Single. Again.

I’m approaching the eight year mark of being a widow. Almost eight years of being single again. I didn’t plan to be middle-aged and single. But then, I didn’t plan on Terry dying, either. While widowhood stinks, being single isn’t all bad. I answer only to myself. (Sort of, my kids think they have a say!) I can hang out with whomever I want, wherever I want, as long as I want. I don’t have to worry about what I wear to bed at night. No one cares. I can sleep with any or all of the dogs. There’s plenty of room. I don’t have to make awkward small talk with his friends from work nor do I force him to do the same. I’m not required to spend time with the in-laws. It’s now my choice. I can stay up late reading or watching reruns (or both) and not bother anyone.

But there are disadvantages, too. I do answer only to myself. Which means there’s no one to share the burden for decisions that need to be made. It’s all up to me, good or bad. And while I can hang out when, where & with whom I want, I’m still learning how to do that. It’s not the same as being single in my twenties when we seemed to always be part of a group. Many of my friends are married. And even the single ones have built lives around work and kids. It’s much harder to coordinate getting together. Life often gets in the way. I’ve learned to go to some restaurants alone. I always have an e-book or two available in case I’m feeling a bit awkward. I can’t say that I enjoy it, but it beats eating cold cereal in front of the TV or fast-food in the car. My daughter has become my “date” for company functions so that I avoid having to dress up and go alone. She enjoys meeting the young people from my office. And, she saves some poor guy the discomfort of having to deal with assumptions and questions of my office friends.

While I have dated a bit the past few years, the whole dating scene is very scary to me. Things have changed since my last foray into the single world. Sex seems to be an accepted part of dating for most. I had one potential date ask some very personal questions about very personal areas. Call me old-fashioned, but I really didn’t see a need for sharing that level of detail that early in a relationship. And I thought “does the carpet match the curtains” was an intrusive question in the 80’s. It’s only gotten worse. When I discuss dating with my kids, it makes for interesting conversations. While both Zac and Gracie are concerned that I’ll be all alone, they have different views on how to deal with it. My son is constantly encouraging me to get out there and date. My daughter, on the other hand, would rather not think about me dating at all. She’s pretty sure she can fill the void.

I’m okay with the single life. Usually. It’s just that sometimes I miss the intimacy of being in a relationship. Not the intimacy of sex, but of companionship. I miss being able to pick up the phone and call, just because. The comfort of knowing that even on a bad day, someone cares about me. The easy conversations about major events or nothing at all. Last minute dinner and movie outings, quick road trips to no-where in particular, hanging out doing those day-to-day shopping chores. A relationship with no fear of saying too much and upsetting the balance or crossing some imaginary line. I miss that most of all. I miss just being together, part of A couple.

Hey, I’m just a clunky, middle-aged mom. I don’t have a lot to offer when compared with the younger, sleeker, flirtier women out there. Lets just say I’ve got lots of history and “character”. This Single Again tag is probably going to become Single Forever. I just have to remember to enjoy the good parts and enjoy the memories that I’ve made. And, that’s okay.

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