People take all sorts of approaches to dating after divorce: online dating services, singles meetup groups, volunteering, sports training events to name a few. Some people are very conscious and deliberating about dating while others are look more for companionship.
My current guest, Tina Swithin used an online dating site but was looking more for friendship than a husband. Here’s Tina:
I never really intended to date. When I met my husband, it was just about five months after my ex and I separated. I put an ad online, basically with no photo attached. I said that I was just looking for new friends outside of my normal marital circle of friends. I was trying to establish a new identity and was very clear in the ad that I wanted a friend to meet with for coffee or to go to concerts with but I did not want to date.
It was an online dating site. There’s really locally nothing for just friendship situations, so I was clear in the ad that I was going through this and just wanted a friend. And so, my now-husband ended up sending me an email. We corresponded by email a few times and then met for coffee.
I had quite a few responses but I only ended up meeting with now-husband. We went to coffee one afternoon and then he called me a few hours later and we ended up having coffee a second time that day. He’s been my best friend and biggest support through this entire battle.
When he and I started our friendship, I had no idea the direction my divorce was going to take. Had I known how bad things were going to be, I would’ve never involved anyone else in this, but I guess God had different plans for me and it’s been amazing.
My first wedding, we eloped and it wasn’t even a planned wedding. We went to Hawaii on vacation and it was very much like a business transaction. He proposed to me when we were in Maui and suggested that we get married the next day and not tell anyone and we did.
I remember at the time thinking, “It’s kind of strange. There’s no emotion in this proposal.” I chalked it up to nerves when in fact narcissists don’t have feelings. So, my first wedding was very different.
This one we had about 80 people and friends and family and it was more of a family blending ceremony. We did a sand ceremony with his sons and my daughters and kind of a merging of two families; more than just a wedding.
Basically, each of the children pour a little vial of sand into a container. We have a heart-shaped face and the grains of sand blending together just like our family is. So his three sons and my two daughters poured from their vials of sand and then we poured sand in and then you get to take your vase home.
Tina’s approach to dating really embodies the standard advice I hear from dating coaches: take it slow and get to know your date before either dismissing them or committing to a long term relationship.
What I find surprising is that not posting a photo goes against all the standard advice. There are loads of articles on the importance of these profile photos and what they tell prospective matches. The photos are the first thing I look at and if there’s no photo posted then historically I haven’t looked at the rest of the profile. Guess I’m going to have to reassess my approach!
Tina Swithin describes herself as a one-time victim now survivor. She’s spent the past four years in a horrific custody battle with her ex who she believes suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can read about her journey at her blog, One Mom’s Battle and also in her book, Divorcing a Narcissist.
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