My dear friend who’s exploring Dating as an Adult recently posed a question:
What do I say on a first date when the guy asks me what my ex did to ruin our marriage?
At the time, I didn’t have an answer that was even remotely valuable, and it bothered me. I’ve since given it some thought, and here’s what my ruminations have produced:
Keep it light! Keep it gay!
All that to say … oh, sister.
I think the real questions being asked here are, “How fucked up are you? Are you going to be a jealous psychokitty? Will your ex slash my tires? Do I need to rent a storage unit for your emotional baggage?”
Now, having been a bitter, pissed-off ex and having come out the other side with some semblance of emotional health, I think I have earned the right to comment freely on this topic. Because when I first started dating after my debacle of a break-up with Ex-Ex, my favorite, most passionate topic of conversation was Let Me Tell You How Horrible My Ex Is.
I did not realize at the time that this was a sign that I was so not ready to date.
Looking back, I was ready to date when I refrained from bringing up my ex on the first (or even second!) date. I gots your emotional health right here, bitches.
Now, if your prospective fella asks you about your ex on the first date, it raises a red flag. What if he’s looking for a show-me-yours-I’ll-show-you-mine ex comparison? If so, that means he’s not over his ex and, in my opinion, is not ready to date.
But if he’s trying to gauge your emotional health … well, that’s a tiny bit distasteful to me, but I’m kind of persnickety like that. But I think you win if you just come up with a glib, fun way to both answer the question and redirect the conversation. Because you are under no obligation to show him your divorce decree – now or ever. And you certainly don’t want to air your dirty laundry during the wooing phase.
Enjoy the woo. Embrace the woo.
So, next time, dear friend, that you are faced with such a question? Here are a few suggested responses:
Oh, we’re both much happier now. And I get to hang out with you! (don’t use this one if the date has stalker potential)
Well, he decided he didn’t want to be married to me any more. And, come to find out, I didn’t want to be married to him, either. Things are really going well now.
(If you’re feeling particularly snarky) Well, we just didn’t have a lot in common anymore. He loved porn and golf. My interests were more focused on our kids. Now, we’re both pursuing our bliss, and all is well.
(If the date’s really not going well and you wish deep in your soul that you were in your pajamas, watching CSI) How did he ruin our marriage? Oh, he didn’t. We’re still married.
What did he do? His coworker. (OK, maybe this one is a bit too snarky to be light. But it’s funny.)
Oh, that’s a conversation for another time. Suffice to say that we’re working together to raise our kids, and we’re both happier. (Damn, this one sounds really mature.)
Readers, what am I missing? Suggestions?