Where I Stand

So we all know I’ve been seeing HSD (Hot Single Dad) again for a little while now.  It’s gotten relatively serious, I would say.  I’ve met his family and his daughter and his daughter’s mother, and he’s met Caroline.  We hang out all the time.  We have a lot of fun together.

I like him.  I truly enjoy his company.  And I haven’t said that about anyone I’ve dated since my divorce.

With all of that said… even though I like him, I don’t necessarily like dating.  I mean, let’s be real.  It’s kind of sucky sometimes.  I’d forgotten what it was like, to be completely honest with you.  I started dating Tyler when I was 19, and that was a long time ago.  The rules of the dating world are different when you jump back in after eight years.  And there are all these insecurities and misunderstandings that are just an inescapable part of getting to know someone and letting them into your life.

Having a child also puts a whole new perspective on it, of course.

Because I can share as much of myself as I want to, and if things go bad, well, that’s on me.  And that’s fine.  But when I share my daughter, I feel… open, and vulnerable, and scared.  She is my most precious part of me.  I stand guard over the people I let into her life as though my own life depends upon it.  So, having a relationship post-divorce is scary enough for me as it is, and bringing Caroline into it… raises the stakes, somehow.

“I don’t like not knowing where I stand,” I told one of my girlfriends today, who is also divorced.  “I hate dating sometimes because of that.”

“I know what you mean,” she sighed. “Honestly, that’s the only thing I miss about marriage.  No joke.”

“Same,” I said.  “But, you know, it’s better to be unsure of where you stand with someone you actually like, than to know exactly where you stand with someone you hate.”

“I freaking love you, Jules,” she laughed.  “We should be marriage counselors, I think.”

That’s the thing, you know?  That’s the whole reason behind my divorce.  The insecurity and the sometimes-loneliness of being a single parent sucks, for sure.  But the exhilaration of it, the free-falling, the not-knowing, the roller coaster… is exactly what I was after.  My marriage made me feel like I was dead inside, like I’d never feel a real feeling again.  I wanted to feel something, anything

If I’m being honest, I think I settled for Tyler because I had had my heart broken just before I met him, and I never wanted to feel that way again, and I knew that Tyler would never leave me.  But having already settled once, I will take a broken heart and certainly the insecurities of dating any day over the flat, dead nothingness of staring bleakly out over the years that stretch ahead of you when you know you are doomed to spend them with a man you do not love.

The silences, the months spent alone, the angry words, the fights, the conflicts.  Whenever the uncertainty of my life as an unmarried mother starts to get to me, I look back on them and immediately I feel better.  Because… no thank you.  I can’t live that way.  I never want to feel that way again.  I never want to stare across the living room at the silent man on the couch and think, I have to live with you forever, but I don’t even know you anymore.

I traded security and unhappiness for freedom and hope.  So did my friend.  So do a lot of divorced people, I’d imagine.

For me, it was a good trade.  Even when it gets tough, even when I feel sad, even when I despair at how terrible I am at dating… at least I am living, now.  And that thought makes me feel better, every time.

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  1. by Bridget

    On November 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I’m a long time follower (Of unexpectedly expecting first!) although I never commented, but this post struck a nerve with me. I just recently left my relationship of almost ten years with my live in boyfriend. No, we weren’t married, and no we did not have any children, but the feeling you’re talking about–about being sad about being lonely, to then realize that you would take anything over that horrendous feeling about being around someone you just didn’t feel that way for–I completely and totally agree. Thanks for putting it into words.

  2. by Donna

    On November 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    This is my first time reading your blog. I could not have choosen a better day. I so needed to hear your words
    “But, you know, it’s better to be unsure of where you stand with someone you actually like, than to know exactly where you stand with someone you hate.”

    I was actually considering going back with my ex. not a good thing for me or my baby..

    You have given me hope and perspective…..

  3. by Mum in Awe

    On November 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

    They say it’s better to be alone, than lonely in a relationship. I guess I agree.. but what about being in a relationship and you have no idea where it’s going? That’s a lonely place too!