Madeleine West on her love life after divorce.

First comes love, then comes marriage…and these days, statistical tracking seems to be then comes divorce, then comes dating, then (omg cringe) SEX then maybe love again.

Sheesh, I have a slight migraine just thinking about it.

So how do you “start” dating again?

When you’ve spent a significant portion of your life as a duo half and suddenly find yourself solo, the very thought is daunting. Modern dating isn’t just another world, it’s an entirely alien star system, despite any fantasies you might have of being ripped from your bed in the middle of the night and probed (eww).

Listen to me on Mamamia’s new Restart podcast. This week, I’m chatting with Rebekah Campbell, who challenged herself to go on 138 dates in a year to try and get out of a dating crisis. The message continues after the audio.

I know it’s about dipping your toe in the pool, but to me the dating pool is now less of the Olympic variety, and more of wading inflatable toddlers.

Nobody goes the distance, stays in their lane, or goes for the gold when it comes to online dating. It’s a thicker mess of tangled toys, tantrums, and inflatables. Too many bodies and smiling faces crammed into a space that’s too small with about as much romance as a public restroom, and often used for the same purpose… so I don’t know how much I want to dive in.

Fluent with this metaphor, I tend to look at encounters like a toddler would at a bowl of soup; looks good, I’d love to try it, but I have absolutely no idea how to do it, what to do with it, or if I have the skills to handle it.

There is little doubt that things will go wrong…

Talking “the talk” of dating presents the first hurdle. I have a long-term love affair with puns, but never realized the dating scene would open up a whole new language for me to explore.

There’s “ghosting” which is logging on once or twice and then DISAPPEARING OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

Poof! Faded away!

Then there is “catfishing”. What I thought was Mississippi’s national water sport is actually grooming and forming an online relationship with someone in a fake persona, then infiltrating and blowing up their life WITHOUT EVER MEETING HER.

I know! Wild, right? What does it have to do with cats or fishing, I’m not sure but I’ll roll with it.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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