If there is one thing that is pretty obvious about me is that I am an anxious person. Hopefully, I don’t come across like that too much in person. I’d like to seem like a fairly average guy irl. Calm enough to get things done, but authentically interested in other people. The truth is? I’m almost always freaking out in my own head. Those who read my journal space regularly are probably extraordinarily aware of that by now. But it is something I feel I need to own.
And for the last 8 years, there has been no single greater anxiety inducing thing than my marriage. Working my ass off to try to find a way to make it work. She’s miserable and depressed and angry and furious and unkind? I can get a different job, I can move us somewhere else, I can provide whatever lifestyle she wants. And it was never enough to fix the marriage. So I stopped trying. And she didn’t start trying. And after 8 years, I decided… it is time I put that level of work into me. If she wants to belittle my sexual curiosities; ignore my emotional needs; and reject physical intimacy even down to a pat on the back… then I needed to move on. And I made the decision to tell her we’re getting separated. I guess not surprisingly, almost immediately after that discussion… she decided to try to to be many of the things that I had been asking of her for the last 8 years. She isn’t doing it maliciously. She may not even be doing it consciously. There is every reason to suspect that she is simply acting out of a desire to preserve her status quo.
Knowing that intellectually does not prevent the emotional anxiety surrounding it. Especially as I consider “the next steps.” You see, I’ll admit to my weakness. One of the reasons that it took me so long to finally (essentially) stand up for myself was the fear that I would not be able to… I don’t know how to say it. Find other experiences? Free myself of my own bullshit? Ultimately… I worry that in attempting to find someone to “love me like I deserve”, I’ll only end up more alone.
And so I have already begun experimenting and attempting to discover how to… maybe… find those other experiences. OKCupid, Tinder, FetLife, Bumble, Zoosk, Plenty of Fish. Curiously poking around on the internet. And do you know what I’ve found? I’m woefully ill-equipped and unprepared. Between the scams, the bots, the catfish… how do you sort it all? Then add in the lingering elements of pay versus free. I’ve kept FREE on everything because I’ve not reached a point in my journey where I’m willing to throw money around. But the results? Less than stellar.
Bumble? Love the idea behind it. The world is too full of women being taken advantage of and abused and… shit, I see it every day in my job. So a dating app where the women get to make the first move? At least in theory, that should make them feel… safer? Or at least less likely to get unsolicited dick pics, that’s for sure! But Bumble? Not a peep.
Zoosk? Whole program dedicated to demanding money. Sure go ahead and swipe to your heart’s content; but if you want to communicate at all, that’s going to cost you money.
Tinder? I’m guessing my problem is that I’m over 30. After all, the theory of Tinder, as I understand it, is that if two people match, they can communicate. Well… I’m guessing nobody is matching with me because I haven’t been able to communicate at all. Unless, of course, it is another one of those fun little “money” schemes. Whereby if I pay Tinder money, they’ll “suddenly find” all these opportunities to communicate that weren’t there before.
OKCupid? Actually had a few hits on that. Clearly bots and scam hits, though. Tragically. People whose location says “California” or answer questions with nonsensical responses. Certainly doesn’t give me much hope there.
And lastly POF. I was under the impression that POF was a free service that would be “positively enhanced” by payments. I was apparently wrong as the “free services” feel more restrictive than helpful.
In short… I rather miss the old idea. Have a group of friends… those friends help you navigate the “dating scene”… you have questions or troubles, you talk to your friends… and the world continues. Trying to navigate dating and sexual exploration and trying to figure out who I am romantically and sexually while going through this separation..... I don’t know. It’s starting to feel like a bit much. Not so much that I’m giving serious doubts to the separation but.... doubts enough that I can hear the little voice suggesting that it would have been a lot easier if I hadn’t bothered.