We’ll start at the beginning, because that is always the best place to start… wait, ok- perhaps we should start at the beginning of this adventure…..
In 2005, I married the love of my life and became the fairytale princess of my own story. I had the most perfect pretty, pretty princess wedding. I lived on a 66 acre horse farm in the heart of Maryland horse country. I fox chased and went to steeplechase races and white tie balls. I was living the life I dreamed of as little girl playing with my Barbie dolls.
But like all fairytales, this story took a turn for the worse. I was struck down with Lyme Disease and was bedridden for a year and half. While bedridden I became a walking cliché- my husband cheated on me, with a girl exactly half his age, who was my good friend. In fact, she was more like my niece- I had known her since she was 15, and cared about her like she was my own family; I even allowed her to live with me when she came home from college on breaks. In hindsight, that was not such a great idea.
Devastated, I needed to breakaway, to start fresh. I decided to follow a lifelong dream to study religion at the graduate level. I left Maryland behind and set forth for Atlanta, Georgia and seminary.
My first semester I hid behind the technicality that I was married and just like the ostrich, buried my head deep in the sand and tried to not think about the significance of the situation that is my love life. But after a few months I decided to enter the “pre-thinking about thinking about dating phase.” I was very cautious about this as last time I fell into marriage too quickly.
Yes, I have the nasty habit of getting married. My favorite personal quote: “weddings are fabulous, I recommend having several.” I am currently in my second legal marriage (don’t get me started on the non-legal ones.) I went on my first date with my second husband the day after my first husband moved out. I had intended to take six months for myself before re-entering the dating world. However my friend Pattie had other plans and shoved me right into the deep end before I could even gasp for air. As I lay in the arms of my dream man, living my dream life, watching movies like “Under the Tuscan Sun” or “Must Love Dogs,” I thanked my lucky stars for not having to go through that. Diane Lane’s fictional characters imbued me with simultaneous fear and gratitude. I knew that I had dodged a bullet through Pattie's intervention in my love life, thereby allowing me to avoid the whole dating thing.
Yes, it is movies about the attractive, yet scorned, middle-age divorcee that rack me with fear.
Hence, the “pre-thinking about thinking about dating” phase. I spoke ad nauseum to my girlfriends about my concerns and fears. In the last fifteen years I had only kissed three fellas and I had been married to two of them. How was I going to date?? I was never good at dating to begin with- I spent more time chasing them than catching them. I tended to fall too quickly, both in and out of attraction. Love is a wild and wonderful roller coaster; I enjoy every climb, every loopty loop and every drop. But now I am approaching 40, is all this juvenile behavior still appropriate?