Dating update

So yes. I've mentioned in previous posts that TNT talked me into joining an online dating site, and that the wonderful folks at Jezebel interviewed me about it.

Thus far, the dating thing has been a bit of a disappointment. I went on one date, which led no where. Other than that, I have pretty much zero response. Well, there was the one 52-year-old who contacted me with a message that said "UR Pretty. Wanna go out?" Needless to say, it wasn't that hard to turn that particular offer down, even knowing there weren't any waiting in the wings.

I've pulled back a little bit- I still check my account, but I'm not as...how shall we say...enthused as I was at the beginning. I haven't given up entirely, but I'm feeling more than a bit pessimistic about the whole thing. Part of me is relieved because this dating thing is so damn stressful, and not really from an ED standpoint.

What stresses me out the most about dating is the spending money issues. Long before I restricted food, I restricted spending money. This hasn't been all bad--I have money saved up for a down payment on my first place--but it's more of the mindset that's problematic. I feel tremendously guilty for spending money. Some of you have paid witness to my recent Twitter recriminations about $1 in overdue library fines. I remember going to the mall with my friends in high school, and I almost never bought anything. I had two part-time jobs at the time (in total, I worked about 20 hours a week), so it wasn't like I didn't have the money. But I hated the idea of spending money.

My one area of weakness is books. But other than that...

Dating costs money, and that stresses me out. Yes, money is tight because of my recent transition to full-time freelancing, but it's not the math that's stressing me out. It's the idea of spending money, or doing something different, that really freaks me out. I equate spending money with guilt.

Both of my parents were frugal before it was cool to be frugal, and I know that played into it. But neither of my parents seem to have this guilt-ridden relationship with spending. To me, spending money brings up the same kind of guilt as eating used to.

Dating has thus been a very complicated, interesting process. It's brought up way more issues than I even thought it might. From a recovery standpoint, I'm doing okay (well, based on one date I'm doing okay). That's been the least of my concerns, oddly. But we shall see what happens.

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10 comments:

Cathy (UK) said...

I have the same guilt about spending money. It's not so much that I don't feel I'm worthy of having treats (or men...), but rather that savings make me feel safe, and feeling safe is important to me.

I don't think that being frugal is entirely learnt behaviour; I think it's another personality characteristic (and apparently characteristic of an obsessive-compulsive personality). My Dad was a chartered accountant and saving money was his job as well as his interest.

My brother and I were given cash books when we were small children. My Dad did give us pocket money as cash, but we were encouraged to write down expenditure against income in our cash books. I still have a cash book that I completed at age 5 yrs (1971). It states things like 'dolly mixtures: 4pence'. Weekly income: 50 pence.

I stuck to writing it all down rigidly and it was fun. My brother couldn't be bothered, but still received his pocket money!

anorexiaoni said...

Oh, the guilt. Yeah, same here. :s

I'm a nightmare to shop with because I feel the need to justify everything, go through the motions and indecision and then decide, no, it's probably cheaper on the internet.

I'd definitely say I'm better (the anal notekeeping of every single penny I spent went out years ago) and I now realise that I shouldn't beat myself up when everything I buy is mostly useful or serves a purpose. It's the same sort of mindset that makes the grip of ED ("thou shalt not! Thou shalt suffer!")

This doesn't really relate to dating (once again, a totally different minefield) but remember that you are allowed to enjoy yourself, you've got income and that true value is in relationships, feelings and experiences - not in your bank account. :)

ex ana said...

During and after recovering new windows and doors of life are open (fast or slow it depends...)
About this post and the categories you choose for it, I noticed that *life* is not there.
ps1- I must confess that I was really surprised with the first dating post. Oh! She inteligent, nice, with humor, etc. etc. This comment has cultural bias, I live in a different context.
ps2-As you: "My one area of weakness is books". Maybe saving is some kind of procastrination.

Joanna Cake said...

Id not made the link between anorexia and my frugality. I think it's what Cathy said, having savings makes me feel safe.

Im just stepping out into the big wide world because of my separation. It's scary and I want to keep my cash close. But I am still making sure that I eat at least three meals a day because I know that this is an extremely vulnerable time in terms of my anorexia. After 30 years, it's only in remission and I suspect that it is finding other avenues in which to express itself.

Jade said...

Oh my gosh! This sounds exactly like me! I remember getting bent out of shape if something was more than $10. Luckily, after my mom continued to remind me that life is to be lived to the fullest, I started being more relaxed about spending money. I still like to save, but I'm okay to spend a little too.
Now that I'm married I've had some issues with someone else spending "my" money. But I figured I'd rather have a companion in life than have a lot of money sitting in the bank.

Anonymous said...

Well I've always been the opposite of frugal, except when I have bouts of guilt and fear. In those periods I've learned that it is possible to have fun without spending (much) money. You mentioned that you like biking: what about a bike ride date? It should be less threatening than sitting in a restaurant, and you can go for an informal snack or meal or ice cream cone or beer afterward. If you live in or near an urban area, there are museums that have free or reduced-admission days, and art galleries, and parks, and even free events. I think doing stuff like that also takes the pressure off the dating parties because you are not investing a lot of money or making the date into a Major Event.

Crimson Wife said...

I still think the best way to meet a compatible partner is by going out and doing group activities that interest you. If you enjoy biking, join a bicycle club. If your alma mater qualifies you for the Ivy Plus Society, that's supposed to be a great outlet for meeting other bright singles.

The Internet is great for buying books & music, but I don't think it's nearly as effective for finding Mr. Right as getting yourself out there & meeting people.

Sarah said...

I think the dating world in general tends to be disappointing and stressful, eating disorder or not. That means it's an even bigger accomplishment on your part that you're thinking about it and making some steps to try to actively enter it. You should really applaud yourself for that. As far as encouragement, don't throw in the towel yet--keep trying! A lot of my friends have done online dating before meeting the "right" guy. My best friend B recently got engaged to someone she met on E-Harmony. She was actually about to quit before she met him because she was getting frustrated, and was opening her account to cancel it when his message popped up! A man won't fulfill you, but I have found having a good man has made my life infinitely better. I think it's worth it to keep trying in some way to meet someone to date. If you need to take a step back, try a different site or something, or have a friend help you retool your profile a little to see if you can show up in more searches. Just some ideas.

jamandjessica said...

My frugality ended up contributing to my ED. I was semi recovered when I moved away from home and was thrown into the world of managing my own money. It didn't take long for my parsimony to turn into outright fear. I literally worried what would happen if I spent more than £10 a week on food and this fed ED.

I am better now. I prefer saving to spending (except on make-up and books) and things have to be worth it or needed. I'm no good at just shopping on a whim and spending money. I can't imagine what is fun about it.

I worry about money and not having any. Something always goes wrong and when it does, it often requires money.

It's interesting that it's quite a common characteristic, it always reminds me I like control much more than I am willing to admit.

Anyway, I know this is very belated but I love your blog and this post jumped out at me!!

Jessica.

florists in US said...

I have the same guilt about spending money. It's not so much that I don't feel I'm worthy of having treats (or men...), but rather that savings make me feel safe, and feeling safe is important to me. I don't think that being frugal is entirely learnt behaviour; I think it's another personality characteristic (and apparently characteristic of an obsessive-compulsive personality). My Dad was a chartered accountant and saving money was his job as well as his interest. My brother and I were given cash books when we were small children. My Dad did give us pocket money as cash, but we were encouraged to write down expenditure against income in our cash books. I still have a cash book that I completed at age 5 yrs (1971). It states things like 'dolly mixtures: 4pence'. Weekly income: 50 pence. I stuck to writing it all down rigidly and it was fun. My brother couldn't be bothered, but still received his pocket money!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote



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