Some days, I look back and it all seems a bit like a dream.
<==== Here I am in 2005 — right around Valentine’s Day to be specific. My ex-husband and I were going to enjoy a night on the town and a free room at the Marriott downtown that I had won at a work event.
I thought I was reasonably happy back then. Life was pretty predictable (or so I thought.)
I had no idea that only four years later I’d be channeling my inner goddess of truth…
I never really thought of myself as a super hero before.
I never really had to.
But things happened and like many women who suddenly find themselves faced with a very different truth than the reality in which they were living, I had a choice – pull myself together or don’t.
The latter didn’t seem like a very productive option.
And just a month after my separation, I decided to test the dating waters and joined Match.com on a whim, hungover one Sunday morning after a night out with the best girlfriends on the planet.
I figured I could always bail, if the waters got too weird or rough, but why not? After all, my soon to be ex-husband had already more than moved on (and in with) his relationship. Why shouldn’t I?
Well, we all know there were probably a few good reasons why I should have waited a tad bit longer, but look, doing things the “right” way isn’t exactly my story. Besides, if I had waited, I might not have been around at the right time to meet my now fiance.
But I wasn’t quite ready for him yet…I needed to date. You know, casually date for a while.
And so, I sent my friend Kristin a text telling her that I just signed up for Match.com. Was I crazy?
No, she responded. Absolutely not.
I love Kristin because I knew that was going to be her response, and that’s probably why I asked her and not my more cautious, logical friend, Jessie.
Selective advice seeking, folks. I’m good at that.
Match.com was a weird and wacky place. But still, a fun place for someone who is testing the waters of dating after seven years of being off the market.
Soon, I found myself on my first date. We met at The Blue Koi, one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City. I was dog sitting for my friend D who lives just around the corner.
As I was standing there waiting for my date, my stomach felt like it was in my toes.
“This is what it must feel like before one jumps out of a plane” I sent that text to Jessie and Dawn.
What was I doing here?
I hated all the other people sitting at the tables. They were all probably married, I thought. They didn’t have to stand here and wait for a strange guy to come in and then wonder if they would have anything to talk about and ohmygodwhatifhekissesme?!
I was seconds from walking right out the door. This wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t ready to go on a date.
But soon, this guy walked in and smiled at me. Thank GOD he looked like his picture, maybe even better than his picture. Nice eyes. Nice smile. And we didn’t run out of things to talk about.
That was my first date after separation. There were more, of course. With him. With others. I was a wild woman – dating multiple men.
I had to fight my urge to want to get serious with the guys I liked. I fought the temptation to angst over texts unresponded to and get overjoyed by texts I did get. When I started to try to imagine a future with each guy, I would get right back on Match.com and respond to my many “winks” and e-mails.
Sure, there were moments of weakness when I would gleefully tell my co-workers how big my crush was on so and so. They would roll their eyes at me. But seriously, I’d say. He’s sooooo cute. Just look at this text he sent!
No, I told myself. This is fun time. Don’t get serious. I clung to my copy of Crazy Time like it was my Bible. The book told me that it was ok to feel and act a little crazy during my separation, and even up to two or three years after my divorce.
Oh crap, I thought. Would it really take that long to feel normal again, I wondered.
I knew none of the guys I was dating were “right for me.” Sure, they were good guys, but was I really going to be happy with a landscaper by day, soccer coach by night who was still playing the field at age 37? Probably not. And it was painfully obvious I did not share his love of hunting.
And the very hip and attractive 40-something salesman who was legally separated from his wife but had no divorce date in site? No, not really a good idea, Stephanie.
I’m going to pause and say, I’m so so glad I didn’t have any children. This story would not be the same if I had. I know I’m one of the lucky ones – lucky to get out of a worthless marriage of five years without spawn, lucky to not have that lifelong connection with my ex-husband and lucky to only have the responsibility of a needy Vizsla Lab mix. I admire my friend Ms Single Mama and all the other single moms out there who weren’t so lucky.
When I wasn’t going on dates, I was enjoying my new apartment, reconnecting with old friends on Facebook (I never had an account when I was married.) and, trying to blog about my divorce without upsetting the settlement process with my ex. Needless to say, I was very careful what I posted here.
I was starting to really enjoy life. Sure, I was really, really sad sometimes. And there were a lot of “firsts” of being back on my own.
But these were part of the healing process.
And then one day, I got a call from my attorney that the divorce was final. It was the weirdest feeling. And a celebration with friends was to be had. (Truth be told, I had my fire engine red party dress ready to go at the drop of a hat.)
And the very next day after a night of wine and many toasts to my future, this guy calling himself KCFilmGuy a self-described “nerd with social skills” winked at me on Match.
He had red hair and a charming smile.
His profile said he loved the Muppets and The Princess Bride.
I had to know more….
(To be continued.)
[Editor’s note- after I wrote this, I realized my title was a little too close to The Pioneer Woman’s From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels title for her love story with the MM. Completely unintentional, of course, but a correction worth making. ]