Now that I’ve introduced the man that changed my views on relationships, and more significantly love, I am so looking forward to telling you more about him and us. HOWEVER, before I get to any of that I first want to get practical in this post. I want to discuss the topic of dating after divorce. For anyone that knows me it was a huge deal, and NOT an easy decision, for me to even consider dating before the divorce was final. But sometimes you can’t pass up the unbelievable opportunities life throws at you. And it was time for me to take a risk.
As I’ve mentioned plenty of times before I went through an intense time of counseling, self evaluating and support group therapy during my separation. I say this again because it was the best thing I could have done for EVERYONE I was currently in relationships with (meaning friends and family) and ANYONE I would someday be in relationship with (potentially a significant other?). It was the time I took to know myself, especially in the areas of what I was doing that was harming to relationships. Relying on the other person to meet my emotional needs, for instance. Making the other person feel suffocated because of my insecurities that he would rather spend his time with anyone other than me, for another instance. Yup! I was that person! And I hated those traits about myself. So I made up my mind not to get involved with anyone else until I’d dealt with my issues.
Please know I realize I have an incredibly LONG list of issues just like any person willing to realistically evaluate them-self realizes. I did not by any means expect to be issue-free before getting into another relationship. I did however expect that I would have the particular issues mentioned above (with a few more added) at least figured out and replace with realistic expectations and appropriate responses. In hindsight, the hole in this plan was that once I thought I had them figured out I’d have to test them in a relationship since that was were they reared their ugly head to begin with. But that was neither here nor there in my thinking while I was dealing with them. I was not interested in casually dating, nor was I ready to open myself up to the fears I had about dating again.
- I haven’t flirted with a new man in 13+ years! What if I don’t know what to say? Or how to act? What if I’m a total dork now?!
- Most of the men available are either too young, wouldn’t want to date a mother of three, are my age and have never been married which of course means they have commitment issues (I know that is not entirely true, but I thought it anyway), OR have themselves been divorced and could very well, most probably, have their own set of issues they haven’t yet dealt with.
- What if I date someone for the wrong reason? Like security (a.k.a. he has money)? Or shared Faith (been there done that)? Or looks (but lacking personality)?
- What if I can’t find someone that will be a good match for me? Surely someone as cool as I’d like him to be would not want to be with me! (There is that ugly insecurity monster again).
- What if I think he’s great until we’re married and living together and I find out he’s wrong for me (like my first go around)?
Is it any wonder then that I focused instead on being happy as a single person? In a way you could say I dated myself. It removed the pressure of needing to find a perfect replacement for the relationship I’d lost. It gave me the time I needed to grieve all the dreams I had for my marriage that would never come to fruition. It allowed me to learn how to meet my own emotional needs. It gave me the chance to develop stronger friendships with people in my life. I got to a place where I knew I could be single for as long as it took and I would be okay. Let me tell you it is an incredibly liberating place to be. No longer was I dependent on another to make me happy, or to make me feel valued. I knew I was valuable no matter what anyone else thought.
That’s why when Tall Blonde finally walked up to my table at the coffee shop, I was able to have one of the best 15 min conversations I’d had with a man in maybe my life time. There was no pressure. Sure there was some anxiety because he was super cute with that smile and those dimples. And he was intellectually smart and engaging. And he made me laugh with an ease that is hard to come by in a first meeting. But there was no fear of what he thought about me. I had the attitude that if he didn’t like me that was fine. If he did then cool, we can be friends. It was exciting. It felt more like an adventure than a mission to be accomplished. And that alone was enough for me.