Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma, #2

blog pix Dec 10 2017

Not much is happening in my dating life so it’s a good distraction when a friend reaches out for dating advice.

My friend Lauren’s dilemma: She’s enjoying conversation and flirting with a friend/colleague who wants to move the relationship to the next level. She knows a relationship with this person would not work and that a fling is also problematic. The situation is complicated in several ways.

Lauren, who is separated and actively planning her divorce, called to discuss the situation and bounce around some possible scenarios. Names and identifying details have been changed.

Have some fast and crunchy baked cod while I share my friend’s situation.

Lauren’s story reminds me of times when I have encountered decision points in my dating life. I knew what to do about a certain guy but I was tempted to go in the wrong direction. I needed a friend to reinforce my better instincts.

A couple of years ago, Lauren hired Joe, a landscape contractor at the hotel she manages. What started as a collegial work relationship has advanced into a friendship. Recently there has been a lot of banter and flirting and Joe frequently suggests that the two should talk over a particular problem at dinner or happy hour sometime.

Joe, who also does landscape work for Lauren’s soon to be ex-husband, knows about the couple’s marital situation. In fact he offered to be a witness in their upcoming divorce hearing.

Joe is 11 years younger than Lauren, less educated than she is, and is a hard drinker with a bad boy past. “He’s not relationship material,” she says. “The problem is that he’s attractive, has a great six-pack — despite too many six packs–, and is a really nice guy.” A few days ago, Joe texted her and invited her to a happy hour.

This was a clear invitation – not like previous ones that were more indefinite. Lauren is tempted by the possibility of a romantic fling but knows she should say no. She’s wondering how to decline his invitation without losing the friendship or offending him in any way. And she’s sad that if she turns down the happy hour, the flirting that she’s enjoying so much will likely disappear.

“How about if I just tell him I’m too busy right now getting ready for a holiday visit from my relatives and that getting together in the new year is more feasible?” Lauren asks.

“This leaves open the possibility that you’ll go out with him,” I suggest. “You’ll have to clarify your intention at some point – either now or the next time he asks you out.”

Lauren sighs. “He’s too young for me – even for something short term.”

“If he was fling material, his age wouldn’t be an issue- and might be an asset,” I say, “but he’s not good fling material. You’ve got a work relationship you don’t want to mess up and you’re counting on him as a witness in divorce court. You need a less complicated scenario for an ideal fling.”

I suggest she respond to Joe’s invitation in a way that acknowledges their friendship but removes the possibility of dating.

I propose a potential response: Sounds like fun but I’m super crazed right now getting ready for my visiting relatives. Happy to get together as friends in the new year. I like to be clear and want you to know that I’m not ready to date. Plus I value our friendship and I would not jeopardize it.

I don’t know what Lauren wrote to Joe but she reported that she successfully turned down the invite and was able to maintain collegiality and friendship.

Have you navigated a challenging dating scenario? How did it go? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

A Strong Woman

blog pix Dec 3

The disassembled brass and steel floor lamp came with an instructional sheet and diagram. Pretty simple, as these things go – not like assembling a cabinet.

*Attach middle tube to shade assembly. Turn clockwise.

*Attach bottom tube to middle tube. Turn counterclockwise.

*Attach bottom tube to base. Turn clockwise.

*Remove sticky backer from felt pad and attach to underside of base.

The issue? The damn thing is heavy, especially the base.

You’re wondering if this blog has morphed into one called Fix it, Build it, Paint It. No. Calm your mind with a bite of Israeli cauliflower steak with labneh and read on for clarity.

The large box sat in the living room for a few days, the lamp contents visible but in pieces. I was on a home improvement jag. I had just finished serving as project manager for several renovation tasks in my townhouse beginning with the installation of new flooring on the first floor. Natural maple everywhere except the kitchen, which is now a stunner with stone-look Italian porcelain in a frame pattern.

Then I had all the walls painted. The new floors and paint encouraged me to throw out three pieces of furniture. I decided to replace them with new items that looked and functioned better.

I’m on a budget so everything had to be “build it yourself.”  My son had tackled the entryway bench and two bookshelves and assembling a cabinet was next on his list.

I thought that the least I could do was to put together the floor lamp. Perhaps the project would take my mind off my dating dry spell.

The reality of putting that lamp together brought home the issue of strength and independence. After a lifetime of start and stop exercise regimens from yoga to running to Jane Fonda tapes, I finally found my magic combination of strength building and cardio.  I’ve been working out consistently with a personal trainer and a swim coach two times a week and doing the solo work on most other days.

The result: despite two herniated discs and a “vulnerable” knee, I have become pretty strong for a 60 something woman.

Strength: It’s something everyone needs to accomplish practical living tasks and to prevent injury when carrying out those tasks. Being strong is even more important when you’re divorced and no longer can rely on a husband for the heavy lifting tasks. During my post-divorce journey, I find that independence is fueled by mental and physical strength – and vice versa.

So, when I faced down the lamp instructions, I called to my newish muscles as well as my proud independent self to step up to the job.

The assembly was a little tricky and awkward due to having to balance the 30-pound solid steel base but I refused to give up (praying that I hadn’t stripped the tubes when screwing them into each other).  Voila! Mission accomplished. The light even works.

I felt great: the Wonder Woman of light assembly!

I could add this to my slowly growing list of independent, strength-fueled accomplishments: lifting and moving the wood dining room table with my son, who looked duly surprised when I was able to carry my half of the load; effortlessly carrying for 20 minutes what once felt like an extremely heavy portable “backpack” chair; easily transporting 3 heavy bags of groceries at once.

I highly recommend strength and other physical training for all humans but especially for previously married singletons. Be strong. As Pink said, “I like feeling strong. It keeps my mental floor higher.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Failure to Proofread and other Assorted Men’s Dating Profile Mistakes

blog pix main nov 26

Suffering from the post holiday, ate too much, relatives are gone and feeling lonely blues? Perhaps you need a laugh. There’s a wealth of comedy material available in men’s dating profiles and messages.

Join me in some raw carrot sticks (no recipe today, we have over indulged)…while I share some winners from my files, annotated of course.

A conundrum: Would a non-Jew be keeping kosher? Just saying…

Nov 26 4

I hadn’t really thought of Belgiun (sic) chocolates as one of my dating requirements…perhaps I need to rethink my criteria.

Nov 26 6

A different type of sugar-themed profile (sigh):

Nov 26 7

Love that he has a dog named Fred but I wonder about a guy who kicks up his “heals” and is in the hostility business…

Nov 26 8a

I guess I wouldn’t need my passport if I ended up with this man:

Nov 26 9

We won’t be meeting so no need to worry about crime….

nov 26 1

Huh?

Nov 26 woman like simple

I blame myself for this response. I asked him about the bad boy reference in his profile:

Nov 26 2

Tweet me your funny or eyebrow-raising profile examples!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

A Mirage in the Desert of Dating

blox pix desert mirage

It’s cuffing season, a time when single people want to couple up so they can have a boo for the holidays, a snuggle partner for the cold weather. But I’m experiencing more of a desert season – long treks sifting through the sand of matches without connecting with anyone even worth meeting. I thought this dry spell might be broken but it was not to be. I’ll fill you in on my mirage experience while we enjoy some seasonal roasted squash with brown butter and quinoa.

After a long period where Match was my least productive dating venue, I began to hear from some men on this site. I’m sure it was due to a minor tweaking of my bio, an action that propels a profile to a more prominent position.

Mr. R initiated contact. It’s always lovely when I don’t have to be proactive. His initial email was also an invitation for coffee. I liked his profile and photos. My dating rules are flexible now – particularly when I’m in a dry spell – so I didn’t push for a phone call or further messaging and agreed to meet.

He said he’d look for a coffee shop that was “not a madhouse of noise” and get back to me. He included his cell number at the end of the message. Bingo! Now I could check him out properly. It turns out his number was associated with his medical practice so after finding his name I did a straight Google search. Now I knew I was about to meet a tall liberal minded physician with an artsy creative side.

I began to feel excited. But then I found two You Tube videos he “starred” in. They were health based and produced by the hospital he was affiliated with. I was pleased with his voice and speaking style (so important in a partner) but then I noticed he was wearing a wedding ring. My excitement dimmed.

The videos were posted last June. I pondered the possible explanations for the wedding ring:

*His profile, which indicated he was divorced, was not truthful and he was married.

*He was very recently divorced.

*With a communications background, I am aware of a myriad of reasons why films may be produced but kept in limbo for a long time before public posting. I theorized that the videos could have been made months earlier.

Despite the wedding ring videos, I decided to meet Mr. R but to make sure I asked for details about his divorce and noticed whether he had a tan line on his ring finger.

We finalized a meeting time for Sunday morning and a location not too far from where I lived.

At 9:30 on Saturday night, I received a text message from Mr. R confirming that he was still on for coffee the next morning but wanted to be straight with me “about where I’ve found myself to be.”

He said he was still “wrenched with feelings about my divorce” and not really ready to start dating. “I need to tell you that,” he continued. “Speaking with my best friend tonight helped me recognize the form of the anxiety I’ve been feeling. I’m still processing it. I would enjoy coffee and something to eat and conversation with you but that’s all I can manage right now. If you still want to meet, please let me know.”

And so my mirage of a promising prospect disappeared. I replied that I was disappointed but understood and know what it’s like to be in that emotional limbo that can hit after divorce. I declined to meet the next morning and ended my message with “Continue healing and taking care of yourself and get in touch when you think you are ready to date.”

He wrote a nice response back and said he would contact me when he was ready to date.

My mood went from hopeful and excited to generally bummed out. The next day when I went on Match I saw he had recently been online. I wasn’t sure what to make of this until a friend suggested he was likely just browsing, not reaching out to anyone. I remembered doing that when I was separated and in the early days after divorce so I chose to believe this explanation. A few days later, Mr. R hid his profile – consistent with his story of not being ready to date.

You probably think the story is over. But I have been online long enough to know that guys do come back – sometimes after months or even a year. You might hear from a guy you dated briefly 8 months ago or from a man you messaged but never met.

I’m not sitting by the cell phone waiting for Mr. R to be emotionally ready to date but I have a tiny bit of hope that he’ll reach out at some point.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Vetting and Evaluating an Online Match before and after you Meet

blox pix nov 12 2017

The next time you’re shopping in the online man store and maybe trying one on for size, you may have questions beyond whether the guy’s a good fit. Is he who he says he is? Is he a player? Is he losing interest or just not that into you? Is he a keeper? There are things you can do and signs to watch for to help you navigate the dating journey.

Help yourself to some pasta with olive oil, garlic, and parsley while I share my top 10 tips to vet or evaluate a man:

*Do a basic photo check. On a PC or laptop: save the guy’s profile photos and then do a Google image or Tineye search. On a phone: screen shot the photos (as many as possible) and then use an image search app such as Veracity or do a Google image search similar to the way you would do it on a computer. For detailed instructions, see: how to perform a reverse image search.

If the guy doesn’t have a photo, move on. There’s a reason he doesn’t have one.

*Be wary of perfect photos. If the photos remind you of a cover model on GQ, don’t even waste your time searching. These pix are likely “borrowed” from a website or Facebook profile.

*Search the guy’s phone number. Do a Google search or type the number into the search box on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve had great success with the Facebook/LinkedIn number search – even if the guy’s number is “hidden.”

An important aside: You should only give a guy your real cell number, if you’re convinced he’s legit and not a risk. Otherwise, get a Google voice number (free as opposed to a burner number). I usually wait to meet someone before sharing my primary cell number.

*Search the guy’s email address. Try the same search tactics recommended for phone numbers. All sorts of things will turn up. I’ve pulled up a guy’s TripAdvisor reviews, Amazon reviews, listing in a society membership directory, and his profile on a sex site.

*Know the signs of a catfisher. He is often widowed* (e.g., a tragic car accident killed his wife and child), an engineer in the oil or energy industry, works for the UN in some capacity, indicates English is his second language so as not to throw you off should you actually talk on the phone.

*Of course not all widows are catfishers but it appears to be the marital status of choice for those fabricating a profile.

If the guy doesn’t have a profile, move on. There’s a reason he doesn’t have a profile.

*Know the behavior red flags. His dating site messages or texts are sporadic; he answers questions you ask but doesn’t ask anything – or very little – about you; he views you frequently or favorites you but doesn’t communicate; he’s always – and I mean always – online; he doesn’t advance the e-mail conversation and doesn’t suggest talking on the phone or meeting.

*Be aware of a sudden shift in communication patterns. If you have been on a date or two or three and suddenly his good morning texts have stopped, it may not be long before he ghosts you or tells/texts you that it’s just not working out. One guy suddenly stopped his daily texting and then called to tell me that I wasn’t a good match because I lived so far away that he had to use a “pricey” EasyPass. Insert laugh/cry emoji.

*Observe negative behaviors on a date. He monopolizes the conversation, looks at every woman who walks into the bar/café/coffee shop, glances at his phone constantly, all of the above.

*Observe and enjoy positive behaviors on a date. He seems genuinely interested in you, listens to what you say and responds, maintains good eye contact, his body language says he likes you (hand or arm touching, feet pointed toward you), notes that he doesn’t want the date to end/mentions seeing you again.

*Observe and enjoy positive signs that the relationship is advancing. He frequently calls/texts you just to check in or to plan your next get together, he shares more about himself, he mentions doing things in the future, you inevitably spend weekends together, you start to meet each other’s friends.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Embracing Singlehood

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There’s a lot of media attention focused on the perspectives and issues surrounding singledom. Discussion about the single life seems to be everywhere: Blogs (yes, including this one), podcasts, news articles, social media, movies, TV shows, and published essays. Google “being single” and you’ll see what I mean.

In a recent essay in the NY Times Modern Love column, Helen Rubinstein writes about her struggles to embrace singlehood. The essay sparked a lot of reader interest with over 305 comments published on the Times’ website.

Let’s chat about this while eating a modest lunch of seared tuna with shaved vegetable salad to counter the effects of Halloween candy excess.

Rubinstein recounts her struggle to be comfortable as a single woman in a couples’ world – where work settings and social functions remind her that she is navigating the world solo. She describes feeling odd, strange, shameful, and queer.

The use of the word queer struck me as off since the writer is straight. The term also offended a number of LGBT readers. That may be why the Times changed the essay’s headline from Is There Something Queer About Being Single? to Is There Something Odd About Being Single?

 Word choice aside, Rubinstein decides to drive across the country alone in celebration of freedom and singlehood. As she expects, she experiences fear and a feeling of “strangeness” along the way. During a hot-spring shower in a Nevada desert bathhouse, she longs for a partner in the beautiful setting. But then she has an epiphany. Although at that moment, Rubinstein craves companionship, she realizes that being part of a couple doesn’t always counter loneliness. “Loneliness dissipates,” she writes, “when you find comfort and pleasure in your own company.”

That’s something singles hear a lot – be comfortable and happy with yourself before seeking a partner. I tried to make that a goal after my divorce but it has taken a few years to fully experience that feeling of inner strength. It’s also taken awhile to feel less of an “extra” in many social situations. Still there are times when I intensely feel my solo status – around holidays, on date nights if I’m not with a date, out with a couple. I don’t feel odd but I do feel an aloneness that I’d rather not feel.

I do, however, remember feeling strange at the beginning of my separation. After two-thirds of my life spent as part of a couple, I felt untethered. Eventually I felt tethered to myself and grew that inner strength I mentioned.

Now I believe I may be a qualified “super single,” a phrase I first heard in an episode of Better Things. In case you haven’t seen the show, Sam, the main character, is a divorced single mom of a certain age. She becomes so good at being single that she doesn’t know how to accept the possibility of a promising relationship.

As writer Allison P. Davis writes in The Cut:

“This episode marks the first time she fully comes undone over a romantic prospect. “This guy, is the thing,” she says to a friend, anguished and lovesick (literally). Her speech is really just a few lines, but, good god, does it cut to the bone. “I don’t know how to do this. I got no place to put it, I don’t want it,” she says. She only sees one way forward: to break up with the perfect guy, naturally.

“Oh honey,” her friend says in commiseration. “We’re super singles: We’re just too good at being alone.”

How many of the 111 million singles in the US (45 percent of all residents age 18 and above) are super singles? Hard to know. We’re a mix of high functioning “supers” and newbies.

The newbies may feel strange or they may be thrilled by their newfound freedom and independence. Some of the 111 million may never want to couple up – whether they’ve been in a previous committed relationship or not. Others may yearn for a relationship daily. Whether being single is temporary or lifelong, chosen or circumstantial, I hope we can try to not feel odd. Instead, I like the sentiment in Natasha Bedingfield’s song Single:

Don’t need to be on somebody’s arm to look good
I like who I am
I’m not saying I don’t wanna fall in love ’cause I would
I’m not gonna get hooked up just ’cause you say I should
Can’t romance on demand
I’m gonna wait so I’m sorry if you misunderstood

That’s right

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There’s no way I’m tradin’ places
Right now a star’s in the ascendant

 Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

Feeling Older and Younger

Old young blog pix

Yesterday I received emails from two men on two different dating sites: a 57-year-old from OurTime and an octogenarian (86) from Match. Only the younger one brought up age, wondering if I’d date a younger man.

Perhaps this age span makes sense, as I am simultaneously feeling both older and younger. Does that mean I’m not aging?

Join me in some 1-pot pumpkin yellow curry while I discuss.

The online dating world makes you acutely aware of your age, even if you’re gracefully ignoring this fact in everyday life. Men select their age preferences when they’re in search mode so if you’re not in their preferred age range, you won’t appear as they browse.

Each dating site has its own peculiarities regarding age selection. On Tinder, for example, the lowest age range I can select is 46, younger than I’m comfortable with, and the upper limit is 55+.

So far, I have been honest about my age on these sites but I know men and women who present a younger persona. Sometimes, they’ll reveal their true age in their profile…as if to say, now that I’ve hooked you, here’s the real scoop.

Regardless of age, here are nine ways to feel younger. I live these principles and I think that explains my youthful outlook.

*Be open to new experiences

*Engage in frequent fun activities

*Delight in everyday occurrences – nature, human kindness, animal antics

*Value friends and family

*Be optimistic

*Be interested in romance and sex

*Practice resilience; ride out rough times

*Be active every day

*Live a relatively healthy lifestyle

Despite these principles, I feel older in various ways – some good, some bad. Some you would not choose to have.

Nine examples of feeling older:

*Living with new aches and pains

*Experiencing age-related health issues

*Realizing the limits of a life span

*Feeling frustrated and pessimistic about finding one of the ones

*Observing age-related physical changes to face — damn that harsh lighting

*Observing age-related physical changes to body (despite exercise). Thank God for Spanx

*Being more bold and outspoken (in some cases where I decide I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore)

*Feeling more capable (experience can result in competence)

*Recognizing that time on this planet has helped me figure life – and myself – out.

On a good day, feeling younger wins. I might have an exciting dating possibility or I’m looking forward to a new experience, or meeting a new friend. On other days, I wake creaky, stiff, and sleep deprived, and wonder if I’ll ever have a significant other again.

Some days I’m a mix of both: creaky but happy about seeing a beautiful sunrise. Perhaps those “mixed” days are the definition of middle age.

Until next week, enjoy whatever age you feel…and happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia