Day 643 – Degrees of Separation

ropes-separation

I had been separated for about four months when I decided to venture back out into the dating world. It doesn’t seem that long I know, but I was left with a yawning chasm to fill every second weekend when my children went away and I thought maybe dating might help ease the pain. I also thought that there had to be better men out there than the man my husband had become.

Online dating was quite new back then. In fact the only reason I even knew about it was because an acquaintance had told me she’d caught her husband cheating on her through a dating website. Intrigued I wondered if I could meet someone that way too (not someone else’s husband though of course).

I ended up going out twice with the first person I met online. He was nice enough I suppose but I spent the whole time feeling like I was cheating on my husband. It was way too soon for me. I had been married for 11 years and to be suddenly dating again, as a way to get through the ache left by having to send my kids away each fortnight, was just not a good feeling for me. So I didn’t date again until about a year later.

I’ve dated on and off over the years, but I haven’t really felt truly ready for a new relationship until the past couple of years. Mainly because I was studying, then working and all the while raising two tiny children and dealing with a rather unpleasant ex-husband. It was all just too hard.

Which brings me to the difference between men and women.

In the past two weeks I have been out on two first dates. Both with men who are fairly freshly out of their long term marriages. Whilst several months out of their respective marriages, neither have reached the requisite 12 months of separation to become divorced.

I am a little wary of dating separated men. My experience has been that they are usually still reeling from the break up of their marriages and are either desperate to get straight back into a serious relationship which they cling to with all their might or are sleeping with every single willing woman they can find. Neither of these scenarios works for me. I have no problem with casual sex, but it’s not what I am looking for right now. I am open to a serious relationship but I don’t want to be caught up in the messiness of settlements and court dates.

One thing I have noticed though is when I talk to men about their separations, they almost always say, oh I know I’ve only been separated for “x” amount of time but the relationship was breaking down for a long time. Or, we both knew it was coming but we hung on for the kids. Or, we were basically separated under one roof. Etcetera and so on.

When I talk to recently separated women though, more often than not they say how they just aren’t ready to get back out there again. That it’s too soon, that the marriage is barely over, that the children wouldn’t be able to cope if they knew they were dating.

I wonder why this is? In a recent piece in the Huffington Post men talked about the moment they knew their marriages were over. Many didn’t seem to have realized what was going on until it was too late to do anything about it. So how is it that I’m yet to meet a separated man to admit this? Is it pride? Bravado? Why do they seem intent on ensuring me that the marriage was over long before they actually left it? I wonder if they think if they admit to being blind-sided I might think less of them?

Right now I’m trying to approach dating with a “what will be, will be” attitude. Of the two men I went out with, neither has suggested we go out again, but both have been in touch. One of them even asked if he could read my blog for dating tips – pretty sure he’s keen on meeting more than just me. The other one, well, when I suggested we meet up again, things went very quiet so I guess I will just chalk that one up to experience.

How soon is too soon out of a marriage to “get out there” again? For me, apart from that first initial dabble a few months out, a minimum of a year was needed before I could even function properly again. But for some people, both men and women, the gap between marriage and the next relationship barely exists and they have to jump right from one to the next.

I suppose waiting could mean missing out, but for me, thus far, too soon has very much been, too soon.

How soon is too soon out of a marriage to “get out there” again? For me, apart from that first initial dabble a few months out, a minimum of a year was needed before I could even function properly again. But for some people, both men and women, the gap between marriage and the next relationship barely exists and they have to jump right from one to the next.

I suppose waiting could mean missing out, but for me, thus far, too soon has very much been, too soon.

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