When You’re Not Ready To Date

I’ve been separated and divorced for 1 1/2 years now. When I first got out (sounds like I was released from prison, right? Well, I was!) I naturally took a break. I was mourning my friends’ murder, healing from a brain aneurysm while patiently waiting for my husband to seek anger management counseling. It never happened.

Two months into the separation, he told our son to tell me he found a woman he wanted to marry. A couple of months after that, I started seeing someone. And someone else. And someone else. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going through then; I realize now I was trying to mask the pain.

The mask is removed and I all I feel is numbness.

I’m not hurting; I’m just blah. And not because I miss my husband (never that!). He was abusive and a decision I made when I was living in the emotional pain of my abuse. I thank God everyday that I’m out and I’m on the journey to healing. The reason behind my numbness is that I’m really just tired of meeting the same men and getting hurt the same way.

The men I’ve dated presently and in the past were all angry little boys. And at 45, who has time for that? We all grew up with issues but it seems as if I selected those men who just wallowed in their pain instead of facing it and taking steps to heal from it.

But today’s lunch date was different. He was noticeably more mature than anyone I’d ever seriously dated. Also, he was patient, brilliant, witty and kind. There were NO red flags alluding to anger, manipulation or conceit. As we ate our lunch, he told me he’s been divorced two years and ready to commit and marry again. When I explained how I wasn’t quite ready for that, he said something that got me thinking, “you may not be ready to date but what if you meet someone who falls in love with you? You keep saying you want to get yourself together, but what if a man wants to take care of you?”

I shudder at the thought.

When I was a stripper, I only stopped dancing when I found a boyfriend. It never occurred to me to stop at any other point in my life – primarily because I didn’t think I was smart or talented enough to do so on my own. Yes, I had a bachelor’s degree but even with that degree, I couldn’t land a job. But getting a man? No problem there! I’d stay with him, build him up and get myself together as well. It was a win-win, right?

Wrong.

I helped both of those men launch new careers and make more money than they did before they met me. And as much as my ex-husband hates my guts, he’ll be the first to tell you that if it wasn’t for me, he wouldn’t be where he is today. So they’re both happy in their new positions while I’m in the exact same place I was when I found myself dancing to avoid eviction. This time though, I’m not looking for some man to save me. I’ll do it on my own.

I finished my lunch and the next day I told him I’m taking a break from dating.

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