We both didn’t want a relationship, but after a few weeks, I started to have feelings for him, and he’d made it clear he didn’t want to be involved with anyone. A few days later, I sat with some girlfriends over lunch, and told them my painful tale. I thought that by being single for all of that time, I’d been taking an opportunity to work on myself, get comfortable with being alone, and enjoy my life without a partner until I was ready to date again.
I couldn’t lose my babysitter in all of this mess, too. Yet the only thing I’d been doing was keeping my head barely out of the water.
‘He can climb up the sides of buildings,’ he said, submerging a dinosaur with a satisfying gurgle. This bath-time conversation coincided with the beginning of my emergence from the first acute pain of loss.
There were steps forward and many more steps back in the months and years afterwards, but I had started to notice the world again.
The chance to make off for a cheeky weekend or simply to sit around talking until dawn in the way that you do when everything about another person is fascinating, is for people without responsibilities.
‘When I go on a date with someone it requires the planning skills of a general,’ my divorced friend Rachel says about her own early forays into the battleground of dating.Dating became a distraction from my daily life, an escape from my full plate of responsibilities. He didn’t have kids and didn’t understand the sinking devastation I felt. “It’s nice to have someone who will have sex with you and not be a jerk, yet not have any expectations or all the emotional stuff.” He had a point.Even with my friends’ willingness to help out with child care, every night out was a scramble to set up who could watch my kids and when I had to be home by their bedtime. My older daughter was away for a few days after Christmas, and he asked me to go out of town with him. I needed so desperately to get a break from my day-to-day life of working at home. “I gave him an out,” I said to my friend a couple of days later while wallowing through the sixth season of “Parenthood.” “Why did you give him an out? I wanted to escape for an hour or two in between some flirty distractions without worrying about whether he’ll be a supportive, healthy, future partner. I had two very real kids at home who came first, took up most of my time and energy, and I didn’t have much to give.With my son reimagining his father as a cloak-wearing hero, climbing up the sides of tower blocks, I knew that any future man had big tights to fill.Not only that, but I was resolute in my desire to ensure that my son was not hurt again.You have to very quickly assess their suitability as a potential new father figure.With a daughter of nine, it’s not just two hearts involved, but three.’ In my case it was the heart aspect of things that I found the most challenging.For another acquaintance, who is still too raw to even be mentioned by name, it is the fact that the terms of engagement have so significantly changed that she finds difficult.‘It’s no longer enough just to think that someone looks fit in their online profile or that you share a love of music or Russian novels. add Size([1050,200], [[970,250],[728,90],[970,90],[970,400). build(); var leaderboard_mobile_mapping = Mapping(). build(); var mobile_sticky_strip_mapping = Mapping().]]