I spent a great deal of time single after the end of my last relationship – whether you measure that by the timing of the POS debacle or whether you measure it by the end of the Kansas story, I gave myself quite a lot of breathing room.  Time to think.  Time to take stock.  Time, most importantly, to relocate – since I had already decided that it was inadvisable for me to remain in Florida and because it takes a lot of concentration and resources to resettle yourself correctly. 

And, of course, since I’d made that decision it made little sense to get involved with someone else IN Florida… that would have been counterproductive.

So, in the same way that I spent months gearing up to move – deciding where to go, what my new place would look like, creating parameters for myself and my new lifestyle, I started creating new parameters for what I was looking for as well – if I decided to date again.

To be clear, I was NOT optimistic about it.  I figured I’d throw up a profile on a dating site, get a bunch of messages, maybe go on a couple of dates, and then realize that whoever was left out there was about the same as what I’d already had: men who were stunted in some way – career-wise, financially, mentally, or else, men who looked good on paper but who were so emotionally jaded for one reason or another that their armor was too thick to penetrate.  I figured meet these men, become disenchanted quickly, and then realize that my initial resolution to just stop putting myself through the wringer like this was the best strategy after all.

Still, in order to give myself the best chance of success (despite my skepticism), I determined that I was looking for the following uncompromisable traits in a man:

  • He had to have been married before (and was now widowed, or the divorce was final).  Children optional.  Why?  Because (whether accurate or not) from my own experience, men who are around my age – or in my age group – who have never been married before are either so set in their ways by now that they can’t acclimate to someone else.  Or else there’s something just not quite “right” there.  Don’t give me the shit about “he just hasn’t found the right woman” either, because unless he’s been a monk for the last 20 years, it’s hard for me to believe the chance to walk down the aisle hasn’t been at least an option, in one way or another – even if it’s one he never took.  Further, as I am, in fact, divorced myself, I think I’d like to be with someone who KNOWS what it takes to at least get to that point – even if my own marriage didn’t last that long.
    • Someone who HAD been committed before – even if that commitment didn’t work – had, at least at one time, the DESIRE to become committed and has at least a little bit of an idea of what was involved.  I figured they, at least, knew how to share.  They had had some time to look at what didn’t work and move forward from that – therefore better defining what might work the second time.  If they’re introspective at all.  Much in the same way that I do.  Though maybe I’m giving them too much credit.
  • He needs a degree.  None of this, “Well I sat through enough meetings and lectures that I might as well have a degree” kind of shit that POS constantly put out there.  A real-life, on a piece of paper, degree. One where he put in the work, one where he can commiserate with me if I decide to bitch about irrelevant GenEd classes I had to take in college.  Maybe even one that he doesn’t even use (so we can laugh about how it’s stupid that we had to have it to get our respective jobs).  But he has to have one.
    • Also honestly because I find intelligence to be ridiculously sexy.  I know you don’t have to have a degree to be intelligent (and that not all people with degrees are intelligent), but if I’m going to be wading through the bullshit on dating sites, I have to pare down the options somewhere.  I’d probably be a lot more lenient about this in reality if I met someone at, say, a grocery store versus weeding through thousands of profiles. 
  • He has to have a career.  A stable one.  With benefits.  One where he knows (basically) what his schedule is going to be like every day.  One where the paychecks he gets (of whatever size) were regular, dependable, and enough so that he could support his own lifestyle without having to constantly ask someone else to front him so many hundred dollars to pay his rent, his bills, replace a cell phone, fix his car, buy some underwear, etc.
  • Mental and emotional stability is also a must.  I can’t even stress, after all I’ve been through, how important that is.  Even tempered, patient people are sexy as hell to me these days.  Not because I want to “try” their patience, but because I’ve had enough of people throwing shit around in anger and punching holes in the walls to last a goddamn lifetime.  I, of course, realize that people have their issues – hell, I have my anxiety issues, and that’s always a party, but there’s plenty of shit out there to help control that and, understanding that one has those issues and does what he needs to do to control them, to mitigate them, to make him a productive, contributing member of society DESPITE those issues, if they apply, is very attractive.

Now, you’d think, by looking at that list, that this wouldn’t be hard to find. A no-brainer, right? 

That hadn’t been my experience, at least, because of late, the ones that I’ve dated (or been engaged to) haven’t met some or all those criteria.  And while I told myself that I’d put up a profile after the new year – or at least close to it – just to see what was out there, I repeat, I wasn’t optimistic.

But by that same token, I couldn’t let POS win.  I couldn’t let him be the “last one.”  I couldn’t let that experience make me stop trying entirely.  At least, not until I’d at least given it a shot in a completely different location – one where I had no history, one where I was completely new, one that didn’t invite the same people (or types of people) into my circle (and cycle) again and again.  Would I be disappointed?  Maybe.  But then at least I’d know. 

Oh – and they had to be vaccinated. 

So I put up a profile.  Admittedly, I didn’t list ANY of these qualifiers in the profile – I kept it light, short, easy to read… with the calibration factors set into the parameters of the searches and, of course, always floating around in the back of my mind. 

And I waited.