Two years ago tomorrow Ex-Husband left me and my world fell apart. I was discussing this with my best friend earlier and trying to summon even a tiny scrap of botheredness about the anniversary. I just couldn’t. She apologised for not sending a card. I said I wasn’t bothered. I apologised for eating every single one of the five Flakes I’ve bought to post to her in the past month or so. We are still friends.
Recently I have dipped my toe back in the online dating pool, and this seems to have unsettled me more than the anniversary. I didn’t really intend to go on a date. I don’t want to date. I am very busy. I have two small children. I have a lot of friends and not much free time. I’m changing and enjoying being by myself. I like not having to consider anyone other than myself. I hid my dating profile because I’m really not interested in a relationship now.
But then. It’s late at night, my single-mums-on-Facebook-friends are talking about their dates, I feel a bit lonely and I think I’ll just have a look. And somehow I ended up on a date. It didn’t result in me nearly being murdered in Huddersfield. We didn’t watch the worst first date film ever. On those grounds alone I’m considering it a success.
Dating again was never part of the plan, and this makes me feel sad. It’s confusing, and I am really quite baffled by the process. I look at my profile and wonder who I actually am, because the person I describe in there is living this fascinating life and clearly has time to read the paper. I wonder if my life is not ready for dating yet, because I don’t actually have enough free time to go on dates, let alone do anything interesting enough to talk about to the people I meet.
But it’s also quite exciting. It’s a second chance. I was young when I got married (though not *actually* a child bride. Or even a teenager. Not that young then…) and now I’m older and a bit wiser. I have more of an idea of the commitment and compromise a relationship takes. And the glorious range of ways of having a relationship that are available to me. I don’t need a relationship to validate me now because I’ve been loved for ten years, and then I’ve learnt to live without that love. So I can have fun, and I can be choosy, and I can just keep dipping my toes in when I feel like it, for as long as it makes me happy.