Dating is a NONO, because you are looking for a quick fix, not unlike a drug addict. You want to use someone to feel better. That is wrong. For one, you are using another humen being while you are deeply confused and hurt. That in turn will also hurt the other person. And secondly it will stun your growth and development, because it might make you think that you do not need to grow and develop further. Trust me, you do. And A LOT! And the sooner you get your a$$ in gear, the better.
And do not expect for others to do the work for you, because it cannot be done. You have to work for you.
As a follow on, we've seen a lot of posters buck this advice.....only to come back and admit that the forum was right.
OK, Steve and VAPO, now it's perhaps time to relate my dating story from awhile back. In sum, I came out OK but the gal was hurt. Here's the story. I'll put on my fire retardant suit for your responses but please wait until the end until you take out your flamethrowers.
I announced to a church group I belong to that my ex had walked out and that I was devastated. This was about 45 days after the BD, in late October last year.
A week later a lovely gal in the group, who I barely knew, said that she was trained in grief counseling and would like to help me in any way possible. Of course I bit. We were both about the same age, close to age 60, and she fit my "nice" and "attractive" profiles. She was a retired schoolteacher, already having put in 30 years and cashed out, so she didn't have a day job anymore, meaning lots of time. She was a divorcee, having separated from her husband three years earlier but the divorce had only recently become final. She had no children, which was a relief of sorts. [I have three if you recall my original post, from ages 19 through 25.]
Yes, I loved the attention. She listened. I cried my heart out, sometimes with my head on her lap after we had crossed the threshold of getting to know each other. We had dinner and she was very affirming. She too had some awful circumstances so there was a lot of reason to talk. For about 4 weeks, we texted constantly and saw each other maybe 2-3 times a week, sometimes just for an hour.
Not surprisingly, it turned intimate at the 4 week mark. She was the first woman I had touched, other than my STBXW, in 32 years. Admittedly, it was pretty incredible. My STBXW pulled some cr-p on me, convinced my kids to spend both Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day with her; damn that hurt. But this new gal spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with me so at least I wasn't alone. [There is a long backstory to this, as to why I'm estranged from my biological family, I'll spare you all the details.]
I had a date on New Years Eve -- nice. I had a date on Valentine's Day -- nice. We were seeing each other now about 3-4 nights a week. I had one child at home so I never spent the night, although I did come home at 5 or 6 AM a few times.
We were sympatico in quite a number of ways. I learned how to communicate with a woman because of her. I found myself saying things, and becoming vulnerable, in ways I never had. I am a tender romantic and sensual man at heart, and we both loved the touch we shared. We would do this for hours sometimes, not sexual, just touching and loving. It was something I had never done with my STBXW over 30 years, and it was marvelous.
Here is the scary part that perhaps will set off your alarm bells. I'm a romantic guy, it should not surprise you that after 90 days of this bliss I began to wonder "could I be this lucky so soon?" I began to have notions that perhaps, after my divorce was final, I might marry her. These were casual notions, and I was surprised to have them, but I had them nonetheless. We started talking about taking a cruise in October. Things like that.
But as February came to a close, I began to see cracks and other issues at the seams. She began to get a little possessive. When it looked like covid would bring my other two children home, she began to worry that we would never have time alone. Then, while I was cooking her dinner in my house one evening, she mused out loud, "I wonder if your children will like me." All of a sudden I realized -- I didn't want her to meet my children. I would be, in fact, embarrassed to introduce her to my children. And I believe that sometimes our visceral reactions about people are valid.
Here's why I felt that way. My STBXW was a classy lady. She knew how to dress stylishly, she knew how to set a table, she had manners and some culture. This gal friend of mine, while lovely and sweet, with considerable physical beauty, didn't have any of those. She lived in a duplex across town, that was basically 90% cluttered. The few times I'd stayed there (never for the full night but sometimes until 5 AM) she was pretty obsessive about the strangest stuff -- how I cleaned under my fingernails, how I washed her dishes, even how I used the soap and shampoo in her shower. I couldn't crawl into her bed unless I had cleaned my feet before they touched the sheets. She didn't have very good "mom" or "wife" qualities, if you understand what I mean. And now that we were 90 days into a relationship I was realizing this stuff.
I talked things around and looked things up, and came to realize that it was highly likely that she was OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). The clutter and the cleanliness structure is what convinced me. Also, in those 90 days I'd noticed a few other things, one in particular was that she took a LOT of prescriptions. There were maybe 10-15 containers. So I wondered whether she had not been candid about medical conditions, and that perhaps she was already in treatment for OCD.
Prior to these realizations, in March, I had been aware of what I thought was just quirkiness, but I needed her, I wanted the attention, I wanted the affection. Recall that the intimacy began about 90 days after the BD and lasted another 90-100 days. So I rationalized it as her just being quirky. It was nice to know that while a lovely woman had openly rejected me, thrown away our marriage, that I was still appealing to someone else.
But now my eyes had opened wider. We had been spending a lot of time together on the weekends, busy stuff, fun stuff. But being a little alarmed at what I'd learned, I hopped on a plane to see an old college friend (a medical doctor) and sent her a text that we wouldn't be seeing each other that weekend, that I had some soul-searching to do. For a week we didn't communicate, the ball was in my court anyway. When I reached out to her, finally, about a week after our prior communication, she was already in full retreat. My doctor friend, by the way, stiffened my spine about her, too -- "caution, caution, caution" he advised.
By now the covid lockdowns were in full gear. This gal has asthma so she was very cautious, and wasn't entertaining any visitors. We had a zoom call where she talked about how badly I had hurt her. She ended the call abruptly after 30 minutes. So I wrote her a letter telling her about my concerns about her medical condition, and asked whether I was correct. She never replied, just refused to talk for another 2 months. The relationship was over.
I wasn't devastated. I wasn't hurt. I had been through an important experience, one that I think was necessary after over 30 years with my STBXW. I had staggered and stumbled through a relatively brief romance and had learned more about the new, late 50s, single Tom. I got wiser as to what to look for. I knew more about my own tendencies, about my thresholds.
Yes I was vulnerable. But to me at least I needed a relationship like this one, where I could learn how to talk about feelings, about heartbreak, to ask agonizing questions such as, "am I really damaged goods?" I believe it has helped me be able to talk openly about stuff even here on DB.
The biggest lesson I perhaps learned is that, and this is a guilty admission, I think I am the type of man who is "in love with being in love." I explored that with my therapist dating back to my high school days and, being the tender romantic that I am, it's pretty true. So now I know, intellectually at least, to not fall into certain traps anymore. But it only came about because of this brief romance.
This relationship ended in late March. It's been six months. I am not worse for wear after it all. She is. I saw her at a church event last week and just tried to be pleasant, and she was on the verge of tears the entire time. I'm not proud of that.
So the both of you are saying that dating is a No-No, and relationships are a No-No. I still don't get it, especially the dating and getting out part. Once, while this gal and I were out at a club dancing (in February, pre-covid), another woman pulled my arm to dance with her because she thought I was dancing solo. My girlfriend glared and the woman said, "honey you'd better make sure that I know he's with you next time." I was flattered by the attention; what's wrong with that at this stage?
Well, that's it. I'd appreciate replies, even tough replies, to this. Don't hold back. [Fire retardant suit on.] I'm open to most any perspective.