After separating from my husband almost one year ago, I am now in my late 30s and single again. I have taken this year to pretty much avoid dating while getting my stuff together again, and am now just getting up and running although without much fanfare I must say. Once I started to tell people I was getting a divorce, everyone from strangers to friends had advice to give. Quite often, some of these pieces of advice weren't so helpful. In fact, I imagined putting a "block" this post box next to their mouths but sadly in real life, we can't block or delete someone that instantly. So the next time you meet a divorced mommy who's getting close to that "Oh no 4-0" number, refrain from saying these things.
At Least You're Not 40 Yet!
This was the cruelest phrase of the bunch. Someone said it was good I was divorcing before I turned 40 because "men don't want 40-year-old women." How was this supposed to be uplifting to me in my time of severe grief during my divorce? Sure, I have heard from other lady friends that men did indeed seem to "ignore" them on online dating forums once they hit 35 but please... Don't say this to anyone. As far as I'm concerned, myself, my body and my vagina do not expire once I hit 40. If a man thinks so, then he can keep moving on.
You'll Meet the Right One When It's Time
Actually, it's more like I will meet the wrong one continuously. I will meet Mr. Creepy, Mr. Stalker, Mr. Married and Mr. Flaky. Thank you for your astute advice though. Clearly the universe will present me with a gem when it's ready, and not when I decide it would be peachy for me.
A Real Man Accepts a Woman Who Has Kids
If you're a single divorced mommy, you've heard this -- oh, I don't know -- a zillion times. Sure, it's true. If he's ready for love he will accept your kiddos, but finding a great guy who can also be a solid stepfather once you're past a certain age isn't exactly a cake walk. It's not like they're selling potential stepdads in Target. Just saying.
You're Too Stubborn and Picky at Your Age
Well, would it be better if I settled for any old dude with a pulse and a penis? Probably not. And think about it: As a mother who is age 30-something, should I be super flexible about who I invite into my life? Back when I was 21, all that mattered was that a guy was cute, liked the same music as me and could speak English (even that wasn't a deal breaker.) At my age I'm looking for a little more. It doesn't matter if Dude X is nice. Dude X also has to be responsible and share the same values as I do.
Why Don't You Try Online Dating? My Friend Met Her Husband Online
Goody goody gumdrops! I'm so glad your super awesome friend met her right guy on JDate. I'm not saying it's impossible, but many of us single or divorced mothers have or are trying online dating. We're moms. We don't have time to primp up and head to the bar. But it's really difficult. Online dating is like another child: You have to tend to it, monitor it, police messages and psychos, and then take some time to find potential nuggets of possibilities. It isn't as fun as when you got to meet some hottie in a bar, make out together and then go back to your kid-free apartment for more making out while listening to Radiohead.
Online dating is more like awkward 30-minute interactions in which you wonder if you're a masochist because the dude you're getting coffee with looks like a troll despite his "profile photo" and not the cute trolls you collected as a kid. And worse still? He rants about his ex-wife. He almost cries. You wish you brought tissues so instead, you offer him baby wipes.
I Know This Guy and He's Kind of Hideous, But He's Nice Though!
Then there are the set-ups people offer to make you, you almost-40, single or divorced mommy, that sound so God-awful, you wonder if your friends hate you.
"He's not attractive really, but he's super nice!"
"What about my friend's cousin's cousin's brother's uncle?
It doesn't matter if the person is really suitable for you; all these people know is that they know a single man in your age range who would potentially sit next to you in a public place. Perhaps this individual could be a well-groomed donkey from the farm. It doesn't matter. They know someone who will go out with you! Yes! Fist pump!
In the end, I don't care that I am divorcing my husband when I am closer to 40 than 30. I can't buy back years or time. All I care about is the fact that I made the big leap to change my life for the better and that while it is hard to be alone, it is better to be happy and single than married and miserable!