Tag Archives: date

Is It Too Soon For A Relationship?

After I got divorced the first thing I did was look for a relationship.  I thought that was what I should do.  I did not realize that I should have taken the time to learn about myself and what I needed.  I did not take the time to learn what I wanted.

There were so many things that I did not realize at the time.   I was recently divorce and thought that I knew what I wanted.  I went on an online dating site and met someone within months of being divorced.  At the time, I thought I wanted a serious relationship.  I mean, what else do you do after divorce but find someone else….

We dated for over a year and it was a roller coaster of emotions.   At the time, I thought this is what I should be doing. I got divorced and now I should meet someone else.  Our relationship started out great, but soon faded.  We each had kids and with our schedules it was hard to find time together. In addition, as we got more involved in our relationship I wanted our kids to spend time together.  I quickly learned how hard it was to date someone with kids when you both have different schedules.  Dating with kids is hard.  I was trying to make him into something he was not and I was also doing things that I did not want, just to make him happy.

Besides thinking that we should each spend time together, I also thought that our kids should spend time together.  They were all different ages and did not all want to spend time together.  I wanted us to do things together as a family.    When I did not have my kids, I would spend time with him and his kids. I would help him with running them to their activities or whatever they needed.  And I did not have any time to myself or learn about my own life after divorce.  I thought this is what I should be doing.

Our relationship was very toxic at the end.  We would fight, said unforgivable things, and make up so many times.  I was scared to be alone and didn’t know what I would do without him.  We ended up breaking up.  Our facebook status couldn’t keep up with all the changes, it was a daily status update.  I  soon realized that our relationship was so wrong.  I was trying to go from a marriage of 13 years to a serious relationship with someone else before knowing exactly what I wanted.

I did not know what I wanted in a partner or even my own life.  I have now had the time to learn about myself and what I love. I have time finally do the things that I love.  While we were dating, I would spend my time doing the things he loved.  I did not take time to do what I wanted.  I love to workout, hike, and be outside.

I  would put those things aside and not do them because I felt they were not that important.   I have now learned that those things are a priority to me and I put them first.

It took me a long time to be ok with not being with someone else, not spending every moment with a date or a boyfriend.  It’s so important to know what you want and what you like before rushing into a relationship.   I learned that it is important to not settle, just to be with someone.  And I am pretty sure I have learned over the last year what I do not want..haha.  I had to learn about what I truly valued in life and in a person that would be spending time with me and eventually my children.  I had to learn what I wanted from someone in a relationship and how serious of a relationship that I was looking for right now.

During my relationship, I thought I was ready for this.  I can now look back on it and I know that I  should have taken the time to learn about myself, what I want in a relationship, and what’s important to me

Snarky divorced gal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Dating Over 40

Hello all,

Have you ever heard the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results…. Well that was my life up until three months ago.

I tried several dating websites/apps and always, always hoped for the best. As a joke I like to share with my friends and family, I’m a gluten for punishment.

A breakdown of events that led up to dates or lack of dates. I would pick a dating app and then go through the routine of setting up my profile. I would come up with my username, something cute of course, my profession, age, and a few words to describe what I’m looking for and a little more about myself. I would then proceed to look at the profiles of men that matched up with things in my profile. After a short time, I would receive a message from a man who would want to know more about me.

This is where it gets challenging, more often than not, most of the men I would message back and forth were not from where they said they lived. You guessed it, I was being cat-fished. A few if those men claimed to be in the military and they asked for money. I knew right away what was happening, so needless to say, they were blocked.

I wasn’t asking for much in a match, a man who had reliable transportation, stable housing, and stable income. A man who has his sh*t together. The last man I dated, from December of last year to February of this year, claimed to have his life together. That was further from the truth. He was not even divorced and while he was with me, he was already on to his next victim. I was heartbroken of course. More so because I gave him the benefit of the doubt, I trusted him.

I finally learned after several, several, failed attempts, to always listen to my gut and intuition. Going through the process of crying and moving on, my friends would listen and give me words of encouragement. “It happens when you’re not looking for it ” “It” being that magical feeling of being in love and having that love reciprocated. I would nod in agreement and then go into skeptic mode.

I like to think I’m a hopeless skeptic romantic.

Fast forward to June of this year, I reconnected with an old friend. We went to high school together and briefly dated in 2010. I’m not sure what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, he is the most honest, caring, thoughtful, and genuine man I have ever known. We have so much fun when we are together and more importantly, according to my gut feelings and intuition he is the real deal.

I am living proof that being tenacious works. Never ever giving up what you want when it comes to love. It is important to remember that the light at the end of the tunnel may be dim, but with supportive, encouraging friends that light eventually gets brighter. Dating is hard, especially when life is crazy and hectic, but to know you are enough and worth so much makes dating less stressful.

~Anne Smith

The Day That Will Never Be The Same

There used to be a certain day in my life that was even more important to me than my Birthday. I might even go as far as to rank it higher than Christmas. It was a day that I gave myself in front of God, our closest friends and family to the man that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. When that day came around once a year it was always a day of celebration. It was romantic candlelight dinners, beautiful flowers, night of dancing to our favorite bands or just spending an evening at home without the kids. It was a day to honor our love and commitment to each other. Something we did for 19 consecutive years. We were just 4 months away from hitting the 20 year mark when that date just became another day on the calendar.

How does one day lose the meaning it once held? To just becoming another day on the calendar?

When this day came around last year for the first time since the divorce I found myself being surrounded by closest members of my tribe. They took me to dinner and a funny movie. I chose that day to honor me and the woman I was becoming after our divorce.

This year today I find myself sitting in a hospital room at my daughter’s beside supporting and loving on her. She had a craniotomy yesterday. She is doing great. Fast forward a few hours and now that she has been released and tucked into her own bed at my house, her father and his girlfriend are currently at her bedside. I could say a lot more about that, but that is for another story on a different day. For now I am swallowing my pride and doing what is best for my daughter.

Today on what would be our 21st anniversary, I find myself numb to feelings and with lots of questions that will never be truthfully answered by a man I thought I would be with till death do us part.

The one thing I have learned in the last several years of seeking my soul and climbing out of the depression that I found myself in is that there is a reason for everything. I now know it’s ok to have a Plan B-Z. Not everything in life goes as we have planned. It’s how we pick ourselves back up that matters.

So for me today I will vow to myself to Love & honor myself even in my worst days. To not shrink for anyone. I will no longer allow anyone to steal my joy. Today I will live for my kids and myself. Until my knight in shining armor arrives.

 

-Jeanna

Just Ask The Girl Out

Just ask the girl out…

And just like that it hit me… I was having a couple drinks with my friend and venting about a guy that had just been texting me hi over the last month and not asked me out. Texting and online dating is crazy: crazy good, crazy scary, and crazy frustrating.

I hope that texting has not ruined dating for us all. Yes, texting is great. You get to learn about a person without actually leaving your couch. You could be in a relationship and never even met in person. We have all heard the catfish stores, seen the movie… and yes, the thought goes through my head every time. And if you are just starting on an online dating site, yes we will hear and see it all.

Once you weed out the booty calls, one liners, the just plain crazy’s, and the ones that just copy & paste their message to the top 50, you might be left with someone who you are interested in. And I do believe that there can be really good matches on dating websites. So now what? When you do get off the site and exchange numbers. I have had both good and bad experiences with this.

Once you exchange phone numbers there is probably some interest to meet. I usually do not give out my phone number until I feel comfortable or have had some communication. If you want to ask a girl out, ask her out. Be direct. Don’t say, “ we should go out sometime”. We all have kids, sports, activities, jobs, lives, etc. If you want to ask me out, maybe old fashion, but I still believe that the guy should make the first move. But that’s just me…

If you have exchanged numbers and are now texting, then take the time to ask that person out on a date, coffee, or a drink. Take it to the next step. And be direct, ask for the date and time, not just sometime or next week. If the dates that you suggested don’t work, then mentioned to touch next week. If dating and possibly having a relationship is important than ask the girl to do something. Do not wimp out, take the initiative and do it. Just do it, do it, do it…Don’t waste months texting back and forth and never meeting…

Even over 40, It’s scary and no one knows if they are going to say “yes” and no one likes rejection. At this age, I still act like a shy teenager wondering if he will ask me out. However, I feel that spending weeks or months texting leads to nothing.

I believe in the saying, “shit or get off the pot”. I have gone on many dates, where the person acted completely different in real life, than via text. They were very open and talkative by text, but didn’t say a word in person. We did not have any connection in person and there was lots of dead air. Probably the worst on a date.

If you are actually interested in meeting someone and possibly turning this into a relationship than go for the date! That way you can see if you have a connection, maybe you will and maybe out won’t…Make the move!!

Snarky divorced gal (www.snarkydivorcedgal.com)

New To Online Dating

I was texting Lilly as I sat in my car in the Starbucks parking lot. The wind was howling outside, and I was waiting to meet the newest guy I met through an online dating app, for a quick coffee. While I hate the process, I decided to dabble in the exercise for the sake of experience.  After all, I did some research and uncovered that 75% of current relationships were started online so there may be something to it.

Me: Where are you?

Lilly: Home cooking

Me: Okay, I’m at the Starbucks parking lot meeting Joe. I’m not sure how his height is going to be, but I need to just get it over with and see.

Lilly: What Starbucks are you at?

Me: The one by my house. Lol

Lilly: lol

Me: Call me in 20 minutes. If I pick up, ask me for a ride and I’ll let him know I need to leave.

Lilly: Ok

 From her quick response, I immediately knew she was preoccupied and would mess it up in one way or another but that’s when I saw him speed up in his white Jeep Cherokee so I didn’t have time to call her to clarify details. I was immediately grateful for the two vodka nips I picked up and guzzled before I decided to meet him at Starbucks. He hopped out his car and I when say hopped out, that’s exactly what I mean. He needed to hop to reach the ground. Ok here we go…

I got out of my car and smiled brightly. We gave a friendly side hug before we ran in to get out of the cold. The café was warm and empty. As we stood in line, he chatted animatedly about many things all at once. I was gorgeous; my hair smelled good like strawberry; it was freezing outside; he just took a shower at the gym and he knew exactly what coffee he wanted to order.

My initial impression (because we were at eye level) was he had soft kind eyes and small features. His lips were large but slightly chapped. His hat was faced backwards and was most likely the smallest hat he could find in an adult size but it was still too big. I felt the urge to tap it off his head and throw it across the counter. I could feel my anxiety rising. Why am I being mean?

“How can I help you?”, a visibly irritated female barista asked as I stood at the menu board with a confused look on my face. My look wasn’t about whether I wanted a tall or venti coffee. I was thinking about the little person standing behind me and imagined him excitedly assessing my ass. I wanted to kick him away.

Joe saved the day by ordering a fancy long latte that he obviously drank regularly. To save myself from further irritation, I said, “I’ll have the same in decaf.” Last thing I need is to be up all night with this damn coffee

While he waited for his fancy latte, I walked away and found two chairs in the corner that we could sit in. I was thinking Lilly had about 10 more minutes to call me and ask me for a ride.

I sat down and waited for him to join me. He picked up our two coffees and as he walked toward me to sit down with a huge smile, I fought the urge to push him out the way and run out to my car before anyone came in and recognized me. I imagined what they would say. I saw Nadia today talking to a little person.  She must have been interviewing him for a job! That’s so nice! That’s a good alibi. I thought. Let me cross my leg and put my professional voice on.

Joe takes his seat, hands me his coffee and exclaims how happy he is that I didn’t catfish him. He can’t believe I look just like my pictures. I smile a big toothy smile but a small part of me wonders if there is a hidden camera somewhere capturing my knee shaking as I resist the chance to point out that although his face looks the same as the selfies he sent me, the camera must have added an enlargement detail.

He is good at keeping the conversation geared toward himself and I’m forced to sit through understanding the Keto diet, how he lost 20 pounds in one month by following it and why certain political policies are not bad. My phone finally rings. I’m thrilled to grab it out of my jacket and see Lilly’s name.

Me: Hi!

Lilly: Hey how’s it going?!

Me: Oh really, What time? You need a ride?

Lilly: No! I’m cooking now (ugh I knew she would forget the code)

Me: Yes, don’t worry. I’ll be there soon!

Lilly: Well I’m still cooking. The food won’t be done for another hour!

Me: Ok, bye see you soon!

I hung up before she could talk anymore and ruin my cover. I looked up with a look of disappointment.

“Is everything okay?” The poor fellow eyes me with concern.

“Oh yes that was my best friend. She is going to need a ride later to her mom’s house so I will need to go get her soon.”

“Oh, that’s too bad I was going to invite you to my house and make you some wings in the air fryer. You would love it!”

“Aww, maybe next time! Well at least I have a few more minutes to finish our coffee.”

The next 5 minutes I noticed his knuckles were hairy, his teeth were tiny like they belonged in a 7-year old’s mouth and the first two were pointed toward each other. His size 5 sneaker dangled daintily as he easily crossed his leg while he broke down the latest recipe that he was planning to cook under the Keto diet guidelines (It’s a lifestyle).

Long story short, I got through my pretend job interview by being slightly buzzed, bored and determined to follow through on this coffee date. I gave him a breakdown on why I am not ready for a relationship and how basically I’m just meeting people to hang out with sometimes. He seemed to accept that and understand my explanation for not wanting to make immediate next day plans, but I could tell he would text me later that day.

I gave him a kiss on the cheek and a hug goodbye then breathed a sigh of relief that I had gotten through it without running into anyone or crying. As I drove toward Lilly’s house to eat and hopefully drink a glass of wine, I laughed out loud at the absurd circumstances in my life that brought me to Joe and our “interview” at Starbucks. Dating is going to be brutal. I dread the day that I find someone that I’m attracted to only to watch him take a call from his friend giving him a way out.

I guess the trick to this bullshit is to keep laughing because if I don’t find humor in it, the alternative may be to get stuck in my own mind, become bitter and lose the opportunity to meet someone that just may be what I need in this stage of my life…Nothing is permanent after all. At the very least, I’m inspiring stories and that alone is worth the 30 minutes in Starbucks looking at small teeth as I conversated with an entertaining character.

Update: He text me later that night and the next day and made it clear he was not happy that he noticed I was still logged on to the dating app. Needless to say, I politely wished him well.

~Lyn Melody

Back In The Pool

Going back in the pool.

I have gently alluded to what I’m about to write about in a few blogs.

It’s a tricky thing when you write a blog like this. On one hand I know by sharing there is a chance I may help someone or make someone laugh. On the other hand I am putting a piece of me and sometimes someone else out in the universe.

That is hard enough to do normally but when you are a person who like me is incredibly guarded… let’s just say every week when I submit these I’m surprised by what I share.

However, in this case I have a blessing and strong encouragement so away we go.

So I’m dating again.

Not plural.

Just one person. He was a surprise and the more I get to know him the more I want to know him. I have broken a lot of rules for him and let me just say he is the most patient human.

He also likes to get me to get outside of my comfort zone.

For example eating at a restaurant I normally wouldn’t choose like…

Hooters.

Are you laughing yet?

Maybe rolling your eyes.

Or perhaps raising your fist in solidarity?

Here’s the thing while in college, I had a handful of friends who made quite a living off of working at Hooters. But I just could never see myself eating there.

Until a few weeks ago.

Him: Wanna get dinner tonight?

Me: Yes please

Him: How do you feel about wings?

Me: Love ‘em

Him: See ya at Hooters at 630

Me: (in a squeak…) ok

Him: You will be fine, seriously the food is good.

Me: Sure

I met him in the parking lot and he gave me his normal bear hug and kiss on my forehead. Held my hand and away we went.

As soon as the young ladies at the host stand said Welcome to Hooters… my face. So red.

Here’s the thing.

A couple actually… Hooters now (I’m going to go out on a limb) is decidedly different than the Hooters from my college days. Let’s start with the outfits, there were men working there, families (!) eating there and yes Mommas the wings were really good.

So much so, that when I left with my person I said I would come back, and I would.

But this isn’t really about Hooters.

It’s about stepping outside your comfort zone. It is easy to not try new things because you’re afraid or you believe it may be a certain way. Like for example- dating.

I am not going to tell you dating as a single parent is rough. You know.

I am not going to tell you dating as a woman of a certain age isn’t scary. You know that too.

I am not going to tell you that it’s a lot to put yourself out there after being made to feel like a failure by someone who didn’t deserve you. You know.

What I will tell you …

I am learning there is someone in my life who makes me feel more beautiful at 47 than I ever did at 25. Who asks about my day. Wants to know my G. Can tell when I’m sad. Surprises me. Supports my dreams. Sends me music.

Makes me teary as I write this- because for the first time in a long time I am not afraid to talk about a future. I can actually see it.

And yes, makes me want to break more rules.

I still have a life jacket near the edge of the proverbial pool,but I don’t know Mommas, kinda glad I got some wings at Hooters.

 

<3 Caprise

The Fixer of Broken Boys Part 10: The Guitar Player

The Guitar Player…

After college I dated but no one stuck. I will be honest I was why. I might have still been hung up on Captain of Sport I don’t understand. AlsoI was picky. Silly picky. Maybe unfair picky. I also had a bad habit of stacking the men I was dating. I’m not proud of it but it was not uncommon for me to break up with someone and have someone waiting in the wings.

I was young – I had some pretty set rules to date me. Contrary to popular belief I was a pretty tame dater. Which was not a deterrent.

The guitar player almost wasn’t. I originally was set up with the lead singer of his band who forgot to tell me he had a live in girlfriend. The exact quote “maybe that’s his sister, nope you shouldn’t kiss your sister like that.”

Lead singer is now a famous movie director- you have definitely seen his movies. I stand by my choice.

The night that all went down the guitar player who had never talked to me asked me to hang out with him after their show.

“I just want to know you.”

He had this incredible voice. I have a thing about voices. His is one of my favorites. He also has this smile not smile he does. There are so many things.  Some are too precious to share. Sorry not sorry.

No one had never said that to me. That they want to know me. He meant it. I was shyly grilled for several hours. He was older and I would find out later he and the lead singer played a game of Horse to determine if he could ask me out.

Aww romance.

We would date on and off for two very rough years.

Not because he was a bad guy. But I was not ready for what he brought to the table. I was 22 and trying to find my place in the world dating an incredibly handsome, incredibly talented older man dealing with crippling anxiety.

At that time there was no name for it.

Therapy was limited and the solution was lots of medication.

Our relationship became one where I felt I did all the work. 80% I did. Financially I pulled the weight. Emotionally I pulled the weight. At least it felt that way.

We loved each other.

I still love him. But when you struggle with your own self worth and want what everyone else has it’s hard to hold together a relationship with someone who is t healthy enough to be what you need.

When he could though… and if he had god damn I would have married that man.

But he couldn’t and didn’t.

We gave up.

I gave up.

My heart very broken. Still is  now.

The guitar player will be back- but unfortunately I spend the worst year of my life with the one that should have never been.

~~Caprise
Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

The Fixer of Broken Boys Part 4: The Awkward Years

 Jason quickly took Jack’s place for the remainder of the summer as my poolside cheerleader. He became one of my very first guy friends. I think it is true when people say friendships start out between men and women, boys and girls because someone likes someone. In our case I think we liked the idea of each other but two hangs in we realized we were better friends.

Or it could be because I realized I played for the minors and he played for the majors. Or it could be shortly after he met the most popular girl in our school and she decided she had to have him as hers. When someone who previously didn’t acknowledge your existence suddenly invites them self to your neighborhood pool, it could be because of your hot new guy friend.

It really didn’t matter to me. This is what I knew- Jason was always sweet to my brother and kind to me. Again maybe because Jason had a much older sister he liked the idea of having a little brother. As for me – to this day I don’t know and I don’t care.

He was there when I needed him and was on and off until we were done with high school.

He let me cry when we ran into Jack and that horrible girl at the end of the summer cook out in our neighborhood. Jack looked uncomfortable she held onto him tightly and gloated. Making a point to walk past us more times than warranted.  Jason through my tears kept telling me I would find my way this would not always be how it was.  Other guys would get wise to what he knew.

He was kind of right.

We will get there.

Some side notes.

Jack married that horrible girl immediately after high school and joined the army immediately after the wedding. They are divorced but have a sweet looking daughter who has her Dad’s freckles and brown eyes. Jack wears big cowboy boots, big belt buckles and big cowboy hats. I am pretty sure he is a Republican. So even if we HAD worked out, we WOULD not have worked out.

Jason to his credit remained one of my closest friends until he moved out of state with his family. He also married the popular girl. They also have a beautiful daughter. We talk once in awhile. Jason teases me because he says he lost all his looks as he’s aged and my beautiful insides finally oozed to my outsides. Time has been kind.

Every girl should have a Jason in their life.

I started high school with a broken heart but a hot best friend.

Life didn’t seem too bad.

Except when it did.

Being shy can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gives you that instant out. A curse because you find it extremely hard to be able to hold solid conversations with anyone. Much like Jason – most boys that got to know me loved the fact that I blushed. I think every high school year book I have someone who has written,”I hope that you don’t blush when you get into college.”

Guys I am almost 46 and I still blush. 

The only difference is now people find it endearing. 

Rather than a literal beacon of how uncomfortable I am.

And yes some still like to make me blush. But I like them and they make me happy.

We’ll get there…

Shyness got the best of me my first high school dance. I was really lucky because contrary to what the movie Footloose would have you believe our small town encouraged dances and dancing and even our friends not very good punk bands to have shows.

All of which shockingly my parents encouraged me to attend.

Imagine if you will 15 year old me.

Not even 5 ft tall. Maybe 85 pounds. An attempt at mall hair. Stirrup pants and a baggy sweatshirt. Awkward. So very awkward. But I had those family doe eyes.

Standing with a group of my equally shy, equally awkward, equally smart baby posse of girlfriends we waited together until the right song came one. Shy girls still love to dance and it was when we all let go. We didn’t care and honestly we didn’t need to. We were good dancers and we had so much fun. 

While waiting for an excruciatingly long slow to end. I caught him staring at me. He was a senior and the quarterback on our football team. There was absolutely no way he was staring at me.

Yet he was. Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me came on and my friends squealed and started dragging me out on the dance floor. He came and stood in front of my group. We all froze.

“Hey, what’s your name?” “ME?!” “Yes.” “Are you sure?!” “Nice to meet you are you sure.”

He chuckled and walked away with his cronies.

My first week on the gymnastic team I had to go to the Senior hallway to give my team older sister a good luck flower. He saw me and yelled out “Hey are you sure?” I blushed. “You look more like a little monchichi to me” 

There are worse nicknames a girl can have.

Trust me – we’ll get there.

Aww man will we ever.

Side note time: Big popular football player went onto have a pretty successful college career and marry a woman who would have an incredibly successful career as a writer. Not me, sillies. We did cross paths a few years ago. I am waiting in an airport to fly to see my person and I hear a guy yell “Monchichi” 

Oh god no. There he was. Time I think is kind to people who are kind and he was a kind man. I knew it was him immediately. After the world’s clumsiest hug. I’m still short, so hugging a 6ft 3in man is tricky. “Monchichi! You glowed up girl”

Thanks. “How are you?” “Good – off to meet the wife at one of her book stops. I always liked the shy, smart girls. Lucky for me she knew her name when I asked her. And you? Wait a minute – you’re with that guy. The one…”

Oh no my friends.

Not yet.

As they say. You have to work for it.

Whether he knew it or not that very 80’s nickname guaranteed for quite awhile that my high school years were not too horrible. He had given me the gift of coolness. All because I was too shy to say my own name.

I also still lived in a neighborhood full of mostly boys. Who I got stuck carpooling with daily. I spent the first two years of high school wading through girls who really liked me or just liked me to get closer to those boys who I carpooled with. While again that odd relationship made sure I didn’t have any issues in high school. It also prevented any boy who might be interested in me or vice versa from asking. It’s hard to ask a girl anything when she is constantly surrounded by Motley Crue wannabes. It is also hard to be interested in a boy when said wannabes enjoy yelling out open car windows the name of your latest crush.

You learn fast to keep that information to yourself.

Don’t feel sorry for me though ok?

I did go to all the important dances.

Homecoming. Check

Twerp. Check

Prom. Check

Unfortunately I ended up getting a huge crush on my Twerp/Homecoming date. Who I found out later only asked me because he was the emcee, needed a date and knew as his buddy I’d say yes.

You win some you loose some.

I feel lucky in that I never experienced the angst and heartbreak in high school that my friends around me seemed to.

This might be because my parents were extremely honest about  their situation. Graduated high school in June, married in October, baby in November. I am not great at Math but…

Besides I had the eyes on the prize.  I was going to college. Away. No one was going to mess that up.

Except someone almost did and it isn’t even who you would think.

A caveat to going to college was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it. My Dad worked in a factory. My Mom was a waitress. What I wouldn’t find out until months ago is they’re still paying off my third heart surgery well into my 20’s.

Which meant money was tight. The minute I could make money babysitting. I started doing that when I was 11. When I turned 16 I got a work permit and immediately started working in the same restaurant as my Mom. My poor zoo date worked there too. We will get there. I had a really small nest egg started. A thousand dollars. Which at that time and honestly even now was a lot. 

Not long after getting my acceptance letter.

Side note: I got into every college I applied for. Why I settled on Whitewater, the world will never know. This one could have been learning about marine biology in Hawaii. I am part hippie after all. Insert smirky emoji here.

I get a frantic phone call from one of my friends.

“Caprise I’m pregant and I don’t know what to do.”

I met my friend at McDonalds- her mascara running down her face. “The guy won’t help me. I can’t tell my family. You can’t tell your family” 

I’m going to take a pause here. Normal world that statement would cause me to tell my parents. However my world and my relationship with my parents was tight to say the least.  

“What can I do?” “I need your college money.”

I didn’t mean to but I started crying. 

“Caprise I will pay you back, please you have to help me.”

I would like to tell you she would pay me back. I would like to tell you from there on out money was never a constant point of contention. I would like to tell you when my ex husband kicked me out of our paid off house making $75k a year and me making $8.50/hr and with a  21/2 year old and no insurance and nothing.

Please guys, it is ok. This works out. It really does. I will tell you how. But first how about that infamous zoo date?

His name was Charlie. He legit looked like Opie from Andy Griffith and was about to start college at a Baptist college. So many things that did not check the boxes for me. The story goes my Mom who BTW not only forbid me to eat sugar (bad teeth) would not allow me to have a boyfriend. Yes a few brave souls tried. However, when the story got out about how my Dad broke his ankle running down icy stairs to go beat the shit out of two neighborhood boys  who called me a series of unfortunate names and later pulled the stitches out of his hernia chasing after a peeping Tom… let’s just say I am just as surprised as you I went to any dances with boys.

There were times in not too far from then I wished my Dad was around. But he wasn’t.

I am not sure if we will get there.

Back to the story. My Mom worried about me going away to college wasn’t sure I would know how to go on an actual date. Asked her waiters/hosts if someone would take me out. Later I would find out the one I wanted to take me out offered and was told no. 

We WILL get to him later.

Sweet. Kind. Very holy Charlie said yes. I still don’t know if Mom paid him and honestly I really, truly don’t want to know. He picked me up we went to the zoo, it was fun, I tore my pants getting out of his car. Nothing really great. 

Charlie to his credit is still very sweet, still very kind and is the Deacon at some church down South. His wife is also a red head and they have four equally lovely red headed children.

We are about to enter my college years. Which means yes I figured it out. Not without some help. 

I think every person deserves a champion. Several if possible. Mine came in the form of my Dad’s parents. Who lived down South which to this day seems like a foreign country and home at the same time.  They have supported me my whole life. The first time I got drunk was with my Grandmother. I was 16 and we were on a cruise. We had docked on some Caribbean island I was in a room with them. She introduced me to rum and cokes. She also was the one who told me about sex. Not at the same time. Later that summer before I went to college over several glasses of red wine.

Before you judge don’t. She was amazing and I am crying while I type this and I can’t put into words how many times in the last 10 years I wish I could have called Duchess Three Sheets to the Wind. Princess Running Mascara misses you so much.

Heartbreak number four…

My Grandparents made sure I went to college. Ever since I was little they have made sure there are pockets of time where it is just us. I sometimes think it is so they can check up on my parents. When I was 2 they had to intervene to prevent me from living on a commune. I think to this day they still don’t trust them. 

So every visit they would take me somewhere just us. Sometimes out for food, sometimes shopping, sometimes fishing but just us three and we would talk.  Before they could even ask I started sobbing. I told them about my friend borrowing from my college fund. How it happened more than once. Now you know too. My Grandfather clicked his bridge. His tell as I call it when he had something to say but wouldn’t. My Grandma hugged me and said we will help. 

They did. I still graduated with student loans but I think I only had to use laundry money a few times for party money. I did work during college but luckily and thanks to my Grandparents it wasn’t as much as some of my friends. 

To this day my Grandfather finds time for just us. The conversations are sometimes harder. Sometimes they aren’t. Lately he is particularly interested in a certain young man in my life. Although in your 40’s it is pretty funny and fantastic to have your Grandfather ask how is that young man of yours in my most favorite voice.

I am smiling as I type this…..

`Caprise
Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

Dating Safely Series-Part 4: Meeting Up For Dates

This is the final article in the four part series on dating online safely.  In the previous articles we decided we are ready to date online, and we decided to put our safety first.  We learned to keep our private information private, and we put in the effort to qualify persons of interest.  Now that we have weeded out obvious unsavory attention we can feel much better about meeting an individual in person.  However, even though we did qualify this person, any person can behave well for a short period of time to get what they want.  So we are going to put in the effort to ensure we choose a safe first date.

  1. Prep an Excuse to Leave

Make a list of a few reasons to leave in a hurry and make the decision

to use them, if necessary.  Give yourself permission to trust, respect and take action on your gut instinct.  Refrain from talking yourself out of it if you feel uncomfortable.  If something doesn’t feel right, it’s most often because it’s not.  If you leave and don’t feel safe, drive to a police station instead of going straight home.

 

  1. Check in with a Trusted Friend

Be sure to keep a trusted (and capable) person in the loop about when and where and how long you expect to be on a date.  Let them when you are on your way and again when you leave safely.  Also, talk to this person about the individuals you are choosing to date.  Sharing with trusted friends our observations, feelings and experiences makes it more unlikely that we will be able to miss or accept unacceptable behavior.

 

  1. Meet at a Public Location

They may have a beautiful house on the lake or offer to take you somewhere secluded and romantic but insist on a public first meeting.  Even though we have qualified this person, nothing takes the place of that initial gut feeling when meeting someone for the first time.  Remember and respect that first feeling, for any person you meet, ever.  Whether you drive or take an Uber, be sure to have a quick getaway planned for an emergency.

 

  1. Take a Self Defense Class

Self defense training is something that is best when taken regularly, at least annually.  These are skills that are to be developed.  Find a class that addresses situational awareness, avoidance and defensive communication skills.  If you have Krav Maga nearby, go with that.  If you are limited to police, dojos or community centers then take them all as they cover different approaches and perspectives.  If possible, a female instructor is ideal.

 

  1. Carry a Personal Safety Device

A tool that you are unwilling to use is a useless tool, so don’t bother if you don’t see yourself using it.  Take the time to look into local laws (as well as practicability) as a salesperson will often sell you anything.  You can call the police department or a defense attorney with questions.  There is no perfect tool, only the tool that is right for you.  Get training in anything you choose to carry, especially retention – even if you think it’s unnecessary.

Stay Safe!

 

Carrie Conrad

***

Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at

Dating Safely Series-Part 3: Potential Qualifying Pursuers

So we are dating online.  We made the decision to make safe choices.  We are prepared to keep our private information private.  Now we are ready to start interacting with – hopefully – available and worthwhile potential mates.  However, we treat every single person as the complete stranger that they really are.  Unsafe and abusive people are often easily picked out once you know what you are looking for.  Take the time to qualify persons of interest before allowing yourself to become vulnerable or emotionally invested.

 

  1. Know What You Want

Making a list of what is negotiable and not negotiable in a potential partner will greatly improve safety.  If you are open to everything you may accept anything. Take the time to think about it and become willing to reject unwanted attention immediately.  Prep a generic response like,

“I don’t want to waste your time. We aren’t compatible based on my needs.  Good luck!”

Absolutely no explanation or response is helpful or required after rejection of a candidate that falls into the “Not Negotiable” category.

 

  1. Use Generic Responses

When answering questions, use the already planned out generic responses and pay attention to reactions.  Multiple questions about you may be genuine curiosity, but if a person is not accepting or is prying or you feel uncomfortable, that’s a red flag.  A normal person will be willing to be patient while you build trust before giving out private details.  Belittling, challenging or insulting blatantly shows you they are not respectful and is a sign they are potentially unsafe.

 

  1. Share Your Feelings

Share your feelings to see how they respond.  Be disagreeable at least once.  It doesn’t have to be intentional; an organic opportunity should present itself at some point.  A person who tells another they are wrong for feelings or that they should feel differently is disrespectful.  Please note when a person is insulting or belittling of your thoughts or feelings.  There are safe people who can be disrespectful, or it could also be a sign that they may be an abusive partner.

 

  1. Trying Saying No

If you have been turning down unwanted attention, then you may have already noticed some are not accepting of being told “No.”  Every explosive response is a bullet dodged.  Any person who discredits, discounts, argues or sidesteps your “no” is risky, too.  Be sure that the people you are messaging and potentially interested in have the same opportunity to show their true colors, too.  This is another time where we are paying attention to their reaction.

 

  1. Recognize Risky Behavior

There are typical and telling methods used to keep a potential victim from recognizing survival signals – like discomfort, concern, worry, apprehension.  If someone you just met seems too nice, too generous or if they give way too much information or offer a loan, take note and think about how you feel.  When someone challenges your character or willingness to take risk, pay attention.  Note the mention of violence or physical safety, especially offering a promise of safety, and even in jest.  No matter what, trust your gut.

 

Stay Safe!

 

Carrie Conrad

***

Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at