I haven't really shared this story in any detail I don't think......unless I did somewhere in my blog and can't find it.
But I'm driven to write about this because I read so many blog posts from others who wonder if they will ever find love again. Are you one of them? Maybe you feel you screwed up past relationships and are scared about trying again or maybe you had the strength to leave a past relationship but are still scared to put yourself out there to find new love. Maybe you don't feel worthy of love. Maybe you are wanting to leave a relationship but the security of that relationship beats the feeling of insecurity that you might never find anyone else.
I don't have the answer to all of the above. I think if you feel you aren't worthy of love, you should seek help. The right therapist can be wonderful. Everyone is worthy of being loved! If you made mistakes in your past, fine, forgive yourself and use those lessons to make you better now as a partner. A therapist can also help you sift through the muck in a current relationship, helping you to identify what can or can't be fixed/changed about you and your partner. Sometimes we are just in the wrong relationship and it's hard to come to terms with that when weighed against commitments we have made.
I wasn't in a relationship where I felt damaged, abused, nor taken advantage of. I was in control and, as I said in the previous post, was still made to feel loved and beautiful despite what else was going on. Having the person whom I thought loved me, do the things he did, was devastating. I could understand if I thought he was unhappy, if we didn't get along, if he didn't like me or how I looked......but....how could he leave me when I thought everything was okay?
It was very hard for me to trust my instincts after that. This is probably something for another post, actually. Was what I was seeing in a new relationship real? What might be going on that I didn't know about? I was scared that I might not see something. I'll talk more about this another time in case anyone is wondering how I was able to function normally in a new relationship.
So back to my story.....Once my ex told me he wanted a divorce, I fell into what I can only call a short depression. It took me realizing that I was going to miss my marriage more than my husband to pull me out. I had anxiety over what my financial situation would be and I was going to miss the history we had from 20 years of being together (18 married). I would miss being around his family. Basically, I realized I would miss our life more than him.
My love for him had eroded over the years since I first found out he had cheated on me. I felt more like he was a close family member (still do in a way) than a romantic interest.
I hit bottom in my depression on a Saturday, about 12 days after he said he wanted a divorce. It was the first weekend he was gone to spend it openly with this other woman and my parents came to town to spend the weekend with me. I kept thinking, how did I pray for a sign and this is where I ended up? I couldn't get off the kitchen floor in between trying to act like nothing was wrong around my son. (We didn't tell our son about the divorce until 19 days after my ex notified me.) My mom finally got my butt off the ground by threatening to haul me off to the doctor and we went to the grocery store.
Later that night I felt my spirits lifting. And all of a sudden I looked forward to dating. I felt like I was being compelled to go to my computer and go online, yes believe it or not, to match.com. I never would have chosen match.com....it seemed cheesy to me somehow....but I was sort of on autopilot.
Actually, let me back up.....about 5 days after the implosion of our relationship, it was Valentines Day. We had plans that obviously went by the wayside. I went to visit my family and my ex stayed with our son. While I was with my grandmother and while I was still in some shock, before the depression hit, I went online to eharmony.com. I decided, darnit, I was going to date then if this shit was abandoning me! I filled out the entire profile, was honest about my separation status, got really excited and, at the end, it said "contact us when you are fully divorced". Hmm....well why it let me go forward once I put separated was beyond me but that's what happened. I was pretty bummed and too tired to try another site.
So then, at the 12 day point I was back at it, this time on match.com. I was able to wander through profiles and I saw this man's profile that interested me. (Yes, the current hubby) I shut down my computer and went to bed but kept mulling over this guy. He seemed a little geeky, to be honest, but something kept drawing me back to him.
The next morning I told my Dad to take my picture, that I was going to post a profile. Let me tell you, this was not a glamour shot. Just a casual pic in my back yard. I went online and filled everything out, didn't lie about my age as being 40, and then, after posting, threw caution to the wind, put my pride in another room, and contacted his profile.
He contacted me back and the rest is history. For what it's worth he thought I was probably older than I said. I was a little put off but he said it wasn't because I looked it but that may women lied about their age. So if I had put 38 he would have assumed 40. Too funny. He also liked that I had a casual, natural picture, not made up. He wanted real. Some men want a woman "a little on the trashy side" (I love that song!) but that wasn't him. Turns out he wasn't geeky at all and his picture was horrible compared to real life, lol. I was very pleasantly surprised. Again, his profile wasn't one my mind said I should pick but something else, very strongly, said to give this one a try.
Now, I want to say, that while I parachuted into his arms just like Liz in Eat, Pray, Love, I wasn't choosing a relationship again this fast just to be loved. I actually didn't want a relationship right away but I realize now my style (as someone else said) of marrying the men I date, is just me. Once I find a relationship that looks good, I explore it to its fullest as opposed to dabbling with a bunch at once.
I had been thinking I would do a lot of dating until I found a man worth pursuing and that it might take time. I was kind of thrown by finding someone so soon with whom I really clicked. When, early into our dating, I asked my therapist if she thought this relationship was okay, she said "a person could date 50 people and there is probably 1 of those people that could be a really good fit. You just happened to find him at number 1. It took me until 48, that's just sometimes how it goes." "If it feels good, it is, trust yourself."
I guess I just believe there are a lot of fish in the sea and each time you catch one there are certainly many others that would also be good to catch, but once you get a worthy one, you take it home and call it a day. There is no perfect fish. I don't believe in a soul-fish. There is not just one out there for me. If you truly believe in soul-fishes, you may not find yours because the odds that you can find that one perfect fish make the odds of winning the lottery look pretty good.......that's my thinking. I know some people profess to have found their soulmate and good for them. But I think that defies odds.
I think to date healthily you do have to have some confidence in yourself. I went into this knowing that my online dates might be disastrous. I did date one other person online and while I didn't choose him for a mate, we actually became good friends and hubby knows this, how we met and accepts him as well.
So because I met my guy right away, I didn't have the bad stories that some have. I get that a bunch of bad dates could have changed my perspective. But then at least I would have tried.
I watch others trying to date again after divorce. I am always amazed at people who say they are too fat to go date online. Whaaattt? Have you seen the men online? They are not always perfect themselves! In fact, what confidence, and how wonderful to see a man online with a bit of a paunch who is willing to put himself out there!! I'll take one of those any day over Mr. Muscle or Mr. Hotty!
I'm probably going on too much with my story but it boils down to some things I want to say to those who are worrying about finding new love.
1) Put yourself out there! Maybe you don't want to go to a bar but maybe online is an option. I loved being able to disregard men who had interests that just did not match mine at all. They were probably lovely gentlemen but I knew that I didn't want to go ATV'ing all the time. Other women might love too! I also didn't look for EXACT matches. Having different interests is good! My guy ended up online because he had tried a few other things: church, dancing, etc and hadn't met the right woman. I loved that he had the confidence to do up a profile. He was also separated (9 months after she filed for divorce) so we had that in common. Years later we laughed as we found out we both had tried the eharmony route first and been rejected!
2) Don't set your standards too high. Maybe a slightly overweight man would love to lose weight too but needs a partner to be motivated. Don't follow the scent of money. If you are dating to find someone to fill back in a financial void, that, in my opinion, is a recipe for disaster. You can be loved by someone and the relationship not be right for you. I think I married my first husband more because of how much he loved me than analyzing what I really needed in a relationship, what was truly important to me. I chose my guy's profile to connect with because of a few things that seemed really nice. I found that who he actually was was so much richer in qualities than I ever imagined reading that initial blurb.
3) Make a list of what's really important to you in a relationship. Not what would be nice but what's really important. Prioritize that and hold that up against those you meet. Again, be careful about making too long of a list. I recommend looking at your past relationships and see what was missing that bothered you.
4) Stand by your gut. Some men can pressure. If it doesn't feel right it isn't. Be ready to cut bait and move on sooner rather than later. I kept having the feeling that this man was the one I was supposed to meet. It was all part of the plan when I asked for "a sign". My gut said this was the right man but I struggled, for even years, with our communication. There were times where I wanted to give up but I still had the feeling that this really was meant to be. So I got to work to see if this could be so. I am happy to say we have fixed our communication and I have done a lot of growing up in learning how to be a partner in a marriage, and an equal partner, not a dominant one and above all.....to trust again.
So enough preaching. My friends joke about how I turned legal age at 18, met my first husband at 19, got married at 21, was married for 18 years, separated and had my first date with hubby less than 30 days later, having been with him now for over 7 years. I realize this can seem "lucky". From the first time my husband cheated, though, I had 6 years to come to terms with that and to learn a lot about myself and what I really wanted. I would have stayed because that's who I am....I make a commitment, a promise and I don't break it. I felt that if we/he could overcome our issues we could make things work. It does take two, however, and when the other person isn't willing to put their part into the process, it won't work and I came to realize that. Even though I would have stayed until I felt I had exhausted every avenue to make us whole again, I also knew what I would want to be different if I ever had the chance. So the final point of separation wasn't actually as traumatic as it initially seemed.
If you want a partner, give it go.....church, gym, dancing, online, business networking, bars if that's your thing, social clubs, etc. They are out there and are waiting for you too. Again, this post is aimed at those looking for love. I'm not saying everyone wants to and it's OK not to want about what I've just blogged. I just happen to love being in a relationship and it's been fun, well sort of, lol, to figure out how to tango together without stepping on each other's toes too much!
At this age we all come with some junk in our trunk but that keeps things exciting, right? Drowning it out in the evenings with wine doesn't help either.
Day 11 here today....