“It’s not you, it’s me.”
I sat down the two decaf Americanos from Lux on the round table in his office, just as I had several times before. I buy the coffee and he gives me his time and good counsel at the end of his work day.
My friend and I had both experienced the pain of divorce, and while our stories differed we shared several commonalities. His divorce happened nearly 20 years before mine and he was kind enough to walk the journey with me.
This meeting occurred after my divorce, and I had recently gone out on a date with a single mom – my first date since the separation and divorce. I cannot say I was excited about the prospects of having to begin dating all over again, but I recounted the date and the woman with enthusiasm.
I described her personality, her background, her job with great care, not wanting to miss a detail, as if I intended to have my friend vote for her for some pageant or competition.
I can see my friend’s face as clearly as when we sat in his office that day. He expressed some level of happiness just to see me so enthusiastic. When I finished, however, he sat quietly. He paused longer than I had expected. Then he spoke words I would not forget and would repeat often to myself and others.
“No matter how wonderful she is and how different she is from your ex-wife, the most important factor in any successful relationship you enter depends on how much you have changed and grown from how you were before.”
My friend knew every detail of how I contributed to my marriage’s failure. He knew the pain and guilt. He saw my progress. He needed to remind me not to place the burden of a successful relationship on anyone else but me.
Both of us know it takes two. But for me, dipping my toe back in the dating pool, the reminder was essential.
I needed to know exactly who I was in the relationship and not pretend a new face would ensure success.
Not long after, my friend moved away for work and I miss him dearly. I want to thank him again for speaking words of wisdom and investing in me – it made a difference.
Did you begin dating again before you were ready? How did you know when you were ready? Who do you have in your life to give you wise counsel?