When people got over the initial shock of the news that my ex and I were divorcing, they asked me a question that I was not prepared for.
In the same breath as saying “I’m so sorry that this is happening”, they also asked “When are you going to start dating again?”
The ink was not even dry on the filed papers when people were asking me if and when I would be dating. The last time I dated, we had just stopped using pagers and people still called you on the phone. There was no social media and men still had to properly ask you out on a date.
I had no clue what it was like to be single or dating when my marriage failed. Dating was not what was immediate in my mind. I really just needed some time to myself.
The funny thing was that several of my friends had been through ending long term marriages or relationships and they all had varying accounts of life after divorce.
Go out and sleep with whoever you want. Get it out of your system.
You should just take some time out and protect yourself. Go to counseling before you start dating.
I needed to live life somewhere on the in between. But most important to me was finding myself. I had a long time friend tell me that, although she was sad to hear that I was getting divorced, she was happy to see that I was back. That comment floored me. I didn’t know that I had gone anywhere.
Who had I been for the past fifteen or sixteen years that I was in that relationship?
There was way too much to think about and I didn’t want to think about any of it at all. I just wanted to live a little. What is the proper balance between enjoying my space and wanting companionship? I still don’t know that answer. After being in a relationship so long, I wanted some freedom. And when my friend said that ending the relationship resulted in my old self reappearing, my first thought was that I did not ever want to be in a relationship where she would disappear again.
And while I appreciate my friends and their efforts at pushing me toward sexual freedom, the truth is, I now understand the importance of energy. I don’t feel that everyone is deserving of my love, my time, and my energy and there are just some people who I don’t want sucking up all of my being.
The result- I’m cautious. While I am a lover of love and fairy tales, and I DVR every movie on the Hallmark Channel every weekend, I don’t find it easy to trust. I’m in no rush and I am good in the space that I’m in right now.
When I got married, my mom’s advice to me was to never forget the individual that I was before the vows and to never lose her in between midnight feedings with the babies and date nights with the husband. Truth was, I didn’t lose her. She has always been there and this time, she was the very encouragement I needed to move on and be okay with the manner in which I choose to do so.