I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
Fundamentally, I also felt it was only right that I wait until my divorce was final and I was truly single to start dating again. All that went out the window, with what I now heard my therapist saying. The divorce was taking longer than I had originally expected, and four months had passed pretty quickly. My year might be up in no time, and I might still not be divorced.
“I think you should start dating again. It would be good for your self-esteem,” my therapist says.
I look at him suspiciously. “Good for my self-esteem? Really? You obviously haven’t dated in a while.” My therapist seems happily married. What does he know about dating?
“No, really. You need to get back out there. I’m afraid you’re just sitting at home, feeling bad about what’s happened. I don’t want you to get stuck there. I think the attention you’ll get by flirting and putting yourself back out there will be good for you.”
“I don’t know. I’m an over-weight, 42 year old woman. Men can be pretty brutal. They all want 25 year old women with tits that point up, not down. I don’t see how that would be good for my self-esteem.”
“No, you have a lot to offer someone. You’re smart, funny…”
“I have never found intelligence to be an asset when dating.”
“No, come on. Not all men are like that.”
I really think my therapist struggles with what to say to me sometimes.
“You just need to be more selective,” he says, “I’m not talking about jumping right back into an intimate relationship. I’m saying you should just date. Date 100 men before getting serious with anyone.”
“100 men? I don’t know if I have the endurance. Do you have any idea what’s out there?”
He smiles, and says, “You just need to establish some ground rules. One hundred men without getting seroius. Take it slow. Just have fun. No recycling old boyfriends. That was the past, and you’re better than that.”
This is starting to sound interesting.
“No losers. No lost souls. No control freaks. You’ll meet someone better. You need to meet a Jewish doctor this time.”
I try it ignore the fact that my therapist is a Jewish doctor. I’m confident that he’s not talking about himself, but I can’t help but note the fact that he may be slightly biased. Funny as this is to me, I recognize what he’s saying. In the year and a half that I’ve been seeing him, he’s actually given me better financial advice than ANY financial planner I’ve ever met. My husband didn’t even own a car when I met him.
“Oh, and if you meet someone who you’re immediately attracted to like you were with your husband,” he says, “run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.”
I leave his office intrigued by the idea. I’m not ready to act on it yet, but I decide to ask my friends for their opinions.
This post is included in the first book from My Dating Prescription, due out in 2013. To receive news about its publication, sign up using the MailChimp Book Release Notice widget in the sidebar of this blog.