To The Woman In Her Thirties Trying to Be Lucky in Love:
You’re a single mom. You’re divorced. For two years, you’ve been dating a single dad who’s also divorced. We’ll call him The Guy.
You both have kids, and they all get along. Everything’s great, until he gets jealous or moody. You fight. He says it’s over. You make up. This is the circle.
He hasn’t called in a week. You’re worried. This time, will he leave me for good?
You miss him terribly. You need a distraction from this emptiness. You’re in limbo and need a drink. You remember someone The Guy introduced you to at his company picnic, and she answers her phone. We’ll call her Girlfriend.
Here are some tips to start this new friendship off right:
- Note Girlfriend is excited to meet. Most casual banter about “getting together sometime” never amounts to anything.
- Plan to talk, talk, talk. Girlfriend will stay out until her kids are in bed.
- Yet Girlfriend is not there to divulge secrets about The Guy, a man she’s been friends with for years.
- Do not text with The Guy. And especially, do not text and simultaneously pay the bill when Girlfriend just ordered guacamole and chips.
- Do not say, “I told him to pick me up in ten minutes.”
- Do not think she will be impressed when you explain why The Guy is coming to the bar (“I shouldn’t drive. I was drinking before you got here.”) You’re fine.
- Leave, so Girlfriend, who does not want to go home, can drink her beer by herself. Some women are okay with that.
- Do not say, after the umpteenth text, “Is this all right? I don’t want to ditch you.” She already feels ditched. She’s wondering why the hell, before she walked in the door, she bothered to put on lipstick.
- Do not say, “There he is!” with a smile, large and enthusiastic, when he stands next to the two of you.
- Do not stick Girlfriend with making small talk. She’s pretending to be all fine and dandy.
But this, you will do anyway.
He will order an apple martini. You, another sangria.
And this is where Girlfriend will chug her beer, make her exit. She will remember high school and being ditched by girlfriends who were too young to know better.
She will think, you should know better. And judge you for manipulating circumstance so you have to ride home with that man. If it’s over, that would be an awkward sober cab. If it’s not over, be strong enough to show some indifference.
Girlfriend, at home, will be disappointed. She will imagine what you must be telling him—I’m invested in you. My kids love you, too. I deserve better. Why do women believe love has to be complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Girlfriend’s been there herself. She knows you are working hard when you shouldn’t have to work at all. She wants to care, but she has no reason to give a damn.
Instead she will stay up late watching Scorpion on TV. She will try forget.