Monday, August 20, 2012

Learning to Walk

Life is made up of a series of "firsts"whose outcomes inevitably determine the relationship issues you'll have forever. 

If you were successful at taking the ever exciting first steps right away and walking was something you picked up quite easily and naturally, you're automatically programmed for earlier success. You are more of a risk taker. You haven't been soured by failure and disappointment. If in turn, you were a late walker, you either tried harder, which put you on a hard working track, or you gave up and found new ways to signal you needed things, forcing your parents to do your bidding, until you had no choice but to walk. Either way, all of those firsts set off a chain reaction that has inevitably sent you on a certain relationship educational track. 

My first kiss happened at the beach. I was 12, he was 11 1/2 and we were all playing a game of truth or dare. It was only suppose to be a peck kiss, but I went for it. I made the first move. He was horrified, but curious enough to go with it for a moment. Our short romance lasted a mere 3 days but it thrust me into the "take charge" educational track eventually thwarted by divorce (more on that later). 

By contasts, my good friend Anne, was first kissed at age 15 also on a dare, but the boy seemed not too excited. She didn't feel like he wanted to pick her. It left her feeling like she wanted to be picked. She wanted someone to want to be dared to kiss her. Admittedly, she dismissed perfectly nice, handsome, shyer men in college because she was still holding on to this notion of being picked. 

So all of these "firsts" happen and you finally meet "the one" and you think, "thank god that's over, so now I can relax and not worry about it." But you find out, as any married person will tell you, that once you get married, that's where the real fun begins. The theory of raising children and whats acceptable to you or what you discussed six years prior when you were dating and in your twenties is probably different from what you're thinking now in your thirties. All of those firsts that lead you to this person are things that haven't escaped your system, that will affect the relationship you have with your children, your in laws and all of the new relationships that come with being married. So fine, some people can make it work and stay together, adapting to each others beliefs of marriage and child rearing and others decide that the gap is too wide and that Johnny BeDaring who picked you at the sorority formal in college is not who you pick to have a life with.

Well let me tell you, there are a whole new set of firsts that come with being divorced. First new apartment, first new bar outing, first new emergency contact, first time you let someone hold your public, first time you introduce someone to your friends. Sure, I still remember the dashing 12 year old  boy that made me think a boy like that could like a girl like me, but I remember the first boy that kissed me post separation, that made me think that perhaps I too could be happy one day, even more. His name is Gabe by the way. Which seemed a little prophetic. My male counterpart showing me that I too could want all of the normal things that people wanted, that I had wanted once upon a time, but was too scared to explore and ruin, since everything I touched seemed to turn to shit.  

Once you pass the really sad and icky someone-should-really-instituionalize-me part, the dirty little secret of divorce is that you get a blank slate of do overs. It's actually the only gift that comes with it, so embrace it my newly divorced friends. That, and the occasional weekend to yourself away from your kids if you have any. You get to have all of those firsts again, as an adult with just as much motion sickness and butterflies as before except this time you feel like you shouldn't let yourself for some reason. You've been here before, you should know how to handle it, right? But you don't. Post divorce you, is a whole other set of rules and its okay to be really nervous about it. I would even tell you, to embrace those nerves because there is a whole new dating world for you to explore!

I think I heard a few of your hurl all the way over here, but its true! I know, no one likes dating when you have been accustomed to the simplicity of marriage. He always picked up the phone, you never had to guess what he wanted, it was comfortable and even if it was miserable, it was the devil you knew right? 

Well, the devil you don't know, might be better. I am in my first relationship post divorce. My first one. First relationship Facebook status change, first person I've called my boyfriend in four years. First person I have suggested my parents meet. First person whose parents I've met and let me tell you, it has not been without the occasional run to the bathroom and cry because you have no idea what you're doing movie moment. 

I don't know what I'm doing. I have no clue. The last time I was in a real relationship, people didn't text. I don't know what the rules are. I have no idea when I'm suppose to be cool and when I'm suppose to be vulnerable. I'm making this up as I go along, people. I have no idea if it's going to work out or not, but I'll tell you that for the first time in many years, I really hope that it does. 

And that's exciting! There is a whole new world of firsts out there. My first post divorce dates for better or for worse are impacting my relationship now. My first post divorce job is evening affecting my career choices now. You are a different person, now. A stronger, faster, funnier (trust me) version of yourself. You're learning to walk again and this time without the aid of your parents but  probably cuter shoes. 

But just incase you're still not ready to move on -- here's a list of movies to get you through baby step at a time.


  1. i like. and im glad for you. baby steps. - sayo

  2. Good stuff!! Totally can relate and empathize with you!! I was enagaged at 25, never got married, but it did take me just over 4 years to be with someone new and get over the fear and hurt.... and after almost 3 years with that someone new, well, im going through it again, but "stronger, faster and funnier".