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Posts Tagged ‘reflecting’

I think of that conversation often then over the past week, it seems to have come up several times. I suppose I should write about it and maybe that will release it.

I was talking to a new-ish friend the other day (on Facebook Messenger). We were kind of filling in our pasts as new friends do, catching up on things in our background. She asked me why I never remarried after my divorce. Why did I end up all alone at the age of 62?

Good question. The answer? I guess it was a choice. A choice that I didn’t realize I was making until it was too late. At the time of my divorce, I had three children, ages eleven, eight, and two. We didn’t live near relatives. I had a lot of friends but they were all married with their own family obligations so I had to rely on myself to take care of the every day needs of my children, as well as their long term needs.

And I couldn’t help but remember a conversation I had overheard years before. It was a conversation between my mother-in-law and my husband. We were visiting the in-laws and my mother-in-law asked my husband how his sister was doing. Was there anything new with her? We lived near his sister, about a four hour drive from my in-laws so we were often the go-between because we visited with them more often than she did. He told her that there wasn’t anything new with her. She was still working on her degree and taking care of her little girl. Then she asked about any new men. Was she dating anyone serious? They both went on talking about the “alphabet soup” that she dated. Apparently, in their eyes, she seemed to date a different person every few weeks, never staying with any one man for long. They kept referring to her dates as the alphabet soup and joking about the men. It was obvious to me that, in their eyes, it was a negative thing. They seemed to think that she was concentrating more on her dating than on her daughter.

I thought about it and it made a lasting impression on me. I’ve always been one to worry about what others say. I know that’s not important. I’ve learned it now but in those days, it was important. So when I divorced, I was determined to put my children and their needs ahead of any needs I might have. So I didn’t date. I kept busy with my children and when they were with their father on Wednesday nights and alternate weekends, I visited with friends from my kids’ elementary school. There was a group of us that were all divorced and we would get together at the home of one friend who was married. We would eat and drink and talk and her husband taught us to play poker one night. On weekends I just stayed at home, sleeping in and watching movies I couldn’t watch when the kids were home. Years later, I had a friend from college that would come over on Wednesday nights and I would cook dinner for him and we would talk and listen to music. He would stay the night and leave early the next morning so he could make it to work on time. Once in awhile, I would have alumni functions on weekends so I would attend those and sometimes cook for those. I got a reputation for being a good cook so I was the one that did all the cooking for our functions. I would always go alone and come home alone. I didn’t want anyone to say that I was dating an alphabet soup or that I was ignoring my children’s needs. They were my top priority. Anything I needed or wanted, came last.

And, if I am being honest about it, I was protecting myself from hurt. I had been severely broken, and profoundly hurt when my husband went straight from my house to his secretary’s. Yeah. I thought he was better than the stereotype but I was wrong. So I protected myself by not ever letting myself get involved with anyone. For a long time his leaving us made me question my judgement. How could I have been so wrong about him? And more importantly, how could I trust myself to be a good judge of anyone else?

And here I am. Twenty-six years later. Alone. No pets. No one here but me. Few friends and most of those are “virtual friends.”  No alphabet soup for me.

Some conversations stay with us for a long, long time.

 

 

 

 

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