Four months ago, my husband and I sat down and decided it was just not going to work. This is something I’d known for years, but lied to myself about, because I didn’t want to think of myself as someone who gave up on her marriage.
We have three kids, all under ten.
We owned a house, and were underwater on the mortgage. The house is too far from my job for me to commute and take care of the kids, so we moved in with my parents for a year, giving me time to sell the house and rebuild savings to buy/rent a new place.
A few weeks ago, we appeared in court, and the settlement was ruled on. I am not legally divorced until 120 days have passed, but I don’t have anything else to do to make it happen.
So here I am, a 34-year-old woman living with her parents and her three kids. I married at 23, so it’s been a long time since I was single. My last “first date” was when I was nineteen.
I haven’t had sex in two years. I don’t even really think about sex. I read romance novels, but the idea of actual men feels awkward and wrong, like I burned away that part of myself when I stopped wanting sex with my ex.
I don’t know how to look for love. I don’t really even know what love is supposed to feel like. I feel like a 12-year-old, staring out at this vista of dating and grown-up relationships with no idea what to do. I’m going to mess up. I’m going to be awful at this. I’m going to be a failure.
So I have committed myself to a quest. For six months, I am out to have as many bad dates as possible. I don’t want good dates! If good dates sneak in, I guess that’s a bonus, but mostly I want as many bad dates as possible. I want the guy who shows up and won’t stop talking about himself, the guy who spills coffee on me, the guy who calls me frigid when I won’t sleep with him after a first date. I want someone who freaks out when he finds out I have kids, who freaks out when he finds out I’m a Christian, who freaks out when he finds out I’m a liberal. I want someone to dodge my calls. I want to dodge someone else’s calls.
Six months of bad dates. Let’s see how bad it can get.