Something happened earlier this week that made me question myself and what I’m doing. In fact, two major things have happened.
My marriage broke down exactly 15 months ago. Since then I have been on several dates and actually had three relationships, including the current one, which, by the way, is into its 7th month (cue happy dance). My ex started a new relationship a month or two after the split and by all accounts is still with her and lives with her. My first relationship after the split started in the January. Not long before my ex started dating again. Everyone, including my ex, made comment that it was too soon. So my question is this. How long is long enough after a long term relationship breaks down, to start dating again? Also, is it different for men and women, and does it depend on who left and who was left? Because, quite frankly, I’m confused.
So here’s the deal. Quick recap if you haven’t read my previous blogs. I met someone in January 2015, a month after my husband of almost 15 years left me saying he no longer loved me. I loved my husband unconditionally. He is the father of my purpose in life, my gorgeous son. I wasn’t good for a while after that but for my son and my parents, I picked myself up and as a result, met someone without even looking for it. It wasn’t a conscious decision to put myself out there and meet someone new. I wasn’t ready then. It happened anyway. I only told close friends at first, as even I thought it would be seen as too soon. Then, out of complete respect for our marriage and history, I told my ex. I thought it was best he heard it from me than from mutual friends who had seen me with another man. At the time, his words indicated he was pleased for me. A couple of weeks down the line it transpired that he too was talking to someone, the woman he now lives with. Friends were concerned I should’ve spent some time on me before embarking on a new relationship, but to me, I thought, why not give it a go? As I said, I didn’t see myself as ready but I liked this guy, he seemed to like me, how would I ever know if I didn’t try. Life is too short, a motto you’ll hear from me over and over again. I’d done my grieving for my marriage but, at the end of the day, I was no longer loved so, I had been emotionally released to move on. I didn’t stop loving my husband straight away, but mentally there was no point in holding onto something that wasn’t going to grow back. He had, unfortunately, made that clear by the time I met my first new boyfriend. It was clear to me that the marriage could not be salvaged, and let’s face it, who, after hearing the words “I don’t love you anymore”, could go back into a relationship with that person and ever feel confident or secure again? I knew it was over. Why should I go through the heartache of trying to fix what couldn’t be fixed?
For a short while everything was fine, but then, for no reason it seems, accusations started flying my way. Didn’t I think my relationship had started too soon if I really was in love with my husband when the marriage split? What? I’ve said before, no one knows what’s going on beyond what we’re willing to tell them so who is anyone to judge whether it’s too soon? It seemed irrelevant that he too had moved on. Was it acceptable for him because he’d quoted he hadn’t loved me for two years? Was I, as the dumped party, meant to wallow in sadness indefinitely over my loss? A lot of people could not understand how I could move on so quickly from an 18 year relationship, my ex included. My closest friends were great, supportive and happy for me. It was the people I didn’t see often that seemed to pass comment. Seriously though….. what am I meant to do? I didn’t “get over it” immediately. Even in my new relationship, remnants of my life before kept creeping in, affecting how I thought, how I felt. I wasn’t over it, but I also felt the need to carry on. I had to carry on. I didn’t want sympathy. Many people didn’t know until months after that our marriage was over. I most certainly was not, a broken woman. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. People wanted to see me lose it because, placed in the same situation themselves, maybe they would. I didn’t. I couldn’t. My family needed my strength. I didn’t know my own strength. My ex happily moved on and introduced his new partner to our son, yet I was the one getting grief over meeting someone? I wasn’t crying in a corner over what I’d lost everyday, because, quite simply, I couldn’t. My son didn’t need to see that. So when I met someone and it felt right, I went with it. My choice, right? The relationship only lasted three months but in that short space of time I gained self confidence and a deep understanding of what I wanted. I couldn’t stay in the past. I couldn’t dwell on what had been, what could’ve been. I wanted to feel wanted and in order to feel that way again I needed to keep moving on. Hence going online to find someone. So, just to clear things up, not that I need to justify myself, before that first new relationship I hadn’t decided to move on. It came my way and I went with it. After that ended I did make a conscious decision to get on with my life, and that’s exactly what I did. That’s all I’m still trying to do. I’d done nothing wrong yet I was being made to feel guilty. What’s all that about? I fail to see what other choice I had. He wasn’t coming back, that was certain. I was SINGLE.
When that first relationship broke up, it hurt, of course, but it’s true I’d been through worse. I faced the expected “is it because it was too soon?”, and statements of “I did think it was too soon” from well meaning acquaintances. But for me, and under my circumstances, it wasn’t too soon. It was necessary in my journey towards making the decision to move on. I enjoyed it, and I bloody well had fun. The ex showed concern over my split but I did not want to talk to him about it. It was none of his concern. Quite frankly it wouldn’t be right. Advice left, right and centre that NOW I should focus on me and my son, people saw that relationship as a misjudgement on my part. As you all know if you’ve read my blogs, I didn’t take their advice. Only I could possibly know what was going on in my head and whether I was ready or not. I wasn’t looking for a guy, any guy, just to fill a void. I wanted a partner. The second one came along in May and I told more people about this one. I didn’t tell the ex but I think reference was made to my partner when we spoke. People couldn’t think any worse of me, right? Wrong. I heard a rumour about myself that I had a different man every week. Laughable…. but it led me to think, so what if I had!? What possible business is it of anyone’s? As long as I wasn’t putting myself or my son in danger, would I not of been entitled to do that, if that was what I wanted? Still, no-one passed comment on how quickly my ex found someone and subsequently moved in with her. I myself accepted that very quickly. What was the difference? Why was it ok for him but not for me? Because he was male? Because he left me? All of a sudden my life seemed to be the talk of the town. Yet all I was doing was getting on with life. It really wasn’t that interesting. It was normal, wasn’t it?
Back when my current relationship started in August, I told no one. Not a single soul until at least three dates in. I didn’t know where it was going but was happy to find out without the input of others. In fact I don’t think I went out of my way to tell many people that I’d split up with the previous one. I just casually dropped it into conversation that no, I wasn’t with that one anymore but it’s ok I’ve been with someone new for a month or so. I can’t seem to win. People still wish to judge. The difference is, after this weeks events, I no longer care. So what happened to make me not care what ANYONE thinks about my time as a single woman since my split? I have let a friend of mine stay at my home recently. One day this week my son came back home to collect his stuff for his subsequent three nights at his Dads. For some reason, he couldn’t get into the house and he made the assumption that my friend was in the house with the keys in the other side. They weren’t. They were out. In actual fact the lock was dodgy, which was worrying. Another incorrect assumption was made by someone else was that it was my boyfriend in the house and that they’d fallen asleep. Jumping to conclusions. Incorrect conclusions. And this annoyed me. My first thought was to get the point across that it wasn’t my boyfriend. I do have one, but this assumption had been based on the wrong person. The reason that riled me so much was because earlier in the week, the first major thing to happen was my boyfriend and I had talked about what we were and where we were going, leaving me feeling confident, happy and secure in my current relationship for the first time since my husband left. I didn’t want silly accusations to ruin that feeling. However, I then got to thinking “why the hell does it matter if it WAS my boyfriend”?. I’m a grown woman. I am actually, contrary to popular belief, ALLOWED to move on. A few months down the line and it could well be my boyfriend in the house.
So, move on is what I will continue to do. Think what you like about me, I hold my head and my morals high. There is no choice but to move on, but you can choose when you do it, and whenever feels right for you is exactly when you should.