Divorced and Dating?
It’s been a while since I’ve seriously considered dating again. I tend to believe my divorce attorney when he says, “It’s best to wait a year after the divorce before dating again. It gives you time to get your life straightened out and to relearn who would make the best friends.” As a result of this decision, I’ve discovered the fact there seems to be two different languages for communication in my world. I am not 100 per cent clear on whether each language is gender-specific or not, but they very well could be. It is the effects of mistranslation/misinterpretation that have me befuddled.
Having come to a crossroads in my life where I stand before a yellow light reconsidering with whom I spend my free time and knowing, without a doubt, a romantic relationship isn’t at the top of my emotional to-do list, I feel frustration with my indecisiveness and lack of ability to clearly communicate this with others. It is my belief these discussions are usually with people who have their own agendas. Whether it is the agenda of a man on the hunt for a one-night stand or a dating relationship, or a friend concerned I will forever live in relationship limbo, their agendas tend to be contrary to mine.
My frustration is with both men and women, pursuers and self-appointed advisors. Attempts at articulating my indecisiveness and relative sense of living in an emotional purgatory have often been thwarted by the need to analyze or advise. It’s not uncommon for my honesty to offend and/or perplex people.
Additionally, I often catch myself thinking, “If it’s confusing to you, imagine how confusing it is to me!?”
So, I withdraw. I avoid answering any questions directly and end up leaving my conversational counterpart wondering if I’m a tease, a bitch, a whore or damaged goods. The truth is, I’m none of the above…well, maybe a bit damaged (insert knowing laugh here). I like to reframe the appointed label by referring to myself as “in the midst of a huge emotional growth spurt.”
If not for my loving friends’ voices of concern, statements that I’m a quality woman with a lot to offer, I doubt I would really worry about it these days. For I truly enjoy just getting to know people and finding my new place in the crowd. As cliché as the following statement may sound, it is true. Each day is a journey. Each new face presents an opportunity to expand my world, try on new standards and learn about new perspectives and potential friends.
In my skewed perspective, the greatest compliment I give a pursuer is usually perceived as a negative, but I say it with heartfelt appreciation for each person’s offerings as a new friend. I place such a high value on friendship, often telling my children “God made the world, but our friends bear it on their shoulders and make it turn.” It is my calculation of that value, the potential costs of loss and my respect for each person that leads me to say, “I like you too much to date you.” For, in time, as my life changes, stabilizes, grows and moves forward, these are the people to whom I will reach out later, when the time is right and I can offer them time and energy.
In the end, it’s quite possible this sense of frustration will strengthen my ability to communicate my genuineness and my message. Whether this is an issue of gender-specific languages or faulty thinking on my part, it is a source of frustration for a single parent on the verge of re-entering the world of dating and romance.