Tag Archives: dating after divorce

I Went to a Dinner Party Alone, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts. I did not read this book. Perhaps I should.

A good six years ago I wrote about being invited to a party with a plus one but being strongly encouraged to come alone. See You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE! The party has become an almost annual thing and I have gone a few times. Always invited with a plus one, always attending alone. See I Went To A Dinner Party Alone

This year was no expection.

The Plus One by Sarah Archer. I didn’t read this either, but clearly the whole plus one thing is a thing…

I fleetingly considered asking a male acquaintance to come with me, but that may have meant more than I wanted it to and I figured, this is what I do and it is what I have been encouraged — emboldened to do.

I boldly go where no man has gone before — meaning to a public event with me.

These are the voyages of the single Roxanne. Her six-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!” — Me, taking liberties with the Star Trek intro.

So I went. Did my thing, walked in unaccompanied and alone. I confidently approached strangers standing in clumps and joined their conversations. Like a boss. Well, like a politician, more accurately.

The hostess greeted me, the same woman who repeatedly lauded my decision to go alone back in the day. “Come alone!” She’d exclaimed. “No pressure to bring a date I would have to entertain,” she’d reasoned. “I used to do it all the time when I was single,” she’d shared.

But not this time.

This time she hit me with,

“One of these days you are gonna have a date!”

Followed by:

“I want you to come with somebody next time!”

To which I awkwardly, jokingly, painfully responded,

“Oh yes, next year for sure.”

You get the drift.

Apparently coming alone was brave and practical and cool back then. But now? Six years later? Now it’s just getting ridiculous.

Enough is enough.

Apparently.

Adding awkwardness to awkward, when it came time to take our seats for dinner, the hostess loudly pointed out the three tables that had seating for nine, rather than eight or ten like the others. “You can sit here, or there, or, let me see, there.” You know, the ODD numbered tables, for the odd men (or ladies) out. There must have been two other singles there, though I never found them.

Sooo ….

I settled at a nine top table, with four other couples I did not know.

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RIP Valerie Harper. Here as Rhoda Morganstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary and Rhoda decided to invite dates over to spruce up their lovelife. Surprise! Rhoda’s date brought his wife.

Four couples, and me. But this ain’t my first rodeo; I’ve gone to a wedding alone.

Also, I was the only other person of color there, except for the housekeeper who was Hispanic and anyway, she brought her husband. Come to think of it, there was a slightly accented slightly brownish man in one of the clumps of people I invaded. But he blended, and, you know, he had a wife.

Hello, Sore Thumb? You’re sticking out again.

I felt as though I did not blend quite as well, though I may have been a touch paranoid.

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Also, knowing the family and talking with some of the guests, their net worth was likely substantial. I’d guess that during cocktails they probably earned more in interest than I make all year.

Soooooo.

Conspicuous as I felt, everyone was friendly and it was a pleasant evening. I have known the hostess for years and I truly admire her. Though she doesn’t have to think about money (or lack thereof) and is happily married, she has weathered personal challenges that others have literally not survived. To see her smiling and laughing is a gift. I’m happy to have been included in the event, and appreciative of the option to bring a Plus One.

But dang it even if I have to rent one, I will bring a man next year. I will be conspicuously coupled, if only for the night. I will casually drift to a table with even numbered place settings. I will introduce my date by name (if I can remember it) and gently caress his arm. I will ask him to fetch me a drink. I will allow our photo to be taken together and — wait for it — posted on Facebook.

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Scarlett O’Hara: “As God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

As God as my witness, I’ll never be dateless again. Not to this party.

Just Me With … out a Plus One for this particular event since 2013.

I have written a lot of posts about going out alone. Huh. There are more coming, because I have some thoughts about it . . .

The New Walk of Shame For The Single Woman — Going Out Alone

I Went To A Wedding Alone

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone

The Night I Became Cinderella — A College Story

The Best Advice I Never Took

I’ll call her Erin.  She was senior to me in the  fancy law firm we worked in — seems like a lifetime ago. She was attractive,  a model of good taste, not particularly well liked and frankly a little scary.   Harsh, is what people said about her.  She was playing with the big boys, and had watched the big boys make partner while they passed her over, year after year, despite her superior qualifications and track record. Picture a younger Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada, but a Miranda who has to work under all of the Mad Men.

On the personal side, Erin is single, never married. This made her an expert on dating. Over the years she had a long, too long relationship with an older man who would not commit.  She spent the bulk of her last good child bearing years with this man, kind of like Mr. Big from Sex and The City, but not as cute.  Following her ultimatum,  he finally told her he would never marry.  They continued to date and travel together but with no expectations for more. They kept separate apartments in the city.

When I was a junior attorney Erin scared the crap out of me. My work best friend and I vowed never to have a meal with her.  But once I matured professionally (and personally)  I found myself getting closer to her and we became friends.

By the time my marriage ended neither of us worked at that firm anymore.  They never made her partner so she found another firm that did.  She had ended her relationship with “Mr. Big Can’t Commit Guy” for good but had no serious relationships since.

I was struggling, this was during some pretty dark times, but I didn’t want her to know how hard things were for me — maybe she did still scare me a bit.  Regardless, her intuitiveness and observation skills uncovered my pain. Still deeply wounded by my then soon-to-be-ex’s ability to so easily discard and  replace me, I admitted that it  had deeply injured my ego and confidence.

Erin had never been impressed with my Ex and she didn’t mince words.  Ever.

Erin instructed me:

You should schedule three dates in one week. She was  so precise, talking about “scheduling” a date as if it was easy as booking a conference room.

She further explained that I needed to be around men who will appreciate my good qualities,  men who will appreciate my choosing to spend time with them. She elaborated that these dates should not end in sex, and that I should not be looking for a boyfriend or someone to love. These dates should simply be a means to an end, a way to break away from being the wife —  the jilted and rejected wife.  I needed, she said, to see myself the way others see me– not  how my Ex treated me.

That’s all.

I wasn’t really convinced that I could or should take her advice, because I really did not want a man and  was still too depressed and wounded (and physically ill) to  seriously consider it.  She sensed that, and added,  in her usual strong, pointed manner,

“Roxanne, he has changed the playing field. You have a right to play on that field.”

Whoa.

I wasn’t ready to take her advice then and I didn’t.  But looking back on it now, I see that she is a smart woman, a really scary, brilliant woman.

Just Me With . . .  the good advice, that I  just didn’t take.   

Jagged Little Pill

Dating, well non-dating posts:

Facebook Mutual Friend with the Ex’s Girlfriend? – Part One

If I’d Married My Stalker

I Have An Admirer

What the Heck is My Relationship Status?

 

 

 

This post is inspired by another post on Tango.com where it was noted that this new Google+ site doesn’t have “divorced” as an option for a relationship status. I tend to think that was not an oversight and also probably a good idea.

It led me to ponder something that really bothers me. What should my relationship status be on social networking sites?

Here’s the technical truth: I am not dating anyone, casually or seriously, no one, nada, nothing. BUT, I had been married for many years, had children, and my divorce is final, done, released from the bonds of matrimony, papers signed and stamped. So ordered. That said, what box should I check in the cyber-world, what boxes should there be, what do I say when meeting someone? What exactly is my relationship status?

We all know what “Married” means. I’m not married. Next . . .

Single? The meaning of this word has changed in usage. Some very young people might not even know that traditionally single meant unmarried, period. Didn’t matter if you were in a committed, monogamous, serious relationship or even engaged. If you aren’t married, you are single. Thus, it was a term reserved for adults of marrying age. It wasn’t a relationship status, it was a marital status. Now the word is used to describe one’s availability for new dating/romantic/sexual relationships.

But in this society is a woman allowed to say single if she’s been down the aisle? Ironically, it’s okay to say single all you want if you’ve been around the block many times, or have a string of horrible failed relationships, but once down that aisle, you are forever DIVORCED, according to social networking.

Yet “Divorced” is not really a relationship status at all, really. I mean if I say divorced I am really talking about how one — not even my last — relationship ended. To be fair, if I have to check “Divorced” and constantly reference the end of that relationship, shouldn’t others have to say how their last major relationship ended? For example, there should be boxes for broken engagement, runaway bride, kicked out, restraining order, etc. . . ?

Isn’t “Relationship Status” supposed to be a description — a snapshot of the here and now? Isn’t it just asking whether you already have somebody or if are open to meeting someone? The Facebook dude Mark Zuckerberg created the site while he was in a four-year, private, residential university. No undergrads were married or divorced in his demographic, so the whole marital status thing was completely irrelevant to the original Facebook users, and its concept.

The Social Network

Who can forget that scene in the film “The Social Network” where Zuckerberg has the realization that what was missing from Facebook was the “relationship status” option, and he says,

“This is what drives life in college: Are you having sex or aren’t you? It’s why people take certain classes and sit where they sit and do what they do … that’s what The Facebook is gonna be about.”

Duh. That’s what social networking is about. But again, the category “Divorced” does not give any information about whether I’m having sex or am looking to do so.

But can I check the Single box if I’m divorced?

Do I want to?

Does it negate the fact that I was married? A marriage which yielded children?

Am I selling myself short by checking Single and not acknowledging that I have in the past committed to a relationship (read: gotten someone to marry me)?

Actually, I think this is more of an issue for older men. Women are leery of a man past his mid-thirties who has never married, wondering either what’s wrong with him or assuming he is afraid to commit. Although, I guess a woman benefits from checking Divorced if she wants to sidestep the “Spinster” label or false Lesbian rumor — which is sometimes the unspoken assigned fate or status of an older unmarried woman. Sigh.

Or does Single mean never married? Suggesting someone who is single is somewhat virginal, pure? Well, if it does, let’s just call it that. But I still don’t think that’s the point. And never having walked down the aisle does not mean you’re a virgin. I mean you can tell your mother that, but c’mon folks.

Sex And The City

For “Sex and The City” fans, remember when Miranda, a never married mother, was shopping for her wedding dress and instructs the saleswoman, “I said, no white, no ivory, no nothing that says ‘virgin’. I have a child. The jig is up.” ? Well, I have children. The jig is up. I’m not virgin. I was, however, married before I had them, and my Ex-husband is their father. So according to my mother I should get credit for not having been married, or not being part of the stereotypical baby mama/daddy drama. Okay, but all of that relates to the status of my relationship with my children’s father. It’s not my current relationship status. Must I forever be defined by my relationship with him? humph. I don’t want to stamp my forehead or profile or chest with “Failed Marriage” forever — or until I marry again. That’s just not fair.

The Divorced option shouldn’t even be there. Really, it doesn’t make sense. My Ex-husband is also divorced, obviously. Yet he has remarried. So how can his relationship status be married while mine is divorced? No! No! No! He’s married, I’m single. I mean someone can be divorced or widowed previously and yet currently be in a relationship, engaged, married or completely available. I should be able to wave my naked left hand and do Beyoncé’s Single Ladies dance even though I was once married, just as he has been able to have a wedding and sport a new ring even though he had been married before — and the social networking sites should acknowledge both my new singleness and his new marriage — without reference to our past divorce.

In conversations in real life I prefer to tell people I’m single and then add as part of conversation, yes, I have children, and yes, I’m divorced. For a minute I thought I should create a new status, “Dwingle” — it would acknowledge an earlier marriage (for the children’s sake), but still sounds almost single. But really, the last thing any of us need is another relationship status, another option, another box to check.

I think I’m going to refuse to reference my failed marriage as my calling card. It’ll come up in conversation, but I don’t have to wear it as some sort of a badge or sign. The ring is off. It’s done. I mean there are some “never-marrieds” who have just as much baggage as I do that they don’t have to check (pun intended, get it?).

All in all, Zuckerberg’s initial simplicity, me-thinks, was right, except for the word “single.” I suggest we all use, simply:

In a relationship

Not in a relationship

It’s complicated

As a bonus, these categories work whether one is gay or straight. And, they give an out to the people who have a friend with benefits, but don’t know what to call it. A “Married” option is really redundant, because if married, one is, by definition, in a relationship and therefore it doesn’t need to be there. Jokes abound, though, “Yeah, I’m married, but it’s not a relationship” or “Dude, you’re not in a relationship, you’re married.” So why not just keep the married option? Well, then it raises the whole marriage equality issue and whether the state the gay couple is in permits same sex marriage, or whether there was a civil union, etc. Really none of that matters when the information truly sought is current availability, so why open up the marriage option at all, to anyone? (Answer: Married people would freak if it wasn’t there. Gay or straight, many people want to acknowledge their marriages. Whatever. )

Well, that’s it, that’s all. Either a person is available now or not. The sites don’t have to provide a box for every possible scenario or every past event. We aren’t talking about filling out tax returns, passport applications, or federal background checks here. It’s freakin’ social networking!!! But unfortunately now, a simple, “Not in a relationship” seems never to be an option, and “Divorced” often is. For me? I guess I’m just Single, or Dwingle or damn it Divorced, if you force me to say, or depending on my mood. Geesh.

Just Me With . . . a relationship status.

Still Sleeping On “My Side Of The Bed”

Where Did I Put My Fake Boyfriend?

Still Sleeping On “My Side Of The Bed”

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Okay, it’s been years now since he moved out. It’s a different bed.  Hell, it’s a different house. And he’s married now, for goodness sake.

So why am I still sleeping on  my side of the bed?

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It’s amazing how old movies take on such different meanings after that stuff happens to you!

Like the scene in When Harry Met Sally when they discuss their post break up sleeping habits. It went right over my head for years – when I was married.  Until my unfortunate (or fortunate) events brought it to the forefront and made it exceedingly relevant.

when-harry-met-sally-1

 

Harry:  Ok, fine.  Do you still sleep on the same side of the bed?

Sally: I did for a while but now I’m pretty much using the whole bed.

Harry:  God, that’s great.  I feel weird when just my leg wanders over.  I miss her.

I actually enjoy sleeping alone; I don’t miss sleeping with him.  But unlike Sally, I don’t use the whole bed, either.  What is it?  There’s the practical considerations, namely that my phone and alarm clock are on one side.  But really that would explain why I get up on that side not my entire sleeping geography.

My ambien is on  that side too.   Now I’m talking.  Once ingested I tend to sleep in whatever position I was in when I took a sleep aid.  I realized this fact when I woke up very sore two weeks ago, in the same position I lay my head down in.

But I don’t take a sleep aid every night.

So why stay on one side of the bed?

It’s like I’m saving a place for someone.

huh.

Am I waiting for Prince Charming?

Or am I still programmed to be part of a couple?

Or is it just a force of habit?

Like Harry, I was married a long time, longer than I’ve been separated or divorced.   And though I’ve had visitors to my bed on occasion, I’ve never had anyone stay more than one night  (and, honestly, those single  nights were too damn long).  Harry stayed on his side of the bed.  Was it the marriage thing? Does my body still think it’s a marital bed?

huh.

Maybe being curled up on my side of the bed is  just my way of snuggling — with myself.

I remember when just days after my then husband moved out one of my daughters asked me,

“Who’s going to sleep with you now?”

Damn, still waiting for an answer to that.

In the meantime, here is a product I accidentally  found online.  I swear I wasn’t looking for this.

The Companion Pillow.

This is the pillow that holds you when your partner cannot. Shaped like a man’s torso, the pillow has a flexible arm that wraps around you as you lie on its burly, comforting chest. Made from fiber-fill, the pillow contours to your body and provides a soft sleeping surface that’s both physically and emotionally supportive. The pillow is dressed in a soft polyester button-down dress shirt, and unlike the real thing, the pillow won’t keep you awake with incessant snoring. Cover is removable and machine-washable. 24″ L x 17″ W x 7″ H. (2 lbs.)

http://www.hammacher.com/Product/79559

 

Just Me With . . . no one on his side of the bed.

Update: The Companion Pillow is apparently no longer available at Hammacher. If you are interested, there are other retailers offering the same or similar products.

If you are interested. I, however, am not.

See posts about visitors to the other side of the bed:

“We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy” — Almost F**ked to Death

Facebook Mutual Friend with the Ex’s Girlfriend? – Part One

If I’d Married My Stalker