As time has passed, I have begun to look to the future, and focus less on the past. And one way that I'm looking forward is thinking about beginning to date again.
First, let's cover something very important. Most members of my and Aimee's immediate family, especially Aimee's mother, are supportive of me getting on with my life (in a dating sense of the word). In fact Donna has been encouraging me to begin dating again for some time, although she hasn't been pushy about it.
|Aimee and I were often silly together. It|
was one of the best parts of our relationship.
There is also Rowan (lest anyone foolishly thought this was all about me). She has steadfastly expressed, repeatedly over time, that she wants a mommy. She said as much to me again the day before yesterday. (In her Disney Princess level knowledge of life and 'love', she doesn't understand why this request can't be filled in the fairly immediate future. Don't I just go to the Royal Ball and dance with Cinderella or find some random sleeping princess and kiss her?) I want Rowan to have a mother, and not just any mother, but a great one. Further, Aimee and I were so adamant about treating each other with love, kindness, and respect at all times, but especially in front of Rowan. Why? We knew that we would set up her expectations for what her own marriage should look like. Without the right partner to model that with for her, I feel like some valuable lessons may get missed (though I admit this is a little bit less of a concern, as I feel there are some lessons along these lines I can teach her in other ways).
And finally, I can honestly say that I do have the capacity to have feelings for someone else, though growth of any relationship will have to take time.
But then there's the other side of things. I'm worried that getting into a relationship with me any time in the near future might be something like dating someone with a serious illness. You know they'll probably recover someday, but you also know that you're probably not getting them at their best, fullest ability right now. That doesn't seem completely fair. How do I balance being available to someone, and being open with them about who I am and how I feel, but not burden them with someone else I used to love (and in many ways always will) when I have tough days? And trust me, I'm not self-delusional enough to think that tough days are over (ha!) or will end after a few more months or after the one year anniversary or any other marker. I'm guessing tough days will appear, though with less frequency over time, for many years to come.
All that to say, I'm thinking about it. I haven't been on a first date in almost nine years. Of course, dating back then was a lot simpler, since I was just looking for someone for me. Now I'm looking for someone for both me and Rowan (at least eventually). And marriage, if and when that day comes again, is a long way off no matter what. I want to make sure that I'm pretty certain about a potential spouse before I really begin to get them much involved in Rowan's life. The last thing I want is for Rowan to get attached to someone and have it not work out. Another significant loss in her life, especially of a person she might see in a mother role, is something I'd really like to avoid. She took it hard enough when her first post-Aimee babysitter took another job. Daddy life and dating life will stay separated for quite some time.
There's one more thing I consider. Life is short and unpredictable. I now know that all too well. What if in fact I do only have weeks or months left? Is it good for me to stay alone, unhappily so, just because some people might think I should? Should the opinions of others even be importnat? I think not. I need to live my own life, and I can't worry about what people who aren't living my life think about how I'm doing so.
So, I don't know exactly when, but I do plan on moving into this next phase of life again soon. For my sake and ultimately for Rowan's as well.