Four years after my divorce I finally felt confident enough to get out of my yoga pants, buy some decent panties and date. It was horrifying at first: for so long I felt unattractive, unsexy (I mean, I’d never dated as a mom!) and totally clueless about navigating the singles scene in this this crazy digital world.
But after a few weird OKCupid dates I got into the swing of things and am having SO.MUCH.FUN. Why doesn’t anyone tell you how awesome post-divorce sex is? The health department should run a PSA on the dangers of its addictiveness!
But here comes the pickle: In my spree of fun dates and casual hookups I had a wonderful date with one very sexy, smart and interesting single dad. In one very intense evening we really connected — intellectually, emotionally and sexually. Also: he makes total sense, is just a few years older than me, and in a similar place in his life as a parent and professional (big high-five when compared with the smoking losers and delicious younger dudes I’ve been sampling).
So what’s the problem?
After our one, admittedly magical date, it has been a non-stop stream of texts, suggestions I meet his son and long-term plans for our future. All I want to do is block him from my phone and keep whoring around!
But I worry: Shouldn’t I give this guy a chance? I mean, he really is so great. What if I regret not pursuing him just because he’s a little too much, too soon? Trust me: If my first date is any indication, this guy is a catch! But I went through utter hell to get to this place where I feel confident and sexy and like I can take on the world. I want to enjoy it. I should enjoy it, right? So why do I worry about regret?
Confused in Culver City
There is a mistress in every relationship. Her name is Time-Place. Time-place can bring together two mismatched people for a bout of perfect harmony. And Time-Place and send two terribly compatible lovers into opposite, ships-in-the-night directions.
You and this man may be thwarted by Time-Place. You’re having a blissful moment of post-divorce high. You have emerged from the horrors that is marital meltdown, and now have risen, a phoenix of sexual confidence. It is no wonder this — and all these many, many other men — are drawn to you. You are on fire! And it doesn’t hurt that you could give a shit about any of them — creating a intoxicating recipe for their desire.
But an interesting thing is at play. Your powerful confidence both attracts this man, and also makes him very insecure. He senses how hot you are — and knows he must sink his clingy claws into your supple flesh before you skip off to enjoy the pleasures of the many other men in your wait. But instead of seducing you, treats you like a needy pathetic woman — one who wants nothing but the security of a monogamous relationship, at any price.
That is not where you are.
That is where he is.
Who could blame you for wanting to bolt? If there is nothing more seductive than a confident, ambivalent women, there is no bigger boner killer than a needy man. You cannot commit to that! You would resent him from the start.
And yet I believe in keeping an open mind and second chances. First impressions — both good and bad — are noting on which to make commitments. And so you will go on another date with this wonderful man. You will go on another date with this man for three reasons. 1) He is wonderful and you want to be kind to him, 2) You need to know for sure that you do not want to date him, 3) After a an unusually special date it is the honest thing to give it another shot out of respect for the other person. This will make it easier to keep the door open for another moment for Time-Place to do her thing. And maybe that day — months or years from now — will be your moment together.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money writer, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, REAL SIMPLE, Parenting, USA Today and others.
The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children (Penguin, 2017), was a #1 bestseller and was featured in hundreds of media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, Oprah.com and the New York Post, which named it to its ‘Must Read” list.
Her popular blog Wealthysinglemommy.com, and podcast Like a Mother, explore issues facing professional single moms: business and career, money, sex, relationships and parenting. Emma regularly comments on these topics for outlets such as CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Doctors, and many more. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” one of “20 Personal Finance Influencers to Follow on Twitter” by AOL DailyFinance, “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and “Most Eligible New Yorkers” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker on gender equality, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality.
Emma grew up in Sycamore, Ill., and lives in New York City with her children.