Jane spoke, “You should spend a long time alone before you start dating.”
Laughing inside, “Why is that Jane?” I asked.
With a pontificating look, she said, “I heard you need two years to recover for every one year you were married.”
Okay, let’s do the math. I was married fourteen years, times that by two and the grand total is twenty-eight. Therefore, Jane wanted me to wait twenty-eight years until I could date again. That would put me somewhere in my early sixties. I said, “Jane, what about you?” (I knew she was married for twenty-five years and had to be close to fifty) “So that almost puts you into triple digits before you’re ready.”
Jane, being Jane, responded, “Oh, no, I’m talking about you, not me.” Jim and I looked at each other and smiled.
Remember Kay—the bullet woman? She went on to say that, she would never trust another man. I realized she would continue to clutch onto her anger. I stated, “I’m not that mad anymore but I am still very emotional.” My anger had turned into sorrow. I told them I used to force myself into seclusion and could not envision re-marrying.
Kay’s response: “Why not? Mike, you can always get another divorce.”
I told her I had not thought of a marriage as disposable, like a piece of trash. That got a few laughs, but not from Kay.
It was obvious Kay couldn’t be reached. And I no longer felt the need to try. Some people cannot be reached. I strongly recommend attending a divorce class. If you decide to go, don’t be alarmed at what some people say or do. Divorce can do weird things to peoples’ minds. Go to learn, cope, heal, understand and ultimately find closure.
We all said our goodbyes and I thanked Jim for helping me in so many ways. He invited me to the next class (Divorce Class—Part Two). Actually, we were all invited to the end of that class where we could talk to the graduates of Part Two. I sat down and realized I was not going to attend this class. I looked at those people and thought, “I don’t need to hear any more rhetoric in order to recover.” Perhaps it is best for some Catholics to attend repeatedly, until they figure it out.
What did I learn?
One: My failed marriage was at least half my fault and I had to accept that.
Two: Women look at marriage and divorce differently than men.
Three: I was going to make it! I was going to be okay. And, I felt a lot better about myself.
Driving home that night I experienced many emotions. What do I do now? Do I start dating? How do I approach myself as a re-singled man? I almost forgot we were supposed to call ourselves re-singled, not divorced. I thought that was silly then, but now it makes more sense.
It was almost a new year, 1998. I was listening to the radio and the song, “In the Air Tonight,” came on. I remembered how I felt when I first heard that song in 1981 and was moving out of my parents’ house into an apartment with Connie. I felt like it was a new beginning and a new me. I remember hearing an interview with Phil Collins, and he was commenting on how he wrote that song after he went through a divorce. The irony was remarkable and I really did feel like I was “Waiting for that moment for all of my life.”