Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: online dating

Tips for Surviving Life as a New Single: From Self-Care to Online Dating

(contributed post)

Life as a newly single person can be rather daunting in today’s society. Every day, lots of people find themselves coming out of relationships and having to navigate the world of singledom once more. It is natural for this to be nerve-wracking, especially if you have spent a long time in a relationship in the past.

However, people make changes to their lives every day, and you can make the right kind of changes right now. When you become single again, it’s the perfect time to think about doing some things (maybe you’ve been neglecting) that make you happy and feel peaceful. There are a lot of things that can change while you’re living a single life, especially if you were married and had children with your ex-spouse. Of course, it is important to deal with these changes, and not ignore them. Here are a few tips for navigating life solo once again.

Single Parenting Will Be a Challenge

There is no denying that being a single parent is a challenge, and you will want to consider ways of easing the burden a little. Having to look after your kids alone can be very tiring and stressful, but routine and organization, along with communication and fun, can help with these daily stressors. Of course, you also realize how hard a divorce will be for your children as well, so reach out to other divorced parents you know for tips and/or even sharing in childcare. Spending time together as a family, just having fun or being silly, can also help your children feel safe and secure in your home.

Self-Care is Essential

So many newly single people don’t take the time to make sure they are looking after themselves effectively. You have to give some time to self-care, and to making sure your physical and mental well-being is a priority. If you were married and splitting up, using divorce mediation , instead of attorneys, can be helpful for your mental well-being, as it can ease the burden of a stressful process. Focus on yourself and how you can improve the way you are moving forward: eating healthy and regular meals, getting enough exercise (family walks?), and sleeping well will also help with self-care. 

Time to Tackle Your Finances

Now that you are single again, your financial priorities may have shifted, and it is time to think about how you can stay on top of your finances. There are plenty of techniques that will allow you to thrive as a single income household, and you can take some time to look at how to implement the ones that work for you and/or your family. Prioritizing your spending is also important, and look at trying to cut costs wherever you possibly can is also helpful.

Back in the Dating Game?

Getting back into the dating game might seem like something that’s on the bottom of your list of interests right now, but you will feel the urge sooner or later. There are plenty of ways you can get back on the dating saddle, and online dating is going to be one of the best ways you can do this. With a lot of different sites to choose from (see the link just above), you may find one that works for you, and you can start setting up some dates.

There is a lot to think about when you find yourself freshly single once again. Life will go in a different direction to what you might be used to, and it is important to be adaptable. You and your kids are going to be impacted by this, of course, but with planning, thinking smart, and being easy on yourself, you can make this transition work for your family. It’s not impossible! In fact, as Meryl Streep says, “Start by starting.” 

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Learning To Listen To My Gut

“Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.” ~Anonymous

Geez, if only I could easily follow this advice…but I’m in the process of learning it–maybe I’m at the very beginning of the lesson. I’m an infant at listening to my gut. My friends can tell you this. I overthink. I rationalize. I decide to give someone/something one more chance–despite what my gut says. Because…how could my gut be right? But I think 10 times out of 10, if I go back and look at a situation, I will remember a moment when I should have known that something was off. Has this happened to you? Have you had the old HINDSIGHT is 20/20 thing in your life? Listening to your gut doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to say good-bye to someone or that you have to quit doing something, but it does mean that you have to address whatever gives you that uneasy feeling in  your gut. This is the key!

This is so true with dating! Even if you’re married now, at one point, you were dating. How many times did you go out with someone way longer than you should have when your gut was telling you that something wasn’t right? This doesn’t mean that there’s something terribly wrong with the person–he or she might be lovely or fine for someone else. But this experience does mean that this person wasn’t right for you or for your current situation, and your gut was warning you.

Recently, I had a situation where someone asked me out, but I couldn’t go that evening. At first, everything seemed fine. But then, a text message came from him that was not super nice–but you know text messages, they are infamous for sending the wrong signals because you can’t tell tone. A couple more messages were exchanged, and I still didn’t feel right about him; but by the end of the night, I had convinced myself that I was overreacting. Maybe I misread what he meant. Maybe I don’t know what that particular emoji actually meant. Maybe I was overthinking.

So, I turned to my trusty girlfriends, and as you know, the people I surround myself with are extremely important to me. I explained the situation to them, sent a screenshot of the few texts, and asked: What do you think?

Immediately, they came back with–that wasn’t very nice, and trust your gut. Move on. So I did. But why did I need that confirmation from others? Why didn’t I just trust my gut to begin with?

That is the big question, and one I am currently working on exploring. I wonder how many of us are good at this. How many of us go with our gut immediately and don’t stop and overthink? And I wonder how many of the people who are able to trust their gut right away have lives that are much less stressful and anxiety-ridden?

There are all kinds of opinions about this–some people think trusting your gut too much is irresponsible, while others swear by it. Some scientists have studied what happens to the body when people are faced with a choice and “go with their gut.”

But here’s what I am starting to realize–when I’m forcing myself to “get over” something someone has done or said, and this person has not truly apologized or shown any better behavior or concern, then I need to listen to my gut. Life is too short to spend it with people who make you feel uncomfortable and/or don’t respect you. 🙂 So if you see me, ask me…how is it going with listening to your gut?

How about you? Do you listen to your gut? When has it worked for you?

 

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3 Communication Tips For Online Dating

I hear complaints about communication failures from friends, see them on Facebook and online dating profiles, read about them in articles, and have made the same kind of complaints myself. What is going on with communication? In a world where communication is currently so easy and can happen quickly and efficiently, why do we have such a hard time connecting with each other and using basic conversation skills? Has it always been this way or is it getting worse?

Well, I’m not Brene Brown, so I’m not here to tell you that I did a lot of research on communication, but I am focusing today on communication as it relates to online dating apps, and “the research” is from my own experiences, my friends’ experiences, and other online dating participants’ (both male and female) comments.  Here are three observations that could possibly help when you are looking for that love connection.

1. For the love of God, please don’t only talk about yourself: This is such a common complaint. I hear it from a lot of females that men don’t ask them any questions. But I’ve also heard men say the same thing: “She must not be interested in getting to know me because she doesn’t ask me anything.” And this doesn’t mean asking: How are you? Or How was your day? (That’s not bad! But reach a little deeper.) People, both men and women, want to be asked basic questions, like: what is your job? What do you like to do in your free time? Do you like to read? If so, what do you read? I mean, we are not talking rocket science here. But if you find that your online dating conversations are falling flat, and you find yourself ALWAYS chatting about yourself, try asking a question now and again. You can also add: And you? to the end of many of your answers, and those two words at least show that you want to know something about the other person.

2. Take 15 minutes and write something in your profile: So many profiles have hardly anything written in them, and so many have WAY too much. Yes, photos are a huge deal because whether you think it’s fair or not, attraction plays a part in online dating. But information in your profile can persuade someone to take a chance or at least start a conversation with you! And if you have some information written there, if you are communicating about your likes and dislikes, you are giving the interested person some material to ask you questions about (see number 1).

3. Don’t make all kinds of assumptions or be rude:  It is easy to be rude online because you don’t really know the person you are talking to. But I’ve seen this advice several places, and again it’s not rocket science: If you wouldn’t say the comment in person to someone, then don’t say it online. (This is true for Facebook and Twitter, too.) So, if someone isn’t interested in you or doesn’t answer you immediately, it’s not necessary to say something nasty–it doesn’t make this guy a jerk or this woman a cold-hearted bitch. It makes him or her–Not For You. That’s it. Don’t assume just because it looks like someone is online, he or she is actually online and ignoring you.  Don’t assume you know someone after exchanging a few messages with them online. Assumptions may be one of the worst things about dating, especially online dating. Recently, I had someone say to me: you are not trusting and you are broken. Ummmm, no. But I didn’t answer rudely. I said: Actually I’m not. I’m not sure what I said to give you that impression. Best of luck to you!

It is true, whoever said it, “Communication is a two-way street.” It’s also true that communication is not easy, and we are not all experts at it. And that’s okay. But I think the Golden Rule can REALLY apply here (and I need to remember this, too): Treat others how you would like to be treated. Anyone got some online communication tips–dating or otherwise? I’m sure we would all love to hear them!

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Setting Boundaries: Dating

So I’ve started dating again, and my friends have been on me about setting boundaries. You should know this about me: I am terrible about enforcing the boundaries I set, and I constantly question the boundaries I do manage to set. So if you landed on this post to see how to set and enforce boundaries, check back in a year. This post is going to introduce you to the problem, and maybe we can learn together.

Before I go on about boundaries, I have to share the funniest thing that has happened to me while dating so far. I do mostly online dating. I don’t meet a lot of single, available, tall men from working out of my basement and being the mother of a 6-year-old. SO…I’ve been on the apps you hear about. They are not as bad as you hear. But one day, I had a “zero” date–what you call the “meet and greet” when you’ve exchanged messages and maybe a phone call with someone, but you haven’t met yet.

Anyway, I had a zero date at Starbucks, and I thought it went pretty well. We had talked on the phone and exchanged a few text messages before this, so we had each other’s phone number. We talked for the hour I had at Starbucks, and he went on and on about how he hated online dating, how people needed to be upfront, and how no one could focus on one person anymore,  and then at the end, he said: “Well, we could do a dinner. I’d like to see you again.” So, I thought okay, why not? Then he didn’t text. So, a couple days later, before I decided to move on, I sent my typical text: “Hey NAME, how is your weekend going?”

And the response I got back this time. . .

“Pretty good so far.”

“Is this Gwen?”

That made me laugh out loud. So I decided, well this is over, but it didn’t stop. He kept texting as if I was Gwen. And he said:

“Sorry if I didn’t recognize the number.”

30 minutes passed

“Should I delete this number?”

Finally, I decided to let him know his mistake and told him it was Margo, and yes, he should probably delete the number, and I wished him well.

SO boundaries. . .my friends say that I try too hard to fit into other people’s lives instead of letting them know how to fit into mine. I agree. They also say that once I set a boundary that is reasonable and I am comfortable with, I have to STOP apologizing for it. Set it, have a good reason for it, and then move on with my life. If someone doesn’t respect a reasonable boundary, then they are the problem–not me.

What do you think? Are you good at setting boundaries?

 

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