Here’s another post from one of my readers…
When my marriage ended over a year ago, I wasn’t overly concerned with dating. I’d had enough of men, I decided. I thought maybe I’d start a single mother commune, where we could all live in super tidy houses and watch The Bachelor in peace.
We’d eat a lot of salad and do yoga each morning on the lawn.
But time marched on and I started to think perhaps dating might be fun. It had been many years and several children since anyone had seen me naked, but the idea was still more enticing than it was terrifying. And I figured I can always drink wine.
Getting “out there” is a whole different ball game than it was nearly 20 years ago, the last time I was single. “Out there” now pretty much means staying inside and shopping for a date on your phone, which can be fun, sort of, if you enjoy looking for a needle in a depressing, often misogynistic haystack.
But I did manage to find some needles and thought I’d give them a go. It was nerve-wracking at first, but the guys I met were kind and mostly pretended not to notice my nervous babbling.
Some dates went well, some were disastrous, but most were somewhere in the middle.
What I discovered, though, was that with each guy I dated, I really cared what they thought of me. Even the guy who was unemployed lived on pot noodles and sent passive-aggressive texts when I didn’t respond quickly enough for him.
What can I say? I crave praise. Daddy issues don’t miraculously disappear just because you’re in your forties.
Enter ‘circular dating’
Then a friend suggested I try circular dating. The term was coined by US relationship coach Rori Raye, and it basically entails dating at least three people at once, with the intention of finding “the one”.
I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to find “the one”, but someone I could hang out with on my kid-free weekends, and go out to dinner with when my girlfriends were busy sounded okay.
My friend told me the idea is that it puts the power squarely back with you. So rather than worrying about whether some random guy is really that into you, you date widely and decide whether you like each guy. If you decide to cut one loose, you replace him with another. And you keep doing that until you find one you think is worthy of your undivided attention.
So, with nothing to lose, I decided to give it a go. The wonderful thing about dating apps like Tinder and Bumble is that you really can date as many people as you’d like to these days. Nobody is standing on the wall at a dance and waiting to be asked.
So I dated. And dated.
No more waiting around
I met some great guys and had a really wonderful time. I also opened my mind to dating some people I probably would have ruled out in the past. None of them turned into anything significant, but I met a few interesting people, went to some great bars, and had a lot of interesting discussions.
My social calendar has been full, and I’ve laughed a lot. I’ve also cringed more than usual, but nothing’s perfect.
I made a point never to lie to anyone I was dating about what I was doing. I did struggle to know when to bring it up, and sometimes I didn’t bring it up at all, but I definitely never gave the impression I was seeing someone exclusively when I wasn’t.
I met a couple of guys I really liked and who I previously would have been at home waiting for a text from – if I wasn’t so busy going out for dinner with someone else.
One particular guy ticked a whole lot of boxes for me. We both liked running marathons and he made me laugh, but I knew he wasn’t ready for a relationship, being fresh out of marriage himself.
The old me would have held onto him and waited. The new me told him I had better things to do than wait for him, and then make a date with someone else the next night.
The power has well and truly been returned to me, and it’s made me feel less vulnerable and more in control of my dating lifeless passive and more empowered.
Has it delivered “the one”? Hmmm, it’s too early to tell, but let’s just say it’s not out of the question. At the very least I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’ve stopped waiting for my phone to ring.
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