The Why of Dating

On my last post, I got a comment that asked:

Why do you want to date? It seems like, after such a difficult experience, starting another relationship would be quite an ugly prospect.

I started typing a reply to her, but it started to get ridiculously long, and I thought, oh what the hell, I’ll just make a new blog post about it. (Thank you for inspiring me, Jane! For real. This blog needed to get the cobwebs blown off of it.)

So, I guess there’s 2 major parts to this answer.

1. Dating does not necessarily equal a relationship. When I first started dating (over a month ago), it was really just because I wanted to get out of the house sometimes, and I wanted to flirt and feel pretty. I felt like such a frumpy, boring, 30-something mom, and I was in dire need of some kind of charge to my self-image. And it turns out? Having a lot of different guys find you attractive is a pretty damn huge ego boost.

Really, when I started doing this, actually getting serious about anyone wasn’t on my agenda.
Positive reinforcement to my self-esteem? Absolutely.
A social life? Sure.
Sex? Hmmm… possibly.
But, a boyfriend? Nope, no way, uh-uh, not gonna happen.

Of course, my thinking on that is a little more fuzzy now. There’s a guy I’ve been seeing and I’ll admit that I do have a pretty big crush on him at this point. I still go out on dates with other guys here and there, just to make sure I’m not getting too hung up on him. I need to try to keep a little distance, even if it’s just an illusion for my own emotional well-being. But we talk on the phone every day, and I smile every time I see his name show up on my text messages. So… yeah. I wouldn’t call him my boyfriend, but he’s getting close to being in Boyfriend-ish Territory.

FOR THE RECORD. (Because I know some people are going to read that last paragraph and fuh-reak that I’m jumping the gun.) I am not losing my head over this guy. I like him, yes, but I do still have common sense. He hasn’t met the girls, and he won’t for a long, looooong time, if ever. He knows this, and is fine with it. He’s in the same place I am, separation/divorce-wise, and feels the same way about the idea of me meeting his kids. (Because honestly, the fact that we both have kids is a huge “Proceed with Caution” flag to both of us.)

2. As for why someone would want to have a relationship after a divorce? Well, you know, you might get food poisoning, but it doesn’t mean you stop eating forever. Companionship is a pretty basic human need.

The fact is, this is how the majority of my life has looked since last August:
* Morning – Wake up, scramble to get the kids & myself dressed, and ship them off to daycare.
* Daytime – Work work work.
* Evening – Pick the kids up, feed them dinner, give them baths, get them to bed. Clean the kitchen, wash/make baby bottles, maybe watch TV for a little bit, then go to bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes we do fun stuff on the weekends, but more often than not, I feel like I’m just struggling to catch up. I spend my weekends doing the grocery shopping and laundry and all of the other stuff that doesn’t happen during the week.

And let me tell you, that right there is a pretty bleak existence. I basically spend my entire life either in Mommy Mode, or Working Mode. There’s no time to just be… me. I miss me.

I kind of skate by in survival mode a lot of times, but there’s this weird thing that happens after the kids are in bed and the house is totally quiet. That’s when it all sinks in, and I get horribly lonely. I feel completely isolated, and it’s awful. I hate nighttime.

But that’s shifted in the last couple of weeks. Now, most nights, I talk to my “friend” on the phone after the kids are asleep, which makes it feel infinitely less lonely. And sometimes I’ll have a date scheduled (with him or someone else) that I can look forward to, and it keeps me from sitting around moping about how alone I feel.

So, I hope that sort of helps to explain why I would want to date again. And you know, I’m not usually the English Lit type, but here’s where I’m going to throw out one of my favorite quotes that sums up my feelings about divorce & new relationships better than I could ever say it.

“Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett

8 thoughts on “The Why of Dating

  1. Thanks for this response. I look at the people in my life who are recently divorced and dating and think they are crazy. But part of that is that I don’t imagine dating would ever boost my self esteem. I think I’d feel worse, but who knows until I get into that situation.
    But the part about feeling really lonely in the evening. That struck a chord–perhaps my family/friends feel the same. I have two daughters and a husband who works all the time so my schedule, while similar to yours, includes at the end, a drink and some talking with him and that probably goes further than I think.
    I’m happy to hear that you can date and leave room for yourself. That can’t be easy but does seem healthy!

  2. I wanted to comment on your last post but time got away from me.

    Personally I think your handling the whole situation pretty darn well and have a great outlook. I am not sure I could handle the situation with as much grace as you have and you should be commended on how you have not said anything bad about your ex husband (soon to be). I don’t think I could have done that, given your response to why you are dating I would agree with you about not needing therapy. But its nice that you are doing it to make your mom happy.

    Keep working on making yourself happy! You deserve it!

  3. This is how I could see therapy helpful in your situation: A person to talk to. Not a friend. Not a family member. Just someone who is not intimately involved with your life who can serve as a sounding board to help you figure out what your next step is.

    However, a therapist because you’re dating? I don’t see why that’s necessary.

    The way you described the guy you’re kind-of seeing sounds good. You both relate to each other and each others situation. Even if nothing comes out of it or it never gets to the boyfriend stage, my guess is that you both serve as single-parent support to each other.

    I see that as win-win.

  4. You know I never thought of being lonely until Cory came into my life. Having that person to talk to at the end of the day? Yeah it does make a HUGE difference. It’s not your parents, your siblings, your kids (don’t have them yet), it’s that someone who’s different. Who kinda gets you. Makes you laugh. And when you go out to dinner you get that grown up time. And grown up time is nice.

    I’m living on my own for the first time. I was SO lonely even though I had my parents at home. I feel 100% better and so much less lonely (if that makes sense) having my roommate and having Cory. This year has been the best.

    You’re getting there. I see it. I can totally see the difference.

  5. As one of the aforementioned people who have been lucky enough to meet this blog’s author: good to hear. There’s no sense in allowing yourself to be lonely when there is no shortage of people more than willing to alleviate that feeling.

    Also, I’m looking forward to hanging out again 🙂

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