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Here’s to Life After Divorce!

By Mari Wallace

My story is not unusual. Every marriage has its ups and downs, but mine, unfortunately, had far more downs than ups, and this had been going on for far too long. I considered my options. I could stay married and stay miserable. I could get divorced and live on my own – but peacefully. I could get divorced and maybe be lucky enough to find a new love. Two of those three possible scenarios held greater promise than the other, so I opted for divorce. What followed wasn’t smooth sailing – as anyone who’s been through it can certainly testify. I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find my prince. But, as Shakespeare put it, ‘All’s Well that Ends Well.’

So, please read on.

Friends wanted to fix me up with the single men they knew, but it took a good 18 months for me to feel ready to venture “out there.” My self-esteem had taken a battering, but with their encouragement, I embarked on a sort of makeover. I lost 15 pounds, changed my hairstyle and color, and treated myself to some new outfits in my new dress size.

I looked in the mirror and decided that I liked the “new me.” I joined the dating site in the Sunday newspaper I regularly bought. The procedure was to record a message about yourself – what you looked like, your personality, your likes and dislikes. The subscription enabled you to listen to the messages recorded by possible dates and decide whether to go further. This was before the present requirement of photos…just relied on the persuasiveness of voices…or not. 

It was strange being “out there,” but to my great surprise and delight, virtually all the men I met asked to see me again, which really boosted my confidence. Some dates were bizarre – like the guy who kept talking about himself in the third person rather than the first. So, instead of saying, “When I went skiing,” he’d say, “When Bill went skiing…” Was I on a date with two people or just the one?? Another guy, while we were having a meal, ogled me across the table and said, “I wish there were a bed here.” Not exactly subtle!

I did meet someone who, I felt, had potential. He took me to the theatre and a couple of concerts. I was beginning to think there could be something between us when he broke the news that he was seeing someone else – and it was getting serious. So, it was goodbye to him.

But most of the men I met simply wanted to meet a nice woman to spend time with, which suited me.

When I listened to Alan’s voice, I was immediately attracted. It had a deep, very masculine resonance to it but also a warmth that I found appealing. However, when we met up, his physical presence was not what I’d expected. I find certain characteristics attractive in a man and some not. I like straight hair. I like straight teeth. I like blue eyes. I don’t like hairy men. That sort of describes my ex-husband. Where did that get me?? As for Alan…curly hair…crooked teeth…muddy-colored eyes. (And he was hairy – that revelation came later…!) But he was funny. He made me laugh. He had a real ease in joke telling which I found quite disarming, especially as I’m useless at telling or even remembering jokes.

I was delighted when he suggested we meet again.

When I arrived at the venue for our second date, Alan was waiting for me in the parking lot. He came over and presented me with a lovely bouquet of flowers. I was both surprised and charmed by this totally unexpected gesture. When we sat down at our table, he confessed, “I told my daughter that I’d met a very nice lady. She asked if I planned on seeing you again. To which I replied, yes.”

I smiled, pleased that I’d been worth talking about.

“Then she asked me if I’d told you that I was still married.” 

My smile instantly disappeared.

“She said that she’d run a mile rather than date a man who was married – and that I should give you some flowers and then ‘come clean.’”  He then looked at me intently, adding, “I really don’t want you to run a mile.” 

He explained further that although he was officially still married, they hadn’t lived together for many years. They’d simply drifted apart, and so, in his “head,” he was single. 

Now was the quandary. Should I believe him…or run a mile? Somehow, the fact that he’d discussed me with his daughter gave some credibility to his story. He went on to tell me that the family home was on a big plot of land. He’d gotten planning permission to build a three-bedroom house on the property – for his wife – and moved her into it. Eventually, he sold the main house and moved away to another town. Again, how he said it made me laugh: “I built her a house in the far end of the yard and moved her into it.” 

Because he’d provided so much detail, I felt inclined to believe him or at least to give him the benefit of the doubt. I enjoyed his company – our relationship being characterized by laughter – so I decided to continue seeing him, but with reservations, taking care. 

As time went on, he introduced me to both of his daughters and to his friends. Everyone accepted us as a couple. There was no longer any doubt about his honesty.

We’d spend the weekends together – either at his place or at mine. And then, one evening, he announced, “I want us to live together, but I don’t feel it’s fair for me to expect you to live with a married man. And so, I shall get divorced.” He went to see his estranged wife, and they agreed on the terms of the divorce in a very civilized way.

Alan and I bought a house together. Then, one day, he told me he wanted to build a big shed at the far end of the yard. Remembering what he did to his then-wife, I told him in no uncertain terms that he should not entertain any ideas of moving me into it unless he installed heating and air conditioning.

As for his curly hair and crooked teeth…I don’t notice them anymore. When you first meet someone, you notice their physical characteristics. But after you get to know them, you only see the whole person.

I saw the whole person and liked what I saw very much. 

And still do. A lot.

Haley Brandon

Haley Brandon

Articles: 26

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