Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Swinging Single Life

When I was going through my divorce, and occasionally since then, well-intentioned friends have commented that the silver lining to it all is "getting" to experience dating again. They'd wax rhapsodic about the excitement and giddiness of going through those initial falling-in-like moments that come in the early stages of a relationship.

I didn't know what to say at the time. I thought they were nuts, but that didn't seem very polite. Plus, I was the newly-divorced one--what did I know about relationships?

Well, it's been a couple years and counting, and I would like to say what I've been wanting to say all along:

Dating sucks.

Marriage is way better. Dating is a necessary evil to get to that point. It has its enjoyable moments. Yes, the thrill of early 'falling-in-like' is fun. But marriage is so much better.

It's like shopping for the perfect couch. For most of us, the perfect couch isn't going to just fall into our laps. We've got to do the work--research the options, get out and visit the stores and try them out, carefully think through what we want most and how much we're willing to pay. But the entire purpose to it all is that at SOME point, we choose one, pay the price, and take it home. And that's when the real fun begins. That's when we start enjoying the couch.

Yes, dating as shopping is a very flawed metaphor. I only use it to make a point.

Maybe I should just say exactly what I want to say, which is this: those of you who are fortunate enough to have nice, normal, relatively happy marriages are BLESSED. If you don't get those little butterflies when he walks into the room anymore, well, I can think of worse things. Things like missing your kids like crazy because they are spending the weekend with their dad again and the house is far too quiet. Things like making up one more chore to do so you don't have to face an empty bed for as long. Facing every home repair--every clogged toilet and broken sink and non-functioning heater--alone. Giving up on cooking because there's no one to cook for. The swinging single life is a lonely life.

I'm not saying this to bring on a pity party. I firmly believe that living happily single is preferable to living miserably married. I love how full and rich my life is, how blessed with good friends and wonderful kids and busy things to do, it is. I don't look back with regrets.

I just want to set the record straight.