Many people living in a bad relationship often find themselves daydreaming of being single and I was no different. And now that I am, is my new life what I envisioned it to be? Well, almost, and in a moment I’ll tell you why. However, as you read, please bear in mind that what I’ve written is my perspective based on my experience.
My own home
Nothing could ever be done around our marital home without some sort of morale and energy zapping argument. When redecorating, there’d be eight different shades of tester pots on the wall, yet still no decision to preference. And like everything else, the paint had to be a designer brand. After all, we had a circle of pretentious friends (hers) to impress; many of whom couldn’t tell you which political party the current prime minister belonged to. Although they would comment on the first lady’s shoes!
Post-divorce, when I refurbished my flat, swift decisions were made and it didn’t matter where I shopped for the materials. I got a decent kitchen from a trade warehouse, my lighting from an electrical wholesaler; the carpets came from my brother’s friend and the other stuff from various high street chains. When it came to choosing the colour scheme, I did so from two tester pots.
The flat looks great and I’ve had lots of compliments on its air of warmth and tranquillity. My walls are adorned with framed posters, which I had specially made, of inspirational legends from the world of music and sport. It’s a modestly sized flat, a comfortable home for my daughter and me and it’s mine to do as I please with. And if a Mr and Mrs Jones should happen to live on my road, what they have really doesn’t bother me and if what I have bothers them, that’s their problem.
I’ve been involved in martial arts since the age of 11. I took a break from regular training while my children were very young because I thought it was the right thing to do. And even though I never let my pastime interfere with family life, my ex often made me feel guilty if I ever grabbed a little time to myself – even if it did keep me fit and my cholesterol low.
Since the divorce, sometimes I train every day and other times just twice a week. It all depends how I feel but it’s my choice. A world famous instructor selected me to be part of his martial arts demo team and invited us all to accompany him to an important event held in Spain. This meant me being away for three days and I was reluctant to leave my daughter; however, she insisted I go and arranged to stay with her grandmother. At the event, I was introduced to and had the pleasure to train with, a man who choreographed the fight scenes of several Hollywood blockbusters.
I could never have done anything like that when I was married. Even if I did, there would’ve been arguments and my ex-wife would’ve quickly organised a trip of her own to get back at me.
My youngest daughter is a musician and during the divorce, she encouraged me to take up playing guitar. It’s something that I always wanted to do and I’m very glad I did. At night, I switch off the TV, plug my Stratocaster into the amp (headphones too so I don’t bother my neighbours) and I practice. I lose all track of time and two hours can flash by. I love it!
Writing is another hobby that I can easily lose myself in. Since my divorce, I’ve published a book – not a bestseller but it’s paid some bills. As a result of the book, I’ve written guest blogs for the websites of numerous organisations, including two for a national broadsheet. I’ve got many other writing projects in the planning and presently, I’m working on breaking into another area of the arts. It’s looking good but you just never know with these things. At least not until you try.
My marriage was one of extreme highs and lows and very little in between. Sound familiar to anyone? For me, most of those lows were caused by my ex-wife’s insecurities and her constantly suspecting, and many times accusing, me of infidelity. I never gave her reason to feel that way and was faithful throughout. Paradoxically, the marriage ended because of her adultery, which I’ve since learned wasn’t the only time she cheated on me.
Me exalting the benefits of life as a single bloke may get you thinking that events in my marriage are the underlying reason why I choose to be single. And you’d be partly right. But while my broken marriage hasn’t left me distrusting of all women, it has left me cautious of a few. My ex-wife inadvertently trained me to identify the early signs of a troubled woman and equally, to recognise a warm and genuine one when I see her.
Whether male or female, forming a lasting relationship isn’t easy at my age. There are factors to consider which didn’t exist when I was younger. How will another woman treat my kids? Will hers like me? And if my new partner doesn’t have children, will she appreciate the devotion I have to mine?
Presently, I’m in what I call “the no man’s land of dating”. I can attract younger women because I don’t look my age. But if those 30 something girls have yet to start a family, the majority of them will, quite naturally, be looking for a partner who will want to have children in the very near future. And I don’t - especially when I could easily become a grandfather in just a few years.
As for women my age, I’ve met a few who seem determined to repeat Phileas Fogg’s journey. Whereas, others are running around nightclubs trying to recapture their youth; speaking openly of casual flings with younger men and revelling in their sometimes self-proclaimed title of “cougar”. Some are even nightclubbing around the globe. And I find these middle-aged women’s frequent use of the acronym “YOLO” (you only live once) quite humorous because most them who subscribe to its ideal are up to their eyeballs in debt!
What about internet dating? I tried it and vowed never to use such websites again. Some women’s only profile photo showed them wearing big hats and Jackie O sunglasses. Why? I got a “Want to chat tonight?” message from a woman wearing bright red lipstick and a Dolly Parton wig. Her profile said she was 52 but she looked 65! And should a pretty woman also be photogenic, she will get bombarded with messages from men, so what are the odds of her reading mine?
What if two internet daters connect and decide to meet? Because they really don’t know if they’ll hit it off until they actually meet, or perhaps they want to “shop around” a little more, they’ll continue to interact with other site members. You can be on a date with someone you’ve met online and one or both of you already have plans to message or meet with other people that evening or the next. That’s just how it goes and it’s not for me!
Family members and friends offer to introduce me to women they know and I politely decline. On one occasion I was urged to reconsider for the reason that I needed a good woman to look after me. After I reminded the person that it was 2016 and not 1916, I also told them that I can look after myself. I cook, clean, wash and iron. I’ve read the instructions for my washer/dryer (yes some men do that) and I’ve quickly learned my way around the supermarkets. I’m holding off on getting a Nectar card though - that’s a bit too much!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve got so much to be getting on with that I’m enjoying single life and not quite ready to give my time to anyone. As my kids develop their own lives, if I should ever get lonely, my guitars will deal with that. I love dogs and plan to get a puppy sometime in the near future and so we’ll keep each other company. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to meet an intelligent, witty lady with a warm personality and a lovely smile. And I’ll happily wait for her to come along.
Steve Lucas has been divorced since 2014, he has two grownup daughters and lives in London. Steve is an Estate Agent and has recently published his book "Inside EA - A Behind the Scenes Look at How Estate Agents Operate" which is based on his 12 year career as an estate agent in London and came about as a result of people constantly asking him about property at dinner parties! It's everything you need to know about estate agents, warts and all as well as some funny stories of the bizarre things he has seen happen in the property world. You can find out more by visiting his website - http://www.insideea.co.uk/
Written by Steve Lucas, a Wikivorce member
Photo Credit: Oscarberg.net