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#2426968 09/14/10 09:46 PM
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This weekend I am heading north to my very first mens' retreat. A couple of months ago my neighbor (and the person most responsible for me surviving and coping with the losses of this year) mentioned this retreat and once again I fought my first impulse to turn it down and signed up.

He sent me a list of items I might want to bring with me: things like an extra towel, a warm jacket, running shoes (I run), a stadium chair -- you know, things I might want that aren't provided. On the list was "books." For the quiet times, I guess.

Today I went to a Family Christian Store. I bought a "portable" Bible, C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" and -- I couldn't help myself -- a small book titled "The Art of the First Date."

Those who are familiar with my story know that I am deathly afraid of asking a woman out. I don't know why, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. I can do a lot of things that people would deem require "courage" but asking a woman on a date just isn't one of them.

For a while I didn't even want to date. It's been three months since the divorce was final. There is a woman I'd like to ask...

Perhaps it was being in a Christian store that convinced me to buy the book. I haven't read it (because I'm saving it for the retreat, of course), so I wonder if anyone else has heard of it? The authors are Hayley DiMarco and Michael DiMarco.

Given all the changes I've experienced this year, learning how to ask for (and behave on) the first date should be included, don't you think?

And oh, I may have found work! It really feels like it's time for things to turn around now...


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Hey Fred, great to see you!

Very excited for you--both on the prospect of getting work and on the retreat this weekend.

I'm seeing a man now. We met through mutual friends. It was pre-arranged and we met casually at their house for a cookout and then we played games. We were able to spend a couple of hours in our friend's living room just talking with no one else around. That long conversation convinced us both we wanted to see more of each other.

The next evening he drove 2 hours to my city and we met downtown for dinner and lots more conversation. He was one hour into his drive to me before he told me he was coming to see me. I believe he then asked me if that was ok and I said yes and suggested we meet for dinner.

All that to tell you I was impressed by his confidence and yet he is not a single bit full of himself...

Men approach me often....but I would not consider going out with a man I didn't know something about. For instance, I might see you in the bookstore, appreciate your book selection, find you attractive...but hey I don't KNOW you at all and would not go for coffee even with you.

So you know this woman already? Are you getting feedback? I know that I could be much friendlier to men when I was married....once I was single that same (non flirty) friendliness would be taken for interest in them. So did you know her pre and post divorce? How does she treat you?

If there is definite interest on her part then look for something to do that involves a group where you can be with her but not have the one on one pressure. She will appreciate the chance to be around you without feeling the pressure.

Don't be afraid of women. Just remember it is hard to be a woman too and have to 'reject' men. It is painful. I had a waiter in a high end restaurant (I was 10 hours from home) hit on me. I felt safe because I was so far from home....and I did flirt back a bit....he asked to FB friend me (which I knew would have gotten him fired had I complained) which again felt safe enough...but wow when I got home he begin to hit on me HARD and I just hit the delete button and unfriended him. On the one hand I didn't want to hurt his feeligs but on the other, hey I just wasnt interested!

Keep us posted!

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Fred,
I agree with SW, I wouldn't go out with a stranger cold turkey either. Is this woman in a club/gym/church/group that you are in? If so, you could just ask her if she'd like to go out for coffee afterwards. A lot of men find it difficult to ask a woman out so if you keep it low key it should help your anxiety level.
Mere Christianity is a good book, but then I like C.S. Lewis. smile


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Thanks SW and KC. This woman is a member of my 12-Step program. In fact, I was present at her very first meeting (she celebrated 7 years a few months ago). Believe it or not, my ex-wife was the first one to speak with her after that meeting was over...

She's very quiet for the most part, but she led a series of meetings on the 12 Steps which I (and others) found very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

From what I know of her, we share similar likes: running and traveling. When we've talked, we seem to get along nicely, but her demeanor is always quiet and reserved, in any case.

In the seven years I've "known" her, she's dated a couple of guys, but there has been no evidence of anyone in her life at present.

What am I missing?

You see, I am totally clueless. It's embarrassing, really. I'm soon to be 59. I should know more about stuff like this.


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If she's quiet and reserved, I think a direct approach is good. Reserved people, and believe it or not, I'm one, don't flirt well as a rule.
What if you just invite her to go with you for a cup of coffee after the meeting?
The other way is to enlist friends' help. Get a group to go out and her to come along. You sit next to her and walk her to her car.


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Fred, I know you won't see this til Monday, and I hope you had a great retreat. Sounds awesome. I did one of those once. I wasn't really in the right frame of mind at the time, but I recognize it was a good experience even still.

You're starting to irritate me a little Fred. GRRR. I told you what to say to this woman a long time ago. Now the next time you see her I want you to march right up to her and tell her you'd be interested in having a cup of coffee with her or something. "Would you be interested in going out with me sometime?" I promise you'll get good results. She's probably wondering what's taking you so long. -Tell her you were waiting for Mars to go into retrograde or something.

And you don't need no book about first dates. Good grief. You're an intelligent lawyer for crying out loud. Ask insightful questions. Ask where she came up with the ideas for her series. Ask if she's done any traveling, everyone loves to talk about that.

Quote:
You see, I am totally clueless.

sheesh! LOL. And you're not full of yourself, a very good thing.

Good luck Fred. You'll do fine.

--my D was final on Thursday this week. I'll probably start a thread here pretty soon.

Opt


Me: 43 y.o. BFWH, D-day 11/11/09 (NC since 9/01)
Divorce from WW final 9/16/10.
Current Status: MB-based Marriage to Nature Girl 12/8/12 (first date on 12/11/10)
Mine: S(16), D(11)
NatureGirls: S(23), D(21)
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Opt, Congratulations!!!

Fred, You'll do just fine! You're lucky you don't live in Oregon or I'd ask YOU out for coffee! smile Good luck, let us know how it goes.


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Thanks, guys (well, gals, too!). I really am bashful/timid/scared when it comes to asking someone out. It goes right to the heart of my insecurity.

The book seemed like a good idea, since I found it in a Christian book store. How could it not have simple, basic values -- and not the "pickup artist" sort of B.S? I've only glanced at a few pages, but it really does seem to be the basic sort of stuff I "learned" as a youngster. Just good, clean, common sense (why do they call it "common sense" when it's so uncommon?).

The retreat was AWESOME! I'll stop short of saying it was a life-changing event, but doggone, it was close to it! I drove up with two guys from my church, and we had six hours each way to get to know each other better. While there, I was amazed that 300+ guys from all walks of life could spend an entire weekend without being profane. That men -- real men -- could engage in manly activities (a 400-ft. "zip" line, a 75-ft. "swing" aptly named "The Screamer," and more) one moment, and then join in song and close, personal conversation the next, was truly an amazing experience. And the food -- I put on about three pounds, despite the activities!

And I'm on the verge of working again! The woman who owns the software company and I have had several meetings, I've received the software from her to study, and we have agreed "in principle" to a working arrangement! In a week or so we'll formalize it, but there are already people who want to throw money our way, so this has the sense of real income to it, and not just a wish and a prayer!

This all seems to go hand in hand with an article I recently read, called "Why Did This Happen to Me?" In short, the answer is revealed in this passage:

Quote:
I learned that there was, indeed, a reason for what seemed to be madness. The reason that the sociopath crashed through my life was for my own personal growth. The objective was for me to switch my consciousness, my concept of myself.

I discovered that I held many mistaken beliefs about myself. For example, I believed that I couldnt be loved simply for being, I had to earn love through accomplishment. This belief was not true, yet it was strong enough to block love from entering my life.

I believed that no one wanted me, that I was unworthy of happiness. These beliefs were also false.

Ironically, because the sociopath treacherously deceived me, and because I demanded to know why, the answers came. I was able to identify the beliefs that created so much pain in my life, and let them go.

Looking forward to your update, opt...


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Fred, I'm so happy you had a good experience this weekend. I bet it was more life-changing than you think. I've found the few times I've done stuff like that, I tend to relate back to it more often than I thought I would months and years later.

That passage is pretty powerful, especially to your situation. Thanks for sharing it.

In lieu of me starting a thread (just can't find the time), I'll let you know I've acquired two kittens (one seemed lonely so I got another the next day). The kids sure love them. Me, not so sure yet, but i guess they'll grow on me.

I'm playing pool in a pool league on Tuesday night (why I'm up so late). It's been fun to hang out at a bar and know I'm going to be driving home stone sober, I guess I'm just kinda sick or depraved or something.

And as a point of encouragement for you, I've been officially single for 5 days and been turned down THREE TIMES for dates, Fred, 3! LOL. And guess what, I'm still here! I survived! And you know something, women are real nice about it, so my ego wasn't even crushed (I think they practice what they're going to say).

Go ask out your lady. You'll probably have much better luck than me anyway.

Opt

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Originally Posted By: optimism
And as a point of encouragement for you, I've been officially single for 5 days and been turned down THREE TIMES for dates, Fred, 3! LOL. And guess what, I'm still here!

Five days and you're ready to start dating again? Wow. More power to you, opt! During the period before my divorce I thought I was ready, but keeping to the belief that dating while still married is inappropriate, I didn't. After the divorce was final, suddenly the desire sort of dropped away.

OK, maybe it's because I've been focusing on finding work, recuperating from my back problem and virtually trying to keep multiple beach balls submerged in water, it hasn't been a major issue. Or maybe I've been finding excuses.

Now that I've agreed to lead the next Step series, I may have more opportunity to speak with this woman, as it might be "convenient" to share notes and perspectives... hmmm.


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Fred/Opti...

I have been essentially single since Nov, although we continued to 'see' each other until February. Our divorce was final in July and I thought that I was ready to begin seeing someone should the opportunity present. However, after it was final, and the opportunity was actually a possibility (I wouldn't even think about it before the divorce was final.)I found that I have almost been making excuses to MYSELF as to why I am not REALLY ready.

I recognize that to be good for someone else, I need to be much better for myself. So that has been my goal and direction. I have had alot of interest in me, and in some ways it is hard to remain separate, when all it would take was for me to smile a little too much or maintain eye contact a little too long.

I was at a dinner party last week, and there were 3 women there, carefully chosen by my friends to join us, who certainly showed interest. It was fun talking with them, but I realized as I did, that I still have some things to work out for myself before I bring someone else in.

I wish that I could TURN OFF my emotional side for a bit and just date and have fun. However, I am not a cold and calculating man, nor do I have an off switch. And since I have learned more and more about myself CONSCIOUSLY, I realize that at this point, while a hug and a kiss would certainly make me feel MUCH BETTER. It would potentially lead to more than I am ready to give. And while I believe I could walk away at this point, I wouldn't want to go into something knowing that she might be looking for more than I am willing to give right now.

I just need to find someone who wants company and conversation without really looking for a deep relationship at least for now. I would have no problem working towards something down the road, but I just have no faith that I could keep myself safe, if she was always wanting and eager for more.

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Fred, you remember when the court date was over and I started talking about dating. That enthusiasm definitely dropped off - kinda like your situation. It was strange when that happened. Maybe I'll reign it back in, but right now I just want a small sampling of the world around me. I feel like I've been living under glass for years, I wanna get OUT.

JFIO,
Totally hear you. I've been hearing that sentiment around here for a while. I see the horror stories of people who have gotten into something more than they were ready for. I understand the vulnerability aspect and believe it's right to be very careful.

Fred, as usual, is actually doing it right by going slow. Fred, I'm trying to use you as a model (it's worked before). I also really enjoy the company of a woman (at least from what I can remember of it). Not looking for anything remotely serious and would certainly be up-front about it. Just dinner/coffee/lunch, conversation, and "adios." My safety net is that I simply don't have the time to give to a relationship even if I had the poor judgement to try to establish one. I have 3 nights to myself, one I play pool and another I'll be teaching CCD. Every other Saturday is mine. I'm really not serious dating material in any practical way, let alone emotional.

Quote:
I wish that I could TURN OFF my emotional side for a bit and just date and have fun. However, I am not a cold and calculating man, nor do I have an off switch. And since I have learned more and more about myself CONSCIOUSLY, I realize that at this point, while a hug and a kiss would certainly make me feel MUCH BETTER. It would potentially lead to more than I am ready to give. And while I believe I could walk away at this point, I wouldn't want to go into something knowing that she might be looking for more than I am willing to give right now.

You're a good man, JF. When you are ready, someone will be lucky to have you.

take care guys

opt

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Fred,
Glad to hear how well it went! It sounds awesome, and it's great that you got so much out of it.

Good luck to you and keep us posted, we're just sure she'll go out with you, so ask! dance2


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I don't want to t/j KayCStamper's thread, so I'm posting here mostly in reply to optimism (and others).

Today was a good day. I went to church this morning, and the most attractive woman (in my view) sat down right next to me (we met before at a church-related function). She has a terrific singing voice, and I complimented her on it after service. I'm not sure of her status, but she doesn't wear anything on her ring finger...

Then, afterward I was introduced to another fetching lady, who also doesn't wear a ring. Apparently she was invited to the same Thanksgiving dinner as I was, but can't make it. But this is the holiday season, and there are a lot of church-related festivities coming up...

I also raked the leaves, cleared the vegetable garden, emptied the hanging planters, and washed my car. Now I'm enjoying a Spanish Brown Rice and Spicy Sausage meal I let cook all day in my slow cooker.

I'm feeling quite accomplished and good about things today!


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Way to go Fred! Slow-cooked Spanice Rice and Spicy Sausage sounds very good too!

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Originally Posted By: milkshake
Way to go Fred! Slow-cooked Spanice Rice and Spicy Sausage sounds very good too!

smile

I made Smoked (Turkey) Sausage and Sauerkraut today. Complete with quartered red potatoes, carrots, onions, caraway seeds and spicy brown mustard.

I'm liking this slow-cooker thing! Next on the menu is andouille and red beans...


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Every Wednesday Fred. I've been using it since the week the exWW moved out. stick it in there before work and come home to a nice meal and the house smelling all homey. Can't beat it.
You have some nice recipes there. I've been sticking with the basics: chile, roasts...I may have to branch out.

Oh, I also got me a rice cooker. That's nice too. Works on the same premise which is good cause you don't have to worry about it or stir or anything. Cooks it then keeps it warm for as long as you need until you're ready to eat.

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Guys, did you know that men who can cook are VERY sexy???

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Originally Posted By: milkshake
Guys, did you know that men who can cook are VERY sexy???

I just thought we were hungry.


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Fred, you didn't need to worry about threadjacking, your comments are more interesting, anyway. smile

I love that you guys are cooking! It sounds good, makes me want to be right over! It's better than coming home to granola. smile Guess I'll have to get my slow cooker back out...this is the time of year for it too! Chili, beef stew, chicken and rice, yum, now I'm getting hungry!


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