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Tag Archives: women

I love being single.

History:

Age 18-19: first “real” relationship

Age 19-21: relationship with future husband

Age 21-24: married

Age 25-26: horrible controlling 2 year relationship with an abusive alcoholic

Age 26-28: relationship (a good one this time)

Age 28-29: relationship

Does anyone else see a problem here?  I have only had a few months of single-dom over the last twelve years.  There were a few short-terms mixed in, lots of first and second dates, and I did have a good six months free in 2007.  I really don’t have any regrets about the relationships themselves (ok, I should not have gotten married, and I should not have stayed with the alcoholic for so long), but I sure do regret not having much time to myself.  Luckily, I’ve had quite a bit of time this year and I’m almost back to center.

As I re-enter the world of dating (slowly), I find myself thinking about these past relationships a lot.  First of all, I feel that it’s necessary to just say up front that I am divorced.  How awkward would it be to come across my marriage license, or to see one of the bridal portraits a few family members insist on keeping on display, having no idea that I had been married.  Also, when you scan my driver’s license (like at a bar), my married name comes up and I’ve had to explain the situation to the doorman in front of a date.  Awkward does not begin to describe.  I always freeze with fear in anticipation of telling a guy that I’ve been married.  There have actually been a few negative reactions.  It’s never been a dealbreaker, but I usually have to redeem myself with an explanation, dredging up some rather painful memories.  It’s really not fun to get that personal on a first or second date.  Also, I usually explain that I spent a long time in an abusive relationship.  I developed some self-preservation behavior during that time that has been hard to shake.  I may as well wait to explain this one if it becomes an issue though, instead of overwhelming a poor guy.

So “they” say that you should make a list of your “must haves” and “can’t live withs.”  I think all of this experience I’ve had has made my list very long.  But why shouldn’t I keep raising my standards?  I’ve been overly forgiving in the past, and I’ve consequently more unhappy within a relationship than on my own.  So I’m wondering: How picky is too picky?

On one hand, being picky seems smart because I almost always choose men that are obviously wrong for me; ignoring red flags, friend’s advice, forget the signs I know what I’m doing, right?  Wrong!  I am incredibly sick of relationship failure.  It makes me sick to my stomach just to think about it.  It’s stressful, it’s painful, it hurts.  No matter what side you’re on, if you’ve got anything invested in this relationship (even if it’s just time), it’s going to take you a few months to recover.  Sometimes just the fact that yet another one didn’t work out makes me terribly sad.

But, being picky usually gets you labeled as a bitch.  I’m not kidding.  Because I feel that the guy should take charge and plan and pay for the first date, I’m apparently greedy and looking for a sugar daddy.  Why can’t I just want a man to be in charge and for there to not be awkwardness when the check comes?  If you get another date, it’s likely that I will pay or at least split it, unless you insist.  This particular “must have” comes from experience: on our first date, my husband walked up to the ticket booth at the movie theater and ordered one ticket.  It was a good thing I had cash, but I spent the rest of the evening miffed – if he didn’t have the money, why did he ask me on a date?  Was it really a date?  In hindsight it seems like such a douchebag thing to do and I’m so mad at myself for not paying more attention to my own feelings way back then.  Since then, I have actually paid more attention to this and it seems to be a good indicator of things to come.  So in general I “must have” a take-charge kinda guy who likes to show me a good time.  You could also lump this in with wanting a guy who is generous.  Hey, I don’t want your money, I don’t need to be showered with gifts (although it is nice), I just want to know that you want to share because I will definitely be sharing with you.

I also like to see how a guy acts towards my friends.  I’m not very close to my family, so my friends’ opinions are very important to me.  If you’re not at all interested in the most important people in my life, it’s a key indicator that you don’t care about me, period.  The best guys have been very interested in my friends, and take the time to get to know them.  They don’t sit and text their friends the whole night.  So I’ve been criticized for that one as well – I shouldn’t let those closest to me make my decisions.  Um, they’re not making my decision, they’re sizing you up and you’d better impress them.

Just plain not being interested makes me a bitch sometimes as well.  I’ve lost countless male friends when they decided they wanted something more from our relationship.  Am I not entitled to like whomever I want?  Is my friendship completely worthless because we’ll never have sex?  How is getting angry with me for not sharing your feelings going to make the situation any better?  Sure, I’ve been disappointed before, but I wouldn’t want to burn a bridge.  I may not feel that way about you right now, but perhaps if you don’t get angry with me I might consider you in the future.  Way to go, now you don’t have a girlfriend OR a friend.

My list of must haves is pretty lengthy; I’ll just mention a few more: intelligence, sense of humor, good friends/family relationships, hobbies, good manners, opens doors, calls instead of constantly texting, acknowledges my birthday, politically conservative, wants kids, enjoys live music, friendly, gregarious, ambitious etc. etc. etc.

I can’t live with: infidelity, lying, drugs, bad drinker, rude to waitresses, negativity, unwilling to do stuff with me, drama, laziness, pushiness… I suppose those are pretty basic.

I would like to have a family with the “right” guy some day in the next…oh…five (?) years.  So why do I feel guilty about having a list??