"Well worth the wait!"
How I did it: I fell in love with a guy I'll call DJ (which was his name, so . . .why not huh?) when I was in my late 30's. I was a single mom and flailing about personally. I'd been divorced for awhile and until I met DJ, I never thought I'd fall in love again. Well, I fell hard.
Fast forward 2 years - what I thought would be a marriage fell apart in one of the nastiest ways ever - he said he had never been attracted to me. THUD. Besides the ridiculousness of this (hmmm... not to be too graphic, but he's a guy who had you know . . . erections, so NO attraction? I don't think so), it was said with the intent to hurt AND IT DID. Hurt, that is.
Initially we tried the "let's be friends" thing by his insistence. I went along with it because I did like him as well as love him, but at a certain point I got it - I didn't want to just be this man's friend - I wanted to be his wife. So after many months of this nonsense, I wrote him an email and said - no, let's NOT be friends. I also told him that no matter what, I'd always want him and that was that.
That was the first day I both started to really grieve the loss and heal. And I learned something - I needed to cry and write in my journal and talk to my girlfriends and wallow a bit. Surprisingly, though, that stage didn't last too long.
After this, I realized longer periods of time would pass before I would think of him again. And I wouldn't get all defensive when a friend said, "I didn't like it when he did X". I began to see his faults (besides his not loving me which really wasn't entirely under his control) and I even began to remember the good times.
After some time, I began dating again, That part wasn't always fun but I decided to take my time and just enjoy it. My son was in high school and I realized I wanted to wait to get married again until he was out of school. So I even stopped dating for awhile.
I'd always kept a profile up on match.com and was lucky enough to use this to meet guys to date now and again. Nobody took for too long, but I had fun. As it happens, in 2004, I got a wink from this guy with the improbable handle of "Norcal Bobby". Bobby? Is that a name for an adult? But anyway, he winked and sent me a nice email (well, he could write, so that was something), but there was a problem. He was newly separated from his wife, but his divorce was filed. And he had four kids.
We corresponded once or twice and even talked on the phone for a bit. I wasn't sure if we should meet due to his rather obvious issue of being newly separated. The kid thing wasn't such a big deal, since his were all late teens, just like my own son. But you know, they always say you should wait at least two years before dating/falling in love with someone who's getting a divorce.
As it turned out, I'd also been dating more casually a guy who WAS divorced for four years; on a couple of dates, he took calls from his ex-wife! Geez, talk about not over it.
So I took a chance. I met Bobby (okay, Bob) at a local outdoor venue for coffee only, which turned into a nice dinner and dessert, And a second date.
We'll be married seven years next January.
Lessons & tips:
- Don't do the friends thing - just break up. Grieve it and let that run through you.
- If you need help with the grieving, see a counselor or therapist. Friends are great, but you may need a professional if you find yourself going deeper into depression. I can't tell you how long you're supposed to grieve and yes, it can be very inconvenient to your eye makeup, but I can say this - the more you allow it, the shorter in duration it usually is. I hope that helps.
- There is never any truly getting over it. I still, on occasion, think of DJ and I've been with Bob now for 9 years (yes, we dated for almost 2 years before marrying). But I think of him fondly and am so GLAD we didn't marry!
- You never know about circumstances - as it turns out, Bob had been in a very long term marriage that had been over years before they separated. She had an alcohol problem, he'd gone to therapy and Alanon, and been a single dad (while she was in rehab twice). Basically, your "good guy". Luckily, for all of us, his ex-wife did get sober, so no rip on her - she did the work to get and stay that way. But the point is, you never know by applying the "rules" to anything. See my story above - I was dating the truly divorced guy who was completely entangled with his ex-wife (you don't take a call from an ex when you're trying to woo a new girl, okay?)
- I think online dating is great - it opens you up to people you wouldn't meet otherwise, but you need to be smart about it.
- The smartest thing is this - MEET EARLY. Do not have a fake relationship over the internet or phone. If you think he/she is a possible, arrange the meeting as quickly as possible. That way, if there's chemistry, you'll know right away. If you don't do what I say, you risk falling in love with someone over the internet and then meeting them, only to find out you have NO chemistry. Ugh. No, double ugh. So really, meet early and in a public place and take your own car and let a friend know what you're doing - and you'll be fine. Use your common sense and your gut!
- Love can happen to anyone at anytime. I was 46 when we met, 48 when we married. I'm almost 55 now. An old broad. He's going to be 58 (our birthdays are literally 2 days apart!). Although I'd dated quite a bit since I'd been divorced years earlier than him, I was the very first woman he met on match.com. He knew a good one when he met her.
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