Let’s lift the mood a bit here. Dating… Bloody hell, dating.
When to start dating after a marriage split? This is the first thing to ask yourself. Well, after you’ve got over the initial whack of separation and entertained the possibility that somewhere out there there may be somebody else that will be, maybe, a little bit interested in you.
A few weeks after my marriage broke down a female friend said some kind words to me that boosted my confidence and led me to look into online dating. I did my research – be prepared and all that. But how prepared could I be? The world of dating was a whole lot different as a 40 year old in 2014 than it was to a 21 year old in 1995. And truth is I’d never dated anyway really, I’d had a girlfriend for 2 years from 18 and then two weeks after we split I met my future (ex) wife.
The last time I’d started a relationship, communication outside of meeting up was using the phone (landline phone – we need to clarify these days) in my parents’ bedroom hoping that nobody else would overhear. Not easy in a family of 5. In the intervening 19 years the internet had opened up a whole new world, and Matty-lad was about to enter it.
It was only a month after separation, which may seem indecently hasty. But I knew my marriage was over and had started to accept it, as hard as that was. And I wanted to get out there and meet new people, see what the modern world of dating was all about. And there was another motivation – one of the most potent poisons of the post-separation mind is the thought of your ex meeting somebody new. At this point starts a battle between the rational, reasonably together self, and the paranoid, insecure and vulnerable self. In my case this opened two potential paths:
1. Find a new relationship.
2. Find a way to get, errrrr, laid (without putting too fine a point on it).
The thinking behind the latter – rational / irrational? – is that getting this under the belt, pardon the pun, would somehow soften the blow when the inevitable happened and my ex ‘moved on’.
(To everyone that has said I’m brave for writing this blog before now, THIS is the bit where I need to be brave!!).
So my research, which included the internet and my brother, revealed my two options: a paid site where I could meet nice (hopefully) people that were serious about looking for a decent guy, and a ‘hook up’ site with people that may well be nice but would also be a little, well, let’s say looser with their timetable for getting intimate. And with their undies.
I’ll focus for now on my experience of the hook-up site (I expect this will not come as a disappointment to my readers). And I will relate two stories and where they lead me.
1. A guy in Yorkshire was looking for somebody to, errrr, let’s say ‘look after’ his wife while he watched. WTF???? People do this??? Ok, let’s find out what the hell this is all about. I expressed a cautious interest in finding out more. They’d never done this before but had talked about it for a while and were looking to give it a go.
At this point I will stress that his role was to purely be an observer while the magic happened.
They weren’t really sure how to go about it but his task was to screen potential suitors. He asked what I would do if I were to be the chosen one.
I let my imagination take flight and typed away. I won’t recount the grisly details, let’s just say that Christian Grey wasn’t losing any sleep. Despite that, I received a message back saying I’d made the shortlist (NOTE: I did not send any pictures, it wasn’t THAT kind of ‘short’ list, no man wants to be on that list). He would be in touch soon to look at next steps. In the meantime, he kindly sent me some naked pictures of his wife. Cheers.
2. A 21 year old got in touch telling me she was into ‘Extreme’. Once again, I did my research and apparently she wasn’t talking about the soft-rock band from the early 1990s. (Incidentally, their most famous song – not a long list to select from admittedly – ‘More Than Words’, is about trying to get his woman to give him a…. well, I’ll let you fill in the blanks).
Anyway, my research revealed what it actually meant was that she liked to be dominated and she elaborated by explaining that I could go round to her house and do whatever I wanted. She wasn’t talking about her ironing.
I asked myself, what the hell happens to a 21 year old that makes her willing to do that?? I’ve always liked to think of myself as a decent guy and realised that what I wanted was connection with somebody. And really, when it came right down to it, I’d rather spend a night in a restaurant with a nice woman sharing good food and conversation than a meaningless lay with a stranger, and a possibly damaged one at that.
The account was deleted and path 1 was chosen – let’s try to find a nice woman to get to know and see where the road would take us.
I don’t know if Mr Sex Person found anyone to get to grips with his wife. Apparently they were a bit alarmed by some of the ‘disturbing’ messages that they received.
Who’d have thought it?
Matthew’s debut book, Something Changed: Stumbling Through Divorce, Dating & Depression, is available now Click here for info
Soundtrack: Closer – Nine Inch Nails