So here I am heading into my mid-forties riding solo. This is actually intentional. I met my second husband when I was separated from but technically still married to my first. There was no real down time in between the two relationships. So when my second husband and I decided to get a divorce I made up my mind that I wanted a break. I had no interest in a romantic relationship. That's not to say I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. I simply wanted time to be by myself and make sure I was comfortable with me. I also wanted to be able to concentrate on raising my daughter. The prospect of dating with a child was foreign and awkward to me. Still is honestly. Plus I didn't want to rush into another relationship for fear of making the exact same mistakes I had made in the past. This is a big thing for me and a huge reason I'm not in any kind of hurry.
I decided I was going to go out and do things by myself. Each time I have ventured out on my own it has always turned out to be a really fun adventure. I'm a gregarious person by nature so I have no problem talking to complete strangers. I've gone and explored a couple of nearby wineries and met some wonderful and fun people. I've gone to restaurants on my own and hung out in the bar and chatted up the patrons, bartenders and even owners. You'd be surprised how many people are willing to strike up a conversation. Not once has anyone made me feel like a lonely loser. (I just realized I haven't done this in a while and it's time to get back out there!) Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, we have a blast together. Without them I would be lost, but I like that I am comfortable just being on my own sometimes. In fact, if I don't get one day every now and then when I can have some me time, things could get ugly. I did go through an introverted period in my life and that quiet little girl is still inside me somewhere and every now and then she rears her head.
But no matter how well adjusted I sound, I still have my low points. I'll see pictures or posts of people who are celebrating their 65th (or whatever) wedding anniversary and I get down because I realize, that will never be me. Pause for collective "awe" here. And I am learning to be okay with that. On the other side of the coin, I'll be honest, I have no idea if I ever want to get married again. Not to say I am anti-relationship. But it will take someone pretty freaking amazing to convince me to make a third trip down the aisle. I'm talking slaying dragons and riding around on white horses here. Someone who is willing to accept that I don't need to be taken care of but still wants to take care of me anyway. Someone as goofy as I am. The list goes on but you get the general idea.
But this begs the question, do we really have to be married to live a fulfilling life? Why does being a single woman mean I'm automatically on the hunt for another husband? Oh and by the way it sure as hell doesn't mean I'm after someone else's husband! I mean, puleeze, no need to lock up your hubbies around me ladies, I have no interest.
I'm sure you've all seen this meme or something similar:
Which is great and beautiful. I give props to these fabulous people and anyone who can break my current record of ten years. A successful marriage is a lot of work. But I think stuff like this glosses over the fact that up until recent years, it was unusual for women to work outside of the home and many stayed in unhappy or even destructive relationships because they were scared to try and make it on their own. Now women feel empowered and would rather be on their own than settle for something that makes them unhappy. I don't feel like I threw away either one of my marriages. They ended for various reasons and I know in my heart that in both cases it was the best possible decision for me. And you know what? I'm fine on my own. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, married and single alike. If I get lonely I hop on Facebook and see what people are up to or I call one of my friends and see if they are up for doing anything or just hanging out. And sometimes I just wallow in it a bit and stay in my jammies all day and watch sappy Lifetime or Hallmark movies. Or I go grab a book and I read. Nothing gets you out of your head like immersing yourself in a story. I also enjoy my alone time with my kiddo, we are very close and talk about just about everything. We have a very special bond that I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Bottom line, I don't feel like I am missing out, not yet anyway. (Check back in a few years, I may have completely changed my tune.) And I'm determined that I'm not ever going to settle again. I know what I want and what I don't want. This is my time to make sure I am good with me. I did start dating again recently after four years completely on my own. He's a sweet guy and we have a lot of fun together. Do I hear wedding bells? Not really. But so what? I'm busy with my life and he's busy with his and we enjoy each other's company when we can. It may never evolve into more than that and that's okay. There's no pressure and there shouldn't be.
Do I hope for happily ever after someday? Absolutely, because deep down inside I am a pathetically, hopeless romantic. I just have to trust that when it's meant to be it will happen. Until then, I have many people in my life who love me and accept me for who I am no matter what. And what more can you ask for than that? So I may get a little drunker than I should when we hang out and dance on a few tables. But if you've never done that, well, I'm sad for you.