There has been much activity on my facebook page lately from women who all want to know one thing: is HE out there? Does love exist? Is there really such a thing as a good guy? The honest answer is that I don't know. But I hope so.
The point of this project when I began it was just to get myself back out there. To see who else was in the world and give them a chance. To discover what qualities about a man I can and cannot live with. I've learned a lot about myself in the process and I think that the main thing that I've discovered is that I do believe in true love. Despite all the heartbreak, despite all the bull shit, despite all evidence to the contrary, the indisputable answer for me is YES. I know that love exists. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have felt it with my heart. And I've been lucky enough to bear witness to my friends and family as they experience it first hand.
I wasn't always a bitter, jaded, divorced girl on the brink of turning 30 with no job, no boyfriend, living back at my parents' house scraping money together to repay student loans. This is a whole new level of crazy for me. In fact, sometimes I still find it hard to believe that just five years ago, I was married to a wonderful man whom I thought was in love with me, living in Europe, running off to Paris, Rome or Barcelona for the weekend. We had a beautiful home, a sunroom, six kittens and a car that drove on the wrong side of the road. He'd sing me Beatles songs to help me fall asleep at night. Each morning when he rolled out of bed, he'd flip his pillow so I could snooze on the cool side. I remember watching out the kitchen window as he mowed the tiny lawn we put all of our weekend energy into fixing up. I made sandwiches and iced tea and we ate them together while sitting on the bench he built me for our second wedding anniversary. We drove out to his friends' homes on Sundays or hosted dinner parties at our place where I attempted making a full English roast. By the way, Yorkshire pudding is extremely difficult to master if you didn't grow up eating it and / or have an aversion to cooking with cow fat. But I didn't care. I was young and in love and wanted to make the national dish of my husband's country even if it freaked me out to do it. I now know that I don't like to cook recipes that call for "drippings" of any sort.
I fell in love with my ex husband when I was 20 years old. We were married just a few weeks after my 21st birthday. It's a very different feeling now, trying to date again, to get back into the swing of new relationships or just meeting people in general. I met my ex completely by accident. You see, I was doing an internship abroad and my plane left on September 10th, 2001. (I'll let your brain wrap around that math for a minute.) Another 24 hours and I never would have left New York. I remember the last thing that my mother said to me as she walked me to the gate (because you were still allowed to do that then) was "Don't come back with a boyfriend." So I didn't. I came back with a husband. Being 20 years old meant that when I met a man, I fell in love with him in three weeks flat. Happened every time. In fact, my mother was joking when she said it because those exact same words had come out of her mouth the day she dropped me off at college and three weeks later: BAM! Boyfriend. So it was no surprise to anyone how quickly he and I courted. Six weeks later, I found myself under the Eiffel Tower at midnight next to a boy with a cute accent holding a rose he'd bought off a riverboat on the Seine. I didn't know much then (I don't know much more now) but I did know that when a boy proposes to you at midnight under the Eiffel Tower, YOU SAY YES. That's what you do!
How that cute couple in Paris became two people who could hardly stand to look at each other a few short years later still boggles my mind. How we went from "can't get enough of each other" to mere roommates is still a mystery. How we managed to stop writing love letters by air mail every single day and wound up as man and wife who never really listened to what the other was saying astounds me. How did we get there from here? How come we could never find our way back?
There are people out there who fight, gamble, drink, cheat, lie, steal, hit or in some other way abuse their spouses. I will not pretend that this was the case with us. We were supposedly trying to get pregnant for the last two years of our relationship. We left England to make a life on Long Island so that we could raise our family here and I could be closer to home. (His mother always hated me anyway. I didn't want to be anywhere near that woman.) Every month, it would turn out that I wouldn't be pregnant (again) and I remember my aunt saying to me each time "Have faith." What she meant by that was that I should just be patient and let it happen. But that's not what it equated to in my head. I literally translated "Have Faith" into my quest for a baby girl...named Faith. I wanted it so badly that I thought I could make it happen. I figured that if I threw everything I had, everything I was into our marriage, I could save it somehow and we'd have a beautiful baby together and live that happily ever after we'd been chasing for 6 years. He had a different plan.
My husband came home one day and told me that he no longer wanted children. This was a shock above shocks to me. It was the final blow among an already straw-heavy camel. His drinking too much and working too much had been a problem lately but I overlooked all of it as best I could. He neglected me at every turn and no matter how loud I cried out for attention, he ignored my pleas. But this? This got my attention. His bags were packed and out of the house in a matter of three days. I've seen him twice since, both times in court.
Many of you reading this have similar stories. Perhaps you were with someone and simply fell out of love. Perhaps you were with someone who had an addiction, or stopped noticing you, or decided they didn't want to be a parent (sadly for many, after you'd already had the child!) Perhaps you were with someone who just wasn't who you thought they were. And you broke up. And you lost faith.
But here's the kicker: You can have that faith back again. I know that your heart has been broken. I don't know how many times or how or why but I do know that it has. I know that it sucks completely and totally and this may be the hardest fight of your life. It doesn't matter how old you were when it happened. It doesn't matter how long ago it was. It doesn't matter how many days / weeks / months / years you've allowed yourself to grieve / mourn / eat pints of Ben & Jerry's. If the three greatest things are faith, hope and love (thank you cliche wedding reading) than you have to have faith. You have to be hopeful. And you have to believe in love.
I know that a lot of the dates I've been on don't seem like they're going to be the man of my dreams. I will grant you that nose picking guy isn't on my short list of possible Prince Charmings. I can see how many of you might think that I should just give up right now, join a spinster club, take knitting lessons and buy the entire series of House on dvd. I choose to carry on. In the face of all the losers, geeks, nerds, dorks, dweebs, psychos, crazies, druggies, liars, midgets, stalkers and heart breakers, I still believe that there is that needle in a haystack if only I'm patient enough to keep searching for him.
So many of you reading this are in the same position I am where you just don't know if he's out there or you're ever going to find him. So many of you are tired and want to give up and I GET THAT. I know, believe me, I understand and I'm right there with you. There are days when I want to throw in the towel. Five minutes later, I'll get an email from a reader who says that I'm so brave or I'm an inspiration or that I motivate her to go on and you know what? That's why I'm doing this. You are not alone in the world of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad dating. I'm in it too and it sucks. You know it. I know it. But that's what my aunt was saying all along. You have to have faith. Faith that it will all work out someday. Faith that there is a person out there who will love you just for you, exactly as you are right now. Faith that your dreams will come true if you believe in them hard enough. Faith that all the Disney movies we watched as young girls weren't complete lies and that he may not ride in on a white horse, but there is a man out there who's ready to sweep us off our feet if we are prepared to let him. Faith that I will be a mother to a beautiful baby girl someday and no matter what her name is, she will exist solely because I never gave up hope. Because I never gave up on love.
Copyright Kimberly Spice 2010