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Health Warning: Dating damages your health

12 Feb

Well online dating anyway.
I know a couple who met eight years ago through online dating. They were both looking for love, both wanting a family and found each other… cue fairytale ending of marriage, kids etc.
It’s a true story, the couple are still together, the online dating thing worked and for a while it was a great resource for those wanting to find love. But I have not heard a story like that for a long time.

Now I hear nothing short of horror stories. It seems to me that men have cottoned on to the fact that they can use the internet as an online sex bank – it’s the middle aged equivalent of the student meat market. They’ve realised that women, especially those my age want to meet someone to have a relationship with and their male counterparts are milking the proverbial cow. One bloke equates glasses of wine drunk with a ‘putting out’ ratio – where three big glasses is usually followed by the full monty. And of course, because there are plenty more fish in the sea, there’s no need for any kind of relationship proper or any comeback.

I don’t have a problem with the concept of online dating scene per se – it is unbelievably hard to meet people in the rush of modern life. But there should be some ground rules. It’s not that I want to see everyone paired off and married with 2.4 kids. But what I do KNOW for sure is that my girl friends who are doing this are now 40 and are fragile. And, although some might think they are in control, I would argue that they are being taken advantage of.
All of them are powerful, confident women in the outside world. They hold down fantastic jobs in a variety of fields, but emotionally the dating game has taken it’s toll and they are raw.

They want to believe but know they shouldn’t. Every time there’s a glimmer of hope, that long held dream of a family or partner to share life’s ups and downs with is fired up, the long subdued embers of a fire given oxygen to be able to wish and hope again.

Recently no less than two girlfriends have had their online dates come up with the line “my mother’s dying” after a couple of dates, only to find them back online the next day (yes you can tell). A few months later both men recontacted my friends, up for a second go. Could it be their mothers had both made miraculous recoveries or rather that they had had multiple dates on the go and the mother line is essentially a way of putting girls in a holding pattern whilst they give one a test run. When that doesn’t work out, they return to the rest of the pack and pick another one.

So the women go out with them again, open up again, allow themselves to be vulnerable again and then, inevitably it seems, the bloke’s mother starts dying again or they just bugger off without a word. The women’s hopes, having being raised are dashed, once again.

The latest cruel blow is a chap who, as he left my friend, having been basically living in her apartment for 2 months, used the excuse of – “we’re not physically compatible. I don’t feel physically attracted to you” (Clearly he’d hidden that very well considering they’d been having nightly fun n’ games).

So despite warnings to keep her guard up, not let him in emotionally, his comments hit the jugular. She’s been on a diet since September, has lost 3 stone, and was just feeling good about herself for the first time in years. He knew all this, yet he emotionally sucked her in, gave her a taste of couple-dom and then spat her out in the cruellest manner possible, by criticising her physical attractivenss – ie by blaming her for the failure.

Many 40-ish single women question why it is her that is single and not, well me for instance. They question their looks, their character, their nature. Everything. Self-doubt is everywhere, except for the workplace.

This man not just stuck the knife in but he twisted it too. He has emotionally battered my friend. She is shattered by it, her exaltation at her weight loss replaced by “what’s the point. I liked having someone to cook for and come home to and make porridge with. I hate my life” etc. I would like to batter him in the same way – or physically – either would do.

I fear that the ease of online dating has made many men forget that we are all fragile humans and no matter how much it says on one’s biog that we’re easy going and carefree, very few of us are and we are not there to be chewed up and spat out. Being rejected hurts whether you’re 16 or 60.. I wonder how long online dating will continue to be used – by women anyway – when the men they meet on it treat them with such flagrant disregard. I do know a few who have stopped already because of all of the above.

In the immortal words of Bonnie Tyler I would like to know “where have all the good men have gone?”

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The third baby – Time’s a ticking

8 Nov

And so it begins.

Just 4 months after my 40th birthday and swearing blind that I’ll never have another child, I can feel that tickety tock thing kicking off somewhere deep inside my ovaries. It’s a weird feeling. It’s totally irrational. We’re very lucky. We have a boy and a girl, both healthy, both happy. We’ve talked about it, having a third – but we don’t have the money – or inclination. That is, until now.

This summer was the first holiday we’ve taken since we started the baby-thon that we didn’t need to pack nappies or bring a push chair. We travelled lighter, went further, could eat later, stay out an enjoy a pizza at night with friends without total melt-downs. It was a watershed moment. The hubs and I exchanged smug glances of “that phase is over” here comes a brave new world.

Enter small cute newborn. And another. And another. It seems like fate is throwing them at me faster than my poor aged ovaries can produce eggs. My smallest ‘baby’ is nearly four. The infant I think I have is, in reality, a giant when compared to a newborn, full of willie waggling gestures, poo-rhyming songs and general jumping to which 4 year old boys are want. The newborn by comparison, sleeps a lot on a shoulder, is tiny, beautiful, perfect – and yet to form a personality which requires you to chastise, reprimand, commend or praise.

The placidity (word?) has an appeal in a world filled with chaotic 4 and 6 year olds – and whilst I must admit I’ve spent the last few years realising that I’m not an earth mother and enjoy children much more once they are able to communicate – I now look at these tiny sleeping angels and think – “I’d do better next time, this time I know not to get stressed, I know what to do, when and how to juggle it all. Maybe I’d actually get it right with number 3.”

So in creeps the doubt. They look so tiny, so harmless, so completely incapable of turning life upside down, inside out. How could that happen. Surely not. Tick tock.

 

Marital Rules.. to tell or not to tell

10 May

As we watched Modern Family last night (very funny & worth checking out if you haven’t already), the gay couple were arguing about the ‘shooting down’ of Cam’s protracted and not very funny story.

As I’m sure we all have those moments of thinking “not this one again… (Lobster humidor/Paul).. It got me to wondering – is it a spouse’s duty to sit and listen over and over again, dutifully providing the needed response of “ha ha darling/ oh no!/ really, that’s hilarious”? Or, should one say in a quiet moment – “enough now babe – it wasn’t funny when you told it to me on our first date but I fancied you and wanted to see you again so I laughed, now it’s like groundhog day torture… PLEASE STOP TELLING THAT STORY” – or something perhaps a little more sensitive.

And then if you extrapolate it out – where do you stop – the dandruff? the ear & nose hair? the snaffling eating habit? the bogies hanging from the nose? – oh no that’s the kids.. but that kind of thing.

Similarly I walked out the house the other day with a rice krispie stuck to my cheek and yesterday’s mascara smudged under my eye creating a fetching battered woman-type look – I think something should’ve been said, but no – out into the big wide world I went, totally oblivious.

I’m curious – where’s the line? What’s the correct spousal supportive action – to tell or not to tell? – and what actions should we be picking up on?

Here’s my  interventionist starter for ten:

Boring protracted stories with lame endings

Groan-worthy puns

Facial cereal

Age-related hair growth: nose/ear/chin/upper lip or anywhere else

Skirt in Knickers/Flies undone

Shaving cream trails

Random food stains on clothing – especially fish related

Bad parking manoeuvres  – ‘helpful’ hints on how to do better?!

Queuing strategies that involve pushing to the front “for the family” but in fact just embarrassing said family

Dance moves from last century – or the one before! (Paul/me respectively)

 

What are yours?