I contacted April about sharing her story after she left a comment that she had decided that dating after her divorce was not for her. I was really interested to hear more about this because my perception is that it is fairly unusual. According to Real Relational Solutions, 97 percent of divorced people remarry with the median time between divorce and remarriage being three years. That has to mean either they make very quick decisions or they start dating quickly. So what lead April to her decision? Here she is:
I went through those moments when I felt lonely, I jumped online and signed up for a dating site, filled out the profile etc and I even went on a couple of dates for coffee or lunch and nothing clicked. It all just felt like so much work. I was going to school to get my degree and it went from,
“I’m done dating, for now” to “I’m done.”
There’s a site called Living Single where I started reading posts by Bella DePaulo. Just recently she had a post about “Single at Heart.” It asked a bunch of questions about looking at yourself and looking at what you want, how you deal with things when you get lonely. I realized I got married because it what was you’re supposed to do.
I got married when I was seven months pregnant with our second child. It was my second marriage. I only did it then because he called me up and said,
“Instead of a baby shower, let’s have a wedding.”
It seemed like I was in it then so I thought alright, I guess this is the next step.You go to school, you get your degree, you get a job, you get married and then you have kids. It’s like this whole life has been set up for us. It’s great for a lot of people – my parents are happily married but it doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve never been a traditional person and this is just another place where I go,
“That’s not for me.”
People think it comes from a place of bitterness but it comes from a deeper understanding of the legal rights and obligations you have to each other. For example, when I started my new job, I wasn’t divorced because I had to be in California at least six months before I could start the process. When I signed up for my 401(k), they told me that since I was still legally married, I had to have my husband sign off on having my children as my beneficiaries. I had similar difficulties getting car insurance and he totally screwed up my credit. There’s still outstanding things on my credit report.
I decided long ago that I was never going to take on the legal obligations again. Blended families work for some people but I look at the problems they can have and I don’t want to ever deal with that. I feel I was meant to be single.
I have had casual sex since my divorce but it’s been less and less frequently as the years have gone on. I used to be horrified at the thought of being celibate for an amount of time (and no, I won’t be specific; a girl’s got to keep some privacy), but that amount of time has come and gone and I was most surprised that I just didn’t care that much.
I’ve enjoyed the freedom that comes with not being in a relationship and I don’t need intimacy to enjoy relations. I know that doesn’t work for some people but I’m totally OK with it. It doesn’t happen all that often because I’m not really looking for it!
I’m a full-time single parent and my girls will always come first. I won’t neglect those responsibilities for a one-night stand. I think that’s why I no longer care about how long I’ve been celibate because no matter how long it’s been, it’s not worth compromising my job as their mother.
Kudos to April for recognizing what choices work for her and her family.
It had never occurred to me that there would resources about Living Single (duh!) so thanks, April for that resource – I’ve subscribed to DePaulo’s blog and am looking forward to reading more.
It’s not that I’ve consciously decided not to date, although I haven’t dated in the three years since my divorce. It’s just not a priority for me – I have a hard time seeing where I would get the time to commit to dating or a romantic relationship and I just can’t see myself doing the online thing. (For the lowdown on dating through Chemistry, OK Cupid and match.com, check out Jolene’s post … if I ever do venture near the online thing, I’m hoping she’ll be my coach.)
DePaulo observes that the world is stacked against singles – I haven’t really felt that although I’m not very adventurous about going to social events on my own. People do ask me if I’m dating sometimes adding in the “YET” which I feel insinuates that in their opinion, it’s time I was. When I say no, I sometimes feel they’re wondering, “what’s wrong with her?” I felt that too when I was in my twenties and didn’t have a boyfriend or wasn’t married YET. But I’m not going to succumb to that pressure. I’m old enough and hopefully wise enough now not to do anything because it’s what I’m supposed to do next.
If we stopped doing what we’re supposed to do, would the divorce rate go down?