There was a very interesting article in The Times on Saturday my friend alerted me to by Lucy Cavendish called “Naughty, forty and divorced: the new breed of single mum” all about the rise of a new sort of modern divorced mother. I’m not sure about the “naughty” bit, but I think she might be right about a new “tribe” emerging and I have lots of divorced friends all happily getting on with their busy lives without a significant other.
I wrote an article about being Single For The Rest Of My Life in a post a few months ago and not much has changed since then except that I’ve made an active choice not to go on internet dates and to be around for my children as much as possible. Instead I like hanging out with a modern set of women who if they’re not still happily married are all very happily getting on with their lives and taking pleasure where they wish to and when they can and “instead of desperately trying to hook up with another partner after their marriage, decide to take charge of their own life”. Not only that, but there is often more than one very funny story to listen to about life and love and lust and all that stuff.
A friend advised me recently to stop worrying so much about where I was going and about the future and to just stop for a minute and enjoy the moment. The present. So I’m trying to do just that and guess what? It’s working! I, like Lucy have been experimenting with what life is like as a single independent mother of three children. Meeting new soulmates are not easy at the best of times, but I am not looking for a new man anymore. I have a job I love, I fit in my writing when I have time, I have lovely friends I see a lot of and I spend time with my children and choose to live alone (with my children) because it works best. I have chosen to compartmentalise my life and that seems to be working well at the moment, so that I’m either at work or with my kids or my friends and then I save my really fun “me” moments for when my children are spending the weekend with their father.
It’s not exactly a matter of trying to have it all – it’s just working as successfully and happily with what you’ve got. I’ve gone right off the traditional couple thing of late. Not sure why. Maybe that was always going to be my destiny given that I clearly wasn’t very good at marriage in the first place. I think there is something to be said for just having someone to play with rather than to have to go down the whole boring commitment ring thing. Especially when I feel responsible for forging a new path through life with lots of my friends – it actually could even be the first time in history that women on their own can lead interesting happy lives without being judged and it appears to be a growing phenomenon. It’s been a long old process getting to this point and who knows what will happen next – because I’m certainly not saying this is the right way or that I don’t envy my married friends for what they’ve got from time to time, it’s just accepting the situation and not worrying about it that I am trying to do. For years I’ve been worrying (and if you don’t believe me, read my blog!!). I spent the first two years of our separation moping and being miserable and the next two years going mad and being inappropriate. Now I have found a peace within myself which is I guess progress of some description and I have, in the process learnt a lot more about what works and what doesn’t and this is of course all constrained by the happy fact that I live with my children and they come first.
I’m not sure about the sex thing/love thing – I haven’t worked that out yet and so will give it some thought and get back to you. The book that is getting lots of adverse press at the moment is about a 61 year old divorcee and grandmother of two called “My Year Of Dating Dangerously” all about no strings attached sex with much younger men. A “Grilf” rather than a “Milf”. She chronicles 15 different sexual experiences in the year – well good for her if it makes her happy and she doesn’t have too many germs, but it’s not something I want to do. It would make me feel more insecure rather than less….and it all feels a little bit sad and shallow and just as an additional point to note – if a 61 year old male brought out a book about his year of sexual conquests with 20 year olds we’d all be up in arms….and really, it’s got to work both ways don’t you think?