Life After Divorce . . . Where’s Your Rusty Knight?

By Lindy Earl

I’m a child of the 1960’s.  That puts me in my 50’s today.  You may be in the same general age range, or younger or older.  It doesn’t matter. We were all raised with the same heroes and heroines. You may be a guy, in which case you were supposed to BE the hero, the Knight in Shining Armor.

We all grew up with princes and princesses and enchanted castles.  The joy a magical kiss could bring. The Knight could rescue damsels in distress and wake sleeping princesses. The challenge is, these stories were just stories.  There is no enchanted kiss.  There is no Knight. There is only a shattered dream – that once belonged to you.

I don’t want to be harsh here.  I really don’t.  Please know that I’m being harsh with myself.  I began planning my wedding at about age 6. I think I was going to marry Dick Van Dyke.  I called him Dick Dan Dyke.  I’ve had a crush on that man since the first episode of his show, where he and Laura Petrie were living happily ever after.  I really believed that this is what life would look like.  He was tall and cute yet understanding and kind.  He was an Alpha male, although I never heard that term at the time.  Since then, in watching even more reruns, I can see that he stood up to his wife when he needed to, but in a kind and sensitive way that made me melt – little 6 year old me.

So I began defining my Knight in Shining armor.  For a steed, my Knight would be on a Mustang, preferably a 1965 candy apple red convertible with a black rag top.  Oh yes, he would drive a sweet car.  By this time I was probably 12 and knew that boys had to be able to drive to take girls out.   My first beau, when I was a freshman in High School, was a Junior.  I didn’t care that his car was his mom’s station wagon.  It was cool to be dating and important that he drove.

Of course, High School dating didn’t count.  It wasn’t real life yet.  My images for my Knight included education as well as looks, so I got more serious about looking when I went to college.  Silly me, I didn’t take it seriously enough, and lost my Knight in Shining Armor to another Lady in Waiting.  So I waited a little longer – actually, a lot longer.

I realized, as I continued my life, my education, and my career, that my Knight was getting a little tarnished.  In fact, I was hearing that women my age (I was 26) had a better chance of being in a terrorist attack than getting married.  Ouch!  I hate to admit how much that research (since disproven) affected me.

In time, however, after a few degrees and a few more jobs, I did find who I thought was my Knight in Shining Armor.  Like other princesses, I came with all kinds of dreams.  He would be strong and wonderful yet sensitive and caring.  He would be responsible and take care of me but respect my independence.  Go ahead and laugh.  Even waiting until the old age of 26 to wed, I was incredibly naïve.

Maybe that’s the reason that, while we did last 25 years, it was never meant to be.  Think about it.  Whether your Knight, or you as the Knight, lasted one year or twenty, the truth is that the dream was just that, and it was built in the clouds.  No real foundation.  Walls made of spun sugar.  They sounded sweet, but couldn’t hold up.

Did it occur to the Knights or the Ladies that responsibility is a 24/7 job?  In none of the fairy tales we heard as children did they mention the word, and importance of, communication.  I guess in books, your Significant Other automatically knows what you’re thinking, what you want for supper, how much money is in the bank, where you prefer to vacation, what insult was only intended as a joke, and is sensitive and strong at the appropriate times.  Knights and Ladies never seem to gain weight although I never heard of them dieting or going to the gym.  I guess slaying dragons counts as exercise.

These fictional characters never have to fight traffic or balance a checkbook.  They don’t have sleepless nights because of sick children or are late because of a flat tire – well, a lame horse in their case.

I think I made the point.  These Knights in Shining Armor, who are meant to save us from the dreariness of life, are figments of someone’s imagination.  We all foolishly bought into it.  Guys, you want to be the hero to your lady.  I know you do.  Ladies, as much as you enjoy your independence and freedom, you know that there is something sexy about an Alpha male.

Sadly, it probably took more than a few relationships, and maybe a marriage or two, for us to realize that it is all just a fairy tale.  But, the story doesn’t end there.

Maybe the bill of goods we were sold is just that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create and write our own stories.  With a few years behind us, some painful but useful experience, and a lot of wisdom thrown in, we are ready to more intelligently begin again.  Write your story, with yourself as the main character.

Define your characteristics, but since this isn’t fiction, admit to your faults and flaws.  While you may see your height or lack of hair (guys) as an issue, there are women who really like what you offer physically.  If you’re not great at emotional support, you have time to work on it before you write your next chapter.  If you always wanted to find a Knight, then start acting like the Princess that he would desire.  Knights, find your princess and be the dashing hero that she has been looking for her entire life.

Yes, the Knight in Shining Armor is probably a dated, lost, forgotten, and sad memory.  That’s okay.  Wouldn’t you prefer to star in your own life, and write the script, starting right now, as you would have it?  Yes, you can still ride a Mustang if you like.  It’s never too late, but you might have to dust off a few old memories and you might want to cut off some of your original list (like how many children you’ll have – that’s probably been determined by now).  As you redefine who you are, and what your Rusty Knight looks like today, you will find your Prince Charming.  Happily ever after is still possible.

That’s Dating After Divorce.

                Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at to subscribe to her monthly newsletter or find her on Face Book. You are invited to join her FB support group, Single Again: From Devastation to Dating.