After being single now for just over four years, I’m dreading Valentine’s Day once again. This Hallmark holiday is a miserable way of reminding those of us that haven’t found true love that we may as well keep adopting cats. But the truth is, cats have been more enjoyable and loving than my dating experiences for the past four years, so maybe I’ll just have to stick to them.
After being in an 8-year (mostly sexless) relationship, dating was something I had to relearn, and I was never good at it to begin with. Dating is not like riding a bicycle – it changes over the years, and it can be excruciating when you fall or get hit with something you don’t expect. At least with a bicycle, I can see the road ahead of me and prepare for the bumps and hanging branches along the way. Not so much when it comes to dating after ending a marriage or other long-term relationship. To top it off, I was still living under the same roof as my ex.
One of the first challenges of dating was how and where to actually meet anyone in my own age range, so I did what a lot of people do and went to online dating sites and apps. What a waste of time and energy! I consider myself an open and honest person, and naively, I assumed most other people were as well. Not so when it comes to online dating! Even a lot of my friends that do it or have done it agree what a nightmare it can be.
First I started out on one of the most popular sites, PoF, which I have nicknamed Plenty of Sharks. It was quite overwhelming, because anyone can message you, even if you aren’t interested, and I was bombarded with so many messages I didn’t have time to read most of them. I got nowhere there except a bunch of losers that got angry at me for not being interested in them, along with men that lied about who they were
At the time, I wasn’t interested in men that wanted anything long-term. All I wanted was to meet friends and see where it went. I wasn’t interested in men my father’s age or close to it. I wasn’t interested in men with photos of themselves giving the middle finger or sticking out their tongues like 12-year-olds. I was interested in educated men, which can be a challenge where I live, since most were not.
I did end up meeting someone I’d gone to high school with and hadn’t seen in years. He turned out to be a total psycho control freak when I couldn’t answer his text messages every 10 minutes while I was working as a schoolteacher or if I was too tired to drive all the way to his house after work. He didn’t last, and he was pretty desperate to be on his third marriage, which he successfully managed a year later… and then he contacted me two years later on his third child and divorce all in one. No, thank you!
Then I met another guy online that seemed really nice. He was from the Northeast and was moving near my area, so we kept in touch for about a month or so until he moved down. When we actually met in person, it was for a yearly biker event, so he picked me up on his Harley and off we went. We were having a great time, ran into some of my friends, and ended the evening cordially. I didn’t know if I wanted to see him again. I mean, he was nice, but something was missing. Plus, technically, I hadn’t even filed for divorce yet, so I wasn’t looking to jump into something long-term, but I think he was.
I’m not exactly sure what happened from that point until the following crazy texting happened, but he accused me of “using” him to get to this biker rally. I wasn’t sure what he meant at all, because I had other means to get there. I reminded him that I paid for half of the drinks (mine and his), so if I were “using” someone, that never would have happened. His texts became more strange, and then he called me a bitch. At that point, I blocked him and wiped my hands of his nonsense. He later found me somehow and apologized to me, but so what? It was too late, and he’d already proved himself to be a huge red flag that I didn’t need in my life.
Shortly after that, someone had introduced me to Tinder… to be continued.