I knew that my marriage was ending long before it ended. It is hard to believe that it is a little over twenty years since I separated from my ex. Once it ended I was uncertain whether or not another relationship was really what I wanted. I had a lot of amazing single mothers in my extended family and friends – some from divorce, some because of widowhood, and some out of another kind of choice. At one point I read a delightful book by Jane Juska entitled “A Round-heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance.” She was long divorced and feeling lonely and placed an advertisement in the personals section of the New York Times Review. This advertisement read: “Before I turn 67 — next March — I would like a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me.”
I was in my mid-thirties after my divorce and I knew that I did not want to wait for my sixties to put myself out there and find love, romance, and intellectual stimulation. Reading this book inspired me to venture out into dating once more and for the longest time I was dating explicitly without looking for a relationship. I would almost exclusively date people who lived in a different city than I did. To protect my personal information somewhat, I had a separate email address that listed my last name as “Jukas” in tribute to Jane Juska.
It has been close to twenty years since my marriage ended and for a wide variety of reasons, I have spent most of my adult life explicitly not in an intimate relationship. I often wanted to keep my distance between my dating life and the rest of my personal and professional life. I have a personality trait of being more than a little stubbornly independent and was not sure that I wanted to let someone into my life as a partner. There are times when I certainly was someone who has an “avoidant” attachment style.
Much like Jane Juska, I often said that what I was looking for was a focus on the sexual connection, and in reality, there was a part of me that I was protecting deep, deep inside of my heart that also wanted to be in a loving relationship. It took time before I could open myself to the possibility of something more of a relationship and started looking for “something more than casual”, on Tuesdays and alternate weekends when my child was with their father. To my surprise, a relationship ended up taking hold from those Tuesdays and alternate weekends. To my disappointment, that relationship ended – that was almost 12 years ago – and for years afterward, I declared that I “didn’t date”. I didn’t date and I got really good at doing things on my own and with my friends. The demands of my work and the demands of being a single parent rather took over the crevices of my life.
Six years I moved back to Ottawa and decided it was time to create some space in my life for the potential of a relationship. I dated and I met someone who sparked my interest. We kept dating until I realized that I did, in fact, want a deeper relationship with this person. After three and half years together, they clearly stated that they did not feel the same level of commitment to me. With that, I was single again, and working on healing my heart once again.
Jane Juska kept exploring and looking for love, sexual connection, intellectual engagement, and a relationship. Some connections lasted a couple of dates, and others many months long. So, I am jumping back into dating, by starting with dating myself.