Dating After Divorce: The Unfiltered Truth
Posted on January 18, 2015
Leaning into him I marvel at how I ended ended up here with this beautiful man, side-by-side in the booth, our boundaries dissolving as we discuss slices of our life, dreams, and painful fading memories. Sharing pieces of ourself, talking shit, and learning from our perfectly imperfect selves. Looking in each others’ eyes as the attraction builds. Maybe it’s the French he whispered in my ear followed by a l’il nibble on my neck, maybe it’s his genuine mega-watt smile or his lithe hands, so strong and yet able to gently fold into mine. Synchronicity sparked as we thanked the other for a fun night at the same moment. It’s late, we just know, the waitress knows.. we’ve come alive here in this polaroid in time… and it’s so good to be seen. Le sigh…
To be continued… ;)
I’ve recently put myself back into the dating pool. It’s been four years since the finalization of my divorce. I have a special spot in my heart for those of us out there post dissolution of marriage, as we’re all just trying to connect again. We all want to love and be loved. Dating after divorce is a vulnerability binge that none of us are especially wanting of except that vulnerability and authenticity are necessary to form sustainable connections. A divorcee’s experience is the tender knowing that even when you give it your best shot, it doesn’t always work out.
I’m not writing this because I have all the answers as I’m currently single. I don’t believe in unsolicited advice as that stems from judgement. I do, however, believe we share in the human experience and while the details may differ, the essentials are the same. Through my experiences and knack of learning life lessons the hard way, I feel I have a few nuggets of hot mess wisdom to share. So, here goes nothing. This shit is about to get real.
I was in a relationship for 4 years before marrying my college sweetheart. It was during my early twenties and my (now) ex literally showed up at my doorstep after a college party looking for his buddies who happened to be my neighbors. My door was open, he came in and we hit it off. No matter what the past, he and I share a daughter and the details remain between the two of us. I briefly wrote about my thoughts on divorce here. The proof in our connection is reflected in the beautiful daughter we share and she deserves to benefit from the love that created her.
After my divorce I fell deeply in love with a friend and spiritual partner who helped shine light to areas of my life and self that needed work. This was not easy, and quite painful as typically there’s a reason you’ve shut a part of yourself off. Accessing those recessed issues is much like going to a masseuse to get the knots out; unless you do the self-work, stretching and preventing what kinks you up, the knots return. Unless you truly want to move passed what holds you back, you must find out the why you shut those aspects of yourself out and let go and forgive yourself. If you can’t let go, let it be and hold an intention of such for yourself. Trust the timing of your life. This is the shit getting real part. Life is an ever evolving journey of expansion and contraction as you shed previous selves and move into who you are in this moment now. We all want love, we are born to love and seek connection in family, friends and community. It’s our natural state of being, one implicitly known and are bathed in as a baby but then as we grow up we build walls, armour, to protect ourselves in this cruel and beautiful world.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
I first put myself up on OK Cupid in the Fall of 2013. There are dozens of sites: eHarmony, Match, Tinder, and Zoosk to name a few of the top ones. I don’t know why I picked that other than I’m a hopeful romantic and seeing that cupid was in the name what could go wrong, right?
I can laugh now but going through it was difficult as I’ve already shared that my knowledge of dating was zero to none, and I’m divorced to boot. Not good stats on my end. They call it the dating game, but if it’s a game then there are inevitably rules. I break rules, it’s like the universe is daring me. My successes were two terrible dates, a bevy of affair proposals, and a humorous compatibility test that ranged in questions from “Do I like bleu cheese, Johnny Depp, foreign films and emotionless sex?” I asked for clarification on the the sex and apparently that means no “oh baby I love you” or “hugging”, I lost two points for not answering. Needless to say I politely declined the apparent compatibility we had per the man’s list ;) As for the affairs, ladies, if their profile pic is not their face front and center, if they’re vague in details and don’t use their name, all are red flags. Trust your intuition and it’s always good to err as a skeptic. Let them earn the trust, you’re worth it. I’ve learned to ask if they’re married upfront as that can help you flex your Bullshit meter; you come equipped with an innate ability to know. Trust your gut, your intuition. After realizing that I was attracting unhealthy situations, I reached out to a fellow blogger, Austin Blood. You can read my ode to him here and I affectionately refer to him as Mr Trouble, just look at those baby blues. Le sigh…
I have one question. What do men really want? As a divorcee myself I truly wonder, before actually stepping out into the great wild yonder of meet-ups and cocktail hour chit-chat, what do men really want? The media fills us with images and ideas that we internalize and process in our own way in what we think men want. However, what is the truth as you see it?
When I look to the horizon I see myself opening up again, which is a bit scary so I want to prepare myself as much as possible with the least amount of needing to deal with asshats. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of manure.
Sorry to generalize, but I’ve dealt with the animalistic response…yes, I have breasts, yes, I am attractive, but I want more than that and the ability to connect in and delve deeper.
I want to know if you (future man) can stand eye-to-eye with me, can you gaze in the same direction rather than getting lost in my eyes, explore me rather than simply penetrate the surface? Can you see beyond the physical gratification that is given if I know you’re someone I want to enjoy as you enjoy me… simply by being in my presence…?
One Hot Mess”
While writing that letter helped, there was still work to be done. This inner work dovetails with the law of attraction as I was asking the wrong questions. I was being sent what these men wanted as I hadn’t asked the most important question of all.
What do I want?
That’s a scary question to ask because once you send those intentions out to the universe you’re met with a response, and hang on because the universe likes to take you on a ride, there will be ups and there will be downs, but let it all flow through you. Likely there are beliefs of yourself holding you back. They can be myriad of reasons: you’re not pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, sexy enough, tall enough, interesting enough… who would want you?
Do you want you?
If the answer is no, you should really start asking why. I don’t even know you but I can tell you that you of all people in the universe should want yourself. Sexual and otherwise as I realize how wanting yourself sounds ;) Be your own friend, your own lover, date yourself, hang out, treat yourself to whatever it is that makes you tick. Spend time to discover things about you that make you you, make mistakes, be your perfectly imperfect self, life is short, take risks, make it sweet and spicy, but above all, have fun in this discovery process. Learn how to be present in your presence.
You are a catalyst for your own happiness.
It’s important to be able to fulfill your own life, realizing that no one else can make you happy. Happiness is a conscious choice and placing those expectations in another is dangerous. It can lead you to hustling for what you should already own. So OWN it! We’re all perfectly imperfect, doing the best we can in the journey called life. You need to love yourself to be able to authentically connect in the love coming from others, without such you’ll filter through past selves, past hurt, past pain diluting down one of the most abundant freely flowing forces of the universe. Love. Take the time to discover what makes you tick and do those things so that when it comes to attracting someone he sees you as you see yourself, which is a woman worthy of a satisfying sustainable healthy relationship; a sexy, confident, loving, intelligent, passionate, sweet, Phenomenal Woman that is damn HOT. Those are a man’s words recently uttered to me and I’m using them here because I LIKE them and OWN them.
I recently joined Tinder on a whim. My life is full with being a mother, my career, my social life, and my writing aspirations. I’ve taken up photography, traveling and seeking new adventure as it comes. I adore learning languages and connecting with people, often those the farthest from my “box” bring surprises as I let our commonalities bring us together and differences provide growth. I have 5 photos and 500 characters for which to share myself as a Tinder profile. These are all grossly inadequate in truly representing me. But it’s a start. And I’m not complaining as I met the man above as a “Match on Tinder” he’s my French75. Oooh la la!
The unfiltered truth is that while an amazing man came into my life, circumstances have ushered him out. He and I set out to share in a genuine real connection over the topics we’re passionate about as well as the hurts and scars we all bare; two bodies eclipsing at night. And when he asked if he could see me again, I freaked, said the worst thing in the moment when someone was asking to see me again.
Him: “Can I see you again?”
Me: “If I’m available, I might be with someone…” (totally brushed it off #smh)
Current loop running in my head:
Him: “Can I see you again?”
Him: “Can I see you again?”
Me: “Hell yeah!”
Him: ” Can I see You again”
Me: “Stop asking and kiss me”
Haha, I keep practicing that again and again because the truth is I DO want to see him again…
What? You thought this would end in happily ever after? I told you HOT MESS wisdom. Yep, that’s me. But the truth is my reaction was me being my messy imperfect self. It’s not every day you can just sit and be yourself with another and have a perfect evening only to leave it on imperfect real terms. While connections happen through shared moments, realize that a developing relationship requires both to work together and many can align for a single moment in time, but struggle to find it again. Don’t internalize this, even if it’s you not being able to open up to it again. If it’s a true connection it’ll flourish. There is no rush.
Make mistakes, be real, life is short make it sweet and spicy. Seek honest genuine connections with yourself and others. Take risks, be safe, be smart but ultimately BE YOU (tiful). Even if you’re still making your acquaintance. It’s cool, the right people will flock and understand as they’ll appreciate you being yourself, genuine in your human imperfection which can give them the space to figure themselves out a bit too.
The universe rewards those who take risks on its behalf.
The world needs more love, more healthy relationships and as such the universe will help you along your way through bad dates, messy dates, hot mess wisdom, good dates, fleeting honest connections, missed moments, and shared blissful moments. Above all realize it all adds up and when the moment is right, it’ll happen. Be the open door, and he’ll come walking through. Don’t trust me on this one, trust the universe and yoself!