On Being Newly Single

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In Malta, Dec 2010

I am newly single and have been so for a few months now. The scary thought is that I haven’t been properly single for seven years. I was twenty-three when I was last on the dating scene and am now a little concerned about what I may find out there in the jungle of singles.

Literally within a day or two of getting back from Canada a friend informed me that one of her friends had just become single and that she was inviting her to the pub to meet me. In my younger years I would have thought “Yes, an opportunity for sex”, but I think I have matured a little since turning thirty and actually found myself recoiling at the thought. “Please don’t” I whimpered, “I really am not ready”.

When I was twenty-three I could walk into any bar or pub, look at a women and know that it was perfectly acceptable for me to do so. I would flash a smile, say hello and even offer a cheeky wink and know that even if the girl wasn’t interested the worst I’d get is a “Not in this life time” look.

Fast forward seven years. I am in better shape physically, and most likely mentally, than I was when I was twenty-three but I kind of get the feeling that if I were to look at women in their early twenties in the same way as I did when I was younger it would meet with a different reaction. Chances are I would now not only be given the “Not in this life time” look but maybe even a “You dirty old man” look. I may only be thirty but I have had that look given to me several times.

I am not necessarily saying that I would limit my field to women in their early twenties. However, they do say that a man’s ideal age for a woman is half his age and add seven years. This equation makes the early twenties within that age bracket, but in dark pubs and bars it is not always easy to tell from afar how old, or young, the object of one’s attention is. Usually within five minutes of talking to them one can tell by the simple maturity level of the conversation. Are they talking about Justin Bieber? If so then back away as if retreating from an unexploded bomb.

I have also realised that I am now in the ‘Divorce Market’ which means that anyone I meet now will most likely have baggage. Whether it be a crazy ex-husband or a string of children from several different fathers, I will have to face facts that in my small town the pickings are meagre. Also when faced with someone who has never been married or had kids our first instinct is to think “OK What’s wrong with him/her?”

Should I want to find women my age who haven’t any baggage I shall have to look for career minded women in cities where it is socially acceptable for a woman to be thirty and not have settled down yet.

I have also noticed attitudes to DAA (Dating Age Acceptability – yes I did just make that up) have changed for the better in my case. When I was at school we had the two year rule. You were not allowed to date anyone more than two years your senior or junior, and I can understand why. At such a tender age our minds and bodies are changing at different rates and our preparedness for sexual activity differs from that of our peers.

In my late teens I found that the DAA goal posts were moved. Dating someone more than two years younger was still a social crime (Unless they were under sixteen in which case it was a very real crime), but dating an older person of more than two years didn’t seem so bad but most still wouldn’t go above twenty-five.

Now that I have reached the ripe old age of thirty, and I find a lot of others feel the same way, these rules go out the window. I have come to the conclusion that DAA is nonsense providing you are not doing anything illegal. I think it just comes down to the conscience of the individual. If two consenting people are of legal age and are happy together then who cares if she’s forty and he’s twenty-one or that she’s seventeen and he’s thirty-five. They only have to answer to themselves and no-one else.

So what happens when I finally feel that I would like to start dating again? After all, I am unsure of modern dating etiquette.

Are there expectations placed on the thirty year old male that wouldn’t have applied when I was twenty-three?

Are you allowed to date more than one person? If so when does it then become exclusive?

Does the man still pay for the dinner bill?

The list goes on and on and there are no doubt countless of websites out there with advice on how to date successfully which I will probably browse (Or study intensely) at some point in the future.

For now, and for the first time in my life, I am not looking to date…does this mean I am growing up too?

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4 responses to “On Being Newly Single

  1. “Also when faced with someone who has never been married or had kids our first instinct is to think Ok What’s wrong with him/her?”

    Can the same be said for you? Sometimes people need to be given the same chance that you seek. Easier said than done, I know.

    But having said that, it’s healthy to take the time to sort out where you are emotionally and what you want for yourself and your romantic life.

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