I’ve been separated for over two years. And I’ve been getting the side-eye, the nudges, and the pushes to date for at least a year and a half. People really want me to date.
My lawyers asked at the initial consultation last August, a week after I’d been served with divorce papers. When I explained that I felt it was important to wait until the final decree, they were astonished.
“But you’re separated!” they exclaimed.
“Separated isn’t divorced. Separated is still legally married. My husband abandoned our family for his mistress. I think it’s important that my kids have one parent who keeps her promises.”
Mine is not a popular view. I’m seen as old-fashioned, prudish.
So be it.
It’s important to me that I retain my integrity. I meant those wedding vows. Despite all the misery, I promised to be faithful and I have been. I value loyalty and this is part of how I live that value.
But there’s a very pragmatic piece to this as well. Between all the kid drama, moving drama, financial drama, and overall divorce drama, I don’t have the mental acuity to date. I’d probably end up with Mr. Goodbar (if you’re under 40, google it — novel made into a movie with Diane Keaton and a very young Richard Gere). How tacky would it be to get stabbed to death by a date while in the middle of a divorce?
No. Not worth it.
I’m both astonished and offended by the adamance that I’ve got to “get back out there.” My reasoning for not dating is met with pity.
Seriously? I need a job more than I need a man.
Is it really not okay to be single? Still? In the 21st century? Women should always be coupled? And when people say “date” to me, they really seem to mean involved in another long-term, monogamous relationship.
I’ve talked to several men going through divorce (neither had affairs nor initiated the divorce) and they get pressured to date, too. Except for them, “date” is code for boom-chicka-bow-wow. Nobody seems comfortable with letting divorcing people just figure themselves out.
Why is that? Sure, sometimes it’s lonely. But I was never as lonely as when I was married to Voldemort. This singleness is a cakewalk compared to my marriage. Maybe if I aired all that dirty laundry, people would back the hell off.
It really is okay if a grown adult chooses not to date. The world isn’t going to end if some of us aren’t two-by-twoing our way through the weekends.
And I don’t want to get started on the “But you want to get remarried, don’t you?” bulls**t.