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Sometimes we do not want to be the only one to take out the garbage and drive to the store.
Sometimes we are so tired of being together and in charge, we do not even want to talk, listen or pick out a movie.
I had to give speeches and go to conferences and meetings. “I think he went through his entire day minute by minute in chronological order.” “Oh, honey,” Dana said. You just forgot.” There were men I met in airports, on airplanes or in shared cabs when I traveled for work. Not that I am all that flirty, but I answer them, even if I know the question about where are the sundried tomatoes is just a ruse.
A man on a plane sitting in the row behind me and the boys — on our one and only trip to Disney World, because honest to God who in her right mind would go back — asked for my card and if I wanted to go out for a drink once back in Chicago. Still, meeting someone who was worth taking a risk on was nearly impossible.
Staying out of the game was also about more than not wanting to waste my spare time. It was cleaner, less dangerous, less fussy, and it definitely made me less insecure. I spent so many years without romance, filling up my life with my children and my work and every detail to keep it all afloat, and my needs receded.
It was about my ability to trust someone, anyone outside my immediate family. It was not even noticeable at first; I stopped wanting and figured that wasting my time mourning the loss of real affection was like ranting at a sunset or a rainstorm. Then in the summer of 2004, I suspended my fears and disbelief and waded slowly into a relationship with a man who was completely unlike my former husband.
I can put my cell phone on silent while we slow dance in the den, but I cannot turn it off.
Personal matchmaking also seems to be recession-proof.
Through a cancer diagnosis, kids’ injuries (all three were wrestlers) and challenging workload, she maintains her humanity and humor. In the time since my divorce, most of my first dates were coincidentally the last dates because I couldn’t wait to get home and call a friend or one of my sisters to laugh.
The following excerpt is a shortened version of Weldon’s chapter on the challenges of dating as a single, midlife parent, titled simply: Raising the boys alone without financial assistance or physical reprieve kept me occupied, if not impatient. “How often are your boys away for the whole weekend? “Never.” I noticed a perceptible shift in his demeanor. I liked being able to relinquish control, even if just in the restaurant ordering wine.
Sometimes we would rather have a hot stone massage from a total stranger than a conversation of substance.
The problem is, no matter how much we say we are here for you, we can’t be here for you only. It’s not a lie that we love you deeply and we do wish we could be yours alone, but we can’t.