I wouldn’t date me if I were a woman.
I hope that doesn’t come across in a “woe is me” sort of way. It is just a statement of fact based on how I have changed over the last 11 years since my divorce. Some changes just kind of happened and others arose out of conscious thought. Whatever the reason I am comfortable with the person I have become but that is someone that is not great relationship material.
As I am prone to do in my INTJ way I generally look inside myself for insights first but then see if those “truths” are held by other men. I have found a lot of men that agree with me, particularly those about my age and especially if they have gone through a divorce. The exceptions are those men with anxious attachment styles who just jump from one relationship to another. I don’t understand those kind of men anyway so my comments won’t apply to them.
With that said, here is my list of truths.
1. We judge a relationship by how complicated it will make our lives. Although we can remember romantic love, to most of us it is just kind of confusing. Besides, it is not a driving force for being with someone. If it looks like our lives are going to be more complicated by being with someone instead of being single we might just stay single. I had an ex-girlfriend once that told me one afternoon, after a full morning of shopping with her, that I could watch a football game but that I couldn’t watch a football game and look at my iPad at the same time. In addition, I would only be “allowed” to pick one football game per week to watch. I am not crazy about being allowed to do certain things.
2. Closely related, but slightly different, is that we don’t want to have to work too hard at a relationship. If a woman is high maintenance or needy in some way, and in general just wants a a lot of attention, we will eventually run for the hills at some point. I read an article once written by a woman complaining about dating older men that was particularly telling. I apologize that I can’t remember where I read the article or who the author was, but I do remember that she asked the man on the first date what he would bring to the relationship. His prompt reply was “not very much” which is something that I could see myself saying if for no other reason than to be contrary!
3. We need a lot of space. After being divorced 11 years I have gone from a married / relationship mentality to a single mentality. I am now much more used to doing what I want when I want. It is harder to make compromises. We are also more interested in maintaining our own physical space and living separately from a relationship partner. In Great Britain this is called LAT, living apart together, and it sure sounds attractive to me and other men, and also to some women I know.
4. It is harder for us to be “all in” like we were when we were married. Any man that has gone through a divorce is not excited about getting married again. Also, and this is probably a bigger deal with me than with other men, but we sure don’t want to blend families. We like our lives to be compartmentalized.
So there you have it. Depending on your perspective you can either be thinking that with age comes wisdom or that I am a cynical old man. It is hard to tell for sure. I still have hope though that someday I will find a free thinking, introverted, independent and space needing woman who would be happy with some kind of non-binding but bonding spiritual ceremony in the forest. I just don’t want to have to work too hard looking for her.