Several of my readers have written to me recently to ask why I have stopped blogging and to say that they have missed my posts. I am touched to hear that and regret that I haven’t written. Writing is a practice, and if you stop doing it, it becomes harder to pick back up.
Some asked if I stopped writing because I was going through a difficult period in my life. Frankly, the main reason that I haven’t blogged is that my social life has recently exploded. This fall I joined a single parents Meetup group that some friends organize, and I have met tons of new people and now have so many events on my social calendar that I am having a hard time keeping up with them all. There have been bike trips, apple picking, football parties, dance parties, and even a trip to a shooting range. These are fun reasons for not blogging.
A recent reunion with my ex’s family reminded me of how important my friends have always been to me. I hadn’t seen my former mother and sister-in-law in about seven years, since before my ex and I split up. I’ll admit that I was very nervous about seeing them after all this time. I wondered what we would talk about, and how they would react. But they were kind and attentive as always.
We spoke about their family, not simply because I hadn’t seen them all in so many years, but also because that is what they talk about. My ex comes from a large, tight-knit Puerto Rican family that has always been a bit insular (a word derived from island). At one point, as my sister-in-law spoke about her life as a stay-at-home mom, I asked if she had a good community of mom friends. She looked at me, almost startled by the question, and said that she has never had many friends. She said she doesn’t really have time for them or need them.
As the conversation turned to my life in Northampton and Boston, all I could do was talk about my friends. I felt like some sort of alien to them. And then it hit me. My ex husband came from them. He is quite similar to them. While he was attracted to me because I was the most outgoing and social girl he had probably ever met, eventually our differences became a point of contention. He didn’t understand why I talked on the phone with friends and family. He resented the time that I dedicated to my social interactions and connections. He would make fun of the time that I spent on Facebook. To be fair, he also admired me for having what he did not, but in the end, we were (and are) two different species, an extreme introvert and an extreme extrovert.
One of the aspects that I love most about my post-divorce life is the time that I now have for my friends. I am a very social person. I come from a super extroverted family. My mother recently had surgery and had about 20 visitors in the hospital in one day. I derive a lot of vim and vigor, as it were, from spending time with people.
At one point, my mother-in-law said to me something about “when you get married again.” It was a sweet comment that, I believe, was meant to put me at ease and acknowledge that I had moved on from her son. Yet it also belied her values. You get married. That is what you do. And while I loved being married and might someday find someone that I would want to unite with in that way, I also don’t see it as an inevitability.
My divorce class said that men tend to get remarried quickly because they have less social outlets and therefore rely on their mate to be their emotional support system whereas women, as they said, can bond in a bathroom with someone they have never met before. I used to desire a life partner, but the more that I think about it, the more I like just having a large network of friends. My life now is really a lot of fun.