I'm newly divorced after ten years of marriage, and a fourteen year relationship. I'd been with my husband since I was nineteen, so dating is very new to me. This new-aged dating is leaving me confused and frustrated. I'm in my early thirties, consider myself a decent looking woman, and I'm successful in my own right. Meaning, I'm bringing something to the table. However, I only seem to meet men that only want to have sex. What am I doing wrong?
I never lead with sex or dress in an inappropriate way. At this point in my life, I'm not looking to have casual sex with a man who cannot help me grow in all aspects of my life. I cannot consider myself a gold digger. I will date a "normal" guy, but they too are only looking for one thing. How should I respond once they start hinting about sex?
-Failing at Dating
Dear Failing at Dating,
Let me preface the following advice by first letting you know that you are not failing at dating––you are succeeding at not dating the sort of man you really don't want, and that calls for a celebration!
Dating After Divorce:
Being plopped back into the dating pool after being in a relationship for all your adult life is difficult, to say the very least. A lot has changed since you were a teenager and, most importantly, you have changed. Given your limited relationship experience, you are going to find it very difficult to navigate these new waters and honestly, if I were you, I wouldn't even try.
What About You:
After spending so many years in a relationship and marriage, you deserve to take lots of time off! You deserve to spend at least a few years with yourself, getting reacquainted with who you are when you are not in a relationship.
Do you even know yourself apart from a man?
Initially, you are going to say, "Ofcourse, I do!" but really think about this question before you answer it. You have been with a man since you were a child. When you were becoming a woman, you were doing so under the guidance of this one man. Everything you know about being an adult, you learned while you were with him! Now, can you take a moment and think about how different your learning process and curve will be now that you are single?
The Bible teaches us that singles is a gift (1 Corinthians 7: 6-9) and I think it is time for you to receive this gift and take some selfish time with it, getting to know yourself apart from a man and getting to know God even better than you do, today.
When we are married, it is easy for our husbands to become the center of our worlds and, if there are children, it goes without saying that they, too, become the center. We tend to neglect ourselves on many levels: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise. And divorces are tough; they take so much out of us and, many times, the person who is left after all those years of marriage and mothering, is hardly recognizable!
So, my love, I will urge you to turn your questions inward and not toward the behaviors or men. Take this time to work on yourself and trust that God will send your true husband, based on your improvements, versus a husband of your choosing, like before.
A Man for Growth:
I agree that any man you take into your life should assist in your growth, but you've done that, already! And the least of your concerns should be whether or not someone sees you as a gold digger, just because you desire a man who can take care of his family and add to your pile of assets. But, the fact that you would even mention the word gold digger leads me to believe this is an insecurity of yours. It implies that, somewhere along the way, someone taught you that desiring a man who can earn enough to propel his woman and their family forward is wrong. Well, it's not, and the only kind of person who would try to make you feel as if being with an unequally yoked man is okay, is an unequally yoked man.
Still, this insecurity leads me to wonder what other insecurities are lurking in that mind of yours. This is something only you know, something only you can address, and something you need to address alone. Yes, when it's time to be with another man, you will need a man who will help you grow and propel upward, but what have you done to deserve such a man? Are you even worthy of the sort of man you seek? Can you help grow and propel him?
Again, without thinking, most women would jump up and scream, "Yes!" but really think about this. Have you made yourself worthy of the sort of man you seek or of the sort of man God has for you?
That, my love, is the real new-aged dating.
Here's Your Homework:
Your assignment is simple: make yourself unavailable to men and spend some serious time with yourself and with God. Quiet the outside noises and look within. Here are a few guides to help you along your path:
- Visit my How to Let Peace Find You series and bring many its practices into your life.
- Visit my blog post on Responsibility: The Key to Healthy Relationships. I think you will find the definition of what you're looking for in this post and maybe this will help you articulate your needs to a man, when the time comes.
- Sign up for The Clear Course. This is a great way to start fresh and clear your home and your mind up clutter (including people) when setting yourself along a new path.
- Sign up for the Starting From Scratch tutorial. This will help you get your kitchen cubers and refrigerator in order, to help improve your dietary habits.
- Grab a copy of The Vixen Manual: How to Find, Seduce, and Keep the Many You Want (want being the operative word). This book id chock full of amazing tips and observations about love, trust, sex, dating, marriage, and all thing related. I think you'll really enjoy it.
Here's What Will Happen:
You may be asking yourself what all of this has to do with dating and finding the right man for you. The factor of the matter is that none of us ever finds the right man. We can search high and low but we will never find him, and that's because the right man, the man God has intended for you, will be given to you with no searching necessary. But first, you must be made ready. It's not always how you dress or what you say that attracts the wrong men––it can also be your spirit.
When you turn the focus onto yourself and away from finding or even happening upon God's mate for you, it no longer matters what men desire. Sure, there are men out there who just want to have sex with you, but who cares! You're not available to them, anyway! You are in a relationship with yourself at the moment and in the event the right man does come along, you are not to break out of your new formation for him. You are not to hurry your personal learning and growing process as a single woman just because you think you've found the right man, because the right man will jump right into your formation and you will know him apart from the rest, instantly!
So, to answer your question: you're not doing anything wrong. What you are doing is making yourself available to other people at a time when you should only be available to yourself and God. Therefore, when anyone begins to ask for anything from you, other that a casual acquaintance, tell them you are not available because you're not.
Take yourself off the market and enjoy your life as a single woman! You've dedicated nearly half your life to a man––how about dedicating some time to you?
How have you dealt with dating after a break-up or divorce? Was it difficult for you to get back into the swing of things? Were you even interested? Did you spend some time working on yourself before making yourself available?
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.