The name of the blog
"It was never just an affair" needs to be in quotations, because it was something my ex-husband said to me early on in the break-up. I guess he thought it might make me feel better to know it wasn't just a fling per say, it was real love? It didn't make me feel better. Him ending the affair and being willing to work on the marriage would have made me feel better.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
My Ex-Husbands Optimism Deserves a Standing Ovation
I need to applaud my ex-husbands positive outlook on his dating future and his optimism in general that he won't have any problems finding women who want to be in a loving, somewhat committed, non-monogamous relationship that requires her to share him with god knows how many other women. That really struck me today as I was thinking about the disastrous first phone call I had with someone I had been emailing with on Match.com. I wish my ex-husband well, but I think he's nuts based on my limited experience recently in the dating world. It is tough out there, for a gal anyways. I can barely find anyone interesting to talk to, let alone date, and I am certainly not fighting off hoards of men who would make sacrifices to be with me part-time, such as their self-esteem, future planning, security, family matters, end-of-life care, etc.
Maybe the polyamorous have their own dating website's like the gays? I should google that. Wait, I am going to google that. Yup, there are; I found six websites on the first link I looked at, which was a question from a couple wanting to add a single female for a "monogamous triad". The answer on dating.about.com to "Walters" question made me laugh: "You've got a lot of company in your search for a single gal to join you and your wife for a long-term, monogamous partnership Walter, so while I'll share the websites that I know of to suit your needs, there are few guarantees you'll actually find what you're after. Why? In the polyamorous communities, single women wanting to join a couple for an exclusive triad are often called "Unicorns," as they're both rare and beautiful to behold. Having said that, I know of a significant number of partnerships with this kind of dynamic, so it's more than just a fantasy you're chasing."
Do you know what I think? I think love is rare, and precious, so I certainly don't understand wanting to dilute it or cheapen it by inviting others to share in it. Nor do I think it is easy to find, or comes along so frequently that you should dismiss it. I think love is beautiful, and what makes life worth living. Sex creates the children that propagates our species, but I think without love there is no worth in continuing our species. And I guess those are the reasons a polyamorous person would tell me I am not right for their community. I guess someone who is truly polyamorous, like my ex-husband, doesn't see it in that light. They think it is "beautiful" and fabulous to be in love with multiple partners at the same time. I just hope for my ex-husbands sake he does a better job of introducing the concept to future partners than he did with me.
I have written previously about the miserable results my online dating forays produced. Being ever the trooper and optimist, and growing more lonely and more ready for a special friend, I have been back at it, with results much the same. I have now been on Match.com for 24 days. There was a short lived flurry of activity when I first joined, followed quickly by deafening silence. I have been emailed by a total of 4 men, two of whom I corresponded with, one lived in New York so I just thanked him and deleted the email, and the other I responded to and nicely said I didn't see much in common but was happy to go for a drink and make a friend. And to clarify, I am not even expecting to find a soul-mate on the website. I just want casual dating, friends, and activity partners, which is what my profile says.
So let's review the two I was in contact with. They both contacted me within 48 hours of my profile becoming active. They both seemed nice enough and intelligent enough. For the next week over Christmas we emailed back and forth regularly, and then I told them I was going to Vegas and would be in touch when I got home. Which I did, and in that email I told them I was sick. At this point, one had asked me out on a date, and the other had given me his phone number with an invitation to call. So I told both of them, separately of course, that I was unwell and would let them know when I was ready to be social. Phone number guy said ok to that, and date guy responded with "I'm very busy now and lots of work [peak season) but I'll contact you soonest I can. Sorry for any inconvenience." I took that as a blow off from date guy. Next I noticed that phone guy had disappeared completely from the website, so probably didn't even get my next email.
I discussed this with two close friends, one of whom had no idea about website dating etiquette, and the other of whom set me straight. D told me that these two guys are probably talking to 20 women or so and lost interest because I didn't jump when they said how high. She encouraged me to contact them both again and not make any assumptions about whether I was being personally dismissed. I thought about that for a week. In the meantime, I got a lovely notification every time date guy was online and had ignored my last email. When I joined this site I swore I wasn't going to contact anyone; I wanted them to come to me. I know this is the self-esteem blow back from the way my ex treated me, but it is what it is for now. When I lost my two email buddies and didn't hear from anyone else, I decided to be brave and take matters into my own hands. Or I was being dumb and looking to flog my self-esteem even lower into the ground. I have sent emails to 24 different men, and I have not heard back from one of them.
Which leads to the phone call. After thinking about it for a week, and not getting any results from my own efforts at connection, I took D's advice not to personalize the silence because really, what did I have to lose by trying to reach out again? So I called Sean. In my opinion, it wasn't the best first phone call ever. Me: "Hi, can I please speak to Sean". Him at the other end: "Whose calling?". Me: "Rebecca." Him: "Why do you want to talk to Sean?" Me, feeling very flustered and put off by the aggressive tone of voice and wanting to hang up: "Um, I was just calling to chat and say hi." Silence. Him: "Oh, I think I know who you are, I didn't recognize the phone number. I thought maybe you were trying to sell me carpet cleaning." Me: "Oh, so is this Sean? I would never try to sell you carpet cleaning. Why would you recognize the phone number? Let's start over again. Hi, I am Rebecca and we exchanged a few emails on match.com but then you disappeared. You had given me your number, and I wasn't sure if it was personal or if you were just taking a break from the website, so I thought I would try and give you a call." Him: "Of course you had to try. I am just taking a break, nothing personal." Me: "That's good." Him: "And now I have your phone number. Muhahahaha." Me: "Yes, you do." Him: "You caught me unawares, and I am feeling really beat up today. Can I call you back tomorrow?" Me: "I am sorry you had a rough day. Yes, tomorrow is good. I have a meeting between 7 - 9 because I volunteer, but around that is fine. And I am a night owl so I don't mind later phone calls." Him: "I will file that away." Me: "Okay, take care."
I felt like an asshole. It is hard to be brave and call someone you have never met, even if they did give you their phone number. It is even harder to keep your composure when they are aggressively refusing to let you talk to whom you have called for and challenging you. And then it became even more difficult when I found out it was him, and now I wasn't sure if I had passed the "test" or not of being allowed to talk to him since he cut the phone call short and that could be a dismissal, or legitimate. We will see if he calls tomorrow. I can tell you though that if he doesn't, I won't be calling him again. Or possibly anyone else, ever again! Until the next time my need for connection outweighs my fears.
I told another girlfriend B the story last night, and she commiserated. Apparently her experience on EHarmony was much the same, and she is a skinny pretty little thing, so that discounts my theory that me being overweight is the barrier to making connections. Her conspiracy theory is that these internet dating websites are companies that need to make money as the bottom line, so they have a vested interest in you not meeting Mr. Right too quickly. If you find the love of your life in the first month, they can kiss five months of potential profit away. B even called EHarmony to ask what the problem was finding her a match, to which they basically told her to give it time. It isn't that I don't have any matches, I already have 79 specifically. It is a lack of these men following up on our match, or my emails. And B thinks that is because they are looking for quantity, not quality, whereas a female is more likely looking for quality. These men are sowing their cyber oats so to speak. Today B emailed me to add to her conspiracy theory which made it all the worse. B wonders if the men have figured out that women on free dating web site are not as committed to finding a man, so they move over to a paid web site hoping for an even greater chance of a return on communication. She and I thought that if we paid for the service then the men would be more committed to finding that one person to date. What if that isn't the case, and these men are preying on the women who are serious and taking advantage of that vulnerabilty? That would be truly awful.
All of this leads me to wonder how other cultures and countries deal with their singles? Are they cast away to a remote location? Is there a societal expectation that you don't divorce, no matter what happens, so there are no singles? I can appreciate how arranged marriages would take some of the heat off of being single. I would love to hear about other people's experiences being single in their forties after a divorce. In the meantime, I will just take my hat off to my very optimistic ex-husband. Perhaps as a man, he will have better luck getting lucky.