Here’s how it went. After The Leaving, but before the divorce, I didn’t date. Something about my face made it easy to fly under the radar, I made no advances and no one, except maybe that one time… (I saw you, I just wasn’t ready), made a move. No one asked me out, no one but maybe that guy flirted with me. I fought for my marriage. I tried. I analyzed my wrongs and accepted responsibility, but I was only half the equation. I didn’t own what wasn’t mine. I couldn’t ignore his parts. I begged to work on it, fight for it, try for it. But he did not want it… or rather, me. So we began “friendly” divorce proceedings. We retained the same lawyer. It was cheap (or as cheap as ripping apart a family and union that’s supposed to last forever can be), quick (90 days to make “ ‘til death do us part’ the biggest lie I ever told), and easy (or as easy as knowing life would never be the same). We didn’t fight, no alimony, little parenting planning, minimal division of assets.
I grieved. I didn’t want it, but as a recovering addict I knew a prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference...
If even God won’t change the heart of a man against his will, who was I to think I could? It was over. The baby was dead. So, I washed my face and… I started to swim!
Some people are OK being alone. Not me. I’m made for communion, community, companionship. I’m a companionable soul. I want to be in a relationship as soon as possible… as long as it makes sense. Rebound relationships do not make sense, but in listening to my single friends, I learned they kind of seem to be the norm, especially after long-term relationships. I speculate that we’re used to being paired up; we feel “off” being alone and seek to fill the void quickly. I didn’t hear too many rebound relationship success stories so it was important to me to avoid one. I spotted my cairn, one year away, and hiked to it.
I had goals for dating:
1) Have fun! Sew some (pure) wild oats! (If I’m single I might as well have fun, right?!)
2) Avoid rebounding
3) Be open to a relationship if it makes sense
4) Meet good guys
5) Do fun stuff
6) Abstain from sex
7) Did I say have fun?!
I opened my online profile two weeks before I was divorced. I wish I waited but I knew it was going to hurt so, I started talking to guys. It felt good, after months of feeling rejected, abandoned and unwanted, to be interesting and maybe even chosen. I was new, the guys were all over me and most were quite kind, respectful and fun.
Over the year I met several men online, and there they stayed. I’ll include their comments and online behaviors in the analysis, but they were never “real-life.” My best guess is that there were about two dozen online conversations. I can’t be more specific than that.
I can tell you more about the real-lifers…
In one year’s time I went out with thirteen men. There was no sex, no petting, not much of anything... and when this information was fully realized two real-lifers bailed, so props to the good guys who really are willing to meet and hang out with a respectable woman!
Three of the thirteen were disqualified from further dates when they confessed they were separated and not actually divorced.
Nine were met online. Four were from real-life interactions.
Ages ranged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties with a mean age of ~42 years old.
Four were only seen once for either a walk or a cuppa coffee.
Five were privileged with more than a hug but far less than getting lucky … one was a surprise kiss I didn’t see coming that still makes me smile, and I can’t believe you snuck that in yo! ;)
One pushed the boundaries too far and was disqualified... and I still wish we could have an adult conversation about what happened.
One was an addict that ought not have lied to another addict.
All left an impression and I am grateful and flattered for their time, attention and attraction to me.
My favorite dates, not surprisingly, included the outdoors:
Cuddling by a bonfire for a ridiculous number of hours,
Wine, cheese and praise songs under the stars, on a full-moon night, in the snowy mountains of Leavenworth,
Hiking various mountains and trails in Wenatchee, Peshastin and Leavenworth,
Geocaching for the ever illusive Mr. Gadget cache “Oh let me shine upon you 2”
Walking and running on the Loop
Enjoyable inside dates happened too. There were movies, bowling, hockey, live bands, book and Bible readings, food… sooooo much food, and drinks, lots of drinks... coffee and alcohol were the usual but there was that one kombucha time, which scored points for its uniquity! Hands down, my favorite inside date was fooling my friends by picking up a “stranger” at a bar in my red dress… maybe someday they’ll forgive me, and to you sir, that was the best idea EVER!!! I'm so down to do that again, if ever the chance presents itself!
For the most part men were happy to accommodate my tastes and desires but I sure did like it when they took the lead and I just had to figure out how to follow their footwork!
There were so many moments of joy, fun and happiness that I’ll treasure. They were wonderful, fun, smart, kind, gentlemen. It was fun but it was exhausting and usually I was too much… or not enough but nonetheless, I learned a lot and I hope I share what they taught me with utmost respect for these good men that took time with me.