I’ve been divorced for five years and I only recently started dating again. Now that I have, I’ve come to the realization that I waited too long.
I think it’s important to take time to heal from divorce. People need time to adjust to the major changes that divorce brings: different living situations, moving, financial struggles, and having to share time with your kids. Divorce is a death of sorts. It’s the death of your hopes, dreams, and beliefs that you will spend the rest of your life with your spouse. It takes time to go through the grieving process. It’s wise to wait a year or so, so that you can evaluate your life, take inventory of who you are, change the things about you that you don’t like, and discover what exactly you’re looking for in a partner.
However, if you wait too long, some things happen that make dating more difficult.
1. You get comfortable being alone
After some time, you start to enjoy the freedom that comes with being on your own. You never have to compromise on a restaurant. If you don’t feel like making your bed, there’s no one there to get mad at you for it. You can stay in your pajamas and watch chick flicks on Netflix, or you can get up early and run non-stop all day. The choice is up to you.
2. You get cold feet
The longer you wait, the more scared you are to enter the dating world, especially if you were married a long time and enjoyed the comfort and security of a loving relationship. The thought of fielding pick-up lines from guys at bars can make you hyperventilate. Going on a date and not knowing the rules because the last date you went on was 20 years ago, can be a really scary thing.
3. You don’t understand dating nowadays
My last date before I got married was at a time when people didn’t have computers or smart phones. Do you understand me? Only doctors had mobile phones and they were as big as a shoe box! Now there’s online dating. Online dating scares the snot out of me. Weeding through hundreds of guys who probably want to make a suit of my skin, trying to find that one gem who not only is not a serial killer, but who also chews with his mouth closed can be daunting. And which of the trillions of online dating sites should you use? Heck, there’s an online site for farmers only! The first time I saw the commercial for that, I thought it was an SNL skit! Scary.
4. You realize you don’t need anyone
When I first got divorced I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t know a thing about car maintenance. I didn’t know how to change my furnace filter, change the string on the weed whacker or fix my washing machine when it started leaking all over. Out of necessity, I learned how to do these things. I no longer felt like I needed a man in my life. Sure, it would be nice to have someone to do those things and to help out, but when it comes down to it, I am capable of taking care of everything on my own.
5. You begin to think there’s no room for anyone else in your life
The thought of clearing out my closet to make room for another person’s clothes makes me feel resentful. I don’t want to give up any of my space. I’ve filled my days with my kids, my work, and my interests and I can’t imagine making room for someone else and their kids, work, and interests. I’m not saying I can’t or won’t; it’s just hard to imagine caring enough about someone to want to make room for them in my life.
6. You decide you never want to share a bathroom again
There are some advantages to being on your own – advantages like getting up to pee in the middle of the night and not falling in the toilet because no one has left the seat up. There’s something to be said for not having shaving gel and toothpaste globs stuck to your sink. Not having to pick up laundry from the floor brings me utter joy. Now that I’m divorced, I always get a good night’s sleep because no one wakes me with their snoring, no one steals the blanket, and no one puts their cold feet on me. Why would I want to go back to sharing a bathroom or bedroom with anyone?
7. You get set in your ways
You have a routine. You know what needs to be done and how and when it needs to be done. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have some help, but I know myself. I know that if someone didn’t separate the laundry, or if they loaded the dishwasher incorrectly, or if they didn’t clean the kitchen the same way I do, I’d get ticked off. Maybe I should be medicated. I don’t know. But I’ve gotten set in my ways and I don’t think I’d like someone coming in, changing things around, and not doing things the right way (i.e. my way.)
I was talking to my hairdresser and comparing notes on bad dates. She and I both came to the same conclusion – because we waited too long, dating is harder and the thought of letting someone into our lives makes us a little twitchy. One writer and one hairdresser can’t be wrong. I’m telling you, don’t wait too long! Wait long enough to grieve and get your act together, then jump right in before you become a bitter old cat lady like me. (I don’t actually own a cat. I have a Guinea pig who eats nonstop though. I don’t dress him up in clothes or anything so there’s still hope for me.)