So you have made it through your Recovery and you want to begin to get your feet wet again.
This is in response to a member's question regarding their frustration with beginning to date again. This answer pertains to this particular member, yet others may also find some of this helpful.
Whether you feel ready not, the biggest thing I hope we all have learned from this experience is SELF PROTECTION and to TRUST OUR INSTINCTS and watch for those RED FLAGS.
NO venue is completely safe or "foolproof." The Internet is a preditors playground. They can pretend to be whoever they want to be. Many have met their narcs online.
Craigslist and many other dating sites, are the worst place to meet people. NO quality man is going to be looking for a quality woman on a free internet site. Think about it. You are a man. Divorced, or a widower, or just single and you want to meet a quality woman for a longterm relationship. Would you seriously even consider trying to find this woman on Craigslist or any other free Internet dating site?
Most quality men DO NOT NEED to go on the Internet to find women, they are quality so their friends, coworkers, are constantly trying to fix them up or they meet people when they are out. Quality men HAVE FRIENDS, quality men are able to TALK to people; they do NOT need to be all liquored up, coked up, or are so anxiety ridden and shy that they are afraid to speak to someone at an event, the supermarket, the library, ect....
We should reach the point in our recovery where we are no longer looking for the "fixer uppers" the men with childhood issue's, mommy issue's, issues with speaking clearly about who they are and what they want, men who are active addicts, men who are shy and need you to speak for them and do for them, men who require alcohol to "act normal", men who DO NOT NEED the Internet to hide behind to find a "quick fix" "new supply"
Having said all of this about the Internet, there are sites which target who and what you are and what you are looking for and the more you pay, generally the more you get. There are sites for particular interests groups, sites for Christians, sites for mature singles, site for only those looking for long term, ect.. Do the research, find a site which does psychological profiling, background checks, has a proven success rate.
Because there are some men out there who do not have the time to meet potential gf's due to work, children, ect...
Those men are the exception not the rule in my opinion on the Internet and your chances are higher the more quality the site is and the more they do to protect you on the site. There are services where you go in and speak with reps who match you with potential dates, they are expensive and require your taking the time to provide detailed profile information and sometimes an introduction video, ect...
Most people would not buy a car online and pay for it and have it shipped to their house, so most people want to go and look at it, test drive it, compair dealerships and prices. So then WHY would we so casually meet people and allow them into our lives without completey checking them out and also checking out the quality of the service providing these people.
Many people in my area have found long term mates through local singles groups. You have a better chance here, because these men have to do the work. They have to go the meetings week after week, participate in the groups, go to the activities, ect... Sounds to me like someone is a bit more sincere in this venue than a man who wants to go on a free site and get you without having to do the work and pay for it.
AND this bullshit of talking to men online for weeks on end who want to talk about sex and all their problems BEFORE they have even met you, is the BIGGEST SCAM of all. They are bored and are looking for something for NOTHING. Never ever ever engage with a man who wants to talk with you about SEX online before you have even met; this is a HUGE RED FLAG, A HUGE BILLBOARD. Exchanging countless pics before you have even met someone is their way of SCREWING you online, for FREE, without having to lift a finger or make the effort to get their sorry ass up and off the bed or couch to go out and get to know you properly.
Long distance relationships online are primarily designed to use you as emotional and physical WHACKING material. Don't do it, a man looking for long term DOES NOT want someone who is living in Alaska.
Around here we have New Beginnings, Socialble Singles, things of that nature.
Now clearly these groups are NOT free from any players, the difference is that you have the protection of the group, you can watch them for awhile, ask others what they think about this one or that one, as you make friends there, you all will be protective of each other, you know the drill.
Many churches now have singles groups, there are meetup groups for specific activities, where it gives you a chance to watch them in action before you accept their company in your life.
Your odds are better if the group is specifically a singles group because then you know that the participates are all interested in meeting other singles.
However I have gone to some meetups and met some nice couples and women as well, so the social scene is NOT always just about finding a man.
Remember that all these people are watching you just as much as you are watching them, so many like to see how YOU present yourself for awhile before they make their move. A healthy man is not in any particular rush to leap on you and jump on you. I have seen many of them wait weeks or months before they make their moves on a woman they like, because they want to be sure as well, they also do not want any drama in their lives.
The one's who leap on you the second you walk in the door and while it may "appear" to be flattering, it is NOT, they are generally the desparate one's or the players.
I think some women are under the misconception that if a man comes right up to you and starts going on about how great you are that he must really think you are special, not the case, those are usually the players. They have no impulse control and want to suck you in before the good one's get the chance.
Perhaps you are not being patient enough and getting to know these people and enjoying whatever the activity is. A woman walking into the room LOOKING FOR a quick connect is just as much of a red flag as a man doing it.
No quality man is looking for a woman who is EASY, they never did and they NEVER will.
Do NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT talk to a new prospective date about your relationship issue's, problems, your X, your struggles to find the right man, and all the rest of what we talk about on here.
IT is a major turn off to a quality man and a player will use every last detail of your tale of woe against you in the future. When you give away all of your insecurities, issue's, and vulnerablities to a stranger you are only asking for trouble. Basically you are giving them material a key to our inner workings, in which to manipulate you in the future.
Keep it light, talk about your interests, your animals, the new book you just read, not this one, lol. You get the drift, none of the horror of what we have been through needs to be rehashed with a new date and if they are going on and on about their prior relationships, GET OUT and RUN they are either not over it or looking for sympathy from you and either way, they are not good dating material right now.
Have fun, be yourself, keep it light, enjoy the music, the speaker, the activity, and be patient, great relationships develop slowly over time, there is no rush to jump back into the frying pan.
Do things with women, make new women friends, go out to dinner and a movie. Join a club with a friend. And if you are short on women friends lately because the Narc has been occupying your thoughts over these years then cultivate some women friends as well. LIfe is NOT all about men, because if they leave and you have few good woman friends, then you are not going to have much of a support system in your new life anyway.
Women friends are worth their weight in gold, they will be your friends regardless to who comes and goes and this is the same formular you use for men. Get to know them, stay away from the one's who are just looking for a man and don't treat other women right. Find some quality women friends as well, this will help you to feel more connected and help to ward off those feelings of lonliness.
LOVE YOURSELF AND OTHER WOMEN!!!
First and the whole man thing will take care of itself.
Healthy men like women who have women friends, it makes you look like your life is whole and you are not going to be needly and try to suck them up. They want to have their outside activities and they want you to have yours.
We are so accustomed to men who want to take us hostage, that we often forget how a healthy relationship operates.
Have fun on your journey and God bless you,