How To Be A Heartbreaker: 10 Revelations of Divorce Dating
If you're a prude turn back now. Run, run fast and far. That's my first disclaimer to this post, so if you proceed you do so at your own risk. My second is less of a disclaimer and more of a blunt public service announcement. Most cats are out of the bag now, so I'm going to hit anyone with any judgement with a harsh reality: You can take your drunk ass to Vegas right now and get married on a whim, no one will stop you; but getting out of it is going to take you a little more time. In a knock down drag out divorce (all puns intended here) such as mine, we're looking at a good year, possibly more of ugly litigation. Now that I've hit you with the facts, you can surely forget any imaginations you may have had of me sitting at home with slow ballads crying or knitting on my couch, though I do enjoy a good crochet.
That being said, this week I'm running down the list of hilarious, awkward, shocking and sexy that has been my post marriage dating revelations and lessons. Names have been changed to protect the ignorant, the gross, and the intriguing. If you're still with me, read right on.
10. You Will Have Hard "No"s
I spent four years slowly turning into a 'yes' woman in my marriage. Suffice it to say, when I decided to 'get out there,' I was afraid I'd find myself conforming yet again like a chameleon for some succubus. However, instead I found my inner resounding "Hell No." No I will not meet you at your house, no I will not send you nudes (really?!), oh and no you cannot massage my feet with your mouth, high heels be damned. The fact is when you've edited yourself for so long for whatever the reason may be, it's pretty flipping liberating to say absolutely not pal. I quickly learned that I have no problem drawing my lines in the sand. Cross them if you want and you will immediately join what I have opted to call the "block party." Thank you, Apple! I don't do clingy, I don't do cheap, I hate slow talkers, and if you don't know the difference between there, their and they're, I'll forget your name faster than you can say goodbye, Todd... or was it Tim? It's not important.
9. Stay Selfish With Your Time
One of the biggest takeaways I've gotten from the collapse of my relationship is how important it is to have your own thing. I don't care what anyone says, I will never subscribe to the idea that there is someone out there to complete me. I am complete. compliment, yes, complete? No thanks, bro. I have my own thing, I cannot be your 'thing' whenever you please. I met a few nice guys who had everything going for them except they didn't understand this simple concept. Chuckles, who was ghosted for his unfortunate inability not to blur the lines between play time and serious time , once asked me on a date at 3:30 p.m., while I was at work, fully aware that I have children and a whole life that far predated him. Sorry, Chuckles. You'll be seeing that movie on your own. I make no apologies for choosing my needs and responsibilities over any romantic pastimes. If I went on every coffee date and picked up every happy hour offered to me since I've been back on the market I'd be one caffeinated drunk. No thanks, boys. You have to be able to pump the brakes and recharge, and never make yourself too available.
8. It's Raining Men
I am not telling you to collect men like Pokemon, but in the immortal words of Beyonce, "Don't you ever get to thinking you're irreplaceable." They come and they go, people. If you need further elaboration on what happened, refer to numbers 10 and 9 respectively. The point is I've quickly adopted the attitude that if you're going to date, and I mean really date, not have serial boyfriends, you have to accept that there are many fish in the sea. Don't get hooked on bass before you've even tried the Salmon, girl. For a while it was a little like the build a boyfriend workshop in here. Sorry, not sorry. What I can tell you after jumping into matrimony with the first guy I fell for is try before you buy. Test drive a few cars before you sign on the dotted line, foreign, domestic, custom... you get the point. There is no shortage and if they aren't it, wish them well. Vaya con dios, Frank.
7. It's Not You, It's Me
This brings me to a short anecdote about a man I'll call "Friend Zone." Friend Zone was great on paper. Good job, owned his own home, nice enough guy, not ugly, but my God, Friend Zone, you bored me to tears. Words cannot express the awkwardness of sitting on FaceTime and feeling like you're on an interview. Public Service Announcement time: "Tell me a little about yourself," is about the worst opener I've heard, and I've heard it far too many times in such a short span of time. I'm a complicated gal, pal, and there's nothing little for me to tell you. Someone will definitely find Friend Zone and feel they've got the catch of their lives on their hands, and I'm completely okay with that. It's all me *Kanye Shrug.* Your jokes fell flat, and we just don't gel. That's life.
6. Goodies Stay In the Jar
Situationships are the norm in 2017, I get it. Being in a relationship for 12 years is not the equivalent of living underground. However, I opt not to bed hop. Just not my thing, single or not. It didn't take me long to see that some guys have a very 'quid pro quo' attitude about the dating game. I'm sorry Phil, but that $30.00 movie is definitely not getting you a screening of what's under my dress. That ticket has a much higher price. Again, we return to the resounding hell no. Thanks, but no thanks!
5. Bring Your Own Money, Sis
I learned this the hard way on a date with a guy we'll just call Bubbles. He earned this name by being so damn boring on our first date that I literally found myself imagining Spongebob and Patrick in Bikini Bottom blowing bubbles and wishing I was there with them. Yes, I was that desperate, little disasters. Blame it on motherhood and Saturday morning cartoons. Bubbles was from out of town and wanted to see the city night life, or so he claimed, and so began the most regrettable date out of the whole bunch. After telling me that he'd teach me how to 'slow down and enjoy a stroll' in the very cold night air that I didn't want to be in in my very nice digs, we went to dinner at a restaurant known for its seafood. I tried not to think much of it when Bubbles, who claimed he loved seafood, hence the restaurant choice, opted to get the cheapest thing on the menu - a burger. I thought to myself, well okay, Bubbles, maybe you're protein deprived, and proceeded to order my lobster mac and cheese. After boring me to literal sleep (which I played off as fatigue from a long work week) with his life story - a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, I kindly and swiftly requested the check. Bubbles did the 'where is my wallet' dance just long enough to annoy me before I threw my Visa on the table. He promptly exclaimed that he would get the next dinner. Oh, Bubbles, there will be no next dinner. Welcome to the block party.
4. People Will Try To Save You From Yourself
We're dealing in brutal honesty here, people. Friends are not friends unless they tell you the truth, however, sometimes the truth is colored by our own experience and the facts that we know. One of the initial frustrations I had to face in the dating game came not from the gaggle of assorted Looney Toon characters I encountered, but from some of my best girlfriends. You see, the true extent of a wreck that my marriage had become was doled out to them in bits and watered down pieces. Suffice it to say, I got a lot of "take the time to heal," and "are you really okay"s from well meaning people who've known me a long time. The key is to know who and where you are, even if others don't, and that's okay. I've learned that I owe no one an explanation for their level of understanding of my current situation or how I choose to deal with it. Full stop. Because I love them, though, I have come clean with my girls, and they now fully understand the terms and conditions. I am A-okay, a thousand times better than I ever was before, and they can now fully cheer me on from the sidelines.
3. Baggage Baby
For all of the funny, sexy, and downright weird moments that come with this whole "technically" single girl life I'm living, there is the reality that along with me comes this big ball of mess called divorce. I'll always be in some way obligated to deal with my soon-to-be ex-husband, and this is nothing close to an amicable split. In walking through that I have to at all times be fully cognizant of the fact I have a freight car worth of baggage and crazy that comes along with dealing with me, even in dating. I have two children, a career, and a whole life full of experiences that came long before Chuckles, Bubbles and the rest of their pals. Added to the list of Hard Nos is anyone who can't understand that or believes that they can somehow insert themselves there. They simply can't. It's a hard knock life some days in this very tenuous split. It means some days I have no energy for pointless texts, or that the only thing I want to do with my weekend is stare at my children and remind myself why I have no regrets. Being adept at accepting that reality is a huge part of my existence, and anyone unwilling to accept it is a hard pass.
2. You Can Bring Sexy Back - And Have Great Sex
Full disclosure time: I did not feel attractive by the end of my marriage. I felt downright useless, and every negative thought you could think about yourself, I did. By the time I decided to throw myself into these shenanigans, I had gotten some of my ego back; I could see myself again, but there were still those lingering insecurities. Let's be Frank, I've had two children. Nothing is where it was when I met my ex. My children left me stretch marks that I could assign names if I had the time. I had a hard rule against any monkey business and then, BAM! Enter Mr. Saturday. For all the very blatant 'hell nos' I'd been passing out like hall passes, Mr. Saturday was an immediate yes. A yes I tried to defer, but alas, it was magnetic. Complimentary, but not overly so to the point of disingenuity; funny, but unlike Chuckles knows when to cut out the comedy routine; smart, but not a know it all... you get the point. I know what I said rule number six was, but rules were made to be broken, honey. And if we're spilling on my post-split dating lessons, the fact that you can have good chemistry and mind blowing sex after dropping a toxic relationship is high on the list. Moral police, clutch your pearls. Not only is the sex hot, but I'm reminded that I, myself, am pretty damn hot, and mama's still got moves.
1. Do You
All in all the takeaway from not only dating, but my split as a whole, has been that where I once put limitations on myself for a myriad of reasons, I no longer care to explain myself. It took over 28 years, but I am finally more concerned with being me than being right. I practice better self care, I'm mentally free of guilt and doubts that were never rooted in my own expectations in the first place, and I make my own decisions based on what is right for me. That means I do what I judge best whether other people can get it or not. While there are people who I wish were happier for me, or who's ineptitude regarding my choices can be a little puzzling, at the end of the day, I don't really care. It's a freedom that I couldn't have seen myself arriving at a year ago. And in doing so, I unbroke my own heart, no man necessary. I am again in full control of my life, and the possibilities are endless. I have no idea where any of this is going, but you better be damn sure I'll be in the driver's seat this time, fashionable as ever.