Funny how a slightly different perspective can change everything.
By now you can probably feel my frustration with dating in my 40s and soon-to-be-50s. The sad part is I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of my misery. Although I was married for 19 years, my Ex and I got a later start on reproductive activities due to infertility issues. That means while I’m almost 50, I have two very young children, ages 4 and 10. These two kids are the center of my world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They keep me young, and they get to see how someone rebuilds their life when someone else takes a huge dump on them.
Oddly enough, not everyone my age shares my passion for my children. In particular, the empty nesters I meet online almost all run for the exits screaming in terror once they find out I have kids this young. Suzy II was one exception, though arguably she went too far in the other direction, as she began thinking out loud about step-mothering my kids on date #1.
The running-for-the-exits reaction to my kids about as much fun for me as the inexplicable one-and-dones (and, let’s be honest, who the hell knows—maybe the one-and-dones were a result of my kids’ ages). But, folks, don’t get too teary eyed just yet. I’m starting to learn this game, and, as I do, I’m starting to turn the tables.
Today I’m hard at work, and an email pops up on my screen. Seems someone on POF wants to meet me. I open it up. She’s a pharmacist. Great legs and a killer smile. Obviously she takes care of herself. But she’s 49 and an empty nester. Ah. I think to myself, I know how to get rid of this one (I’ll explain a bit later in this post why “getting rid of prospects” is now an objective).
I respond by telling her she has an interesting profile (I didn’t read it), especially the part about her being an empty nester (this factoid was listed up front in the summary). I then disclose I have two young children, and wait for the crickets to start chirping.
“How young?” She asks.
“10 and 4.”
I can almost hear the scream as she cries uncle and heads for the exits.
And indeed she did.
Knockout blow in two punches, er emails.
Damn, I’m getting good at this.
I’m tired of wasting energy composing emails to these people only to find out 20 messages later they are freaked out about my kids. I call this the “attention span” problem. There has been no shortage of females who have gotten me worked up through their energy and excitement on day one, only to disappear inexplicably shortly thereafter. And now perhaps we know why. My kids.
But really it’s their problem. Not mine. I never once told any of these people I wanted them to step-mother my children. Hell, I wouldn’t even introduce these women to my kids for 6 months or more. Marriage? Right. I might not ever get married again. What purpose does it serve? You can love someone and be committed without entering into a legal relationship that it takes an attorney and a judge to escape from. If you are young and thinking about having kids together, different story. At my age? I don't see any reason to get remarried.
But you know what’s worse? Once I figured out how to play the “I have young kids" card to separate the wheat from the chaff, it wasn’t long before my brain decided that this approach might be a good way to deter all sorts of people that contact me and whom I don’t want to meet. I won’t call them excuses. No, they are more “road closed” signs.
So I guess I’m playing the same games that I’ve accused the fairer sex of playing.
No wonder dating in your 40s and 50s sucks.