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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Wednesday, May 2

Married, Divorced, and Dating

I don't know how much I've mentioned about this here before, but I went through a divorce a few years ago. I was married two days before my 19th birthday and my ex filed for the divorce 13 years later - almost to the day.

We met 2 days before my 16th birthday and declared ourselves a "couple" a week or so later, so, in all, we were "together" for over 15 years - half our lives (he's a year younger than I). I don't want to get into the details of that here. I'm more interested in what's happened since.

I dated one other person before I met my ex but had no committed relationships before that (unless you count the boyfriend I had for a few months when I was 7 years old - before he moved away). I never did much "dating" until after the divorce and I still haven't done much.

In some ways, I'm still a teenager in this respect. I have very little experience with looking for potential partners or distinguishing between people who might be good friends vs. something more. I'm not just inexperienced with dating, I've been fairly limited in regard to making close friends as well. I have lots of friendly acquaintences - people that I like and who are encouraging and nice but very very few of people I'd call "close friends" - people I could count on if I needed help. Neither, to be fair, am I a particularly good friend to many people.

Anyway, on the subject of dating (and maybe on friendships):

The hardest thing for me at first was worrying about what I'd do if I am interested in someone but then find that I've changed my mind - and they haven't. I hated the thought of breaking it off with a "nice" person.

Recently, though, I realized that people get over stuff - especially if it's sooner rather than later. Most healthy people aren't going to even be bothered about it for more than a day or two (assuming, like I said, it's early in the relationship). If they aren't healthy, well, dating them isn't likely to help with that either - although friendship might.

It may seem like obvious to some people, but, like I said, I'm not very experienced with this sort of thing.

Of course, there's the flip side. What if I get really interested in someone and the feeling isn't mutual? I don't think I'd be heartbroken if I find out early on. Even later, I've made it through the breakup of a 15 year relationship, surely I'll manage.

So now, the latest thing I wonder about is "What if they're really not interested in an intimate relationship but still want to be friends?" I think I'd find that difficult because I'd feel that the relationship was limited right from the start. I've been friends with people I was interested in before, and eventually my enthusiasm just wears thin. Then again, maybe that's just because the relationship didn't have enough substance to really continue anyway (and the person, wisely, sensed it). Besides, short term relationships can be wonderful, growthful, healthy experiences.

I have a lot more questions/puzzles when it comes to friendships, but I'll save them for another time.

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