Guest Post: A Recent Break-Up
March 12, 2012 § 78 Comments
Many thanks to failedatforty for this guest post:-
I’m a divorcee in my early forties living in middle America. Two years single. Two grammar school-aged children. I’ve recently enjoyed a lovely six-month relationship, which ended gently and respectfully…and now I’m missing him terribly.
As with so many modern relationships, it began with an online dating site, a bit of back-and-forth chatter, a cup of coffee. I was clear about my situation; he had his own reasons to be patient and understanding. We dispensed with our baggage early on, offering each other an easy out while the stakes were low. We enjoyed each other, it would seem, enough to look beyond those things to substance.
Over the past several months, I’ve reveled in the attention and compliments of a loving man – a man who was truly single, with neither ex wives nor children to detract from his adoration of me: “I value you.” “You are worthy.” These are phrases I had become accustomed to hearing regularly. I felt happy in this relationship, I loved spending time with my beau and I did not want it to end.
Of course that’s not the full story: I liked it that he called me; I loved that he took time to plan our dates; I indulged in his stamina to love and caress me all night, while I was content to offer up the energy and affection I had left after my weeks as a full-time professional and single parent.
Clearly it was an unequal situation, yet I enjoyed the benefits despite eventually coming to understand that I could not fully commit my heart to him. I had to be honest about how I felt. I loved him genuinely, but had no passion for discussing a future together. For all the wonderful things we shared, there were differences, too – differences beyond his distaste for my choice in indie films and mine for his B-list romances. We were missing some critical ingredient: the sort of passion that could get us through the difficult transitions that would certainly come would we have stayed together.
When his heart has healed, he will go back out there and try to find a woman who can feel as crazy about him and fully committed as he can be for her. While others are writing entire books to convince women, presumably plankton like me (us) to settle for good-enough men…well, now what am I to do?
To be clear, I’ve never particularly identified with this notion of being plankton on the sexual food chain. Of course, I’ve never particularly identified with being a failure, either, and yet I chose to name my blog failedatforty.com, a title my friends immediately identified as a tongue-in-cheek poke at my situation.
We forty-something women have come in to our own; we are freer and more self-assured than our younger counterparts. Good men are scarce, to be sure, but wisdom is among the hard-earned advantages of my age and experience, and I wouldn’t trade for younger days or a more slender physique (even though, Lord knows, I’d like one). Desirous of partnership though we may be, we know there is greater loneliness to be found in a poor relationship than in being alone.
So, while I feel acute pangs of loneliness now, and while I miss him terribly and long to feel his embrace, I will go on to the tasks at hand: nursing my lonely heart and trying to fill myself with the loving words that I’ve come to take for granted I’d hear from another. As difficult as these things may be, at least I carry with me reassurance that a man can love me, want me and see my goodness.
I’m not yet ready to get back out there and date, and I’m not willing to predict when I might be or what route I might choose. Rather, I intend to spend the near future continuing to work on me: that is, seeking an ever-elusive balance among the demands of parenting, career, making this house a home and enjoying my other relationships; nurturing myself; and living well regardless of my means. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
And, as I genuinely believe that like attracts like, I’ll re-commit to enjoying life and being a woman equal to the man I hope to one day welcome into my life… knowing there are no guarantees I’ll ever find him.