Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dating Anxieties

Friday, a friend of mine told me that she has a guy she wants to set me up with. It is an old friend of hers. He was visiting and made comment of “I’m single so if you know anyone…” and she thought of me. She showed me his picture and told me a bit about him so I told her to go ahead and set us up.

I started thinking after that. I have not been on a first date in over 5 ½ years. All together I have been on 4 first dates: movie with my ex-fiancĂ©, comedy club with my ex-boyfriend, double date dinner with a blind date that did not go well, and a movie with my ex-husband. With everyone, except for the blind date, I was already friends with them before we had our first date. While I did have first date jitters with them, I was already comfortable being around them.

Here I am, about to start dating again as a newly single woman, and I feel so unsure. What is expected on a first date? How do I dress? How much information do I give? (She has already told him that I am about to finalize my divorce. I am assuming she will warn him that I am a mother as well.) Do I call or wait for him to call after the first date? Should he pay if he is the one to ask me out or do we split the check? I am sure that between now and I am asked out for the first time (whether it be him or someone else) about a hundred other questions will go through my mind. I am about 99% sure that I am worrying over nothing and that I am making a bigger deal about it than I need to. But alas, this is me.

Updated August 2012: I never did hear from him. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

RenFaire Fever

It’s that time of year again. Spring is here. The weather is getting warmer; flowers are blooming, birds are chirping. But most importantly, faire season is almost here!

Now what is faire season? I attend Renaissance Festivals every year. This will be my 13th year attending the Ohio Renaissance Festival actually. We call ourselves Rennies. Faire season is the time of year when our local renaissance festivals/faires start up. For some areas of the country, it has already started. For those in my area, we are about to start. My faire season runs from March/Aril through October/November depending on when certain events happen.

It starts with Castle Day at Loveland Castle this weekend. Next weekend we have our semi-annual Castleteers gathering. These are akin to a “rennie reunion” before we start the multi-weekend festivals.

The most anticipated event within our group though is the opening weekend of the Kentucky Renaissance Festival in Eminence, KY. It has become quite a big deal in our group. Several years ago a few of us decided to camp for the entire weekend and attend both days. We had so much fun that it became an annual event and we have more friends wanting to camp with us every year. I was unable to go last year since I was 8 months pregnant, but this year I am able to attend and am very excited about it.

What is faire fever? I think the best way to describe it would be the excited anticipation of the upcoming renaissance faires leading to desires to watch medieval themed movies, research new outfit ideas, look up new garb, play faire music all day, and the only thing you can think about it the renaissance faire. It is rather contagious in our group. Once one of us starts talking about it, it will spread like wildfire. Currently, there are several of us discussing it, looking at purchasing new items in anticipation of camping and of the faire, and just being generally excited that we will get to go and see our friends again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dating Qualities

I made the decision to not start dating until after my divorce is final (May 7th!).  However, that has not kept from thinking about dating: what I’m looking for, what are my deal breakers, etc. I put together a top 5 list of my wants, and of my hates.

Top 5 qualities in a partner:

1) Honesty. If I find out that the person is lying to me, then that is it. It is one of those lines where I do not need to know everything, but do not lie to me. After my last marriage, dishonesty is a deal breaker.

2) Family. Having a son, whomever I date needs to realize that I come as a package, and to be with me means being with my son too. I do not plan on introducing any guy I date to my son until we are serious, but it is something to be aware of. Also, what is their family situation like? I know that you cannot tell a book by its cover, but the blurb can tell a lot as well.

3) Patience. Between my bipolar disorder and the trust issues I have as a result of ExH, I will need someone who can be patient with me and understanding.

4) Responsible. The person must have a decent job and be financially responsible. While I was with ExH, I was the breadwinner for our entire marriage. It put a lot of stress on me, especially when I lost my job for short period. I do not want to feel like I am taking care of someone who is supposed to be my partner.

5) Open minded. I add this because I come from a very conservative family who judge those who are not like them. I am not like them. I lead a very interesting life with many interesting friends. I am hardly what anyone would consider normal. If someone were to judge me for enjoying dressing up in a corset and going to the renaissance festivals, or for the friends I have, or any other lifestyle choice I have made, then they are not the type of person I want in my life.

Top 5 deal-breakers:

1) Lying. If it is early on in the relationship, even a little white lie can end things. If I have been with the person awhile, any lie of substance will give me cause to give them the boot. I saw the kind of person I became when I accepted lies from the person who said he loved me. I do not want to become that person again.

2) Cheating. You think this would be a no-brainer, but I still took ExH back after he cheated. I deserve better than that and will not allow myself to accept that again. Also, if they have cheated on a significant other in the past, then I will not date them. I used to believe that "Once a cheater does not mean always a cheater" however I seem to be proven wrong over and over on that.

3) Close-minded/judgmental. I lead a very interesting lifestyle. I have very interesting friends. None of which would fall into the realm of normal by society’s definition. In fact, we take great pride in the fact that we are who we are and do not conform to what society says we should be. We enjoy who we are and if someone is going to judge me for that, then they do not deserve to be a part of it.

4) Dislike of the renaissance faire. This may seem strange, but the renaissance faire has been a part of my life for 13 years now. I have made many wonderful friends as a result. They were there for me and supported me through my surprise pregnancy, my divorce, and several other moments in my life. If someone wants to be a part of my life, then they need to be at least accepting, if not a participant in this aspect of my life.

5) Make me choose between them and my son. Sorry, but my son will win this every time. I don’t think I need to explain this one further.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Divorce Story

Once my divorce is final, I will post the story of what happened leading up to the divorce. For this, I will post about what has happened since we separated.

The short version of the story is that ExH had an affair, and I found out about it when I was 5 months pregnant with Rit. I wanted to try to work things out. He said he did too. That obviously did not happen.

On Sept 6, 2011 ExH moved out and into his parents’ home. The plan was for us to do a trial separation in the hopes it would save our marriage. Nothing else was working. Rit was only a month old.

Throughout the separation, I found out he was still lying to me and seeing the girl he had the affair with behind my back. On Oct 11, I confronted him about it and told him that I have had enough and that he needed to choose between her and his family. He chose divorce.

In December, I found out that he had started dating the girl. I was very hurt and upset. We had not even filed the paperwork yet as he said he wanted to wait until after the holidays. It had only been two months since he said he wanted a divorce. I decided I was not going to wait for him. On December 20th, I met with a lawyer some friends had recommended. I really liked her and decided I wanted to hire her.

I told ExH on New Years Day 2012 that I had retained a lawyer (I had already sent in the money but she did not receive it until January 4th). That did not go well. He accused me of going behind his back and asked me how bad I was going to “screw him over”. I remained calm and told him that I felt that I needed a lawyer to make sure that Rit and I were taken care of and that everything was handled correctly in the divorce. He calmed down several days later and we discussed it.

I filled out several affidavits my lawyer sent me for financial and property information; all required to file for divorce. On Feb 17, 2012 the paperwork was filed with the courts and ExH was served via certified mail. We were given a pre-trial court date of April 5th to go before the Magistrate. We also had to take a class on “Helping Children Cope with Divorce” since we have a child. I admit, I did laugh about it as Rit was only 7 months old and had no idea what was going on. The class did provide useful information for when he is older though.

Since ExH and I were getting along, we had been discussing the division of finances, property, assets, custody, etc. We made sure to email each other as well so we had a paper trail. I forwarded these emails to my lawyer and she drew up a proposed agreement on our assets and on custody of Rit. On March 9th, the proposal was mailed to ExH. We met up a few days after he received it, so he had time to look it over, and we both signed it and I mailed it back to my lawyer. She filed it with the courts on March 21st. Our April 5th court date was cancelled and we were given a new court date on May 7th before the judge. This will be our finalized divorce hearing.

I admit that I am excited that the end of this process is near.

I have had a few people ask me about how things are child wise between ExH and myself, mostly other moms on their way to becoming a single mom. I am lucky in the fact that ExH and I can get along well enough when it comes to Rit. We can set aside our issues with each other and have a good conversation. We both love him very much and want what is best for him. So with that said, our set-up is not the usual set up many parents have with their child’s other parents.

What is our custody set-up like? ExH and I are splitting time with Rit 50/50. I drop him off with ExH on my way to work Thursday mornings at 7 am. He has Rit from then, until Sunday where he drops Rit off on his way to work. Then I will have Rit until Thursday. It is a set-up that works well for the 3 of us. I have received several raised eyebrows regarding this set-up considering how old Rit is (almost 8 months). Most fathers get one day a week and every other weekend. My response is that this is what works for ExH, me, and Rit. And as long as Rit continues to thrive, then I see no need to change it.

With 50/50, is he paying child support? No he is not. This is by our choice, not the courts. We came to an agreement that we feel benefits all 3 of us. He covers his health insurance, I get the tax credits, and we split any additional costs such as child care, medical costs, etc.

Who is the residential/custodial parent then? The answer is both and neither. With a shared parenting plan such as ours, we are both considered the custodial parent. However, my address will be the one provided for medical visits, schooling, etc. My reasoning for this was that as it currently stands, I have a house and a permanent residence. ExH is currently living with his parents and is unsure where he will live as he is looking for better work outside of the city as well as within the city. Using my address, we will not have to worry about changes of address as often.

How did you divide the holidays? I wrote down all of the holidays important to me, and the few I know are important to him, and came up with my proposal on how to split them. He apparently found it fair and agreed to it and that was added in to the custody agreement of the divorce. We will alternate years on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Rit’s Birthday. I will have him on Mothers Day, Christmas Eve, and until 1pm Christmas Day. ExH will have him Fathers Day, the last half of Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas.