It’s a great big beautiful world out there, filled with men who are definitely not your ex-husband and if you haven’t woken up and smelled the testosterone yet, it might be something worth thinking about. Of course, we all go at our own pace when it comes to starting over with someone new. For instance, I moved with the speed of a tortoise, rather than a hare, when I tried to out-run the pain of my own divorce because, unlike my furry friend, I had absolutely no desire to hop to it.
My friends and family, however, saw things differently. They hated to see me plodding through my post-divorce haze all alone. “You’ve got to get back in the saddle,” they’d advise me, with the solemnity of a night court judge. But I assured them I was out of the race; if not for good, at least for the foreseeable future. They continued to argue their point until I was blue in the face and although I knew they meant well, I finally had to tell them (in the sweetest possible way, of course) to back the hell off! I needed to fumigate my soul; to try and heal what was left of my disseminated heart. And deep down I knew it might take quite a while to do so, although I had no idea how long “quite a while” would be.
After two and a half years (yeah you heard me right), I finally felt my sleeping libido begin to stir one afternoon, when my hot and hunky Hispanic gardener took to flirting with me. This continued on a bi-monthly basis for the entire summer, which, granted, wasn’t much time, but this small amount of attention was just right. All I’d needed was a taste; a reminder that I might not be out of the race after all. However, those first, tender stirrings of desire were no match for the sheer terror that the thought of a real date inspired. Actually going out with someone new? That was going to take a while longer.
So, except for a few more minor flirtations and a brief shopping spree on Match.com, it was another two and a half years (yeah, you heard me right, again) before I was actually ready to meet someone new. But by that time, I was READY! And then it happened. Bam!! Out of the blue, I met a really great guy who was everything my ex-husband was not: affectionate, strong, kind and funny, accepting, easy-going and good to me. We were simpatico from the word go. It was like meeting the antithesis of the Antichrist! And I am happy to report that six months have flown by and we’re still an item.
All that being said; I know how tough the whole dating-after-divorce thing can be. One minute you’re a Mrs. and the next, you’re alone and missing pieces of your life. And it’s not as though you want any of those pieces back. God forbid! But you are walking around with these gaping holes in your heart that are longing to be filled and it’s hard to know how soon you should begin trying to fill them.
If you want my advice (which you must, or you would have quit reading this a few paragraphs ago), just take it a day at a time; a minute at a time if you have to, and keep breathing. Don’t judge your progress by the speed of those around you, but by your own inner clock. Do the work it takes to rediscover yourself and uncover the patterns that led you to say “all right” to Mr. Wrong in the first place. Trust me you’ll know when the time is finally right for you to get back in the saddle again. And like the yodeling cowboys of yesteryear, when you do, you might even sing a little tune as you ride off into the proverbial sunset, knowing that once again, order has been restored and all is right with the world.