That’s all there is to it. Love oneself. And breathe. Easy. Right?
How Will I Survive Alone?
I don’t like being alone. I prefer to be in a relationship. BUT… And that’s an all capital BUT, when things get out of balance it can be hard to find your center and calm. Better alone than in a destructive relationship. That’s an easy maxim. But what about being alone? What’s good about it? What’s hard about it? Why am I already restless for a hand to hold? And what pulls me back towards unhealthy partnerships?
I will survive alone by getting better and more comfortable breathing in my own skin, alone in my own bed, and biding my own time… Alone. Sure, it’s not how I want it to be. And here we are. Perhaps all this relationship hunting is a distraction. Maybe I work too hard at it? Am I too hard to love? Too demanding?
Alone By Choice, For Now
By finding my center while alone, I am doing the work to regain my confidence and healthy lifestyle. For me, that means less, or no, drinking, more exercise, more rest, and more downtime. Not too much downtime, because then I feel sad. But not busy to be busy. And not jumping into “hello” dates until there is a big hit. And so far, no hits at all. Not even any interesting conversations. At least not from Bumble or Tinder. Not one.
I’ve got plenty of things to work on during this period of quiet. I have a new place. I have a new job. I have a new car arriving this week. A lot has changed in my life over the last 45 days. So much, so that I’m not sure I’m going to recognize my life in a week or so. And, I know that getting my life back in motion is the best thing I can do. New car, job, and living quarters. Those are significant adjustments. Best for me to remain calm and remain focused on my rebuilding.
It is fun, I think, to at least imagine myself back in the game. If the perfect woman walked up and asked for my next available tennis slot, I’d be hard-pressed to say no. Of course, that’s not going to happen. What’s going to happen, is I’m going to play on dating apps and dating sites as a tourist. I don’t want to date right now. I’m just browsing. I’m actually trying to find inspiration. What I’m finding is a lot of people are putting themselves out there with very little effort.
If I were to coach some of these women I’d give a few hot tips:
- easy on the makeup and glamour shots (unless that’s how you like to show up all the time)
- easy on the alcohol promotion
- easy on the cleavage shots (why are leading with your breasts?)
- easy, for me, on the tattoos (a personal preference, not a judgment)
- easy on the smoldering or angst look (shoegazing is over in my book)
- easy on the shots with girlfriends (now, which one are you? Oh, damn, I like your friend though)
- easy on the hot car or Learjet poses
And that’s just the photography. In the profile writing world, at least put something in. The random photo with zero biographical information is simply trolling. I’m sure there are guys who ping even those accounts, but what’s the point? If you’re too lazy to even tell us what you’re looking for, or what you’re about, you’re too lazy for my time.
Where’s Your Joy?
I’m looking for someone to join my carnival of happiness. My joy-tribe.
How do you find joy? What activities bring you the most laughter? What activities bring you the most energy and excitement? (Well, aside from that one. *blush*) What music drives your morning routine and might provide a jumping-off point? What about you is unique? What about your partner should be unique?
A few *bs* profile phrases
- likes to travel
- loves the beach
- happy hour anywhere
- low drama
How about a few more like this:
- emotionally available
- sexually intelligent
- psychologically advanced
- passionate about ____
- ready to kick your ass at pickleball
I want attitude. Do you know the song by Cake, Short Skirt/Long Jacket? Check it out. (link at end of the article) I want a woman with uninterrupted prosperity. Put your mojo out there. Share a quirky photo. Share a random shot of something that will inspire a conversation. Do a little work to tell me what you want from your next partner. And tell me what you’re bringing to the party.
Meeting People Is Easy
Loving people is a bit more nuanced. You’ve got to match up on enough “must-haves” to weather the growing pains that come with any long-term relationship development. It’s an ongoing process, this relationship thing. Both partners need to be available in energy and mental acuity. Both partners have got to want to build a healthy and happy relationship.
I know it’s easier to be lazy, or casual, or appear like you didn’t put any effort into your dating profile. But guess what, it also broadcasts the message that you’re confused about what you’re looking for and what you’re putting out there. Give online dating your best shot. If you’re going to spend time browsing, at least try and learn from the experience.
While meeting people is easy, finding the fit of your life is a bigger and more spiritual quest. I do think it’s important to be available emotionally and physically when you actually start dating again. And I also believe, online dating is more of a game and less of a strategy for finding a lasting relationship. (It’s possible, but the fake accounts and scammers and gamers are clogging up the system.)
I’ll Meet You Out There, Okay?
Do what you love doing. While you’re single, it’s a great time to recommit to finding the passions in your life. If you can’t describe something you are passionate about, you’re not ready for a genuine date. Why? Because that’s my first question. “Tell me about something you’re passionate about?” And in the process of the conversation, I’ll tell you about me and mine.
Let’s meet at our passions. Even if I don’t share your passion (for long-distance running, for example) I can support you and your drive. I want to lean into something that you’re passionate about. I want to learn to love you and all that you love doing. We’re going to grow and go for the rest of our lives, in my ideal partnership. Let’s get our passions out front. Let’s lead with what we’re most excited about in life. And then see if we can find someone else who shares that passion.
We are going to be sharing our time and energy exclusively with another person. As we consider what we want to do together, and what we want to do separately, can we find enough that we love doing as a couple? Can we cook meals together? Do the mundane things together with grace and loving cooperation?
Finding Your Next True Love
Put the “true love” back in your dating quest. Don’t settle for “meh” and “maybe.” In fact, don’t text them, and don’t go on “hello” dates with them. And, if you’re really serious, quit using online dating as an excuse for not getting off your butt and getting out there where the potential partner is riding a bike or climbing a mountain. You’ve got to get out there to get connected with someone out there.
Bringing “out there” back home. When you are involved in something vigorous, your attention and judgment are often heightened. You are more likely to get a true read on a partner while you are playing tennis, for example. The extra breathing, the extra blood flow, and the energy of athletic activity will give you both a richer connection.
I believe this is the place to start. Play the field on the playing field of life. So, what’s holding you back? Get out there and get restarted!
*image: love note from my girlfriend
- The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
- Braving the Wilderness – Brené Brown
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce – John McElhenney
More articles from The Whole Parent:
- Dad’s Divorce Journey: 9-years Later I Still Feel the Loss of Kid-time
- Heal Your Heart from the Fear and Loss by Opening with Vulnerability
- Self-Care and Appreciation: Can I Love All of Myself Right Now?
- 3 Required Traits for Building a Lasting Relationship
- The Big Three Marriage Issues and the Hope of Counseling
- 8 Lessons from My First 2 Divorces
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue