I Just Can’t Force It—by Jamie Levine
As Jayda was settling down to sleep the other night, her little head suddenly popped up from her pillow as she asked, “Mommy, when are you going to get a new boyfriend?” I responded, “I don’t know, Jayda…someday.” Jayda then blurted out, “You need to get one soon!” With a smile on my face, I said, “Ok, Jayda, you’ll have to help me find one.” Jayda looked at me and thought for a second, then said, “Ok. We need to go to Stop and Shop!” When I didn’t say anything (for fear of laughing out loud), Jayda continued, “I think we can find one there.” Clearly, I’ve raised an excellent shopper.
But all kidding aside, it’s starting to bother me that almost everyone I know seems to think I should be out there dating with a vengeance right now. I know I do ultimately want to be in a long-term committed relationship, but I’ve never settled before, and I’ve spent several good years as a successful single mom, so what’s the rush? When I mentioned to some friends that I’d flirted with a single dad at my gym and had even given him a ride home, they were thrilled. They didn’t care when I said he seemed kind and cute, but definitely didn’t have any long-term potential for me. Still others couldn’t contain their excitement when I told them I’d gone on a date the other day with a smart, successful tennis player who was thoroughly smitten with me. When I added that despite enjoying his sense of humor, I hadn’t felt any sparks at all when I’d let him kiss me—most everyone ignored my obvious distress and asked about when the second date would occur.
Library Guy dove into a relationship with me too soon after his divorce, and all of my friends know this was a major factor in his break up with me. So why do these same friends think it’ll be healthy for me to dive into something so quickly after my own heart has been broken? And if I’m actually telling my friends and family that I’m not so sure I’m ready to date yet, why can’t they listen? I’d like to think that if Mr. Right passed into my life right now, I would recognize it and go out with him…but is it really necessary for me to force myself to “grow to be attracted to” that thoroughly smitten guy, or worse, start scouring J-Date to keep myself busy this summer? Maybe that’s right for some women (and maybe some day that kind of dating will even be right for me), but if I’m still thinking about Library Guy and trying to figure out the mistakes I made in falling for him, is it really right (or fair!) for me to be dating up a storm right now? I think not.
As I’ve mentioned here countless times before, being single again isn’t easy for me; though it is getting smaller and smaller, there’s still a significant hole in my heart—and in my life. But I need to fill it with the right man at the right time—when I’m ready. I’m in the best physical shape I’ve been in since before Jayda was born, and everywhere I go, men seem to notice me, so I’m not looking for a quick self-esteem boost. I want the real thing. The right thing. And that doesn’t happen overnight. Fortunately, I do have several wise and understanding friends who have been where I am and know that it takes time to heal—and have assured me that it takes more time for some people than for others. Even a couple of therapists to whom I’ve spoken have promised me that what I’m feeling is normal, and that as long as I’m living my life fully, and taking care of myself and my daughter, it’s ok if I’m not ready to move on completely yet. So I’d like people to know that if I still bring up Library Guy’s name once in awhile, it’s less than helpful to tell me that he’s not worth my thoughts, and that I shouldn’t waste any more of my time on him. My time isn’t wasted if I’m learning and growing and figuring out who I am and what I want. And I’m doing just that. Every single day.