By Lindy Earl
I am very open about my relationship status so many of you know that I was married for 25 years, have been divorced for five, and have been dating for just over two years. I went into dating kicking and screaming and was truly pushed off the edge of the cliff by a dear friend, to whom I will be forever grateful.
See, dating is one of those things that is simply difficult after being half of a couple for so long. Post divorce, my response was that I never wanted to be married again, which meant never having a relationship again, which meant never dating again, which meant pretty much never talking to or even looking at a single man again. I kind of took it to extremes.
Dating returned me to civilization in many ways. I was surprised and pleased to find it very healing.
In truth, I wasn’t very good at it. I had a dozen meet ‘n greets the first two months of trying this online dating stuff. No second dates. I finally had a second date and it was horrible – the difference of one week was amazing! I finally actually began a short (6 month) relationship (can you call it that?).
Fast forward, it’s been two years and I’m still standing. I’m a bit bruised in some ways but far more intelligent and knowledgeable in many ways. The knowledge was worth every challenge.
So last night I had a long talk with myself. Surely in my first two months, and literally a dozen meetings, there could have been one guy I could have dated. Right? The one and only common characteristic of every date was – Me.
In my long talk I had to admit that I still have issues. I remain wary. I’m afraid. I realized that I’m still not ready.
I wouldn’t do things differently, because I have learned so much that I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t dated. I’ve never looked for Mr. Right. I was just looking for someone.
That wasn’t a good idea. I am not saying go into every date believing that this could be the one – maybe hold that thought for at least a few dates. Definitely don’t go into a date or friendship or relationship expecting it to end. A friend pointed out recently that that’s what I’ve been doing.
I had to admit to myself that I see every dating experience as a temporary way to pass time. Passing time until what? I don’t know. I’m 56 years old. Why am I waiting?
As I said, I remain wary, hiding behind walls and piles of baggage. I need to work on myself and figure out why I’m afraid before I can subject anyone else to the craziness that is me. That’s not self-degrading. We all have chaos and craziness in our lives.
If you are sufficiently in control of your life, your emotions, and your attitude, and believe that you are ready to enter into a mature, healthy relationship that you admit might lead to forever, then go for it.
If you still need to have a long talk with yourself about doubts and fears, then do it before you enter into any new friendships. It’s unfair to others to move forward when, in truth, your feet are stuck in the sand.
As I continue to learn, I realize that I should be ready for a friendship that may become a relationship soon. Maybe. In the meantime, I’m working on my baggage. Fear of relationships turns out to be a big bag that I’ve been carrying and never recognized for what it was.
I have definitely made the decision to not doom a relationship before it even gets underway. One way I did that, by the way, was by friend -zoning every man I met. They are all great guys! I continue to have wonderful friendships with many of the men I tried to date over the last two years. I need to stop friend zoning every male who comes near me. That’s step one after my long talk with myself.
You may be surprised by what you hear yourself say when you have your chat.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her to speak at your church, organization, event, or corporation at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com. You can find her on Face Book and join her Single Support Network – Single Again: From Devastation to Dating. If you have a personal relationship question, contact her at Ask@LindySpeaks.com – then look for her possible response to your, and others, questions at www.LindySpeaks.com. Please understand that there is no guarantee every question will be answered.