Tuesday, June 30, 2009

After 29 a girls best light is candle or moon

My biggest fear after getting divorced was that I would never find anyone who loved me for me. I still haven’t found that person, but the future is not quite as scary or bleak anymore. Looking back on my marriage now, I sometimes felt I was being judged by my ex. I felt like he could not handle the reality of who I had become. I went from being a wife to being a mother right before our eyes. The worst part was that I wasn’t even aware of it until we had separated. I was clueless. And he never communicated to me, that he saw this change in me, until it was to late. Not that these are excuses but it’s reality. We were both in the wrong and therefore, it ended up being a no win situation.

Once divorce took over my life I thought I was a flawed woman. Those negative thoughts took over my brain!

· I was thirty three years old. (that was old in my mind)
· I was a single mom
· I had an eighteen month old and a four year old.
· I didn’t have a job.
· I hadn’t had a job in over four years

· I had no means of supporting myself.
· I had the body of a woman who had had two kids in 2 ½ years.
· I had no self esteem
· I didn’t have any friends who had been through a divorce

Mentally, I was not prepared to become the mom my kids wanted, deserved and needed. Nor was I prepared to suddenly figure out how to become a single, fun loving, outgoing woman. Because in reality, I was now on a man hunt. I realize now, that I needed to allow myself a lot more time to heal and say goodbye to the wife before I jumped in so quickly to this so called “single life ” shit.

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because early on in my “single life” I met a guy by the name of Jim (not “gem” for those of you following my posts). Jim was a very nice guy…a little older than I was looking for, but hey, who am I to judge…what I was originally looking for walked out on me…so at this point…who the hell knows what I was looking for. His qualifications…he was tall and he asked me out on a date. That’s it! He was one of the first people to ask. It was so long ago, I can’t even remember how I met him. Probably doesn’t matter but it’s one of those things that I just can’t stop thinking about and I won’t stop thinking about until I figure it out. So if I blurt out something randomly like “the mall” or “a bar” in one of my future posts, just know that I had that light bulb moment where I realized the location I originally met Jim. Ok…off that tangent and back to the story.

Anyway…Jim was from a city about an hour south of where I lived. And in my naivety I agreed to drive down to his place one Saturday to meet him. I know…I know…WTF? Looking back now I can’t believe I did it either but the newness of someone showing an interest in me and wanting to spend time with me took over. My brain was like jello…no excuse…but jello! I remember being excited and nervous on the way down. I called Jim when I was about five minutes away so that he could give me detailed “I’m almost there” directions. Once I got to his house, I was pleasantly surprised. His house was quaint in a quaint little old town. He greeted me in the driveway with a big hug and a smile. My initial impression was not great, but I was willing to give him a chance…hell, I drove an hour for this…I was going to at least get one glass of wine out of the evening.

The moment I was not expecting so soon, came way to quick. No guys…not “that” moment but the moment when you find the first “issue” with a new guy. I had only been there thirty seconds and already, I had an issue. He asked me to take my shoes off before coming into the house. No biggie that was not my issue. My issue was when I set my shoes (boots) down, and he immediately picked them back up, zipped them up so they stood tall, and lined them up perfectly against the wall. Now mind you, it’s not like I threw them off like your children do when they come in the house, but I guess I just didn’t take them off to his liking. Oh well, I brush this off and try not to let it bother me.

We spend the evening talking and laughing and he is actually kind of growing on me. Maybe it’s because he keeps saying how funny I am…so I keep trying to make him laugh out of nervousness. His laughter is making me relax too. Ok…maybe it was the wine that was making me relax, but I don’t want you all to think I was a lush, so we will stick to the laughter. After a couple of hours I decide I had been there long enough and needed to leave…after all, I did have an hour drive ahead of me. So he walked me to the door and gave me a kiss. It was a nice kiss and I enjoyed it. WARNING: be ready to say “Oh no he didn’t” in a minute. Anyway, we are at the door kissing and his hand comes down and he actually rubs my belly, kind of like a Buddha. I immediately think, is this something all the boys are doing now or is this guy crazy? Then I stop thinking because he says…wait for it…”I like your soft mommy belly”. I kid you not…those were the exact words out of his mouth. I make a mental note to never speak to him again and politely put myself in the car to drive home.

Maybe I am just a little sensitive, but I don’t want any potential boyfriend to comment on my “soft mommy belly” two hours into our first date. That’s just not right! Maybe it would have been different if he hadn’t picked the one flaw that I was the most self conscious about. Who knows? All I know is that I am now feeling very sick to my stomach…and can’t wait to get home, crawl into my bed, go to sleep very quickly, and act like this evening never happened!

Jim tried calling me for a couple of days after that and kept telling me that he couldn’t wait to get together again because he had so much fun. I called him when I knew he wouldn’t be able to answer and left him a message...that’s the safe way to let someone know there will be no second date. This way there is no “awkward trying to talk me out of my decision“ conversation I told him I that I thought he was a nice guy…but no woman wants to hear the “soft mommy belly” comment while being made out with.

I never heard from Jim again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Well it's not going on my resume

Divorce is hard! I thought I had the perfect marriage, but I was awakened to the reality of what my marriage apparently was the day my husband of 8 years (although we dated for 7 years before that, so I like to say it was a 15 year relationship)walked out on me and our family. On his way out the door he told me he didn't love me, never loved me and wasn't attracted to me. Ouch! He has since taken those hurtful things back, but we all know how hard it is to erase those negative comments from our daily thoughts. Once the are "out there" it's just hard to stop thinking about them.

The first couple of years after this shocking moment were very painful for me and I really thought I was becoming that person my husband convinced me I was, unattractive and unlovable. It took me a couple of years, many counseling sessions, and some really great friends to help me realize I was better than that. They helped me realize that I was a good catch and that I couldn't let my ex-husband ever take that away from me!

Newly alive in myself, I got the courage to sign up for an online dating service. I spent some time working on my profile and wording it just so. After all, who wouldn't want to get to know a fun loving, caring mom of two small boys who loves life, her family and friends? Someone who likes adventure, with a little spontaneity thrown in? Someone who is spunky, independent, social and active? I mean come on people...I was a good catch! My first mistake...once I became a member of this dating site I checked out other women's profiles to see how they described themselves...scoping out the competition, if you will. Guess what I found? I found umpteen fun loving, caring moms of kids who love life, family and their friends. I found umpteen women who like adventure and spontaneity. I found umpteen women who are spunky, independent, social and active. I quickly realized there were umpteen women on this dating site just like me! I tried to to let that get me down and just went with the flow.

To my surprise, within only a couple of hours of being an official member, I had a message in my inbox. I got excited...even a few butterflies in my stomach. I clicked on my inbox and bam...there was a message from Rob. I was shocked at how long the message was. O.K., it wasn't a book or anything, but it was a good paragraph. I was expecting something like..."Hey, I like your profile and would like to get to know you." But looking back now, if he would have said that about my profile, then he would basically be saying that about all of the other umpteen women with profiles like mine!

Before I even read the paragraph, I clicked back over to his profile to see if there was a picture. I always do better when I can put a face to a name! I read his profile and the red flags started appearing. First red flag, he is really good looking. Why is this a red flag you may ask? He was the type of good looking that I would imagine spent way more time in front of the mirror or shopping than I did...that good looking! Second red flag, he was looking for women between the ages of 25 and 60. Seriously? 25 and 60? Is it just me or is that a huge age range when looking for your soul mate? I'd like to think I have a lot of different things to offer than a 25 year old or a 60 year old would. Per my last post, this is probably the guy who has not yet found Ms. Right, so he has lowered his standards to broaden his search.

I know you are all dying to know what his email said...well here it is, VERBATIM. And by verbatim, I mean punctuation and all...

"Wow" What a beautiful smile! You could light up Times Square on New Years Eve with those pearly whites! (Side note #1, Rob would have been o.k. if he just would have stopped here. Side note #2, I DO NOT have pearly white teeth. Years of braces, coffee and wine have taken that away. I mean they aren't bad, but I would never describe them as pearly white) I loved your profile, intellect without pretentiousness, balanced, charm that is riddled with redundancy, nothing ambiguous here, you're a woman who is in charge of her life, and I'm sure in charge of the love she is searching for. I'm quite impressed and quite enamoured. I would love to know you!! (I'm not exaggerating the double exclamation point here) You exude a level of quiet confidence that is quite attractive, which just enhances your outward beauty! You are truly a jim! (I assume he means "gem". At least I hope so, or I am screwed!) I'm sure your search for love will be fulfilled. Love has no choice but to find you, you're that special. (another side note: "Love has no choice but to find you"...this would make a great title for a future blog. Please DO chuckle and remember this email if I ever use that as a title). Your not so secret admirer...Rob (another note, I will normally change names of people I use in my blog posts, but this email was just so ridiculous, I didn't think Rob was deserving enough of a name change).

So there you have it, punctuation and all! My only question to Rob is this...Seriously? Did you really get all of that from my profile that was like umpteen other women's profiles? And all of those big words! If he can't figure out the difference between "jim" and "gem" should I really believe that he knows the meanings of words like pretentiousness, redundancy and ambiguous?

I immediately closed the email and jumped away from the computer. You know, kind of like you do when you realize there is a big hairy spider crawling across it while you are using it!

And just think, this is only the beginning of my crazy experiences in the online dating world!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dating Translations

Over the past few years I have learned a lot about what men (and women, for that matter) think of themselves. I have talked to many men who think very highly of themselves, or describe themselves in a manner that is not even close to who they actually are. And there are actually some men that don't talk themselves up enough. I know you single women out there are thinking...really? But, yes, I have actually met a few...ok, maybe one man that didn't think he was good enough. But this can be as much of a turn off as a man whose ego is so huge he couldn't fit through the bedroom door.

I tend to be the kind of person that probably doesn't think high enough of myself. I have so many friends who tell me I am beautiful, or that I look great, or that I am funny, or that I'm a great dancer...oh wait, I don't think I have ever had a friend tell me that I am a great dancer...maybe secretly I want to be a good dancer...huh? Anyway, it's just like Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman, "it's sometimes easier to believe the bad stuff."

Because of this, I have created a list, with the help of many friends, articles, and videos, on how to translate what single men say about themselves or post about themselves in online personal ads. This list is constantly growing and will be added to in the future. Leave me a comment if you have a good one.

Here goes...
  1. If a man says he is cuddly, it usually means he is chubby.

  2. If a man says he has only attended "some college", it usually means he is incapable of follow through...on anything!

  3. If a man says he has a college degree, it usually means he is skilled in the art of beer pong.

  4. If a man says he is poetic, it usually means he is boring.

  5. If a man says he is open minded, it usually means he has been on the hunt for Ms. Right for so long that he thinks he needs to lower his standards to find her.

  6. If a man says he is looking for friendship first, it usually means he has slept with most of the single women on the market and he is trying another angle.

  7. If a man says that he is financially secure, it usually means he has a job. Keep in mind this could mean any job. He could be your city's Donald Trump, but he could also be the local Ditch Digger. Not that there is anything wrong with that! Hey, in this economy its just good to have a job, right? I'm not judging...just fore warning so that you don't get your expectations up!

  8. If a man says he has been told he is handsome, it usually means his mother is telling him that.

  9. If a man says he went to graduate school, it usually means "I'm going to be paying back loans for a long time!"

  10. If a man says he is athletic, it usually means he used to play sports. And by "used to" I mean a really long time ago.

  11. If a man posts something like "I'll tell you later" in the income portion of his profile, it could mean he is really rich, but more than likely it means that he is really poor and he has probably learned the hard way that he doesn't get many dates when he lists himself as "poor".

  12. If a man says he is looking for Ms. Right, it probably means he is looking for Ms. Rich.

  13. If a man says he is outgoing, it usually means he is loud, obnoxious, and embarassing.

  14. If a man says he is a "Vice President of Development" (or some other upper level term) for a very large company (note the vagueness on "very large company"), it usually means he has a crappy self-employed scheme that he runs out of his mom's basement.

  15. If a man says he is recently divorced, it usually means he currently hates women.

  16. If a man says he has a good sense of humor, it usually means he is the only one who laughts at all of his jokes.

  17. If a man says he is adventerous, it usually means he has slept with every available single woman.

  18. If a man says he is emotionally stable, it usually means he is medicated.

  19. If a man says he is young at heart, it usually means he is over 50.

  20. If a man says he is youthful, it usually means he is over 50 and in denial!

And last but not least girls...ALWAYS subtract two inches from his height, add 20 pounds to his weight, divide his income in half, and add five years to his age before you decide to spend two hours with him on a first date.

-some info found on about.com, tangomag.com, and innocentenglish.com

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ask me for my photo

Ok...so I will be the first one to admit that dating when I was younger was much easier than dating now. Maybe it wasn't really easier, maybe I was just overflowing with so much self confidence and spunk back then that it didn't seem like it was all that difficult. I always seemed to have dates back then...my Friday and Saturday nights were planned early in the week and always eventful.

Twenty years ago I hung out with my friends and met new people all of the time. I met boys at football and basketball games, or by hanging out at the mall or the pool on the weekends. Those were the days when we actually got phone calls from boys, not text messages or emails. We didn't have to meet them on dating websites or social networks. It just seemed so much easier back then!

Dare I say it? Those were the good old days!

Here I am, twenty years later, a prime example of everything I was afraid of becoming. I'm divorced. I'm a single mom. I'm twenty pounds heavier and frustrated with where my life has taken me. No more confidence, no more spunk...struggling to be someone other than who I have been the last ten years, a wife and a mom! How do I transition from wife and mom, to confident, happy go lucky single woman with kids? And how do I do this without leaving the comfort of my own home? That, my friends, brings me to the internet and dating websites!

The difficult part with these dating websites and social networks is it always seems to be the same mix of people. The same people "winking" at me and sending me messages. The same people "computer flirting" with me. The same people day after day after day. It gets boring, frustrating, and irritating all at the same time.

So one day, I decided to take matters into my own hands and I expanded my search criteria on a dating website. I expanded my criteria farther than I ever thought I would. I ended up in the "ask me for my photo" area of the dating website. These "ask me for my photo" people are people that fall into one of four categories. Either they are the ugliest of the ugly, the hottest of the hot, those that haven't yet figured out how to edit their ex-girlfriend/wives out of their best photos, or those who are so technologically challenged that they can't figure out how to get their photos from their camera to the computer.

The most difficult challenge with this is that I have no way of differentiating between any of these groups of people. All I know is that the hottest of the hot have already turned me down or ignored my request at communicating and the ugliest of the ugly won't leave me alone. Therefore, I am faced with another lonely night of cuddling with myself on the couch watching a Bridget Jones movie, stuffing my face with Ben and Jerry's Rocky Road ice cream, knowing sooner or later I am going to have to ask for a picture. Of course, it is possible that this "ask me for my photo" guy is a great guy that is just sick of the wrong people overloading his inbox. Like I said, the "ask me for my photo" profile is the ultimate in high stakes online dating! This makes me want to put my theory to the test! I needed a game plan!

So here is what I did. I searched the website for a late thirty something guy about 30 miles away looking to date someone like me between the ages of 35 and 40. It didn't take me long to find him. He was 6'2 (as all my friends know, I have serious issues with the height of a man), athletic and toned with blue eyes. The kicker, he stated in his profile that his only deal breaker was "mutual physical attraction is a must". Any guy who says that has got to be fairly good looking, right? Bingo...Brad007 was my tester! So I decided to go against everything I believe in and sent him an email. Guess what? I was right about my theory all along! Do you know how I know? Because hot guys never write me back!

And that, my friends, is where my new life as a single dating woman with kids began!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who am I...

My name is Julie...I have struggles just like every other single parent out there! Some of these struggles are funny, some are not so funny and some are even a little embarassing. One thing I think all of my struggles have in common...they are worth sharing! I have been a single parent for almost four years now and this blog will show you the ups, downs and everyday humor associated with this new venture in my life.

But before we start, I think it is very important for you to know who I have become these past four years of my life. These traits didn't necessarily come easily, but I am truly grateful that I have become someone who is...
  • Passionate about raising my two young sons to be motivated, compassionate, caring young men who love God, life and themselves equally

  • Excited about my future and what it holds

  • Someone who loves living life to the fullest

  • Adjusting to the ups and downs of being a single parent

  • Struggling with the balance of being a good Christian woman with being a fun, outgoing single woman with confidence and spunk

  • Forgiving, hopeful, happy and well adjusted in most areas of my life

  • Enjoying the process of learning new things

  • Rediscovering things I had long forgotten

  • Learning to laugh again

  • Looking for that one special man who will love me for me


So with that being said, welcome to my blog about the musings of one single, hard working, mom attempting to juggle two kids, a full time job, one blog, umpteen loads of laundry and the ups and and downs of a thirty something woman thrust into the world of being single again. Here I will write about all of the above and anything else that inspires me from fashion to motherhood to men to dating to reality TV. You name it, I will talk about it!

I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it. I hope these stories make you laugh as they have often made me laugh!


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