I got the question. You know the one. “Are you still single?”
It’s a question that can be hard to respond to.
Is it a dig? Idle curiosity? Is it a means for a so-called friend to feel superior because she’s actively dating and you’re not – or she’s remarried, and you’re on Round 18 of updating an online profile?
I have my moments of being hyper-sensitive. Like most women, I put store in my attractiveness to men, my desirability as a person, as well as a woman. The years that I spent after divorce not dating took their toll.
Granted, I had my hands full raising two boys pretty much on my own. And my ex was a package of headaches when it came to my dealings with him, and I never knew when the next skirmish would hit.
What that did to my dating life? What dating life? It took three years before I coffee dated, and that was at the instigation of my older son. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine anyone would want me. I couldn’t imagine trusting again. I had other worries – like stamina, financial survival, being a good mother.
And I was protecting myself from the possibility of getting hurt. It’s been a dozen years since my marriage ended, and ironically, though I am in a relationship – and a good one at that – the most recent time I got the “Are you still single” question, it bothered me. Tremendously. My discomfort came as a surprise.
It felt like a criticism, an accusation, some sort of stinging designation that I wasn’t good enough for someone to remarry.
It’s not like I’ve been looking for a new hubby these past many years. But I struggle with (and resent) the judgment of other women in particular – judgment as to whether we’re married or not.
It turns out the man who asked if I was single was posing the question for a flattering reason. He was interested in asking me out, and my knee-jerk response was a fall back to feeling unworthy.
But considering the statistics on second marriages (a higher divorce rate than for the first), I’ll stick with “single… still” for now. I don’t need a label. And I don’t care to risk another divorce. Yet I admit that I’m ambivalent on remarriage – neither for nor against when it comes to others, and likewise in my own circumstances.
Dating? Relationships? Serious emotional commitment?
When you live in the turmoil of the divorce whirlwind, you’re lucky if you can create the time, space, and energy to date even casually.
Sure, you’re divorced and theoretically “free.” Yes, you want adult company. You may even be looking for someone to be a consistent presence in your life. But more likely, you’re looking over your shoulder for the other shoe to drop.