In March of 2016 I will celebrate (celebrate?) being divorced for 15 years. Ok, maybe not celebrate, but not mourn. So let’s just call it the anniversary of my official divorce. Whatever Madge, get to the point…
It’s been quite the journey. Sometimes a living hell, other times an amazing celebration of life and being my true self with no one to muck it up but myself. It’s taken me this entire time to figure out who I am and what I want and how to do it. And of course most everything thing I thought and held dear at 35 has now completely changed at 50 anyway so… it doesn’t really matter. Well it does but… it’s just changed, anyway…
In the beginning of my divorce I was quite jaded. I had been lied to, cheated on, verbally and mentally abused, degraded and disrespected. So I swung to the other extreme and vowed never to be mistreated again. And I had little kids, very little kids, so I had all kinds of rules. I’m glad I set the rules that might affect my kids. Those rules were designed to give my kids a stable home and not have an endless parade of men coming in and out of their lives. They met no one. Ever. Until 7 years in when I got into a relationship that lasted 6 years.
But it was the rules I set for myself that I now question. However, as I said they were probably good rules at 35 but now at 50… I’m beginning to wonder. I set rules like if I met a guy I saw myself maybe being in a relationship with, I would try and refrain from having sex with him for as long as I could. There were also rules about not getting serious too soon, or not dating a guy who was just out of a relationship or marriage, also not dating guys without kids. Oh also things about not dating men who were divorced multiple times and also the obvious don’t date convicted felons, sex offenders, alcoholics, or drug users. I still stand by those obvious ones… vehemently. And the rules about me not being mistreated or disrespected have not and will not ever change. However, pondering the others.
But a friend of mine on Facebook (who was a former co-worker) said something that struck me one day. I forget exactly what it was, but I posted something about going out with a guy who was 20 years younger and it was just not pleasurable to me because he was someone I could never take seriously for a relationship. She said something to the effect of “You’re 50, you should just have a good time, just sleep with him if you want, who cares at this age?” Her advice was something of a mix of “At your age who knows how much time you have left” and “You’re an adult, it’s not like you’re the virtuous high school student trying to keep your reputation in tact”. And she’s right. It still didn’t feel right to go sleep with the guy (the chemistry wasn’t really there) but it made me not be so hard on myself about following the rule book.
So at one point I met someone that I clicked with and I found myself trying to carefully follow rules in my head, “Don’t move too quick”, “Don’t scare him off”, “Don’t seem to eager”, “Don’t text too much”, “Don’t get mushy”. Ugh, my brain was exhausted. I guess I would be less conscientious if I knew he weren’t in a sort of “mending” state. (Within months of ending something long-term) That’s different when you think you might really fuck someone else up if you are impulsive, I wouldn’t do that. If someone has done a number on them and they are trying to get their footing again, I suppose being selfish would be a shitty thing to do. I can’t do that.
However earlier in the summer/fall, I did some impulsive stuff and I have to say it felt very good. I let my guard down. I turned my brain off. No, I wasn’t sluttin’ it up all over town but I was just letting myself enjoy my time with different people and not worry so much about having a perfect outcome. Every experience no matter how long or short has its value in our life. Some experiences led me to see what I would eventually like when I feel like having a relationship again and other experiences led me to see what I definitely DON’T want.
Like I said it was probably wise to keep the rules in place when I was younger and had younger kids. Now I’m older and only have one child left at home who is almost out the door. I’m not so much a package deal anymore and can just worry about what’s best for me, not everybody else. It’s a little more freeing and less restrictive, and within reason I’m learning to not give so much of a shit about 6 months down the road and what the neighbors will think. I’m living my life today, for me. Thanks former co-worker.
(BTW, I have a new book out on Amazon.com! Buy it here today!)