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The number one article on this blog is simply titled “Dating After Divorce: Why it’s so Difficult in your late Thirties” It’s been read nearly 30,000 times.  Nothing else I’ve written comes close to the amount of hits that article gets.  It’s certainly not my best or most entertaining piece. It gets a lot of hits because there are so many frustrated people searching for answers.

My younger friends try to empathize, but they have no idea what I go through.   When a person is in his or her early twenties, they’re constantly meeting other single people.   When they get together their friends a few strangers might end up making out on a couch in the corner.  When I go to a social event with folks my age, it’s mostly married couples.  While the pairs huddle together to discuss co-op boards, school districts and home renovations, I’m in the corner with the other single gals and gay men swapping sex stories and dick pics.  I’m not sure why, but straight single men are rare at such soirees.  At the last barbeque a unattached heterosexual man showed up alone, then bragged about his multiple girlfriends.

My married friends really don’t get it.  I love them dearly, but they just have no idea what I go through.  They wake up next to the same person every day of their lives.  They pay bills, worry about the future and plan vacations.  They might fight often, they might be at the brink of divorce, they might even romanticize their single years, but they’re still one half of a couple.  They know nothing of going to every social gathering alone, buying solo movie tickets, or being set up on horrible dates by well-meaning friends.

One married friend suggested that I change my attitude about dating.  He then listed three people who had all gotten remarried after a divorce.  I had to point out to him that all three examples were men who had married much younger women. Being single past 35 is difficult for both genders, but the challenges men and women face are different.  In two of the examples he gave, the men went on to have more children.  My age definitely makes me less attractive to a man who wants kids.  When I asked my friend for some examples of women who had remarried in my age range, he had none.  He just couldn’t see that my problems with dating are real and not imagined.  A simple attitude change was not going to produce age appropriate single men from the sky.

When I go out of my social network most of the interest I get is from men half my age.  I try to tell the young ones they won’t understand my sarcasm, my world-weary outlook and my complete lack of shame or social filter.  Usually they realize they’d rather be with someone with more of a spark of hope in her eyes rather than the jaded cougar. I don’t blame them.

I want my counterpart.  A man who’s had a few of his dreams and aspirations crushed.  At least he’ll understand my point of view and understand that life is mostly improvisation.  The young ones don’t always get that, and how could they?  The roller coasters of romance have knocked people my age around so much they’ve gotten skittish and scared.  They’ll pine away for a love they can’t have, complain bitterly about the one who broke their heart and avoid making any type of commitment with a new partner.  I do empathize as I’m not much different, but with so much hesitation and apathy it’s hard to get excited about anyone.

So I’ve tried, and I have other things to do with my life than spend all of my free time looking for “the one.”.  I’ve accepted that this could be my reality for some years to come.  It gets lonely, and there are days when I just want to scream at the top of my lungs and make it stop.  Then there are times when I’m so thankful that I’m not responsible for anyone else, I’m in charge of all of my finances and I can paint my bedroom whatever color I want.  When I walk by a couple fighting, or listen to a friend rant about their marital problems, I think – I’m free.

When did being in a relationship become the only path to contentment and happiness?  Don’t we all know couples who are miserable?  Don’t we all have friends and family members who remain in a marriage that is a toxic hell?  Don’t we all know men and women who will be with nearly any partner rather than be alone?  It’s not the years you’ve put in, but the quality of the partnership.  Right now after everything I’ve been through, I can honestly say I know more about myself then I ever did when I was someone’s girlfriend or wife.  I’ve discovered more about my strengths and weaknesses in the past 5 years than I did in the first 36.  I might not have someone to hold my hand when things get rough, but I also don’t have anyone to pull me down or hold me back.  I am responsible for my demise or my success.

I’m single and I might remain so for the rest of my life.  I probably won’t have kids.  I’ll have no first day of school photos, handmade cards with the word “Mom” scribbled in crayon, or pools of vomit to clean up after an underage drinking binge.  I won’t go through the highs and lows of parenthood, and none of this means I am less of a person.  A partner and a child do not validate my existence on this planet.

I’m not broken because I’ve been alone for an extended period of time.  I am single.  This is my life, and there is nothing wrong with me because I choose to live alone, rather than stay in a bad partnership. If two people are happy in a long-term committed relationship it’s a beautiful, wonderful, magical thing, but so is building a future by myself, on my terms and without a toxic partner.

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8 comments on “Life After Divorce: Please don’t Blame me for being Single

  1. Pingback: Dating After Divorce: Mr. My Bitch Ex-Wife | JulietJeskeblog.com

  2. Jim

    Well i certainly will BLAME the women out there why so many of us Good men are still single today which there is NO reason to Blame ourselves at all since the women of today have really CHANGED since the Good old days when women really wanted to get married and have a family which MOST of them were so much EASIER to meet as well.

    1. julietjeske Post author

      Maybe your anger towards women is showing through in your dates or interaction with women. Your comment is certainly filled with lots of anger and resentment. The “good old days” when women were financially dependent on a man, weren’t always so wonderful for women. Plenty of women were abandoned or let down by their spouses, it was hardly a paradise.

  3. Jim

    Well gee wiz i really Never expected my wife of 15 years to Cheat on me which wasn’t my fault at all by the way since i was a very loving and caring husband that was very much Committed to her as well which it still wasn’t Good enough for her which i am really telling you the truth to tell my story why a Good man like me is still Single today. And it is very sad that Most of the women of today are the real Biggest Cheaters of them all which it is a real shame that many of us Good men had this happen to us which many of us i would say are Not to blame at all for this. And now with so many women that now have their Careers today since so many of them are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, greedy, picky, and so very money hungry is a very Excellent reason why many of us Good men out there that are still Single since so many of these women will Never go with a man that makes much Less money than they do. Many women today that are making a very high Salary really want the Best which they will Never settle for Less because of their Greed and Selfishness that they carry around with them wherever they go. So it is very hard for us men that are looking to find Love again because of how women have completely Changed over these years which Many of the women of years ago i would say were Never like that at all since the times back then were Nothing at all like today since Both Men And Women in those days really had to Struggle to make ends meat which they really had it very Tough at that time. Today Most women that are making a very high Salary really have it made compared to back then which really explains why it is very hard for us finding a Good woman that can Accept us for who we really are since many of us men really Don’t make the kind of money that they make. It is just too bad for us men that are still Single today that we weren’t born at a much Earlier time like our family members that were very Fortunate to find Love with one another which many of them are Amazingly still together today as i speak. Many of us men were just born at the Worst time ever since years ago which it Definitely would have made a big Difference since many of us would have been all settled down by now with our own Good Wife And Family that many of us still Don’t have today since many of us are really Not Single by choice. Peace.

    1. julietjeske Post author

      Just as there are lousy women out there I assure you some men are also awful. It’s tough for everyone.

      1. Jim

        Well with that comment that i made is very much the truth since there are many of us Good men out there that are really Not single by choice when so many others were very Blessed by God to find the love of their life and have a family which it is very unfortunate for us which is real sad especially when many of us Never had children either. So it is very easy for us to really Blame the women of today for our Singleness again after having our wife Cheating on us which i am sure many other men will agree with me as well since i have other friends of mine that had this happened to them as well. God did say that man should Not be alone which i will certainly agree on that one which makes it very tough on us now since the times are Quite different today. Unfortunately for many of us Good men that just happened to be born at a very bad time like i just mentioned with my last comment which i am right on a lot of things that i have said since many of us men really Hate to be single when we really should Not be at all. Well for me i am definitely just too old to have children since i am in my early 60’s now which you can really see how this really Hurts me since i have Nothing to fall back on. And many people that have been Blessed with their families have so very much to be thankful for which they really should go to church and thank God for having a life that many of us would have wanted too. Peace.

        1. julietjeske Post author

          Both men and women can be horrible. Being a jerk is not a gender specific trait. Blaming all women for the fact that you are single will not help your situation. Blaming an entire gender is counter productive. Try to focus on the positive things in your life, and you’ll find the positivity might come back to you.

          1. Jim

            Thank you very much for your support. Peace.

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