Sharon, 56, Separated, A Little South of Nowhere

Curious about others experiences in dating and relationships, I posted some questions out on Facebook in early September 2017 to collect stories from a wide range of hearts and experiences in love. This is one of many:

+ If you're coupled, how did you meet?
I met my husband at a bar. We spotted each other right off, and ''sideways'' watched each other all night. Finally I walked up to him and whispered in his ear, "Just act like we are old friends," we were pretty much together every day after that for the last 13 years.

+ If dating, where do you meet people? 
Being newly 'single' (separated) I'm really not looking to meet anyone. I'm really tired of all the hassle and hurt relationships bring, and I'm just studying on myself, my future, and my family.

+ What are your fears & concerns about dating and relationshipping? 
To be honest, the thought of dating scares the crap out of me. People are so strange these days. Add to that you have to get to know someone, they want to know about you. Then you have to open yourself up.....just not anything I'm interested in at this point. I still love my husband very much, and have never been able to see myself with anyone but him. Problem is, he can't seem to form the same picture.!!

+ Are you happy in your current status? Why or why not?
Happy with my current status? THAT'S a loaded question. NO, Because I wanted my marriage, almost to the destruction of myself. Yes, because I have some peace knowing I do not have to deal with all the negativity inundating that relationship.

+ Do you view marriage as a destination or a journey? 
Marriage is a journey. It's almost a living creature to itself. It changes every day. You have to be willing not only to take, but to give. And normally, for a woman, there's a LOT more GIVE. Marriage is not a vacation, it's a job. It's something BOTH partners have to be vested in and work for EVERY day and night. That's not a bad thing, and there can be LOTS of good times. It's just that the good times need to out weigh the bad, and BOTH people in the relationship need to hold the marriage and their spouse as their #1 concern and priority. 

+ If divorced, when did you know it wasn't going to be till death do we part? 
Not yet divorced, but I knew it was not going to be 'til death do we part' when he kept breaking his promise not to do the things he does. 6 years of broken promises felt like enough ''try'' and a damn good reason to move on.

+ If married, how much work does it take to maintain and happy and loving relationship with your spouse? 
I believe every marriage takes a lot of work to maintain. You can't live with someone 24/7 and ALWAYS like them, or even love them. But when they are important to you, you find the ability to love past the issue......unless the issue never goes away, is toxic, and endangers you. Then you need to find the ability to make choices.

+ If coupled, do you follow traditional gender norms or share responsibilities in a different manner?
We would have been considered modern traditional, most likely. We each covered the 'traditional' roles, but we also worked hand in hand to help each other.

+ If coupled, how long have you known each other, been a couple and married (if applicable)? 
We knew each other about 4-5 months before we moved in together, and lived together about a year before getting married. We've known many of the same people all our lives, and our paths had crossed so many different times, We just never came face to face until October 16, 2004. 

+ If single, do you go out on dates often? Why or why not, and do you want to have a different answer? 
Refer to answer #2. I've been on 2 dates, not the same person each time, people I already knew, I'm good. At least for now ...

+ If single, what do you experience in society? Are you purposefully and happily single, or do you feel pressured to seek a partner? 
I guess you would say I'm happily single. I do not miss the stress, arguments, insinuated/perceived comments of an 'other half'. I can do what I want, eat when I want to, or not want to, go to bed when I want and not have to fight for the covers or a piece of bed to sleep on. The down side of it is not having that special person there to share things with, plan things with, or talk to. But life is a hot bed of plus & minus'.

+ Do you have couples you know, either personally or from afar, that are your #relationshipgoals?
GOOD question!! It's funny, the people you think are the happiest, once you get inside and get to know them, have the worst 'behind closed doors' relationships. They just put up a good front. What I do have as a relationship goal is to love and be loved like my mother and grandmothers. THEY had once in a life time loves. But even they experienced bad times.

+ Does religion, family or culture play a role in your dating approach? 
I believe in marriage and the sanctity thereof. What hurts is that I believe society has watered down the need of fidelity in a relationship. 


+ What do you want from being coupled that you do not feel when single?
I suppose those things could be factors if I were to choose a different path than I have always traveled. But I'm pretty cut and dry in what I like in a person. The problem appears to be that what I like is not what's good for ME! lol
With my husband, I felt complete and like one half of a whole. That was the best feeling (even though I found out later it was a false reality.) Knowing, or thinking you do, someone enough to know what they think, how they feel, what they need, what they want, is a magical feeling. Loving someone enough not to want to see the red flags, and just keep living the dream makes the world a wonderful place. The only problem is that sooner or later someone opens the window and lets the reality of the world in. Being single, there are no lies, there are no falsehoods, there are no pretenses. It is what it is and you own it.