Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why don't I date?

I get asked this a lot. It's been 9 years since I got divorced...or divorce was thrust upon me, however you choose to view it.
I get two statements thrown my way with some regularity. Well, one now, but I used to hear the other quite a bit. One is the title to this post..."Why don't you date?" Or it's variants..."Are you seeing anyone?" or "Have you dated since?".
The other statement I used to hear a lot was "It's been (fill in the blank, timeline) you need to get over it" That one always hacked me off so I thought I'd address that one first and then maybe address the other one here if there is room or tomorrow if this goes over the TV time limit. (nice old school pro wrestling reference)
Get over what...exactly?
Let's recap, shall we? I only ever loved one woman enough to ask her to marry me. We have a daughter together. I defined myself as a dad and as a husband. Now one is gone and the other is limited. I gave up every dream I had for her. I mean every dream. It was to make her happy that I gave up on the pursuit of pediatrics, and to make her happy that I formulated a "plan B", and to make her happy that I moved from my home to Nashville, (where I will never quite be at home). I chose-for a while-her over my family and friends, because she was at odds with them and I had to try my best to have a happy marriage. Now I just miss them more and still didn't manage to keep a happy wife.
I changed all of my goals and dreamed new dreams and they were all...every last one of them...about how to take care of the two people I loved most in this world. Now one is married to someone new and the other is only with me briefly each week and each alternating weekend.
The very people I lived for are gone or limited in their presence. I have to re-create myself...again. You are right...I should be over that already...in fact why did I ever grieve?
Consider this before you say these words to a divorced friend of yours. This wasn't like breaking up with your girlfriend in high school or getting laid off from your job.
You marry because you love someone. (Most do anyway) And you don't have an off switch for that. I married that specific person because that specific person was who I was searching for my whole life. Have you considered that? I defined myself by marriage and fatherhood...the two things you lose in a divorce. Have you considered that? I am alone at the times when I thought I'd be sharing wonderful memories with that same person. Have you considered that? I had a plan and I had dreams and the two faces I always saw when I dreamed those dreams are not here, or are here occasionally. Have you considered that? Should it really have been so easy to replace all that with a new face? You know where I am going with this. You divorced dads. (and divorced moms as well) are sitting by your computer monitors right now yelling "YEAH! tell 'EM Brother!" I've seen people be more compassionate to a friend who lost a pet!
Consider all of this when you think I should be "Over it".


(NOTE: From time to time I'll write on a topic that needs to be addressed, even if it is no longer a day to day issue with me. Such is the case here. I don't hear this quote much any more. I am over it for the most part, and most of my friends understand by now. But sometimes I feel the need to say things that need to be said for the benefit of others, this is such a case)

2 comments:

Ivan said...

Appreciate you posting this message - especially as it may not apply to you directly anymore but I can tell you there are those of us out there it does.

The only observations I would add is this; it does seem to me that everyone (friends, family, former-spouse, even our kids at times) expect us to just "deal" with it.

Maybe this is a reflection of us being the Dad, the Husband, the "Man" but I don't know if society realizes what a impact all of [everything you listed in your recap] has on us. You know scratch impact - how much all of this hurts.

Thanks again Craig for articulating what I know many of us feel/have felt better than I ever could.

God Bless!

CraigD2599 said...

Ivan...
Thank you so much for your kind words. Much of it still does impact me, it's just that my friends have learned to stop bringing telling me where I should be in the process. I am thankful that the things I write here are helping people heal, and maybe helping those who care about those people better understand how much this hurts.
When I first got started on this, I thought maybe a few people, mostly men, would read it and feel better and I'd be on to some other project. But I get emails almost daily about how little resource there really is out there and how left out we feel.
Hang in there my friend.
We DO have a high priest who understands how our suffering makes us hurt. (Hebrews 4:15)