Four years ago exactly, my husband very unexpectedly left me. Less than a year after he left, I very unexpectedly met the man I now share my life with. Fair to say, these two unexpected occurrences in my (up until that point very sedate and predictable) life have indisputably changed the way I view life, love and everything in between.
This is the story of how I VERY unexpectedly found love after divorce:
My husband left me for a much younger woman. Actually, that statement may not be fair. When he left, he was seeing a much younger woman. Their love affair, unsurprisingly and not too sadly, did not stand the test of the time, and I now believe that he probably knew that it wouldn’t. That the younger woman was little more than a catalyst for him to leave a marriage that he had decided he’d wanted out of before he’d ever laid eyes on her.
When he left, I grieved hard. I had never known pain or sadness to the extent that I knew it then. The first few weeks passed by in a blur - some days my biggest achievement was getting out of bed, feeding the dog and preparing a couple of school lunches.
After a few months of being on my own things started to look a little brighter. I found that I was actually beginning to enjoy my new role as single mother to two teenagers. I enjoyed catching up with single girlfriends and I enjoyed learning to do things that I’d never had a chance to do whilst married.
Most of all, I enjoyed the intoxicating sense of freedom that being single – for the first time since I was twenty-years-old – gave me. I started to believe that I would actually be OK.
The downside to this newfound freedom? The nights were lonely. Most evenings the kids would firmly ensconce themselves in their bedrooms to do the things that teenagers do – and I would stand at the stove cooking dinner alone, silently wishing that there was somebody I could share little snippets of my day with, somebody that I could bounce ideas and problems off – like I used to do with my husband.
I assumed that I would eventually try some sort of online dating. I had no real timeline for when this would happen – the whole idea of dating was very confusing to me. I had never really done it. I knew that I was in no way looking for a serious relationship – not now and maybe not ever. What I wanted was somebody to talk to, to have the occasional coffee-drink-dinner with, to share certain parts of my life with.
Online dating seemed the obvious and most sensible solution. I didn’t go out much in the evenings as I didn’t like leaving my kids alone, so the idea of randomly meeting somebody at a pub/party/other social type gathering seemed unlikely.
One Friday night, exactly two weeks before Christmas, I headed out for dinner and drinks with one of my oldest girlfriends. It was a balmy summer evening in Sydney and other than some anxiety about how I would fare on Christmas Day – my first since the divorce – I was feeling good.
Our first stop of the evening was a lively pub where we settled in to listen to the band, eat chicken wings and drink wine. When the pub was getting a little too loud and lively for my tastes, we decided to look for an alternate – quieter – venue. Eventually we found a nice looking pub a little way down the street. In we went.
And that was when I saw him.
A man, who looked to be a similar age to me, with one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen (is it odd to describe a man as beautiful?). When I saw that he had noticed me too, and was in fact smiling at me, I didn’t know what to do. This was not me. I did not meet men in pubs. It was my girlfriend who was always noticed by men, not me! I felt suddenly overwhelmed by my shyness.
But there was something else. Another feeling. I wanted to talk to him - I felt that I had to meet him. So, when I saw him go up to the bar, I followed and ordered my girlfriend and I a drink. I tried to appear nonchalant, confident and casual, as if this was something that I regularly did (even though it was something I NEVER did).
To my utter relief, he spoke to me first. He smiled, told me his name and asked me to dance. And although every fibre of my being was screaming at me not to dance (I’d consumed several drinks and was not ordinarily a dancer), I said yes.
So we danced, chatted, I introduced him to my friend, and we eventually exchanged phone numbers.
I went home that night (December 11th 2015) giddy with happiness, but not expecting a whole lot to happen. It had been less than a year since I’d separated from my husband, and I was resolute in my conviction of not jumping into anything serious.
Yet in the following weeks and months we continued to see each other. Only once or twice a week, but it was somehow enough for a beautiful relationship to form. Around the three-month mark, he asked to meet my kids (he doesn’t have kids). This was obviously a massive step for me, but my intuition told me it would somehow be OK.
My kids – very understandably so – were wary at first. Not only had they witnessed the massive level of heartache I’d endured when their father left, they too had felt an overwhelming sense of pain and loss. I struggled with feelings of guilt for bringing a new man into their lives, and decided that the solution was to take things very slow. My partner was behind me 100 percent in this regard.
I also struggled with learning to trust again. And once again, my partner was wonderfully understanding and patient.
There are obviously too many stories to tell in one blog post. As with all relationships – there have been ups, and there have been downs. Yet here we are, more than three years after our (fateful? random?) meeting, still going strong.
Both of my kids now refer to my partner as ‘step-dad’ – even though we are not married – and truly adore him. And I have to say, for somebody who decided at a young age that fatherhood was not for him – the role of step-dad seems to be one that he was born to play. He has seriously got it down pat.
So, back to a point I made at the beginning, and actually one of the reasons I wanted to write this post. To share with you what I’ve learned after two major – massive – occurrences four years ago inexplicably changed the way I view life and love, and everything in between.
I’ve learned that nothing in life is ever really permanent. I’ve learned that the thing that you think will destroy you and that you’ll NEVER get over - you eventually get over. I’ve learned to trust my gut. I’ve learned that there IS life after heartbreak and divorce!
And painful and tricky and messy as it often is – I’ve learned that we should never – ever – close the door on the possibility of love xox
Have you found love again after heartbreak? I would love to hear your story! Please, share in the comments.
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