I’m recently divorced after 16 years of what was probably pretty typical marriage. Except for those last four years when he moved out of our marital bed because he suddenly needed to watch TV before going to sleep. Oh and then he quit wearing his wedding ring because of eczema. And then there was that last year where he just stopped coming home because of all the late nights at the office.
I mention this not because I can’t get enough opportunities to bitch about the ex - I truly believe he did the best he could he just had no skills at personal relationship - no, I mention it because about two months after he left I went on a date. I’m not one of those women who swore off men. To the contrary I’m one of those women who was furious because her ex was standing in the way. If you don’t want me, move on so I can find someone who does! Get out of my way! So first date - and sue me, I start thinking about sex.
How is this going to work? I mean I know basic physiology. I have children. But I had this whole deer in the headlights thing about oh my God, what if single people today are doing things differently?? So date two goes by and date three approaches. My younger single girlfriends tell me this is the critical date. Date three is usually the sex date. Since when? I didn’t get this memo. My very good friend Erin is bold. She tells me to resist. Wait at least a month because the honeymoon period will likely be waning and perhaps I’ll see him for what he is: 54 and balding. Erin, at 26, can’t imagine there is anything sexy about that and wants me to reconsider the whole thing.
Well I’m happy to say I held out til date four. And you know it wasn’t a big deal. Four glasses of wine later I was feeling very confident. But you know, it was completely different from the sex and dating of 20 years ago. I wasn’t concerned about birth control since I’m past ovulating. It actually felt odd, laying there in the dark, post coital whispering, NOT worrying about it. I was liberated. And then he asked the question: how long has it been for you? Considering the short time since my husband had left, he was very surprised to hear that it had been four years since I’d had sex. Something I actually had never told anyone. No one is proud of a sexless marriage.
Then he stole my heart by saying, “Yeah, it’s been three years for me. I just don’t understand these kids today who can’t get past the third date.”