Friday, December 14, 2007

Not Settling

So I made a friend.

Hurrah! And in the course of talking with this new friend (whose middle name I have yet to learn) I started to realize that single life issues -- Milwaukee/Chicago/wherever don't change.

Over late night slices of pizza, New Friend was talking about being 30 and single. She said she would love to have a boyfriend, but was struggling with a prejudice she admittedly brought to the dating table.

She didn't want to date somebody who'd been divorced or had children.

New Friend herself had never been married. She's very attractive, went to a great college, landed a good job in Chicago and has an all-around friendly and open personality.

Can't I get a guy who hasn't been down all those roads already? she asked.

Sorry to everybody out there who's divorced and with kids, I know this is probably not fun to read. But then, I'm sure it's something you're very familiar with -- there's definitely a rift between the single-never-been-marrieds and the singles familiar with the big D or kiddies.

In some ways I can relate to New Friend's concerns. I've dated someone with a child and I remember telling him early on that I was sad that his ex got the best of him: his youth, the first vacations, the first time he got to be told he was going to be a father, the first exciting baby steps, the first well, everything.

He assured me that it wasn't as romantic as I was imagining. And that he had learned so much from going through all that which made him better this time around.

In the end, he was right and it worked out for several years after.

That said, I can definitely see where New Friend is coming from when she says she just wants to try dating someone in her exact situation -- 30, no child support, no burned wedding albums -- before diving into the other pool.

I suppose some people are going to take issue with this prejudice, especially in Milwaukee, where it seems like many people settle down early and thus the chances of meeting someone who's been there, done that, are more likely.

But I hafta say, I like my New Friend's honesty. Maybe this'll be the start of a beautiful relationship between her and me.


deanna said...

I used to have the same philosophy as "new friend" and for the same reasons you mention. you said, living in Milwaukee makes the small pool that much smaller- so I have since opened up the criteria.
I have also found that those things wont seem like such a big deal when you meet the right person.
congrats on "new friend"

Michael said...

I can say your friend has a right to feel that way. I was ready to marry someone...we dated since highschool (8years!!) and at the end it all fell apart. I am now dating a younger woman who is being 27 have "been down those roads." I am not divorced nor do i have any children but i am very placid when it comes to somethings that are new and exciting to my new sweetheart. I know our ages are a factor but if you love someone than as John Lennon said..."Love is all you need."

Hope the Job is going well and congrats on the new friend.

Meg said...

Congrats on the new friend!

I do have to say that while NF has the right to feel that way about dating, if she's already in her 30s ... she might have to open her options up a bit. At least about divorced guys.

If a divorced guy doesn't have children, how is that so much different from dating a guy who lived with a girlfriend long-term?

I'm planning my second wedding now, and while T has some input, he's really not involved at the level I am. My ex was involved even less. Any woman who's been a bridesmaid is, I think, more involved in the wedding planning than most grooms.

So, I understand why NF doesn't want to consider being a step-mom quite yet, but no divorced guys? To me, that's as silly as saying you'd not want to date a guy who's owned his own home/condo, because you want to go through the joys of first-time homeownership together. You know, since *you* don't know what it takes, *you* don't want to be with someone who does. I think both things potentially show that a guy can be responsible and committed, but that's just me.

Adam said...

Very sketchy situation dating a divorcee and/or a single mom. On one hand you are stuck due to the shallow dating pool of the Midwest on the other hand the baggage that accompanies the situation can be mindboggling. Congratulations on meeting a new friend and good luck in the "big city;"

DarkHorse said...

I think this issue is even more interesting to look at in the vein of online dating and pictures of single-guy-with-kids-and-possibly-divorced.

Recently, a friend told me about Plenty of Fish, so I decided to try out the no-pressure, no-frills site. Plus, I like that it's run by just one geeky dude out of his apartment, in, I don't know, Brooklyn or something.

This being my first time poking around an online dating site, I was first amazed by how many men don't take the time to have a decent picture taken of themselves.

A professional photo, or at least one that hasn't been modified to cut out the other people in the picture or taken at arm's length, is so much more attractive to women. Like wearing nice clothes on a first date, it shows that you took the time to make yourself look presentable.

But what really makes me scratch my head are the photos of single men with their children. And more of them and their children. On the one hand, it's nice to see a father who cares, and, obviously, this little spawn is now very much a part of that single person's life. But as a 26-year-old-single-never-been-married-or-had-kids, I'm inclined to wrinkle my nose and move on to someone else. Just like that. Click.

Perhaps I need to be more open-minded, but I feel that if you're searching for a relationship, highlight YOU before you highlight YOU + CHILD to your single female audience.

I can identify with New Friend's prejudice, I just don't know if it's something I should try to change.