Sunday, July 31, 2016

Even My Ego Has Sobered Up

A friend of mine had her baby right around the time I had Xander. It was also her first, also kind of unexpected and also frightening for her. We had a lot of good, relatable conversations during our pregnancies. It was nice to be able to connect to someone going through the same emotions I was. 

A couple of months ago, she sent me an email to touch base and see how things were. I explained that while my baby was doing well, I was incredibly stressed and sad because my relationship had failed, he had chosen his addiction and lifestyle over us and that I was moving out. I told her I was confident that we would be able to co-parent pretty well as the love for his son was never in question, he just wasn’t able to make the decision to be sober with me and I knew I could never make it work if he kept drinking. I was heartbroken and worried that my son would resent me for not staying and trying to make it work. But I knew that I wasn’t in love anymore and that it was more important for Xander to be around a positive and sober influence and that hopefully one day he would understand that my choice was because my love for him ran so deep and true. 

She then opened up to me about struggles she was having with her own relationship. However, she was unable to go into detail for fear that he would read her messages. She said that she wasn’t sure they would be able to make it work either. But she was also sad and distraught because she said what kind of man would want to be with her now that she had a child to take care of?

That thought has crossed my mind. However, she is much younger than I am so I can see how it would be more of a concern for her than maybe it is for me. For one thing, anyone around my age that is also in the dating pool (not that I plan on swimming anytime soon) is probably either a parent themselves or at least has experience dating someone with a child or children. 

My first table last night was four guys around my age, all pretty good looking and having a typical “Vegas” time. They joked, flirted and I was happy to have the attention. When one of them asked me if I was married or had a boyfriend, it was strange to say no. I immediately became self-conscious and followed it up with “Guess that means I’m crazy, huh?” and laughed it off. The least drunk of the four asked for my “story” and for some reason, I told it. The Reader’s Digest version, of course. I showed them pictures of my son. They were all very sweet and wished me luck with him. They left me a very generous tip but the flirting ended pretty quickly. Well, except for the drunkest of the four which basically just asked me to have sex with him. It is still Vegas, after all.  

This is about the right time after a breakup where, in the past, I would have been starving for male attention and hitting up bars, online dating sites or past flirts and begging for validation that I was still attractive, still desirable and still worthy of at least a one-night stand. I would be ready to jump into another superficial relationship built on drunken conversation and narcissism. Anything to get away from the voice inside my head reminding me of how alone I was. 

Of course, things are different now. 

I definitely think about what a future relationship would look like for me. I don’t drink because I can’t handle my shit. I live with my parents very happily and willingly. I lost my sex drive a couple of years ago and still haven’t managed to find it. And then the fact that any man who comes into my world from now on will, at best, be the second most important man in my life. Forever. 

It is kind of distressing. I can see why my friend would be worried about it. 

I started to write “no one wants to be alone” just now... But that’s actually not true. I have met many women - and men - that find alone to just be easier. Simpler. Yes, coupling certainly has its perks, but believe me, so does the single life. 

The refreshing part of all this is that I know whatever decisions I make with men from this point on will be made with a sober mind, which I can honestly say hasn’t happened since I started drinking when I was 20. That’s a pretty big deal. And I’m not nearly as hungry for attention as I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s because I get plenty of attention from the only man that really counts. 

A friend at work told me once that she wasn’t able to find the perfect man so instead, she created him. I feel this way sometimes. But I think we all know that the spot a son takes in one’s heart still has a few voids that only a partner can fill. 

I used to think any man I chose to be with would be lucky to have me. Which would then leave me angry and bitter when they decided they didn’t want me enough to change who they were when things got tough. I mean, the nerve! Didn’t they know who I was?? Ha.. Now I know better. The man that comes into my life now and loves me for my imperfections, my struggles, my son, my family and, most importantly, my truths... boy, will I be the lucky one to have THAT man. 

Funny how I always thought drinking made me more confident when, in fact, it just gave my ego the munchies. Now I know how to feed myself and it feels pretty remarkable. 

No shame in my work game though... if a couple of guys from out of town want to flirt with me and then throw down a 35% tip, I’m not gonna argue. Organic baby food isn’t cheap. 

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