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Aug 29

Why dating in your 30s is hard

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 in dating, Kat, Men, Relationships, Women

As Sara and I browsed the Union Street boutiques searching for the perfect Little Black Dress for her niece’s wedding in a few weeks, we couldn’t help but overhear two attractive 30-something blondes nearby. Their conversation sounded eerily familiar to ones Sara and I had had ourselves not too long ago.

“I swear, I just don’t get dating anymore. It’s impossible to be what guys are looking for. You’re screwed if you’re too direct because then you’re come off as cold. If you’re too aloof, you’ll seem like a bitch but if you’re too eager then you’re too needy,” one lamented.

“You’re so right.”

“Plus, you can’t talk about your ex-boyfriends because you’ll sound bitter, but you can’t talk about the future either because then it’s like you’re fishing around for commitment or something,” she continued.     

“It’s nothing like when we were in our 20s!”

“But, we’re not even old!”

“I know but it feels like it. Like that guy I went out with last week, you know? When I told him I was 34, it was like I could see him doing the baby momma math on me — ‘Well, if we start dating now, then get engaged and married, it will be about two or three years and we’ll have to have a baby right away because she’ll be too old and I’m not ready yet.’ It’s depressing!”

Wow — even I was getting depressed listening to them! Now, when Sara and I were bemoaning dating post-divorce, we were in our 40s, fresh out 15-year marriages, and moms. We were not baby-making machines anymore. We already had kids, and most of the guys who were interested in dating us were mostly divorced and had kids, too; the guys our age who didn’t were looking for younger women, not us (well, except for a hookup). Coordinating custody schedules was challenging, and single parenting and working full time was exhausting!

Still, I remember thinking how much easier it might be to find love again if I had gotten divorced in my 30s, not my 40s. Listening to the blondes, however, I’m realizing that may not be the case.

But, the young blonde (yes, 34 is young!) was right — once you’re out of your 20s, dating is an entirely different beast. Dating in your 30s gets a lot more complicated because of kids — either you have them, which limits your dating ability; you don’t have them but you want them, which puts you on a tight time-track for fertility; you don’t have them and you don’t want them, but you may have to reject a lot of good guys who do want to have kids; or you have them and you want more of them, which, again, means you may be facing fertility issues.

Whoever said kids put a strain on a marriage has no idea how hard it is to date with or without kids as a 30-something!

All of which means — you better enjoy dating in your 20s because if will never be as carefree and fun or offer as many options again! Ever. OK, that’s not fair; I had fun dating post-divorce and, after all, I met Sean in my mid-40s and that’s been very great. A few of my middle-aged friends have met great guys and women, too (although none has remarried). But, let’s face it — dating when you’re older is really, really different, especially if you’re looking for a relationship and not just casual sex. And sometimes, it downright sucks.

What’s your dating story at your age?

Photo © Angelika Bentin –

Aug 8

Dealing with the ex for better or worse

Posted on Monday, August 8, 2011 in dating, Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, Parenting, Relationships, single dads, single moms

“You won’t believe who I ran into the other day,” Sara said as we stood in line to board the ferry to the Giants game.

“I hope someone worth running into, like Lincecum or whatever actor’s filming somewhere around here.”

“No, someone much more interesting — Todd’s ex.”

Todd’s the OkCupid guy Sara’s still sweet on and vice versa.

“Oooh, what’s she like?”

“Nothing like I thought she’d be like, which, of course, is all based on what Todd told me about her. She’s not at all psycho. She actually seemed like she could kick back a cosmo or two with us, you know? I like her.” 

There are a few weird experiences when you’re divorced — meeting your ex’s new love, having your new love meet your kids, meeting your new love’s kids, and meeting your new love’s ex.

I always listen to a guy talk about his ex with a grain of salt — there’s his version of the truth, her version and then “the truth,” which is likely some mash-up of his truth and hers.

Of course, some exes truly are total nightmares and they can ruin a budding love affair, as Sara discovered when she fell in love with Jeff many months ago but ended it because she couldn’t imagine a future with Jeff and his psycho ex. What happens, though, if you kind of like his ex and he still feels negatively toward her; can you be a positive thing in their relationship — especially if kids are involved.

And at what point do you ask to meet the new love — if you even should ask, that is. If you know your ex has a serious squeeze, one who’s spending time with your kids and developing a relationship with them, do you have a right to ask to meet her? Do you hang around places you know you might accidentally on purpose bump into her, or do you just let it go? And, do you make sure your ex meets you new sweetie?

None of these are questions we even think off when we’re divorcing — there are bigger issues then, right? Funny, but then they start to play a role in our new life, and now we’re forced to think about them whether we want to or not.

I’m not saying it’s better to stay married, but it sure can be less complicated!

  • What has been your experience with either past or present exes?
  • What has been your new love’s — past or present — of your ex?
  • Do you believe you should meet your ex’s new love if it looks serious and you have kids?


Photos © Angelika Bentin –


Apr 11

Should you live together if you have kids?

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 in Happiness, Kat, love, Parenting, Relationships, single dads, single moms, Singles, Women

Sara, her new beau, and Sean and I had gone out to Rancho Nicasio to hear some music, eat and dance.

At one point I caught Sara watching Sean and me in a slow dance out of the corner of my eye.

“You guys are so cute together,” she whispered to me later at the table, when Sean went to the restroom. “When are you going to move in together?”

Good question, because I’m not sure we’re ever going to move in together. But certainly not now.

“I don’t know, Sara; not before The Kid’s out of the house. Plus, his kid’s at home, too, remember.”

“Oh, kids, schmids —That’s so old-fashioned. They know you two are sleeping together, right? So, what’s the difference?”

It seems like a pretty big difference to me. Living together when you’ve got kids is sending the wrong message — that marriage doesn’t matter.    

I know, I know — I’m divorced. If marriage really mattered to me …

No one goes into marriage expecting to divorce. But, marriage does matter, if you’re planning to have kids.

Marriage is under attack lately, perhaps rightly so given the insane expectations people place on it. Fewer people than ever before think it’s necessary. Let’s face it, marriage certainly isn’t for everyone. And people often get married for all the wrong reasons, and sometimes couples marry because they’ve been living together for a while and it seems like the next logical thing to do.

Often, it isn’t.

Couples who live together before marrying tend to argue more and communicate less. If they eventually marry, they divorce more often than those who don’t. Plus, they get fat, and that alone is reason to make me say, no way!

But it you’re going to have kids, it makes no sense to live together without getting married first. Shacking up is marriage lite, with all the daily annoyances and relatively predictable roles of marriage without the commitment. And if you think it’s any easier to split if things aren’t going great, well, just look at Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry.


And once you have kids — who’ve gone through the trauma of a divorce — it’s all the more reason to tread very carefully on mixing families. Yes, it sure would be nice to go to sleep and wake up next to Sean more often, and to feel more like a family (although we sure do like our “space”). But I’m aware of the message we’d be sending our kids, and it isn’t the message I want to send.

There are like 5 million or so couples shacking up nowadays, and a lot of them are probably like Sean and me — single moms and dads. So I’m pretty sure we’re the minority. But, I’m OK with that. Plus, there’s none of the real or pseudo “step” or “half” things going on — stepmom, stepdad, half-brother, etc. Or worse — “mom’s live-in lover.”

I’ll bet that’s why we’re still so cute together after all these years.

  • Is it OK to live together if you and/or your boy/girlfriend have kids?
  • Do you think it’s any easier to split if you’re living together with kids than if you were married?
  • Did you live with a parent’s boy/girlfriend? How’d that work out?

Photo © Gorilla –