My online dating profile. And so it beckons.
I got divorced when I was just 40. I say “just” because I don’t think I’m old. And I’m not. But I’m not young either, which as a single woman, sometimes makes me feel like I live in a divorced no man’s land—literally. By no man, though, I don’t mean there aren’t any men. God knows there are plenty. But it seems there are no men who want me, at the stage I’m in, with my three kids, a house, and a cat, and, most importantly, with no father for my children living nearby to share in the parenting responsibility (my ex-husband lives 8,000 miles away). It’s a tough nut to crack and not a perfect picture for anyone, least of all me.
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. Even as a little girl, I always dreamed of being a mother. And I was blessed to become one for the first time at 27 years old. But at 41, I don’t want to think of my prospects for finding a soul mate as all but impossible because of the full and busy household my ex decided to walk away from. Yet, the reality is, I must. I have to, at least for the time being, consider the possibility I may be single for the next nine or so years until my youngest child goes off to college. When he does, my world will open up to more potential partners—men who, admittedly, only want the woman and not her so-called baggage.
It pains me.
Because as I see it, I have recently embarked on a grand adventure. For the first time in years, I am happy. I am free. I am no longer trapped in an unhappy marriage with an unappreciative and inattentive husband, and no longer living in anyone else’s shadow. A person can only spend so long applauding someone else’s success before becoming lost in it altogether. My life is now laid out before me, undetermined, a blank canvas on which I can create the image of myself I have always pictured.
My children are a part of that picture. I’m not the person I am today without them. So, when a man doesn’t call me after he learns I am a single mom who has full physical custody of my children, or when a man tells me he doesn’t want to meet my children now or doesn’t think he should ever meet them, I take pause. I question: Should I even bother dating? Trying? Or should I put my romantic life on hold altogether so I can focus on my children, because so far, no one right for them, let alone for me, has emerged?
It’s not in my nature to ever give up.
A close friend reminded me that in the not so distant past I complained to her about no longer having a man in my life. Though I don’t specifically recall the conversation, during the throes of my divorce I apparently told her I needed a man. Perhaps “need” was the wrong word. The correct word is “want.” I don’t need anything or anyone to make my life whole. For that, I thank my children and myself. But I find myself in a difficult position today, in limbo between my love and responsibility for my children and my desire to share my life with another adult.
Until that one special person reveals himself, that person who acknowledges I am a package deal, and loves me even more because of it, here I will remain. Alone. And I’m OK with that, even better off because of it, content with the idea that someday I will have it all, even though I may not have it all at once.
This is 41. My profile. My story. For now.
This post originally appeared on Divorced Moms.