Thank you for being a true light during these difficult Covid-19 times. I get so much joy living vicariously through your beautiful kitchen, delicious meals and your precious family. I’m only a teeny bit mad that you’re not sending me the leftovers. 😉
I’d love you to weigh in on something that I’m struggling with. I broke off my engagement to my emotionally abusive and controlling fiancé almost four months ago. I have never been happier and more content with life. Hands downs, it was the right decision.
Here’s the thing. Once this Corona craziness is over I want to start dating again. I just am so scared of commitment at this point and afraid that men will run far far away when they hear that I’ve been engaged before. I know you’ve been through a divorce, and while I know my situation is different, I still feel a sense of shame.
How/when do I approach the topic of having been engaged before? What do I say so that they don’t run? Any advice is greatly appreciated as I truly want to hit the ground running in my dating life when this ends.
Thank you so much. You’re the best, Bee! 🐝
Dear Content In Your Castle,
While I am not exactly a chest beating “I am woman hear me roar” kinda gal, I am fairly certain you are going to discover that after all this sh*t ends you can write your own fairy tale ending. Extricating yourself from an abusive relationship before you walk down the aisle into the arms of your abuser is just the beginning of your happily ever after. And here’s my news flash for you, the next chapter starts with you.
Here’s the silver lining of Covid in my humble, fading blond headed opinion: it is allowing us to count our blessings, to lick our wounds, and to heal. We are all up in our proverbial towers right now, taking stock, digging deep, and doing the work. In my case the work means I cook, I dance in my kitchen, I write two articles a week, I clean, I mother, I wife (can ‘wife’ be a verb right now? I think so!) I hustle, and I try each day to keep our ship sailing forward.
For you this will mean something different, but my gut is that what you’re doing with your time now will impact your future and your future dating self much more so than what you are rehearsing in your head about what to say in regards to your engagement ending.
Yes, I went through a divorce in my early 30s. Looking back I realize it was relatively easy. No children, a fresh start for both of us, and bonus I met Bazz about a year later. But at the time it was scary and incredibly painful and lonely. I had almost no dating experience at all. I had met my first husband when I was just 19, dated him all through college and my twenties minus a small break-up here or there, and then married him in my mid twenties. I was an inexperienced dating moron. But you know what? I figured it out. And I got better and better at it as I went. Some dates were absolute disasters, some I thought were incredible only to never hear from them again, and some were winners ending in soft warm kisses that went on for hours in front of my building at 330 East 81st Street (Hi Bazz 😍!) But feeling shamed was never part of my experience. Ever. Finding the right time to let someone know was definitely challenging. But shame, never. Much of the time I felt like I was in a game of ‘Double Dutch’ jump rope, standing on the sidelines watching, waiting for the rhythm to kick in, waiting for the right moment to well, jump. I didn’t always get it right, but then again neither did they.
If your previous engagement feels like a dealbreaker to you it will sure as sh*t feel like a dealbreaker to someone else. And while I am not suggesting for one minute that you sit cozied on a first date saturating the conversation with the intimate details of your previous relationships, I am suggesting that, as an adult, you own your narrative. If someone doesn’t appreciate that, then you’re not dealing with an evolved adult.
I think you need to use this time to start swimming to the more shallow, calmer waters of healing. I don’t know the depth of the abuse that was inflicted, but it sounds like the shame that you mention probably stems from that, and that is something that is going to take time and I would think, some real therapy.
Life after Covid is coming. So when you lower your long locks from that tower a la Rapunzel, what shape will your heart be in? Will you be ready for your happily ever after?
When I read your letter I hear strength, I hear bravery, I hear independence, I hear someone who has a heart open to being loved and for loving again.
And, sweet girl, there’s no shame in that game.
Dating getting you down? Friendship in a frenzy? Mother-in-law making you mashugana 🥜? Nothing is off limits. Everything is anonymous. Ask The Bee here!
All illustrations by @courtneycoloring.