This week’s blog post is a guest post, written by NG, on getting back into “the game” after a divorce:
When I rejoined the ranks of singles at the age of 38 due to divorce, I turned to internet dating. I was astonished to find that options that I had thought would be unavailable were being offered on a silver platter. Want a marriage-minded guy? There’s a site for that. Want a large family? Need someone who shares your love of Worlds of Warcraft? Ditto.
And I discovered something interesting. When I first dated in my mid 20’s, it was a given that the women were looking to settle down, to start families. The guys I dated in my 20’s were looking to move ahead in their careers, upgrade their cars and have a good time. This time around, it was the opposite. There were scores of men, to paraphrase Beyonce, lining up to put a ring on it.
I was amazed to read profile after profile that said the man in question was looking for someone to:
- start a family
- share hobbies and fitness activities
- be ready for a committed relationship/marriage
- share nights at home after he cooks dinner
- be willing to potentially be a parent to his kids
At first I just thought that guys were just writing profiles with what they believed women wanted to hear. But the sheer volume of guys saying the same things in different ways, on different sites, for long periods of time convinced me otherwise.
On one hand, I see this as a hopeful sign, that we are transcending the social limits of the past to create individuated, non gender based social roles. On the other hand, why were these guys in such a freakin’ hurry to get married? Or at least nail down a commitment in some way?
After a few months, I quit the dating site. I realized I had more work to do before I was willing to share my time and self with someone else. But I did take away a valuable idea.
In spite of being in multiple committed relationships or marriages, these men had pursued educations, careers, had children, bought cars or homes over the course of their relationships. Although I cannot imagine that there was no compromise in those relationships, it seems evident that in their opinion, it was an acceptable (even profitable) ratio of loss to benefit. What those men seem to have done was compromise on what they were willing to offer, but not on their self. Somehow they retained the parts that made them who they were and are.
The idea that none of us has to compromise our self for a committed relationship (or marriage) is a good one. It’s something I didn’t know how to do when I was married. Many of the limits I had in my marriage were self-imposed, based on my willingness to give up what I wanted, needed and believed.
That’s the great thing about relationships. They help you be a better version of who you really are.
An interesting stance. Comment, anyone? Is this true: Do relationships help you be a better version of who you really are?