Monday, June 30, 2014

A new liberation

Today I cut ties with the last of my gentleman callers.

Oh, did I say "gentleman caller"?  My mistake.  I meant to say "incessant texters."  Sure, he sent me nice messages several times a day and was gentlemanly (not a single penis in sight in those messages), but really, what is the deal with all of the texting?

Side rant:  Texting is not dating.  Texting is not a relationship.  Texting is little pixels of short sentences and is best used to say "Does 5pm work for you?" or "Do you want me to pick up dog food on the way home?" or "Call me when you get a minute."  Texting is not a good way to establish connections, to have a real relationship, or to be romantic.  I don't care if you call me's still not romantic.  It's texting.  (End rant, thanks for listening.)

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes.  As I was saying: I cut ties.  We weren't a fit.  He was kind, sweet, smart, and funny - all amazing traits.  But he was also non-committal ("I want to see you again" wasn't followed by "on this day at this time"), we had some serious religious differences (I know people figure that out all the time, but I'm not sure that I'm willing to take that on), and the big one...I just wasn't feeling it.

I just wasn't feeling it.

And here's the thing...

I don't feel like feeling it.

I'm not sure if this new stage will last, but right now, I just don't care to date.  I am not terribly interested in men (except for the occasional "oh meowwwwww!" moment), because I can't be bothered.

WHAT?!  "I can't be bothered!" isn't my style at all, but there it is.

Right now, when I think about dating, I think about compromising (where to go, what to do).  I think about "putting on my best face" and what, impress someone?  I think about dealing with someone else's quirks, someone else's baggage, someone else's schedule.  I think of giving up time with my friends, or time with myself.  I think about compromising the way I'm raising Katherine in some way (sharing her time, or my focus on the life that the two of us have created).

I know, don't I make romance sound grand?  Quite the dream date I am.

I don't know when I became this blasé about it all, but there it is.

And I feel liberated.

I'm not leaving room in my schedule for dates, and I don't appear to care what any gentlemen think of me at this time.

If I try to adopt a bunch of cats and become a crazy cat lady, you'll stop me, won't you?

But until then, you'll find me on the trail.  In a book.  At work. (Oh boy, will you ever find me at work.)  On the beach.  In a museum.  Hosting friends for dinner.

But you won't find me shopping the man-mall (online dating) or on a date.

How liberating!

P.S.  My friends hear this and say, "Now you're ready."  Comical, isn't it?  Because I may be ready.  But if Superman came along, I would have a hard time saying yes to him, because I'm not kidding about al of this.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I started blogging as Pollyanna as a response to my divorce.

Recap:  I decided to get divorced in May 2011, and we lived separately-apart (upstairs downstairs) in the same house until June 2012, when he moved out.  We were officially divorced in January 2013, but I have "felt" divorced since that first decision three years ago.

When I first started blogging at, I strongly identified with that word "divorced."  It seemed to define me in many ways, just as "wife" and "mother" had defined me.

I felt like it was on my forehead, tattooed in large, ugly letters: DIVORCED.  I knew the baggage that such a label carried: unsuccessful, broken home, quitter, vow-breaker.  It was my scarlet D, and I faithfully pinned it to my chest each day when I got dressed, and before I left the house.  I slept with it, too, tucking it under my pillow near my cheek, alone in my bed.

Being divorced has baggage, no way around that.  Others would judge, and I judged myself, despite the brave face I put on to make it through the day.

But time passed.

I can barely remember the girl I was three years ago.  Isn't that funny?  The thoughts that went through my head then seem only tangentially related to the thoughts I have now - she seems like not-me, like someone from another era, someone from a book, someone not quite real.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my scarlet D.


When I first took steps towards divorce, I didn't know exactly what I wanted, I only knew what I did not want.  With every fiber in my being, I realized that I needed to be divorced to stay alive.  I was suffocating in my marriage as if I had a plastic bag over my face that only ocassionally blew to the side to give me enough air to hold on to life, but not enough to live.  The anger of our household, the yelling, the lies, and the utter lack of support or partnership made it hard for me to breathe.  I did not know what I would do with my life, but I was determined to live.

With the first gasps of freedom, I think I thought "New partner!  I will find The Right Man and all will be well!"  I embarked upon a series of dating misadventures to this end, and unsurprisingly, found nobody who fit the bill.  I cringe a bit to think of some of those dates: I was not exactly a catch, as bruised and battered (fortunately, "only" psychologically and not physically) as I was.

More time passed, and I reconnected to so many parts of myself.  The hiking that my partner professed to enjoy but neither joined nor accommodated became, once again, a regular part of my life.  Camping trips increased.  My attendance at concerts (including the free ones) increased.  The house filled with friends.  I ate healthier food, and watched my body change.  I ran, and ran, and ran, and felt the exhilaration of it.  I volunteered - with nobody telling me that it was a foolish way to spend my time, or grumbling about how I was gone - and found deep fulfillment in it.

I mothered.  I found mothering to be suddenly easier, not harder, with his influence out of the house: no more managing moods, no more explaining his temper tantrums.  Consistent rules, a smiling mother, and my daughter blossomed.  The more I blossomed, the more she blossomed.


I don't know how to pinpoint the moment that the D fell off, but it's lost and I haven't seen it in ages.  I don't think about it very much at all, to be honest.

Sure, my ex is still a regular part of my life, and I communicate with him nearly every day (even if the communications are one way: informing him of summer childcare, gymnastics schedules, etc.)...but he's just a person that's involved in my life, much like a neighbor or a cousin.  He's not someone I think about unless we're face to face.  I can't explain it - he is just not an important part of my life any more, even though he's a regular in my life.  He just "is".

I don't debate where my marriage fell apart any more.  I don't spend a bunch of time wondering where I went wrong, or why he behaved the way he did, or how to prevent that from ever happening to me again.

The D seems to have slipped off.


What's it been replaced with?

"Single Mom" mostly.  Being a single mom is a regular part of my day to day, and my decisions revolve around my single-mom-ness.  Everything from what time I go to work to how I structure my free time to if/when I go on dates to, well, everything, is about being a single mom.  I know my daughter counts on me for much, including love and stability, and I do everything in my power to provide the stability of two parents even though I am only one.  (Her dad loves her, but "stability" isn't his specialty.  She spends on average 3 nights a month at his place....his choice.)

I like being a single mom.  How's that for bizarre?  To me it means that I'm independent and strong, that I'm capable and brave.  It means that I demonstrate how capable I am on a daily basis: I manage to pack a healthy lunch, get my child off to school, be one of the first ones in the office, bust my rear end all day (working through lunch because I can't work late, because I need to take my daughter to gymnastics or simply get home to feed her and be there for her), and manage to keep the laundry more-or-less caught up, the yard mowed (bane of my existence!), the bills paid, the birthday party presents purchased, the right sized clothes in the closet (no matter how fast she grows).  The money parts of that equation are tricky, but I'm managing, and I like that I can manage it.

I think that before I was a single mom I associated that term with vulnerability, fear, anxiety, brokenness.  But no longer.

Now I associate it with being a freaking rock star.

Yup, I'm feeling like a rock star.  Sure, there's a new gray streak in my hair, and I'm too tired to stay out until 10pm....but still, a rock star.


My ex was updating his Facebook status recently (not sure why it took him so long!) to "Divorced" and it popped up on my feed.  I couldn't remember what my status was, so I looked up my own status.  "Single."  That feels so much better to me than "Divorced" even though it amounts to the same thing.  I am not defined by having had a failed relationship.  I'm just not in a relationship right now.  I'm single.  I like that.


Define me how you wish.  Sure, I'm divorced, and I won't deny that, and if you want to think of me as a Divorced Woman then go ahead - I can't stop you.  But for me, the label has lost its power, and I'm just back to being myself.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.


On a totally different note....

I enjoy being single so much that I can't seem to find a single man in fifty miles who meets my exacting criteria for dating.  I amuse myself with this: it's not like I'm a supermodel millionaire famous artist cancer-curer, for Pete's sake, so where do I get off being so picky?  I don't know, I only know that nobody can capture my interest.   I think that, because of this, I'm going to become a crazy cat lady (hold the cats, though).  I want to do what I want to do without reporting in to anyone, and I like my busy life, and I don't want to make room for anyone in that life, it seems.

But there's a problem.


I am NOT agreeing to live out the rest of my days in celibacy.  And the whole friends-with-benefits thing doesn't appeal, and there's only so much appeal to solo acts, and I'm not a one-night-stand kind of girl.

Not sure what I'm going to do about that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Dear readers, I have been a busy girl.

Yes, I've gone on a few dates (1. Offered to send me penis pics, 2. Absolutely no connection, and 3. Not sure what I think but maybe a friend?), but that's not what I'm doing most of the time.

I'm living.  I'm really, really living.

I'm working my tail off to be the best Development Director I can be.  I'm learning at an extraordinary rate, and proud of what I've already accomplished.  I'm mothering, and Katherine and I feel closer than ever, I think.  I'm mowing my lawn, cooking dinners, packing lunches.

But I'm also calling the sick friend to listen, going to the beach after work, makings s'mores in the back yard after dinner with Katherine and her friends.  I've given up on the way I used to entertain, but tonight a couple friends came over and we grilled sausages and corn on the cob, and I put out some veggies and dip, and called it dinner. Nobody complained or mocked me.

I'm lying in the hammock for a few minutes here and there.  I'm sitting on the porch swing in my bathrobe in the wee hours of the morning, sipping coffee.  I'm organizing summer hikes. 

This is the deep stuff of living.  These small moments add up to a life.

Perfect?  Not even close.  My fridge needs a good scrubbing inside, my yard is mowed but the "landscaping" is a disaster (the quotes around that word are because I'm not sure it could even be considered landscaping, it's not that well done), I'm really far behind at work and I have a lot to learn, and I'm a great mom (I think!) but I'm also a divorced mom, and, well, that's imperfect.  Money is working out but too tight, my car needs work and I'm avoidant, and I have a running injury and I've put on weight.

And yet.

And yet it all feels pretty good, even the imperfect parts, because I have the perspective that I'm alive, and that it's summer, and that my daughter loves me and we're healthy and fed and loved.


Today I visited a new colleague in the hospital.  She's in liver failure, likely a return of her cancer, and it is dire.  I don't know if this is the last time I'll ever see her, but it is possible.

Why is it that some people - like me - get to put on high heels and a dress and go to a job they love, and come home and make s'mores with their child over a fire pit after dinner, and another person is puffed up beyond recognition with yellow skin, in the fetal position in a hospital bed?

It hits close to home.  It could be me - it happens to cancer survivors more than I want to admit.

But right now, I am so well.  My skin is golden from weekend hours in the sun.  My legs are strong.  I laugh a lot.


Last weekend I was volunteering to register people for a charity 5k.  A woman came up and opened up to me about her divorce story sort of out of the blue, a tale of woe (aren't they all?).  I told her that I, too, was divorced.  She whispered bitterness to me, but I said, "I don't know.  I think we're all muddling through, doing the best we can, and all I know is that my marriage no longer worked, but I don't want to be bitter about it, because it is what it is and it's out of my control."  She explained that her situation was worse than mine (she did not know, how could she?  should I have whispered about my darkest days in return?) and that she wasn't working because he could pay support and it served him right.

Not me.

I don't get spousal support, and I'm not bitter. I'm grateful to be able to support myself (with child support), but even more grateful that I'm just not bitter.  I have reasons to be bitter, a long list that I work hard at forgetting, now that I've made sure I'm not in that circumstance any longer and not trapped any more, why would I want to be bitter?

Being bitter is no way to be alive.  Life can be so rotten, and so many crappy things can happen, but who wants to live in that shadow?  Because life is also so rich and gorgeous and beautiful and sunny, that I prefer to keep my face in the sunshine.


Life is imperfect.  But my daughter and I are healthy, my dog loves me, and the eagles circle overhead, and there are campfires to be made and hikes to be hiked and water to be swum in and friends to call and a job to do...and I'm alive.  I'm really, really alive.


A little side note - I ditched OkCupid again.  I really have just a horrible time liking anyone, and I have to imagine it's me, not them.  All those people rated me well, and I didn't like them back.  All those messages, and I didn't want to write back.  All those "wassup" and other awful introductory messages just don't stir me, or make me feel alive.  I think I'm happier alone than hanging out on that website, and so for now, I give up.  There must be a better way, and if there's not, well, that's okay.  You'll find me on the hammock reading a book, or in my PJs watching a movie on my laptop, or in my office, or on the beach....but I'd rather do any of that than have another 20 coffee dates with people I have no desire to see again.

I'm going to have a great summer.  :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

How to accept online dating rejection

I just had yet another exchange.

A message or two back and forth, and red flags come up.  I send a "You seem like a great guy but we're not a match - I wish you all the best in finding your lady love!"

He writes back.

"wow man your picky" (sic)

"Good luck finding someone to meet your high standards"

"Why did you even bother emailing me back if you weren't interested?  What the hell is the matter with you?"
"You must be sick if you don't think I'm a catch"

"No wonder you're single if you turn down a guy like me"

"What a bitch"

....and the list goes one.

Gentlemen, when you write me these things, I'd like you to know how I feel.  I'd like you to know the effect that your words have on me.  Are you ready for this?

I feel relief.  I dodged a bullet!  I was nice to you, and you were petulant, rude, or downright abusive in return, and I think "Thank God I didn't waste any time on that jerk!"  I think "I knew something was off!"  I think "GEEEZ that guy has issues!"

Here is what I don't think:

"OH NO!  I made a mistake!" or "If only he would take me back!" or "He's right, I never should have sent him packing!"  A rude response is merely proof that I did the right thing.


Dating has rejection.  Let's face it, it's not easy.  And in online dating, there's tons of rejection all around.  Gentlemen, how many women do you write?  You can't seriously expect each one of them to fall for you, can you?!  And ladies, not every man who catches your eye will like you in return, either. 


Here are reasons I reject a man online before even talking to him:
1) He lives too far away.
2) Our religious views are different (especially if he's marked that he feels strongly about his different-than-mine viewpoint).
3) Our political views are far apart.
4) He's not fit, or I just don't find him attractive.
5) He reveals big baggage, ranging from "I'm so sick of women's drama" to "my divorce isn't final" and a whole lot more.
6)  He isn't into the outdoors.
7)  He's allergic to pets.  (I have a giant dog and a cat.  His head would likely explode if he walked in my house.)
8) He mentions wanting someone spontaneous.  (My life is not spontaneous.  My life is ridiculously scheduled, and whenever I try being spontaneous invariably things fall apart as a result, because this working single mom who owns an old house and has friends and family constantly has things on the go.)
9) He has more interest in TV than books.
10) He seems to be looking for casual hook ups.

Please notice that nowhere in there did I write "He's a douchebag" or "As a human, he's a waste of planet space."  I don't feel like that.  I'm not there to judge anyone, or to make them feel bad about themselves.  I think that there's someone for everyone, and that we're all worthy of love and respect and partnership.  When I say "We're not a fit" I mean just that: our puzzle pieces don't go together.  I don't mean "I hate you" or "You are a waste of my time."  I mean: we're not a love match.

And please notice that on my list, for most of those things, there will be someone who says "So what?!" and thinks "I'd be great with that!"  For someone else, a man with no kids who loves to be spontaneous, doesn't have or want pets, and watches TV for three hours a night is a great fit.  It just so happens that it isn't a great fit for me.

Why is this so hard for people to understand?


If someone ignores a message I send them, here's what I do:


Nothing.  I do absolutely nothing.

I do not assume that it means that I lack value as a person.  I do not assume that it means that nobody will ever love me.  I do not assume that it means that he thinks I'm ugly, stupid, and boring.  I assume that there is something that isn't a fit.  I'm tall and brunette - perhaps he likes petite blondes.  I'm outspoken, and perhaps he likes quiet women.  I'm really active, and perhaps he likes more quiet evenings in.  I like to go out for dinner, but I'm not into dancing, and maybe he wants a dance partner.  Who am I to say?

But I know this: If I send someone a message and they don't write back, or they write back a polite no-thank-you response, then I think "Oh well, we're not a fit."
And then I move on.

People, this is what you do if someone rejects you online.


You do not insult them.  You do not tell them what they are missing by giving you up.  You do not try to make them interested.  You do not tell them that they are too picky, or that they'll be alone forever, or that they just let a good one get away.

You smile, say thank you, and MOVE ON.


When a man gets all freaked out that I said "no thank you" I am absolutely positively certain that he is not the kind of person I'd like to hang out with.

When I send a "no thank you" message to a man, and he writes back a warm response that wishes me well and says "thanks for getting back to me" (so often these things are ignored, because the internet rules are strangely rude) I think "I wonder if I made a mistake saying goodbye."

Think about that.  PLEASE.


If you go online, you're going to be rejected.  It's okay.  You'll reject others, too.  And it's okay.

Only by saying no to what does not work, will we create space in our lives to say yes to what does work.

Let's just be nice to each other as we go through it together, okay?

Thanks.  :-)