Thursday, August 23, 2012

After All These Years


Ten years ago this month, my 20-year marriage officially ended in divorce. For the longest time, I floundered in a daze, swimming upstream, trying to keep myself and my teenage daughter afloat in the midst of our life-altering typhoon. Breathing was often easier said than done, and, needless to say, getting married again was the last thing on my mind.

Fast forward 10 years, and much has changed. I have a job, making more money than I ever dreamed. I have a nice home, nestled among the pines. I've built solid friendships that I hold dear. Indeed, God has been good.

The only thing that hasn't changed is the part about getting married again. I'm still playing Solitaire, after all these years, you might say. Not looking for Mr. Right, and not praying that Mr. Right comes along. Just living and letting live.

For the most part, I have been happy with my solitary status. Good relationships require so much energy, and I've had little to give. With that being said, however, the past few weeks have found me feeling more alone and lonely than usual. I know I'm not truly alone in the world—I have family and friends. But, in reality, they have their own lives to live, and at the end of the day, it's just me, coming home to a house where nobody is waiting.

I can't tell you that I always wish someone were waiting, but I can tell you that some days I dread unlocking the door and going in. Generally, I'm talking aloud to myself before I even put my purse down, doing what I can to scare the ghosts of silence away.
In a nutshell, I miss having someone to share my life with. Someone to share those ordinary, yet special, moments with: A quiet rain. A cool morning. The smell of cookies baking in the oven. A funny story I heard. A new recipe.

But, alas, it's just me in the big house, experiencing those moments alone.

Occasionally, someone urges me to "get out there!" and find Mr. Wonderful, and while I appreciate their well-intentioned advice, "out there" is a bit weird for a woman my age—I've been "out there" enough to know. The dating pool is less than ideal. Mr. Wrongs are everywhere (even in the church choir), and, more often than not, they're dragging loads of serious baggage behind them. I'm not convinced I could find love.

Besides, statistics show that in the U.S. 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.

Theories abound as to why, but in his article, "The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages,"  Mark Banschick, psychiatrist and author, believes the prime factor affecting the breakup of second and third marriages is that there is "less glue" holding the marriages together, meaning children and family.

Banschick explains: "Because the great majority of children born to married couples are born during their first marriage, most couples in a second marriage do not have common children to bind them together. Conversely, not having shared responsibility for kids means it's easier to leave when you are going through a rough patch."

Certainly, there are exceptions to every rule—and we all want to believe that we would be an exception. But unless I am head-over-heels, can't-live-without-him in love, getting married again remains low on my list of priorities. I'm not saying never, but you get my drift.

I wish there was at least one man on the planet who just wanted to be my friend. A man who would provide conversation, and company without pushing me for anything more. I truly miss a man's perspective on things. But, of course, no such man exists. And I totally get that. Men don't do platonic relationships with woman. I get it. End of story. Not happening in this lifetime. I get it. I really, really do.

I've considered starting a boarding house and inviting wayfaring strangers in. I have the extra space. I like to cook. What's not to love?
  
I've also considered selling my worldly goods, getting in the car and driving until the money runs out. It wouldn't solve my "alone" dilemma, per se, but a little wind in my face might give me a whole new outlook on life, love and playing Solitaire. God knows I need an outlook overhaul if I'm going to continue playing this bittersweet game. ♦

16 comments:

  1. I love you and think you're amazing! I hope you truly end up finding someone to share your evenings with... Until then, I'm always right down the road with a little angel who loves to keep her Aunt Gayle company! :-)

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    1. Awww. That just made me little teary-eyed and meant the world to me. I love you so much, and that "little angel" is tightly wrapped around her Aunt Gayle's heart.

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  2. Gayle... I'm really am so sorry your beautiful fairy tale wedding story did not have the happy ever after ending... I do hope and pray God will reward you with the perfect companion that you can have a fairy tale ending like you could have never imagined and I hope it's just around the corner! Love, Ruth

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    1. Thank you for those kind wishes, Ruth. They meant a lot.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your feelings and your life experience. Courage, love and spirit came through loud and clear. I admire everyone of these!
    I pray that you find contentment.

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    1. Thank you, Christine. As I told a friend yesterday, quitting isn't an option when you're pulling the wagon alone. Got to have courage and spirit for sure. Thank you for your prayer.

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  4. Lonely is something that I know well and is sometimes very loud and very scary. You just wrote my story, cept my marriage was 32 years when it ended. I sold the house and I did get in my car and start a drive, that is another story. I don't plan to every remarry so here I sit alone.

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    1. Wow. Thirty-two years. You know where I am if you need a shoulder.

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  5. We're always here for you ... and right down the road, too. I know we can't make up for that special someone, sharing those special moments, but wherever we are, you don't need an invitation. And we especially love cookies in the oven.

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  6. I want to comment...
    It's my nature to feel the need to say something, and my nature follows me into Blog Land and overtalks there just like in real life.

    I have nothing to say because I'm chewing on this. What I'm thinking is that I have some friends going through this same thing, and I really need to be a better friend to them and not act as if their loneliness doesn't exist just because they don't wear a badge every day reminding me of it.

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  7. Nice article Gayle...I too have just divorced and so I relate. Except for me there are an abundance of women it's just I'm scared to get married again. As for the loneliness, my best friend was married almost 50 years and his wife died. Now he's alone; so even in the best of circumstances we all face loneliness. It's just part of life. Thankfully I have lots of friends who like to party and they always invite me along. Keeps me going. There is this couple in my church his 4th marriage her 2nd. They've been married almost 30 years and are the happiest couple I've ever met...So it can happen.

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    1. Best of luck to you, Greg, as you move forward with your life.

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  8. I know what you mean, Gayle! My first husband left when my daughter was less than a year old. 8 years of singleness followed. Didn't date, too much time spent raising my daughter, working, caring for our home. I was very happy being single.
    Finally, I said to God, "I am happy being single, but I want to be in Your will. If You have someone out there, You will have to drop him in front of me, 'cause I am sure not looking for someone!"
    Met my hubby, we became friends first, now married almost 11 years. Being married to a godly man, it only gets better each year!

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    1. Carol, I can't imagine my spouse leaving when my daughter was less than a year old. How hard that must have been. I am content most of the time being single--even happy some, but I do miss sharing those special moments with someone else. Like you, I tell God if someone is out there for me, he'll have to bring him to me.I don't pursue men, never have, never will.

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  9. Hi Gayle, I'm your newest follower. I completely empathize, having ended a 28-year marriage at the age of 55 -- so scary, but I decided it would be better to be alone than so unhappy. Interesting thing, though -- I did meet the man of my dreams and we are now happily enjoying the September years of our lives together. There's always hope, but I appreciate your willingness to be patient.

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    1. I'm glad you've found love, Elise. All the best to you and yours.

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