Mardell has a son from her first abusive marriage and after that marriage ended, her son did spend time with his dad. Mardell and I didn’t discuss the details, but that was also an abusive situation and escaping that situation was another factor that led to Mardell’s second abusive marriage. Today, Mardell has no interest in dating, not because she distrusts men (although that would be understandable) but rather that she has committed her life to helping her son. Here’s Mardell:
After my first marriage, I was desperate to get my son away from Seattle. He was being destroyed and I would have done anything to get him away from my ex, his father. I was even thinking of leaving the country it was so bad.
Then, of course, we went from one abusive relationship to another which continued to traumatize him. He was six years old when I got him out of that and since then I’ve thought,
“I am going to spend my life helping him get well. I don’t need anybody else.”
I don’t need to date because my whole life is about making my colonic business work so my son and I can survive and I can take care of us in the best way possible. I had been thinking that maybe I should go out on a date and then I thought no. Any date I go on is time away from my son and my son needs me more than ever.
I know I made mistakes up until he was six but now I can commit my life to him, helping him to get well. That might mean doing something with him or just being in the house with him but I want him to know that I’m there for him, I’m standing up for him.
If I was to go out on a date, I’d have to hire a babysitter which costs money and then I’d be out on a date which I may or may not enjoy and it would be time I missed with my son. So my priorities are very clear. Number one is my son and my work. After that it’s my friends and then there isn’t any time left for anyone else. It’s really that simple.
I used to feel that people would look at me and think that I’m strange or,
“Maybe she’s a lesbian. Maybe that’s why she does it,” or
“Maybe she hates men.”
They can say whatever they want, but less and less of that is happening and I think that’s because of my strength. I’m strong, I’m clear, I know what I’m doing. I don’t leave any room for people to open their mouth or have any judgment. If they do have any judgment, I show them the door and say,
“I think we’re finished here. Please leave.”
Do I miss sex? No but I have lived a very full life, traveling around the world, having different businesses, living in different cities, different boyfriends. I closed up plenty of nightclubs and fun places. I feel I have done everything I needed to. If I never got to travel again, I would not feel like I’d missed out.
I never get lonely. I have friends who come and socialize. I love that. I love the platonic friendships because I can count on them. I know they’re not going to come over drunk. I know they’re not going to talk bad about me or to me. That’s something else I’ve learned about myself – it’s not just that I can do things myself but I truly can have quality friends who I can count on.
I like it quiet. I’ve chosen this and I’ve built it this way. I like my life this simple. If a man were to come in, he’d have to bring something significant, something to the plate that I don’t already have. I don’t need somebody else to take care of. He’s going to have to bring goodness and kindness and make a contribution to my life. That’s what I have never had. I know they’re out there but it’s not something I am even open to exploring right now.
I love the strength and the clarity in Mardell’s voice here – there is no hesitation, there is no doubt. She has set out her path and she’s following it. I love too that she’s making that commitment to her son. Between building her business and raising an elementary school aged child, there is not much free time left.
I think the decision to date is a very personal one – I know people who’ve started dated almost immediately after their divorce, some who’ve waited, some who date for a while and then take a break. Me? I’m happy enjoying my single life right now although I can picture myself dating at some point. Unlike during my pre-marriage years, I don’t feel any pressure to date from friends or society in general and I am getting more comfortable going to events as a single. Like Mardell, I’m very independent and can support myself financially.
I know I’ve worked hard to get to this truly blissful state, but it’s also due to my mum for encouraging me to get an education and telling me I needed to be able to earn a living and to the all feminists who’ve paved the way for me to live like this! I am so thankful I didn’t live in the era when women had to marry to survive.