Ready or Not

Not too long ago, my daughter told me that some of her friends were wondering if I am going to start dating now that I am getting a divorce.

Just so we’re all clear on this, I think we all know that none of her friends care whether or not I ever go on another date.  I assured her – and her “friends’ – that yes, I will probably date again someday, but that I’m not ready yet.  How, she wondered, will I know when I’m ready?

“I’ll just know,” I told her.

I’ve talked about it a few times since then.  Thought about it.  Joked about it, although I was only half-joking when I asked my friends if they thought there might be an online dating service for short, overweight, partially handicapped people in their forties.  Pretty specific, I know, but I’ve seen commercials for some other specific dating sites:  Christian Mingle, Farmers, etc.

I’ll know when I’m ready.

I’ve flirted a little bit.  Flirting is fun.  And harmless.  Well, mostly harmless.  I’ve had a lot of fantasies about Randolph Mantooth, Josh Hartnett and Eric Allan Kramer.  Quite the variety, I know; I’m keeping my options open.

I’ll know when I’m ready.

“You need a man who reads as much as you do,” said my daughter, the matchmaker.  “Who’s into science fiction and comic books and anime and Dr. Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy.  “

Honey, I’ll never meet men like that.  They are all living in their parents’ basements.

However, I think I was propositioned recently.  I don’t know.  It might have been flirting, but it might have been a definite offer.  He’s an old and dear friend from long ago, and his, er, offer is definitely appealing.  I asked a friend what she thought he meant, and instead of answering she asked me a question.

“Is he, you know, worth shaving?”  My friends are pretty blunt.  They have to be; I don’t do well with subtlety.

“He’s worth more than shaving,” I sighed.  “He’s worth waxing.”

She advised me to go for it, and promptly hurried home to attack her husband.  I wasn’t sure if I should be worried for him, or if he owed me a big thank you for planting ideas in her head.

And then I had a panic attack.  A heart pounding, lungs squeezing, hands trembling panic attack.  And not just at the thought of potential nudity in my near future – although my nudity would have been a frightening thing, his nudity would surely be like a work of art. A thing of beauty.  And when  I go into panic mode at the thought of seeing nude and beautiful . . . things, I need to face the truth.

I am not ready.

Some women are able to have a quick, meaningless fling to celebrate being single.  I wish I could; I rather like the idea of a few commitment-free encounters to help ease me back into the dating world, but that’s just not who I am.  I was an old-fashioned girl before I got married, and I’m an old-fashioned woman now that I’m divorced.  Like the song says, I’m “sadder but wiser.”  And still old-fashioned.

So I played dumb and pretended not to question any kind of possible subtext under my friend’s message.  If he meant nothing, we are good.  If he was just teasing, we are still good.  If he actually meant anything more than that, I hope he understood that my stupidity was masking my terror.

I want to fall in love again.  I want to feel beautiful and desirable and cherished.  I want to kiss someone until my lips feel bruised, and I want to drift off to sleep in someone’s arms again.  I want to hold hands in public and kiss goodbye before work in the morning, and I want to mean it when I say, “I love you.”  I want him to mean it when he says it back.

But I’m not ready.  I’m too afraid.

I’ll know when I’m ready.  I don’t know how I’ll know, but I’ll know.

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

3 thoughts on “Ready or Not”

  1. I’ve never been married or divorced, but I know that when we ask God for a partner, and we only trust him.. we end up being surprised with something more beautiful than we could have ever thought of or our friends could have set us up with 🙂 Fatih. God Bless You! 🙂


  2. Your story evoked a bit of pity, not toward you, but myself. I recall the days as if they were just yesterday, feeling desirable, confident and secure within my chosen world, and then the floor gave out below me. The free-fall was paralyzingly frightful. The climb, up and out of the ravine was tortuous and all consuming.

    It is the trust issue that I find the most difficult, and while I laugh with you about being seen without my clothing, I also remind myself that the same fear is most likely one a partner might feel, as well.

    I wish you all the best. Be kind to yourself and become your best friend all over again. Love will find you again, and when it does, you really will know that the time is right.


  3. Yes, and Yes again. You will know. It might be tomorrow and maybe next year but you will know. I am where you are and have been where you are and will be where you are again I am more than certain. The thing is, don’t wait. Jump in with both feet, flay about a bit. It doesn’t mean you have to get naked, but you do have to have fun and flirt and smile and go to dinner and explore options.


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