By Demetria Irwin, Managing Editor
The last time I was truly Single, I was 25 years old, new to New York City and going out (alone, with friends or on dates) at least three times a week. Now, I’m 35, divorced, I have a full decade of New York living under my belt and the perfect Friday night consists of my couch, a glass of wine and a good book. Needless to say, the dating scene is a bit different for me now, but mostly in a good way.
It’s been almost two years since I left our marital home, so I’ve had a chance to see myself evolve into a more confident dater. At first, I was a little lost. I felt like damaged goods. To me, I had failed at marriage and I was still in a bit of a funk as I sorted out those issues. Once I got through that and felt ready to jump back into the dating pool, I was confronted with some new realities.
I have different priorities and goals than I did when I was in my mid 20s. Back then, I was trying to figure out not only what kind of guys I liked, but also who I was and what I had to offer a relationship. I was open to dating many different types of guys and dating often. It’s exactly what I should have been doing at that age. I had a ball. Today? I don’t have the time or interest in having a Sex and the City type of dating schedule.
The greatest thing about dating at this age and with the experience I have, is the ability to spot red flags much sooner. I’m confident in who I am, what I offer and what I expect/deserve from a potential mate. I have never had a disastrous first date post-divorce and that’s because I recognize basic incompatibility in that initial conversation. That’s not to say that my radar is perfect. I’ve definitely been on some dud dates, but not a first date.
So, I don’t date as often as I did at 25 because I’m more selective about who I spend my time with these days. My general approach to dating has not changed though. I see dating as a way to get to know and enjoy myself with good people. Period. If something beyond friendship blossoms, that’s great, but I’m not out here looking for husband #2. I do think I will likely marry again, but my brain doesn’t fill with visions of a wedding chapels when I see potential in a guy.
And of course, everything has not been rosy has I’ve eased into the dating scene. This phenomenon of texting as the primary form of communication by a suitor was (and is) abominable. Call me old fashioned I suppose, but I prefer a phone call or face-to-face communication for anything beyond logistics or a sweet “thinking of you” or “good night” note. I’ve been truly surprised at how much texting 40-something year old men do. Speak words, grown man.
I’ve also encountered men who seem to think that because I am of a “certain age” that I should be grateful for whatever attention they choose to give me. How dare I turn down there half-hearted attempts at courting. I mean, my options are so limited, right? Who wants a 35-year-old divorced woman when all these pretty 20-somethings are in arm’s reach? Please. I do not tolerate foolishness and I will not bend on basic characteristics I know that I need in a partner. You don’t need to look like Idris Elba, but you do need to be kind, smart, respectful, etc.
For me, post-divorce dating has been empowering, interesting and over all, pretty enjoyable.
What have been your biggest challenges in your post-divorce dating life?