Ok, so maybe his white horse was a BMW. But the effect was somewhat the same.
If you follow my blog, you’ve heard me wax poetic about how independent I am. How I was raised to be self-sufficient. How I don’t need a man to complete my life.
I did not lie. All true. I am a bit of a steel magnolia.
You’ve seen the steel. What you haven’t seen is the lighter side of that equation.
Why would you care about a random blogger’s softer side? You wouldn’t. Unless you happen to be a divorced woman, which means you have that side too. A side that was most likely buried or ignored for far too long in a failing marriage.
So many of you wrote to me privately after my last blog post on a couple of less than ideal dates in which I toyed with starvation. But your messages weren’t responding to the humor in the piece—they were sharing some tough stories about the emotional turmoil you’re going through post divorce.
I hear you, sister. So, I’m sharing a bit about the good that awaits you. Because while I may be a bit ahead of some of you on the healing curve, I’ve been where you are. And it was a lifesaver to hear from friends who were ahead of me. In my darkest hours, they reminded me that the turmoil was not forever. That the muck I was going through was just preparing me, carving out my soul to make room for more joy.
They were right.
So. Amidst the comically horrible dates, there was one shining light. And no, this is not a ride-off-into-the-sunset story. I really do not have interest in a long-term relationship with this particular man. But, he came along at the right place and time—I believe for a reason.
You don’t need me to tell you how nerve-wracking it is to head out on a first date after years of being married. I felt I was regressing to 15 years old, worried about what I was wearing, my hair, etc. I was meeting a man I had only chatted with on the phone. For a glass of wine (Every woman’s safety net—a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Dinner is too big a time commitment if things go south.).
I was a bit late, due to traffic. With my ex, that would have meant orneriness because contingency plans were not his specialty. Instead of a scowl, I was met with a smile. A bottle of wine was opened and a glass was poured for me, with a smile.
I had a vague sense déjà vu, as if this had happened before—a very looooong time ago. And it felt good.
We chatted and it was great conversation. Good enough that we had dinner afterward. He insisted I try his entrée and cut me bits, putting them on my bread plate for me to try. He was right—it was delicious. And he was thoughtful. Again, déjà vu. Ah yes, this is how it can work.
I won’t bore you with the details but during that long dinner, I remembered and re-experienced many things. Appreciative glances. He noticed the effort I made in getting ready and let me know he thought I looked great. Conversation in which I was listened to intently—and asked questions. Laughter. Gentle teasing.
Do you remember these, ladies? I had forgotten—until that random Wednesday evening.
For those of you miserable at the moment, it’s out there. This man was nothing extraordinary. He was just one example of what is out there in the world—a kind word, a gentle touch, intelligence, caring, appreciation. And if you’ve lacked these things, it’s not because you’re somehow “less than.” It’s just that you may have gotten off of your intended path. And getting yourself back on it takes some grunt work, some hard searching inside yourself, some less than happy days.
But at the end of all that, you will have regained the power of choice. The choice to remember how it is to be well treated. To be appreciated.
Most of us don’t walk away lightly from our commitments. I did not walk away from my marriage until I felt I’d done everything humanly possible to make it work. For a good portion of us, that means sticking around for some not-so-pleasant times. And, like a frog in boiling water, staying so long that we don’t notice the deterioration as much as we would have at the beginning of a relationship. Most of us end up taking on more hurt than we bargained for. So, when you heal and are ready for a new beginning, remember this is the natural progression (and reward) for a long, hard transformation.
It was one date. But so much more than that because it was a reminder of fun. Of hope. Of infinite possibility. All of which are out there for the taking, for you—when you’re ready.
When you are, cue the white horse—and make sure the man on it is thoughtful, caring and open to who you are.
No, you don’t need saving. But there’s nothing wrong with a helpful boost from a handsome man. You know, the one who sees the side of you that hasn’t seen the light of day in months, maybe years. Here’s to your coming-out party. I’m already applauding your bravery.