Has it come to this? A drastic shift in the gameplan

As I already stated, the dating game landscape is going to change this weekend with the return of my son from his Summer vacation. So I started game-planning how dating was going to work once the school year started.

Well, after much consideration and debate, along with the help of some additional advice, I have made a rather drastic change in my dating approach. Look for the upcoming post this weekend with the initial results. This new approach seems to fit my schedule, dating and personal needs much better than the traditional way.

HOWEVER, my bet is as soon as I venture down this road, the girl of my dreams will make her presence known. That’s just the way my luck works. Once I give up on something or commit to an alternate option, that’s when my first choice becomes available. My luck is horrible sometimes. But the good news is, if that does happen, I will have the option to change courses again back to the traditional track.

I guess we will find out shortly. Stay tuned, it should be interesting.

End of Summer Lovin’: Justine on the outs, Georgia, Abigail and Constance

As Summer begins to wind down, so does the majority of dating activity – or at least I hope not. I tried to pack as much as I could into the short time I had while my son was on his Summer vacation. I met some real interesting girls. Some I wished could’ve worked out, some I’m glad didn’t, and others that are at least good for a good story.

Well, just as I started to think things with Justine were headed to a more serious/committed status, I get blindsided by the trust monster. She hid her Match profile because some guys were getting a little creepy (nothing new) and left it hidden while we were dating. Several times I had mentioned that I hadn’t even checked my profile since our second date, when I decided to focus on her. And my intention was not to check it – period – as long as I was still dating her, regardless of any emails, winks or other contacts I received.

This weekend, that apparently wasn’t good enough and caused a serious rift. The other night, we had said our “goodnights” and a while later I got a message after I had been asleep for a while. It was about 1 a.m. and she texted that she couldn’t sleep and was just messing around on the computer. I didn’t think much of it. Then a little bit later, I got a message going on about how foolish she felt that she had her profile hidden while I did not. It evolved (or devolved, as it may be) into a situation where I was leaving it up because I was still looking for someone better.

First, anyone who knows anything about how Match works know that you just have to look at my profile and it will tell you how long it has been since I last logged into the site, for whatever reason. So anyone could tell it had been over a week since I had last logged in. But that wasn’t good enough, nor the issue – apparently. Now comes the rub. How would she know whether or not my profile was hidden or not? Answer: she was on the site.

The glaring double-standard here was enough to cause good bit of turbulence. As I could feel my blood pressure rise as she tried to make her point as to why this was something I was doing wrong, I opted to let things rest and not address them while I was at my peak of emotion and tired. I said I would talk more about it the next day, but that wasn’t satisfactory. By the time I woke up the next day, I had about 10 more text messages and a voicemail all in variety of tones ranging from apologetic to angry and all shades in between.

So when we finally got a chance to talk about it, the common sense approach didn’t go as well as I thought it might. My opinion was, the only way she knew my profile wasn’t hidden was because she was on the site when she said she wasn’t going to be and had her profile hidden. Her excuse was that she was still receiving messages and communications from the site even though she had her profile hidden and she wanted to find out why. She did mention a few days ago that she was going to check it out, so I figured she did it then. I was also curious that she was on the site after 1 a.m. and what she actually did on the site. When she told me that she also read the messages and spent more time on the site perusing around, that was kind of the tipping point for me.

I could not, for the life of me, figure out why all of this was my fault. I even addressed the fact that we had never discussed me hiding my profile. So, for me, from my point of view, me not visiting the site was a clear and obvious commitment to her and not anyone else. And for her to accuse me of other motives while she was checking out messages on the site from other men she had been in previous contact with, seemed rather hypocritical to me.

But that wasn’t the end. As the conversation went on and I tried to state my case, she made the threat/warning/comment that if I was on the site, she would find out because women have their ways. She went on to say that she had other ways to find out if I was checking out the site and that she has friends who might check in on my profile to see what I was doing. What?? She basically just said she was going to spy on me. We’ve only been dating a couple of weeks and we are already at the spying stage? I didn’t get to that stage until the very end of my marriage.

And that wasn’t the first sign of trust issues with her. So, we had to have a little chat. I cancelled our plans for the weekend because I wanted time to process things. My plan wasn’t to call everything off and break up. But my request for space – with the promise that things would be better after a little time – wasn’t respected. Instead, I kept getting pestered, including overnight as I slept. That was when she went overboard and said she thought we were broken up. More texts and voicemails followed the next day, and it just got to obsessive. So now, we have to have another “big talk” and it is really getting to the point where I am finding it hard to see staying together.

I just can’t handle distrust so early. I understand some people are different than I am, and have an initial distrust or caution, which is understandable. But don’t automatically throw you distrust issues on me when I haven’t done anything to deserve that kind of scrutiny yet. I am the type of person where I will automatically trust you (to a certain level) from the beginning until you do something to prove otherwise.

So it doesn’t look like things will go as well as I thought they might. Then again, her reaction to our discussion about how things will be once school starts also led me to believe we might not last long after school started. But I was still willing to wait it out and see if we couldn’t work it out.

Well, with all that out there and things apparently on the outs and her still checking Match, what should I do? Yep, that’s right, I checked out Match again. And what do you think I found? Georgia was back on Match.

It was rather disheartening, mainly for the reason that I truly believed her when she told me that she thought she wasn’t ready to date again after her last major relationship. It made sense and didn’t totally catch me off guard. My response to her was that I understood and that if she changed her mind to let me know because I would really like to see her again. Before she told me that, her profile was hidden (since before our first date) because she was avoiding some creepy guys. And when I checked Match again, it showed that her profile was available again and active within the last hour (which means she was just on). I was also a little bummed because I really would have preferred things worked out with her, and not have to move onto other girls. But, what’s a guy to do?

Lastly, since I need to wrap this up, the last two date reviews I have yet to post are of Abigail and Constance. I have waited to do those until the end because both of those are not just first date reviews, they are more of a relationship review since both lasted longer than just a few dates. So I will synopsis them to encapsulate the whole relationship.

Thank you for following along, and stay tuned for more.

Beatrice: Cute Southern drawl, but wasn’t what I ordered (Rewind)

Background: Beatrice was one of my first real communications on eHarmony. There had been Smiles (eHarmony’s version of the Wink) exchanged with other members and I had managed to make it through some levels of the 5-step gauntlet eHarmony uses before you get to actually emailing each other. But Beatrice was the first (I think) that managed to make it through the gauntlet and we actually started exchanging emails. From there we followed the script of exchanging numbers, texting and then started talking on the phone.

We found lots of things to talk about and the connection developing (via email, text and phone calls) was getting better with each passing day. And once we started talking on the phone, that’s all I wanted to do because she had the sexiest Southern drawl that I just ate up.

She was also absolutely adorable (from what I saw from her pictures). Cute as a button would have been a term I would’ve used. She had amazing blue eyes, full lips and the most gorgeous head of naturally curly bright blonde hair. She was a professional chef who worked from home quite a bit, which was interesting. We were always talking about food and cooking. Things were definitely looking up!

We tried for a few days to get together for a date before finally settling for an evening date on a night when I just got back into town from a work trip.

The Date: We decided to do the classic dinner and movie thing, except this time we were going to one of the theaters which serves food at the movies. Since she was coming from another town just to the South of me, and would pass right by my house on the way to the theater anyway, we decided she would just stop at my house and park her car and we would drive together. But on the way she texted me, with what seemed like an innocent enough message, but should have been something I really needed to take to heart. She texted me that she “felt bloated, and like a whale.”

That all became too clear when she showed up at my door. She was clearly at least, at LEAST, 25 pounds heavier than any of the pictures in her profile. Sorry, but that’s not bloated. “Bloated” does not affect your legs, face or arms. As I’ve stated before, one thing I really can’t stand is when people “lie” by posting inaccurate pictures of themselves on their profiles. After the date, I looked back at her profile and there was nothing to even remotely indicate she was heavy. Nothing! 

But, given how good our connection and conversations had been to this point, I was willing to overlook her size because she was still rather cute – but not what was I was expecting. I hadn’t totally shut down the date mentally yet. I was going to give it a chance.

On the way to the theater, and when we first arrived at the theater, the conversation was good and we were both laughing and having a good time. We even had a good chuckle when I pointed out to her that one picture she had posted on her profile showed a little bit of areola around her nipple. She didn’t believe me, so I had to show her. It was pretty funny. We got to the theater early enough that we decided to eat dinner out in the bar area outside the theaters. But that’s where things really turned south.

For some unknown reason, she kept giving our server a hard time. She would make rude comments if the server didn’t answer her questions as she was expecting, or if she thought she was taking too long, or for any number of reasons. I finally got to the point where I asked if she was OK and what that was all about. She tried to explain that she thought the service was bad, but there was nothing worth commenting on, as far as I was concerned. I thought everything was just fine.

That is what stuck under my skin for the rest of the night – how rude she was to people. She made a few other comments to other people that I thought were very unjustified, unnecessary and rude.

During the movie, we didn’t cuddle or hold hands or anything like I had originally hoped. And after the movie we had some basic conversation about the movie on the way back to my place. Once back to my place, we talked for a few minutes and even exchanged a goodnight kiss. The bittersweet part, was that the kiss was actually pretty good, but I was just too turned off at that point to let it be any sort of deciding factor as to whether I wanted to pursue anything with her.

Post date: We continued to talk for a few days after that, but I just couldn’t get the rudeness out of my head, on top of the fact that I was still a bit irked that she misled me about her photos. She knew she was doing it, otherwise why would she make the “bloated” comment right before I was to see her for the first time in person. So we never did get to a second date. But I learned a harsh reality about online dating – some people are dishonest on their profiles because they don’t think people might be interested in them otherwise. I can’t say whether or not I would’ve gone out with her if she would have posted honest pictures of herself, but being dishonest about it doesn’t make me the bad person because she was a little heavier than she let on.

In part because of this date, and a few others (including Daphne), I have come up with a little online dating theory; find the worst picture someone has posted on their profile, and that will most likely be the best representation of what they look like in person. I work with Photoshop every day at work, so I can tell when pictures are touched up, and I’ve seen a whole bunch of altered pictures on dating sites. It’s kind of disheartening.

Grade: C

Side bar: This was the only date I managed to get from eHarmony in the six months I was a paying member. I had maybe a handful of serious conversations, a couple dozen solid interactions. I am not counting every smile I received, only the ones that were reciprocated. So I wasn’t that impressed with it, especially considering the price versus Match, which is probably still my favorite and Chemistry.

The Dilemma: Back to School means major changes

We are only a matter of days away from the beginning of new school year. A new school year means lots of changes for everyone. The kids have new grades, teachers and classes to adjust to, as well as get used to getting up in the morning to go to school again. Parents have to adjust to the school routine of getting the kids ready and making sure they get to school.

It also means a major change in my dating life.

Starting next week, my son will be home from his Summer visit to his mother’s and he will be going back to school. That means a monumental shift in my dating game. My availability goes from “any time” to “rarely”. You see, I don’t have a big support network of family and/or friends who can watch my son while I go out on dates or to just have grown-up time. And with his mother living 8+ hours away, I don’t have every other weekend available like most divorced parents. My son sees his mother on average about once per month, sometimes longer. Her visits are scheduled around his long breaks from school (anything 4+ days long).

This creates some major obstacles in the dating game.

No longer can I go out any night of the week, or spend the night somewhere. Having girls over or spend the night is also out. I want to make sure a woman has serious potential before I introduce her into my children’s daily life. So this seriously limits my window of opportunity to about one or two chances per month, maybe more depending on the month.

This has already been a serious obstacle with girls I dated before my son left for the Summer. Most girls say they understand and don’t have a problem with it. Many will even say they think there is something extremely attractive about a guy who has custody of his kids and devotes so much of himself to them. But the truth soon rears its ugly head.

If I am dating a girl and we cross that certain threshold, whether it’s a certain amount of time together or physical intimacy, I do not talk to, flirt with, or entertain other women in any way. I’m talking about potential female dates, not true female friends. I am not interested in looking around once I have established myself with someone, and regardless of how much I say it or even try to demonstrate it, that usually doesn’t seem to be enough. So far, only one woman has been willing to play the waiting game for me, and that was Abigail (you will read more about her later). Things ended with her not because of my limited availability, but because it was too early in my return to dating for me to be comfortable with the boyfriend/girlfriend labels and other intimate attachments. But she wanted them and I wasn’t willing to give them to her. But (again) we will cover that later.

I had a lot more hopes for what would happen this Summer once I was free to focus all of my free time on dating and women. But alas, the Summer is nearing an end and still do not have what most would consider a real girlfriend. Justine is on the verge of that status, but since we talked about the change in my schedule once school starts, things have a been a little different with her. So I am not sure what that exactly means yet. But she is also very leery about meeting and involving the children too soon, which is something we would have to consider doing to see each other as much as we would like to.

Like I said, I don’t have a large support network her to provide me with opportunities to go out. Sure, my son will occasional have a sleepover at a friend’s house, but those are usually determined within a 48-24 hour time frame. And I am not the most comfortable about hiring a strange babysitter to watch him just so I can go out. I get pangs of guilt and selfishness when I think about doing that.

What do you think? Are my expectations too high? Or should I make more efforts to be available?

Honestly, sometimes I really think I should just drop the whole dating game all together and spend my time and money on places like Adult FriendFinder, Ashley Madison, or even something like Eros and the strip clubs. That way, I’m spending my money on attachment-free fun and not having to hassle with the constraints the dating game places on me. Otherwise it takes months worth of work just to get my basic urges met, when I already know my relationship needs will most likely not be met due to the limitations of my schedule. And no, I’m not going out to the bars looking for random bar skanks to hook up with, because the quality is not as good and it’s usually a futile effort anyway. So let’s just stick with something a little more proven. My free time is rare, and I don’t want to frivolously waste it.

Let me know what you think. And thanks for listening.