Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seconds

Once upon a time I met a guy. Friends introduced us at a party at their home. He got my number and said he'd call. And despite the fact that my jaded, bitter self had long since accepted that any guy who says he's going to call - isn't - I was confident that he would.

In fact, he called me the very next evening. I was impressed. When I met my girlfriends for dinner the following evening I announced, "I met him."
I was sure that I had met my husband. It's all over but the white dress.

Two years later, I'm two years older and back in the dating pool.
Up until now I figured I would find a man who, like me, had never married and never had kids. Back in my 20s I declared that I didn't want to be any man's second anything.

It only seemed fair that if I had waited for the right man - that he also waited for me.

But it's time to be realistic. I'm 38 for a few more months. How many guys in my age range - even Catholic ones - have never been married? Or had kids - on either side of marriage?!!!

While I take pride in the fact that I didn't marry any of the wrong men, I am now in a position to consider men of divorce on a case by case basis. If I find a guy who is divorced, for valid reasons - who hasn't abandoned his children, who is just a clear cut good man - well, that's a not a bad package.

Honestly, at various points in my life I had the harsh realization that I would be ahead of the game or at least caught up if I had at least had a failed marriage.
Being single this long - people think there is something wrong with me - if I were divorced at least I'd be 'normal'.

10 comments:

k said...

someone who has been divorced may have better idea of who/what they are looking for in a relationship. and they understand committment and have been willing to make one in the past (even if it didn't work out). in some ways they have an advantage over guys who have never been married, right?

Rachel said...

And seriously...what is normal anyway? We have four children and we get lots of comments like aren't you done yet? don't you know how that keeps happening? time to get a vasectomy or your tubes tied? All I'm saying is that there's no normal. And I wish I knew someone to introduce you to. :) I totally would. Have a beautiful day.

J said...

If it helps any, my husband was not previously married but he did come with a then-12-year-old (now 15) daughter. Along with what I like to call "baby mama drama", which happens every 6 months or so, it really has been difficult.

But, I think that it really taught us a lot about unity in the first year of our marriage, as we have had to make decisions about how to handle things together. I think we have been able to be more generous together than we were when he was single. So, I would just encourage you that there are things God can teach us through those "past mistakes"...I don't necessarily see them as mistakes or deal-breakers :-)

Doris said...

"people think there is something wrong with me - if I were divorced at least I'd be 'normal'."

Oh, T, how many times have I said this exact statement... I agree 100% with every statement, every word in this post. I am now 3.5 years into a relationship with a divorced man, dedicated father of two (22 and 19 year olds). My only regret? He has already had his family...I never got to have mine. But I am a very few months away from 40, so who knows, that may have never happened with anyone else either. And, no one else has presented themselves in the last 3.5 years, either. Bottom line, he adores me and treats me like a queen, I love him deeply and can't imagine life without him. I still want the wedding, no ring yet, but we plan on it. Yes, I'm a second, but the second is rarely the mistake.

Terry said...

can fully relate and understand, try this, one guy that txt's me, walked the beach with me, then well. will leave it at that, says he wants a relationship, then backs down and doesn't want a relationship. He has a 4 year old daughter and IM okay with that, it wasn't his fault to end the marriage as he found her with someone else. So, now the game goes back and forth and I really like this guy, but I keep telling him were friends and he say's keep it that way. But, then he comes back. What is up with these men? My feelings are so totally there. I just tell him there not as I don't want to scare him away as we have been close friends we talk about everything.

Caribbean Shulamite said...

My ex bf (yep that one) is also divorced with 3 kids below 18. His ex-wife cheated and is now married to the guy she cheated with. However, after lots of my own experiences and talking to his mom and his ex-wife's mom (we are now friends) I see that he also had a lot of contributing factors - and they also showed up in our own relationship.

A divorced guy WITH KIDS was not my best-case scenario, but I did consider that he is such a wonderfully dedicated dad and loves his boys. It counts for something nowadays. However, he is in weekly frequent contact with her just as kids' issues come up and that was something I also had to swallow.

A divorced person comes with their own kind of issues, maybe even baggage. But that doesn't mean a wonderful relationships cannot be had. From my experience, it also does NOT mean that they have necessarily learnt from their mistakes or experiences. Last I knew, statistics also showed that second marriages have a higher failure rate.

I agree with the person above who says there is no real normal. I don't think of never-been-married ppl as weird, though sometimes, like you, I do suspect that's what others think about me.

As for divorced men then, my main piece of advice in contemplating such a relationship is that you try to get a really clear picture as to why the marriage and then divorce took place.

TRS said...

This is why I love my bloggy friends! You all bring me such great perspectives.

In fact, I've had a few dates with a very nice man who is divorced and pending an annullment. He also has three kids. One of them with special needs.

So for a girl who thought she'd marry another never married - this is quite a lot to consider. Ex-wife baggage, divorce baggage, three kids baggage - one of whom may never leave home. And I know all this upfront!
What is interesting is - I went through a stage of my life where I was certain that if I ever had kids I would have a special needs child. Just sure of it. So in honesty - I'm sort of prepared for it.

It's the ex-wife baggage I like the least.

But, I have decided to see how we feel about each other first - and then see how each piece feels added on.
And it's only been a few dates - so I am being realistic that it may not go anywhere - but this is the first divorced guy I ever dated.

I am encouraged by the fact that he promises to be an open book. He's encouraging me to ask the tough questions. He is man enough, and Christian enough to know that any woman worth having will ask them.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burns wants to take me out to dinner.

Hmmm.

auntie said...

i came to this same realization a few years ago - i had been absolutely steadfast in not wanting to date a man with kids because of all the limitations i believed it would/could put on our relationship. and i couldn't figure out why there seemed to be such a limited pool of date-able men!

once i opened myself up to the possibility of it, i realized that dating a man with kids really does have advantages. you get to see what kind of man he is as a father AND an ex-husband, and the way he handles these things tells you so much about the kind of man he is in general. also? i think one of the sexiest things in the world now is watching a man be a good father to his kids, whether they're toddlers or adults. i mean, when my current bf texts me that he's coloring with his 4-year-old? MELTS MY HEART.

Knot said...

I think you are marriage material. Very marriage material. But I think there's some kind of disconnect between goals and reality.

My epiphany was that God gave me the freedom of choice who to marry. There was really no secret Mrs. Right. It was left to my own free will.

TRS said...

Thanks Knot.

Actually, what you said about the disconnect is what Mr. Dad says about the never-marrieds he meets. They say they want to be married, but all their actions say otherwise. In his words - what are you doing to get from A to B?
I guess so far he sees differently in me. (I'm really liking him so far)

And your second point is what I have been telling Mr. Burns. He doesn't quite get it yet but he's getting there.

background