Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Happened When I Got Brave About Forging New Relationships

Is your wedding ring off, like really off, not even trying it on once in awhile when no one’s around? Are you past the point of bursting into tears driving home from work? Are you curious to see what dating will be like?

Perhaps you’re ready to Put Yourself Out There, one of those platitudes that divorce/single people have to hear. A lot.

I know it’s really scary to take the padlock off of your battered heart and bruised ego to let new people in, but let me tell you  -- it’s worth it.

I got to thinking about this because of last weekend. I hung out with lots of new people – we’re talking four girls on Friday, six girls on Saturday, and two guys on Sunday. Only one of these people had I hung out with more than a few times. I thoroughly enjoyed each day and each new person I met.

As I walked home Sunday night, quite amused and pleased with how my weekend had transpired, I thought of a great compliment that Nora recently gave me:

“You have a cool life, and you did it yourself.
I have a great life with my husband, but I share the credit with him.
But your life, your new friends, your condo… that’s all you.”

I hadn’t thought about things that way, but she is right! My divorce was finalized almost two years ago. The way I have set up my life is all my doing, and one of the coolest parts has been the new people I’ve been meeting, thanks to Putting Myself Out There.

When I think back on my years with Max, I was putting so much effort into trying to save our fledgling relationship that I had no extra energy for forging new relationships. Hell, I am fortunate that I didn’t lose any friends during this difficult time.

Since I have been free of my troubled marriage, I am proud to say that I have been Out There plenty. Sometimes it has paid off beautifully, and other times it has ended in heartache. 

In the past year, yes, I have done a lot of dating. (In fact, I counted and I kissed 13 people in 2014. Yes, I’m secretly 16 years old and I make lists like this.) I have had some wonderful highs from the early days of dating when you see much promise, and I have had the sting of having it collapse and you have no idea why. After years of rejection from my ex-husband, I have FINALLY had some great sexual experiences with both guys I have liked and guys who are just my Special Friends. I’m coming into my own in the sack – better late than never!

Admittedly, parts of dating have made me want to hide under my bed or swear off men entirely. But I’m so proud of myself for experimenting with dating, even now while I hover in the gap with Ryan. (Sadly, I think our days are numbered, but I’m trying to be brave and not sabotage what’s still there.) Eventually, I will find love again, but that will only happen if I stay Out There.

But it’s not just in my dating life where I have taken emotional risks. I have made new friends since I moved back to Ford in 2013. I was already blessed to have wonderful friends in my life, but there is something to be said for challenging my heart and mind with new company. These days, I do not shy from building new friendships with women and men. I have taken friendly acquaintances and elevated them. Or, when I meet someone who I think will enrich my life, I seize the moment. I ask for the person’s phone number and suggest getting together. Sure, some of those phone numbers end up eventually getting deleted from my phone, but in plenty of cases I have formed new friendships, such as Yoshi, Mandy, and Meredith.

When I think about how I want my life to look, I truly feel like I’m on the right track. Unlike when I was married and sinking energy into a doomed relationship, it’s empowering and exciting to expend energy on cultivating healthy relationships.  

So, thank you Nora, I will take total credit for this cool life of mine, thanks to Putting Myself Out There!

What changes have you seen in your life from Putting Yourself Out There?


  1. I didn't perfect the whole bed thing until my thirties - so you're doing fine...and Nora is absolutely right - you are an amazing lady - and you deserve to take full credit.

  2. Aww thank you!!!

  3. I love when I stumble on your posts! You and I seem to be on the same timeline and kindred spirits.

    I love what you said about making your own life. I'm getting ready to sell the house that I bought thinking I would be sharing it with my now-ex. But that also means that I get to keep all the money.

    I confess I haven't put myself out there as much, mostly because I'm halfway between my current city and my hometown (where I'm moving to in a few months). But I definitely have noticed a difference in what I'm willing to accept from gentlemen callers and what I have no time for.

  4. OK, so here I am again (reminder: divorced after 31-years). I hate to even admit this because it probably breaks all of the dating site etiquette. I joined a dating site, even though I don't plan to date anytime soon. There. I said it. I don't lead anyone on and I'm honest for the most part...jeez...that sounds bad! I don't have conversations or anything like that. But I look. I guess I'm your friendly internet dating site lurker. Why am I doing this when I'm not planning to date? I don't know. I think I need therapy (just kidding - already did my share). I'm 50-years old and I think I just want to know that when the time comes, there are interesting people out there; men who are my age and who are starting over too.

    You're my role mode. You kissed 13 people? That's awesome! You go girl! I would be just like you - keeping track. LOL In fact, I think you should try to double that in 2015. Ha! Good to know other women stumbling, fumbling and thriving - through this!

  5. That's OK, you'll put yourself out there when you are good and ready! Good luck with selling the house. The process is no fun, but good things are waiting on the other side.

  6. That is EXACTLY what I did when I started dating -- I was looking for practice, the end. I wrote about it here:
    I was very honest about it, so I didn't feel super guilty about it, though I did end up hurting someone in the process. :(
    Yes, there are more people out there like us than we realize, people who have had their hearts broken and are starting over in a way they never expected.