Life Advice



Single File: Body Language

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I finally ended a long marriage that was filled with lies, cheating and mental and verbal abuse. (It took years for the divorce to become final.) My therapist, children, family and friends all are encouraging me to start dating again and begin a new life with a new man who deserves and respects me. I shudder at the thought. Whenever the topic is even mentioned I begin to shake and sometimes even cry. I've been so scarred by my past relationship that the issue of trust is more than a hurdle; it's like breaking through a brick wall. I'm very happy surrounded by family and friends -- and happy to finally be on my own. I know I have many good years ahead (I'm approaching the age of 50), but why must they be with a partner? Must I start dating again to "heal" and make my life "complete"? -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: At 50, you certainly have earned the right to determine your own life -- for now, and for all time. You've had such trauma that instinctively you shy away from the merest mention of another marriage. Listen carefully to those inner cues; their wisdom is undeniable, and it is signaling a delay in partnership. Now that could be for all time -- certainly a fulfilling life can be lived without a husband -- or simply for this recuperative phase, however long it will be. The nurturing support system of family and friends you have around you is a most wonderful treasure, but they don't feel what you feel, even now as you remember the past. Your physical reaction to that memory speaks volumes about your readiness for dating. To me, it is the final word, all that matters right now. What's the hurry? Right now you need time to recuperate and get to learn about yourself apart from the past. You're growing into a whole new person, and you need time to appreciate yourself as you mutate into a woman on her own. (Imagine the self-confidence that will bring!) You'll know soon enough when you're ready for the rigors of dating; those same viscera will signal your yearning for the love of a good man. Don't hurry your healing.

DEAR SUSAN: I can see why a fellow blogger agreed to let her ex-husband have the twins on weekends. He'd have to schedule his sleepovers during the week! -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: What then? He'd have (much) less energy and spare time to spend on his purported dalliances? But his time with his twins -- weekend, Daddy time -- well, that's special time and it has got to be delicious. Think of it -- back-to-back days with no set have-to-do, rambling with his twins all to himself. But then, what about his licentious trysts ... have they become less important in his scheme of things? I'd have to say yes, they have. Fleshly urges pale in comparison with the real stuff, the love filling his heart every time he takes the hands of his two progenies. That's fatherly affection, born of the same chromosomes he shares with them, and nothing -- no, not even woman's fleshly allure comes close to capturing -- and keeping -- his affection. Weekdays or weekends, it's flesh of his flesh that has the real stuff. The stuff that lasts.



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