March 21st. It was the day my divorce was final. I was married to my husband for eight years and we were together for 10. He left in October 2019 and I spent the next five months heartbroken and depressed. Some days I could barely get out of bed, but I kept doing what I needed to do. Hot Yoga and Tears Get up, take Bailey out, go to work, and then hit a meeting at night. Rinse and repeat for the next five months. I lost 11 pounds and some days all I’d eat was chocolate cake. I definitely had my priorities in order. Bailey was a lifesaver as every dog is when someone is going through something really fucking hard and challenging and as Glennon says, “We can do hard things”. I had to keep remembering that and listen to that on loop in my head.
I met my neighbor in the summer of 2019. I didn’t really know him for a few months, he was just “the guy that smoked cigars”. Next to our apartment complex was a dirt field surrounded by brush and there were a couple walking paths; a great place for the coyotes to roam at night. I would take Bailey there and have her runoff leash every morning and every afternoon. 7 am and 3 pm. I would see this guy smoking away in that dirt field and some days I’d say Hi to him. A month or so after my husband moved out, we started talking more and more and I liked him. I wasn’t attracted physically to him, but I enjoyed our conversations and he made me laugh. That’s always a must-have for anyone I choose to hang out with. This went on for a few months until one day I said, “Hey we should hang out sometime”. I feel like I’m always the one to make the first move. Hmm – I could write a whole other post about that, but anyway he agreed. A few weeks later, yes, he was slow-moving, we went for a bike ride into town and had breakfast. We had a nice time, although I still wasn’t sure I liked him enough. About a month went by I hadn’t heard from him, nor barely saw him in our dirt field. Was he avoiding me? Ok, whatever is what I told myself.
Three days before the COVID lockdown he texted me and asked me to go for a walk on Saturday to the beach. We did that and then we did that again on Sunday morning – of course with Bailey in tow because Bailey brings it all together. That Sunday evening, I was making dinner and after a push from a girlfriend, I invited him over for dinner – he came.
After dinner, we discussed dating and he mentioned that we’d take it slow. Slow? What alcoholic does anything slow? I am ready to move in with you after our third date! The following day the entire state of California was on lockdown. Quarantine love happened. Not quickly, but a slow burn as we saw each other almost every day. He lived 10 paces away from me. But far enough away that I couldn’t spy on him. Good for him because I’m nosy Nancy.
By June I was really smitten and feeling “in love” with him. But here’s the thing, cigar guy hadn’t dated in over seven years and he was used to being a bachelor. And I knew he wasn’t the kind of guy that moved at the pace I did. So, I never said it to him. He was the nicest, sweetest, most respectful, and solid person I had dated in years. He was a normie who quit drinking just to support me. He had a good job, he liked being active, he was a good cook, he was clean and tidy, like me, and he enjoyed being around me and he’d tell me so. He had two cats, but I tried not to hold that against him. I’m a dog person and never understood why men would have cats? If any guy is reading this and has cats, please send me an email explaining to me why you’d have cats. Cigar guy had them because he used to travel a lot for work and that made sense to me.
By early July, my lease was up, and I decided to move out of our complex and into a tiny beach cottage a few miles away. His lease was up in August, and he too moved out to a nicer townhouse. We were both busy with work and moving and getting settled that our momentum took a hit. We weren’t seeing each other as much. I would have wanted to see him every day, but he wasn’t like that. He was fine seeing me three times a week. I didn’t like that, and I told him so and he understood, but it didn’t change our courtship schedule. I’d see him most weekends for dinners and usually, we’d do a beach day. We rarely stayed at each other’s place and I feel like we took a step back in the relationship. However, we talked about the upcoming Holidays and things in the future. I thought he could be my forever person.
About four weeks ago I felt a shift. I didn’t feel like I was “in love” with him anymore, but I still loved him and cared about him. I just wasn’t 100% anymore, I was more 80% and figured maybe I’d get “it” back. Deep down I think I knew I couldn’t. We ended up going away together for a weekend, and it was our first time going out of town together and I thought I could get some clarity. The clarity I got was that I don’t think I can stay in a relationship where I’m not 100% committed. I had never felt this way in a relationship before and it felt foreign to me. I felt sad and I didn’t want to do what I knew I needed to do. I had to tell him and get honest and be an adult. I could have stayed with him as it was comfortable, and I’d have a person for Friday night dinner dates and someone to spend the Holidays with – but I knew it wasn’t fair to him or myself. After I told him, I felt relieved – but also felt sad about it all. I asked him how he felt about me, and he told me he loved me. I got annoyed – why didn’t you tell me? He said he had just started feeling it a month ago. Our timing was off, and we lost momentum. I learned a good lesson in this relationship – to always share how I feel about someone, no matter where we are in the relationship. Don’t hold anything back and to have clear communication about my feelings and even ask them about theirs. It’s so important and I wanted to do that – but I had the fear of losing him and it was stronger than the fear of being honest and letting the chips fall where they may.
I feel free today and it’s back to me and Bailey and I’m still mourning the loss of my marriage. I could say a million things to myself about dating someone five months after my spouse left and I have. In the end, I’m not going to blame me or him or God or anyone. Things happen for a reason and I am just here to embrace life as it comes to me. #livingmybestlife has been my hashtag lately. What’s your hashtag as we enter in Fall?