The Friend Zone

I have been known to refer to myself as a “professional dater”. This is not a fact I wear proudly like a Miss America sash, no, it’s more like you search Webster’s dictionary for the term “dater” and you will see my name in the definition.

This was not my life’s purpose or goal. Remember, I am the girl that believes in “ happily ever after”. I was supposed to be married “til death do us part,” until that dream died.

I was certain true love would find me, I had no idea I had to go find love.

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I am not one to cry into my coffee about my circumstances, so I thought to find love meant I would date. But date how many men, and how long would it take before my soul mate would appear?

It’s been years and I still haven’t met Mr. Right. I’ve met Mr. TooShort, Mr.Buff, Mr.California, Mr.Readyforthegrave, and the list goes on…

I was not taking into account that I had no idea of what I wanted or who I was looking for, I had not considered my side of the equation.

This brings me to my current state of dating detox. That’s right, I am getting rid of all the old dating toxins. I am starting fresh. Giving myself time to discover who I’m looking for, so there will be no mistaking him when I meet him. I am conducting my own research based on who I have given dates to in the past and who I should not have given dates to. What worked about the good dates and what didn’t work about the not-so-good dates. Then I can gather the data and be more informed and intentional as to whom I give my time to in the future.

I want to be clear and take this new path slowly. I am realizing for the first time that I need to be friends in the beginning, before there can be a wild romance. What happened to compatibility and companionship? I think this fast-paced culture we live in today has dating completely backwards, and I was getting swept away in the dating storm of Physical Attraction Matters.

The ideal human mating practice is one where the man pursues the woman, the woman acts coy, to allow for a chase.  Mutual attraction is established. When the man catches the woman, she leads the man to believe it was all his doing and a courtship ensues. Common interests and shared values are discovered that may or may not lead to a long-term relationship, commitment or marriage.

This is why I am going to make friends with the “friend zone.” Take the time to truly be friends first. I believe this will alleviate a lot of regret and separate the men from the boys.

Divorce, The Unwanted Gift

I believe in love and happily ever after. At least I did some 30 years ago as I stood at the altar in my white wedding dress waiting for my Romeo to confess his undying love for me in front our closest friends and family. It was the day every little girl dreams of, and I was no exception. To love and nurture, it was an innate calling.

Little did I know, that marriage and a wedding ceremony are two very different experiences.

I soon found out that love was going to take sacrifice. At times, blood, sweat, and many, many tears. I think we all go into marriage thinking about what we want out of it, not what we will have to put into it.

I was ill prepared for the marriage pilgrimage I was on.

My parents were married until the day they died. They were just powering through. Like being on a long, dry and dusty road in the desert, knowing that you just have to keep going in hopes of finding water.

No wonder I found myself doing the exact same thing in my marriage until, one day, my husband lovingly gave me the “I’m unhappy” talk. I thought, “yeah, me too, so what?” I was going to keep powering through, just like my parents.

It took him a few weeks and his bags were packed and he was onto his new life.

My life however was shattered. My happily ever after was now in a million tiny pieces that somehow had to be put back together.

Have you ever heard of the expression “Every cloud has a silver lining?” Well, I grew up hearing it and in this case I  applied it to the dissolution of my marriage. An event that was unwanted and again I was unprepared for, but if you lean into your circumstance, instead of denying or defying it you will allow yourself to grow.explore-girl

I am almost unrecognizable today from the girl that stood at the altar in that white wedding dress. Not just because I went from being a brunette to being a blond, and yes, blonds do have more fun, but more importantly because I have allowed my singleness to be a time to learn.

You see, I got a do over. No longer was I somebody’s wife, partner or spouse, now I was just me. Who was I?

I was captain of my own ship. I got to decide the direction I would go and where I would lead my family. What were the values that I wanted to instill in my children? Because I was essentially parenting alone, these were questions I now had to consider on my own. At times I was very overwhelmed, but it was like building muscle at the gym, the more I did it the easier it got.

This was not the time to be a loner. I enlisted the help of dear friends, coaches and mentors to help with my kids. Trying to juggle work, kids and watching my daughter participate in sports was a challenge.

Any single mom reading this knows the struggle, it’s real.

Taking time to stay physically fit killed two birds with one stone. Sure I burned some calories, but the chemicals it released in my brain to keep me stable was the real payoff. That meant I had to be at the gym at 5:00 am so I could workout, get home, shower, get ready for my day, then wake up my sleeping princess. Make breakfast and lunches, drive to school, then go to my real job.

Everyday I kept putting one foot in front of the other.

When there are overwhelming times, you have to remember to keep it simple. Keep to the task at hand, don’t let your mind get ahead of you. Have you heard it said “today has enough trouble of it’s own?” It’s true. Stay in today.

Today, I am done parenting, and every hurdle I have had to jump over alone has made me into the strong, confident, determined woman I am today and I still believe in love!