Dating Chronicles #2: Irrelevant Question – How Long Have You Been Single?

I find the question, when you meet someone, “How long have you been single?” to be irrelevant. A polyamorous person may be in a relationship and seeking an additional relationship, therefore, they’re not “single” in the traditional sense. Being single and ready for a relationship, as a monogamous person, doesn’t have to do with how much time has lapsed since the end of a previous relationship. You can watch the accompanying video here.

I’ll explain by using a personal experience: I felt things weren’t quite right, throughout my second marriage, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I wondered if he was cheating and I kept dismissing that idea. I don’t think anyone wants to fully entertain the idea that their partner, or significant other, is being unfaithful.

I found out in the fourth year of our marriage that he was, indeed, cheating. I suggested we go to counseling to find out what was going on with him, what he may be missing from me, and how we could improve our marriage. He didn’t want to attend counseling. Finally, he did agree to go although he wasn’t emotionally invested in it. He’d shut down, not speak, blurt out things from his childhood and how he was picked on in school, all the while not directly answering the therapist’s questions.

I’d done research and found his “friend’s” address. I did a drive-by of her residence, I had her license plate number, I found out where they’d meet for lunch, and the days he’d spend time with her. Even with all of that information, he continued to lie about cheating. We began living as housemates. He slept in one of the guest bedrooms, used the upstairs guest bathroom, we’d pass each other in the kitchen and downstairs hallway. There was minimal conversation. There were, sometimes, days in-between us seeing each other due to our work schedules and his extra-curricular activities.

I started looking at apartments, in the beginning of the sixth year of our marriage, after he asked me if I wanted a divorce and which one of us would be moving out. I found a place I liked in February 2012. The model I wanted wasn’t going to be ready until June 1st, which is when I moved out. We lived in a cul-de-sac and were friends with our neighbors. They told me they’d seen her and her car in front of the house, and then in the driveway, beginning on June 4th.

At the end of 2012, early 2013, I started dating and guys would ask me, “How long have you been single?”. I’d say I left in June and the divorce was final in October; however, I knew in February I was leaving. They’d tell me it was too soon for me to begin dating. I’ve heard a person should be single for half the amount of time they were in their relationship. Since I was married for six years, they were telling me I needed to be single for three.

The question annoyed me because these men didn’t know me, as a person, or the work I’d put into processing the ending, and the actual end of the relationship. When it became clear his desires were different from mine and he didn’t want our marriage to work out, that’s when I realized it was over. I began processing that and learning from my experience and choices. I’d thought about is this going to work? Is it not going to work? Why isn’t it working? Is there anything else I can do? Apparently, it’s not anything else I can do. Can I be content living in this type of marriage? I had to decide for myself what kind of life I wanted to live, the type of marriage I wanted to be in. I decided I wasn’t going to live a lie or live my life with someone who was going to lie to me.

I’d already processed why the marriage ended, before I began dating, and had accepted that it was over. I wasn’t holding on to any hopes or dreams of things working out. I wasn’t unsure or questioning my decision. I knew exactly what I wanted; to live an honest life. I think some people don’t understand there’s times when a relationship is emotionally over before it’s physically over.

I know people on both sides of the fence and once I explain the situation to them, they agree that I’d processed the situation and was ready to move on long before I actually moved out. I don’t even ask how long someone’s been single. It doesn’t matter to me because I don’t know if they’ve put in the emotional and psychological work before the relationship physically ended.

Also, some people consider themselves single even though they’re actively dating but not in a “relationship”. I don’t consider them “single” because even seeing someone causes external accountability toward another person. A single person, to me, is someone not having any emotional or physical ties to another person.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you think it’s a relevant question, why? If you think it’s not relevant, why not?

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Thank you.

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I journeyed from GED to a PhD in Psychology. I decided to focus on my writing once I retired from the clinical field. I write in various genres and have several WIPs for publication once edited. I post articles on this website for intellectual and entertainment purposes.

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