Hello Singleness, My Old Friend
I wasn’t given a blueprint for this. I never expected to be Married-No-Longer. But now, after my divorce, I have to decide what comes next.
#marriage #divorce #family
“I climb to greet the war in which I have no heart but only
That one dark I owe my light,
Call for confessor and wiser mirror but there is none
To glow after the god stoning night
And I am struck as lonely as a holy marker by the sun”
Wow. Has it really been two years and change since I wrote that my life had been turned upside down? I confessed I had opened up a new “private office and art studio” near downtown Portland, and it actually sounded like a upbeat and glamorous development. In some ways, sure, it was…yet if I also seemed cagey, it was due to the fact I couldn’t let the real cat out of the bag.
My wife of nearly ten years and I had separated. Ouch. My new studio in Portland was…my new home as well. It was a radical shift in my lifestyle, one I hadn’t expected until right up to the point of it happening. (That, I suppose, is the nature of breakups.)
Even amidst the chaos, I was optimistic my then-wife and I could manage that idealized “let’s stay friends” scenario and slowly work towards divorce in a reasonably amicable fashion—for the sake of the children of course. That’s what is expected of us, right? That’s what we’re supposed to strive for, right? For a time, it did work out like that. HOWEVER…
2020 reared its ugly head, and even prior to the pandemic kicking into high gear, a series of events were foisted upon me which were utterly devastating. I’m not at liberty to go into the details right now. But suffice it to say, whatever you might imagine concerning how ugly and gut-wrenching and debilitating divorce can be—well, that’s essentially what happened. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Yet, some good (all things considered) news as I write this. My divorce is finalized. It is done. I am, once again, single. Not as it was before to be sure—I’ll never stop being a loving dad to two amazing children who are my pride and joy.
Nevertheless, it’s a simultaneously familiar yet alien feeling. I had entered into the marriage covenant with the most earnest of intentions. Get married and stay married, at all costs. The idea of divorce was anathema. It was, quite literally, against my religion. So you begin to understand why everything which has occurred in my personal life over the past two years has been quite the mental jolt.
So, Now What?
The question before me now is: what does one do when one is divorced and single again? More to the point, what does one do when one finds themselves in that strange in-between limbo of “Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die” …? Everything I’ve heard about the dating scene these days indicates it’s absolutely bonkers, so you can imagine my reluctance to jump headfirst into those shark-infested waters. To a certain extent, I’m genuinely enjoying my singleness now—in a way I never did before I fell in love and got married. It’s an opportunity some souls spend years pining for: the chance to “do it right this time.”
And yet…the thought of being “alone” (time spent with kids aside) and that possibility stretching far into the distance is certainly frightening. I’m not sure what bothers me more: the literal aloneness of it all, or the notion that I’ll degenerate into a total loser: a grumpy old man who lives alone because he’s too grumpy and, well, too old. I’ve spent too much of my life feeling like a weirdo, an outsider—and in our modern culture you’re considered a bit of a weirdo if you’re single, especially as the years roll by. People are supposed to be coupled. And if you are not, surely there must be something wrong with you.
Clearly I need to get that narrative out of my head. If I’m ever to fall in love again and enjoy a serious romantic relationship, it can’t come from a place of desperation and lack. In a truly healthy relationship, a more-or-less healthy person comes alongside another more-or-less healthy person, and they forge a bond which encourages an even healthier and mutually beneficial way of life. It’s foolhardy to attempt a recreation of the typical romantic comedy plot. That might make for entertaining TV, but it’s a terrible way to live.
All that to say, I want to remain open to the possibility of leaving singleness behind once again and drinking from the fountain of enduring love. But for now, I’ve embraced the solo lifestyle. (In a very real sense, I’ve had to.)
Thus concludes my little update on what’s been going on behind the scenes. As far as what comes next—well, if there were ever the perfect moment to trot out the following phrase to wrap up an essay, is it now:
To Be Continued…
Photo credit: Zach Lezniewicz on Unsplash