Fueled by Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own and Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, I’ve been inspired to embrace this post-divorce bubble of time as a well-earned luxury, not a middle-aged curse. I’ve been proudly embracing the American spinster’s contributions to cultural and civic life, photographing Saturday morning cats without shame, and generally reveling in hearing my own thoughts. This perspective seems to have changed my approach to dating for the (MUCH) better.
Last fall, after J. turned out to be such a disaster, I didn’t really trust myself to date. My ignoring of red flags and self-gaslighting seemed compulsive and difficult to overcome. So many times upon meeting a semi-viable guy, I’d convinced myself that whatever didn’t work about him was something wrong with me. Once I liked a guy, I could so much more easily see his point of view than my own.
But as soon as spring worked its magic, I went back to OKC and found a seemingly datable guy—he was smart, had a house and kids, and was interested enough in politics to hold an elected local seat. He asked me out and we made plans to meet in the neighborhood for a drink, but after a little while, I started to not like his texting style. He didn’t do anything really wrong, but had a way of angrily confiding about bad days that felt over-familiar, as though I were already placed in a helpmeet role that I know I’ll never want.
So guess what! Instead of pushing myself to be more flexible, to take care of him, to ignore my instincts, I told him I didn’t think we were a match and that was that. Although I’m at an age (and a size!) where women are generally expected to compromise, to respond to the pressures of the dating economy and settle for less than we deserve, I have higher expectations than ever. I have no idea what the future holds for my heart, but I know that I’m happy to be alone until/unless the right person comes along. Gold star for me!