Second Time Around

What is love like the second time around? What are the rules that govern a second marriage? Once you’ve decided this and happen to find yourself married again, what does that marriage look like melded into life as you know it? Most of the time you are older, there are life histories that are brought by each partner, former spouses, former family, possibly children, possible left-over issues from the previous marriages. The list is endless. Maybe the list the first time around is longer than I appreciated at the time but chose to ignore it. Is there a minimum dating period that occurs and is it the same amount of time as when you married the first time, before life became so complicated? Does this apply whether you are 40 or 60 years old? The list of questions can go on for days. So what are the vital questions to ask before walking down the aisle again?

I never really gave remarriage a serious thought. Not until recently that is. I’ve met someone who, over a very short period of time, has me entertaining the idea of marrying again as a possibility sometime in my future. I think the fact that my mind and heart has let these thoughts materialize is another sign that I’m continuing to heal. Have I arrived? At the beginning of my divorce journey I couldn’t even say the word “divorce.” I would only say or write “D.” I got to the point where I could eventually say the actual word. It sounds kind of funny to recall this now but the pain is fresh enough that I know there was no humor around my inability or unwillingness to say the word divorce. I can’t explain it but I recall my emotional state at the time. I think our soul keeps us from taking on more than we can handle. God has designed us that way. For that I am glad. Today I can say I am divorced and I don’t start crying and my stomach doesn’t turn.

Dating when you are over 40, have kids, a job and a myriad of other life responsibilities is a challenge. I have met someone who I will call my boyfriend now. Imagine that! A boyfriend at my age! I never thought I’d be at this place! Its not that I had my life mapped out to the detail but I hadn’t entertained at 40+ years old the possibility of not being married and, of course, all that comes with that. What does it look like to have a boyfriend at this stage in life? People all around me do it but I haven’t really paid that close attention. What I have noticed about having a boyfriend is that it is way more complicated than it was when I was 20 years old and in college. Its not just about us. Our children and the physical distance between us that has to be considered each and every time we think about doing anything. Physical intimacy? Well I am feeling like a teenager again in that regard. Where does one get privacy? I remember I used to worry about my parents being home. Now I have to be aware of if my kids are home or are coming home soon.

I decided when I started the dating thing that I wouldn’t introduce my kids to anyone unless I was at a certain point. I hadn’t defined that certain point but I thought I would know when the time was right. I have told my son about R (yes, that’s his name!). He was surprised of course, but not upset. I could tell he thought it was a little weird. Then he wanted to know if he was rich. Ok not the question I was expecting. I guess it could have been worse! I will tell my girls about R next week when they are back from their dads. They spent spring break at their dads, as their uncle and grand dad are here for the week. This has meant that R and I have had the time and freedom we won’t have come next week. It will be hard to not be able to be together. I guess that’s how it is when your a single mom with a boyfriend!

Time will tell what will come of our relationship. I just try to enjoy things for what they are and not worry about the future. I can’t control or even say if I will be here tomorrow so why expend to much energy there? I’m going to enjoy my guy and how I feel about him right now. I don’t want to get bogged down in what or how its supposed to be. I want to soak up all the great love I’m feeling. It does feel so very good.

Blessings.

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Dating a Married Man

I will start this out by saying that I feel strongly that dating a married man is morally and ethically very wrong. I even feel things short of “dating” are also inappropriate and I would not be party to any such relationship. So last night a I was over at my guy friends house. We met on okCupid and live quite close each other, making short visits easy. He was telling me a little about his situation (I.e. His ex, divorce, etc). As I was trying to get perspective on all he was telling me, I asked him when his divorce was final. I thought I had sensed that it was within the past year or maybe even 6 months.

“In 4 or 5 days.”

“What?”

“I think it’ll be done in 4 or 5 days.”

“You are kidding right?”

“No. I mean I consider myself divorced. I consider it done already.”

Though I am strongly opposed to dating or even flirting with a married man, I seem to have found myself sleeping with one. A line from my lifes theme song is playing all the while in my head. “How did I get here?”

I’m sure I repeated ‘you are kidding me’ more times than I can accurately recall.

“Oh great” I finally say.

“So not only am I in a FWB arrangement (also known as sleeping with someone you just met) but its with someone who is still married!”

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this. I mean couldn’t or wouldn’t I always know if someone is married? Clearly not! I do feel better knowing that they are effectively divorced in the critical aspects. They do not reside together, or have sex. He pays child support.

I’m not sure what I should learn from this situation besides maybe actually asking the question “are you married?” I understood the status of “single” to mean just that. Single. Not married. I’ll add sleeping with a married man to the growing list of things I thought I’d never do.

Eek.

Friends With Benefits

Is it possible to be just “friends with benefits?” Like with most questions in the relationship category, there’s never just one simple answer. I don’t know the answer to this for myself so I certainly can’t begin to offer any enlightened commentary on its possibility.

I mentioned in my previous post that I was venturing out into the world of post-divorce dating. I probably cannot count the number of times over the past several years that I’ve said or thought I’d never be doing or saying a particular thing. On-line dating. This would be another to add to that list! Never in a million years would I have thought… Maybe I am in constant denial about what’s ahead in my life at any given time. Not sure. I am currently signed up with match.com and okcupid.com. I have to say that okcupid is way more fun than match! Its even somewhat entertaining. Ok so the short version is that I’ve met someone who initially inquired about whether I was interested in meeting. I was surprised….ok shocked, because he is 9 years younger than me. What in the world would he want with me? He lives fairly close to me and I guess this was part of his motivation. So I sort of declined saying he was a bit young for me. He replied asking if I would be interested in a fwb arrangement. I have always said that I do appreciate direct! The time and person I guess were right for me so I launched into this fwb thing with him. It hasn’t been very long. A week. Wow. It feels longer. Just over this week I have grown very fond of him. I enjoy getting his messages. Many are sexual in nature and some are not. We talk about other stuff too. Our time together has been brief and that’s probably underestimating! I want to spend more time with him. Talk to him more. Get to know him more. I know he’s holding back because he’s not ready for a relationship. So my question to everyone is…is it possible to be friends with benefits only? I think part of the issue for me is that we weren’t friends first. We were more like strangers with benefits. My heart feels fragile and that it could be easily broken. Its not quite like it used to be! I’m not asking him for a relationship. I’m certainly not ready for that! I am asking for more of him though. I want to know him better, to be friends.

Is it possible? Please share your experiences and thoughts on FWB.
Thanks Michele

Love Possible

I haven’t actually seen the movie “Love Actually” but thought a play on the title was fitting for my post today.

Imagine a divorced female, in her 40’s, full custody of 4 teens and enough debt for a lifetime. The burning question being “Is love after divorce possible?”

Its more than whether I can I find those feelings again, but if I did, could it ever work!? Could it ever fit in the new version of my life? Its just so much more complicated now.

Without advance planning, I joined Match.com. I never thought I would join such a service but one day I just got to thinking that at least it would give me something to do! Maybe I’d meet someone to go to a movie or dinner with. I have the same friends as before and they are for the most part married. So I was on Match for 1 or 2 days when I I responded to one of the e-mails sent to me by an interested guy. the short version of the story is that I have met someone that I am very interested in. We’ve been e-mailing and now IMing daily. We often talk for an hour or more and usually more than once a day. We’ve talked about all kinds of things. Our kids, work, interests, music our life tragedies. We’ve even expressed sexual desire. Can you desire someone you haven’t met in person? Normally I would say no but I know different.

He away on business for another week or two and then he will return to his home in Northern California. Over the course of little over a weeks time we are both falling hard. He thinks he loves me. I am trying to remain skeptical of what could become of this, I mean how could he love me? He doesn’t even really know me. I can’t deny similar feelings for him, though. I’m not sure its love. How could I have these feelings for someone I haven’t even met? I can’t get him off my mind. The feelings are amazing. I can’t remember ever feeling like this. It feels so teenager like. He will be back in 1-2 weeks and I can hardly wait. Its like 2 people who know each other reuniting after a separation.

One thing I do know. It feels good to feel good again.

Whos That Guy?

I spent much of a recent weekend at a basketball tournament my girls were playing in. I started out tired because I worked Friday night. I got home, showered, ate and we were on our way. The day was filled with watching basketball and quick trips to the store for food or other essentials. We were running late and got there just before it started. I hadn’t been seated very long when I noticed a friend of the girls walk into the gym. I was very surprised to see her as she lives out of town but happened to be here for the holiday weekend. My girls posted on Facebook when their game was and the friend saw it. She decided to come watch. How nice is that?! Well being that she’s only 12, she needed someone to bring her. So the friend, her dad and sister decided to surprise my girls and came to watch one of their games. A dad walking in a gym with his two young daughters is not an uncommon thing to see. Being a little bashful, though, or maybe its just what I noticed, but as I looked up it was the dad who smiled and waved at us. Certainly not a scandalous move, though, mind you my ex is sitting next to us. I think he knows of the girls, but probably wouldn’t remember them. I’m sure he wouldn’t remember their dad. They walk across the gym with a large Christmas gift bag in hand and sit down next to us.

“Merry Christmas!”. they say.

I was a little shocked. Speechless. I’m sure it showed on my face. They totally surprised us and came with a giant gift in hand!

“Oh its something from the church,” they say as they hand us the gift. Their grandparents, my good friends, go to my church and sent the gift along to give to us.

I happen to catch the look on my ex’s face and am surprised again. I am not a mind reader but I’m pretty sure I know what was going through his mind at that moment.

The look said “what is going on here or who is that guy?”.

I don’t think it took long before he put it together or my older daughter told him it was the girls friend. I am pretty sure for a brief moment I caught a glimpse of actual emotion. Anger. Jealousy. Those are the only two emotions I’ve seen in a long time. He is an expert at not showing emotion, turning off all feeling. “Stoic east coast type” he muttered during one of our few discussions after I found out he wanted a divorce. “Oh brother” was my thought at the time. Today, though, he let down his guard for a brief second. I could be imagining things, but I don’t think so. I know him too well. He was not a jealous person when we were married but I do know his angry look. It was ever so brief that had I not looked at him at that moment I would of missed it.

So during the game the dad chatted with me the entire game. It was a quiet chat, so not everyone could hear what was being said. We were focused on the game and conversation was kind of secondary. He never said anything to my ex. I’m not sure he knew he was there or even knows who he is. I never introduced the dad or kids to my ex either. I think my older daughter told him who they were.

I have thought about this interaction a lot since then and am still surprised at his reaction. He has not shown any emotion during our divorce and has refused to discuss just about anything I’ve tried to talk to him about. He never really even said he wanted the divorce (not sober anyway); I found out he wanted a divorce when I found the paperwork he had filed in his car. He would barely talk about it or discuss any of the settlement details. He still won’t talk about anything difficult. He says he will talk to me about something and never does. We still have some financial issues together and I have come to the realization that he won’t ever talk to me. He is unwilling. He is incapable. How did he get like this? He wasn’t this extreme the 20 years we were married. It seems like once things got to a place where he felt he could no longer cope (or stuff it inside) he just is refuses to deal with anything. He’s been unemployed for 2+ years now and I know his efforts at becoming employable have been minimal. what happened to the man I knew?

The glimpse into his soul that I caught this weekend let me know that there is still some life left in him. I have accepted his decision to end our marriage so its not that I think he’ll come running home. I have worried about him a lot over the past 2 years. His drinking has really consumed him and the denial of this is a demon I’m not sure he’ll ever recognize.

I will continue to pray for him. For our kids and for family. I will pray for continued guidance on this journey.

Happy New Year

I have read and heard the New Years resolutions of several people so far this year. I don’t have any big resolutions for 2011, though I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought.. Its not that I don’t have any goals or anything that I’m working on. My thoughts have been of where I’m at right now and how I got here. As I’ve reflected on the events of the past 2-3 years one thing I can say is that I’m glad they are behind me.

Divorce results in many casualties along the way. My divorce certainly has wreaked such havoc on my life.

On my family.

On my career.

It pretty much, at a minimum, touched each area of my life. To say that it “touched” anything somehow sounds much nicer than it should. It felt more like a hit and run. I look at how I was then compared to now and I am truly thankful to be in the latter. I wish I never had to go through this but I am happy that I have the benefit of the passage of time.

For 2011 I want to be touched by the things that ultimately bring me peace. I want to leave the hurt, anger, disappointment, sadness and any other negative emotion that has taken up residence inside my soul, behind in 2010.

I wish you peace and God’s blessings in 2011.

Wordles

Making a “Wordle” looked like fun but I was stumped on what words to actually use. I couldn’t think of anything longer than a few words so I borrowed the ‘Six Word Friday’ post from Molly at http://www.postcardsfromapeacefuldivorce.com. I like the way it turned out.  

Check out my “Wordle.” 

Wordle: Six Word Friday

What do you think? Post your Wordle with your comment. Have fun!

PS. Thanks Molly!