The Foreign Country of Dating

Pete had been gone for about a year when my friends and family delicately started asking if I was dating again. I was about as interested in dating as being set on fire.

Before my marriage, I considered sex my primary language. I never questioned my desire –or ability — to find a way to do that dance with some regularity. In my marriage, fairly quickly, sex was the last thing I wanted. My body withdrew its drawbridge and made a moat of tears.

Now, a year after the fact, that most intimate language remained unspoken. I had friends going through breakups who seemed to need the opposite: to be out there immediately, getting attention, making connections. I felt grateful for my middle-aged, roll-around-the-middle, lugging-10-bags-and-a-sippy-cup invisibility. I could not tolerate being looked at or spoken to by a man.

My body had been betrayed — by C-section, by miscarriage, by my husband and by me. It was relearning trust, and the journey was solitary and slow.

Dating seemed like a foreign country, and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to travel there. Eventually, the mere sight of a man’s arm hair would stir me to my core. But not yet. I couldn’t see that future, and I didn’t need to. I was doing what needed to be done to grieve, to heal, to return to the pleasures of the body.

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