I haven’t shared many details of my divorce with anyone outside of my therapist’s office, mainly because droning on about the end of your marriage elicits a similar reaction to when you swipe left one too many times looking through someone’s pictures on their phone, and you see far too much of Linda and her penchant for nudie Judy’s, and, well, suffice to say listening to someone’s divorce story is a lot like seeing your friend Linda’s naked ass.
Exposed, uncomfortable, and a stark reminder that maybe your own goddamned life isn’t so bad.
The only thing worse than talking about the demise of your marriage is the aftermath, which, at a certain age, likely includes online dating. Fresh, new, interesting men don’t just flutter into my life like they did in my 20’s, when I met new people on the regular. At 40, I’m lucky I’m not wearing the same pair of yoga pants for 3 days in a row, and the highlight of my week is making some domestic discovery (this week: Downy UnStoppables. HOLY. SHIT. They are perhaps the greatest invention of our time) or organizing the crap out of some crevice of my car.
I enjoyed alphabetizing the paperwork in my glove compartment far more than a human should.
But, here I am. And sure, companionship would be lovely. To include someone in my life, and share the minutia of my day, maybe grab a drink or dinner and a movie on the weekends, someone to hole up with on the couch to explain to me the ridiculousness that is Game of Thrones, to play Twister on some idle Thursday evening, or someone to annoy me with their snoring.
Not a lot. Truly. Just something, nothing short of a John Hughes plot line.
Dating at 40, so far, equates to learning to drive a stick shift. It seems so daunting at first, juggling the gas and brake and clutch, then you start to get the hang of it on a nice flat surface, then you get a little cocky and try climbing a hill from a dead stop, then everything goes to hell. And, you quit briefly, but you try again and you’re so goddamned determined to get it right because there must be some magic, somewhere in the whole process.
I’ve met the married guy, who wanted to “see what else was out there” before he made the decision about staying in his marriage or not. I went on a few dates with a guy who flatly refused to talk on the phone. Any and all communication between us happened via text, which made for a shitty dating experience, but hilarious screenshots to my friends. Then there was the guy, with whom I hit off immediately, who disappeared off the face of the Earth, never to be heard from again, I thought, until he contacted me a few weeks later, and when confronted with his odd disappearance, explained he needed to take periodic respites “probably because of (his) complex personality.”
Y’all, I can’t make this shit up.
It’s a weird thing you learn when you’re married for a long time, then suddenly not, that while the sound of your former partner person breathing sent you into fits of rage that would make Alec Baldwin take pause, you simultaneously miss the sounds and warmth and proximity of another human being. After fighting so hard to be single, you realize how much you miss some of the very things that annoyed the living shit out of you when you were married. This was an unexpected side effect of divorce.
Sure, there are lonely days. but what I’ve learned in the absence of a partner is how to take an honest look at my existence, and acknowledge how good my life really is. Like, really good. I fill my time with a job I love, creating shenanigans and memories with my kiddos, reconnecting with old friends, annoying the crap out of my sister and parents, and rediscovering the joy of eating pizza rolls sans pants. Wait, what?
In the end, I don’t need someone with whom to share my Hot Pockets, although that is a nice thought, so, in the meantime, I’ll just patiently wait for someone amazing to fall into my lap. Until then, there’s always Linda.