Wednesday, March 11, 2009

post-divorce dating: postcards from insecurity.


i'm digging this title. its as if i know what i'm talking about. [not that anyone who knows me believes that to be true.]

it is inevitable that i am eventually going to have to blog about various aspects of life from a post-divorce perspective. i typically like to avoid thinking of my life in those terms... you know, because its reality and i very much prefer my own delusions over reality any day.

i often make fun of my dad because he's "one of those people" who talk about life with such absolute subjectivity that it is nauseating. its as if he has absolutely no inclination to believe that others might disagree with his perspective, much less that his perspective might be the farthest thing from reality. as hilarious as that all is to me, i find myself doing the same thing. often. and i've started to wonder, "is reality really objective... or not?"...

i was so determined that my life wouldn't be defined by divorce, but rather that God would refine it through that process. and while that has happened on so many levels, the reality is unchanged. life post-divorce is drastically different than anyone and everyone who hasn't walked through it. there is so much stereotypical stigma that surrounds it, but i'm learning, albeit slowly, that it doesn't make me different in a way that is entirely jaded or cynical any more than the person who has never been married; or the one who has been married for decades. we're all different. (okay, i'm beginning to sound like a middle school speech on embracing diversity)... i digress.

and speaking of middle school... i've been doing some keen observation here in adulthood of some of my close friends who have been through divorce and are now in the throes of post-divorce dating, which seems to be some mystical portal of regression to junior high. and quite frankly, junior high wasn't so great of an experience for me in terms of relationships with boys. . . not that there ever was such a period of time, but whatever. another blog.

i have blogged a little about how the landscape of life post-divorce is so drastically different. even though i was born and raised here and have tons of great friends and family here, in the beginning i felt like i had relocated to some strange new town. i had lost common ground with my married friends... and my single friends... and feared that i had lost acceptance from anyone and everyone in between. as for family, if i had to hear my mother utter the phrase, "marriage just doesn't mean what it used to anymore..." [while simultaneously sighing] one more time, i was going to voluntarily excommunicate myself from my family. the rest of the world was in black and white, and i was residing in this undefinable shade of gray. i had always envisioned a life that was neatly and beautifully packaged. one that fit neatly in among the others without any conspicous defects or abnormalities. any form that i had to fill out post-divorce made me want to scratch through all of the check boxes and scribble "social reject" across them all.

so i observe, in horror, these throes of post-divorce dating - of which i know nothing about. perhaps one of the draws of dating is this pseudo excitement that comes from the unknown - evidently, there is this whole [prolonged] period of not knowing if or how much someone is interested; followed immediately by another [prolonged] period of not knowing if your level of interest is increasing while the other's decreasing ... or vice versa. quite frankly, this part of dating makes me want to vomit, even vicariously.

and quite frankly, i envisioned dating in adulthood to be different. not sure why. i was, after all, a big Sex & the City fan. but still. that was all ficticious and glamorous. no one i knew lived like that... certainly, no one i knew could afford shoes like that... and in the days of SATC the possibility of my having to one day reenter the dating scene was never a thought i entertained. but here, in reality - i assumed (erroneously) there would be a more pragmatic approach. i have enough trouble sleeping at night living alone, the last thing i need is to be lying awake at 3 a.m. wondering if a boy is going to call me... or email me... or text me... or whatever.

and so i wondered, why these thirtysomethings (both men and women) were suddenly reduced to levels of insecurity i haven't experienced or witnessed since junior high. welcome to post-divorce dating. PDD. there should be some sort of online support group for this.

several of my PDD friends shared with me that - early on in their PDD days -they had all arrived at the same [inevitable] conclusion, which was they could and would only date other PDs. it seems divorce changes you in a way that only another divorcee/divorcee' can relate to; and single parenthood is much the same. unattainable common ground for someone who hasn't experienced it firsthand. and then i realized....

these people have no idea what they are doing.

no. as my friend amy would say, "these people have no idea what [in the crap] they are doing".

and the insurmountable truth: neither would i.

these people (like me), having been married during the first solid decade of adulthood and thwarted into singledom somewhere in the midst of the second, have absolutely no [dating] experience from which to derive wisdom... and so they [um, we] revert. and regress. and suddenly, we're no longer thirtysomething women, but thirteen year old girls - only better - [and by better, i mean we have cell phones and text and email on our cell phones] and we can stay up till all hours of the night giggling and chatting and agonizing, not having to worry about waking our parents (only sometimes having to worry about waking our children). and then i think, "maybe this isn't going to be so bad...".

it isn't at all what i expected. but it is reality. objective or subjective... whichever.

they say (and by they, i mean all the self-help books and such) that for every four years you were married, you need at least at least one solid year of singledom. let me do that math:

tick
. . . tock.

1 comment:

  1. Nadia

    Date "post-divorce" sucks, but give it a go.....you never know who you will find. I hope you have better luck than I have had....Good Luck and Happy Hunting!!!!!

    Amy

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