Simply Solo Spotlight: 50 Red Flags (And Why I Ignored Them)
Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Susan of Single Minded Endeavours. Susan started her blog when she found herself the only single in a world full of couples (who hasn’t been there?!). She had a new job, a new house, a new life – and the blog was one of the ways she “endeavoured” to make sense of all the changes. After reading and commenting on today’s post, be sure to head over to Susan’s blog!
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: email@example.com.
50 Red Flags (And Why I Ignored Them)
After a long and (mostly) happy marriage, four years ago I found myself in the somewhat unenviable position of single parent. After spending an insane amount of money on counselling (which consequently proved to me that I actually wasn’t insane), I decided it was time to widen my social circle outside of the almost exclusively coupled existence I had. I live in a very small town (less than a thousand people), so the odds of meeting someone new here weren’t that flash. And so, with a small amount of trepidation, and armed with a new lipstick and the highest heels I’d ever owned, I launched myself into the world of dating.
O. M. G. !!!
I began with the Internet. Spent hours writing a fabulous profile. I took my vetting seriously and carefully read all about my ‘’matches.” To start with, I was like all the new people on there. I thought, “This is incredible! A world of people – men – just like me!” I could search for just about any random or obscure thing and there would be someone who enjoyed it like I did. Height, weight, hair colour, no problem. It was fabulous! Then I started connecting with, and meeting, people. Reality bites, there is no doubt.
There were the usual ‘’you’re wonderful’’ messages from people I’d never met. Requests for my hand in marriage from strangers in foreign lands who could barely speak English. Embarrassingly halting conversations with computer geeks with virtually no social skills. Silken words from the experienced serial daters. On the upside, I never had a no-show. I never met anyone who really freaked me out, although one or two were … well, a little odd.
My friends were horrified. They thought I was taking risks. I got the usual advice – always from my happily coupled up friends – that I needed to concentrate on my children and accept that I had to remain single until they are grown (my son was two when my husband left … that’s a long time between drinks!). Some were disapproving in the extreme, and only a couple were supportive and could see that I needed to have a life outside of my children and community. I introduced one or two of the guys I met to my friends to mixed responses. So far no one has met their standards.
As well as the Internet, I’ve been open to the ‘’you should really meet my friend’’ method of dating. The ‘’I saw you from over there at the bar’’ routines. And the ‘’pick a crazy new hobby and join a club’’ technique.
I’ve had some completely awesome dates (kayaking in the moonlight to a picnic on the beach), and some spectacularly awkward ones. One or two that just shouldn’t have happened in the first place (lunch at Subway, anyone?). A couple that never happened – darn it all.
I even had a go at the secret affair thing. It wasn’t for me – way too much work with very little payoff as far as I could tell.
I’ve gotten better at recognising the red flags and I’ve gotten better at defining what it is I’m looking for. I know what it is I want, and I also know what it is I don’t want. After a couple of false starts, I’m keeping my dating life completely away from my children, and also largely from my friends. It’s just too much pressure on everyone.
To anyone who is feeling nervous about re-entering the dating game, I would say this: it’s a great way to meet people that would otherwise never cross your path. Accepting that 99 percent of those you meet are not going to even come close to being a possibility will take some of the stress out of it from the start. It’s also an awesome way to get to know yourself – I have had to learn how to make small talk, how to define my life both to others and to myself. I’ve worked on my appearance. I’ve even had some sparks of romance.
So far I haven’t met the love of my life. But I have met some really terrific people, and almost all I met are now friends – or through those people I met others who are also now friends. Slowly, everyone’s pairing off and the friendships are less intense, but these people have shared my journey in a time that can be lonely and bewildering, but also eye opening and exciting.
How far are you down the dating road? Have you ever ignored a red flag or gut feeling? What happened? What do you think is the easiest … or hardest bit … about rejoining the world of dating and coupling?
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.