At that time, I didn't want anybody new in my life. I never thought I would ever find someone again anyway, so what was the point? I threw my all into raising the children alone, trying to seek out any and all supports I could find and learning to adjust to this new lifestyle.
Sure, I dated here and there just for fun, or had the occasional one night stand just to get those needs met, but I knew nothing serious or loving would ever come from any of those "relationships" with these men. They were either friends I had known for years and that's all we both wanted out of the relationship, or just weren't what I was looking for or wanted in any future relationship. They were simply there to meet whatever needs I had in that moment, and then when those needs were met and satisfied, I moved on.
And then I struck up an online conversation on the popular Facebook copycat website Meet Me with a guy who lived locally and seemed nice enough. Our chatting was short and sweet at first, just about what we did with our lives, what we were looking for on the website if anything, and what we enjoyed doing for fun. We would check in with each other from time to time through out the days as well. Through that time, I came to know that his name was Jeff, he worked for Direct TV as a technician, he had a college degree, and had been married for a year and a half after a 6 year relationship with a college sweetheart. We had that one thing in common, so I definitely felt a little more connected, on a friendship level still, after we shared our marriage and divorce stories.
We continued talking back and forth almost every day online for a month, and then finally made plans to actually meet up in person. We met in person June 8, 2014, at a local ice cream window for creemees and nice conversation. What I expected to be an hour of chit chatting and ice cream turned into a 3 hour conversation full of laughter, fun, and a genuine likeness for one another. We talked about everything from our favorite movies, favorite hobbies, highs and lows of our places of employment, friends and family, children, marriages, favorite foods....literally, I don't think there was a topic we didn't cover that day.
We continued our online conversations for a few more days after that, and then met up in person again when he came to my home for the first time, and I made him dinner and he stayed over night.
That was a little over a month ago and we have pretty much been inseparable since then!
We both were careful to take things slowly though. He was just coming out of a 9 month relationship that had evolved into a pretty sticky situation, and of course I had my very good reasons for taking things slowly and not just jumping into anything with him. One thing I definitely didn't want to do was make the mistake of jumping into bed with this person. The fact that he was such a gentleman the day we met and never once tried to "make a move" such as hugging me, kissing me, or even touching me except to brush a huge creepy bug off of my shirt before I saw it and freaked out, showed me that he really was different from all the rest, and that this could be something good and worth taking my time with.
In fact, it was about three weeks before we even shared our first kiss. I loved that we waited for that moment. Of course we slept in the same bed, but we never got intimate until about a month after meeting and getting to know each other. A month may not sound like a long time to some, but after some of the experiences I had with other dates before Jeff, it meant a lot to me that he was truly interested in more than just that one thing and more than just what he saw on the outside. He would have respected my wishes had I wanted to wait longer than that, but it was my choice and I felt comfortable and fine with the decision we made to wait until when we waited.
We made our relationship "official" on June 22, 2014. We have made it a point to go out for ice cream every Sunday since the day we met on June 8. It's become our cute little ritual that only we know and understand.
One weekend I stayed with him, it was "that time of the month" for me. He went to the store for me and got me Midol, tampons (I had forgotten some at my house), wine, and ice cream and then came home to draw me a nice, hot bubble bath and let me soak in there for as long as I wanted to with my glass of wine in hand. Another morning, he woke me up with breakfast in bed: delicious, huge, fluffy cinnamon roles with icing and mimosas. And last weekend, when I texted him that I had fell and broken my ankle while he was at a family reunion out of state, he left bright and early the next morning to get back to Vermont and deal with some business and then surprised me at my friend's house before noon that day. The whole time I had thought he hadn't even left town yet to come back, but he had been texting my best friend, whom I was with at the time, not to tell me but that he was already back in Vermont. When he walked through the door of my friend's house, I almost burst into tears I was so relieved and happy to see him after the roller coaster weekend I had!
The things he does and says are just so thoughtful, and I can't believe how lucky I am to be treated so respectfully by a man who just adores me. He constantly tells me I am gorgeous, beautiful, and a "cutie pie," and always tells me how much he loves my personality and how goofy I am with my sense of humor. And that's another thing I love about him. I am such a goofball and am the biggest kid at heart. I love life and enjoy it to it's fullest. I don't care what anyone thinks of how crazy or goofy or funny I am acting, because it's just me and my friends love me for that. And best of all, he loves me for all of that too, instead of judging me for it or making fun of me like my ex husband did or other people did.
I had a feeling after spending so much time with him that I was going to love him. But I was very conscious of that feeling and very conscious of not letting it happen too fast into the relationship. Friends that I talked to told me to let my heart feel what it wanted to feel, to stop being afraid that things were going to be like they were with Frank, to remember that Jeff isn't Frank and that it would be okay for me to feel these feelings again for someone new.
I talked to my best friend about it a lot before finally realizing that I love Jeff. I let my heart go off the tracks and feel it. I let my heart open up to the prospect of love all over again, despite what I had been through in the past, recent or distant. On the 4th of July, I told Jeff that I love him. I didn't tell him because I expected him to say it back or feel the same thing, I just told him because I was feeling that feeling, and wanted to share it with him rather than keep it secret or bottled up inside. His response was positive and well received, and things have been going better than ever. He hasn't met my children yet, but he will in another month or two. They do know about him though, as I have started telling them about him and about our friendship leading to the current relationship we now share. It's important to me that they understand relationships like ours start as friendships, move on to some dating, and then evolve into a serious "official" relationship, so they all understand the proper series of events in these types of relationships and life experiences.
I have no doubt he will be a positive role model in the children's lives, without stepping over any boundaries of mine or Frank's as we continue to work on our co-parenting relationship now and in the future.