Keep in mind, however, that I've been divorced for over a year and separated longer. So while this might seem sudden to you (who is reading this wherever you're reading it from!), it's taken a while to get myself here.
I made the conscious decision to get back into the dating scene a few months after the divorce was finalized. My paperwork had been submitted to the Tribunal and the Canon lawyers I'd spoken with all assured me my case was textbook approval. However, because I don't yet have that approval, I've been upfront about my situation.
All of the men I've accepted dinner invitations from have known of my impending annulment and have been made aware of exactly what I'm looking for from dating. That has served me well in that the men I've gone to dinner with all knew and felt comfortable with the boundaries I'd set in place.
So... why did I consider dating again?
After a particularly nasty conversation with a good friend, I realized I was beginning to push all the men in my life away. John betrayed my trust so intrinsically that I was subconsciously pulling trust away from every other male in my life. It wasn't healthy and the only way I was going to snap myself out of it was by forcing myself to see men differently. Thus, dating.
So while I'd politely decline the dinner invitations in the months after my divorce, I started saying "Yes." I met a lot of really wonderful men in this manner and have finally remembered what it's like being treated properly. Heck... even remembering that I SHOULD be treated properly!
However, one guy in particular has made it further than any of the others. He and I began seeing one another last July. Our first date was dinner and volunteering with kids. I should've known right then and there that I was in trouble. LoL.
He and I continued seeing one another. I was still accepting dinner invitations from random guys now and again, but Rick (let's call him Rick) was a constant. We settled into a comfortable friendship. I think we were both content with just being friends and didn't expect anything to go further. We just enjoyed one another's company and having had similar experiences, we were able to support one another in ways others might not understand.
All that time, he respected my boundaries regarding physical contact. We hugged in greeting, but never held hands or kissed.
That changed - sharply - one evening after we'd gotten back from a movie. I made the mistake of leaning in to grab his arm for balance and it was a verifiable lightning bolt through me. He felt that shift as well and took the opportunity to land a kiss that stopped the universe.
And like that Taylor Swift song goes, everything really had changed. That one instant of connection opened a door I had wedged pretty tightly closed. And he's wonderful. In a thousand different ways, he's wonderful. He's thoughtful, he's hard working, he's fantastic with the kids, and he's probably the most appreciative man I've ever met in my life. When he's not working, he's running around in the service of others.
And that's all you'll get from me for now. ;)