After a 20 year marriage I found myself suddenly back in the dating game. After a few horrifically failed dates I realized that the dating world has changed drastically. I no longer was able to gauge a man's interest level immediately, I was no longer able to tell if a guy wanted me, found me beautiful or interesting. Men were guarded now; hell, I was guarded! Each date suddenly felt like I was starring in Groundhog Day. The conversations were all the same... Why you're single, what you do for a living, kids, pets blah blah blah.
I plugged along and read anything I could get my hands on from how to flirt to "Why Men Love Bitches" (yes, this IS an actual book!). I tried all the flirting techniques, "dating rules" and the other garbage to no avail. Friends offered their advice: "You have to put yourself out there if you want to find someone" or "It will come to you when you stop looking." Really? How can you do both? I found single friends telling me how to "play the game". (Well, if it works so well why are YOU still single?)
I found men confusing and felt many were sending mixed signals; maybe it would be random texts then I may not hear from them for days. I may see them 3 times one week then not for another 2 weeks. I wanted consistency, I was tired of the games and the "chase". After a while I decided I was just going to be who I was: a single mom who loved beer, wings and sports who is more comfortable in flip flops and a ponytail than heels and makeup. Dating hasn't become any easier but I feel better about myself walking into a situation knowing that I'm being authentic and that if a man is interested, it will be the real me he likes.