Suddenly single...that should be the name of a book or a reality show, a dramedy, for sure. Being single again is a trip, especially when it's unexpected and not by choice. I can honestly say that I could not relate to my divorced friends until I joined the ranks of the single moms. I have new respect for single parents and "midlife" daters. My then-husband died tragically and unexpectedly (story to follow someday when I feel I can share those crazy details).
Coming from a less-than-perfect marriage, I realized that if I was going to date again I would have to be very smart about it. I had a gripping fear of being hurt so deeply again, but also there was far more at stake than my feelings. I have children and certainly dating and allowing a man in my life would affect them and I had to be in control of HOW that man would affect them...and me.
Before I was interested in dating again, I developed The List. I did it before getting "out there" because I wanted to make it very clear to myself what I would and would not accept in a man. I had not chosen so wisely in the past. I wanted to smarten myself up and be strong. In this aspect, I had to have in demands like no other. And, I reminded myself, whatever ended up on this list, whatever it was that I insisted a mate have, I had to be those things too. If Mr. Perfect-for-Me was going to have all these wonderful qualities, then he'd deserve no less in me.
Hence, The List was borne out of necessity--absolute, undeniable necessity. I think as woman sometimes we go through a whole bunch of "yeah, buts..." when dealing with men. For example, he doesn't have a job. "Yeah, but he's been looking." He doesn't pay his child support. "Yeah, but his ex won't let him see the kids much." He doesn't speak to you very respectfully. "Yeah, but, he's really stressed at work." We make excuses for these men and by doing so, we only enable their pattern of not stepping up and being MEN. What's worse, we tolerate it...often because we think we don't deserve better.
That time surrounding when I made The List were epiphanic for me. Not only did I realize what I wanted and needed, but I learned how to be strong, stick to my guns and accept nothing less than I should, and to trust God to find that for me. When that happened...holy crap. Life got so interesting. Stay tuned and I'll share The List and how I utilized it.