The Art of Dating Discrimination

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I’ve only had three girlfriends ever make it past the get-to-know-you phase.

It’s because both my mom and dad had gone through divorce, and both preached “playing the field” and to not be in a hurry to get married.

Spend time with lots of different girls, they said. Figure out what you like. Figure out why.

Not every girl approved of my way of thinking, but I didn’t particularly care. The thinking was: As soon as you know there’s no chance of this ending in marriage, why be in a committed relationship with one another?

I didn’t believe in having a girlfriend simply for the sake of having one.

That was an easy choice to make back then. I was young. With a hard stomach. And constantly surrounded by young, single women.

I’m sure I wasn’t as honest as I should have been. But I also wasn’t a lying, sneaky prick.

As far as I know, I didn’t leave very many hurt feelings in my wake as I navigated my youth.

Everything’s Different Now

It’s a much more-difficult choice to make now. Being discriminatory. But I choose it anyway.

I am no longer the most-important person in my life.

The day my son was born changed everything.

From that moment on, my decision making revolved entirely around the fact that I was his father.

Divorce hasn’t changed that.

But that has also come with a cost. It means I spend a great deal of time sleeping alone, dining alone, watching television alone. It means, for the first time in my life, I do most things alone.

I’m still adjusting to that.

It hasn’t been easy.

When my wife left, it was as if someone hit the reset button in the middle of my game.

I was on high alert. I knew it was possible. But the reaction was still: “WHAT THE… !?!?”

Then, after the dust settled, it hit me: A fresh start.

Kind of a do-over.

There are certainly geographic and financial limitations due to the shared custody of my son. But it’s not as if I’d trade him for anything, so I don’t see the point in lamenting his wonderful existence.

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

My mom always used to say that.

But, guess what?

I’m not begging.

I wrote a post about an encounter with a girl at a bar on Valentine’s Day. It was a nice moment, I thought, and wanted to write about it.

There were more than a few people who told me both online and offline that they thought I was doing it wrong. There are probably several more who agree with them but didn’t bother to tell me about it.

One lady wrote:  “I just happened upon your blog and I sorta agree with elbrookman (who was very disappointed with my choices). I understand not wanting to get involved with someone not geographically close, however, asking for her number is not a marriage proposal!…

“Maybe your inability to connect has more to do with your idea that you don’t measure up vs others thinking that you don’t! And connecting with someone doesn’t mean sleeping with them right out the gate! You have a lot of soul-searching to do my friend!”

She did a pretty good job of summing up my entire life and every word I’ve ever written in one comment.

But I dabble in the honesty business now. More than I ever have. So, let me just come out and say it:

I was pretty annoyed with everyone who suggested they knew better than I did what the best play was while meeting a strange girl at a bar. I was there. I was having the actual conversation. I was minutes away from picking up my five-year-old son to take him home and get him in pajamas and tuck him into bed.

It was suggested I made a mistake not trying to “romance” her. Perhaps a stroll under the full moon.

I’m not opposed to such things, I guess.

When I don’t have a sleeping five-year-old at home.

When it’s not 10 degrees outside with a shit-ton of ice and snow everywhere.

Whatever. Totally beside the point.

Why didn’t I try harder with the pretty stranger at the bar? Let’s discuss.

I only want to date women who live close to me. That stranger in the bar? She lives 2,380 miles away.

That’s a 34-hour drive, if you don’t stop for gas and food and sleep and bathroom breaks.

I only want to date women who live close for the same reasons I didn’t waste a lot of time in committed relationships in my youth I knew to be doomed for failure.

What’s the point?

I don’t want to date a woman I can’t see.

I don’t want to like a woman who I’m going to miss because she lives far away.

I’m really confused about why people don’t see the wisdom in that.

And I don’t care if this makes it hard for me to find people to date. I’m not going to suddenly change all my criteria, just to increase my odds of finding someone who meets my dating criteria.

My standards are my standards. I put thought into formulating them.

If I end up liking someone enough to be in a relationship with them, I want to be able to see them. You know, so we can have dinner and drinks and go to concerts and the movies and make out on the couch. This can’t seem weird to very many people. Right?

I only want to date women who could theoretically be a potential stepmom to my son. Even if this pretty photographer didn’t live in California, I can assure you—beyond all doubt—she wasn’t looking to spend all her time in the Ohio suburbs with a divorced guy and his kid.

She was awesome. Very funny. Very smart. Enjoyed her company immensely and would have had a great time with her for as long as the night allowed had I not been on parenting duty.

But even if my son hadn’t required my care?

There was still no happy ending to that story, from a “dating” or “relationship” standpoint.

So, I fail to see the wisdom in treating the encounter as anything more than it was. A nice moment that made me smile.

If people care enough about my personal life—and I realize I invite this commentary by publishing stories about my personal life—to offer criticism of my conversations with strangers at bars, I’d love for them to get on board with the idea that I actually think about this stuff (probably too much, actually) and have reasons for the choices I make—even the bad ones.

They are not accidents.

They are thoughtful and deliberate.

So, Yeah. I’m Picky.




I am.

And I’m not sorry, either. I have all kinds of personal rules about the kind of women I’m willing to hitch my wagon to. And, yes. I’m totally smart enough to realize just how challenging that’s going to make this next chapter of my life from a dating standpoint.

I’ve written about just how frustrating I consider it several times.

But I don’t think the answer to one of the most-important life decisions one can ever make is to all the sudden lower ones standards in the interest of increasing the candidate pool. That’s how the Cleveland Browns hire all of their head coaches, and anyone paying attention to American football can appreciate just how well that works out for them.

I want to meet someone who lives close to me. Period. Because if I like her, I want to see her.

I want to date someone who is mostly on the same philosophical wavelength as me. Because if it were to ever morph into a long-term thing, and she’s going to serve as a part-time parent to my son? I need her to be supportive of the values I want to instill in my child.

I want to date someone in my relative age range.

I want to think she’s beautiful in all the ways I evaluate beauty, both inside and out.

I want her to like me. To want to be here in Ohio where I must live for the next 13 years, minimum, until my son graduates from high school.

And I want the two of us to have lots of common goals and interests. On superficial things, and on all the stuff that really matters in relationships—all the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual components required to make it work.

I do not want to sleep with random strangers in bars.

I would not want to casually hang out with a random stranger in a bar UNLESS I wanted to sleep with her.

I have a million rules. All of them matter. Every single one.

And sure, it makes my life more difficult. More frustrating. More lonely.

But I’m not compromising my values.

And I’m not setting myself up for emotionally devastating long-term failure.

I think back to my first crack at dating. How I would never even start down the path with someone when I knew it couldn’t last.

And in many ways since, everything has changed.

But in some ways?

Nothing has.

138 thoughts on “The Art of Dating Discrimination”

  1. LOL, everyone else in my life gets upset with me, if I don’t see potential (marriage or not), I don’t continue. If I don’t see him as a good role model for my son, I don’t continue. Every one else thinks that they know better than we do, but I’m not compromising on what will make me happy.
    And, I’m a bit bummed at the distance issue, it means we will never date. My heart is broken. But, I don’t have time to nurse it, because I’m stupid and just gave a random stranger my address so he can come get the dryer I’m selling. Because I’m not that stupid, I did call my dad and told him that if he hasn’t heard from me in 1.5 hr to hightail it over here.

    For the record, I support the decision you made the other day. I was very proud of you.

  2. i always say: dont start something you’re not prepared to finish. Much easier to step on the brakes in the beginning than allow yourself to fall for someone and later sit with a whole bunch of heartache.

    When friends say: what’s the harm in getting to know him? just have some fun?

    But allowing yourself to just be like that with someone, get comfortable and before you know it you’re in love and those problems you thought wouldn’t be a problem just yet but only much later.. what f.&k me sideways, LATER just arrived

    1. Yes. All of that.

      I have a lot of friends. And I’m not opposed to having more.

      But there’s a line you cross when it graduates to something more than just friends.

      I don’t want to cross that line with a person whom there’s no future with. It just seems like a bad plan.

      1. dating is a complicated thing.. and you need to do it in a way that works for you AND your son. the purpose of having that encounter with the woman in the bar, wasn’t to try and romance her, but simply to remind you that you can still make a connection with the opposite sex. who knows, the next woman you bump into.. well you might just ask for her number especially if you know she lives in the same state

  3. You and I are so similar. I think that those people telling you what you should have done are actually accentuating the ways in which they are different from you. But do not conform to the ways of the masses. Be true to you and only you and what is important to you.

    I think most people spend a lot of time after a divorce trying to end the loneliness. When really they need to solidify there uncompromising desires.

    1. And to be sure, I am WAY okay with people have different tastes and opinions than me.

      My way is absolutely not the best way for everyone. But I believe strongly it’s the best way for me.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to write this.

      1. Thank you for writing ALL of this. I too am a divorce part time parent of 2 boys. We are about the same age. We are both midwesterners (I live in indy). I have experienced so many similar things. I am re-married now and expecting a little girl. but your insight reminds me of how delicate and undiscovered relationships are and can be. Keep exploring, it inspires me and I am sure others.

        1. Congratulations on your daughter about to come into the world.

          That, sir, is a nice and inspiring story.

          Cheers to your new family. What a gift.

          Really appreciate you sharing.

  4. No worries.
    You’re not alone in being picky!

    This total stranger admires you for being the way you are… FOR YOUR SON as well as yourself (Gads, the world needs more Fathers and Dads like YOU in the world!).

    You’re not choosing the easy way… but you’re choosing the right way.
    For you.
    For your son.
    And countless other single parents of both genders have done it without regret for eons.
    (Not without sacrifice… but definitely… without regret.)

    This is me, applauding you… appreciating you… and encouraging you to keep on keepin’ on.

    1. Thank you so much.

      While the process is a bit frustrating and requires a lot of patience, there is an upside.

      The people who do “fit the mold”?

      They’re really wonderful people to get to know.

  5. be stubborn and stay choosey my friend. you know yourself the best. i am sure (or i hope) most of the feedback that questioned your tactics just want to see you in a happy-ever-after ending. Also, I find that many people feel they could have done better in any given situation – i am guilty of that but in my quest to be a better person/adult, i am trying to keep my yapper shut. btw you handled bar-gate just fine.


  6. Haha Matt sorry man. I was joking about the number part, I totally get that. Especially as a father I get it. The way I see it is, when my time comes to start dating there’s just big mental list of requirements that I have. At a minimum she needs to meet the core requirements which includes potentially being a step mom to my kids. I won’t budge on any of those core requirements, no way in hell. She also has to look just like Zooey Deschanel so I’m pretty much SOL.

    1. No one offended me! And if anyone had, you most certainly would not have been one of them.

      Very funny with the Zooey Deschanel requirement.

      Maybe we should invent that Weird Science computer? There’s probably money in that.

  7. You did exactly the right thing, both for yourself and your son. There’s no harm in chatting with someone in a bar, enjoying their company for however much time you have available. And there’s nothing wrong with walking away with the feeling of satisfaction at having had a great conversation. Life does not have to be all about hooking up!

    Where has the art of conversation disappeared to? Why does the Peanut Gallery think every chance encounter has to lead to romance? What’s wrong with having morals and principles and be thinking about future impacts on ourselves and our kids? Hello! That’s Good Parenting. That’s thinking ahead and avoiding a whole shit-ton of late-night, drunken regret, alone on the floor, a jumbo bag of Cheetos scattered and crushed underfoot.

    Or something. Your regrets may look a little different…

    Good for you for thinking with your big head and having the guts to blog about it, even knowing you’d get criticism for not being “hip” or whatever word passes for it these days 🙂

    1. Thank you.

      I really don’t want to bag on opinionated people offering their opinions.

      I actually really appreciate people speaking their mind. I do. And I want to encourage it because I’m never going to learn anything in this life if I don’t explore opposing viewpoints.

      People make me rethink my positions all the time with very thoughtful commentary.

      The suggestions about my conversation at the bar were intended to be helpful. And I hope I don’t sound unappreciative of that fact.

      But, yes. In the end, I make most of my choices quite deliberately based on all of the available information.

      And in that one moment, walking away with a polite smile was the same choice I’d make over and over again.

      Thank you. 🙂

      1. No, no, I didn’t mean anything by my comment about people offering their opinions – the exchange of differing views is a Good Thing. I simply meant that you offered up the experience knowing that you were likely to be criticized for not turning it into an opportunity for romance, as if going through life two by two is the only way to do it and damn the consequences.

        I mean, it’s not even in the same league as, say, choosing a shirt to wear today but many people treat getting into relationships the same way. “I’ll be with you until it’s no longer convenient and then go on my way because being single is the worst thing that could happen to a person…” with no regard to the other areas of their life.

        I applaud you for doing what was best for you and your son and not buying into the social hype that demands we be in relationships, any relationship, even if it’s long distance or would end up being short term. Why waste your time if you know it’s not right?

  8. I think, it is great, that you have some goals.
    I will tell you about my story very short. I am from Denmark and did meet my Spanish boyfriend at the internet. I did decide to visit him after short time, where we talked daily at Skype. I did stay 3 weeks and short time after, he did visit me. We moved back to Spain together.
    If we really wish something enough, everything is possible.

    1. That’s a nice story!

      For some reason, I thought you were Australian. 🙂

      I’m silly and presumptuous.

      And you’re absolutely right. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      And should I accidentally find myself in such a situation, I will deal with it accordingly. 🙂

  9. I’ve heard a saying that the person you’re meant to be with live under a five mile radius from you door…I firmly believe in that. You’re practical…it’s not a bad thing!! xx

    1. I have not heard that one. But how lovely if it were true.

      I promise to let you know if that turns out to be the case!

      1. Your blog is awesome. I really admire the keeping it real way. Your son is very lucky to have a Dad with your values. Life is short, but we should always be considerate of those we shall involve in our adventuristical life to come…peace and love to you and yours.

        1. Thank you. Very much. I appreciate you taking a moment to check it out. And I’m really glad you liked it after doing so.

          I’m glad you said hi. Please have a good night. (Or day, if you’re not in the States) 🙂

  10. Yeah, this is why I like your blog, the honesty.

    I had to remember over the weekend to use the difficulty of being alone to keep discovering myself. Because this phase is all about the opportunity to get it right the second time.

    Perfect timing on this piece for me, stay true, keep discovering.

      1. p.s. you’re welcome, and thank you again, and so ya know, because of your blog, one of the things I keep realizing when I read your blog, is you’re going out there, and I’m not. So I’ve made solid plans for this week to get back out there, I think I already said this, but didn’t really do anything, gads! Alright, have fun with your latest string of comments, they’re fat and growing.

        1. One of the most-important personal lessons I’ve learned in this new life of mine is that fun life adventures ONLY happen when I’m not cooped up alone at my house. 🙂

  11. It’s your life, and only you can decide how to live it and by what rules. I’m not nearly as steadfast in adhering to a set list of requirements. And while that has brought me some pain, it’s also helped me to learn more about myself and has made my life much more interesting. For example, there are activities I do now, like mountain biking or riding a motorcycle, that I probably never would be doing if I hadn’t opened up the possibility of dating someone who didn’t seem like the most obvious choice on paper. And I’m currently learning some much needed patience by dating someone whose relationship pace is a bit slower than mine, though my patience keeps paying off.

    I guess, in a nutshell, I’m not convinced that we always know what’s best for us. I also have the philosophy that nothing needs to be permanent if you don’t want it to be, and you may learn a lot about yourself in the process. But that’s my approach.*

    * Offer subject to change without notice. Not available in all relationships. 🙂

  12. i LOVE every part of this post. The vulnerability. The authenticity. I agree with all of your points. It is important to know what you want.. or more importantly what you don’t want. There is no need to lower your standards because as you’ve stated.. you’ve created those standards with purpose and meaning. Beautifully written, Matt.

  13. OK Matt….You are your own Captain of your ship…..Shout it to the whole world you make decisions on meeting women with your long list of a criteria based upon the end result of what you want or else it isn’t worth it……That rules out a lot of friendships with women that will go a long way in making you a more understanding and forgiving man. I personally think you and a lot of your commenters are so far up each other’s ass you can’t see the sun anymore…..Life does not flow like a beautiful stream to live happily ever after based on rules or no rules… just IS ……it is not a scientific formula that produces the same result in a lab every time…..You can no way control by a DECREE of REQUIREMENTS of love and people more than you can control a wave in a vast ocean…..LET PEOPLE ENTER YOUR LIFE ON THEIR TERMS AS WELL….How can you be so arrogant about love or friendships?….The reason you do that is because you don’t want to be hurt again…you can’t even bare missing someone…they are geographically unacceptable to you……Like that wave, it upturns many grains of sands just like people who come and go through our lives….some will stay, some will go….you are wading into the ocean and screaming don’t hurt me, don’t come into my life unless you play by MY RULES……don’t suck me into that undercurrent and cause me pain and please don’t love me for short term moments because damn it ….it has to be forever and ever amen.. ….. My friend,you can live your story book life with someone and the unfortunate truth is nothing is forever and nothing stays the same… or they will split up, or die, or get so sick it will change the way you both were to retire and garden and play with grandchildren…….The happiness you seek is in the moments of riding each wave with people, some who don’t meet your criteria….. never knowing if it will take you out to sea or to shore….rough waters or calm ones….and sometimes we drown and do get hurt and we miss people no longer in our lives but in our hearts……Quit trying to make life something it is not …… making DECREES OF LOVE which is ONLY A REASON YOU ARE GIVING YOURSELF TO NOT LOVE THEM, OR FOR THEM TO NOT LOVE YOU…..Start feeling again and don’t be so numb … just might find more angels in rough seas than in calm lakes. You are the Captain of your own ship, but you are going to be hard pressed to ever find a crew to sail life with you and they just might mutiny if they do.

    1. Might take my whole life to dislodge my head. I may die never knowing the light of day. If I squander my life always wearing my ass hat, then that’s my loss.

      But it’s my process. It’s my steps, however many, no one can make them for me or dictate the number. I’ll take care not to berate anyone who’s head is out or who’s head is still in.

      Because one of my truths has been that heads move better when inspired, not when reminded that they’re still so uselessly and piteously lodged.

      1. Ms. Myers, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship……forget the process and the steps or worrying about inspiring others and dislodge that beautiful head of yours’ enough to keep your hyoid intact and your heart pumping.

        1. I do hate having my hyoid pressured. It’s not pleasant.

          I’m out enough that I’m breathing, and there’s more light than dark. I’m out enough, but still, it’s not enough.

          You’ve said beautiful twice, that’s honey, that makes my bees happy.

          I’ll forget as much as I can, but what I love and celebrate about myself is that I’m intricate and detailed, in other words, methodical.

          And I’m more practiced at forgiving than forgetting.

          But my best friends do push me while they sigh at me for being so “scientific method.” You do push, and it does create things, just don’t forget the sigh.

          Hopefully Matt, you think us funny and adding good stuff to your conversation.

          Oh, and, I resort to inspiring because we teach what we gotta learn.

          1. Dorothy. I want you and elbrookman and every other willing participant to add as much to the conversation as they feel compelled to.

            I appreciate so much that people read this stuff, think about it, and care enough to share their thoughts.

            I hope people will continue to do so. 🙂

          2. If we were having a beer right now, I’d give you one of those luv-ya-bro sideways hugs that would spill our drinks, because it’s cool how you’ve created and invited us into this space to share and learn and grow.

    2. WOW! Somebody didn’t have their “live and let live” cookies this morning.

      I’m hoping he’s in therapy to work out his issues with determining the way other people should and shouldn’t live their lives…or maybe he’s a therapist? and that’s what gives him the perspective to know how other people think and feel by reading between invisible lines?? either way…WOW! at least entertaining! hahaha

      1. MS. Making sense……..there wasn’t “live” of any kind in Matt’s perspective, but conditions to produce a desired result…. As I said….to live is to do…to pursue…to dream…to gamble…to stand pat….anything but “stimulus/response” like animals pretending they are in control of receiving nourishment or food and the desired result. .At least he went to a bar, which I’m sure to most of you is as foreign as Kimchee …. I like Matt and I am very entertaining.

    3. I don’t agree with some of what you said here. But I really, really liked this comment. And I promise to read it several times. And I promise to think about it.

      Thank you for taking time to write it. I promise that I know you think I’m foolish and thick-headed. And you’re trying to share wisdom based on your experiences. And that means a lot. Even when you say my head is stuck up asses. 🙂

  14. I’m not quite sure what all the hubbub was about. Nothing good would have resulted from pursuing that woman in the bar. Personally, I think it’s great that your child comes before potential romance. Not enough parents feel that way and that’s the way it should be.

  15. completelyinthedark

    It’s your life, you can do as you want. You’ll find her, I’ve no doubt about that. It may just take some time, and other conversations with women at a bar or anywhere!

  16. Personally, I kind of like your philosophy. As a lady out there looking for ‘the one’ I don’t want to waste my time falling in love with some guy isn’t on the same page as me. As frustrating as it can be, I’d rather a guy be upfront and let me know if things aren’t going to be headed in the direction I’m thinking sooner rather than later so I’m not wasting my time and getting my heart broken.

    1. There’s a kind way to do that and a shitty way. I think kindness and honesty can cause some discomfort. But almost never heartbreak.

  17. You were there. We were not. You did what you did and no amount of “should-ing” is going to alter that little bit of reality.

    I applaud you for articulating what you want in a relationship. It’s about setting goals, right? And if you don’t know what you want and value in a person or a relationship, how will you recognize her when she opens the door?

    More times than I care to admit, I dived into relationships feet first, no questions asked and paid the price. I’m twice divorced, three times married. That only makes me a semi-pro. At divorce. Marriage I’m still working on. My point: I agree that you need to take your time.

    And I’ve done the long distance thing. It sucks. You need face-to-face time in order to truly engage with a partner and develop a solid, meaningful relationship. THEN, after the groundwork has been laid, (you should excuse any double entendres!) with lots of effort and work, a long distance relationship might survive. IMHO.

    A digression: I can’t help feeling a wee bit arrogant chiming in here. Yeah, this is a blog and this is supposed to be an exchange of opinions. I’m not so sure that we have the right to do that, though. The right to say “that’s good, this is bad, you’re a doofus, we are so clever and smart and been there done that”. NOTA BENE! You are NOT a doofus. But the judgements seem to ride in piggyback with the exchange of opinions, and that’s what I want to be careful about.

    Someone once told me that unsolicited advice is better called criticism. So, with that in mind:

    I support your approach to dating. I support the slow and careful and knowing what you want, a checklist, as it were. I completely support making Owen number one priority and all that means in terms of the next Mrs. Matt.

    But. There’s a but. Mr. Elbrookman might have a point. That is, be cautious to maintaining your list of requirements too rigidly. In your quest for a “perfect” mate, the only thing you might find is disappointment.

    Thanks for the chance to hold forth.

    1. 🙂 wonderful comment. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

      And yes. Elbrookman, while not correct about that woman in the bar, specifically, may well be correct in a big-picture sense. And I won’t stop thinking about it.

  18. It is your life. You are responsible for the choices you make and those you don’t. Not to be completely rude but fuck those who have anything negative to say, why does it matter what they think? I respect your want and decision to find someone close to you. I also know you are not on a quest for a perfect mate – you know what you want. Some people never find out what that is for themselves. It will come. As always, I wish you the best.

    1. RR…Since when is commenting on someone’s discourse about their life, that they write for the public to view …. to stimulate conversation….to gain notoriety.. ..that all comments must be filled with the fragrance of rose petals without thorns or buds?….Much like your comment against anything YOU deem “negative.” I think I mentioned your type at the beginning of my comment to Matt.

      1. I am not a type.
        I am a person.
        And I was offering a “pick me up” in response to what I had sensed was some disappointment from the author.
        I am fully aware of the public side to all of this, thank you for the reminder.
        And, I am the last person who believes life is fragant with nothing but roses. Having been through enough shit I am more than aware of the not-so-nice parts of life.

        1. Matt doesn’t seem disappointed to me….That son-of-a-bitch is on his way to a hundred comments on his writing about him being Prince Charming and waiting with a shoe in hand for Cinderella…..But if you want to offer him a back slap, I think that’s great, but since you have been through so much shit in your life….make sure you wash your hands before back slapping.

          1. Don’t call my mom a bitch!!!!!!!


            Pssssst. Elbrookman. Please only pick on me! These people are kind and wonderful. I am the one who makes bad choices and warrants the life lessons.

            I know it’s impossible, but I really want everyone to be friends. Or at least pretend to almost, kind of, like one another.

          2. all right…..but make sure if you run into people who are born with skin…..send them to my blog….tell them it is in a bad neighborhood and to keep going till the really start to feel afraid, then look to their right, and they will have arrived at

          3. Wow. I guess we are not allowed our individual perspectives or interpretations? We should all see it as you do? I am sorry to have offended you so much that you find it necessary to be so rude.

          4. 🙁 I’m sorry, RR. Elbrookman promised to play nicely. And to provide an unsafe environment for pets and small children at

          5. I will never appreciate people being condescending. I am not sure how I got caught up in all this. However. Lesson learned.

  19. I will NEVER settle…just to say I “have” someone. I’m better alone than in a mediocre duo. I say KUDOS to you for NOT trying to make a relationship (whether a one night stand or a long term marriage lol) out of nothing more than an enjoyable exchange with a stranger…

  20. I think you may have given up on online dating a little too quickly. I’m currently in a relationship with a wonderful man who lives less than 5 miles from me. We most likely never would have met without online dating. He’s wonderful, and a great match for me in so many ways. We emailed for a few weeks before meeting in person. And that first date wasn’t perfect. I was too quiet and he talked too much to compensate. But there was a connection and a spark. And it just gets better every day. So, I encourage you to reconsider. There’s a whole batch of girls in your neighborhood just waiting for a decent guy like you to discover them online.

    1. Gahhhhhhhh!


      Maybe! I may go down that road again. But I just want to do it the old-fashioned way for a bit.

      I may head that way again someday. I’ll be sure to write the stories if I do. 🙂

  21. Only you know what’s good for you, Matt. Go for it!!

    If you don’t mind I’d like to share something from my own experience regarding pickiness:
    (If you DO mind just skip or delete the next paragraph!)

    There was a time when I was not so “picky”. The encounters I had were often strange, sometimes funny and most of them were probably not very healthy – mostly because I first had to learn what “healthy” means for me. Fact is, that it did not bring me a long-term relationship. Most of the time not even joy.
    Then, when I slowly learned what is healthy for me, I got more “picky”. I was still healing and I sometimes made mis-takes. It still did not bring me a long-term relationship. But I had much more joy in life.
    Not so long ago, I did not even think of a potential partner or dating. I enjoyed my life very much – especially compared to what I had been through. And then I met this guy from the US on the internet at a forum about spiritual awakening. We e-mailed, we phoned, he visited and then moved to Germany to live with me. Now we are married.

    Today, I feel so much joy and gratitude.
    That all happend not because I stopped being “picky”. It happend because I started to be true and kind to myself. 🙂

    Much love,

    1. I don’t mind, Steffi. That’s a nice story with a really happy ending. And I appreciate you telling it.

      The lesson wasn’t lost on me, either. Thank you.

  22. Well put, your life and your decisions are your business. We are just sharing your journey. Hope you find what you are looking for 🙂

  23. It’s good to have your standards and to know what you want Matt. I have done the same and yes it does narrow it down, but at least when it happens it should be more likely to succeed. This entry made me smile, especially the part about the football coaches 🙂 Lisa

  24. The problem being is that there is so much pressure for people to be in relationships that often they latch onto the first available person, it doesn’t work out as they’ve chosen wrong, and then they complain that all men or women are bastards when all that happened was them choosing an incompatible partner.

    There’s nothing wrong with being picky. After all, this isn’t some outfit you’ll wear once, this is a partner. And you’ve got your kid to think about.

    After my first marriage, I was very picky. Sure, I had a few casual flings but when you’ve had a bad relationship, you kind of need that. I decided I was happy in my own and didn’t need a partner if it meant going through all the shit I went through before. But I also decided that if I was going to have a relationship, it had to be with the right person.

    I didn’t want to fall into the same trap as before, but I also didn’t want to completely disregard someone if they didn’t fit exactly what I wanted in a partner. So I made a list. Not of things I didn’t want in a partner, but attributes they had to have. Things like loyalty, kindness and respect. There were other things as well, of course, but they were all positives, not negatives. So when I found a man who was not a Catholic, like me, but who was a good person, that didn’t matter. We’ve been together for nine years, married for three. And when we did marry, it was in my church because he respected me enough to know that was important.

    I’m not going to be all ‘ look at me, it happened for me, it’ll happen for you’ as I hate when people say that shit. But I will say making a mental list of positive attributes you want in a partner, rather than looking for the negative things you don’t want in them will broaden your search and yet narrow the selection for the right one.

    End rant.

    1. 🙂

      A lovely rant that didn’t read at all like a rant. Thank you so much for taking time to weigh in.

      I really like when people identify what they want, make good choices, and then get what they want.

      That, to me, is the universe operating as it should.

  25. As a semi-professional gamer, I gotta say that I like the way you phrased that, like someone ‘hitting reset in the middle of your game’ – m’hmm. Totally right.
    Adjusting to doing things alone and feeling like you’ve lost a limb is just the hardest thing in the world to do. Even with someone new (unofficial) in my life, it’s still so disorienting and I still feel like it’ll never go away.

    Also, kudos to always taking the time to reply to everyone’s comments; I always worry or assume mine will just get lost in the dozens that you receive but it’s nice that you always at least reply with SOMETHING! Hugs to you. x

    1. Hugs to YOU! You found a boy! That’s very exciting. I don’t know to what extent a new person helps you heal from the damage caused by the previous relationship. But I hope to hear from you that it’s a very healing, very worthwhile experience.

      Good luck, miss. Thanks for saying hi. 🙂

      1. Well it’s complicated cuz the ‘boy’ was not just found, but was present since last year and throughout the falling apart of my previous relationship… Not really sure how things are all going to pan out with it =\ but I’m trying because one way or another I’ve found myself in this position. My doing I guess – took a leap of faith after something else wasn’t working for twelve years. Still questioning, always questioning…

        I always want to say hi 🙂 Thanks for saying it back. x

        1. 12 years? Just like me?


          I’m sorry. No matter what happens, I just hope you find fulfillment. There are good people out there. And I hope he’s one of them.

          1. 🙁 Thanks…
            He is, and I know I am too but sometimes there’s just too much confusion in my head – and heart – that I just wonder about everything that I’m doing.

            Brutal, yes. Brutal indeed.
            Thanks for your kind wishes. x

  26. You made the right choice on Valentine’s Day- you have your head screwed on right,you are approaching your future from a mature and responsible place- and making good choices. I am amazed people are out there that thought otherwise. Stay true to yourself- no need to settle- and stick with what you know is right for you. (I waited until I was 33 to get married to the right guy- & he came with 4 kids and an impossible ex-wife- wouldn’t have changed a thing-now 23 years later. Though everyone told me I was crazy)

    1. Daily Musings….. stop it….Think Lady….. You are singing this song of he’s responsible about his future and his criteria’s for a girl blah blah blah…..and then you are “amazed people are out there that thought otherwise?” ….then you said you waited till 33…..was that your criteria to wait till 33…or did this man show up and moved your heart to throw all caution to the wind with his warning signs that others warned you about? No you didn’t wait for the right guy……damn lady …..I’m sure when you thought about your criteria it did not have a man with 4 kids in tow … You relaxed your rules or criteria for this man …. was your criteria that he have an impossible ex-wife? or the ex didn’t matter? …. sounds like you fell in love with a man and took all that baggage out of love……. all those imperfect things that everyone said you were crazy for doing……against all odds, against all criteria for a love…….Think lady….you just made my point.

    1. Thank you, sir. Though I don’t think all the wonderful female readers will appreciate you suggesting their reasons aren’t rational!

      Although there’s a better-than-average chance you don’t care. 🙂

      1. Great, now I’ll have to remember to not be drinking coffee while reading your responses to comments…coffee snort

  27. Bravo about the Valentine meeting! Fun 🙂 . Unsolicited advice again–I promise I will stop… 😉 Do what makes you happy–whatever rules or limitations–whatever it takes to enjoy life. You have put a lot of thought in it. Enjoy the meetings with the ladies..and I understand the close proximity thing…just quit thinking of divorce. Your son comes first but you are your own package — don’t take this wrong…please. You have it together–I’m jealous 😉 but good gracious, walk on… 😀

    Please take this in fun and best of luck to you. 🙂 I enjoy reading your dating blog posts–I shudder to think what I will do when you find Ms Right 🙂

    1. I appreciate all of the well wishes and encouragement.

      If I find Ms. Right, I promise to find other things to write about besides dating. OR, I’ll just keep dating for the writing material…

  28. Let me just say…when people comment like that, they come at it from their own experience. Don’t take things too much to heart, there will always be little bits of wisdom in ever suggestion…rarely will you find one comment that makes 100% sense to your particular situation. Ok, probably never would be more accurate.

    Now…here’s my take on it. You need to practice making moves. No, she wasn’t the ideal choice for a relationship, but I think having a genuine conversation and enjoying the company of a stranger is a step in the right direction. Maybe next time you take one more step…then the next another. Eventually you do get the number. Then you take that to the next level…then the next. See what I’m saying???

    I’ve walked away from many men I was attracted to. Who knows if they would have worked out or not, but there was a lesson and an experience with each and every encounter. That’s how we learn, that’s how we grow. Having a pleasant time with someone you just met, means that you are approachable and pleasant to be with. Not every encounter will work out like that…you’ll learn to see the signs. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea…not by a long shot. You will, however, learn to pick up on signs both within yourself and in the person you are talking to.

    Advice is just advice. We all have some good shit…and some bad shit advice. You’re job is to filter through all of it, and pick out the little gems that actually make sense to YOU.

    I hope all that came out as well as it did in my crazy little head.


    1. It came out quite well. And I do understand. And I do see the wisdom in your thoughts. I appreciate you sharing them. I appreciate everyone who shares them, even when I don’t agree.

      Thank for saying hi, Dawn. And providing your thoughts on all this.

  29. Wow. There sure is a lot of interest in your love life 🙂

    I personally don’t think anyone who isn’t you and wasn’t there is really entitled to an opinion, but that doesn’t stop people, does it.

    I’m picky too– a result of having once settled– badly.

    That said, I have a friend who ended her first, very bad, marriage and then developed a long list of very picky criteria for what she was looking for in a man. One day eight years ago, a friend introduced her to a co-worker. My friend went for lunch with the guy once, decided she really didn’t like him and anyways he didn’t meet ANY of her criteria. Somehow, he talked her into one more date. Something clicked, and they were married within six months– their kids are now 7 & 5 and they are very happy.

    So sometimes life surprises us even when we’re busy being picky!

    1. With matters of the heart, everything is not black and white. I don’t anticipate being Hitler-ish about this. I’ll take each situation as it comes.

      Hope you have a great day.

  30. Matt…….yep. You are one cool customer. Hey, here’s an idea for the future. Maybe if someone doesn’t like something you wrote on your blog you should refund their money immediately.

    1. 🙂

      That’s very funny. AND an excellent idea.

      Terms of Service
      “I guarantee you will love every sentence and every thought in every post on this blog.
      “If you do not, just return the writing within 90 days and MBTTTR will fully refund your money.”

      Whew. Now I’m covered legally. But everyone has to click that little box acknowledging they read it.

  31. I completely agree with you for wanting to date someone who lives in your proximity as it seems pointless to long distance date, especially in the beginning. I do think though that being single in your thirties (I am) that you have to broaden your horizons and try dating different people as pickyness did not get us to our final destination. Having your son involved definitely is the most important part about choosing a partner, if you can tell she wouldn’t fit the shoes then don’t lead her on.

    This is a great blog as a lot of us are in the same boat

    1. It’s sad that so many of us are in the boat. Really sad. But that’s also why I we’re talking about any of this in the first place. Because it’s a subject that hits home with a lot of people.

      Thank you for taking a moment to read. I appreciate you leaving this note.

      And yes. I’m going to need to wander outside my parameters on a case-by-case basis. And that’s going to be fine.

    1. That’s a very nice spin on the topic. And true. But I’m okay with people disagreeing with the way I do things. There could be important life lessons in those opposing viewpoints.

      Nice to hear from you. Everything good in your world?

  32. It’s good to be picky. The other person has to fit into your life just as much as you have to fit hers. No one will look out for you, but you. Good things come to those who wait for the right one.

    1. Good things come to those who wait!!!

      It has been several years since I’ve heard (read) anyone use that line. I hope it’s true. But I hope it’s not super long.

      “I’m so glad I finally met you. I feel like I’ve been looking for you my entire life,” she’d say.

      “Yes. But good things come to those who wait.”

      “Happy 87th birthday, Matt. Meet you at the Golden Corral tomorrow for dinner? Say, 3 o’clock?”


      1. Hopefully is not long before you find the right person for you. Nothing wrong with discriminating who will be part of your life and most important, part of your son’s life as well.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and say hi. I think they make sense too. I’m not trying to be closed off to other possibilities. But I’m not prepared to willingly invest in something that seems irresponsible, either.

      Which is sort of ridiculous. Because I do irresponsible things all the time. 🙂

  33. I’m left trying to imagine what your side of the conversation would be like on a first date. You seem to me to make too many conditions. Far too many. And the tone of all you say is (please forgive me, this is meant in the best way) egocentric. Life is an adventure, a rolling road, and the only way is to climb aboard, my friend. So the girl clearly made an impression on you, and you on her. The rest is just geography.

    Sadly one of the casualties of divorce is the effect on the children but that doesn’t mean you should model your whole life on weekends. Its so easy for those ties to become steel hawsers too heavy to carry. Come the time when that happens and you have to look back on all you’ve missed, it might be too late.

    1. Frederick, sir.

      My side of the conversation:

      1. Charming.
      2. Funny.
      3. Polite.
      4. Honest.

      There will be many “missed opportunities” if I stay rigid in these ideals. And perhaps life will force more flexibility on me.

      That is something I’ll deal with then. In the meantime, I feel good about my parameters, so to speak.

      Hey, the proof will be in the pudding. Because I’m not likely to discontinue writing about things.

      Appreciate your time, sir. Hope today is a good one. 🙂

  34. I totally agree that “time-wasters need not apply” I’d a good motto. On the other hand, one thing I hate about the 2nd wave dating thing I see many of my friends doing is that it seems to lack the best bits of what worked when we were young.

    I’ve never “dated”. Ever. I’ve had good friends, a few of whom turned into something more, one turned into a husband. I have honestly never gone out and tried to size someone up in a meeting or two. It seems crazy to think it would work more than once in a million? Why not make friends and if something comes of it then, yay.

    1. You ask a fair question. Except I feel like everyone’s just pretending at that point.

      Two single 30-somethings just being friends? I vote that’s rare unless one or both are in a committed relationship with someone else.

      However, to your point:

      The only girl I’ve really liked post-divorce is someone I became friends with through other people I know. She’s married, though.

      1. It’s a fair point about people pretending. Maybe they do. I am friends with many men, married and single, without any hint of anything else. But then I did know them when I was barely out of my teens.

        Brings me to one of my big issues with adult dating: I don’t think I’d ever really known someone or trust someone I met in their 30s (not as a life partner). Too many skeletons. It’s one reason I’d be totally stuffed if I got divorced. I didn’t marry until 28 but I’d known him since I was 18. I knew he hadn’t reinvented himself, that he was authentic.

        I got burned but I still wouldn’t go for someone I met in maturity. Deep paranoia? Anyway, I ended up with loads of friends. Has to be a good thing.

          1. Sorry, didn’t mean to! Look, this is totally horses for courses and if you’re not cut out for a bit of distance then you’re right you’d best say so. Otherwise you’d be wasting their time. But it need not be for some.

            When my husband and I first got together I was 25, tied to my training year. We had known each other for 6 years as friends, but by then he lived on the other side of the Pacific.

            To move to be with him meant giving up my career, going to a place where my degree was worthless and starting training all over again. To move to me meant dropping out of his PhD. So we were long distance nearly a year. It was hard but it worked. It taught us our strengths and weaknesses in communication. Something that is desperately useful and validating now we are dealing with the affair. We can point to our down moments and know its the affair, not us. We dealt with distance fine.

            We didn’t have kids then. And we were young. Easier in some ways, but harder in others.

            It doesn’t always have to be a bad thing as long as you have enough time to work out if you want to move and you have a plan then. Even if it takes a while to do.

  35. People say I’m too fussy and my criteria are too strict but I tell them that it’s me who is going to have to live with the consequences of me getting it wrong, they will just be on the periphery watching the car crash, probably saying “I told you so” even though they really didn’t.

    I was recently dating a guy and day by day gaps appeared in what he had said to meet my criteria and what he did that didn’t meet my criteria. I decided I made my criteria open and should have kept it shielded so that phoney criteria fillers couldn’t bamboozle me.

    I don’t want a chain of failures, I don’t want a chain of people with segments of my DVD collection, I don’t want to share bodily fluids with people I’d have no interest in donating a kidney to. I’m picky? Too right I am. Why string anyone along, especially yourself..

    My ma once told me that she finished with a guy because he drank milk out of a red wine glass at her place once when he’d come over for dinner. Everything had been going well until then, but when she saw him put the milk in the glass and bypass glasses more appropriate for milk she told him it was over. I said “What mum, over a glass?” she said “It really matters to me that people use an appropriate glass for a drink, red wine glasses for red wine, white for white, flutes for sparkling, tumblers for water, cocktail glasses for cocktail, shots for shots and by drinking milk from a wine glass he had showed me that the couldn’t live up to my glass usage expectations and he was totally unsophisticated when it came to glassware, he had to go, there was no point wasting his time or mine, inevitably his inappropriate use of glasses would grate on me to the point that it would be over anyway, why prolong it?”

    I think I get my attitude from my mum. I’m maybe not that bad but the principal has stuck with me.

    1. I really like this. And I completely get it. Completely.

      Thank you.

      LOVE the glassware story. An absolute crime against glassware. And by the way? Who the hell drinks milk on a date?

      Good for your lovely and wise mother. 🙂

      1. Haha I just asked her, she said she was so incensed that he’d put it in the wine glass that she never bothered to think of why he was drinking milk in the first place.

        I was talking about this with some friends today and I realised that I set very high standards for myself and so I would feel like I’m selling myself short if I didn’t have those same standards for someone who I want to be with.

        One of my friends said I may never meet anyone who is ‘good enough’. I said it’s not about being good enough, it’s about being right for me, I’m not perfect and he needs to be as sure that he can live with my imperfections as I am that I could live with his. It’s more about the boundaries of reasonable acceptance, not perfection. I would rather be a happy singleton than a miserable serial long term relationship failure.

        My dad told me that if when you first go to dinner with a guy you don’t like the way he eats, he chomps too loud or doesn’t quite close his mouth but you can cope with it in the whole scheme of things, when the relationship hits a rough patch that not liking the way he eats will become such a huge irritant to you that you’ll want to behead him every time he so much as nibbles on a sandwich. I think he exaggerated but was trying to say that the little things which irritate you become the big things one day so weeding them out is important.

        One day I hope we virtually (via the powers of blog) attend each other’s weddings to perfect for us people and until then I hope we’re as happy as we can be.

        1. I admire the lessons of your parents.

          Better to be too choosy, then too accepting on this particular subject, I think.

          And thank you. I too wish for a happy future, single or otherwise.

          I appreciate you reading and commenting and thinking about this stuff very much.

          1. It interests me for the very reason that I feel like an alien sometimes because I don’t want to get things wrong and I read about the affects on people of when it does go wrong and I wonder if I’m happy to be an alien then. Maybe I will never find what I’m looking for and maybe I should throw caution to the wind but this stuff is important, lives are involved. I see so many young people like me dipping in and out of relationships, affecting lives, their own included, leaving a wake of disaster, and I can’t see that the experience improves them for the next one. I see so many settling and then complaining and I just don’t want that. It interests me reading about your situation, it makes me feel sad sometimes but it also makes me realise that it is important. If I was looking for a business partner I would check them out thoroughly, I wouldn’t invest my money in someone who I thought may not be quite what they seem or someone who a year down the line wants something totally different from our venture than I do, so why would I do it with my life?

  36. I continue to be amazed at the similarities that you and I encounter. I haven’t even read the Valentines day post yet (I will next) but it sounds like you did the right thing. In my case, I (sort of) took the opportunity; although the travel nurse was in town for 13 weeks not just at the bar. (and she did take other 13 week assignments “close by” over the next year and a half). I can tell you that I thought I met my “match” with that women and had a wonderful relationship for a year and a half. She was great with my son. She was opposite of my ex. She was wonderful and honestly, I wanted to marry her. … then she wanted to go home … 1400 miles away. We kept in touch and still do to some extent, I still think the world of her. But, it’s 10 years until my son is 18 and he is 1400 miles away from this woman. I chose him, as I know you would from reading your posts, and that’s that. I’ve spent the last year comparing my lonely boring life to the wonderful times that I had with this woman, pretty confused and a little depressed that we couldn’t figure out how to make it all work. I know I made the right decision but can’t help but think about “how good it could have been if…” – The next weekend with my son always makes me forget about those thoughts though. I don’t understand how guys can leave their kids or choose to see them only once in a while to pursue “other goals” in life … just don’t understand it!

    Moral of my story – even if the girl in the bar had been exactly the woman you have always dreamed of (as mine was) the distance would have killed it and would have brought in a whole bunch of decisions and emotions that I bet you haven’t even thought of yet.

    You made the right decision! Good for you! You’re a wonderful Dad! – and that’s what really counts in the long run.

    1. Thank you very much. You actually lived what I want to avoid. Amazing.

      Thank you for the compliments, encouragement, and sharing of your story.

  37. Ugh! – and now that I read the post … the travel nurse introduced me to AWOLNATION! – we went to the damn concert!!! – Oh the irony!

  38. I fully agree to your viewpoint, Matt. And I think why many people disagree with your idea of not going ahead with the photographer the other day. Going out with a person who lives far away makes you miss her later (if things work out well), it may force you to make changes you didn’t foresee will happen. Many of us like to have the ‘twist’ in things – the drama, the missing, the longing, the romance effect – in a relationship. And for many of us, that twist is the added-value. Well, when you are in love, you think with the heart and not with the head, they say.

    In my case I was totally alone, when I got separated. I didn’t have a child. So the world shrank so much around me that even a random interaction with the guy next door seemed to be an ‘away from the world’ thing (in the not-so-good sense). Though I didn’t try enough to be around with single females, I also faced the kind of comments/expectations (explained well in the title of your blog) not just about the appearance, but about the car I should be having (I was a happy pedestrian then, a proud cyclist/biker now), and the neighborhood where I should ideally have a house/apartment.

    This drove me away from the idea of going around with women in the neighborhood. I chose to interact from people far away (as much as half the world away). I got in touch and ‘internet-dated’ a journalist from South America with whom I had similar values. But yes, as you rightly said geographic proximity plays an important role. We realized later that we couldn’t continue pursuing dream and called it off peacefully before it harms either of us. Today we interact often just like old friends do, and I like it.

    So I agree to your point of looking at things with a practical mind. All the best!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for understanding. There are no simple answers in this new life. But there are a handful of things I’m certain of. I choose to start with those things. Those certainties. And make choices based on them. The rest of the puzzle will eventually come together. Hopefully, anyway. 🙂

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thank you.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind words.

      I appreciate you reading. And I appreciate you taking the time to say hi. 🙂

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