My marriage was difficult, at best. I ignored every little voice in my head and in my gut that said we weren't right for one another. Believing things would get better, he would change, or I would adapt sustained me for many years.
The divorce was a death. Both of us went through all five stages of grief, sometimes all at the same time.
As the one requesting the divorce (okay, who am I kidding? I didn't ask him for one, I told him we would get one.), I was ready to move on sooner than he was. Stress, anger, sadness, and the drama that comes when one partner believes violence is a way to prove his love were all part of the fabric of my life for many months.
When the divorce was final, and I felt like a free woman again – as free as a single mom with two small children can feel, I wanted an adventure. I didn't know how to find one, but as with many things in life, the moment I stopped looking, it found me.
It started with phone calls filled with harmless flirtations. I giggled like a schoolgirl and blushed because I knew he couldn't see me. He told me I had a sexy voice, that he would call me more often just to hear it. He called me “hot.” I had a six-year-old and a two-year-old. One thing I hadn't been called in a long time was “hot.”
The company I worked for at the time had hired his company to rebuild the website. I was the one overseeing the project. He invited me to lunch – to talk business, he said – his treat. I could no more refuse than I could stop breathing. The attention was heady. With a few casual words, I felt like a woman again. Maybe for the first time. I was a teenage girl when I met my ex-husband, and 22 when we married. Maybe I didn't know what it meant to feel like a woman who inspired sexual desire.
Lunch was flirty. I took great care with my appearance. A cute summer dress that showed just enough skin to make me feel sexy without showing so much that I might get propositioned on a street corner. He wasn't the most handsome man on the planet, but he had a charisma that drew me in. I don't know what was hotter that summer – the temperature outside or the heat between us.
After we ate, I sat in his little Mazda coupe as he stroked my knee and we talked about nothing much at all. In the grand scheme of life and love, I can't tell you now what we discussed – business or personal. I remember his love of music. I remember his car and how strange it felt to sit in a sports car for the first time.
What I do remember clearly, though, is the effect he had on me. I was fearless and bold with him. Want to have sex in this tiny little car? Yes, please! Want to meet me at the office on Saturday afternoon and try three new positions in an hour? Don't mind if I do!
The final time we were together, eight weeks after it all began, eight weeks of weekend trysts, we fucked (there was no “making love” with us) for hours. What began as a frantic disassembling of clothing and shoes ended in a sweaty, panting heap on his couch. We'd move from a settee, to a sofa, to the floor, and back to the sofa again. I had rug burns on my knees and my face. My hair was wild and soaked. My clothes flung across the room. In the end, I wadded up my underwear and shoved it in the bottom of my purse because it was the easiest course of action.
I knew, without saying a word, this was our final time together. The sex had been fun and wild. The feeling of owning my sexuality in a way I never had before was empowering. I was ready to conquer the dating world and have more wild monkey sex. Just not with him.
Because, while I remember listening to the music samples he created, and I remember watching him create samples on is MacBook, and I certainly remember doing all kinds of devious things to him while he took a business call on a Saturday afternoon, I don't remember him making any real connection with me.
The fling was fun and exciting. But it was empty and devoid of any real connection, and that was what I craved more than the sex. There was a lack of connection in my own marriage. I certainly didn't need to seek it out in other relationships.
For what it was, my wild summer fling with a man 20 years my senior filled me with new confidence, taught me a few new things about sex, and reminded me that I wanted something more than I'd had with my ex-husband. Sure, the sex was better (by far) and while it lasted, it was so much fun. But I was built for more. I wanted the whole package. I wasn't ready for a long-term relationship after that fling, but at least I had a better idea of what I wanted and needed. Which was more than I could say for my 22-year-old self who'd married against her better judgment.