I’m now 4 years out from my separation and over 2 years out from divorce. One of the most challenging aspects of my post divorce life is the ups and downs of dating and relationships. It often feels like a roller coaster of emotions, and I can’t lie, I get motion sickness easily. I’ve barfed on more than one amusement park ride. I have no idea whether or not my experience is typical, but I’ve seen myself cycle through phases and stages as I heal and move forward with life.
When I first separated, I was a mixture of hopeful and overwhelmed. Taking care of 3 kids on my own while my ex lived across the country was exhausting, so I had no time to date, and I felt I needed to take that time to myself until I was officially legally divorced. I think it’s fair to say I was depressed during this time; some days the highlight of my day was sitting on my bed, in my dark room, listening to silence, and reading Facebook after the children went to bed. Yeah, I was pathetic, but I was taking care of 2 preschoolers and a toddler; there was no room for dating. I was convinced that I was in a better place than I was a few years earlier, and I believed Mister Prince charming would be riding in on his pony–well, I really mean in his midsized sedan– in another year or two.
Finally, about 15 months later when I had a date to finalize my divorce, I let go and put up a dating profile on a couple online sites. Dating made me very excited, but I was still adjusting to singlehood. What excited me was the shear number of responses I got, the surprising number of dates I went on or messages I received. I started to feel like I could be picky, and weed out anyone who didn’t fit my criteria. Don’t get me wrong this was full of ups and downs too. Constantly having to dish out rejection and getting quite a bit of rejection from the men I dated was challenging. At times, I felt like I was gonna get carpal tunnel for all of that damn texting. I made a few friends, and I met a guy I dated for a few months. Eventually, I met another guy who I grew to love, but he broke it off, and I found myself stuck. The second phase was like the whirlwind phase, and as a male friend of mine says the “ho phase,” but for most normal folks (Yes, some of you all ain’t normal), that euphoria wears off. The dating gets old, and you start to long for more.
In the past 6 months, I’ve felt my self moving into another phase of this roller coaster ride. It’s also called not giving a fuck, or maybe folks less inclined to profanity would call it the being content with singlehood stage. Honestly, I kinda don’t want to date right now. I like being in my house without anyone (minus my children) telling me what to do. I like that I’m not being awakened at 6AM by a good morning text. At this point, I’ve scrolled through enough dating profiles that most of them seem ugly or creepy or playerish. Nothing about a 28 year old telling me I’m hot does a damn thing for me. I’ve got a few guys who call or text on occasion; I still care a lot about the last guy I dated, but I don’t want to fight for a relationship that someone doesn’t want that. I don’t want to dish out rejection; I don’t want to get rejection. Some days I want the perks of a relationship without the work–like can I get good familiar sex that makes me feel loved. Can we just have a casual no strings attached half friendship without me worrying that you’ve got 20 other side chicks plus me. Can I go without worrying you’re gonna get pissed if I get busy and miss one of your texts. I know this phase will pass. At some point, I might meet someone who wants to be with me and who piques my interest. At another point, I may work up the energy to cycle through another 50 first dates and restart the “ho phase.”
That’s life after divorce, especially when you are picky, content not to settle, and a little jaded. That’s also the busy life of a 41 year old mom who truly ain’t got time for bullshit. Until the roller coaster gets going again……