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 when he just stopped coming home because of the long days and late nights trying to save his business.
I mention this not because I can’t bitch enough about the ex – I truly believe he did the best he could for a guy that didn’t want to be part of a family. I mention it because about two months after he finally left, I went on a date. I’m not one of those women who swore off men. On 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! 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 three children. But I had this whole deer in the headlights thing about “Oh my God, what if single people today are doing things differently??” Date Two goes by and Date Three is approaching. My young single girlfriends tell me this is the critical date. Date Three is usually the sex date. Since when? My very good friend Erin bucks the trend. She tells me to resist. Wait at least a month because the honeymoon period will likey 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 54 and balding 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 accidental pregnancy since I’m past ovulating. I wasn’t concerned about my reputation because who the hell cares. It actually felt odd, laying there in the dark, post coital whispering, NOT worrying about any of those things. 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 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, about the same for me. I just don’t understand these kids today who can’t get past the third date.”