Thursday, December 29, 2011

Single?

In my head and in my heart, I'm single.

On paper, well that depends. On some I check the box for "married" and often find I'm fighting with myself not to scrawl "not for long!" with a large dose of sarcasm adjacent the absurdity. I find that description of myself written down on paper a mockery of my progress thus far at starting over. A bad joke right there in front of me in black and white that I can't ignore.  At C's recent well check appointment with his new pediatrician, I checked "divorced" and penned in "will be" above the status as a way to sort of cope. I remember feeling smug as I handed the clipboard back to the receptionist. I didn't feel nearly as smug when I almost had to call the STBX to ask for our insurance information for C because my ADHD brain had caused me to show up as a new patient without my damn proof of insurance. It's now a week past his appointment and I still can't find the card. (Note to self: call insurance company before C's next appointment and request 3rd replacement card in the past 2 years. And give myself a smack for good measure.)

Technically, I'm separated and awaiting my divorce. We're pretty much settled on the uncontested route, since by the time all is said and done there will be nothing left between us to divide. As sad as that reality is, it is also a major relief. By the time the state of residence allows us to get a divorce (the waiting period is one long ass year from the date of separation), the dream home will have sold under short-sale with the bank (fingers crossed!) and debts will have been settled through my financial planning and the STBX's personal bankruptcy. Such a short marriage doesn't leave much for a couple to battle over in court, thank God. I guess that part of turning 30 and getting a divorce will be a blessing. We're too young to fight over pensions and retirement and it really just isn't worth the legal costs.

Technicalities aside, I'm single. I want to be, anyway. I feel single. And I'm pretty positive that I'm ready to be single. As the New Year approaches, and this starting over journey really gets underway, I'm crazy anxious to get my feet wet with dating again. As infrequently as my life allows. Because, let's face it ... I'm a single working mother with a photography hobby and somewhat of a social life with friends and family. My free time is limited and my availability is even more restricted.

Some might argue that I am not ready because I'm not divorced just yet. But I beg to differ and I'll tell you why I don't agree. This is my blog and I can do that.

Yes, I know that divorce is devastating and dating before that part is finished might be a bad idea on one hand if I haven't resolved all of the issues that contributed to the downfall of my marriage. But on the other hand, I am the one that left. I am the one that walked out. I am the one that decided I had had enough of the unhealthy relationship. I emotionally started grieving the "end" of it all six months before I physically got out of there. I feel like the initial heart-break part of the grieving process is really taking stage behind me now. Does it still hurt? Of course! Am I still actively cycling through the different stages of grief? No, not really. Getting through the holidays last week really proved that part for me. Solidified it, actually.

I know I am ready because not only do I feel comfortable with the idea of the STBX being with other women, I find that I don't give a rat's ass. I honestly hope he does hook up with some women in the near future. I would view that as healthier than fueling his pornography addiction, so as twisted as it may seem to some not in my shoes ... hooking up with real women on his part would be a step in the right direction in my mind. For our son's sake. I know that C needs a father with a healthy attitude about sex and some sort of respect for the opposite sex. Dating for the STBX might help him achieve that. Then again, maybe not. As I said, what he does with dating really doesn't phase me. I say "Cheers!" to him and sincerely wish him happy hunting.

I also know that I am ready because I know where my boundaries are and feel that I'm confident enough to voice them if necessary. I want to date; I don't want a rebound. I may be single of the mind and heart, but on paper I'm separated. And until I can check the box for "divorced" without any handwritten annotations, I am smart enough to know that I don't want my Facebook status to read "It's Complicated". Complicated does not belong on this journey toward wonderful.

If I really do meet Mr. Wonderfully-Right-For-Me before my divorce is final, he'll wait it out. He'll take it slow. He'll respect me and my boundaries. Resolving the issues of my marriage: why I said "I do" in the first place and what led to its fast dissolution, has given me both the wisdom and courage to know that is what I deserve from a man at this stage in the game. And that right there is the biggest argument of all that I can make as to why I am ready to put myself out there. Single? There is no question about it. I'm just ready.

17 comments:

  1. I love reading your blog.. I think you have a really healthy attitude about dating and getting into another relationship.

    I fell head over heels in love when I was separated from my first husband. It was actually a dangerous thing and could have ended badly, but it worked out well. Part of the reason I was so in love with this new guy was that he was completely different from my ex in every way possible. At the time that seemed like good enough criteria, but of course now in the sober aftermath I realize it wasn't- judging someone as good because they are the opposite of another person's flaws is not really a good strategy for choosing a life partner.

    Anyway you are in a very different place than I was, and I think you have a better head on your shoulders than I did. A big part of that is that you are responsible for a vulnerable little person, and all of your life choices will have an impact on him. I was responsible only for myself, and I was still not seeing how important that was.

    All that said, things are going well in my relationship & life.. I just realize how lucky I am that things have worked out.

    I'm signing this anonymous because I don't want it to be googleable, but you know who I am...

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  2. So many people have freaked on on me when they hear that I want to start dating again. The general consensus is a resounding "not while separated". But I feel, for me ... this is the next step on my journey. Forcing myself to stay out of the dating scene over the next months while I wait for a judge to stamp his approval on something I already know is dead seems like more torture than I am willing to put up with. Like it would hold me back on my recovery process, while playing the dating game might actually help me grow and heal.

    It is remarkable, really. I had zero self esteem going into my marriage. Leaving it, I believe in myself more than I ever have in my life. I feel wise, courageous and like I have self respect again. I am probably more emotionally ready to date than I was 7 years ago. A bad marriage is apparently what I needed in this life to first get a clue and then grow some figurative balls.

    And yes, I think I know who you are Ms. Anonymous. VM 2006?

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  3. Yes, this! A thousand times! Where is the like button??

    1. I think of myself as single also. I was only married almost-3-years, and I've known people who dated and lived together for longer than that. Sometimes I hesitate when checking boxes--I decided if it wasn't legal, I'm single. My current boyfriend doesn't even think of me as a divorcee--to him I just dated and lived with someone. He had also gotten out of a very unpleasant relationship (not married but they lived together) so he sort of thinks we were in similar situations. He just won't be checking "divorced" boxes until he re-marries...

    2. I was also warned about "dating too soon." Both of my parents divorced in their 20s (although they had married their respective high school sweethearts.. different time, different place), they had kids with their exes, etc. They met in their late 20s and then got married. They were scandalized when I started dating within the month my divorce finalized. (in my state you only have to wait 60 days from filing before it's final if there are no children involved.) "Don't you think you should wait?" Um, NO. I have been emotionally starving for YEARS and checked out of that marriage a long time before it officially ended. The grieving happened the year before when I was crying myself to sleep (in the other bedroom) because I was so miserable and unhappy. I am also the one who left--so I totally empathize! Part of what made me realize it was time to leave was that I found myself attracted to--and acting on impulses towards--other men.

    3. When I did start to date, it was cautiously. I knew what I didn't want this time. I was much more quick to nip things in the bud before I got sucked into a relationship that left me frustrated and lonely. I actually have only dated two guys since my divorce, and my current boyfriend is proving to be one heck of a prince charming. (comparatively, anyway. I think sticking it out during a year long separation speaks volumes.) Only you know when the time is right for YOU. If it is a priority in your heart then you have to make time for it.

    4. I also could care less about him dating. From what I can tell a girl with a daughter has moved in with him. (not sure if they are a thing) I wish him the best, really, and I hope if this girl is his new girlfriend that they can work on having a happy, healthy relationship. Now if she wants to take my place on the mortgage.... ;)

    Thanks for this. It is so good to know I'm not alone!!

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  4. LOL, thanks for the tip on the legal thing. From now on, if it isn't a legal deal in paperwork I'm going to check "single" too! Awesomesauce!!

    I hear you on the grieving while actually still in the relationship. I wanted to leave when I was halfway through my pregnancy with our son, but stuck it out even though I was dying inside. When C's first birthday rolled around, I was already planning the escape. I was in hell for so long; I think that the whole recovery process for the dumper is totally different from the dumpee's ... and it is hard finding support out there when you are the one that left. Your emotional state fresh out of the relationship is so different than the one who was left.

    "Only you know when the time is right for YOU". Amen, sister!! Amen!! I smiled so big when I read that. Thank you! Common ground with someone going through what you are going through is the best comfort around.

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  5. AMEN!! Seriously, I could write a book on this very topic...dating before divorced. Email me and I'll share even more ha (seriously tho! I do have some good advice on the dating front, given how much of it I went through to find M!). Honestly, YOU know when you are ready, NOBODY else does. I was technically separated when I first started dating, but just like you, I had to deal with a short sale on the house and that took time and delayed the divorce by almost a year from start to finish. So there was no way I was waiting until it was official, I just waited till I was ready. And that was about 6-7 months after we separated. After I met M, a year-ish or so after I started dating, a friend remarked that I wasn't 'single long enough' and honestly, that was a really harsh comment to make, and super judgemental, because there is no rule on how long you have to be single. she said you should be single half as long as you were with your ex. So for me? that's 5 years! um, no. Anyway, so you can see, everyone has an opinion but only YOU know when you are ready and if now is it (and it sounds like you are!), then I say jump in. Amenamenamen ;-)

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  6. Oh God, I hope it doesn't take forever to get our house sold. Getting an offer on it this afternoon but who knows how long the bank will take to reply. Stressful!

    We can't file for the actual divorce until October 8, 2012. That seems SOOO far away.

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  7. Don't worry, when we actually finally listed our house (June 08), it closed by October...actually, the date you listed here, how is that for irony? We sold our house Oct 8, 2009.

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  8. I think you are on the right track. I see nothing wrong with dating while seperated, if you are ready. It's those who do it vindictively that I believe shouldn't be doing it.

    You have much love and support coming from my direction so it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, right?! ;)

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  9. Happy to have discovered your blog-- cheering you on from California!

    Tina
    onemomsbattle.com

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  10. Thank you! You might be able to offer me insight on this post I wrote last month: http://startingoverwonderful.blogspot.com/2011/11/show-me-money.html

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  11. I personally don't agree with dating while seperated. This could be because I wasn't ready, and still don't feel ready, even though it's been almost a year since my divorce was final. He however found it was okay 1 week later. He was the one that left though, so that could be the difference. I was still trying to make the relationship work, and take care of our child, while he had given up a long time before that. I understand every person is at a different spot when they are 'seperated' and look at it differently, especially since yours takes a whole year to go through! Good luck to you in the future, and I enjoy reading your blog posts they remind me a lot of what I've been going through as well and reminds me I'm not alone.

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  12. Thank you for commenting with a different perspective. I really do believe that for many, the experience of divorce (or any break-up, rather) is completely different for the one who leaves vs. the one who is left. Not that the pain or heartbreak is worse for one or the other, it is just handled and experienced differently. The person who makes the decision to end it most likely suffers and starts to grieve while actually still in the relationship (that was me), while the other person more than likely doesn't even start grieving and dealing with the heartbreak until the relationship is definitively over (you, maybe?). I don't know. I could be over generalizing a bit.

    I'm glad you commented though. And it is inspiring to know that you find comfort in my story. That's part of why I wanted to share it to begin with. So other people out in this big scary world might be comforted in knowing that they are not alone. I hope you'll keep reading and commenting! <3

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  13. i know when i left my ex fiancee i had mentally "left" loooong before i actually walked out the door. i say go for it :) sometimes you need to find a date after leaving a guy just to make sure you still got that mojo ;) guys can go on ego boosting dates without being questioned, so why cant we? blow the double standard out of the water... itll make you feel like a whole new person! its nice to feel sexy and wanted again after being used as a human doormat for so long <3

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  14. I was lucky enough to get divorced quickly, but I can definitely relate to this. I was "over" my marriage well before it ended, so I felt ready to date quite soon after I left. It was a weird feeling since I had thought I was done dating forever, but I found it quite liberating. It will be fun to follow your dating journey!

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  15. You're ready when you're ready, whatever's on paper. And as far as I'm concerned, if you and the X have agreed that you're all-but-on-paper divorced, then you are.

    Now go out there and have fun!

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  16. Liberating, fun, confidence boosting ... I'm all over it! :)

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