sex diaries

The Divorced New Jersey Mom Looking for Women on Dating Apps

Photo-Illustration: James Gallagher

A woman finding humor in her online dating options, while trading off her kids with their other mom: 43, single, New Jersey.


9 a.m. I’ve been working remotely for about a month now. I work in a residential school, but once COVID arrived, the students were sent home and I was too. As a mental-health clinician, I now spend most of my workday on the phone checking on students and making sure they’re okay. Ironically, I plug my own kids, who are 8 and 11, into their screens all day so I can get my own work done.

6 p.m. After I drop them at their other mother’s house, I am home by myself. I’ve been single for just under a year and am looking to date a little. I browse for women on dating apps because COVID is the most effective cockblock ever. I used the apps pre-pandemic too, but I’d also go to parties, bars, and sometimes even get set up on dates by friends. Now, it’s all technology and hiding out.

9 p.m. I swipe left a lot. I want someone I can have an intellectual conversation with, but I can’t seem to find anyone. Bored, I play solitaire on my phone until I fall asleep.


6 a.m. I walk my dog for an hour; she’s become my new life partner. My ex-wife and I met through a mutual friend at a gathering, and had great interpersonal chemistry. Looking back, I was on autopilot in my 20s and just did what people do: meet someone, get married and have kids, without really ever thinking about it too deeply. She seemed like a solid choice on paper, good provider, smart, funny, and we got along really well in the day-to-day stuff.

9 a.m. Work from home again. No kids, they’re at my ex’s for the next few days. During the day, I download all the other popular dating apps. Same women on all of them.

I ditch work and go for a walk with a friend. She is also single and looking around, except for men. It doesn’t look good for her either. It doesn’t surprise me that she’s striking out. Most people around here are already settled with families.

9 p.m. I think about meeting someone and having sex and I feel nothing. When my ex and I split, I still had a healthy sex drive — I would watch porn, and even had sex with a few random internet guys for a change. It had been almost 20 years since I’d fooled around with a man. But about a month into the pandemic my libido all went away. Too much happening.


10:30 a.m. My best friend and I exchange screenshots of completely bizarre profile pictures on the dating apps. My friend sends me one of a bearded man, no shirt, just shorts, held up by rainbow suspenders. I send her one of the most unflattering selfies I have ever seen, a picture of a naked woman taken from under her chin looking up. At least I get some laughs out of it.

8 p.m. I watch old reruns of Will & Grace and am reminded of how homophobic and transphobic the show was. Yuck.

9:30 p.m. I put my queer self to sleep by looking for deals on Facebook Marketplace — furniture, art, clothes, whatever. Just window shopping.


9 a.m. Work from home, rinse and repeat.

1 p.m. I get a text from my ex-wife starting some power struggle about distance learning. I’m tempted to respond by pointing out her bullying. Instead, I ignore it. She has done a good job of showing me what to avoid next time. Assuming there is a next time — I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for right now.

I really didn’t realize until we split that she was pretty controlling and manipulative. After about a decade of feeling miserable and not being able to figure out why, I made out with this 23-year-old woman, came back to life, and realized I had to leave the relationship in order to emotionally survive. I was with that woman for a year and a half. Once I ended things with my ex, her manipulation and controlling tendencies became so much clearer because I rejected her — the divorce proceedings got pretty ugly.

Our relationship now isn’t great. I don’t say much to her other than to communicate about our kids.

6 p.m. I text my friend by writing a story using some of the most interesting profile pics off of Tinder. You know, “Once upon a time there was a jolly old man heading to a pride parade with rainbow suspenders.” Attach the profile pic and send. I’m making myself laugh so hard I start to cry. She asks me if I’ve lost my mind. I say, “Absolutely not, but did you know that there is a man with a neck tattoo grabbing his own crotch with one hand and holding a giant fish upside down with the other on Bumble?” She was not aware of this.

9 p.m. Why am I looking at any men online? I would say, in terms of who I’m looking for, it’s fluid. I’m attracted to masculinity in men or women. Haven’t dated men since I was like 22, so I do get curious …


8 a.m. My kids are back. I plug them into the matrix.

3 p.m. Whatever interest in sex is left in me gets crushed by their leaden feet tromping around my house. I text with a woman who I don’t really have any interest in, but who looks hot. I’m only into very muscly, hot, masculine women. I’m also looking for the trifecta: muscly, hot, brainy. I’m super feminine, long hair, makeup, skirts. In my past relationships, I am the femme of the butch-and-femme archetype, which I really like.


9 a.m. I take my kids out hiking. It’s fun until they complain that they’re too tired and get upset I picked a trail that’s too long.

2 p.m. I escape into my dating apps again.

8 p.m. I start to despair over not finding any women I find attractive. I match with someone who sort of fits my criteria. We text, get the niceties out of the way. She’s pretty cool to talk to, but I’m just not into it. I forget to text her back.


9 a.m. Today I get to drop my kids back off at their other mother’s again.

10:30 a.m. After I get home from dropping them off, I see an ad for a sexy show on Netflix. Seeing it arouses something in me, so I watch it. I start to feel a little something that I haven’t felt since the shutdown in March. It starts to grow stronger. But I’m too tired to get out of bed and get my vibrator, so I take a nap instead.

11:00 a.m. I wake up from a nap dream in which I’ve married a man and am enjoying a barbecue with hundreds of his family members. It was really fun, I guess it could mean I’m craving settling down again, having a large extended family and feeling like I belong somewhere.

9 p.m. I’m still on the same couch, watching more or less the same TV. I fall asleep with my remote in my hand, thinking about the barbecue again.

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The Divorced New Jersey Mom Looking for Women on Dating Apps