A reminder and a secret.

by mssinglemama on February 16, 2009

On Valentine’s Day I went out with my single friends.

The bar was packed. After a toast to being single I wandered off, as I tend to do in new bars. I like to just be alone sometimes. But I couldn’t find a second to myself. There were men everywhere. In fact, the place was like a man zoo.

The attention was nice but I didn’t want them, not a one.

My man diet, I have realized, could be more than just a diet.

In fact, the longer I go without one the less I want one. The “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra is now stuck on repeat. A problem I’m sure is very common for single parents. But is it really a problem? When you’ve been in my shoes and married to my ex-husband why would you ever want to take that chance again? It’s going to take time and a lot of trust… trust in myself, before I can trust someone else again.

Don’t worry though.

I’ll be looking into this, along with everything else swimming up in that head of mine. Here’s a question I’ve been saving up for Wonder Woman (turns out my insurance does cover her therapy sessions):

“Why do I look at them (men) and just see giant boys I’ll have to take care of someday? How long will this last? How long do I have to fast from them to want them again?”

A few hours later we left, dashing into the frigid air for the walk back to our car. I grabbed a cigarette but couldn’t find a lighter. The air slashed up against my face, ripping at my cheeks and down my neck.

“Damn it. Can someone please give me a light,” I said totally exasperated.

And then, almost as if he’d been dropped onto the sidewalk from some movie set, a man appeared ahead of us. He was walking quickly, clearly on his way somewhere, but I noticed him reach into his pocket and pull out a lighter before my friends even had a chance to react.

He was getting closer. I could see his features now, rough and dark. Beautiful.

Then he raised his arm and stopped just long enough to light my cigarette. By the time I turned around he was gone.

Unlike every other man that night he didn’t throw me a line or try to get my number. And for that brief second when our eyes met I felt as though I could feel a part of him. His eyes, it seemed, had pain behind them. Some kind of pain or love or a combination of both. Whatever it was I could tell it was real, refreshing and free of any bull shit.

He was a man.

And a reminder.

A reminder that swearing off men is easy until one shows up.

If I told you I was happy when he walked away so quickly, that I didn’t have a chance to even say one word to him – I’d be lying.

We do need men for some things, I guess I’m just not sure what. And I do want a man. I’m just not sure when or how that is going to happen. But we shall see… all I know is that taking the time to think about this or not think about it – whatever it is I’m doing – is very nice.

[P.S.

My secret - I am a very light smoker, but a smoker none the less. It was either a cigarette or a gun when I left my husband. I'm really proud of how far I've come on my road to quitting but I'll save that story for another day.]

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Kati February 17, 2009 at 3:29 am

The right man will come along in time. (This is what i keep telling myself at least). Love the new look of your blog. Have a great week!

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Nikki February 17, 2009 at 6:12 am

Great post! It is a bit of a quandary, isn't it? 'Can live perfectly well without them, save a useful arm muscle from time to time…but there's still this aching need for one…

Love the new look! :O)

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Lesli February 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Alaina, I totally can relate to not even realizing or recognizing what you're trying to say when you blog–I do this all the time. I have a thought–start on it–then end up feeling like I'm making no sense or just talking in circles. BUT as my blog states right at the top, it's my own self-therapy and my way of dealing with my life in the state that it is.

I actually had this guy that I had gone out with ONE TIME criticize me over things I had written in my blog–that I "obviously was not over" my past and that I seemed to have little self-esteem and that there appeared to be a lot of drama in my life–I was like, WTF? I went out with this one time and just b/c I kept putting him off, he makes all these assumptions about me as a person based only on what I've written? Good riddance….

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Lesli February 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm

(Cont'd) Which brings me to this: I think there is a strong difference between "wanting" and "needing" a man. I have met people in my life that truly are "need" someone to take care of or to be taken care of. And I have also met people that made themselves miserable in their longing for a man. I think that for most of us, we are somewhere in the middle. Do I NEED a man? Of course not….do I want one? Sure–I miss the companionship, the sex, the daily exchange of "how was your day" and "you look great" kind of stuff. I believe I will be with someone eventually–but I'm sure as hell not going to get there by continuing to sleep with my ex-boyfriend who announces to me yesterday–in a text message–that his "heart is still with" me. What?

So hang in there and keep being the great single mom that you are….I agree with Kelly….you'll stumble across him when you least expect it or when you aren't really looking. Love to you!

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Shani February 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I have been divorced for 11 years, and been on countless dates and one long term (6 yr) relationship. After my divorce, I didnt want a man. I didnt want to hurt.then I met the next man and fell hard. we still love each other but blending families and children was more difficult than either of us had planned on. I am single again and although I would love to have companionship, I also have come to understand that I dont need a man.
Now my children are about to leave the nest and that void is difficult for me but that will not be the reason I want a man. I may just have more time for one. In eleven years, my priority has not been myself. as it is now.- Good words.

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PT-LawMom February 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Girl, you give me strength. :) I just broke up with Blue Eyes yesterday. Went by his house this morning after he left for work and picked up my things to avoid a scene. I realized that the incompatabilities are insurmountable, that I deserve better and that I really, really, REALLY need to work on my own trust issues and self-esteem before I get into a relationship again. I was divorced in July and leapt way too quickly into something else. Now I just need the strength not to let him pull me back in, as I know he will try to do. I know we aren't right for each other in the long term. Why waste time (and potentially hurt Pumpkinhead) on something that just isn't right for either of us? Sigh… Hopefully I can start to feel a bit more confident about it.

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bonnie February 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

The bars were crazy vdate night!!! It have never seen people hooking up so fast and flirting so hard. ! was out with girlfriends too, even though I am remarried I still hang with my single mamma friends. Oh so many of those BOYS that were out are single for a reason. I am remarried to a definite MAN, but let me tell you he is still a little boy underneath. The boy in him still puts a bouncy ball in his pocket on the way to the train every morning and puts over his battleship losses to our ten year old :) Both are needed, but in the same body to keep things fun. And yes, he'll come along of course, just when you are not expecting him. Have fun kissing all those boys on the way to your man!!!

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TsQuest February 17, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I'm happy for those little reminders.

Everything in its time Alaina. I'm proud of you for all of the awareness lately. You go girl!

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Penelope February 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Ya know what? I think the thing here is that you just haven't met the right one. I think that when you do, it won't be hard remembering how beneficial having a partner can be. We humans are social creatures, meant to be in relationships with others. Think not only of what YOU have to offer others, but what others have to offer you. The right man will complement you, will bring out your best qualities, will inspire you to bigger and better things. He's out there. Likely when you stop looking is when he'll show up.

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littlemansmom February 17, 2009 at 7:43 pm

If anyone can tell ya it's me…heck, I waited 8 loooooooong years before finding my Mr. Hopeful :) and I've been through some rough crap. I was ready and confident that I was fully prepared to be single for the rest of my life…but then, there he was. Be patient, stay sure, be true to you and he just may come outta no where….but he'll be there…when it's the right moment…and he'll be all yours. ;)

And…I love the new look!

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Dawn February 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Seriously, I dream of a man neighbor and that's as far as I go.

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Sheila February 18, 2009 at 12:06 am

I'm not really ready to start thinking about a man, but I have one thing that is keeping me going — hope. In the midst of all the stories about boys, jerks, and Bozos, there are those very special and true and beautiful romances happening right here and right now. Gotta keep the hope alive!

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mssinglemama February 18, 2009 at 12:10 am

Cheers to hope! Yeah… like Morgan and Little Man's Mom (Tracy). Oh! And now Mommy Pie is taken. The single mamas are dropping like flies. I guess if you're hoping for a man – great, but to get one you have to just hope for happiness solo.

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Sheila February 18, 2009 at 1:00 am

About the smoking, we all have to have *something* to get us through the tough times. I totally understand.

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penelope February 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

It's funny how being independent, really knowing ourselves, and not needing a man for happiness makes us so attractive to….well…..men. The right ones, anyhow.

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Canadian Bald Guy February 18, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Well…things aren't so different on the other side of the fence, ladies.

After I split from my wife, I really didn't want to be with another woman. I didn't want to go through the pain again…the angst…the hurt. Then I thought I was ready for a relationship when I really wasn't…and searching for love only made me feel worse.

So I gave up. I said F-it. I'm just going to continue on my merry little way…hang out with my kids as much as possible and ease my way back into social circles whenever it feels comfortable.

It wasn't long after that time that love found me.

So while I can totally understand the feeling of not wanting to go back into the same situation again…all men are NOT created equal. All men are NOT cads. And all men are NOT simply good for one thing.

The right one will come along. And it's when you truly aren't expecting it is when it'll hit you like a ton of bricks. And then you'll be wondering why you ever felt being alone was possibly the better option.

~~~

Oh…and about the smoking…cheers to you wanting to quit. My hope is that you do. It'll be five years smoke-free for me on February 23rd (a pack-a-day for 16 years). I may have gained a bit of weight, but I feel a million times better. And I know my 10-year old daughter is a lot happier about the situation. It's a hard habit to break…but I think you're strong enough to do it.

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Ms. Single Mama February 19, 2009 at 12:39 am

I think it's interesting how everyone took this post in a bit of a different way. Unless I'm imagining it… but it was kind of open, a blank slate of a story and you all took your impressions of what I had written and left some very interesting comments that could be reflective of your own feelings.

Or I've just completely lost it b/c I haven't had a smoke in 48 hours. Not quite sure.

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karen February 19, 2009 at 2:47 am

Wow. I am glad that hasn't happened to me yet. I am still so glad to be single, yet secretly wanting to date, but do still think of men as boys. I love your website by the way..

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cynd February 19, 2009 at 4:27 am

I finally gave up trying to find a man, becuase I honestly don't need one. The ones that are already floating around in my natural life, I'm open to them, but I just don't have time to need anything esle in my crazy universe right now. I'm loving it this way!

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TJack February 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Its great that you all don't feel like you "need" someone, but its also a little sad. I agree in the respect that I don't need a woman to survive, but that doesn't mean I don't lay awake at night wondering if she's out there. Wondering what she's doing or wondering if she feels the same desire to find me as I do for her. Its all in how you define "need" I guess. Maybe I don't need her, but I yearn for her, I desire her, and I anxiously await the time in which we can be together. I pray she feels the same desire for me. So perhaps, in a less literal sense, I do "need" her.

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mssinglemama February 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm

You yearn for her, desire her and anxiously await her appearance but you don't know who she is? I get what you're saying – I do – we have to be open to love. But I think that's a tad extreme. But we are coming from two different places. Remember, these are the thoughts of single mothers – women who have had their hearts trampled by men. We are trying to regain our footing. So it's a bit different.

But we are open to the idea of love. I just think there's a big difference between being open to it and needing love to fill up your life in some way.

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