It leaves a scent. Like a barbecue cooking in a new neighbors backyard, on a hot summer day.
Men get a whiff, and they want to be invited over. They want to see what’s new on the grill. You’ll find them pop up from the other side of the wall offering their services, BBQ tongs in hand. Doorbell rings, big smile. Ready to go.
King of the Grill!
Being a newly single gal in today’s hook up society? I’ve seen it draw ranchers like a cowbell at chow time.
When I first separated three years ago, I swore I was done with relationships. Never ever gonna go there again! I existed for a solid year in such a sad, severe state of devastation; nobody thought I’d pull through. Never wanted to extinguish my own life, but I did want to go home, rather than move forward with my life. I wanted to be held by God.
And I left him. The ex that is. But it wasn’t for someone else. It was for me. There was no one waiting across town.
Nor did I believe there ever would be.
Held onto every irrational reason I could to doubt myself too:
I’m old. My kids are fragile and possessive. HE still pisses me off. But mostly? I felt I had my chance at love. Blew it. True love only happens once. I still believe that, but if someone did happen to ring my doorbell one day and declare, “I will love you forever!” I just figured all his baggage (exes, kids) wouldn’t fit through my front door… and my baggage? Lets not even go there! So what was the point? My view was skewed horribly by the daunting pain of loneliness.
Now? Three years out from D-day? A little experience back out in the world? I’ve altered my perspective. Men can smell fresh meat. From across the street. They want it for dinner. The scent makes them hungry.
I am becoming okay with sharing the occasional meal (unless you are the older gentlemen who walked over at Sizzler, nudged my arm, and said, “I wanna have dinner with you.”) He was darling, but my sweet kids were caught off guard. I laughed, but he freaked them out. Ruined our meal together. *Timing and respect are an important priority.*
When the game is played by the rules, however, I begin to have fun making room for someone new at the table.
Once you are ready, crazy good things happen. You start to find your direction. You develop a whole new “YOU.”
When we get out of our own way, a wonderland of inertia propels us forward into the lives we were meant to live. Frightening and fabulous, all at the same time.
You’ll surprise yourself too by how much nonsense you simply are not interested in engaging in. Like your ex.
Recently, I went on a coffee date and at the end of our hour together, I mentioned my ex’s name once. He asked, “Who’s that?” I was delighted. My former significant other had only come up that one time. Moving on feels good. Effortless “me” rests well on my face. Less anger is more attractive.
I’ve learned some important personal truths along the way:
- Hanging out in my jammies on a weekend writing doesn’t mean anything more than this is what I CHOOSE to be doing.
- Going out for drinks on a Tuesday night in a cocktail dress and heels is fine too—if that’s what I decide to do.
- Cool fact about this time in my life? Freedom comes with a delicious flexibility; a comforting faith and a newfound peace have filled my once anxious arteries with a profound knowing I am making my own healthy choices.
Sometimes I make mistakes, and still have regrets here and there, but I am out here. Facing the world. One sentence at a time. Feeling a like a grown up. Acting like one too (most of the time).
Boundaries are important. It’s up to me to set them. If I don’t, someone else will think they can. My version of a BBQ is conversation at this point. Maybe go out somewhere, spend some time together doing something we both enjoy. One day I’d like to get married again, but right now, I need to just get to know a person. Raising my kids is imperative. Standing tall, a goal. I want to be interested, and interesting. Laugh. Learn. Feel something.
The handsome fireman at the grocery store who asks, “You wanna come in my line? It’s shorter.” Then asks me out? It’s fine to decline politely. It’s okay to let him be your hero for a bit too. Ignite his fire. No harm done, either way. As long as you are both on the same page.
Rule #1: Not every guy has to be the one.
The Marriage and Family Therapist I met on Match.com? The shorter than me professional who stood on his tip toes to kiss my cheek and assure me, “I am just what you need.” Adorable and smart, but not for me? Left me even more certain of what I really need in my life: Platonic male friends I can trust.
Rule #2: Men and women can be friends.
Had a drink the other night with a guy who told me his wife is smart and pretty. Repeatedly. Left me thinking (but not saying out loud), “You mean the one who didn’t want to be married to you anymore? The one who is your EX-wife?”
Rule #3: If a guy mentions his ex by name five times or more in the first hour? He’s not over her.
I can understand, and totally relate and even sympathize, but if we’re in different places, I must move on.
And then there’s the yummy guy they all tell you will show up when you aren’t looking. Shook my hand and quiet fireworks went off in my head. Could have fallen in love with him. Maybe I did a little. But after a few dates, he revealed, “I’m a…you know—a you, me, and the other person-kinda guy.” I giggled and looked around, “What other person?” There wasn’t anyone yet, but he couldn’t promise there wouldn’t be in the future. People are who they are. Monogamy? Clearly not in his vocabulary. Honesty was though. Grateful for that. Two people can have chemistry and not be right for each other. Shocking how okay I was with it. Truth is: I’d rather know.
Rule #4: Three’s a crowd. His boundaries are just as important. Ask what they are up front.
Men are sweet, clever, funny and just really want to see us smile. Especially after a contentious divorce. I adore them. The men I’ve been lucky enough to engage with want me to laugh at their jokes and admire their physique. NO headaches. I appreciate them for noticing me. Even if it only happens now and then. I am always flattered. Men are strong and smart and warm. I don’t understand the distance between men and women, but I respect the differences. At this point in their lives, someone yelling at them is just a drag.They want to forget about their jobs. They want playful, hassle free, wild. Some want to stick around and delve deeper into something more spiritual too. They want to hold our hands and capture our hearts. Just depends.
Rule #5: Know who you are. Know who and what it is you are looking for. Don’t waiver on either.
One heads up I was clueless too after being married for my entire adult life?
Most guys will listen to our moans of divorce for a bit, out of courtesy, but what I have found they are really interested in knowing? Are you religious?
I get this question all the time.
According to my massage therapist, “There is only one reason a guy asks if you are religious, and it’s not because he wants to attend church with you on Sunday.” Told him, “YOU asked me that once!” He chuckled and said, “I know.”
So, be prepared my fellow singletons. Man is a carnivore (woman is too!). He desires fresh meat. He can smell the barbecue you are planning before you even light the fire.
If you are holding out for the man who will sit next to you on the pew at church and share in your beliefs? Good for you. Tell the guy you ARE religious. The right one for you will stick around and respect your wishes.
And if you simply wanna have someone over for lunch or dinner? That is great too. Just remember…
Rule #6: It is up to you what you serve and whom you add to the guest list.