There's a misconception that occurs when our marriage is broken. We think it's going to be so much easier the second time around. Sure, we grieve for our family and miss our former spouse, but there's also that glimmer of excitement that this dating experiment is going to be a new chance to find love the second time around. "This time will be different. This time I'll get it right," we assure ourselves.
Soon enough however, we discover that dating may prove more difficult than maintaining our crumbling marriage. Dating in this new era of modern love is complicated.
Before getting divorced, the last time I had dated I had a pager. Navigating a return call after a page was a lot easier than navigating this world of sexting, poking and tweeting we live in today. I went from being a carefree 22-year-old dating guys fresh out of college to a career woman in her mid-thirties balancing a child and responsibilities along with her dates. I did not have a clue as to how this whole courtship dance was supposed to work and I was dating men who were just as bruised and scarred as I was.
I made big mistakes. I was naïve. If a suitor showed me any attention I immediately fell too hard too fast, getting my feelings crushed in the process. I became savvy. I learned to let the man chase while I became the prey. I turned to calculating. Having the affection and attention of many became a drug that I didn't want to come down from until the one day, I became plain exhausted from it all. Playing, it turned out, wasn't so much fun anymore.
Which leads me to where I am presently.
It's all about the K.I.S.S -- Keep it simple, stupid.
Honest and vulnerable, I now am completely upfront about what I am looking for at this stage of my life. No more games, formulas, rules, or calculating moves. I've learned to follow my heart while never compromising who I am. When you operate from a place of balance, romantic pursuits don't become a source of angst. Life as a divorced parent has enough challenges. Falling in love shouldn't be one of them. Oddly enough, now that I've adopted this approach, I find myself attracting the same. Those of us that are ready for love again don't get frightened when we hear someone else say that want a partner or to settle down with one person. What was so complicated to digest initially has become so innately simple.
While the dating game has certainly changed with our daily interactions being processed through text, emails, and pictures, love has always remained the same. It's no more complicated than it was when you passed the note in third grade that read: "Do you like me? Check yes or no?"
Love is easy. It's finding our way there that proves complicated.