Living Happily Ever After

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Want It More Than You Fear It

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” (Bill Cosby)

I had a hard time concentrating on reaching a decision. I had some concerns, and until I resolved my concerns, I didn’t feel I could make a decision or trust the decision I made.

I couldn’t believe my concerns.

One of the biggest devastations of my divorce was my belief that I’d had my chance at love, marriage and a whole and complete family, that no one would ever want me again, and that I was destined to remain alone the rest of my life. Yet less than a year after the tragic demise of my marriage and family, I had the opportunity to remarry a very good man who loved me and my children and was willing to take all of us on AND my children loved him. Sounds pretty ideal, especially for a second marriage, doesn’t it?

Yet all of THAT was the problem…for me!

I kept thinking there had to be something false, or flawed, in the opportunity or the man; there had to be something I wasn’t seeing.

I had an issue with the timing. It had happened so “fast.” Less than a year after everything fell apart, it had all come together again. Who has that happen to them? How could I go from such horror and devastation to such a dream, and so quickly?

I expressed this concern to a friend who said, “Andrea, someone like YOU has that happen to them. You lost everything unexpectedly in one day, yet you have risen above hatred, speculation and gossip and have carried on, you’ve sought to remain faithful, you’re doing your best for your children, and you can expect to be blessed for all of that.” She added, “Besides, if you consider how long you’ve actually waited to have a real marriage to the type of man you always thought you were married to…I wouldn’t say it’s fast at all. How long have you been waiting for that?”

Since 1989. Over 20 years.

And suddenly I realized that despite what others might think (those who don’t really know me, those who might judge my opportunity as “too fast” or “too soon”) I knew how long I’d been waiting. My entire adult life. Issue resolved.

I also had a problem with the fact that after all I’d been through, I just “happened to land” in a great situation. My sister handled that one for me. She said, “I have a problem with the fact you think you just ‘landed’ in this great situation. Do you have any idea how many people have worried about you and prayed for you, day in and day out, for the past YEAR? Do you have ANY idea? I have a problem with the fact you seem to think it was your good fortune, chance, or ‘luck’ that brought this to you.”

I instantly humbled myself regarding that one. She was right. I may have had my detractors, but I had also been very blessed with more than my fair share of friends who loved me, cared about me, and did everything they could to help me–including praying for me. That issue was resolved then and there, too.

My final issue concerned the availability of Bachelor #5. If he was so wonderful, WHY was he still around and still single? My sister said, “Maybe he’s still single because he was prepared, and saved, for you. With your past and all you and your children have been through, you couldn’t end up with just anyone, you know.”

I couldn’t argue with that.

So in the end, I quit making excuses. I quit trying to find everything WRONG with Bachelor #5 and the situation. I quit looking for every possible reason not to remarry. I quit hiding behind my indecision.

I decided that I wanted it more than I was afraid of it.

I chose to turn the page of my life’s story and continue on into the new chapter of the fairy tale of my life that I hoped would lead to the happily ever after ending I’d never given up on, that I’d believed in and had sought since I was a little girl. After all of that analyzing, thinking, pondering, worrying and indecision I threw it all out the window and instead, made a choice with my heart.

In the end, it came down to the simplest of concepts and principles that I already knew and had always tried to live by: Faith; Hope; Love; Trust; Commitment.

It came down to this: “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” (Bill Cosby)

I made my decision. Although it had taken me awhile to get there, I loved Bachelor #5 like I didn’t remember ever loving anyone before. So…

Hey-hey-hey, Bachelor #5! It’s time.

I just needed to tell him that.

Well-Meant Advice?

As I returned to the dating scene after 20 years of marriage to the same man, and following my divorce from that man as soon as his criminal behavior and Ponzi scheme was revealed to me, I got some unsolicited, but well-meant advice from a neighbor.

He came over one day to tell me he noticed I’d begun dating.

I was surprised anyone knew. I certainly wasn’t trying to hide my activities, but due to work and children and my busy life, the dates usually didn’t begin until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. and it was dark well before then. He said, “Oh no. This is a tight knit neighborhood, it’s a very small world, we watch out for each other, we’ve seen men and cars coming and going, we know.”

He told me that when he saw me move in, single, with four children, his first thought was, “Oh no, here we go.” He told me experts advise single people with children to remain single until all of their children are raised. He told me 40-year-olds just want to get married, and actually the best thing for 40-year-olds to do, is to keep dating “on the perimeter” and instead, raise your children. Lastly, he told me no man was going to want me and my four children.

I was a little confused as the man had been married, and divorced, several times. He told me of the struggles he had gone through, many of them child-related, and that was why he was sharing his thoughts. He also told me that he and his current wife were the one-in-a-million miracle of remarriage, and that if I knew their story, I would understand why they had married but that theirs was a very unique situation.

I was stunned.

I was raised on fairy tales. I love happy endings. I had always tried to be a good person, I believed in hard work, I wasn’t a quitter, I sought to have hope time and again even in spite of getting thrown into the deepest messes (not of my own creation) and carry on as best I could no matter what…and there wasn’t one more miracle out there?

I believe, “For every mountain there is a miracle.” (Robert H. Schuller) I’d seen enough tender mercies and miracles in my own life and in the lives of others to know, “We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?” (S. Parkes Cadman) We just have to look for them.

But I didn’t say any of that. I simply said the experts’ advice didn’t work for me. I had been married, and happily so (I thought) for 20 years. I liked being married and I believed in marriage and if I waited until my last child was raised to begin dating, I wasn’t going to even BEGIN dating until I was almost 60 years old! I felt way too young to waste my “youth,” not to mention the fact that I didn’t love being single…or alone…or lonely. Having had 20 years of companionship, I REALLY noticed its void in my life.

My neighbor left, his advice weighed heavily upon me, and in the end as I had done my entire life, but especially during the events of 2009, I had to continue to do what I felt was best for me and for my children. Despite what the critics thought. So although I appreciated his good intentions, I disagreed with the counsel he had volunteered, and I chose to continue the course I’d set and the decision I had made to date. (And of course, I called my sister and a trusted friend and got their opinion. Just to be sure.)

On to the next man.

“Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women.” (Marion Smith/Nicole Hollander)

*Just kidding about the above quote. I love and appreciate men. I just thought it was funny and had to share! I know women break the law too, it just has been my experience that SOME men do participate in illegal activities, like Ponzi schemes…:)

Ready, Set…Go?

I thought I was ready to date again. Actually, that might be a bit of a stretch. I had been married and out of that type of social situation for the previous two decades. I didn’t have a clue what dating was like in 2009. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know how to meet anyone and I didn’t know how to go about being “single.” What I WAS ready for, however, was to not feel so lonely!

So, I thought I was ready to move forward with my life. But what did my children think about that? I get asked that question a lot. Here’s the answer:

Before I was even divorced, when my children and I were still living in our home in Colorado with their dad prior to our move to Utah, one day I was standing in the kitchen and my two oldest children walked in. Out of the blue they said, “Mom, you have GOT to date, find a nice man and get married again!”

In shock, I looked at them and put a finger to my lips to hush them. Their dad was in the house, watching t.v. in the next room! I said, “Thank you for that, but I’m still legally married. I can’t date!” And then I laughed–knowing no one would want a financially-devasted, forty-something woman; the sole support of four children. (There’s nothing like a couple decades of lies and betrayal by a spouse to make you feel old, wrinkled and, like I’ve said before, an “old bag!”)

It was all so new, I think I was still in shock, and I had way too much on my plate in terms of moving, working and being a mother to think I’d ever have time to date anyway. I couldn’t comprehend anything like that (at that time) in my life. Little did I know the crushing weight of loneliness a single mother feels.

So, before I was even divorced, my children had given me permission to date.

And eventually, thanks to the terrible loneliness, I joined them in their readiness for their mother to date.

I tried to be a bit circumspect in my approach. I didn’t know anyone, and didn’t know how to meet anyone, so I decided to start with the singles program of my church. I got online and checked out the local site. It listed a lot of activities and things I didn’t understand. It also listed dances (every Friday night in Utah county) and Sunday night meetings called “firesides” where guest speakers present spiritual messages to the group.

My problem? I didn’t feel ready to walk in alone.

So I thought about it for awhile.

And then late one Friday night, on a total impulse, I did something else before I even dared go to a dance or a fireside and walk in alone.

I probably should have listened to Henry Ford: “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”

Instead, I acted impulsively.

If you keep reading, you’ll see that I’ve done that a few times. (You’ll have to decide for yourself how you think it turned out for me.)

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