I have several tips that I give to all people that are thinking of dipping their toes into the online dating waters. First and foremost would be that you need to be ready. It is perfectly normal to have a long-relationship or marriage in your past but, before you inflict yourself on the dating public, you need to be emotionally ready to move on. My next date, Richard, is a perfect example of someone that had no business being anywhere near a dating website.
Last summer, Richard emailed me to say hello and that he liked my profile. He was definitely intriguing. He was tall, well-built, lived in a cool neighborhood in Seattle, managed a busy IT department at a local company and seemed well-read and intelligent. He did have two young kids but, as I got older, I was becoming more accepting of guys with children. I didn’t want to have any of my own but, just for the sake of odds, I was warming up to the idea of them at least being around.
We had written each other a couple of times and Richard suggested that we meet for dinner at a spot near Pike Place Market. I very much approved of his restaurant selection so a date was set. We both walked in at the same time which was a tad awkward but I didn’t care because he was very, very attractive. Very. Richard was nattily dressed, as bald as he had promised and tall. I was excited before we even got to the table.
Dinner and drinks were excellent and Richard proved himself to be very knowledgeable about food and cocktails. I liked him more every second. We discussed work, our favorite places to eat and drink, vacations and, very briefly, his kids. They both had French names (I smelled a wee bit of pretension) and were in advanced level classes at their schools. Richard told me some stories about them both and they sounded like they just might be adorable. We finished our meal and, not wanting it end, I suggested that we get a drink at a bar at the bottom of the Market.
As we were sitting down, it suddenly occurred to me that I had not asked, and Richard had offered, no details at all about the mother of his children – the ex-wife – and where he was living. Once we had our cocktails and I had some more liquid courage, I asked if Richard and she lived close to each other so as to make the transfer of kids easier. As soon as I brought her up I saw him kind of squirm in his seat and my stomach just sank. I had a feeling I was not going to like this story. “Well,” he said, “we haven’t sold the house yet so I am kind of living in the same place with her still but it is a lot of square feet.” Whaaaaat? What? I didn’t even know what to say.
I took another drink and tried to regain my composure. Screw it – I was just going to ask what I wanted to know. The date seemed to be crashing to the ground anyway. I asked him if it was hard sharing living space, however big, with someone that you were no longer romantic with. “It really isn’t that bad, “Richard responded, “except when she won’t turn the television off when I want to go to sleep. I cannot deal with any kind of noise when I am trying to fall asleep.” I looked at his face to see if he was joking but, oh, he was not.
I could tell that he immediately realized the mistake in what he just said. “I am sorry, Richard, but are you telling me that you and your ex still sleep in the same bed?”, I asked, aghast. He admitted that, yes, yes they did because their house was limited in bedrooms and it wasn’t like they were having sex. He started to explain more but I cut him off. I told him that our date was officially over and that, as a favor, I was going to give him some advice and not just leave.
I told him that he had no business even going out on dates until he at least slept in a different bed and, really, at another house. How was he going to have a girl over? Were we all going to share a bed or sit and have dinner together? Was any woman going to be ok knowing that, at night, the last thing that Richard saw before he closed his eyes was his ex-wife? No, no, no, no. No girl that he would be interested in would be cool with that and was just setting himself up to be hurt.
Richard looked like he was going to cry and I felt a little bad. He seemed to have no clue that things needed to be a lot more ‘done’ before he started going out on dates. I stood up, shook his hand and told him that I wished him luck. The next day, Richard emailed to tell me that he had just signed a lease on a new apartment and was moving in the next week. Wow. Wow. It seemed that my pep talk had really worked. He asked if he could have another chance with me – he was totally smitten, he said – and I agreed, after he had moved into his new place.
Richard contacted me the next week and asked if I would meet him for a drink at a bar near his new place. How could I say no? The guy had moved for me! I agreed. Richard was sitting at the bar when I walked up and he looked a bit…uncomfortable. Lord. What now? I sat down next to him and proceeded to get the biggest stink-eye in the world from the girl behind the bar. She walked right over, looked at Richard and said, “Where is Lori?” He looked like he wanted to die and I already sensed his answer. “Uh, I moved out last week.” The waitress walked off in a huff and Richard proceeded to explain to me that this was a bar that he and his ex had come to all of the time, even once they got divorced, so everyone knew the two of them as a couple.
I don’t believe in violence so I just stood up, patted Richard on the back, wished him good luck and left. I am nice but not that nice. Really? Of all of the hundreds of bars in Seattle, this clown had to take me into the one where everyone looked at me like I was some kind of harlot? He really just had no idea what he was doing. It was pretty clear he was nowhere near done dealing with his split and really not ready at all to be swimming in the dating pool. I hope that he was able to get out before he drowned.