Being a woman in my forties, I’ve certainly been through the trenches of dating warfare. And I’m proud to now be at a place, where I am confident making decisions about my life, and specifically with dating. I’m comfortable because I’ve had the experiences; negative and positive, which have afforded me with wisdom. Instead of looking for my knight in shining armor, I now consider, experience and my brains to be my knights in shining armor.
Speaking about new dating experiences; I was chatting the other day with one of my co-workers. She is newly divorced, still in her 20’s, and I can sense the self-consciousness coming from the doubts she is having about a new man. It was like looking in a mirror of me when I was in my twenties. I definitely don’t come from the perspective that I want a man to be my knight and shining armor to come and save me from this mundane life of mine, which was a different perspective that I had when I was in my twenties. I really did want to find that guy, get married, stay at home with my kids and live happily ever after. God, the universe, my selfish desires, we all had other plans though.
She’s been heavily flirting via email and text, with a former co-worker from her past. She worked with him a few years ago, she knew he was married and had two kids, but was hoping he was single at this time. She reached out to him to say hi and ever since he’s been texting her and had even asked her out to a dinner date, which he cancelled last minute (red flag #1). Oprah taught me this: People show you who they are the first time. This guy is cancelling a first date and that is not a good sign. She assumed he may have gotten a divorce, but neither he nor she, has said anything about marriage or divorce. (Red flag #2) Not asking specific questions so you know the whole truth about someone you are interested in right away. This should have come up in the first conversation. She hasn’t asked, and he hasn’t given up anything about his wife or his marriage. They have been in a frenzy of texting the last week and living in ambiguity. She told me he texts her constantly at all times, and so this must mean he is single. She is hoping their marriage is dead, and of course she loves the attention. One day, he shows up at our office, unannounced to surprise her, and she sees that he’s wearing his wedding ring. He continues flirting with her, giving her attention, and said he came to the office because he wanted to make sure she put her new license plates on her car so she wouldn’t forget. Clearly, something a very interested suitor would do. This is great, if he was sincere. Everyone else in the office, but my co-worker can see this.
When he’s gone we ask her, “Did he say anything about the marriage????” She said no, because she still hasn’t asked.
This is a don’t ask, don’t tell relationship right now.
He then tells her that they will go out to dinner soon. (Red Flag #3) He’s giving her hope, but not asking her out with a specific time and date. She is now saying, well if, we go out, then I will ask him about the ring, because right now, everything he’s done so far I can chalk up to friendship. (Red Flag #4) trying to convince yourself of an idea, not living in reality.
Our whole office, which consists of women urge her to ask him about the wedding ring and how things are going with his wife. She is wavering and smiling at us because she feels awkward asking something so personal to him. Women do this all the time. Sacrifice our own dignity for a man that isn’t worth it.
We shower her with women empowerment messages, “Put him on the hot seat, because he should be the one feeling awkward. He should be embarrassed because if he is married he shouldn’t be acting like he’s single.”
She finally, decides to ask him.
He answers with a proud, “Yes, I’ve been married for 7 years, 5 months, 25 days, 6 hours, and 24 minutes, why?” (Like he’s so in love he records every minute)
He then assumes the position of, “OMG, have I led you down the wrong path? I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you fall for me.” He didn’t actually say those exact words, but that’s what he meant.
She texts him with a, “Wow, If I’d known you were married I wouldn’t be texting and talking with you so much.”
He answered “I thought we were going to be besties?”
She just text him back with a “Bye!”
I said to her, “Don’t you feel powerful now, that you know the truth?” She just said she felt sad. And I know that pain. The pain of believing everyone is supposed to be honest and good, and your hopes just fall to the floor. But wouldn’t you hate to be that guy’s wife?
By getting to the truth, she just saved herself from a rotten person, and she is just that much closer to finding the right guy out there for her, and she will, because she is an awesome person and any guy would be lucky to have her.
What I now know: when dating, get to the truth by asking questions, lots of them. Listening to your instincts will help you figure out the red flags. There is no point with wasting your time with someone who doesn’t give you the right answers in the beginning.
Funny, how dating when you’re young can be such a fools paradise…..It’s great in a lot of ways, because you want to believe in a fantasy, but I like where I am now, with my feet on the ground and my knight and shining armor of brains and experience, protecting me and keeping me safe and sound.
Do you have a similar story of a time when you never asked the right questions of someone you were dating?