I’ve been divorced for over a year now, which must be the official seal of approval to start dating in our culture. Because yesterday, I was asked four times if I’ve started dating yet. FOUR TIMES. Dudes, really?
I answered with something like, “No way, man!” You know, all coy and lady-like. But in my head I was thinking, “NO WAY, MAN!” all screaming and frantic. (And, p.s., by the way, how about I’ll let you know if I start dating, all of you people in my life…)
So here are the top ten reasons I am scared to date or even think about getting remarried:
10. I’m shy. Seriously. Most people tell me that surprises them, but I totally am. Give me a book and my couch and I’m good to go. Tell me I have to go to a party and I need to lie down first, ask the Holy Spirit to help me, and perhaps pop some Tums. So not kidding.
9. I don’t know where the unmarried forty-something Christian men are. My theory: already raptured.
8. I’m pretty scared to try online dating. Either because of the stigma or the potential stalking/murdering, one of the two.
7. My closet. My closet currently fits all of my clothing. If I were to get remarried, I’d probably have to move two seasons of my clothing to somewhere else in my house. You know, to share. And I like having all of my clothes in my closet. I know. Be quiet.
6. I like going certain places by myself (like grocery shopping, bike rides, errands, etc.). I guess I assume married couples do most things together. (And I like, when I go grocery shopping, being able to buy what I want…within reason, of course.)
5. In each of the (very small handful of) relationships I’ve had in my life, I lost myself. Or, more accurately, I let myself get lost. The other person became my main thing. I’m scared I’d do that again. Get all teenager-y and obsess-y, which is somewhat fine and understandable when you actually are a teenager. Not quite as acceptable when you’re 42-ish.
4. I’m kind of particular, as I’ve mentioned before. I like doing things a certain way. I’m afraid I’d be telling this nice person who has married me and moved into my home to, you know, leave me alone a lot. Which seems to kind of defeat the purpose.
3. Though I joke with my girlfriends that my bar is low (male, breathing, between 30 and 60), I think in actuality my bar is pretty high. This man would have to love Jesus more than I love Jesus and love Jesus more than he loves me; he’d have to love my kids and my kids would have to be really pretty okay with him; and he’d have to be really kind to me consistently. And right now, I’m just not sure that’s out there.
2. My divorce was hard. Really hard. And if my divorce were hard, and if the other person’s divorce were hard, that’s a whole lot of baggage to wade through and drag into a new relationship.
And the number one reason why I’m terrified to date and possibly even more terrified to even think about getting remarried is…
1. My marriage was hard. Really hard. I’m scared my next marriage will be hard too. I’m scared all I know how to do with a man is fight and be sad.
So, no, I’m not dating yet. Yes, I’m scared to. Nope, I haven’t even been asked out yet. And, honestly, I have no idea what I’d say if I were. Asked and answered. Next topic please.
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here.
If it helps to have a timeline (sometimes I work better with clear parameters haha), my mom (a divorcee who spent years being involved in the singles group at church and eventually went on to have a successful marriage with my stepdad) said that time and again, she observed/experienced that it was best to wait at least 2 years after a divorce to start thinking about dating.
I really think people put too much pressure on “getting into the dating scene” too soon. I have a recently divorced stepsibling who – even when they were just separated and not divorced yet – was getting offers/pressure to let people set her up, questions as to why she wasn’t dating yet, etc. I was shocked (and I used to be a serial dater and date ALL the time, rarely was single, and yet in spite of that, haha,. I was shocked at how quickly people wanted to throw her into a relationship. Thankfully, she set some boundaries!)
Elizabeth, I completely agree and understand your fears. I am (very) recently remarried and have had to push back against some of my natural tendencies to lose myself, to obsess during the dating stages, etc. I think you’re smart to be aware of these traits.
The best thing you can do is be comfortable in your own skin, with our Lord. He does fully satisfy and He is enough. If and when someone else enters the course of your life that you find is a good companion, playful partner and uplifting friend, God may open the door for more. Be open to possibilities and trust yourself to be wise enough to act differently when the opportunities come.
I think others ask and push because they want us to be happy and to many, singleness and joy do not co-exist. We know that the deepest hurt and loneliness can come within a marriage and so we are wiser when choosing a second time.
May you know His joy today-
“I’m scared all I know how to do with a man is fight and be sad.” I have a very big (as in huge) hunch – based on that heart of yours – that you have everything you need to do much, much more. 😉 You, my dear, have a spirit of power and love of sound mind.
And, personally, I say throw the rules out the window. When God’s got that amazing Jesus-loving guy lined up for you, the calendar might say one year or two or who knows, but when God is ready to show off his amazing match making, He’s gonna bust on the scene and do it! And He will do amazing things throught the both of you! Here’s to exciting possibilities.
I love your comment!!!
Well, it wasn’t intended to be a “rule” really, but wise advice from a woman who has been there, done that and has watched many struggle in this area! Time can really help heal. And IMO, one year isn’t going to deter the right man. 🙂 It takes so much time to build a solid friendship and discern marriage, especially the second time around with kids (speaking from the “kids” perspective).
Your blogs have really been speaking to me so strongly lately, this one is very timely. I just went on a date yesterday, the first one since my divorce in 1999. So many people, for so many years, have asked why I never got married again or dated or why I didn’t have someone. I would always respond, “Do you know of someone?” And, someone finally did! I, too, am an introvert and since I’ve been alone for all these years, I just figured this was God’s will. And, my only child was 3 at the time and I said I would raise her and wait until she left home and by then I’ll be so old it won’t matter,…(I’m 55 and it still matters). Don’t wait as long as I did!!! God has not given you a spirit of fear,…
Good for you, Bonnie!
Elizabeth, I think I wrote that list you posted because it could have been me that wrote it. I am exactly to the T just like you. I am shy, I like shopping alone, doing what I want when I want, I like my space…I joke to my friends that if I do find a man to “share” (I say that lightly) my life with…he’ll have to be someone who is a traveler in his job about three weeks out of the month because I want my space! I was never like that before. I wanted to pretty much BE with my husband “all the time.” I missed him when he was gone…had to be near him…had “husband withdrawls.” Sick, I know. I am like you that I would “lose myself” and I fear that will happen again because I love so hard…that I just go into an abyss of it with the man I’m with…I don’t want to lose who I am…ever ever ever again. Thank you for being real…for sharing this. I really appreciate your honesty here. Part of me wants to date…the part is terrified. **Note** It’s been 6 years for me since my divorce…I was impacted greatly by the abuse…I am beginning (yes) beginning to think I have been traumatized by it. I am moving on fine…just slow with the dating. Ugh. I am happy to be with myself and God…and as lonely as I get sometimes…I remember how hard it was with my ex. I do pray I have a soul mate…but I am also getting older…I don’t hold out much hope. Hugs to you….
I could certainly relate to a number of your reasons. Frankly, I haven’t been on a date in almost 17 years, and that was a blind date – and I wouldn’t even want to date now. Besides, as I’m at least ten years your senior, you can bet that the pool has shrunk even more. But it’s not clear to me if you really *want* a new relationship??
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m just like (Jane Austen’s) Lizzy Bennet, when she said,
“If I could love a man who would love me enough to take me for [just what I am] I should be very well pleased….But such a man could hardly be sensible, and I could never love a man who was out of his wits.”
The truth is, there are many aspects of my life at this point–about me, about my kids, about my finances, everything!–that I don’t think I’d find desirable in a partner. (I’ve got emotional baggage, I have 4 kids, 2 of whom have special needs and are behavior problems, I’m broke, and there’s a contentious, belligerent co-parent to deal with–OK, I’m totally writing my eHarmony ad here, aren’t I?) So, if *I* wouldn’t want to touch me with a 10 foot pole, how can I expect any man (worth marrying) to want to?
IOW, I think I have a long road of singleness ahead of me…..maybe a permanent one.
My top reason is: I don’t know if it’s possible to find a man that really knows how to love and be kind. Because I thought I had one the first time and he changed after the honeymoon.
Not even going to consider it until my kids are grown.
Elisabeth – I agree with all of your reasons above…each one of them fits me to a tee. It’s been 13 months since my husband left me. I actually consider it to be a longer time than that, since I believe he left me when he stepped over that initial line of infidelity and has not returned. It’s only been 3 months since my divorce. I was actually thinking about this very thing on Sunday when I saw a man who was in the DivorceCare class with me holding hands with a woman and then found out they are going to be married later this year. His divorce has not been final for just over a year. I can only pray that mistakes will not be repeated.
The one reason that is not on your list that would be on mine is that I still believe I am in a covenant vow with my husband. I don’t read in the scriptures where I am released from that vow until death parts us from each other. This is probably not the forum to get into a theological debate about what God, Jesus or Moses said about divorce, but it just seems like people give up so easily on marriage, accept the divorce and try to become one with someone else just to continue to fill that void.
Having said that, I know many, many couples who are in their second marriages and are faithfully serving God with their lives. God has blessed their union and I don’t doubt for one minute those who are remarried genuinely love God with everything they’ve got. But what about those of us who choose to remain faithful to the vows we made? I am actually labeled as “weird,” “self-righteous,” “in denial,” by others who say “he’s gone, he’s not coming back, you deserve to be happy.” He left because he thought he deserved to happy, too, and he thought he would be happier with someone else. My goal is not happiness, it’s holiness, and maybe I am weird, but I think a big part of “my” holiness is recognizing the seriousness of the vow I made, not the legal contract I signed 21 years ago, but the covenant vow I made. It feels like if I give up on praying for my husband’s repentance and reconciliation with our family, then I am giving up on God’s power to transform lives.
All this said, I really appreciate your thoughts and insights, and it’s good to know we’re not alone out here in the post-divorce world!
Susan….you nailed it. My former husband left after 18 yrs… Me with 3 kids: 8, 10 and 12. Six years ago.. Walked out then divorced me and within 2 yrs remarried a woman he worked and travelled with… Stream line, no responsibilities and no kids. He really has little to with the kids and went for his “happiness”. Even though I know in God’s eyes I am free…… I can’t let go of that vow. I honestly do not like who he is because of what he stands for in life. I wish my brain could be erased the memories and “move on” i am really too busy being mom and working Although hard, God bleesed me with a job that i can do from home…. I have been available and active with my kids We have a wonderful church familty…. (At times it is hard remembering while i am at church how our family was together early on ). At 50, I still pray he repents and someday comes back to the Lord ( he was a deacon in the church) but I have also prayed for him to leave this world so I would feel free….then I realize how bad I need a savior as much as he does (the crazy emotions of us sinful humans)
My kids are college and high school now. The kids have little to no relationship with him… His choice The more I pushed them to try, the more worn out I became and he made me feel it was my fault even on rare occasions he came aroound. All I know is I will never be the same …. Trust and love were so damaged. Thankfully, my kids are amazing. They love the Lord. They understand this life isn’t easy or perfect but give Him glory in all things. Prayers for all who live in this fallen world and remember your most important blessing and responsibility is to raise your children to love the Lord with all their heart and soul. God bless.
I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering issues with your site.
It looks like some of the text within your content are running off the
screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know
if this is happening to them as well? This may
be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
If some one wishes expert view regarding blogging and site-building after that i suggest him/her to pay a
quick visit this website, Keep up the good work.
Thank you for another informative web site. The place else may I am getting that type of information written in such
a perfect way? I have a challenge that I am
just now working on, and I’ve been at the glance out for
Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity
for your put up is just cool and i can suppose you are knowledgeable in this subject.
Fine together with your permission allow me to grasp your RSS feed to keep up to date with coming
near near post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the enjoyable work.
I enjoy, lead to I discovered exactly what I used to be having
a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt!
God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye
Este año, con ocasión de la presentación del XII Informe Anual de la Plataforma dos mil quince y más,
os invitamos a participar en un interesante debate
sobre propuestas frente a la crisis socioambiental, en el que participarán Itziar Ruiz-Giménez, profesora
de Relaciones Internacionales de la UAM; Víctor A. Rocafort, maestro de Teoría Política de
la Universidad de Talca, Chile y miembro del Colectivo Novecento, y P.
M. Osés, y organizador de la Plataforma dos mil quince y más.
I already reeodrcd the video response for this ^^ But I can’t post it, the web page always freezes. I’m guessing this is just a temporary problem so I’ll try again tomorow but still, if anyone knows a way I can still post it today, please, help me