Duty Dating

Duty Dating. It’s the “post breakup” dating. The “back in the saddle again” dating. The get off your couch, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get felt up, flirted with and kiss or more with someone new dating.  I like to call it Duty Dating you may call it “rebound.” It really doesn’t matter which you prefer. It’s more important to realize that you should DO IT then what label you place on it. Oh, and do it with bells on—figuratively that is.

I might be the only person I know who treats Duty Dating this way (although I’m working on starting a trend). Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t very excited about the idea. I had been dating the same person for five years. But, how else was I going to find out who and what I wanted if I didn’t get out there and go and test the waters. Actually, maybe we can think of it as a good buffet (yes, they exist I like the one at the Wynn in Las Vegas). You can’t commit to the first thing you see, there’s so many options. You really have to get little bites of everything you’re attracted to and then decide if you want to go back for seconds or if you’d rather just meet a girlfriend for a drink instead.

Basically, it’s the rare occasion the first guy you date post break up will be the one. It can happen but for the majority of us we have to date around to find “The One” and to figure out our deal breakers. Can Duty Dating actually help us weed out, or find the one? I believe the answer is YES.

So how do you duty date? How did I? I started with familiar before I went out with people I didn’t know. This helped me ease back into it all again. It’s like baseball. You spend some time in the minors before playing with the Pro’s.  I dated someone younger than me that I knew; I hooked up with a couple friends (Yes, this can work! Another day I’ll tell you how we are still friends); and I dabbled in the online dating for a brief very brief window… There were many terrible dates I had, which are now great to share with friends over drinks.  I’ll share the craziest with you tomorrow.

Looking back on your post break up’s have you jumped right into the next relationship? Did you do rebound’s? Tell me about your experiences.

As I promised, some of the best worst online dates I had in the brief window of my online dating trials:

There was a date with a financial adviser and break dancer (yep he couldn’t stop talking about that). I wish I was making this up. He was cute, successful, set the date up and was absolutely lovely. I just could not deal with the love for break dancing. Side note: there is nothing wrong with break dancing. Just not my thing.

Next the attorney from Pasadena. Not only was he geographically undesirable (I live on the West Side and love it! If you are unfamiliar with the LA lifestyle it means a five mile radius limit. Seven if you’re willing to cross the hill). He had similarities to Ex so doomed from the start. I learned that posture was a deal breaker for me. He had the “desk” posture.

There was the guy who was awesome at planning two dates and making me feel like a total Queen. Seriously, total Queen. Then two nights in a row while talking on the phone mentioned he was on a sleep aid…I’m pretty sure it was drugs. The next day he would act as if he had no recollection of the conversation…Thank goodness it was just two dinners. This was the date I was thrilled I never allowed any of these “onliners” to pick me up at home.

There were the ridiculous emails from many men on these websites that I have kept for comedic purposes. Two still stand out. The first guy whose profile said he was a “non judgmental person” made sure I knew that while he lived near Venice he was definitely not a “Venetian” he hated the “Venetians” and how they dressed. As luck would have it I was in Venice when I read his email. Dressed perfect for my “Venetian” excursion as I happen to LOVE Venice. The other email which is too long to really tell basically was about inviting me to swim with dolphins and have sex under the stars as he “loved everything about me.”  Hmm sorry “onliner” you don’t even know my name.

I quit online dating and went out with those I knew, those I could be set up with and those I met by making Eye to Eye contact.  I hooked up with a friend, a friends friend, I threw another attorney into the mix (pretty sure that’s the last one of those) I was set up with my “perfect match, wrong time” man.  Some people would say just be enjoy being single. I would respond with “I am!”  I do not believe you can plan when you will meet your next partner. You have to “dress” for the occasion. Be ready. However, I was having fun going out and meeting people and most importantly really getting to know me, my wants and my needs. I was enjoying “trying on” new mates.

At first my Duty Dating was to just get used to being with a different guy; to feel sexy and wanted. Then the Duty Dating was for getting out, meeting people, finding out what turned me off or turned me on. We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker. When I was actually on a date with a man who possessed a specific “want” or “need” of mine, it was funny when I realized I did not want it as much as I thought. Or even funnier, when I discovered a whole new deal breaker!

As I date now, if something is said or done by the other person, a trait that turns my inner guide on, I take note and trust myself. I ask myself why I’m feeling, seeing, hearing it. Instead of making excuses for it, I acknowledge and move on. It is extremely important that you stay listening to your inner guide or “gut” during Duty Dating. Do not make excuses for behaviors and traits that make your hairs stand up. Red flags come in all shades of red. Notice them and how they make you feel. I know dating is tough. It takes energy and strength. Will power. But, you deserve to be with the best one for you.

Do I want a man to open doors? Yes, of course I want to be treated like a lady. I want to be with a man who commits. I want to be with a man who wants to treat me nicely. Supports my goals and dreams. I also need a man who is confident in himself to love how independent I am. You’ll have your own needs and wishes, some of mine might sound familiar to you. On my list, I also have: positively handles a gluten free, dairy free diet.  What’s on your Mate List? What have since taken off? I think it’s interesting that what I thought I wanted at 25 has changed at 31. Be careful what you List for! What you put out in the Universe you will get.

There are a few regular questions I get on the “Duty Dating” subject. Here they are and my answers or suggestions. (And yes, for those of you who came back for the Fiancé story, its in there, too!)

1) When does the “Duty” fall off? When does it just become Dating?

Well that’s entirely up to you. Sorry, I know a total non-answer. But, really it is a personal thing. We all come from such different dating backgrounds. I am not a serial monogamous person. I date and enjoy dating, then I settle in with someone. I have really only had three serious relationships. Each relationship was a major improvement from the last. Each one getting closer to the life I want to live with someone. In my singleness, I used the duty to weed out things that I liked and didn’t like. For me the “duty” fell off after about 8 months. I began circling back to someone who had caught my attention early on in my single life. For you, pay attention to how you are feeling when being asked out. The duty will fall off on it’s own, most likely. One day you’ll realize you stopped accepting dates that didn’t light your fire.

2) Is Duty Dating a serious thing, or do you approach it as fun?

Dating should be like any other hobby—treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority. You, your life’s goals and dreams should be. Focusing on making yourself a whole person is so important. (see Opportunities: https://liveclarelesleyblog.com/2014/07/30/opportunities/ ) In fact, the more you know and love yourself the more attractive you are to The One and the duty dates will fall away. You will recognize them as they come and when they are not “enough” for you.

3) What are the “rules” to Duty Dating? Can you have a second, third date and still be Duty Dating?

It’s Duty Dating, fun dating, enjoy yourself dating. So, if you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself then stop with that person. Second and third even sixth dates do not make a relationship. Pat Allen would say: keep three in rotation (no sex) and may the best one win. Steve Harvey says: no “cookie” until commitment. Do what you will with that information.

Reflect after each date. Was I me? Was I having fun? Do I want to try that again, go back for seconds at the buffet? Or would I prefer a new option?

I firmly believe that my Duty Dating taught me more about what I needed, what I wanted and who I was as a partner than not dating at all. I learned so much about my last relationship mistakes. Things I didn’t do, didn’t want to do and things I should not have ignored.

4) How long should you Duty Date?

This is similar to when the “duty” falls off. But it leads me into my story I promised you. I did a lot of Duty Dating in a short time period. About 6 months. Then I just dated. Some people spread their Duty Dating out. Or, start their Duty Dating later into their single life. Others have one duty date and are ready for their next adventure. Don’t believe me? Well, my dear friend ended up single after many years with a “good enough” partner. Not the type to go out dating a ton of people, she went out one night with an old college acquaintance. On paper, this dude was one you could take home to Mom and Dad. In real life, after she realized he was after sex with her, and she wasn’t interested. She left. Annoyed and disappointed. The very next day she met her now Fiancé. The juxtaposition of this man compared to the duty date allowed her to realize she had met the partner for her. Today, she’s glad she had that Duty Dating experience.

Have you done your Duty Dating yet?

LL

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