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Before you meet your handsome Prince, you have to kiss a lot of toads.

In the aftermath  of wedding mania I’ve been experiencing, I decided to give an account of the other side of the romance saga.  Don’t get me wrong.. I believe in love.  I believe that there is someone out there  for everyone. I honestly hope that when I chose to  spend a night in my flannies at home with a glass of wine instead of going out, that I didn’t somehow miss the one opportunity I had of meeting my someone. I hope fate is kind enough to ensure we meet.  There I said it.. see? I would love to be in love.  I’m not a complete unromantic.

I do, however, think we’ve been fed copious amounts of the Cinderella theory and it’s made us feel a bit off color.  Women, my age especially, are still looked at in horror if they haven’t married or had a family.  I must admit that I rushed into marriage as I was scared of being left on the shelf.  I also admit that if 21 years ago, I had a crystal ball and knew that all these years later I’d still be single, I wouldn’t have left.  I would have been too scared to face life on my own..  The reality is, i was already on my own.  I was in a violent, controlling relationship where I felt alone, unloved, scared and miserable.  But, I would have stayed had I known that I would still be on my own.  Such is the depth of the Cinderella indoctrination.

I love romance movies..My heart skips a beat when Richard Gere rides the escalator to ask Susan Sarandon to come dancing with him in Shall we Dance.. and who could possibly not get a bit wistful when he turns up in a limo waving his umbrella at Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  I would dare anyone to say that they didn’t choke up at  James Garner in the Notebook when the love of his life regains lucidity enough to dance with him, then loses it again.  I’m tearing up just thinking about it.  While we all laughed at Bridget Jones’ antics, we all desperately wanted her to dump the moronic Hugh Grant and realise true love with Colin Firth.  and we wanted her to wear good undies when she finally got with him.   Let’s face it.. whether we are romantics or not… we all love a love story.  Love sells!!

I was raised on a steady diet of Disney movies and waited all my life for Prince Charming to find me.  What I failed to see in the fairy tales, was that the princesses were actually quite happy with their lives.  They weren’t out on dating websites, desperate to find their soul mate.. No!! They were happy talking to their animal friends and skipping through scarey forests.  HELLOOOOOO!! These women had horrifying step mothers.. why would they want to lumber themselves with mothers in law as well?? They were happy as they were till fate threw the handsome prince in their way.  (And do all queens call their first born children Charming or did Cinderella and Snow White fall for the same guy?)

I have seen people recoil in horror when I say I’ve been divorced for 21 years.. I must be some sort of freak or ball breaker.  well okay, they may both be slightly true, but the fact is, I was busy living my life, raising my kids, working, studying…. Just generally being.  I desperately wanted to meet someone and live happily ever after when I first separated.  I ached for someone to see me as a worthwhile person, to have someone to share my dreams with, someone to grow old with.  I just didn’t meet the right person.

I know so many amazing women who are in the same boat.  They are high achievers, funny, intelligent, attractive women who just didn’t meet the right guy. Some have children, some don’t but they are all  fantastic people.  They aren’t damaged or Gina Hard Faced Bitches.  They just don’t want to settle for less than they deserve.  Fussy?? Perhaps.. But why is that said as an insult?  And don’t get me started on our body image.  At a time of our lives when we are biologically geared toward slowing down and enjoying being grandmas, we are out, still earning the bacon, going home, cooking it and then cleaning up afterwards.  We are compared to 30 something year olds and found to be lacking in the firmness stakes.  Here’s some news for you.. Gravity is a bitch.  Yes we’ve aged but somewhere behind the laugh lines and saggy boobs is the same gorgeous girl we were in our 20’s.. Just wiser, stronger, calmer and more amazing than ever.

When I first found myself single again, I went out to places where I could meet men… I joined online dating services… I joined groups… I did short courses (and long ones)…. I frequented Bunnings (but that was purely for pleasure)… I did all the things they say you should do to meet a person… It wasn’t a complete loss.. I made new friends, I learned that men WILL say they are single even with the wedding ring on their hand, I gained some new interests, I learned new skills and I bought some great tools.. In short… I learned to be me.  The greatest love of all DID happen to me.. I learned to love myself.  I learned to like my own company and I learned that love comes in all forms.

One day, after bemoaning my unloved state, I realised with a start that I was loved. I had children who loved me completely.. I had friends who would walk over hot coals for me.. I had family who adored me… I WAS LOVED…. Not a romantic love… but something much more powerful.. They loved me when I had nothing to give them.. They loved me when I was a broken shell.. They loved me although I offered them nothing in return at my lowest points.   It was probably one of the greatest realisations of my life.  Suddenly being single wasn’t such a big deal.

Nowadays, if someone does come into my life, it’ll be because I want him there.. not because I need him.  I’d much rather be wanted than needed so hopefully he will too.  In the meantime, I can do what I want.. I have full control of the remote.  I can have baked cheesecake for dinner if I want without someone wanting something more substantial.  I can go weeks without shaving my legs or underarms and only I will know.  I can watch as many chick flicks as I like and cry my eyes out if I want.  I can sit up late at night, like I am now, typing away at a blog without someone wanting me to come to bed.  I can have a glass of wine whenever I want without someone questioning the time.  I can stay in my flannies all day if I choose.   I would happily give it all up for the right person (well not the flannies and wine – after all, half past Bra off and wine O’clock is my favorite time of day)  but I’m happy with my life as it is right now.

When I go onto online dating sites now, I pour myself another glass of wine and lay down, wrap myself up in a snuggy and watch a movie.  It’s a hard life out there being single in your fifties.  I’ve no doubt men have similar stories but I haven’t experienced it from their side, so can only tell you it from a female perspective.  Tomorrow I will tell you about some of the forays into the dating world that my girlfriends and I have experienced as that’s a whole subject on it’s own.

For now, I’m going to head off to my own bed, where I can wear flannie jammies, sleep in the middle of the bed, throw my hairy legs anywhere I want them, read for as long as I want to and snore to my heart’s content.  (I don’t generally snore but I have a bit of a cold at the moment)

I’d like to leave you with a bedtime story.. a fairy tale in fact..

Once upon a time, a beautiful, independent, self assured princess happened upon a frog in a pond.
The frog said to the princess, “I was once a handsome prince until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you and I will turn back into a prince and then we can marry, move into the castle with my mom and you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel happy doing so.”  That night, while the princess dined on frog legs, she kept laughing and saying, “I don’t think so.”   Amen sister..

Happy Snoring… Livvy 🙂

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