I have been separated and divorced for over five years. I have been dating for four and a half of those years. I took a one year break after my ex-husband moved (was physically pushed) out of the house. I have been writing about my dating life since the start of my post-marriage single life. I have written about the bad, creepy and weird dates and sometimes written about the good relationships, after they ended and probably pissed me off. It has been a fun ride. I have met the most interesting, crazy, immature and completely self-involved men.
But something has happened. Something good and unexpected. I have met someone that is neither completely gross nor mentally unstable. He is not insecure nor is he emotionally stunted. He isn't looking for the next girl that might be better than me. And he makes me laugh. But most of all he likes me and I like him. So now what?
How do I proceed? How do I do a relationship post-divorce with custody schedules, work schedules, a crazy ex-husband and a mother that is just waiting for a marriage proposal and is determined to make it happen in her life time? Well, I guess the answer is plunge in head first, goggles on, and just see what happens.
It is a hard world for divorcees who want to have a semblance of a normal relationship. First there is the custody issue. Should you and your potential suitor have your children on opposing weekends, just end it now. You will never see each other. The average man has his children every other weekend and Wednesdays. Do the math. If you have opposite weekends and the woman is free on Wednesdays and the man isn't that leaves....well you will never see each other. If you happen to have the same weekend free, don't forget that your children will have events on those weekends that require your attendance. Until you have introduced your new beau, this will keep you two apart. Dating while divorced and with children is a lesson is dedication and patience.
My dating life is also plagued by a Jewish mother. My mother has not so secretly been sure that my lack of makeup, sarcastic mouth and overall inability to choose a decent man will forever keep me alone. So when this new man entered my life, I waited till I was sure he was not completely crazy, before I told her about him. When I did, she asked for his full stats. She had to google him after all. He met her requirements: breathing, Jewish, male and seemed to tolerate me. Then came the big meet. My mother avoided all eye contact with my beau. Why? If she scared him off I would be doomed to be the crazy cat lady. Afterward he asked me what was wrong with my mother. Where to begin?
So now what? My friends have met him, my mother has met him. Oh yeah - my kids. That will come.
I have navigated many a bad date and relationship. Now this is a good one. I am not sure how to proceed. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. For the crazy to emerge. I have no idea what the path is and how to walk on it. In my twenties every relationship was focused on the end goal of marriage. What do post-divorce relationships focus on - beside sex. Is marriage the end game? Or do we just move in together and live happily ever after? And what do you call someone who you are dating post-divorce? Boyfriend seems so high school. Friend is too casual. Special friend is just plain weird.
Navigating these waters is a new experience. Past relationships and traumas, baggage from marriages, children and exes all play a role in the future. But it is nice to be happy. So happy I will remain. Because after all I am divorced and single.