Chris Armstrong takes a few different perspectives on his ended marriage.
I wasn’t a relationship coach when I was married and I am partly thankful for that. Otherwise, I’d be answering even more questions about why I’m a single relationship coach. It can get old, I’ll be honest with you. People have their perspectives about what someone in the relationship coaching, marriage counseling or couples counseling world should know, be and do. And none of their perspectives includes the words divorced or single.
And yet here I am, nine years removed from a nine year marriage with nine of my own perspectives and reflections of dating, the single life and everything in between:
Perspective One: The more dates you go one, the easier it can get to just go through the motions. The nervousness that was can become the numbness that is. This isn’t to say I’m not relationship minded and serious about finding love, I’m emphatically so. But so is everyone else and there are only but a handful of people that will truly get you and vice versa. So yes, there’s a lot more dating than finding a match. And yet I search on.
Perspective Two: The more clients and friends I see going through things, the more I realize I could have been a better husband. This isn’t to say I was a bad husband. There was no verbal or physical abuse, no alcoholism, no lazing around, etc. We just weren’t compatible and we got married too young to know it. But darn it if I couldn’t have communicated better. Or touched her face and run my fingers through her hair more. I get so animated when I see couples that don’t do the basics and yet I was half of that couple.
Perspective Three: It’s really tricky finding new and creative ways to have dates. Remember what I shared with you about lots of dates? Well, you can only go to restaurants or shoot pool or grab coffee at the same places so many times. And this isn’t to say I’m not creative but there’s also the reality that some people want simple and safer options for the first date, something I fully understand. McCormick and Schmidt’s, here I come-again!
Perspective Four: Divorce can be very lonely, even when it’s the right thing to do.
Perspective Five: Online dating makes it really easy to narrow my search for single parents in the dating world. If I were at a bar or the grocery store or any other cliché place, I would have no shyness about talking to someone I found attractive and I wouldn’t be pulsing to determine if they had children. And yet when I go through the online dating search, I almost exclusively check the block that says ‘has kids’. Ironically, when I was first divorced, I thought single mothers were too specific and narrow minded when they had a strong preference for single dads and yet here I am. I have found that single women without children don’t often understand the scheduling dynamics and the ‘introduction’ stress. As well, they don’t always understand the reality that when it’s her, my daughter and I, I must be sensitive to the attention to my daughter.
Perspective Six: Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson. Great song and perhaps the biggest thing I learned when I got divorced. If I put on my women empowerment hat, I love it. If I put on my single guy hat, I have to get used to it. And no, my relationship coaching background doesn’t help.
Perspective Seven: We drink a lot! I don’t remember alcohol being such a prominent part of dating when I was younger. And no, I didn’t grow up in Salt Lake or the Middle East. I was talking to a fellow coach and she cited the rise of wine, microbreweries and other ‘hip’ drinks. I even read an article that talked about wineries having to change how to produce and sell their products to keep up with the demand. Bottle of red, bottle of white, whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight…
Perspective Eight: Just over the eight years I’ve been dating since my divorce, I’ve found women to be less patient and more bold about how they communicate their intentions, desires (or lack thereof) and expectations. I’ve witnessed this from afar and I’ve faced some of it head-on. I’ve had several dozen male clients tell me they don’t know what to make of it. Personally, it’s made dating a lot easier for me because if they can SWIM Backwards, it means I can too. It also means that the 100/100 relationship I seek is likely easier to find.
Perspective Nine: I want to be married again, no bones about it. I know people talk about being with someone without having to say ‘I do’ but the fact is, I do want to say ‘I do’. I want the deep rooted connection. I want the permanency. I want the life long passion. And no, I’m not desperate. I don’t need (or even want) someone to cook for me. I don’t feel like my mother’s dying and thus must be replaced. I love what comes with love on its grandest stage. And what I know at 39 is 100 times that which I knew at 21.
There’s a lot I still don’t know, and much like I’d say to any client–that’s okay. It’s not about what you know or don’t know, it’s understanding the difference between the two and managing accordingly.
This article originally appeared on Divorced Moms.
Photo credit: Nathan Congleton/flickr