This Valentine’s Day I will be celebrating solo. It’s a good thing. It’s a sad thing, but I don’t really put much credence into V-day or new year’s resolutions. Figure out your plan and where you want to go, and then get on it. I don’t need a day to cause me to be romantic. I don’t need a new year to make me accountable for the coming year.
Where Does Love Come From?
A lot of factors go into finding a lover. And there can be distractions and detours on the path towards finding your forever home. I have failed in every attempt. If you are single right now, all your previous relationships have pooped out. Some spectacularly, with fireworks and bad words. And some, more casually, as friends and former lovers.
And we start up the damn hill again, like Sisyphus pushing his rock. Opening Bumble again, “Welcome back, John.” Oh, really? I’m not all that glad to see you, myself. Let’s try again. This time, I’d like to find THE ONE, please. Thanks.
And we know it isn’t going to happen. I knew after a few minutes on Bumble that not one of my right swipes was going to respond. I think one matched and timed out without reaching out to me. Well, she was over 65 miles away in SA. So, that’s a nonstarter in my book.
Where does love come from? Time spent with someone doing things that you love. As your relationship matures, that “honeymoon” time will be over, and you will need to work on recreating the buzzy magic during mundane things like dishes, laundry, kids’ bedtime routines, everything is more challenging and more fun when you can share the tasks with a conscious partner. But that’s a long way from “dating again.” FK.
How Do We Seek Love Today?
Many of us jump into the online dating scene and hope for the best. Then we get disillusioned. Yes, there are a ton of people out there just as confused about how to find a relationship as you are, but they may have other problems. Here’s what I know about my next relationship.
- they will have time to be with me (alone, no iPhone alerts, no kid duty)
- they will make our relationship, the WE of our coupleship, a priority
- they will lovingly check-in with me BEFORE making other plans (it’s not permission, it’s because they would rather spend time in the WE, but there are other obligations
- they constantly give positive feedback
- they are not afraid to give negative feedback, but it’s a considered discussion with the goal of solving any disconnects, rather than starting a fight)
- while they may have other priorities, our relationship is given a place at the table before any major decisions are made
Here’s what I see as potential red flags.
- they complain about being too busy all the time
- they make excuses when they don’t get something done (call you back, give you feedback on vacation ideas to the beach)
- it constantly feels like you have to justify and negotiate for your time together
- there is little or no opportunity for alone time with your partner (yes, I have kids too, but if you can’t ever have a night alone with your partner… with a sitter, a relative, a friend…)
- disagreements quickly escalate to hot words and disproportionate anger
- their stance is, “here’s what we’re doing… You can come or not, that’s up to you.” rather than “what shall we all do together?”
- it’s them (and their kids) against the world, and sometimes you’re going to be on the outside of that world
- they are constantly late and leaving things for the last minute – there is no margin of error for traffic or lost water bottles, things continually evolve into crisis-mode
- their self-awareness extends to the edge of their hula-hoop, they don’t see others feelings or needs
- a harassed attitude is constant, as a response to how difficult things are, or how stressful it is right now.
Right, Nobody Is Perfect, But…
You may not get everything on your nice to have a list. But you’re going to have to say goodbye to anyone that shows a red flag. You can explore your understanding of their “oops” moment, but you’ve got to take special care that you are not caretaking their bad behavior. I do this all the time. I get optimistic and hopeful only to be let down again, by the same actions that got me sad in the first place.
In relationships, we’ve got to learn to ask for what we want. We’ve got to be okay with complaining about things that hurt. And when we ask for a modification, we’ve got to pay attention when the offending behavior continues.
When it’s right you can lean into it. When things flow together you can move rather quickly from dating into relating. (“Let’s take our Bumble profiles down and see how this one pans out.”) And when it’s wrong, we’ve got to be more efficient at saying, “Nope. This is nice but it’s not a fit.” Then we actually have to move on. We have to open Bumble again and “rejoin” the BS that is online dating.
Online Dating Is a Tonic, But It’s Not the Solution
It’s fun to see potential partners. It’s fun to imagine a new partner. It’s fun to get excited by someone online. AND… it’s not real. It’s like dating long-distance (seeing each other once a month for a weekend) and imagining you’ve got it all together. Until you’re WITH someone, you can’t tell what being with them is going to be like. Until you sleepover, at their house, you’re not going to know if they snore, or if they can tolerate your snoring. Are the morning cuddlers. Do they stay up late?
There is a lot to relationship building involved in creating a successful partnership. But, it all starts with a first date. That’s the only way it works. So, while I don’t think you’re going to find Tinder to be “all that,” I do think it’s good practice. It’s a good way to dial in your hopes and dreams. It’s a good way to get over your idea of dating a 9+ when you’re a 6.5.
Get Your Game Together Before You Start a World Tour
Work on yourself during your single time. Make plans and maps for what you want and how to get there. Get a wingman if you need help. And stay with it. Only by running up the hill repeatedly, are you going to find a partner at the top, who’s compatible, sexy, and available. It’s a rare thing when two people click. That’s what we’re looking for. The Big CLICK.
Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)
The Dating a Divorced Dad series continues:
- What the Single Dad Wants – 9 Months Later (an update)
- The Three Essential Elements of Love
- In Relationship with a Divorced Dad: Ground Rules
You can find all of my books on AMAZON.