By Lindy Earl
Life is hard. No question. We can work at something and simply never succeed. We can do everything right and still lose. We can grow up, go to school, try our best. We can get married, have kids, and raise them in the best way we know how. We can go to church or respect a higher being. We can do everything right . . . and still end up divorced, or between jobs, or with cancer or some other debilitating disease. We can do our best, but still end up with an empty shell of a life.
One of my challenges throughout life is knowing when to quit, or if I should quit at all. Am I throwing good time after bad, investing in something that will never happen? Or, am I just this close to a major breakthrough? How do you know? Perseverance is a mean word.
Life is hard, and dating is difficult, and relationships can be . . . I’m out of adjectives.
Back in teen years, one of the challenges of dating was timing. You liked them. You heard they liked you. Yet, nothing happened. Was it due to shyness? It may be have been due to a lack of transportation. Sitting in the back seat while your mom drives is not sexy.
As a teenage girl, I remember commiserating with my girlfriends that guys were simply too slow to ask us out. We would meet, become interested, so we would flirt (back then that meant twirling your hair and smiling widely – oh, for the innocence of those days!), and then we would wait. Some guys couldn’t so much as ask you to dance at a party. My gosh. What was wrong with those boys? By the time the guys got up the nerve to ask the girls out, the girl had often moved on to another crush, where too often the cycle repeated itself. The cool guys were the ones who acted on their impulses. There is something very sexy about a guy, whether he’s 19 or 59, stating, “Have dinner me with tomorrow night.” It’s a surprisingly lovely way to be asked out.
Now, fast forward 40 years. Are things any better? We no longer have to ask to borrow a car, but according to my research, people can still be interested in someone, yet nothing happens. Sometimes it’s two people who know one another, and flirt, but it ends there, even if they are both interested. Online dating sites, according to what I have gleaned, are too often a lot of talk that goes no where. That’s not why you signed up . . . yet it’s where you find yourself.
On dating sites you will see the line, “Not looking for a pen pal.” That’s because too many people get on dating sites and spend so much time messaging back and forth that they never get around to meeting. But, if someone suggests meeting too soon, it can be off putting. What’s wrong with getting to know someone first – but how much can you really know when it’s all in written messages that can be edited a dozen times before sending?
When we look at our current situations, there are far more barriers than just insecurity and lack of experience. Depending on your age and your position in life, timing may have to be considered around work, children and their schedules, responsibilities such as household chores and errands, and more. Distance can be an issue now because we don’t meet everyone in high school, and don’t live on the same school bus route.
Timing is getting more difficult. Now the ladies continue to flirt, possibly more boldly but maybe some continue to twirl their hair and smile widely. Men can still be slow on the uptake. Ask her out already! It’s a couple of hours of your life and $5 for a cup of coffee. You can do this.
Face to face meetings allow you to learn so much about a person without saying a word. First, punctuality. If you are making someone wait for you on your first meet ‘n greet, you have already communicated a lot. In one situation, I called the guy to say that, due to construction that I didn’t know about, I was running five minutes late. Literally five minutes. He was already there when he took the call, but when I arrived he was gone. Confused, I called him again. He had gone for a walk because he didn’t believe in waiting. He didn’t leave the area completely and he returned for our meet ‘n greet, but he was not going to wait on any woman.
You just can’t know how people will respond to lateness. Some people will ignore the time lapse and move on with the date. Others will figure that you’re not taking the meeting very seriously and, while they will wait, they have already ousted you from their future. Some will leave. If they aren’t important enough for you to be on time, then they aren’t interested in you anymore. Remember, by now we have lived a lifetime of failed relationships and disappointments and we bring baggage with us on every date.
Maybe the timing isn’t physical timing, but where we are in our lives. I was told to never date a man who hadn’t been divorced for at least two years. I was told that it takes that long to even begin getting over their marriage. I have learned that it’s simply not true for everyone.
Some people are simply better in a relationship. While you are waiting an appropriate amount of time for them to get over their last relationship, they are moving into a new relationship, because they want to be with someone. You could lose a potentially great date.
Bad timing is a bad excuse for not having a great relationship. I think the real reason that people don’t act is due to fear (What if I’m rejected?). Even if there are situation with children, with some effort a good relationship can still happen.
You may have heard stories of people who waited for something – a child’s graduation, for instance – before moving on with their relationship, only to have something happen (sometimes a death) that robs them of their joy when it was finally time. How horrible!
You only have one today. You only have one now. Stop living in the future and stop using your past as an excuse to not live your life.
That’s Dating After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com or find and like her page on Face Book, and join her FB support group, Single Again: From Devastation to Dating. You can subscribe (for $1/month) to her Life After Divorce Newsletter at www.LindySpeaks.com.