At the ripe old age of 19, I decided that I had met the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. After ten years of marriage, we decided that we would be better off apart than together. Now it has been a little over two years since Laura, my ex-wife, and I split up. Making the decision to marry at such a young age, there was a lot of things that I forfeited the chance to experience, and being fresh out of a twelve year relationship, I had hit a low in my life that I had never experienced before. I really didn’t know if I would have ever been able to date again, but I knew there was a world of opportunities out there for me. Twelve years is a long time to be out of the dating scene, and I figured there was so much had changed, I wouldn’t be able to function as a divorced dad.
The best way I can describe the life of a divorced dad is complicated. It seems that having an ex-wife and a child is a lot of baggage that most women would rather decline being a part of. I believe that most women do not want to get into the middle of “baby mama drama”. There was a time immediately after my divorce that my ex and I did not get along. So the drama was extremely high. It was at this point that I had made the decision to volunteer for deployment to Southwest Asia. This would afford me the opportunity to get away from my ex for a year and also gave me hope that we could work on our friendship that is needed when a couple decides to go their separate ways and a child is involved. But it would also allow me to get rid of the drama so that I might be able to find someone that is willing to be a part of my life.
When I made the decision to deploy, I made another decision to get out and experience what life had to offer. I knew I would be gone for a year and I wasn’t looking for a long term relationship. I wasn’t looking for Ms. Right. I was looking for Ms. Right Now. Now I am not going to say I am proud of what I have done, nor am I bragging about anything, but I believe that I experienced a lot more than I needed to, in the time before I deployed to Iraq. My promiscuous adventures were varied and somewhat laughable to say the least. Some lasted a month or two; others could best be described as one night stands. I met people through myspace and out at clubs. One almost changed my life. On more than one occasion I have been the proverbial “jerk” to women, because most of these relationships never meant a lot to me.
I had promised myself that when I returned from Iraq, that lifestyle would be history. For the most part it has. I don’t go out looking for what I’ve seen described on a t-shirt as a “meaningful one night relationship.” When you have, as Tucker Max says, “slept with more women than is safe or reasonable,” there is no fulfillment in a relationship like that anymore. I have had my experience in getting out and partying it up. I believe that it’s time for me to find someone that I want to settle down with. I think it’s time that I find someone that completes me.
There are still fantasies and desires that I would enjoy to have come to fruition, but I feel that at this point I am ready to have someone that completes me rather than someone that is there just to fulfill a desire or want. There are things that I truly miss about being in a relationship. I actually spoke with a friend that I haven’t spoken to in years about this whole situation. Both of us agreed that it’s the little things with that special someone that we miss the most, like walks or just sitting on the couch watching television.
Even though I feel that it’s time that I start looking for a serious relationship, I have serious reservations about looking for one, even though I’m not getting any younger. I still worry about the “baggage” that I carry with me. I worry that the same thing will happen to me as have happened to my friends that have received those dreaded “Dear John letters” during a deployment. Finding someone that understands that even though I have a child, I will still have time for them, then finding someone who can tolerate the career field I chose, will prove a very difficult task.
Do I start looking now for the companionship that is missing in my life? Do I wait until I get back from my next deployment before I start looking? If I wait too much longer, I guess I’ll be finding someone that I can trade teeth with in the nursing home. But I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes the single life is great other times it’s just too damn lonely.