Dating in the “Loser” Bracket…

Not only did I NOT have a hot date last Saturday night, I never made it out of my pajama’s. Partly because 3 feet of snow fell unexpectedly—and left us snowed in.  A white horse was not necessary; my Night in Shining Armor ideally would have shown up with some sort of snowplow…

 

If not for the Lake Effect Snowstorm in Northeast Ohio, I would have spent Saturday at a wrestling tournament.  I’ve watched a fair amount of wrestling tournaments this winter, which is why the wrestling analogy comes to mind.

I am in the relationship loser’s bracket—like wrestlers who have lost in the early rounds. They cannot get back into contention for a top finishing spot. They get dumped down into the ‘consolation’ matches and wrestle others who have wrestled poorly, made mistakes, or are simply less capable in the sport. It can’t be all that much fun to wrestle in consolation matches.

The kids and I often watch Millionaire Matchmaker on TV. In the show, Patty Stanger finds singles their Perfect Match and has done so with great success for many years. It is obvious that many of the singles remain ‘single’ because they have no idea how to have a relationship. Those Patty matches are often older, with many failed relationships under their belts–and an equal amount of hang-ups. But they think they are fine, that the problem lies in others, or that they just haven’t met ‘the one’ yet.

But really, they are fu%&wits.  Sadly, this TV series has shown me that most singles my age and older are fu%&wits.

And, so am I. After a failed marriage and a (somewhat short) failed relationship, I have hang-ups .

I’d love to claim that I do NOT have these hang-ups—that I have come out of my experiences unscathed. But that would be a lie.

At 41, I am a divorced, single parent. And I am FOR SURE in the losers bracket.

My dating pool? Other failures…

I know a woman whose friend toasted her at her third wedding;

“Here’s to the most optimistic person I know!”

There’s truth there.

I often meet single men when I go out. And I find myself wondering if I could ever commit to a future with another.  It’s easy to talk, to socialize or even to date. That’s all surface. Making a life with somebody is something else altogether.  And I wonder if could ever trust without reservation, or have the proper amount of optimism necessary for a real relationship…

Adults in my situation often play at dating. Meaning they date in a sort of half-assed fashion, with no progression. No engagement or promises of a future, though a future might vaguely be tossed around. They keep their options open.

Which is totally fine. But I don’t think that counts as a relationship. Not really.

That type of thinking is something I NEVER would have understood a few years back. But now I totally get it. In fact, the thought of limiting my options or tying myself down again makes my palms sweat.

I would think that I would get over those feelings in time. Because I would like to share my life with somebody special. Someday. In the distant—and vague—future.

One thing I’ve learned.  I would far rather be alone, than be with a person who causes me unhappiness, tension or who tries to change me into somebody I am not.

Many think that relationships fall apart when people live together, or marry. I’ve started to think that things fall apart when people are not ‘themselves.’ If a relationship progresses and a couple spend the dating phase being something/somebody they are NOT and they decide to share a home, let’s face it…THE JIG IS UP!!  And in a hurry…

Though I hope to have another ‘special’ man in my life—again, in the vague future—I’m not sure I could ever marry again. In marriage and committed relationships, both parties must drop their guard and throw caution to the wind. I could probably do that again for an extra ‘special’ man, if it was only me. But my children would inevitably be involved.

There’s no getting around it. Any relationship of mine will impact my children. And they have been through enough. Why have them dragged to holiday celebrations with people who aren’t ‘family’ to them—in the name of what works for me? For me,iIt is unthinkable to miss the children’s’ important events, or spend special occasions/holiday’s without my children. It is a rare person who would understand my limitations here.

And if I ever lived with somebody, my adult children might come home from college or for a visit at a place that wasn’t ‘home’ to them. Or likely didn’t feel like home. Our dynamic would be altered.

Oddly enough, I am often asked if I could see myself back together with my ex-husband. I cannot. We had many good years together and we get along just fine as a ‘friends’—but that is done. I simply don’t feel the same way about him, as I did before all he%$ broke loose in our marriage. And not because of the hurts I suffered. Or even that he suffered.

The divorce hurt my children. As an adult, I can get over that which hurt me. But hurt my children (or ANY children) and ALL is lost for me. I just cannot feel the same about a person after that. In my book, no words, gifts or deed can make up for causing hurt to a child. Period. There is no explanation good enough. Especially considering that children get only one childhood.

Yet I am keenly aware that children follow their parents’ lead. That they look to their us as role models for their future relationships. I very much wish I could set an example for my children—but maybe no example is better than a bad example. Or exposing them to several failed relationships.

And so there I was last weekend. Snowed in.  All plans cancelled. With time on my hands to ponder my feelings on another relationship. Because recent events had me thinking about what I really want, or at least how I want to proceed…

Which is why I thought of the wrestlers. How frustrating it must be to put so much time, energy and dedication into their sport…then lose. And wrestling is one tough sport. They probably aren’t eager to get back on the mat and wrestle for…nothing, really. Some of them must feel that to continue wrestling in the consolation bracket isn’t at ALL worth it.

I’m not sure it is worth dating in the ‘consolation bracket’ either.

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About Amy Lauria

Artist. Writer. Single Parent of two college students. Beach Walker. Dog owner who walks outdoors to maintain sanity. Into shiny objects, vacations, glitter, cupcakes, sports, and my beloved sticks, stones and beach glass.
This entry was posted in Dating after Divorce and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dating in the “Loser” Bracket…

  1. Stella says:

    Fraggle, that was borderline depressing. Maybe its just me in my ” still not feeling a 100% self”, but I strongly disagree with a large part of your post. You have always found a way to do your thing in a way that works great for you and the cherubs. Companionship will be no different. Just saying. You know Stella knows best. HAAAAAAAAAA!

  2. Amy Lauria says:

    Stella….you may be right. (Who am I kidding? You are usually not far off the mark…) I certainly wasn’t going for ‘borderline depressing.’ That’s for sure!! And if you felt that way, I am not looking forward to Kate reading the post. I honestly have no idea how a blog will go over until others read it. Some that I loved have gone over like a ‘fart in church.’ (i.e. they sucked) Others I have been unsure of, were actually (to my surprise) enjoyed by many. At any rate, thanks for your positive thoughts on my ability to make things work. I suppose time will tell…

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