There’s a scene in the Sex in the City reboot, And Just Like That, where Carrie and her new, career-driven, 50+, single friend, Seema talk about dating. Carrie says, “I think it’s great that you’re still putting yourself out there.”
Seema points out the insensitivity by saying, “you found the love of your life and had him for many years. And in my eyes, that is something worth still putting myself out there.”
Like Seema, since my divorce, well-meaning but oblivious married friends and family say things that make me want to say, “fuck off.”
For instance, after a new man I really liked ghosted me, my older cousin (on her third marriage) said to me, “since your separation, have you taken some time to be by yourself, you know, before dating again?”
What I heard? You sound kinda desperate chasing men.
Believe me, I do not want to refill the husband role. Have I been by myself? Yes. I’m by myself eating dinner, going to the movies, traveling, and bearing the burden of doing all the chores myself and having to make every single decision on my own. After observing my cousin and her loving husband, the perils of dating seem worth it.
I’m especially insulted when I’m encouraged to give myself time to “heal,” like it’s my self-esteem that’s preventing me from being in a relationship. Healing, self-awareness, and growth is an ongoing process that should continue throughout our lives, especially during a relationship. There is no finish line where we’ve reach elite status and finally rewarded with a relationship medal around our necks. I am worthy of a great relationship right now, while working on my personal growth, simultaneously.
At the other end, people say to me, “You’re so strong. I don’t know how you date again after so long.”
You’re right, I’m fucking Wonder Woman. I battle the dating world wearing my enchanted bracelets created from confidence, self-respect, and love for myself. They are so powerful that they can deflect male narcissism, disrespect, and plain ole, creepiness. And I do it all in spunky boots.
My Dad once said, “I don’t like you on those dating apps. Why can’t you meet someone through work or your friends?” You don’t think I’ve tried, Dad? I don’t work a regular 9-5 job, and I mostly work with women. I have asked my friends repeatedly if they know anyone, to no avail. So, it’s the dating apps for me.
The worst, and most common thing I hear from married friends: Stop trying so hard. Someone will appear when you least expect it.
I don’t expect to meet anyone while I’m working, watching Netflix at home, or sitting on the toilet. In fact, most of my day, I’m not “expecting” anything. So far, not one great guy— in fact, NO man— has yet to appear during these moments of magical passivity to sweep me off my feet.
I know the people in my life mean well. Unfortunately, our society has perpetuated a trope that a woman isn’t happy until Tom Cruise storms in saying, “you complete me.” The truth is, I’m very whole all by myself, thank you very much. I can get a man. That’s easy. But, I’m not so willing to settle down for just any man. Maybe for me, a string of great relationships with men who meet my present needs is good enough, and then I move on. Or maybe someday, I’ll find the right guy. When that happens, I will gladly remove my Wonder Woman bracelets, kick off my spunky boots, and have him rub my feet.