedule a date these days the woman has to absolutely amaze me before we meet. THEN we might have some touch points in the real world. “Meh” dating is done. (See: Why Online Dating is a Distraction and Not a Solution)

2. On the First Date

I believe the chemistry is either a “yes” or a “no” with little room for middle ground, or “maybe.” In the first minute, perhaps much quicker, I think two people sum each other up in their animal brains and either get a tail wag or no tail wag. It’s a lot less about what type of person we think we’re attracted to and a more about instinct and dog-like reactions. If both people start out with a tail wag, then you have the potential to begin exploring what’s next. When the hit is strong neither of you will ever have to ask, “What’s next?”

We need to see each other under the duress of regular life to understand how we deal with things.

For me, it’s what happens after the tail wag that is illuminating. Even in those first minutes together my mind is jumping all over the map of the future. I don’t think we can help it, actually. I’ve begun watching my brain on “yes.” My fantasy maps all kinds of odd things from “do they play tennis” and how would they look in a tennis skirt, to are they creative, do they have other passions that can balance our time together? I am fascinated by the things my animal brain locks on to, again in almost dog-like fashion: a dark glint in their eyes, a soft vulnerable spot on the side of their neck, a whiff of their perfume and the intimacy it unlocks.

And I continuously try to pull my attention back to the conversation even as my blood is rushing into dusty areas of my body. And I use little tricks to bring my focus back to the present and what she is saying. I will try to repeat a tiny portion of what she just said as a connector. “Yes, I love the Spanish poets too.” The real trick is stopping the projections into the future. I have an internal mantra going, STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, REPEAT. It’s not that mechanical, but I’m aware of how whacked out a YES date can get me. I do my best, but if my animal brain is turned on, I’m not as clear as I’d like to be. If we’re both in a semi-intoxicated space, we’ve really got to move carefully and slowly.

3. Following Up

As we are wrapping up our date I start to notice how she is responding. Is there a smile on her face or are the closing moments tinged with anxiety? I’d like to know immediately if there’s a mutual tail-wag, but it’s not necessary to ask. The signal is in the “what’s next” question. It’s best if you don’t have to ask it. When there is a pull to connect both people will be making space for the next date to happen. In that last goodbye do you feel a warm fuzzies or is there a lack of resonance? That’s probably your best indication of where things are, unspoken feelings. The words often mislead. Too often you say, “Okay, so see ya later.” And what that means is, “Probably not.”

If you get a “see ya later” rather than a “What about Wednesday?” you’re probably not a match. I think the YES happens fairly soon, and if you are interested in a relationship and motivated by the chemistry, you’re really not going to just let the person scoot away without securing a “next” time. And if it’s you, don’t wait, ask. (I do understand that I am extraverted, so I’m always the one seeking the answer, and a more subtle and introverted date might need some time to sort through all that’s happened, so I don’t push.) If we both felt a “yes” we should both want to feel it again, soon.

4. Getting Into the Groove

Beyond the “dates” comes the relating. Relationships are what happen between the dates. Dating is like a performance, a show, a wooing process. But once you’re wooed and have seen enough of the other person that you’d like to give it a go, you now have an opportunity to just be together. The mundane life tasks are what can illuminate a person’s approach to relationship and the bonds and boundaries you can expect as things move forward. For example, if you have to eat dinner every night, and you’d like to also find time to be with this new relationship, you might start deciding how to share meals that aren’t dates. In my first relationship we got this part of the togetherness down. “I’m heading home in about 10 minutes, would you like to come over, I can grab some salad stuff at the store.” What a warm feeling that gives. Just being considered as part of the plan.

As you move into relationship you have to find ways to include the other person in your normal activities. Sure you want to spend weekends (as available) together, but what about all those other evenings and nights? (Single parents have another priority that can be seen as a gift or a complication.) It is in this ongoing negotiation and resetting of expectations that we start to uncover some of the fundamentals of our relationship compatibility. Does the other person freak out when something comes up and you can’t get together? Can you have a low-key evening together? What if the other person is just too tired to get together? Is that acceptable? Disappointments are part of life, how does this new partner deal with disappointments? Do they roll out of bed on the positive side of life or is there a sigh and struggle in the morning to get on with it?

We need to be co-captains in the navigation of dark and stormy waters as well as the high-noon-high-wind happy times.

Here’s where my expectations must be tossed out and I try to be with the other person as I would like to live. We need to see each other under the duress of regular life to understand how we deal with things. If little things throw the other person’s world into a tailspin that might be a good sign that you’re either going to be a caretaker or you need to move on.

In my experience, so far, I had a HIT on the relationship front and a miss on the sexual chemistry. And in my second relationship I had a HIT in desire and sexual enthusiasm but a miss in navigating life without drama and crisis. I don’t need any more crisis and drama in my life. That’s the antithesis of what I’m looking for.

In going slow, you can get s sense of how the other person navigates their life. And if we want to jump onboard with them, we need to see how things go when storms and seasons change plans and break expectations. A healthy relationship finds easy repair. The bond between you begins to build strength and not liability. What you’re looking for is a co-pilot, not a domineering captain. We need to be co-captains in the navigation of dark and stormy waters as well as the high-noon-high-wind happy times.

5. Back to the Drawing Board

I’m just learning these things about myself. I’ve learned there were a lot of things I overlooked in my two previous marriages. Now, as a single dad, I’ve got a pretty full schedule, and a built-in priority around my two kids, but I also have a space for nights and weekends with someone special. The latest re-discovery is that time alone, even when lonely, is better than time with someone who causes us to feel alone.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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image: random date at maudie’s, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

Why Online Dating is a Distraction and Not a Solution

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Yes, I know the statistics. All the happily married couples from online dating sites. Well, I don’t buy it. All online dating sites, regardless of the flavor or method, are more like Facebook than real life.

Here are a few examples of where online profiles don’t tell the truth.

  • Pictures lie. Even recent pictures, when taken with the right light, can make a NOT look like a HOT.
  • Words are made up ideas. Yadda yadda, we all like beaches and wine. Music maybe.
  • Chemistry is impossible online. You can’t imagine how that person will feel when you are together.
  • The mind is wonderful, but even eloquent emails and text messages can add up to zero when you meet.
  • Some people are on dating sites for the entertainment of the idea and not to date.

Yes, it is true, online dating sites up your odds of meeting people you might not otherwise ever come in contact with. But why is that? Because you come in contact with people when you are out and about and doing the things that are important and fun to you. There’s a reason that an extroverted creative type like me isn’t going to naturally run across an introverted mathematician. It’s because we have so little in common, virtually zero over lap. And while the idea of “getting to know someone” is intriguing, you’ve got to start with some common ground to establish a relationship.

I was feeling the miss on a deeper level, but I was trying to make it all right. I wanted “her” to work.

So I’m bored on a week night and we have some unscheduled time. I can choose between a lot of different activities.  I could go out and get some exercise, that would be good. But barring the self-improvement regimen for a minute, I could

a. spend time on Facebook chatting about nothing,
b. spend time on Match.com browsing faces for a hit, or
c. do something creative.

What I’ve come around to lately is that c. is the only good answer. Let me explain.

Facebook seems like community. We call it social media, but it’s becoming more just media media. They’re showing you approximately 8% of your friend’s status updates and messages. The rest… is Facebook. Pabulum. Media. Consumerism. Today Facebook is a lot more like TV than it used to be. After taking a 99 day break from my FB habit, I’m happier and more productive. I’ve dipped back in a little, but no more hours socializing.

Online dating may also seem like a beneficial and worthy activity. But because of the illusion of social media, we might think we have a pretty good idea of who these “potentials” say they are, and what they look like today, but we don’t. It’s simply not true. Profiles on Facebook or OK Cupid are very similar. You put your best pictures up, your best accomplishments, and your little quirks. Except on dating sites you don’t get to see the quirks. (Well, OK Cupid’s questions sections are full of quirks, and kinks, but that’s a different conversation all together.)

Creative process is where I grow as a person and as an artist (writer, musician, poet, whatever). And as I am growing myself up, and growing into my creative energy I am also putting out more energy and more joy. You see, I think this dating thing is all about joy. It’s a little bit about looks. And it’s a little bit about thoughts. But the chemistry thing, I think, is all about mutual joy. Do you feel it when you are with someone or not? If you feel joy at the sight of someone, there’s a hit. If you feel nothing or something less than nothing (negative) that’s also an indicator of where things might go.

I spent a good part of a week getting to know a new woman recently, and I could see the potential. I could admire her good looks, dark eyes, and flashing wit. And yet there was something that was not coming across. I couldn’t decipher it right away. I was hopeful and encouraged by our initial and mutual glow. And her persistence in getting back together again the next day. “Spontaneously.” I loved that. “Yes, yes, yes,” it said to my brain.

But…

In my joyous engagement I was missing something from her that I couldn’t identify. I thought I was listening well, responding well, and behaving well. I thought we were moving things along nicely. But I could only make those assumptions about myself and my own thinking. While she was sharing a lot about life and asking a lot of questions about me, she wasn’t really lighting up. She was reserved. She admitted to being an introvert. I initially thought, “Oh, that’ll be interesting, to see how I am in relationship to an introvert.”

First, I must become the lover I hope to meet, by becoming large enough to call her in, without the help of a dating site.

And even in the real-world, with all of our faculties between us, the miss between us was something deeper. And after three “dates” and the promise of an actual “date” for the weekend ahead, I was feeling good and yet still mixed. I walked away from our meeting wondering, “Am I’m pushing this one along? Am I making this one happen? Am I trying to construct my lover?”

I think I was. She pinged me the next morning saying she’d considered our time together and felt it wasn’t going to be a match for her. She was canceling the date. And would catch up with me spontaneously as the occasion might arise in the future.

Huh?

I was feeling the miss on a deeper level, but I was trying to make it all right. I wanted “her” to work. And that’s when I understood it was time to kill my online dating profiles. I WANT a relationship too much. My focus has gotten lost in all this browsing, assessing, and pursuit. What I really need to pursue is my dream and my creative output.

I have time for a relationship. I have the will and the energy. I need to put myself and my life in the places where “she” already is. In real life, not online.

Sure, I will have another great love. First, I must become the lover I hope to meet, by becoming large enough to call her in, without the help of a dating site.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

back to Dating After Divorce

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image: dining alone, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

Ready or Not-Ready for a Relationship: The Dating Game

WHOLE-thedance

It’s a game. People’s profile pictures are 10-years old. Their profiles forget to mention they’re not divorced yet. Or, the most, insidious, they’re simply not ready for a relationship. They are testing the waters, checking it out, seeing what’s out there. Blah!

So what does ready for a relationship mean?

  1. Not currently in a relationship
  2. Sufficiently through with their emotional issues
  3. Interested in spending time with someone besides their kids
  4. Emotionally intelligent (expresses feelings, can listen without offering advice)
  5. On the positive side of life (not looking to be rescued, or to be a caretaker)

Dating is simple. Relationships are hard work. Well, they can be hard work, or they can be temporarily effortless. I think that’s what we’re imagining when we jump back into the dating pool again. We remember the highs of love crushes, the sex, the joy, the “hi, I am soooo glad to see you” feelings that are bantered back and forth when you are establishing a new love relationship.

But the R-word has some issues for many people. And I’ve run across my share of women running from any kind of commitment. Sure, that’s one way to be. And perhaps, in the early stages of divorce, a light approach is better, you really don’t need a relationship, you need a healing.

There are a few simple signs that a person is NOT ready for a relationship.

  1. They are still bitter or angry about the divorce, or their ex (until someone has moved on it is very hard to be in a relationship)
  2. Their profile just talk about “having fun” and all their pictures involve a glass of wine
  3. They can’t stop talking
  4. They talk about their multiple lovers
  5. They’ve got no banter (they can talk about work, working out, and partying)
  6. You get the feeling you are with someone who’s still in college (fun is fine, but fun isn’t everything)
  7. Everything is superficial (if it’s hard for them to tell their breakup story, perhaps they’re not ready)

Here’s what you want.

  1. A person who you find non-threateningly attractive
  2. They are optimistic and positive (I’m beginning to think optimism is the trump card)
  3. They can jump easily from divorce and dating conversations, to music, to whatever
  4. You get a happy feeling when you see them (this could be the definition of chemistry)
  5. At the end of the first date you are both signaling, “What’s next?”

It’s really that easy. A first date is a sniff test. Do I find the person attractive in real life? Are they open and interested in me too? Are they intelligent and optimistic? Do they have the time and energy to begin exploring a relationship.

Walking around the lake today, with a friend, he mentioned, “I’m meeting a lot of women who are not at all interested in a relationship. They seem to just be playing around. Or they are aloof and distant.”

What is it about our later stages that would keep us in a casual or uncommitted mode? Perhaps we’re not done processing the past relationship. Or maybe our kids are the priority, but it a way that precludes any time for a relationship to be built.

There is no mystery about the time and effort it takes to build a relationship. If it’s casual sex you’re looking for, perhaps you can find it without much concern for the other person’s immediate mental state, but that’s a zero sum game, if you are hoping to find and nurture a new relationship.

I’ve often said, “I’m not into dating a woman, unless there is long-term potential.” And I think what I am saying, is that without the features and opportunities for a lasting relationship, I’d rather not spend the time and effort to gain a new “friend.” It’s fine. It’s a bit type-a. I get that. I could have a lot more friends at the moment, if I’d be willing to share my time with non-romanticly inclined women. But I’m not.

If there’s no kiss in the future, I’d rather move on to the next “potential.”

You see, even though we’ve been given back all this time, as divorced adults, we’ve also got a lot of work to do to recapture our essence. It is not enough to survive again, we long to thrive. And if LOVE is not the greatest opportunity to thrive, I don’t know what is.

I was lucky recently to get close. To find another person who said “yes.” And then the old witch “timing” kicked in and her life took off in a very unexpected and seemingly accidental direction. And that was that. All the earlier ingredients were present, the magic, the lust, the flirty anticipation… And then we were done.

I am happy for her, and we parted wishing each other the best of luck. But I was just about to feel what it was like when the other person, the other ATTRACTIVE person said “yes.”

I’m still ready.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

back to Dating After Divorce

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Playdates for Adults: The 5 Challenging Tasks of Finding a Partner

playdates for adults

How to Find Play, Fun, and Love, Maybe

This whole business of online dating has gotten too serious. We’re way too focused on type-a goals.

  • Find a date.
  • Arrange an in-person meeting.
  • Assess the “relationship” quality of the person
  • Pass, Fail, Repeat

But love, or looking for a real relationship, is not really a type-a task. In the driven mode of dating we get criteria like.

  • Has (or doesn’t have) children.
  • Want’s more (or doesn’t want any) children.
  • Is Christian, or whatever “spiritual but not religious” means.
  • Would sleep with someone on the first date, given the right circumstances. Or wouldn’t consider sleeping with someone until the 6 – 10th date.
  • Is successful in business and likes travel to exotic locations. Or still working for a living.
  • Partier (most pictures have drink in hand) or “social drinker” or “doesn’t drink at all.”
  • Has a rockin bod. Or not.

And while these are some valid criteria, they are more for sorting through the cattle-call of online dating profiles, rather than looking for a relationship. In a word they are a bit superficial.

So there are some other alternatives to online dating that are worth looking at, if you are seeking a mate. Or perhaps even a one-night-stand, if that’s your thing.

  • Meetup Groups
  • Activitity Groups
  • Spiritually-related Groups
  • Workout Groups

When you think about the person you might like to be spending your Saturday afternoon and Saturday night with, where do you imagine you might be on any given Saturday afternoon? And then it’s your opportunity/responsibility to get yourself there. She/he might already be there. If you know the types of activities you’d like to be doing with another person, then get yourself to those activities as a single person and see if there are any other singles there.

The first task of finding a partner is showing up.

For example if you were recently excited by the World Cup, you might have found a public place to go view the game. You might have stayed home and watched it on your computer. And even if that is what you would’ve liked to do with a “special friend” it’s not very likely that you are going to be introduced to them while in your pj’s in your living room. Get out there.

The second task of finding a partner is brightening up your presence.

You want to be the brightest spark in the room. If you are happy with yourself, and confident in your mission, you can walk into a room full of drinking soccer fans and still hold your own torch. If your torch (your self-love, self-confidence) is sputtering, perhaps that’s a good place to put your attention. Get your game in order before going out looking for game.

The third task of finding a partner is learning how to be charming.

Listening is an art. Often it is the most confident people who can listen better than others. The one’s who are always needing to tell stories, be brilliant, and obviously work to hard at being charming, are often the one’s who are still trying to find their inner confidence. If you want to be heard, listen. It’s the most powerful thing you can do in the opening “is there chemistry” moments of a face-to-face meeting.

The fourth task of finding a partner is showing your enthusiasm by actions and not just words.

If you want a second date, say it. If you don’t want a second date, tell them too. And if you BOTH want a second date, you won’t need to be emailing each other later to see if there was “chemistry.” Believe me, if there’s chemistry, you will both be asking “What’s next?” And the answer will sound like this, “What are you doing for dinner?” or “What are you doing tomorrow night, I’ve got tickets to …” If you have to ask, there’s probably not a connection. If there is a connection, and you are BOTH actually wanting a relationship, you will both be asking for the next meeting.

So much of this process is figuring out who is playing games, who is really ready for something, and who are so damaged from their previous relationships that they are in no real position to be available.

The final task of finding a partner is being brutally honest.

You don’t want games. You don’t want new drama. You want clarity, well-stated intention, and a clear communication style with this person you might actually be interested in. Anything less is a red flag.

If you feel it, say it. If you don’t feel it, say that too. Then return to task one, LISTEN. The more you listen the more attractive you will seem to the other person.

And the final tip of romancing a potential mate: Say their name back to them, repeatedly, like a poem.

John Brock: The sweetest sound in the human language is one’s own name.

Good luck out there.

Always Love,

The Whole Parent
@wholeparent

related posts:

image: meg terney at comic con, the chive, creative commons usage

5 Myths and 5 Truths About Online Dating Today

WHOLE-jumpin

There is no such thing as online dating, unless you consider texting and emails a form of dating. The dating begins the moment you step into a coffee shop or wine bar together. Or, better for me, meet along the local walk/run trail and get acquainted without mind altering beverages. So let’s get rid of that one first.

Online Dating Myth #1: Online Dating is Not a Form of Dating. It is a means to an end. Offline dating is the goal.

Online Dating Truth #1: Some women will string you along, making it seem like they are interested but they will never accept the offer of a meeting. This is due to one of three things. 1. They’re really not interested but are afraid to hurt your feelings. 2. They are overwhelmed by the great offers and you’ve been given a number and place in-line for when they get back to you. 3. They are not ready to date.

No matter how cute you are. Ryan Seacrest wouldn’t really get that many propositions because women would fear his good looks like the plague.

Online Dating Myth #2: A cute profile pic = a cute date. I’m pretty sure this one cuts both ways. I’m amazed sometimes, even in a person’s range of photos how they mix in the youthful babe shots with the “here’s what I look like today, at 45, ” but they forget to tell you which is which. So you get intrigued by the hot shot and when they show up for the date, um, what…? When was that other picture taken. It happens. It’s not pretty.

Online Dating Truth #3: Cute dudes are not always assholes, cute girls are not always stuck up princesses. But from the lack of compassion in online dating you’d never know. The woman who engaged in three weeks of “hey, what’s happenings” to “you’re kinda coming on like a stalker” after I emailed her the second time in a week… Well, those people you’d best not get started with, even if they are cuter than hell.

Online Dating Myth #3: If a woman (or man) is actually really cute and not a headcase she’d never be online dating anyway. We’re busy, we’re tired of bars and pickup lines. We’d prefer Facebook, where we can see what you’re really like, with your friends, but you’re not a friend yet. I have met several amazing people via online dating. Two of them are still close friends and Facebook cheerleaders. So, there are good people trying online dating, you just have to uncover the right one for YOU.

Online Dating Truth #3: If you recognise a disconnect in their profile, or in something they message you, and you have doubts about their authenticity, RUN. There are a ton of liars in online dating. Some are there just to troll and have fun. Some want to send you dick pics. Some want to lure you off to a pay-per-view sight where they can show you the “real pics.” And “Don’t worry,” these porn saleswomen say, “Registration is free.” Oh, and look for the cutie who is 10-15 years younger than you, within 500 miles and has an age range between 35 – 75. They are trolls or sales folks trying to game the system for financial gain.

Online Dating Myth #4: Their profile is close enough, maybe not perfect, but what the heck… If there’s doubt in your mind, there is probably a disconnect larger than you can imagine. People are putting their best spin on everything. Often they are lying about some significant facts. Like the woman who confessed within the first 30 minutes of a hello date, “I’m not actually divorced yet. But we’re separated.” Um… NO. If you get the feeling something isn’t quite right when looking at their profile, just pass on the in-person. Why waste your time and your money chit chatting with someone who’s not really interested in a relationship.

Remember it’s not online dating we’re after. It’s the dating that happens offline that is the real stuff.

Online Dating Truth #4: Women get propositioned about 10-to-1 over men. No matter how cute you are. Ryan Seacrest wouldn’t really get that many propositions because women would fear his good looks like the plague. Women of marginal beauty, on the other hand, are hit on constantly. Now, this isn’t to say they are getting valid or polite propositions. And I would guess (since I’m not a cute female, I’d have to guess) that the cuter they are the more careful they have learned to become. So the cutest girl on OK Cupid is probably propositioned once ever 10 minutes, but she’s still only got seven evenings a week. There’s a great study from OK Cupid about how good looking people are perceived by their photos. (Your Profile Photos and Your Inbox – OK Cupid Survey)

Online Dating Myth #5: Chemistry can be sensed or determined by texting or emailing. No way, José! Forget about it. I can’t tell you the number of times the chemistry was smokin hot and their profile photos were awesome and the in-person meeting was a dud. Whatever you think you see, whatever magic you think you can sniff out through romantic projections and their flirtatious response, forget about it. In fact, save your energy for other things. Rather than build up the pre-in-person courtship, move on to getting some exercise, or finishing that work project you’ve been procrastinating on. All that time and effort you put into wooing a woman online is NADA if you meet in person and something is off. There’s no going back. You don’t get your time back. Or your flight of fancy that kept you texting until 1 am on a weeknight. Skip the romancing until you’ve established a mutual interest.

Online Dating Truth #5: Your first date may say “Okay, see you again soon.” And there is a 50/50 chance they are lying. Maybe greater. If there’s no magic, a casual “Thanks, call me” is as bad as “Um, thanks anyway, but no.” The problem is, it’s much more misleading. Do everyone a favor. If there’s no chemistry, and you’re absolutely NOT interested in a second date, don’t act like you are. I’ve had my just warming heart broken a couple times by women who seemed to give a semi-warm “Sure, call me” and then turned out to be, “not so much.” Why didn’t they just tell me. Even ending all email or text responses is a better answer than saying there’s some interest when you know there isn’t any. I know it’s hard, letting people down. BUT DO IT. We’re trying online dating to cut to the chase a bit. Don’t prolong the misery by giving false positives.

I hope you meet a lot of nice people out there. But don’t be fooled by their looks, their profile statements, or their fluent email banter. Go for the face-to-face meeting with as little hassle and energy as possible. If it becomes difficult to land the date, for whatever reason, move on. If they wanted to meet they would also be trying to make it happen, not giving excuses.

And remember it’s not online dating we’re after. It’s the dating that happens offline that is the real stuff. Good luck.

Always Love,

The Whole Parent
@wholeparent

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image: leap of faith, nicki varkevisser, creative commons usage

What A Single Dad Wants In the *Next* Relationship

WHOLE-tennisgirl

[Feb 2016 Update: Dating a Divorced Dad – Version 2.0 Updated]

Let’s Hook Up, Wait. I Mean, Let’s Go Out On A Date…

We’ve both got some history under our belt, kids, and some requirements for what’s OK and what we simply won’t ever do again. (Red Flags, we like to call them.) As we navigate “dating” again, we quickly realise the rules are very different. Our experience gives us some distinct advantages in terms of recognising what we don’t want. And perhaps our unfinished wounding might keep us from starting the dating process again.

Don’t miss the exciting conclusion of this single dad’s journey:
A Single Dad In Love, Again

Rules for dating a single dad.

(I’ve got two kids and a full-time job, but I’d still like to find time to be with someone.)

1. Let’s not rush into things.

I will admit that getting back out there, for me, as a man, initially was about sex. Today, I think sex can get in the way of learning if you like the person. And if you’re going to do more than lay around in bed with this person, you’d might want to go easy on the seduction moves at first. Get to know if you like talking to, as well as looking at your potential partner. I don’t have any hard rules on this. But if you slow the drive to the bedroom you might avoid getting mixed up in something purely physical. It can blur your vision when trying to figure out if you want to hang with this person for the long run.

2. I’m Looking for 100% Pure Connection

Half my life is behind me. I have two beautiful kids. And I’m happy with myself, just as I am. (I’d like to keep getting fitter, but my joy is genuine.) In several previous online dates I found myself sitting across the table from very attractive, usually younger, women who had nearly nothing in common with me. I could see myself eyeing their bodies and trying to imagine the sex, but I stopped myself, pretty quickly, even with the fantasizing. It takes a lot to get to a second date with me. Today, I’m even getting pretty stingy with first dates. I don’t want a “date.” I don’t want nice. I want my next relationship to start out with the potential going the long distance. I’ve never been a casual dater.

3. I’m Into Moms

If my date doesn’t have kids, they probably don’t have much in common with me. At our age kids are either a choice you made or one you didn’t. And nothing against the non-parents in the group, but I’m so wrapped up with my kids, that if you don’t have that same passion and joy, we’re probably going to have to look for things to have engaging conversations about. If you have kids, we’ve got an immediate starting point for everything. Trying to talk about your kids with a woman who’s not a mom… Well, they just don’t get it.

4. Let’s Be Clear About This

Games of any kind are an immediate time out. Passive aggressive might have worked in some other decade, but as adults, we should’ve gotten that silliness out-of-the-way. One thing I will tell a first date, “You can ask me anything. In fact, I prefer the hard questions. I’m trying to learn the answers myself. I will always try to answer honestly.” And the one relationship I’ve had since my divorce, went right for it. And while we are no longer a relationship we went through the whole process, getting to know each other >> dating >> breaking up, without any drama. None. We’re still friends. That’s how it needs to be. Let’s do without all the crazy stuff.

5. Brutally Honest

If it’s not a fit on the first date I’m going to try to let you know as gently and as quickly that it wasn’t a fit. I think that initial attraction is something that we can’t really control or completely predict, but I also don’t think we can do without it. I have created a dog metaphor to help me explain what I’m talking about. And I usually share this concept on the first date. (Hmm. Maybe this explains a lack of second dates.) Here it is. Two dogs meet up in a park. Either 1. both tails are wagging; 2. one tail is wagging; or 3. neither tail is wagging. It’s as simple as that. I was born with a Boston Terrier’s body. I can be several different sizes of Boston Terrier, but if you’re into whippets and poodles, we’re probably never going to be a match. And there’s no accounting for taste. I think some of this is hardwired.

6. The Spark Is Only a Start

If the chemistry (tail wag) is ON, there are still a ton of steps along the path before we’re in a relationship. We need to have intellectual compatibility. (If I’m a reader and you’re a reality tv junkie, we might not go the distance.) We need to synchronize our schedules over time. (Kids, work, and all the other stuff we’re just remembering we love to do) have to be the priority. It may take several months to get in our first four dates, but… Like I said earlier, we shouldn’t be in a hurry. And then we’ve got all the negotiations about how and when we want to see each other. (Let’s not start with jumping in bed or looking at vacation calendars for a while. Okay?)

7. Fearless Commitment To Monogamy

At first divorce may seem like we’ve gotten the key to the kingdom of sex again. It’s not that easy. If that IS what you are looking for, go for it. I won’t be in your queue. If we do decide to sleep together I want to know that we’ve just become mutually exclusive. That might be a stretch if you’re playing the field, or not sure about what you want. It’s not difficult for me. By the time we get past 1st-base I’m letting you know that I am into you. And if you want to go further, we’ve got to establish some mutual objectives. (If we’re about to sleep together I can assure you we’ve had this conversation.)

8. Feeling the Feelings

Men are often accused of not feeling their feelings. And, in fact, feelings can be scary for both men and women.  But as we begin navigating our time together we’ve got to be able to talk about whatever we’re feeling. The beauty of that is feelings include the ability to fully love. So when opportunity arrises I look forward to being 100% present with my feelings. There might have been a disconnect on those terms in my previous marriage. But I’m a learning individual. I know that I feel deeply and I enjoy being expressive of those feelings. If feelings scare you, that might be something for you to look at. Feelings are the key to compatibility, in my opinion.

+++

I look forward to having another opportunity to learn about myself “in relationship” at some point. I’m happy and patient right where I am. But I believe by having my priorities clear and articulated I can do a better job of finding and sorting through the process of finding that NEXT RELATIONSHIP. I wait enthusiastically.

+++

UPDATE: Responding to a comment on another site about this post, I’d like to share a few more observations.

Thank you for your comment. Here are several points where I think we need more discussion.

1. Dating younger women. Yes, I selected these potential dates and knew their age, and also that they had not ever had children. My post shows some of my learnings as a result of these mistakes. It’s pretty telling for both men and women when their profile says they are 50 and they want to date partners who are 30 – 40. I’m not that guy. I’m pretty clear about wanting a woman who’s experienced a lot of the world. And in that model they’ve probably had kids, and are generally within 5 years of my age, on either side. My one girlfriend since divorce was a couple years older.

2. Straight to sex. Hmmm. This is one I try to cover in the post in several different ways. If this is the case, we are not a fit. (I can only speak from my perspective, not your’s, or her’s.)

3. Who pays, who is the predator, and who’s demanding sex? I agree with many of the things you say are wrong between the relationships between men and women. I am not an apologist for the cultural norms that have stacked the deck against those of us who are trying to elevate the discussion about it all. And I think our culture’s focus on youth is way off base. But I’m not sure porn is any more the driver then the Miley-Cyrus-type circus of celebrity and mainstream media. Our culture feeds on extremism. And it has an effect on all of us, adults and teenagers.

The discussion I am hoping to facilitate is the antithesis of these issues. That’s why I am trying to come out with my individual perspective that seems to be different from the experiences you’ve had. We learn. We evolve. Or we don’t. I am hoping to get better, clearer, and more honest with each attempt at being in a relationship.

I really do appreciate you taking a chance and voicing your opinion. We (men and women) need to have more frank discussions about desire, sexual preferences, and how we want to relate to each other in and out of the bedroom.

AND ANOTHER UPDATE:

I didn’t “find myself on a date” I realised during the date, with an attractive woman who was within my desired age range who happened to be younger than me and not a mom. It was my realization that we had nothing in common (yes we seemed to have a lot of spark on txt messages and via email) once we were sitting at a table together. It was a moment of finding myself, not discovering that she was younger. I discovered that I wasn’t interested in this attractive, younger, woman for a variety of reasons I tried to articulate. I understand the knee-jerk reaction. There are just as many women in online dating who do the exact same thing. Again, that is not what I am looking for. And sex is way off in the future, for ME. What she might be thinking, her motivations for sitting at the table are for us to discover, hopefully, via clear and honest communication.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

The Dating a Divorced Dad series continues:

New Dating Strategy in 2015:

image: tennis girl smelled so nice, austin, texas, july 2013 – john mcelhenney