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Back to the Game – Single Again!

First, a mild disclaimer. This article is primarily aimed at the men out there, because it’s being told from a man’s point of view. It can’t help but sound a little sexist because I have only my personal experiences and those of my single male friends from which to draw! So ladies, forgive me in advance. However, I do think you will be able to relate to some of what I am about to say.

Okay, “WHAM!!” you’re single again! It doesn’t matter how you got that way. You’re divorced or separated with intent to divorce, or your significant other up and took the kids, the dog and cat, the wallpaper and the money! It doesn’t matter how it happens, you’re “alone.” Now what?

For the sake of this article I am going to assume you’ve had a little time to get your act together, because in the beginning, right after the split, most guys are a mess. You will be dealing with some pretty foreign feelings such as extreme depression, loneliness, loss of self worth. I was just plain sad for a long time.

You will blame her, yourself, and anything within your mind’s eye that you can affix blame or fault to. It may get so bad that you just want to go into your closet and cry.

That’s right, ladies, we feel all of those emotions, too. We’re just taught from birth to conceal them. The truth is, ladies, you really don’t want a man to show too much emotion. Just enough emotion so he can convey that he cares about you and understands you.

There are few women who would want a man who wears his feelings and emotions on his sleeve for all to see. I am sorry, ladies, that’s just not American men! Those aren’t the movies on which we were raised.

But getting back to crying in the closet, if it gets that bad, guys, go ahead – do it! You will feel better, as every woman knows. Just don’t tell your buddies, it makes them uncomfortable and it won’t help your reputation as a “Tough Guy.” (Sorry, ladies, it’s a guy thing!)

So, some time has passed and you are getting over some of the more unpleasant lows. You’ve gotten on your feet a little and you’re starting to think “this is a good thing!” about women again. It’s important to remember NOT to marry the first woman who finds you attractive or interesting. I have seen this happen more than once and, believe me, it’s not pretty!

Guys, listen up now! It takes time for you to heal and you will not be ready to make a decision as important as marriage in less than a year and a half, sometimes longer. No matter how together you may think you are, you’re NOT! Only time will set your thinking process right again.

And it wouldn’t be fair to her or to yourself to marry someone then find out later – guess what?! it wasn’t love after all, you just needed someone to scratch your back and to tell you that your ex was wrong, you aren’t the biggest SOB on the face of the earth. Don’t RUSH into anything, please.

In my own case, I was separated for about three months when, during a phone conversation with my wife, she told me she had taken off her rings. This hit home in a big way. I knew at that point she was not planning to come home and I really had to start to deal with what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

I think our divorce was as close to a good divorce as it is possible to have! The whole thing was over in six months. I never went to a lawyer or a courthouse. She drew up an agreement and after some few changes I signed it. Then she and her mother went to the courthouse for the final hearing and that was that!

Later that day she phoned me and said, “Well, that’s it!!” I said, “Yep, I guess so.” Then after a long silence, I said I hoped she had made the right choice and to take care of herself and to keep in touch. I knew she would as our son remained with me. Then I went to the refrigerator and got a beer, sat down on the couch and contemplated the ending of a 20-year marriage and my life as I knew it!

I was only 41 and everything that I thought made me a person, everything that defined me to myself and to others was gone or changed forever. Now I was faced with a new problem, who the Hell was I?

For half of my life I was the husband, the father and the guy who paid the bills. I was a married man in every sense of the word. And I never really thought it (divorce) would happen to me, but it did and I had to deal with it.

I can’t describe the pain and how lost I felt that first day when my wife of 20 years phoned me from the courthouse. I won’t say whether or not I went to the closet and cried, but if I was going to do it, that would have been the time. That was rough!

Time passed and I had to make some choices: A) I could join the “Herman’s Women Haters Club,” become a monk and swear off women for all time! or B) I could get it together, get back in the game, and go get a woman. I opted for “B” since the first choice had too many drawbacks, not the least of which was – well, you know.

So, I got to thinking, where was I going to go to meet women? Nightclubs, bars, church, where? The first time I was single, I used to hit the clubs and I didn’t have a problem meeting women. So, I decided to go back to the old ways, the nightclubs!

I felt young and I’m in good shape physically. I’m tall and lean and some women consider me attractive. So, why not, I thought, I’ll just go out there and find me a woman. Right?! WRONG!! Was I was in for a shock!

First, I located two or three “happening” spots, then set out to attract a member of the opposite sex. The first slap of reality came when I realized I’m one of the oldest guys here! I don’t consider myself a bad looking guy, but there were a LOT of young, good looking guys in the club. Talk about competition and talk about insecure! I had to keep going to the men’s room just to see if my face reflected the insecurity I was feeling!

As I was to find out later, feelings of insecurity and inadequacy plus lack of confidence, are normal. After all, I had been out of the game for a long time, and it goes back to what I said earlier. My emotions and, more importantly, my thinking processes, were not right yet.

The good thing was that I knew it! I also knew that to recover I had to get back on that proverbial horse to overcome my fears.

So I thought some more and, gentlemen, I can’t say it enough. Think whenever you get the chance. It helps. You overcome. I grew a little.