October 16, 2014

Single, By Choice

My divorce became final in 2006. I had filed in 2005. Between 2005 and 2010 I did a little dating. This is an entirely new concept once you have been married before. Having children complicates things even further. I dated one guy for around 4 months. Nothing ever longer than that. Why you ask? Well, here is what I can come up with...

First, I didn't really like it. It was uncomfortable. I live in a smaller community and EVERYONE knows EVERYTHING. So when I would go out it felt like being in front of an audience. Not sure how those reality TV show people do it!

Second, honestly, I think I didn't like it because I wasn't really ready. I had ideas of what I wanted/needed, but truthfully, I didn't have a clue what those things were. So I dated the wrong people. Period. It sucked.

Third, if I couldn't see you being a part of my kids' lives, if I didn't want to introduce you to them, I wasn't going to waste my time, and yours, by dating you. What's the point?

Lastly, I wanted to focus on my children and raising them. They were my one priority and being a mom was fulfilling. Both my children are very active and they kept me very busy, which allowed me to socialize without dating. So...I quit. I needed to focus on them and I put myself on the shelf.

I personally needed the shelf time. I needed to find myself. I've heard people say that before but I didn't know what it meant until I realized I hadn't a clue who I was. I lived how others wanted me to live for so long that I simply didn't know myself any longer. Not sure I ever did. I mean while growing up you don't really know yourself. That's what growing up is. The process of figuring it out.

I was still figuring it out when I got married. That's when I became a wife. Not Laurie. A wife. Then I became a mom. Not Laurie. Nick's mom. Then I became Gabbie's mom. Not Laurie. The only part of me I knew anything about was being Nick and Gabbie's mom. I tried to be the wife I thought I should be. Playing the part, but never really comfortable with the role. Which wasn't fair to any of us...me, him or the kids.

So in 2010 after a particularly awful dating experience, I said, "Forget it! I'm done! No more men. I am meant to be single." It took me a few months to completely stop thinking about dating, but once I was comfortable with it and started concentrating on the kids more, I realized I didn't need anyone. I was fine. And I started liking myself better. And even those not-so-great experiences (with some) have played a part in my evolution. So I should thank you. (thank you) You've shown me what I don't want and what I absolutely need. While those experiences were difficult at the time, I don't regret them. I don't regret putting myself out there. These were simply growing pains. Some more painful than others, but each equally as effective.

After some more time, I really started to focus on me. And I started making more and more decisions that made me happy. Which in turn, made the kids happier because I was a better mom. I was becoming an improved version of me all the way around. Getting more and more comfortable in my own skin. Laughing, smiling, happy...and learning how to say "no."

And "no" I did say. I was asked out. I said no. Friends and co-workers asked if I was dating. I said no. Some tried to set me up with their relatives or friends. I said no. I was done...and content to live my life alone. I wasn't lonely. I was perfectly fine on my own. And I needed to be single. So I said no. Of course, there were moments when I thought, "boy it would be nice to have someone to go to this event with." But ultimately, I wasn't willing to compromise. I was never going to settle for anything less than the fairytale ever again. So I went alone or met friends/other parents at the events or took family with me. And I was content.

The funny part about all this is everyone else seemed to have a problem with it. I was supposed to be married, I guess. Or at least in a relationship. Others seemed to feel badly for me. Why? I have never understood that. I was happier than I had ever been. I saw a t-shirt once that said "the only thing worse than being alone, is being with you." Ouch. I know. But I lived by these words. I was not going to date someone for the sake of dating. That is when you compromise yourself.

If you're with someone because you would rather not be alone you are setting yourself up for a world of disappointment and hurt. If you stay with someone because it's easier than breaking up for now, you are only hurting yourself...and them. You are cheating yourself out of true happiness. If I had been dating for the sake of dating, I may not have been single at the most important time. I may not have met my true love and soul mate, because I wouldn't have been available to.

I will not compromise who I am ever again. I worked long and hard to become the confident woman I am today. Taking this time made a world of difference for me. And once I realized that what other people thought about my situation was really none of my business, it got easier. Some of the people that questioned my choice I know only did so out of love and caring. Others just made there own assumptions. And we all know what happens when we assume, right? Those other people simply do not know me and I didn't let public opinion sway my decision.

When my ex remarried I had several people say, "I see your ex got remarried this past weekend, how do you feel about that?" And my reply was, "I felt something I never thought I would feel." And they would look at me with sympathy until I continued to say, "Relief." I was happy for him. He didn't deserve to be with someone that wasn't completely invested in the marriage. That wasn't fair to him...or me...or the kids. I wasn't ready to get married when I did. I wasn't marrying the right person. I can't regret that decision, because I was blessed with the two most amazing children God has ever granted a mother, but I do regret the lost years of happiness that both my ex and I missed out on. Neither of us deserved that.

So I remained single. Until one day this man showed up in my life. Completely unexpected. Out of nowhere. And tripped me...

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