I finally had a chance to see the movie Enough Said, a romantic comedy about dating after divorce with James Gandolfini (the last movie he made before he died) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Aside from the fact that it was a delightful, entertaining story, done with great taste, amazing writing and two top-notch actors, there was a message I felt the need to write about.
Almost always, divorced men and women go into dating after divorce with apprehension and fear. Yet, they are excited about the potential of meeting someone new and feeling those feelings of giddy love, lust, and being adored: the things they've been missing for so long. People dating after divorce go into it with jaded optimism, which is what James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are doing in the movie.
The premise of Enough Said is that Gandolfini and Dreyfus are dating, and in the meantime, one of Dreyfus's clients -- she is a massage therapist -- is Gandolfini's ex-wife. Dreyfus doesn't find this out for at least a few sessions, but when she makes the connection, she keeps it her secret. She doesn't tell either one, and continues both relationships. Why? Because she's pumping her client for information about her boyfriend.
This plot to me was genius. Think about it. If you are dating someone who is divorced, there's always a fear in the back of your mind, regardless of what he or she told you about why they got divorced, that there is something you are missing, and that it is really bad. You only hear THEIR side of the story.
When I was first dating my boyfriend (several years ago), I used to tell my friends (and him, actually) that I wish I could get stuck in an elevator with his ex-wife so that I could ask her why they got divorced. I wanted to hear HER side of the story. Maybe there was something I didn't know. Maybe he punched her once. Maybe he cheated on her. Maybe he stole money from her. You will only know as much about your boyfriend or girlfriend and about their divorce as they decide to share. What I've come to realize is that my obsessive need to know everything came from self-doubt and my inability to trust my gut.
If you are divorced person dating, you've already made one mistake and you don't want to make another, so you become skeptical and you might second guess everything. Divorced people dating might even look for things, look for a way out. In other words, you can't believe someone divorced your guy (or girl), so there's got to be a catch, right? There's got to be something wrong if someone else let him go.
Although understandable to have these guarded feelings, feelings of self-doubt and of doubting the relationship, people dating after divorce at some point must open their hearts, let the wall down and truly embrace the person they are with, almost as if it was the first time -- like they were never married and divorced. I'm not saying not to be wise and not to look for red flags at the beginning of the relationship. What I am saying is that if you fall in love and decide you want a commitment with someone, you either trust your guy (or girl) or you don't. There is no in-between. And if you don't, then it isn't right.
We are all scared shi*less in this dating after divorce world, let's be honest. Yet, there's no better feeling than knowing there's a potential to meet someone who will truly make you feel loved and happy. And the only way to do that is to let go of the baggage from your last marriage and trust. Have faith in your partner -- you don't need to uncover every detail of his or her failed marriage. Have faith in the relationship, the love and trust and loyalty you have for each other, and have faith in yourself -- that comes with accepting and learning from your past mistakes, along with self-assurance and self-love.
I won't tell you how Enough Said ends, I will just say that I think every divorced person dating should see it. It sends a powerful message, which is that trust and loyalty are at the core of every successful relationship.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of her new divorce novel with the same name, as well as her other divorce novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter and columnist for Sun-Times Media. She lives in Chicago with her two kids. Oh, and she's divorced!