Dating ready to move on

After the stress of going through a divorce, it can be difficult to think about dating again.

Everyone has their own timeline for when they might want to get out there.

Being ready to date and being ready to bring your date back to your house are two very different things.

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Every room is filled with our family and wedding pictures.

Her nightstand is still full of photographs and books, letters, makeup bags, and greeting cards that’ve remained undisturbed for three years. It’s on my right hand, but it feels like such a betrayal to take it off entirely. I can’t throw those things away, and yet some of them no longer fit the narrative that I’m open to a long-term relationship with someone I care about.

Though wedding pictures might get stored away, the family pictures are reminders of their mother and her love for them and need to stay up.

Just as I don’t shy away from talking to the kids about their mother, I also don’t apologize for discussing Leslie with dates (I mean, not on the first date, mind you). Still, I probably should clean and organize that nightstand one of these days. Instead, it’s actively remembering her and deciding how best to move forward while still respecting that shared past.

The circumstances of her health’s decline left us with neither time nor the ability to paint the town red. And any feelings of guilt I have about not being the best husband I could have been to her have to be tempered with the idea that she just hadn’t finished fixing me yet.

I know Leslie’s life’s purpose wasn’t to leave me a better man.She was and is an important part of my life and the lives of my children. There are other things to think about — other milestones to address: Meeting the kids, meeting the parents, all of those potential wonderful terrifying moments of new relationships. This reboot of my “dating days” comes easier with the knowledge that Leslie herself wanted me to find someone after she was gone, and had told me so before the end.Those words brought me pain then, instead of the comfort I find in them now.I didn’t want anyone to think that my dating reflected negatively on my love for my wife, or that I was “over it.”But ultimately the decision came down to me.Whether others judged it appropriate or not, I felt I was ready to date.I also believed I owed it to my potential dates to be as honest with myself as possible.


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