Though, several women who I would've liked to have continued talking to have disabled their profiles -- I know for certain one of them because she kept getting gross messages from jerks. I suspect it's true of the others. I gather that getting harassed by men is a pretty universal experience for women on the site.\n\n[[Back|Life continues.]]\n
//Hey! Thanks!\n\nEmpathy's not really such a hard trick -- I find being naturally quiet helps. You just listen to people and accept what they have to say, even if it's different from your own experiences. It kind of seems weird and ugly to me when people are dismissive of others, or when they're quick to judge without understanding. Like, that's level one on the Basic Human Decency Scale, to me.\n\nI don't quite have the language to describe my current relationship status. My wife and I are actually in the process of separating, but we're still quite close, and we're continuing to be a family together -- we're just no longer a couple. She moved into her own apartment recently, but she comes by the house in the morning to take our son to school, and sometimes in the evenings to have dinner. We're all three of us happy with the arrangement, but I really wish there were words for what we're doing. Sometimes I'll catch myself thinking along the standard divorce narrative, like my marriage "fell apart" or something, and I have to consciously remind myself that, no, my marriage was great, it ended well, and I wouldn't take back a thing.\n\nAnyway, I should probably be a bit clearer about that in my profile. I'm mostly just looking to get to know some new people right now.\n\n[[So, uh, how's it going?]]//
I'm typing this home alone in my basement. I'm not unhappy about that. I'm still, six months later, figuring out what my life should look like.\n\nI seem to need space to get obsessed about things, and to work on things, but I also need to share myself, to put myself out there. It seems to go in cycles. I've spent the past month and a half completely engrossed in a personal project; almost all of my energy has gone towards that. But before that I spent months feeling awful about any time at all spent in front of a computer. I was completely depressed. Luckily I found people to reach out to and connect with, which I needed desperately. I'm very grateful to those people.\n\nI can't quite tell if I'm neglecting myself right now or if this is just how I operate. But for the moment, I'm enjoying being pulled by myself, rather than pushing myself.\n\n[[Back|OKCupid]]\n
It's kind of fun, to keep clicking through profiles, seeing who OKCupid thinks I might be interested in. It seems to do a pretty good job. There are lots of people on here that sound interesting. And in aggregate it starts to paint an interesting picture of the culture of my city. \n\nLots of people working in government, which I expected. Lots of outdoorsy, outgoing people, which, as an indoorsy introvert, I find myself weirdly put off by. Lots of the people I find interesting are into knitting.\n\nAlso, an awful lot of women in polyamourous open marriages? They all seem pretty cool. I guess that happens if you the check the "married" box.\n\n[[It's 2am, go to bed|Bed]]\n
You think so?\n\nHm.\n\nI mean, I've been going through stuff. It's hard. But I don't think I'm unhappy. Not really.\n\n[[Look at profiles]]
Seriously, he's great, and I love him so much. We go to Value Village every Saturday to try and keep him in books, but he reads like multiple novels a day. Just non-stop. He is into Magic Tree House and Pokemon and Animorphs.\n\n[[Back|Begin]]\n
Oh gosh, do I feel great about this message.\n\n[[Back|message]]
She's impressed that I listed "empathy" as a thing that I am good at. "I am also in an open relationship", she says.\n\n[[Eeee! Someone thinks I'm interesting!]]\n[[I guess I had better update my profile to be clearer.]]\n[[Ramble on for a while about empathy and my marriage]]\n
Yeah. Yeah, I've got a pretty good life. I'm in a pretty good place.\n\n[[Look at profiles]]
Hi.\n\nI'm Jeremy. I'm 31 years old. I have a wonderful [[5-year-old son|son]]. I have been married for over 7 years, and was with my wife for 4 years before that.\n\nWe have been [[separated]] for six months.\n\nSometimes I think about [[dating]].\n\n
It's hard not to be misleading about my reasons for putting myself out here when I don't know what they are myself. But clearly I am giving an incorrect impression about my current relationship status.\n\nI still feel uncomfortable setting my status to single.\n\nThere is no section in the profile called "describe your relationship with your spouse". So I cram in an awkward paragraph somewhere about how I'm technically married, but we're separated, but it's actually good, and we have meals together, and I feel weird writing this, but I also feel weird not writing it, so it's lucky that I feel okay with weird.\n\n[[Back|message]]\n
Dude, I looked up to shareware authors as heroes when I was a kid and once made a game titled "Sonic The Hedgehog's Orphan Genocide", you don't know me at ALL\n\n[[Next Question|Weird]]\n
We exchange a couple more messages, but it quickly becomes explicitly clear that she's looking for someone to date (as you would expect, on a dating site), and I am totally not ready for any such thing, and so we stop corresponding.\n\nSoon after, I get a message from another woman, who read my awkward blurb and thinks it's great that we are having meals as a family. She relates a story from her childhood about one of her parents' exes coming over for dinner every week. It is nice to hear. We talk about doing right by kids for a bit.\n\n[[My wife is seeing someone.]]\n
It was about two months after we'd finally come to the conclusion that we were separating, for real.\n\nI was still in a really weird place. I wasn't really ready to start dating, but I needed to know what my future was going to look like. I needed to know that it was going to be possible for me to move on, that I wouldn't be stuck [[home alone in my basement]] every night because I never learned to date.\n\nI picked OKCupid because all of my friends, all of the interesting people I like, when they talk about dating sites, universally talk about OKCupid. And I vaguely remembered Daphny saying that the secret to OKCupid was just to use it to make friends.\n\nI could use some new friends.\n\n[[Create a profile]]
I was nineteen years old. I was obnoxious and entitled and Nice Guy, but I was funny and weird, too, and she decided I was special, and I thought she was pretty spectacular, and for years it was fantastic and confusing and amazing. We had no idea what we were doing. Oh my gosh. You should have seen it. You should have lived through it. Everyone should get to have that, at least once.\n\nI wouldn't take back anything.\n\nBut I don't miss being married, either. We were done. It was time.\n\n[[Back|dating]]\n
Is astrological sign important in a match? Uh, no.\n\nHave I smoked a cigarette in the last 6 months? Try never.\n\nWhich would I rather be?\n\n[[Normal]]\n[[Weird]]
I spend about four hours lying [[motionless]] on my bed having [[feelings]].
There Ought To Be A Word
Oh man. Okay. I am a lot better equipped for this than I was 11 years ago, the [[last time I got into a relationship]]. I can do this.\n\nI think.\n\nI made an [[OKCupid]] profile a few months ago.
Telling people we were separating was easily the worst part of separating. The dominant narrative of divorce is fucking awful. People throwing things at each other. People ruining their kids' lives. People taking everything from each other. We're not doing any of that. But this is what people think of when you tell them. \n\nPeople feel bad for you. But it's not bad! Nobody did anything wrong! It's //better// than being married! That's why we're doing it!\n\n[[Back|Single]]\n
There is a lot of good going on in my life. I have a good relationship with my son. I have a good relationship with my ex. I am full of enthusiasm for my projects, and when I'm not, I don't push it. I take good care of myself.\n\nI know I'll make a good partner for someone. I just don't know when, yet.\n\n[[Soon]].
It's actually going really well. We're still really close. In fact, our relationship is better than it's been in a long time.\n\nWe have a good plan in place for raising our son together. We eat meals together with him. We'll do holidays together sometimes. He still has a family. That's really important.\n\n[[Back|Begin]]\n
Not me. I'm not the one who gets hurt this feeling. But jealousy could make me hurt everyone I care about. My son. I don't want that.\n\nI am feeling shitty, sure. But it doesn't make any sense to feel that way. Her behaviour has nothing to do with me. She is doing what she needs to do for herself. She's not inflicting anything on me. I'm doing it to myself.\n\nEventually I realize that nothing has changed. My plans for myself are sound, and I should continue with them. The feeling burns itself out, and is gone, forever.\n\nI want nothing but success and happiness for her.\n\n[[Life continues.]]
I'm technically still married. A divorce is a long way off, yet. And it feels weirdly dishonest to not mention it, since it's such a huge part of what I'm dealing with right now.\n\nIt bugs me a lot that there's no word for my relationship with my wife. We're definitely not a couple anymore, and there's not any feeling on either side that we might become one again in the future. (It's not like I'm sneaking around behind her back; we discussed dating. She's supportive.)\n\nIt's like, we're close friends that are also raising a child together. We're a family, but not a couple. All of the labels feel wrong.\n\nI decide that probably the most accurate thing to mark down is that I'm married, and just looking for friends. That seems the least wrong set of options, to me.\n\n[[Write a bio]]
Okay, yeah, I have been at this for like five hours, now.\n\nOKCupid feeds me a [[steady stream of emails]] about all of the interesting people that I might meet if I just strike up a conversation with them. I don't send any messages, though. I'm not sure at all what I'm after, with this whole endeavour.\n\nEventually, someone takes the first step and sends me a [[message]].
It's a trickle, now, but when I signed up, I was getting multiple notifications a day. So-and-so is looking at your profile! We have new matches for you! So-and-so rated you highly! Our algorithm has decided you're attractive, and so we'll show you more attractive people! (That email was super gross, by the way, OKCupid.)\n\nFor the most part, these emails have the effect of making me crave validation. I compulsively log in, wondering how people are reacting to my presence. I look at more profiles. I don't send messages.\n\n[[Back|Bed]]\n
I do eventually build up the courage to send out a few messages. At the moment, OKCupid is a place where I have short, [[pleasant conversations with strangers]]. I've gotten book recommendations. I've found a good pizza place not far from where I work.\n\nI'm still not dating. I might give it a shot soon. I'm emotionally comfortable with the idea, now. I changed my OKCupid status to "single". I deleted the awkward blurb about being married. It doesn't seem relevant, anymore.\n\nStill, I worry about how I spend my time. I worry that I don't actually want people in my life, right now. I'm not exactly going out of my way to spend time with my friends, either. I have trouble getting myself out of the house. Will that improve if I'm dating someone, or will I just ignore them? Am I overthinking it? Am I just making excuses for myself?\n\nI don't know. I can see that I'm holding myself back, but I can't tell if it's because I'm doing what I really want to be doing right now, or if something else is going on.\n\nCan't tell if [[depressed]] or [[happy]].
Could I date someone who was really messy? Sure, why not.\n\nFfffuuuuck, OKCupid, did you really just ask me if I'd only consider dating white people? Jesus Christ. JESUS CHRIST. I leave a comment on that one.\n\nWould I consider sleeping with someone on the first date?\n\n[[Yes|Sleep]]\n[[No|Sleep]]\n\n\n
Stupid, irrational jealousy. It surprises me. I'm not expecting it at all. I haven't experienced anything resembling jealousy for many, many years. It's a terrible, [[hurtful]] emotion.
I apologize to my son for not being able to play with him. He reads in his room.\n\n[[Back|My wife is seeing someone.]]\n
I pretty much broke down completely a couple of months ago. All of my coping mechanisms failed me. I dropped all demands on my free time and gave up sitting in front of a computer for fun. It was a couple of weeks of hell. But I found new coping strategies. I reached out to friends. I played the piano. If there was nothing else to be done, I watched TV. I let myself do whatever I was drawn to do.\n\nI feel a lot better now, but I'm scared it'll happen again, that I'll push myself too far and give out on myself. And I don't know if dating will help or hurt. I think maybe the only way to know is to try.\n\n[[Soon]].
Augh. Am I really single? I mean, technically, I'm still married. In Canada, you have to be separated for a year to get a divorce, unless you have "grounds". As though "we don't want to be married to each other anymore" isn't a good reason to not be married to each other anymore. We never had to fill out a form explaining why we wanted to //get// married.\n\nBut that's a subject for a whole other Twine game*.\n\nAt this point I feel really, really weird about calling myself single. I mean, my wife still lives in the house. There are friends I still [[haven't told]].\n\nI go back and forth for a long time before eventually choosing [[Married]].\n\n * tentatively titled "Canadian Divorce Law Is Some Sexist, Patriarchal Bullshit"
It occurs to me some time after I answer this question that I am mostly unthinkingly using my 19-year-old self's answer, since that's the last time it was relevant to my life.\n\nThis is the only sex-related question I fill out. I feel uncomfortable answering them. I'm just looking for friends, right?\n\nAm I happy with my life?\n\n[[Yes|Happy]]\n[[No|Unhappy]]\n
[[Jeremy Penner|]]
Am I really doing this? Deep breath. Yeah. I guess I'm doing this.\n\nOkay, basic information. Gender. Birthday. Interested in making new friends. That's about as far as I can commit right now, yeah. Friends.\n\nOh god. What do I do about this.\n[[Single]]\n[[Married]]
I spend a couple of hours writing about myself. It is kind of gruelling. (Most writing, for me, is gruelling. (This is not the first Twine game I've tried to write about my experience.))\n\n>''I'm really good at:''\n>Empathy.\n>\n>Overthinking things.\n>\n>Puns.\n\nI spend some time digging through photos of myself. I don't have a lot, but there are some nice ones.\n\nIt's probably midnight when I start [[filling out questions]].