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Does it really happen nowadays that single men fall for a woman and they go after her regardless of her baggage (divorced with kids?)?
March 2, 2010 1:36 AM   Subscribe

I feel like I will never have the type of a guy I desire because who wants a divorced woman with two kids?

Ok, guys, it's a long story. But I will appreciate all the opinions. I have about 10 minutes to type it so I hope there are not too many mistakes there.

My husband and I work at the same place. Before I joined the company he worked in the department that I am working in now. Just before I got the job he resigned from his position and joined a different section of the company.

When I started this job we were still together but already on the rocks in our relationship but he introduced me as his wife, we have two children. We are both attractive people and my husband is very well regarded by all the people at work. I am much younger (we have 16 years gap) and I could see that people were amazed that I was as young and as good looking, well based on the comments and glances and compliments.

So about 4 months ago my husband and I separated to be divorced, it is mutual and we straight away started telling family & friends but not people at work as we decided to take it slow and get used to the idea of us being apart, etc.

Then I noticed this guy at work, he was always polite saying Hi and calling me by name even though we never spoke, eye contact but no conversations, he is really quiet and kind of a loner. He got my attention and I started to like him. We would say hi to each other and I was drawn to him, wanted to
talk, etc.

So I felt that we should start telling everyone at work about our separation as I was sick and tired of the situation where everyone assumed we were happilly married but in fact our marriage was over. So I spoke to my soon to be ex-husband and we decided that there was no need to keep it a secret and slowly started telling people at work.

At the same time I was falling for this guy really badly. But since we work in a really big place and very often we have different breaks and there are always other people around all of whom know my husband it was almost impossible to have "one on one"conversation. Once we flirted and it was obvious there was chemistry there. After that we still looked at each other but there was a little tension on his part but I felt he liked me he was just more aware of the attration, but I could be wrong of course. He knew then that I was married.

Once we happened to be sitting close together with no other people around and I started casual conversation with him, he responded well and then I said that he probably knows my ex-husband he said yes he knew him and then is eyes got wide and he asked me three times whether he heard me correctly about the "EX" part, then he said he did not know that we were no longer together and pointed out that I still used my married name, I said I was not going to change it as my maiden name was really long. We talked more about other things and had more smiles and eye contact after that. Of course I
started that conversation to let him know I was separated and available. I think I did a good job as it came out naturally.

It was more than a month ago and since then we had somewhat conflicting schedules and saw each other only in passing and when I did see him I did not get the usual vibe from him, or maybe I was just waiting for him to ask me out and now I am feeling disappointed overanalyzing the situation. I have no idea I just cannot get him out of my head. It seems he kind of shut down and if we have breaks together he sits in his corner rather than in the area where we could interact, I just took it at the face value because it seems he is avoiding me, but at the same time I can see he still looks and responds if we happen to talk. We are attracted to each other, I know it and I feel it.

Then it hit me, the reality of the situation:

We work together,
I have baggage (soon to be divorced and 2 kids),
AND my EX is in the same workplace !!! WOW !!!

He is a good looking, single guy... he likes surfing, etc WHY on earth would he want to go out of his way to pursue me? He personally knows my ex and he probably regards him well as many other co-workers do, I have kids, the break up is recent.

He might find me REALLY attractive and have a naughty fantasy here and there BUT he would never ever consider making the move, ESPECIALLY if he does like me; we will end up in bed and then what??? Will he want us to come out as a couple & get the remarks from his mates at work? Does he want to know and consider my children and have my EX in the picture as there will be kids drop-offs and pick-ups and then run into my EX on his breaks at work where the three of us could be sitting at the same time???

Guys am right?

Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

I am taking it really hard because he represents something I cannot have but really want to experience. I met my husband I was 18 and there were never "butterflies" in my stomach, I guess I was in love with the love and at 20 I fell pregnant unplanned and did not know what to do, the second child was unpanned as well because I was switching contraceptive. My husband is a good father & partner, but he cheated on me twice and both time it took hima ages to break it off, but I must take responsibility as I was never 100% into our marriage. We kind of fell into each other rather than for each other. I decided to separate and he agreed.

I feel like I made the wrong choices regarding my personal life (getting married & having kids unplanned), I love my kids to death but I feel somewhat burdened and drained.
I live the life I did not want, I feel like I will never have the type of a guy I desire because who wants a divorced woman with two kids? I feel so jelious when I see single good looking young women, they are free and single men have a lot of choice.

But then I do not want to let go off this guy and think what if he falls for me, what if he avoids me because he is developing stronger feelings for me?

Does it really happen nowadays that men fall for a woman and they go after her regardless of her baggage???

Just clinging to hope because this guy is what I want but probably will never have. It is hard to accept and make peace with my reality.
posted by lona_here to Human Relations (47 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you'd be wise to avoid getting jiggy with people in your workplace if at all possible, irrespective of any of the accompanying information.

And your kids aren't "baggage". I hope. It might be true that certain types of people will no longer be interested in you because you have kids, but I'm sure there are just as many who won't care. And those are the people you, as someone who has kids, should be looking into anyway.
posted by threeants at 1:51 AM on March 2, 2010


Also, I would agree with what you have hinted at-- that the real issue here is not about men's reactions to you having kids, but your feelings of missed opportunity from having had them. I'm sure someone else here will have better information on what you can do with that, but I think identifying that as something to work on is a good step.
posted by threeants at 1:52 AM on March 2, 2010


First off, RELAX. Yes, there are decent men out there who will take you on as you are including your "baggage" (stop thinking of it as baggage) and your children. Several of my friends have gone down this path quite happily.

Secondly, there is no need to be in a rush. Get through the divorce and get somewhat settled before you decide what your actual reality is going to be.

Thirdly, be careful about getting involved with someone in your workplace.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:55 AM on March 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

No.

If so, those aren't "strong feelings". No man worth having would ever reject you because you have children, or a past. If it scares some men away, that's a benefit to you, because those are not men you want anyway.

But don't date a coworker if either of you cares about your career. It's just way too risky.
posted by rokusan at 2:11 AM on March 2, 2010


Lots of people love divorced women!
posted by RevUSA at 2:23 AM on March 2, 2010


My mom had drama-filled relationships well past her 40s. She had two kids at home many of those years. That part seemed satisfying enough for her but it was exhausting for my brother and me.

But... This potential relationship is at work? Where your (ex-)husband still works? I'm not sure you've thought all the way through this particular relationship possibility. The chances of this working out with you still having a functional relationship with your kids' father seem very, very, very slim. Your kids have to live through this divorce, too, and they didn't have any say in the matter.

I'm sorry for your circumstances.
posted by The Potate at 2:23 AM on March 2, 2010


Just to comment about the man suddenly changing his tune when he finds out you're no longer married... In my opinion, he just wanted a no-strings attached, good old-fashioned affair. He liked the safety of your marriage as it meant lots of fun and games and no responsibility.

He gave you the boot because you're available, not because of your children. This says much more about him than it does about you. He's such a cliche!

And you will find another partner when you're emotionally ready. If you're needy about it, you'll attract really revolting people. Enjoy some alone time, have the "summer of lona_here" where you get to know yourself as a single person again. All the very best of luck.
posted by taff at 2:26 AM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wasn't clear enough in my above post.

If you're going to divorce this guy, you absolutely need to find another job. If you fuck up your relationship with your kids' father, the odds of fucking up your kids are very near 100%.

Don't put your kids through this.
posted by The Potate at 2:33 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Slow down, there's plenty of time, it's way too soon to be thinking about getting into anything serious and the workplace you share with your ex-husband really isn't the place to be looking anyway. Seconding what taff said, i.e take some time to get to know yourself again. You're not the same person you were the last time you were single.

And FWIW, my partner is divorced, has two kids and lights up my world like no-one else ever has.
posted by Chairboy at 2:45 AM on March 2, 2010


Just clinging to hope because this guy is what I want but probably will never have. It is hard to accept and make peace with my reality.

The reality is that you have been with your ex since you were 18. You have never been a single adult. It's highly likely that this guy is attracted to you, but yes, you DO have baggage, and any decent guy will know that you are not in a good situation in which to start a new relationship. Given the situation, it's entirely natural to feel attracted to this guy, but in reality, if you go for it now, he'll never be anything more than a rebound. If you honestly like him, and want to give it a shot, then take some time to come to terms with where you are right now and heal up a bit. He's not going anywhere, and neither are you - get your head together first, for yourself and your kids.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:57 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

No.

But then, to be completely frank, it does not sound like this man knows you well enough to have "strong feelings" for you. It sounds like possibly he is very attracted to you, knew you were a fun/safe person with whom to flirt because you were unavailable (women do this sometimes with gay men, for example), and is now uncomfortable that you aren't so unavailable. It is possible he does not want your so-called baggage (you must stop thinking of your former marriage and children as baggage!!), but it's also entirely possible that he is concerned about dating in the workplace just as others are suggesting that YOU be cautious about. It is not a good idea to get involved with a coworker when you care about keeping your job, and he probably knows that.
posted by asciident at 3:01 AM on March 2, 2010


Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

I'm really surprised by the "No" answers here. Do you live on earth? It's obviously possible. There are men who never sleep with anyone because they're priests or whatever. Just change "being a priest" to "not wanting to date a woman with baggage", or whatever their hangup is.

Obviously different men will behave differently.

If you fuck up your relationship with your kids' father, the odds of fucking up your kids are very near 100%.

WTF is this? It's not a good idea, but "Fucking up"? Do you think every person who grew up with parents who didn't like each other is "fucked up"? Seriously? Well, it's obviously incorrect.
posted by delmoi at 3:29 AM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

Everybody saying "no" to this is indulging in a variety of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. "If you don't do something about your strong feelings, then they weren't strong feelings" is nonsense. It's perfectly reasonable that this man has strong feelings about you, but also has stronger feeling about starting his own family from scratch, or about not adding another layer of complexity to what sounds like an incredibly messy workplace situation, and there's nothing wrong with that. Love doesn't conquer all.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:30 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kids are not baggage. Unresolved guilt/bitterness/anger/etc. is baggage. If you have baggage, it comes from your own childhood experiences, your relationships, your life. But your kids are not your baggage.
posted by headnsouth at 3:36 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


WTF is this? It's not a good idea, but "Fucking up"? Do you think every person who grew up with parents who didn't like each other is "fucked up"? Seriously? Well, it's obviously incorrect.

You're right. I said it wrong. The words were too strong. As a general statement, "A mother fucking up her relationship with her kids' father can nearly certainly make life very difficult for her kids," is pretty appropriate. Combined with the complications of this particular situation, they would be at a very serious disadvantage.
posted by The Potate at 4:12 AM on March 2, 2010


More than 25 years ago I married a divorced woman with two kids, aged 10 and 5 at the time. I helped raise her kids, sent them to college, watched them both get married and start their own lives. We are divorced now, but had a pretty good run while it lasted. Obviously this is only a personal anecdote, but to answer your question, yes there are guys out there who will accept the baggage.
posted by netbros at 4:31 AM on March 2, 2010


thank you so much for your comments, really.

YES, i do need to set my priorities right & take time, it's like I am waking up and it hurts to face the world

my husband wants us to get back together but for the wrong reasons, we talked and he wants it mainly for the kids and he goes on about financial aspect of having two homes.
I have thought about it a lot and I am pretty sure there is no future for us together I cannot even imagine having sex with him again and he tries every night but his attempts are really shallow and fake as if he needs to try rather than he feels desire of any sort and I feel like running away.

He is a very good father and my children will always have their dad around, I have no right and no desire to involve kids in this mess, he is their dad and a very good one. Our oldest is 11 and we both talked to him and explained the situation and he is fine, just obsessing about in which place his Wii gonna stay. Our yoingest is 3 and she is a very sweet little girl who loves her mum and dad, playing with her brother and going to kindy and dancing classes.

I was in the rut for so long, I forgot there were things like lust and attraction till I met this guy. It is just hard as I feel like I want to talk to him, kiss him, flirt with him, spend time with him and of course have sex with him.

Dreaming of him and longing for him takes all my energy and time now and it is not right considering the circumstances of my personal life.
posted by lona_here at 4:39 AM on March 2, 2010


lona_here, single men most certainly fall for women with children, it happens all the time. But..don't forget, men get married, have kids, and get divorced too. Your life isn't over.

I think you need to be careful that you don't put too much weight onto to this flirtation with the guy at work. Years ago, I was in a similiar situation to yours, I was going through a difficult breakup, had kids, etc and I built that other guy up so much in my head that I lost perspective. I was so unhappy that I fixated on him as an escape. I was feeling depressed and helpless and that spark of attraction felt so good in comparison.... Nothing ever came of it, but I spent a lot of time agonizing over the situation, feeling like you and that my life was over because this one guy didn't want to deal with "my baggage." In reality, he and I simply weren't right for each other, baggage had nothing to do with it.

Feel free to memail if you just need to talk...
posted by cottonswab at 5:15 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Iona_here, with kindness, I want to suggest that you're crushing on this new guy under circumstances that sound a lot like high school: catching glimpses in the hallways, hoping for the occasional minute without being under supervision, planning how to salt conversations with pertinent information, parsing every nuance of every encounter, etc. And that makes sense, given that you last dated when you were high school-age. Give yourself some time to grow into and enjoy independence and competence as an adult; you'll be in better shape for an adult relationship.
posted by carmicha at 5:42 AM on March 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


I agree with the comments above about taking it slow, not getting involved with someone at work, divorce being no barrier to a new and happy relationship, etc. But I want to add one other comment. You ask:

Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

Why is it the guy's responsibility? Shouldn't you be asking, "Is it possible for me to have strong feelings towards a man but NEVER do anything about it because of my baggage?"

If you meet a guy you like, ask him out on a date! Yes, it's scary, but it would also be scary for him. You most definitely do not have to wait for the guy to make the first move. The world would be a much happier place if women made the first move more often, going after guys that they like rather than waiting with fingers crossed for someone nice to come on to them.

Have you heard the story about the lesbian sheep, and why they never get any action? It goes like this:
Q: What do you female sheep do to indicate they're ready for sex?
A: They stand still.
Q: What happens if you have two lesbian sheep who want sex?
A: They both stand still.
Conclusion: Don't be a lesbian sheep.
posted by alms at 6:16 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


That is what dating is, trying on people for size. You don't have baggage. You have life. Think of your experience as that.
posted by Silvertree at 6:30 AM on March 2, 2010


I married a divorced woman with two kids. It's worked out very well, and after seven years of dating with and marriage to one another we are still very head-over-heels.

It's probably a good idea to expand your dating pool outside of your workplace though. I'd advise that to just about anyone, but especially if their ex-spouse also worked there.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:40 AM on March 2, 2010


WAIT:

I cannot even imagine having sex with him again and he tries every night but his attempts are really shallow and fake as if he needs to try rather than he feels desire of any sort and I feel like running away.

You're still living with your ex? Still sleeping in the same bed??

Sort that shit out before you even THINK of starting something else.
posted by heatherann at 6:45 AM on March 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


And no, you don't want to be dating a guy who gets involved with a coworker with kids who isn't yet divorced yet from another coworker and is in fact still living with that coworker and sleeping in the same bed. There are so many red flags there that it is no wonder he backed off.

You do want to be dating a guy who gets involved with a divorced woman who lives on her own (with or without kids) and who is truly disentangled from her ex, and who thinks of the impact on her kids before she starts dating someone. Butterflies in your stomach don't have anything to do with whether or not this guy would be good with your kids.
posted by heatherann at 6:49 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


First of all, you do have a ton of baggage, but not all of it is relevant to this situation. First and foremost this is a coworker, and you also work with your ex-husband yet you want this man to purusue you? I am sorry to be blunt, but that is really stupid for a lot of what I would consider to be obvious reasons, mainly dont shit where you eat.

More generally you do not have any more baggage than many women your age. Being divorced and having kids are deal breakers for a lot of guys (the latter far far more so than the former), but as others have pointed out, those are not the guys you should be looking for anyways. Just take some time to be single, get your new life sorted out, and stop trying so hard to get yourself into stupid situations with coworkers when it is clearly a very very bad idea. There are plenty of guys (probably going to be older than you with kids of their own) who will have no problem at all dating a divorcee with children, you just need to adjust your expectations.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:01 AM on March 2, 2010


You are still living (and sleeping) with your eventually-to-be-ex husband.

By what definition of the term do you believe yourselves to be "separated"?

Yes, there are going to be men who believe that "divorced with kids" is too much baggage to overcome. As heatherann pointed out, though, what you're looking for is a guy who is interested in you despite the fact that you are a) still married, b) still living in the same home as your husband, c) still sleeping in the same bed.

Understand that, from an external perspective, your situation does not vary substantially from people who use marital problems as an excuse to cheat.

Also, IANAL, but if you live in a state that requires a period of legal separation before divorce, it is entirely possible that you haven't even started that timer ticking down yet if you're still living together.
posted by toomuchpete at 7:27 AM on March 2, 2010


I think every last one of us is only compatible to very few people. so yes, you will run into many men who won't want you and yes, for some it may be because you have kids and they don't feel like assuming that kind of responsibility. but that is okay. walk down any sidewalk and look at how many people you would not even consider for every single one you would. it's normal.

having read your post I didn't react to your kids or your husband as being what turned me off. it was that you were so freaked out and insecure. that sounded like a lot of drama. most people are looking to add something positive to their lives. insecurity is not sexy. I would recommend working on how you feel about your situation, not trying to rule yourself out and despair because of it. you can't change most of it (and should not feel compelled to) but you are the one who decides how you feel about it.

I hope that helps.
posted by krautland at 7:34 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


My goodness, your comments help a lot I feel like every answer I gor is the best.

Yes I still live with my husband as we are trying to sell the house. The offers we got were really bad and the real eastate guy suggested a couple of improvements to the outside area. We are not in a good position financially even though we both have good jobs. The bad debt is killing us.

Then about 4-5 weeks ago my husband changed his attitude and wanted us back together and the whole process kind of stopped simply because he was the one contacting workers and such. So we are in the limbo and I will need to talk to him about us getting total separation. We do not sleep together, we have separate rooms but he tries to catch me in the hall or in the kitchen. He is not pushy or intimidating just trying. He also still stays in touch with the woman he has/had an affair with.

By Law we must be separated for at least 12 months before we can apply for divorce.


krautland, your comment "having read your post I didn't react to your kids or your husband as being what turned me off. it was that you were so freaked out and insecure."

really shocked me, well in a good way I hope. I also hope people who know me don't see it. But, you are so right, I do feel like "damaged goods"
posted by lona_here at 7:59 AM on March 2, 2010


We can live under the same roof and be separated, the timer is ticking, I checked. It is not the best option so we need to sell asap
posted by lona_here at 8:03 AM on March 2, 2010


The baggage will be getting involved with a coworker. I did it twice and both times it was a mistake. I looked like a joke in the end and left the company. You have a much more involved/complicated situation. Either stay with the company and shine on your own or leave the company then date. But this guy sounds like someone you don't need. Get a divorce, get into therapy to get over the divorce/issues of possible codependency, and move on to a happier life.

And any man who says kids and a divorce are baggage or makes you feel like they are can go to hell.
posted by stormpooper at 8:15 AM on March 2, 2010


And no, you don't want to be dating a guy who gets involved with a coworker with kids who isn't yet divorced yet from another coworker and is in fact still living with that coworker and sleeping in the same bed. There are so many red flags there that it is no wonder he backed off.

Thanks, heatherann, it sums it up, really. I don't know what I was thinking...

I need to be alone, get my confidence and self worth back and make this crush somehow lose its grip on me
posted by lona_here at 8:18 AM on March 2, 2010


Why do you refer to him as your ex?

He isn't your ex if you still sleep in the same bed with him every night.

If your coworker is a reasonable person he definitely will not get involved with this situation...but it has absolutely nothing to do with you having children.

It is because you are married to and living with one of his coworkers and you all work together!

He may think you are great and attractive and fun but seeking a long term relationship with him is likely not a path to long term happiness for anyone. Take some time off to get your divorce situation settled before you start looking for another long term mate.

If you just want to get some then make that clear to him and if you both agree to keep it hush hush it could work out fine.
posted by stealabove at 8:19 AM on March 2, 2010


the whole process kind of stopped

Do you have a lawyer? Also, do you have a trusted friend/therapist/clergy-person?

I know you're waiting out the 12-month separation period, and that finances may be strained, but your husband's behavior is really problematic--both practically and emotionally.

The strongest impression your post gives is one of emotional confusion and panic. You sound overwhelmed, and perhaps you're using your feelings for another man as an outlet for that. You need support--including legal advice--that you can rely on when you feel overwhelmed.

It sounds like you need a more effective, supported way to keep this process going--and going smoothly and properly. If he stops calling contractors, you need to be able to pick right up where he left off. You need to know exactly what your rights are, exactly what his rights are, and exactly what the proper sequence of events is. You also need a person or network of people who can help you to sort through the emotional fallout of this incredibly difficult situation so that you're not left alone feeling helpless about your future ("Who wants a divorced woman with baggage?") but rather feel supported and empowered to get through this particular phase.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:20 AM on March 2, 2010


as a child of two parents who had four children together and then divorced to each successfully remarry, i resent the remark that kids are "baggage" - take a photo of your children, and look really hard at it. Baggage?!?! Is that what you see?!? Or do you see blessings, joy, and opportunity? Please don't subscribe to antiquated and sexist notions that divorced women with children are undesirable and unworthy of love, attention and marriage. Be proud of yourself, your children, and be proud of the good things in your defunct marriage. The only way you're going to meet someone new is to be positive in your outlook and by being good to yourself.

ignore what happened with the flirty guy at work who seemingly went cold. big deal. (to be fair, work romances are sometimes not ideal, and in this situation where your ex-husband is in the work picture, it is exponentially not ideal!!)

there are many, many good men out there in the world, don't get tripped up on the first one who shows you some flirty action. revel in the fact that you did get some flirty attention, even if it didn't amount to anything or lead anywhere. build on that, and you'll have the flirty skills to compliment the next guy who catches your fancy.

but please, again, just don't dwell on this "baggage" garbage!!
posted by kuppajava at 8:23 AM on March 2, 2010


Hi Meg_Murry, no I do not have trusted friend/therapist/clergy-person, I know a lot of people but none I could share my stuff with. I am not native to this country and we had our first child back in Europe where we lived for about six years (he worked there) and where we met, then I migrated here and did not create any circle of friends so it's hard.
posted by lona_here at 8:27 AM on March 2, 2010


I must say though I am well adjusted and never felt like I was missing home. I just do not have anyone to talk to on that deep level when you are scared or confused. I am not exactly isolated but sometimes it feels that way
posted by lona_here at 8:33 AM on March 2, 2010


My husband and I have separate rooms.
posted by lona_here at 8:35 AM on March 2, 2010


What worries me is that I think you are seeing this guy at work as an escape from all the pressures of real life, and even IF (and it is a big IF) you end up with him, it just doesn't work that way.

You are a parent. You have children to raise. And raising kids as a single Mom is tough work. You are very stressed right now, but you seem to be skimming over the children as if they were some minor encumbrance, something that will get in the way of a new romance.

You need to get over that and prioritize your responsibilities.

If you are separating from your husband, your kids are going to need you to be there for them, too. This will be very difficult on them. They don't realize now what it will be like; they're just kids. You have to be the adult here.

Where are you going to live? What will custody be like? Can you support yourself and your kids on your salary? These are issues you need to figure out before you get involved with a new partner.

Also, I agree with the commenter above who said this is like a high school romance for you. It's all flirtation and romance, which is heady stuff, but it's not what makes for a solid, stable foundation moving forward.
posted by misha at 9:07 AM on March 2, 2010


Personally, I would not date someone if I worked with their ex- the potential for awkwardness is too high. I think it's likely that's the reason this guy got shy- doesn't want to seem disrespectful to your ex, or, worse, as if he may have been the cause of the divorce.

I know LOTS of divorced women with kids who were snapped up off the dating market by nice attractive interesting men. I don't think being a divorced mom is in itself a deterrent to lots of men. Especially if you can maintain an amicable relationship with the ex, mutually keep the kids more or less under control, and keep yourself as cheerful and open to dating as you can, you'll be dating again before you know it.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:46 AM on March 2, 2010


A friend of mine who had always been kind of the immature wild partying sleep-around type of guy met a woman around 10 years older than him, a single mom with 2 children. At first they were just booty calls for each other but it was surreal watching him seemingly overnight cheerfully become a father figure to her children and really shockingly domestic. They got married about a year ago and now have a child together. He seems like he couldn't be happier with the way it all turned out. It does happen. It's dumb luck and chemistry and matching wants and life circumstances at any given time, like usual I guess.
posted by ifjuly at 12:10 PM on March 2, 2010


Your desire for your office mate has more to do with your crippling insecurity than it does with a fanciful reawakening of passion in your life. By marrying and having children you basically signed a contract with maturity (whether you realized it or not). Bummer. Your life is bigger than you now and you need to work on yourself to find the strength to deal with this whole thing with dignity and grace. Bite your lip and put your own needs on hold until you get through the divorce. Make sure your children feel secure - and then address your own needs. Life is hard. Understand that you aren't entitled to anything beyond basic human decency, and that there are no guarantees in love or life. You've found this out the hard way. Its nothing to complain or lament about...just keep moving forward.

Stop your envy for "young single free women" and live your life with the dignity of a mature woman with two lovely children. Cultivate the attitude that you are desirable regardless of your "baggage." As of now, your insecurity and low self esteem are palatable. Do what you need to do to love yourself.

Frankly, you sound like an confused teenager. You seem to think that a tryst with a surfer boy will ignite some lost passion in your life, and as a divorced woman with two children that you are somehow precluded from this magical key that will turn things right for you. Understand that sexual desire, butterflies, passion, lust - are fleeting feelings. Its a container that NEVER gets filled. Your passion will always fade, no matter how rugged the surfer boy - and unless you do the self-exploration to understand that fulfillment is up to YOU (and not external circumstances or experiences) - you will be condemned to repeat the mistakes of your past.

What you need now is not a sexy adventure with an office mate - you need friends to help you through a divorce, and you need to keep your urges in check until you are healthy enough to look at this with a perspective of long-term fulfillment.

Life is hard. Don't Cry. Don't Envy. Move forward. Find your grace.
posted by jnnla at 12:49 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a child of divorce I'd also like to say that it really hurt me when my mother let on that men would have been interested in her, but unfortunately were not because she had this baggage... aka me, and my siblings. That sucked. Kids can be perceptive about these things and it's not fun to feel like a burden.

In addition to this, is your cultural background or religion impacting strongly your POV on divorce and the views others have toward those who are divorced? It is pretty common here in the US after all, and there are people here from so many different backgrounds, it's not like any single one is likely to be widespread. In other words, I have had the impression that, for example, a Catholic background can lead one to see divorce as a stigma, something to be ashamed of and avoided. But that's one view only, and not the majority.

Are you thinking a lot about this person and the possibilities there, in order to deal with (or avoid dealing with) the stress of your divorce? Divorce is just stressful, it is, do the best you can, it takes time to really get over and process it. I've been told that it is not the best idea to throw yourself into another big life change while one is still happening. Oh and also, if this guy at work is a loner and quiet and shy, maybe he is the type who is attracted to unavailable women, point. And maybe he changes his reaction simply because you're available (divorce/kids have nothing to do with it), and he always tends to crush on women who are unavailable because he's afraid and that is just the way he is.
posted by citron at 3:27 PM on March 2, 2010


really shocked me, well in a good way I hope. I also hope people who know me don't see it. But, you are so right, I do feel like "damaged goods"

I didn't mean to depress you but shock might just be helpful. I have a feeling you are still very deep in working this through and you will need a bit of time to heal but the days when you'll get up in the morning and are just happy will come back and you will notice that people will respond differently when you do approach them on those days. just think about all those factors that make you long for someone or even just like them and be interested in finding out more about them. it's the exact same the other way around. when people look, what do they see in you? and I do mean people who don't know you yet. I mean people who are deciding whether they want to get to know you better or not.

this will all work out. maybe not exactly as planned but it will.
posted by krautland at 4:39 PM on March 2, 2010


Hi everyone,
I have started thinking about my future as a single person and I make an effort not to go into fantasy land about this guy (thanks to your posts) but rather realisticly think about the actual "moving out-renting-a-new-place" scenario and being on my own, working on my issues, etc

I must admit that it scares the sh*t out of me, I feel like I'am openining a whole new, very dangerious can of worms. I am really really lost and scared. It looks like I crushed on this guy to distract myself from this really sad and messy situation. I also happen to chose the guy who is really detached and very introverted, withdrawn, aloof and non-responsive...hm. I do not know how to connect the dots but I think it's for some reason.

I removed this guy (the one I crushed on) from equation when thinking about my future and I feel bare, overwhelmed, confused and really scared

Then I went to bed and woke dreaming about the guy again.....gosh, I am my worst enemy
posted by lona_here at 7:51 AM on March 3, 2010


So I guess what I am confused about is the process of "take some time to be single, get your new life sorted out" "take some time to come to terms with where you are right now and heal up a bit"

I just do not know how to approach it on a "thinking" level, all I do it seems is either dreaming to escape (the crush guy) or dwelling on the past/my choices - both make me equally miserable.

If some of you can throw any suggestions (topics for research, books, personal experience, etc) I will appreciate it.

The worst part is that I am so drained that I think about NOT doing anything at all, just let my husband cheat, give him some sex once a month just to keep him off my back so I can remain living in this house without having to sell. We do not talk (apart from about kids and $), we do not fight, we do not care much.

And this is when I think about the kids and that I want to be happy for them and for myself. So I should do something!

Anyway, I guess this is a totally new topic for discussion, I just thought I share what's on my mind as I feel that I am changing
posted by lona_here at 8:19 AM on March 3, 2010


I just do not know how to approach it on a "thinking" level, all I do it seems is either dreaming to escape (the crush guy) or dwelling on the past/my choices - both make me equally miserable.

Take it one day at a time. The end of a marriage is in some ways like a death - it's the death of your shared imagined future together, it's the end of your entity as a couple. It can do crazy things to your self image, it's amazing how the idea of yourself as a "wife" can be so ingrained in your psyche.

It takes time to re-establish your image of yourself as a newly single person. It takes time to get enough of an idea of what you want and need to begin imagining a new future for yourself. The key, I think, is to pay attention to what's happening now. Stop looking back, and try not to anticipate the future. Take care of yourself and your kids, try and connect with what you need NOW to get through this, and let the future unwind as it will.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:12 PM on March 3, 2010


Everybody saying "no" to this is indulging in a variety of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. "If you don't do something about your strong feelings, then they weren't strong feelings" is nonsense. It's perfectly reasonable that this man has strong feelings about you, but also has stronger feeling about starting his own family from scratch, or about not adding another layer of complexity to what sounds like an incredibly messy workplace situation

No, we just have a much different idea of what "strong" means.

The examples you cite are indeed not very strong feelings.

A man who makes such decisions as those in your examples... he's just not that into you.
posted by rokusan at 8:22 AM on March 4, 2010


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