One of the most difficult thing I have found about dating is dating rebound men. I have had so many dates with men that I was their first date after their divorce or break up.  The first few guys I went out with all fit in this category. One was so not ready that he quickly ran. Another wanted to go too fast though he said he would never marry again. Ex-Bf and I became serious and were together for a while. I am still friends with all of them. One is alone and drinking way too much the other two are in pretty serious relationships now.

After going out with a few other guys that I was their rebound date, I have realized a few things. One is that I do NOT want to be the rebound girl again.  There are so many issues to deal with. I do not want to have to guide another man through the learning to date process and sex with a new woman again.  I do not want to be the first kiss for a man after twenty years again. They all act sixteen. Yes, I like sex now BUT that is not  what I want with most dates. I am more picky than that. Besides, I have found that “stage fright” is not unusual for them.  I remember how awkward it was to be a first time dater. First date, first kiss, first time being naked with someone besides my husband after 23 years. It is difficult for everyone but I no longer want to be the teacher. The last few first dates with rebound men have stopped at that. There was one real nice man that I got along with real well but I could tell that he wanted to move much faster than I wanted to. I have noticed that with most men that I have gone out with. Statistics actually show that men tend to remarry more quickly than women do. They either are so commitment-phobic that they just want to play the field or they want you to be their girlfriend in a week. The one I met and dated last fall was like that. Clingy after a couple of dates.

I am glad that I have reached a point of contentment without a man. I have hardly been dating (except for R) I have been off the dating sites for four months now. I haven’t met anyone new since Valentine’s Day and he was a rebounder. I am not going out with him again. He was way to handsy too fast. I am going to continue on the path I am on now and see where life takes me but for now, I really do not want to be the rebound girl again. He needs to be ready to date but not desperate to find love. He needs to have confidence in himself but not be cocky. He needs to be over his wife and not tell me how much he still loves her on our date. Yes, I had that happen. He needs to be looking for friendship and a companion that a relationship can build and grow over time.  He needs to be ready for ME.

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My ex-husband was the youngest of seven kids. He was raised in Iowa. His mom was the oldest of thirteen (I think). In other words, he was from a big family. We got married without meeting each others families and I thought for most of our marriage that if I had met his family first that I wouldn’t have married him. I had nothing in common with most of his family. I got along well with many of them in small groups but when everyone was together, I always felt like an outsider. My ex-husband would not stand up to me when his brothers or parents treated me poorly and there were a few times that I was treated TERRIBLY. I don’t know how many times I would leave family events in tears due to my treatment. It eventually became a big issue for us. The only “vacations” he ever wanted to take was to visit his family in the little town of 750 in Iowa. I was bored and lonely the entire time I was there. His dad was obnoxious and rude and a pig. The TV was on 24/7 so there was never any quiet or music.  Even after 23 years, I never felt like part of the family. I did love a couple of his brothers but since the divorce, I am definitely not family again. I was right in my feelings. Except for my mother in law, I never hear from anyone in the family. She and I were not always close but we got there after lots of bumps.

When I met R I found out that he was the oldest of many children. I don’t remember how many right now but I think there are fifteen of them. Five are full siblings, the others are half. He had a unique isolated childhood. This scared me to death. I was tempted to run immediately when he told me this. I figured the chances of anything going anywhere were nil so I went out with him again. Within a couple of weeks of our meeting, I was at his place and it was his birthday. Four of his siblings called him on a video call. I decided to stay out-of-the-way so they could have their family time. Almost immediately, I was being introduced and was part of the conversation. I was welcomed immediately and felt comfortable with them but I still was nervous about the large family. The next day, the eldest of the girls friended me on FB and I found out that I have a lot in common with her. He and I quit seeing each other as a couple but remained friends. His brother-in-law works for him so I had met him and eventually met his wife. Super nice couple. She is a singer and into aerial dance. This weekend, one of the sisters that I met on-line was in town and we met in person. I immediately felt comfortable with her. She told me how she had a good feeling about me immediately. Tonight, we had a family dinner and by the time I left, she and I were hugging, exchanging numbers and talking about next time she is in town. When I offered to babysit his son so they could have brother- sister time, she insisted that she would want me to join them. I have so much in common with his family and feel so embraced and welcomed by the ones that I have met that his family no longer scares me. I wonder if this was one of the things holding him back. He actually wanted me to stay the night tonight with his sister there. I feel we are dating again but it hasn’t been said. I will continue one day at a time and not rush things. It has only been fifteen months since we met. No one can accuse us of rushing……

I find it interesting that I was terrified of the large family but I guess is depends on the family. W have so many common interests, even in our families. His sister has heard of my sister and her husband (dancers). A few of his sisters are into Aerial dance. My middle kiddo used to do that. I have always been a singer as is my son and a few of the family members are singers one is even touring and has a few CDs out. Maybe the size of his family or any one elses doesn’t matter. I feel I could belong in a family like this though I never belonged in the other one. This was a big aha moment for me this weekend.

There has always been such a double standard for men and women in so many areas but the one I am talking about here is good old sex.

For the most part, men are not judged for having multiple partners as long as they are not married. Sometimes, that isn’t even looked down on by their friends and other men. I do think that society accepts a man cheating on his spouse more than a woman cheating on hers. For a woman to “sleep around” with multiple men, she is called whore, slut, easy, etc. I jokingly call a couple of male friends man whore but it is not an issue for them. If they were to call me a whore, it would be an insult.

Why can’t a woman just enjoy sex like a man does? I know that I did not enjoy it when I was married. There were many factors into that. Honestly, before marriage, I used sex to try and find love. I did have lots of sex partners but really didn’t feel good about it. I had terrible self esteem and just wanted a man to love me.

My ex fell in love with me quickly without the sex being a major factor. I honestly was never super physically attracted to him.  I know that is awful.  I thought he was wonderful when we met. I felt safe with him. He made me feel secure and loved.  When we married he was fit but as soon as we got married, he gained a lot of weight. I just never was attracted to heavy men. He also was perspired a lot and our sex life was very boring. I didn’t enjoy it. I had my Catholic issues with sex being a bad thing and dirty. I did it because I had to. Eventually, it became almost non-existent in my marriage. Since my divorce, my attitude has changed thanks to ex-bf. I learned to really enjoy sex. I got over my hangups. Why shouldn’t I be able to just have sex to take care of my physical needs without being judged? I much prefer the physical touch than taking care of myself. I enjoy sex now and am not getting any younger. I want to enjoy it while I can so I am when I want to.

I do understand that sex is a beautiful thing between two people that love each other but is it so bad for a woman to have more than one lover? I have decided that it is not. If serious feeling develop with one, I will quit seeing the others. If one was available more often, I wouldn’t need or want more than one but the guys are not available often and so I enjoy what I can when I can. I will admit that I wish R and I could have something. Ex-con moved away two weeks ago so I am down to R and the married one for now. The relationship with all three is very unique and sweet. There are no lies taking place. There are no commitments being broken. No one expects anything from anyone except when we are together. I have no regrets and am enjoying myself at this moment. Maybe someday, I will meet THE man worth settling down with again but I have such a wide range of needs and desires. I deserve to enjoy my life and this makes it so much easier to not jump into a relationship with someone.

It is funny how some things will trigger me and remind me of how bad things had been. I was at work, walking up 12th Street and there were three cars at the intersection. The first one was turning left onto Main Ave. The traffic on Main doesn’t have a stop sign so it can be a long wait to turn left. The second vehicle was going straight and the third wanted to turn right. This is a small town with relatively little traffic but it has grown a lot over the years. I admit it has not been fun watching it grow over the thirty years I have been here but it goes with the territory. The guy in the third vehicle started screaming and cursing profanities and honking his horn. He couldn’t see that the first vehicle wanted to go left. He was being very impatient and letting himself get super stressed about such a minor thing. When the first car finally was able to turn (maybe ninety seconds), he squealed up to the second car and turned right very quickly and potentially dangerously while revving his engine. I immediately thought to myself how glad I was to not be with someone like that anymore. The ex-husband used to get such horrible road rage. There were times I was afraid that he might even get us shot or hurt. He would flip people off on the highways in the city, cut people off, tailgate on purpose if someone cut us off. You never know when someone might pull a gun. If I said anything to him, he would then yell at me. I was often very nervous in the car with him. The stress and tension in the car was always so bad from that moment on. It was bad for all of our health. Stress increases inflammation which increases pain, diabetes, and so many other health issues. He was slowly killing us all.

I will never put up with that from someone again. It was one of the many ways I was mentally abused and controlled by him. He had a nasty temper that I was afraid to set off. he never physically hurt me but I was scared of him and so were the kids. I wish I could say that he never laid a hand on them. He never beat them but kids should not be scared of their parents.

About the man in this story, I feel bad for him (and the ex). Life is too short to get so upset over such insignificant things. His blood pressure was up, I am sure. His behavior was bad for his health. Luckily, there was no one else in the car and I am sure I was the only one that heard his language. I was the only other one really affected and it made me feel grateful that I no longer have that kind of stress in my life.

I was in seventh grade when I first had a man show me that promises about love aren’t always kept. I was devastated to find out that my parents had been having problems, including him moving out for most of sixth grade, due to another woman. My sister was the one that had told me all this after she saw my dad with the other woman when she was with some of her friends. Understandably, she was very angry at our dad. She told me because she was so angry with him and, I think, wanted me to be too. If I remember correctly, she was angry at our mom for giving our dad another chance. I was hoping they would work things out. I couldn’t believe that my dad would do that to my mother.

As time went on, I have had a few men cheat on me and friends cheat on their partners or be cheated on by their partners. Unfortunately, it is so difficult to trust when you see so many that are not trustworthy. I want to love and trust someday again.

I did eventually find someone that I loved and trusted and I married him. Eventually, I quit trusting him as all the signs of him cheating were there by the time we split. I am not 100% sure he cheated but would be surprised to find out that he didn’t.

How do you learn to trust relationships? I do not want to be one of those women that suspects cheating at every turn but I also don’t want to be so stupidly naive again. I hope to meet someone at some time that I can love and trust. I just need to learn how to trust.

This day has always been such a difficult day. Before I was married, it seemed I was always alone during this holiday. When you are single, this is a day to remind you how alone you really are. When you are in a relationship, it can be good or bad, depending on the relationship and your partner’s attitude towards the holiday. My ex-husband was not a romantic man at all. He would give me a card from time to time. I think he gave me flowers a couple of times in our marriage. He told me he didn’t give flowers since his mother didn’t like getting flowers. I love getting flowers and let him know that very early in our relationship. I got to where I hated Valentine’s Day. I even got to where I dreaded our anniversary and my birthday (which I love normally) because I always felt neglected. He was a man that never seemed to appreciate anything that I gave him. It was difficult to give him gifts so I got to the point that I dreaded trying to give him anything. One of our last Valentine’s Days together, he came home, threw a single rose on the table as he walked by and told me “Here is your VD flower.” Such a romantic gesture. I just sank inside. Four years ago, I spent the day in divorce court. I couldn’t believe they did that on Valentine’s Day. I was a mess. That has definitely made the holiday more difficult.

Since the divorce, I have been trying so hard to get over the emotional damage from my marriage. My first Valentine’s Day after the divorce, I went skiing with a guy I had gone out with a few times. He made reservations at the restaurant at the top of the mountain to surprise me. He knew my history and he was so romantic that day and definitely made it easier. The next year, I was with the ex-boyfriend getting ready to go on a cruise. Last year, I was dating R. I don’t think we did anything special but this holiday has been better the past few years. Here it is again, around the corner and I am single as can be. I have been feeling a bit down about men and love and seeing all the ads for the local specials. I actually signed up for speed dating that night.

This afternoon, I received a message from A asking for a date for dinner on Monday. I said yes and that would be nice. He told me that since he had to work on Tuesday, it would be our Valentine’s Day date. I was very surprised. He does not know my history so it makes it extra special. I am confused though by his actions. One week, I feel he isn’t interested and the next, he does this. I think he is a very sweet man. I wonder how he actually feels about me. At least, I will have a nice dinner with a good looking man for Valentine’s Day and the speed dating the actual night should be interesting.

 

I truly believe that to an extent loving someone is a choice. I know there were a couple of times in my marriage that I made the choice to continue loving or try to love the husband again. I know when my eldest was 2 (she is almost 26 now) I was ready to leave him. We had been in Illinois for a year and things were not going well. We were dirt poor and struggled so much financially. He has been gaining weight like crazy. We had bought our first house. I loved out neighbors and home but his commute was about three hours a day. His parents lived four hours away and they expected us to come “home” every three day weekend. Our daughter would get car sick anytime she was in the car for over thirty minutes and I could tell when we got there that they had no desire to see me. I would be lucky if there were even a dozen things said to me all weekend.  My father in law and I had NOTHING in common. He is a male chauvinistic pig that treats his wife like crap and I knew that my mother in law didn’t approve of me. I was raised Catholic and was an atheist. I was a city girl and never fit in. They also lived in a town of about 700 people so there was nothing to do. I would sit there in the house, feeling unwelcome, every time we went.  I eventually told my husband to go on my drill weekends so they would have time with him and our eldest and not feel like they had to fake it with me.

The husband and I kept drifting apart. He was exhausted from working all the time. I was exhausted from being a full time single mom basically since when he would get home it was almost bed time for the kiddo.  We were struggling financially on top of everything else. I was lonely. Except for our next door neighbor, I was lonely as hell and I couldn’t stand Illinois. It was too freakin hot in the summer and you didn’t leave your house in the winter. I was used to Colorado where there was so much to do. There was no place to hike and all the things to do in the Chicago area took money. I was miserable but he was mostly happy. He was near his mom and several of his siblings. I had no one except for my Army buddies. I so looked forward to drill weekends I actually had a couple of guys in my unit that I could have had relationships with, if I hadn’t been one to keep my promises.

On our daughter’s second birthday, my mother and his parents all came out to visit. That weekend almost destroyed our marriage. Our daughter was real ill. I tried to hard to make his mother part of the family. I even tried to let her have time alone with my daughter while my mom and I went out together. She took everything I did wrong and went and told my husband that I was being awful to her. She lied to him about things and he believed her. He believed that I made fun of her for being fat. He believed other things she said. I truly, to this day, feel like she was trying to break us up. I spent the next nine months planning on leaving him. We were coming to Colorado the following Christmas and I was going to stay with our kid and not go back to Illinois. I had made plans to get away from what was going on. In that several months, I debated leaving and in the beginning, hated seeing him when he came home daily. We were in such a bad place but I ended up deciding to try and fix things for all of us, especially for our kid. I made a conscious effort to fall for him again. I started looking for the good and ignoring the bad. Eventually, I was in love with him again.

When we first meet someone and fall in love we only see the good. We get butterflies when we think  of the person. We get excited to see them. As we get to know someone, we start to see the other side. We fall out of love when we quit seeing that the good out weighs the bad. I told my ex-husband that if he chose to, he could love me again. He was so focused on the negative, that he forgot the positive in our relationship. At one time, we enjoyed each other. We had fun together. We loved each other. When he started focusing on only the bad, he fell out of love. I truly think that if he had chosen to focus on those things, he could have loved me again.

I see the same thing with ex-bf. He loved me but there was one area that was a mess. I truly believe that was the reason that he had to let me go and quit loving me. I couldn’t fix this one thing so he had to let me go. He even admitted that he was hoping he could find the woman that could fix this issue for him.

I think R cannot love anyone because he is so dedicated to being a great dad. The mom can’t stay here. She keeps going from relationship to relationship so R is the stability in the boys life. He knows that he needs to be a dad first and that is why he cannot find love. He almost admitted this to me recently. He told me that maybe he needed to wait until the boy was grown before he could have real relationship.

How much of loving someone is a choice and how much is not? I believe that a lot of it is intellectual. We rule someone out based on so many things. What makes is truly be in love with someone? I would love to hear your opinions on this.