Starting over

So one of the hardest parts about being an alienated dad is building new friendships and the whole starting over process.  I’m one of those guys who went from a dorm room to a married apartment and literally have never lived alone.  I’m in my 40’s now and this is the first time in my life I have been on my own in an apartment.  In addition, if you’re like me, you’ve probably “lost a lot of friends in the divorce.”  For some reason, our culture sanctifies the stay at home single mom and vilifies the dad without the kids as being the bad guy.  That can be true at times, and maybe more often than it is not true, which is probably why its a stereotype.  So all that said and deciding here not to whine about that — I’ve whined elsewhere on this blog about it.  What do you do about it?

So I have tried a lot of different options.  I’ve gone to bars (not really my scene — lasted about 10 minutes), I’ve gone to new churches (wait and see attitude), I’ve talked to single friends for advice (the two I actually have).

This last weekend I signed up for a dating website — not really for dates but to make friends.  I don’t need a relationship right now, but  I would love someone to go to movies or a concert with or to break up the weekend with something now and then.  Got tons of responses.  Mostly from 50+ women.  Not that there is anything wrong with older women, but just not what I am looking for at this point.  Of all the contacts I got, maybe 2 would be ones who I would begin to pursue a friendship with, and I am doing that through email at present.  But it is a slow process that I want to speed up, because I am frustrated being alone.

When your whole life revolves around your kids for close to a decade and the spare time you have is spent with your wife, it’s completely unnerving and rattling to lose that.  You literally don’t know what to do with yourself.  You’re not used to spending time in your own skin apart from others.  Some of that time has been good.  I’ve been able to come to grips much better with who I am and what I want out of life.  That’s been good.  But you get bored of navel gazing after a while and want some interaction of the human kind.  I’m not at all talking about sex or about that kind of interaction, I’m just saying you want to lean across the table and talk with someone.  You want to enjoy adult conversation about things that are important.  You want to share things with someone.

Honestly, I’m not even talking about female interaction.  I would love to have a couple of single guy friends who can break out of work at 6 PM on a Wednesday and go play volleyball for a couple of hours or someone who can go see the latest action flick on a Saturday afternoon or a couple of buddies who want to go bowling and get pizza.

Not sure where I’m going to find these types of friends so I went down to my apartment’s clubhouse this morning and talked with the leasing consultants.  Three cool ladies (married) but younger.  I just asked them where people go to meet people around here.

There was a bit of encouragement (and some pity — which is nice, but doesn’t make me many friends!!) that once the pool and our volleyball courts open, there is a pretty decent crowd at the clubhouse on the weekends.  That is helpful.  Weekends are the hardest.

So all in all, just putting this out there — us alienated dads really struggle not just with alienation from our kids, but from the whole world that we have emerged from.  I think we all need to suck it up a bit, rise up from the pity couch (trust me, there’s a well worn spot there on mine), and get out and work at this thing.  I think Einstein said, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.”  So even if we don’t know what we’re doing or how to get where we need to go, let’s work at it every day.  Let’s try to get out there somewhere to meet people and not be hermits.  Whether we are being alienated or not, we need human interaction — and especially if we are being alienated, there is power in actually doing something about it.

“It doesn’t mean I’m lonely if I’m alone.”  Kelly Clarkson, Stronger.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf43LCtGrj4

Get out today and do something about feeling alone.

Follow up #1:  I recommend MeetUp.com.   I just came back from an evening of volleyball — good fun, and I’ve got like three other events scheduled for the next week.  So, you know what, there is hope!

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