I never thought I’d become one of those bitter, middle-aged women who sit in a bar belting back whiskey, lamenting over how many times she’s been burned by a man. I’m not quite at the bar part yet, but the rest of it is true. You know that saying, “Love like you’ve never been hurt”? It’s absolutely impossible to do. I’m sorry, but it just is.
I have now officially been single longer than I’ve been in a relationship. I have not had a man sleep in my bed with me for the entire night since…? Jeez, it’s been nine years. To say I’m gun-shy to be in another serious relationship is an understatement.
One of my best friends doesn’t tiptoe around the fact that she thinks I’m a freak because of this. Even though she is literally the last woman I know who has never been married, she is always hooked up with someone. She admits she needs and wants to be involved with a man, although I secretly believe that because she lives in Vermont, the need for having a man help her deal with all the winter crap she has to deal with when owning a house in the boonies confuses her.
Now granted, my last relationship with my son’s father ruined my life: Imagine an 8.7-magnitude earthquake destroying your entire home, and then imagine experiencing the aftershocks for years and years after. Wouldn’t you have a panic attack every time you felt a teeny-tiny quake again, or even the rumblings of a truck go by?
“Come on, singlewritermom,” you say, “lighten up! Don’t let one diseased cow infect the entire herd.”
The problem is now that I’m in my forties and living in the suburbs, guess what kind of men I meet? I meet twenty-somethings who think by being with a cougar they will discover some elusive sexual Holy Grail, or married men who are so bored with their wives sexually, they’re willing to risk losing their beloved family for a romp in the backseat of their SUV during soccer practice.
My ex had major issues with his mother while growing up. I’m a qualified enough professional (after being with him for seven years) to declare that he is, and always will be searching for a “mother figure,” because he was blessed with such a crappy one. Hey, I get it. Your formative years are from 0-6, your mother is usually your primary caregiver; if she’s deficient or absent in any way, nine times out of ten you’re going to wind up with “issues.”
I said to myself: “Self, no more dating men with mother issues. It’s a recipe for disaster.” So what did I do when I did meet an eligible man a few years back? I ignored the red flags, of course. On my first date with Cap’n Crunch, he revealed his mom is a lesbian. Now that in and of itself isn’t a red flag, it was him telling me she had abandoned him when he was a baby, and only came back for him when he was eleven so she could collect money from the county. Enormous red bloody flag? I think so.
All this info while he downed four beers. I remember sitting there thinking, Wow, this is so great. I’m excited to be out on a date with a man who doesn’t appear to be a meth head or a pedophile. He has a job, sons…ah, fuck, he’s got mother issues. And a possible drinking problem. Damn.
I ignored my gut instinct and pursued things with him anyway. My bad. Not only was he sleeping with my son’s elementary school principal at the same time, but he ended up marrying her. She’s older than he is, makes more money than he does, and has a figure that reminds me of my Polish grandmother—soft, round, apple-shaped. Yeah, I’m sure he doesn’t have any mother issues. Ahem.
The point is now I’m jaded. I meet a man, any man, and before he can get two sentences out, I’m thinking to myself, Probably married. If not married, then he’s an alcoholic, unemployed, a player, or all three.
This is bad. This attitude ensures I will be single for the rest of my life, with nothing but cats swarming around my ankles. And my diva Chihuahua who will probably live another twenty years just to torture me. Help!