I am FINALLY giving you the dating posts I have been promising. As much as I would love to give you hilarious dating stories, I am not going to do that.
I am going to need do this as a three-part series. This post is about dating generally. The second part is going to be about online dating. The third part is going to be about knowing what you want and finding it. And I may do a bonus post for the guys with a few hints and tips. All of this is the world according to Brooke. Which let's be honest--might as well be gospel truth right?! But I do put the disclaimer out there that I only speak for myself.
When I got divorced, I was really excited to get back "out there." It felt really good to have men interested in me, to go on nice dates and get complimented. I was surprised that men didn't seem to care that I have four kids (which I thought was going to be the kiss of death for me.) What I didn't plan for was the heartache involved. I thought getting divorced was hard emotionally. While it is true that nothing will ever touch losing your marriage--I think the emotional roller coaster of dating is almost as bad.
My belief is that if after the first date, I can't see myself potentially marrying that person down the road, I need to say no to a second date. At this age, most people are dating to find someone to marry. No one is out there just to play games and have fun. Gone are the days of just going on a date for the free meal--sooooo not worth my time and energy! When I get asked out for a second date and I am not interested, I say "Thank you so much for lunch/dinner. I had a great time talking to you. I just did not feel a romantic connection. Good luck to you!" Done. The reverse also happens. I have had guys who don't want to go on a second date with me. But it is worse, because as women, we don't get told straight up that the guy isn't interested. We are just left waiting for a call or text that never comes.
The same is true in relationships. As soon as you know it isn't going to work--it is time to hit the belly release and give a good strong arch. Cole and I broke up recently and that has been very hard. We both knew that there were reasons it was probably not going to work for us to get married so we opted to say good-bye now. It has been hard for both of us. Break-ups suck. And they don't suck any less as a grown adult. In fact, they suck worse, especially if that person has met your children, your parents, your friends, gone to church with you, become part of your life.
The upside to dating the second time around is that you can see how someone is going to turn out. When you are 20, you can see potential in people but you don't know the choices they will make down the road. At this point, I can see how active someone is in the church (super important to me), how committed they are to their children (also important), if they have a career they are passionate about and make enough to provide (important.) You can also see where they failed in their previous relationships/marriage. I am honest with my dates about where my weaknesses are. I have found that most men are honest with me as well. It is good to know going in where we are going to struggle and if each others' weaknesses are going to be a deal breaker.
I also firmly believe that when I do find the right man and we get married, we will not take each other for granted. We will appreciate the good things about our new marriage that we didn't have in our previous marriages.
Dating has changed a lot since I was in my early 20s. Texting, Facebook and email have totally changed the way the game is played. I tell my single friends who are getting divorced that it is time to spruce up their Facebook page. You have to market yourself. Even if you are not a big facebooker, it is the first place a guy is going to go to check you out and see if he is interested.
Tomorrow, I will do a post on online dating. It is it's own animal! I've got some tips for my friends who are recently divorced and want to go online!