My 2-year divorce final anniversary is this week. I’m not sad. I have no regrets. While I didn’t want that marriage to end, it did. And I felt I gave it all I could. Leaving was for my own sanity and health. I was caving and needed to protect myself, bottom line.
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The 2 year anniversary, however, does have me thinking about time. It’s actually been 2 years and 7 months since I moved into my own apartment. I have been thinking about what that time looked like, and how I felt.
I remember that my teenage daughter was 13. I remember she was in middle school and our main focus was getting her into the magnet school, high school that had strict requirements for qualification. At that time it was survival, focusing on the right mindset, and in getting her in school.
Fast forward to today, because that’s exactly what it is, a fast forward, and she has just completed her sophomore year at that magnet school. Time moves so fast.
So much has changed over these past 2 years since the day the divorce was finalized. At that time, I was launching businesses still and had a handful of people on my bi-weekly payroll.
I had brought on subcontractors, virtual assistants, web developers, etc. and was providing full health insurance benefits to the full-time team members. While the money was good, being “a boss” was still a pain point for me. I craved peace, quiet, and more than anything, I craved a period of time without getting upset about anything.
After the battle of divorce, in which I was literally fighting for my livelihood, I just wanted to “rest”. I wanted to do my own thing and not have to be responsible for so many moving parts.
I am never lazy. I love to work. I just want to do it, alone.
Many of my family members were working with me and that wound up weighing heavy on me. I wanted so much for them that I began to sacrifice my own happiness, goals, and income to support them in ways that they didn’t even ask for. I was the one that was feeling “responsible” for others.
I finally let go. A defining moment.
Today, I have no payroll. I have no assistants, no employees and am working blissfully on my own. It was time. After 25 years of feeling “responsible” for others, I needed time to focus on what I wanted in life.
And now. I’m finally beginning to think about dating.
I’m not thinking about it in an excited or even very “hopeful” way. I’m not lonely and I don’t feel a void without a man. In fact, I’m more concerned about what I’ll be giving up when I do date again.
When I say I’m “thinking” about dating, I’m starting to notice myself saying “He’s Cute” or wondering what a guy’s lifestyle looks like when I see him. That’s a good thing. I’m starting to think about how fun it might be to travel with someone, share interests with someone, and grow old with someone. I don’t think I’m wishing for those things, just starting to imagine what it might look like.
My husband was who I wanted to grow old with. I wanted the father of my child to be the one I traveled with and shared interest with. And when that dream was shattered, I had no desire to dream again. While I still believe in love, I have kind of felt like “that was it”. That was my chance. Now, I’m in my late 40’s and may not love again.
Maybe, I’ll just be me. And that’s my life. And that’s OK.
But is it? Well, I don’t have that answer.
Yesterday, my adult daughter, who moved into the same apartment complex a year ago, and is my neighbor, told me that she’s probably buying a house.
As excited as I am, truly, I had that moment of “oh man, I’m going to miss us being neighbors” that suddenly turned into “everyone is leaving me”.
Selfish, I know.
And truly, I told her that her buying a house is exactly what she should do, regardless of my momentary lapse of maternal judgement letting her see me be sad about it.
I feel 100% “abandoned” by my husband who I was with for 25 years. Even though I left, I felt abandoned when he decided to stop traveling with me, stop building businesses with me, stop working (like at all), and stop parenting with me. I felt like he left the marriage years ago.
And then, after the divorce, I got very close to my younger brother, probably a displaced “role replacement” seeking that old “partner” that I loved to have.
And he moved away. Only 45 minutes as it is, it might as well be another state because I don’t drive out there and he rarely comes by anymore. We used to take walks, and swim and hang out with my nieces.
Those days are gone. And as happy as I was for him that he got to pursue his small town dreams, I felt abandoned. He didn’t abandon me, I felt abandoned. There’s a difference.
I don’t blame anyone for the way I feel. They are my feelings, not reality.
My adult daughter, who has worked for me for 4 years, chose to get another job (which I actually set up for her) because she didn’t want to follow in my steps of owning her own business, which is where I had started focusing.
I didn’t want employees anymore. I was hoping my family members would all rise up, take some risk and become partners rather than employees. I wound up giving my marketing company to my brothers in exchange for some small revenue share.
I presented to my daughter that I’d love her to be a partner and benefit in the rewards of freedom and autonomy and higher income, but that meant she needed to carry some risk too if business wasn’t booming.
She passed. And I get it.
I realized that I was wanting for her what I want for myself. She didn’t want to trade off working nights and weekends for more “freedom”. She didn’t want to trade off a solid paycheck for the opportunity to earn more. Those things weren’t importnt to her. They were important to me.
Once I realized what I had wasn’t going to make her happy long term, I had a conversation with a good friend, who I trust, that was seeking an executive admin and I set her up to succeed in a role that would make her happier.
And, this allowed me to finally be payroll free. Today, I’m no longer a “boss”. I still believe I’m a leader, in an influential way, rather than in a management way.
Now, back to dating.
With all of these moving parts lately, I can’t help but feel that God and Universe are making room for something else. My teenager will be driving this summer and my freedom has just been opened wider.
I feel stronger than ever in my own health and mindset. I’m “right” these days. I’ve spent 2 years and 7 months “getting right” in my own head. I’m a much better version of myself and therefore know I could be a great partner again some day for someone.
But then, as I am noticing and thinking “He’s cute”, the thougths that follow are not generally very healthy. I think “Oh, he’s holding a beer. He’s got to be an alcoholic. Or he’ll make some kind of motion and I think “drug addict”.
I think things like “He’s probably got young kids, or he’s unstable, or he cheats on women”. Poor guy wouldn’t stand a chance and he’s probably none of those things.
Now, I think all men are liars. My husband told me daily that he loved me, that I was beautiful, that I was smart yada yada. And then sat out on the patio of a Mexican Restaraunt and told me that he was only in our marriage for our daughter.
What??? I mean WHAT??????????
That same night, he had his elbow on the table, and sat his chin on his fist while looking at me, leaning forward as if he was thinking and studying something, and smiled, genuinely and told me how pretty I was.
And an hour later, he drops that bomb.
So if the man, who I thought loved me to the moon and back, didn’t, then how can I trust anyone.
Honestly though, that’s not the daily story I tell myself. I don’t tell myself he didn’t love me. I believe he did. I also believe he was in a marriage he didn’t want to be in anymore because he felt like a failure. I believe he needed to escape himself, that version of him, not me.
And still, my trust is in a bad place. And I don’t want to enter a relationship like that. I still have work to do.
And, my life is calm. It’s peaceful. And I don’t feel like I’m willing to trade peace for Peter.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, comes with baggage. They come with history, and emotions, and habits, and interests.
I’m not ready to share the remote.
I’m not ready to have my quiet home disrupted by a loud television.
I mean, what if he’s be a dog person or allergic to my cat?
In any event, I’m certain that I’m overthinking it. An I’m sure that if the right guy came along, and we were a match, that all of those fears would subside. I’d be excited to share the remote and probably love the extra energy in the home.
And, dating doesn’t mean marriage. My head just goes there because that’s eventually where things lead.
Sharing my thoughts helps me to stay self-aware. I always want to own my DNA and watch out for the self-talk. Admitting my feelings helps me to analyze them and work through them as positively as possible.
At least, for now, I’m thinking about dating. And that, for now, is enough.