There have been some requests from some “FWW'ers” about how some of us successfully nabbed us a good one after divorce. I was a little reluctant at first because I felt like it might feel a little like rubbing salt into a wound and I certainly don't want to do that. I made many mistakes and rushed into dating far too soon.
I’ve learned a lot, and I think I can help some women here with how to cut through the BS you find online when dating again, and above all with the difference I've noticed between narcissists and non-narcs. I've had many difficulties, even with the man I'm with at present. I was damaged, but I've healed quite a bit and still have issues. I may have issues the rest of my life, but the key is to recognize them and have open communication with your partner. My goal is to move forward, but I don expect perfection. So I'm going to just blog about my experiences, my mistakes, what I learned and my successes (not many, but I got a couple).
Are You Ready to Date, Because I Wasn't?
From what I've seen online and read in self help books, it is commonly recommended that you wait at least two years before you start to date. Other's recommend up to four years. I'm not an expert on this, but it does bring me to one point. Because I had been seeing a psychiatrist for four years and had been planning to leave my ex, I believed I was further along than I really was. I hadn't really dealt with the issues associated with being the victim of a narcissistic relationship. I was doomed to hook up with the same asshole as I married.
After seven months of separation, I was feeling lonely and signed up on a couple of dating sites. Again, big mistake I wasn't ready and I do not recommend this until you've done some healing. I opened myself up to get taken advantage of and really got hurt.
Online Dating Safety
I got so much grief about this from my mother. But personally I believe online dating is safer than meeting someone at a bar and going on a date later. Here's why. Meeting someone one time can give you a misplaced sense of security. He's as much of a stranger then as he is if you talked to him online for two weeks. In the past how many of you have had your date pick you up after only meeting them once? But you would never do this if you met them on-line. It's a given that you always meet your on-line date in a public place.
I suggest instant messaging, there is a record of it and you can go back and look for inconsistencies. You can also really analyze an email or get a friend to read them. Is he too perfect? If the answer is yes, then run. Seriously, we were married to Narc's; perfect does not exist. If they were perfect, why are they on this site?
The dating sites do keep records and backups of their clients, complete with pictures of this individual. A serial killer would never be that careless. If you meet them in a public place and their profile picture is different, you'd be pretty daft not to high tail it out of there. If anyone acts inappropriately on-line it is very easy to have them banned. Some sites even have a reporting system that is available to woman. Try that in public!
The Online Profile
One of the first things I did was make up a fake male profile because I wanted to see what women were posting. Nothing, elaborate, just the bare minimum so that I could see what men see and I quickly deleted it. What I noticed, most women have profiles that read like a cross between a retail ad and a resume. You shouldn't need to sell yourself, unless of course you are looking for an asshole. If all he is interested in is an attractive woman with a great pedigree then he is a dick and doesn't deserve you.
I decided that I was going to be honest and open in my profile. My profile was going to reflect who I was. If they don't like it, then great, you're not worth my time anyway. My profile was a pretty good representation of my personality. I was told that my profile really stood out because it had personality to it and was very different to what they had read before. It sounded like I knew what I wanted without coming across as too aggressive. If you're looking for companionship you want someone who can relate to you. I believe both men and women are guilty of the same thing. They are putting in their profile what they think other people want. This is really dishonest and says nothing authentic about you. Having a descriptive profile has additional benefits, which I will discuss below.
Do not put that you have children living at home in the main profile. This is the area that can be used for search parameters, ie, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, income, do you have children. I put "prefer not to answer". If this option is not available put "No" you can always mention them on your profile page. The reason: a pervert can search out woman with children in their search parameters, which can include gender. I actually had this happen to me.
Do not mention that you own a home. Avoid that conversation as much as possible. Many people are just looking for a cheap place to live or even worse marriage, divorce and half the house. Unfortunately, I've seen both happen more than once. When it comes to money people can be ruthless.
If you're attractive, you're going to get tons of attention. Normally, I would get about a couple per day, but it wasn't unusual to get 20 in one day.
How to Spot a Jackass:
No profile, brief profile, or says talk to you about it later. If you can't be bothered to put an hour into a profile, how much effort are you going to put into a relationship? Personally I think it's disrespectful, because I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have even contacted me if you didn't like what you saw. How desperate do you think we are? If you're desperate, don't even bother reading this blog because you'll make compromise after compromise.
His profile has a lot of spelling errors and horrible grammar. Again if you can't make the effort. Unless they say English is not their first language, there really isn't any excuse. If you're online, then you can very easily check your grammar and spelling. Would you go on a date without showering and putting on clean clothes?
First contact asks one of the two questions: How old are your children? or Do you want to go for coffee? The first one gets blocked and deleted immediately. Either you're shopping for potential victims or you aren't willing to date someone with young children. The later doesn't necessarily mean that they are a jackass, but my experience has been that they think dating a woman with younger children is a hassle (less likely to spend the night). Well aren't we mister picky. My opinion is that I would move heaven and earth for the right person.
The second, I always replied with the same comment. Save it in MSWord and you can just cut and paste the same comment. "I'm sorry, but I've made it a rule to not have 'coffee' unless I have corresponded with them for at least two weeks". I've gotten some very nasty replies to that, awesome, dodged a bullet, block and delete. There are a lot of serial clickers out there. They check out all the newbies and send them all requests and wait for a response. Again, anyone who is looking for companionship with the right person will want to make the effort. If they can't respect your wishes, don't make the time.
Profile Says, I'm a romantic that loves candlelit dinners, cuddling in front of the fire, and long walks on the beach. Interests are antiquing, giving foot rubs. Bahahahahaha, ya right. Apparently a lot of women get sucked into this. Because I've seen it in a lot of profiles and my best friend admitted that she took the bait. Come on ladies! Seriously? The only men I know that love walking on the beach are geologists looking for fresh erosional surfaces and outcrops. Some men might like some of these things, but if he sounds like the perfect romantic partner, he's probably a liar or a narcissist.
He has a shopping list of what he wants in a woman. Normally a dick, just trust me on this one. Although, if they contact you, based on what they say, you could respond to this. I did. I told him that it sounded like a shopping list and might be offensive to some woman, because it came across as a list of demands. Normally, I get called a stuck-up bitch, a feminazi, or I reminded them of their ex, awesome, block and delete. On one occasion, he responded and apologized. He said he spends a lot of time reading through the profiles, responding and was getting frustrated with woman saying they wanted one thing but would do the complete opposite. He didn't know how to get around those people who weren't honest and just played games. I messaged him back and thanked him for his apology and honestly thought I was going to get told off. We ended up conversing for four weeks. He seemed like a really great guy and I was seriously considering going out with him, but my boyfriend came back into my life (we weren't dating yet) and it just felt like cheating. He was very gracious when I told him that I was going to pursue this other relationship. He was the one person who I felt really bad about.
Anyone who bashes his or her ex a lot. It can be difficult to keep calm when you're dealing with a difficult spouse. This can be a touchy situation. My boyfriend and I did talk a lot about our ex's, but our situations were similar and we were able to relate and help each other. FWW would have been good for him. It's too bad that there isn't a place for men. Many sites are filled with woman bashing men who are hell bent on revenge. What is important is how angry are they, what language are they using, how much time has passed. Using colorful language to describe the ex that soon into the relationship says a lot about them. If they are referring to their ex as the bitch (or worse) in the first conversation, then run, run, run.
Anyone who blames everything on their ex. As much as a dick as my ex was, I take responsibility for staying, not setting boundaries, putting others before myself and many other things. If he admits that he cheated in the past. No brainer; run, don't look back, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Drinks five beers within two hours.
His profile pictures are of himself in his boat, Porsche, his lake house, on his back deck with his gigantic house in the background. If you think you need show a woman that you have money, then either you have serious issues or you are looking for a trophy to go with your other possessions. This sounds like something a Narc would do.
His profile pictures are of him with a trophy sitting on a motorbike surrounded by half a dozen women in bikinis. I'm not even going to explain this one.
Okay, now they've made contact and they have a good profile, here are some things to consider:
Initially I had decided to wait two weeks before meeting. I later changed it to six weeks. A descent guy who wants to meet a descent woman will respect this and get to know you a little more. Why does it matter anyway? Physical attraction or love at first sight is infatuation, it isn't love. I wasn't physically attracted to my boyfriend when I first met him, I thought he was good looking, but that was about it. But I wanted to rip his clothes off when we decided to, ahem, take the relationship further, ahem.
In their initial contact, did they make any references that indicate that they read your profile? I can't express strongly enough how important this is. Anyone who wants to put work into a relationship is not going to send out requests without checking to see if you may be compatible. You should put more effort into learning about someone before you go for coffee than you would if you were going to purchase a car.
They are overly ingratiating, you feel like they are telling you what you want to hear. My experience, this is a big warning flag. The men who turned out to be the biggest jackasses, laid the compliments on really thick. Every single one was a narcissist and I didn't see it until later. A good man will be honest, but kind, he respects you enough that he isn't going to sweet talk or lie to you.
Doesn't respect your physical boundaries. If they're pushing the sex thing too early, they don't respect you. I learned this the hard way.
Repeatedly pushing you to go out with them, despite you making it clear that you want to wait. Obvious boundary issues.
Seems to think that they should be a priority over your children, especially if you inform them of the pecking order before hand. My daughter had anxiety issues, my ex made his girlfriend a priority, and my daughter had abandonment issues. She knew that she could call me anytime, anywhere if she was have anxiety. Some men had issues with this despite being informed of the rules before hand. If it's a problem, don't ask me out. End of discussion. I've had one man tell me she was needy, needed to grow up, and I needed to get a grip. I brought her into this world, she's my responsibility.
Don't burn your bridges.
If he seems like a descent guy but you just don't think you would be compatible.
Recently started dating, having family or work issues are putting you're online dating on hold, but have new messages. It could also be that they live too far away. You need to respond. If he sent you a decent message it is rude and disrespectful not to reply. I normally say something like. Thank-you for your note, however, I read your profile and don't think that we would be compatible (or whatever reason). Good luck with your search. Very few women reply back. You never know if you are going to cross paths again. Your situation may change in the future or you realize that this person may be compatible. Either one of you may have made changes in your life. I never thought that my boyfriend and I would be compatible. Three years later.
Some Explanations and Definitions: What certain phrases really mean:
Do you have any more pictures? Looking for body shots or nude. I like to play stupid. What to you mean more pictures? I think he said from the neck down. So I sent him pictures of my hands and feet.
What are you looking for? In my naivety I discovered that many people are looking for sex. Even women. Believe it or not some men will ask this question because they're not just looking for sex. Who knew? I always responded friendship or companionship. If things develop down the road, great, if not I've made a friend. The decent guys seem to stick around with this answer. That's enough bed time reading for now.
(this post was written by a member of the First Wives community - a private, network filled with caring, loving women who have each other's back like no other.)