In the early days of the big D, I quickly realized the only way to survive what had become my train wreck of a life was great wine, loyal family, and amazing friends. But I needed an objective third-party. Someone who wouldn’t pity me, see me as helpless, or paint me a victim. Someone who could look me straight in my bloodshot eyes and tell me it was normal to cry, swear, swear more, miss your ex, hate your ex, drink, drink more and date the wrong men.
Enter Frank. In my first session, he sat me down and promised he would never give me any of that “psycho babble bullshit”. He was a straight shooter and I needed that. I wanted someone to listen to me and give me guidance. He did all of those things. He still does. Although, I think I entertain him now. My life has changed so much since those early days with Frank. I had only ever really seriously dated one person and then married him.
How in the hell was I going to date now? The internet wasn’t even a thing when my ex and I were dating. Hell, I didn’t even have a cell phone. Now there was an app for everything, including meeting Mr. Right or at least Mr. Good Enough for Right Now. I had to be entertaining. Was this happening to every other 40-year-old who was dating again? It was surreal.
I was entering uncharted, shark infested waters. Most of my friends were married. They couldn’t relate to this “WTF” situation that I was faced with. Frank could. I was a hot mess. He has taught me that I’m a good catch. Divorce doesn’t make me used goods. It doesn’t mean someone else won’t want to be with me.  Divorce doesn’t define me. It doesn’t make me bad at marriage, or relationships, or life. It just makes ME, me.
Frank became that little voice in my head. Cookie (one of many kick ass friends you’ll meet as I tell you these stories), gave me my “going out” mantra:
WWFD? What would Frank do? 
Bad choices or “teachable moments” as I like to think of them now were everywhere. On the street, at a restaurant and good lord all over on my phone. WWFD?
I’m social. I like people and when I have a few drinks, I should instantly lose access to my phone. I should have to blow into it, breathalyzer style, before it lets me communicate with the opposite sex. No texting until you can prove your blood alcohol level can write the appropriate, lady-like responses to the guy you should NEVER text. Or the other guy you should never call. Let alone the one with the tattoos and piercings that boasts of things you didn’t know existed. The list goes on and on and on. WWFD? I don’t know, he was drowning in the martini I just had and I couldn’t hear him. I had things to learn.
I usually still make the wrong decision. Is it wrong if I’m happy though? Is it wrong if I learn something new about myself? Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way Frank is always there waiting for the sordid details because you know what…I’m a good catch dammit. And…I pay him to be there….so there’s that.

40 is just a number…

40 is just a number. That’s what I told myself when I had a mild freak out about that particular birthday. My friends and family threw me a hell of a party in November. A year before, I had started a public relations company with a friend. That was harder than it seemed and life was complicated. But business was good though and I thought ok…I got this. By December, my entire world changed. I was 40, starting over professionally and living alone for the first time. Ever. Holy shit.

You read about divorce all the time and think, not me, no way. That won’t happen to me. And then it did.

Relationships are a lot like bras. You struggle to adjust the cups because it’s just not comfortable. Sometimes your shoulders can’t hold the straps. No amount of shimmying or jiggling is going to make it work. It’s just worn out. I think we were trying to pretend we were the perfect fit for a long time. We weren’t.

For me, I didn’t realize we were in trouble, because I was just trying to be happy. Does that make sense? Somewhere in the process of trying to make it work – I lost myself. I think that happens a little in every relationship. You become another person. You see your friends and family less. You kind of adopt your partner’s philosophies on things, whether they are yours or not.  And when that relationship ends after 18 years,  you need to find your new normal. Deal with the pain of a break-up which feels like someone died and learn how to live alone. Learn how to be a party of one and not a couple.

As I write this very first entry, I have tears in my eyes. I still have good days and bad. And that’s ok. Reflecting back on the last year and a half and knowing most of it wasn’t fun. Well…some of it was fun. We’ll get to that part later.  But you know what? I made it. I survived.

Just because your marriage ends…doesn’t mean YOU end. And all the first “all by myself” milestones come and go. Holidays change. Vacations change. Friends change. Your family changes. And one morning you wake up and realize…sometimes change is good. Sometimes…change is exactly what you need to move forward. You have a new, blank page, and you decide what that story is going to be. Just you.

Welcome to my change. I am writing this to help other women who think it’s not possible to move on after divorce. This blog is what it’s really like out there when you start over. It will be gritty and raw and real. I promise you that.

What’s next? Do you date your phone? Do you swipe right for the prison guy? Do you become Mrs. Robinson for a night…or a week? Hey! No judging. It’s a wild, uncensored ride and I hope you want to take it with me.

Here is what I do know. You are NOT perfect and you don’t have to be. You are totally going to F things up. You are going to make some amazingly bad choices more than once. You are going to drink WAY too much wine, go out WAY too much, and meet all the wrong guys in all the wrong places. You will be totally miserable…and you are going to KILL it! You got this.

Your journey doesn’t end here. It’s only just the beginning. So here’s to new beginnings and being 40, divorced and dating. Welcome to the 40DD club. May your cups always runneth over as we navigate this strange new world together.