Navigating love, life, and relationships with humor and compassion. Say hello to Xs&Os.

Well shit, this wasn’t supposed to happen. I distinctly recall swearing in front of God, my pastor, and about 250 people “ ‘till death do us part.’” I’m not dead. And neither is he. But here I am: thirty-something, mother of a three-year-old daughter, and single.

What happened? That’s what a lot people ask me. And you know, it wasn’t just one thing. It was a million things compounded over a 10-year-marriage and a 15-year-relationship. A toxic landfill loaded with sharp, tiny objects that kept poking me in the heart and jabbing me in the side until I couldn’t feel anything anymore.


One thing that didn’t happen was love. Not towards the end anyway — an end that dragged on like a cancer you were desperately trying to treat with drugs that were too weak. During the last couple of years, we weren’t lovers or even friends. We were business partners living under one roof. Our business was raising our kid. And we’re still doing a pretty good job in that arena. But in terms of love, I just don’t know anymore. The verb has been tossed around too freely recently: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you. I’ll always love you as a friend. I love you as a person.” Sigh.

That said, my definition of the verb has become seriously, and possibly permanently, warped.

My best friend says all men are assholes. Gosh, I hope not. Or I’m screwed — and not in a good way. Mr. X was my first everything. But damn if he’s going to be my last. I’m a strong independent woman (at least I’m going to keep telling myself that until I believe it). But I know nothing about dating; I’ve never needed to learn. And now, I’m totally and completely freaked out.

But, I don’t want to be alone forever. And I don’t think prince charming is going to show up on my doorstep with dark chocolate and merlot. (But please do if you’re reading this.)

So, I’ve got two options: Step out into the dark abyss of dating or fly solo for the foreseeable future. The latter actually sounds safer and might even be more fun. Except, I want somebody’s hand to hold in the movie theatre; and to kiss goodnight. And when I look into his eyes, I want to see something that doesn’t make me want to run away and hide.

It could all go terribly, horribly wrong of course. I could date killers, stalkers, Backstreet Boys aficionados — it’s scary. But hey, I’ll try (almost) anything once.

So, let’s do this. Please write to me with your questions on love, relationships, and life. And each week, I’ll share my journey with you while answering your questions, too.  I’m no love expert, mind you, but I do know what my favorite four-letter word entails, the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Luckily, it’s not all about me (I’m definitely not that interesting). I want to hear from you; and when I don’t know something, I’ll find people who do — psychologists, marriage counselors, and octogenarians celebrating anniversaries (um, secrets, please).

I don’t judge, but I do cry, because love just might be the hardest lesson in life. And true intimacy is that delicate space in-between that we’re all desperately trying to seek.




  1. Well written. Just curious… have you learned the reason why your marriage failed? And I’m not talking about the obvious three A’s (Addiction, Abuse, Adultery), which are merely symptoms of an illness we call ‘baggage’. Until you really dig deep and find out what rocks you (and your former spouse) are carrying in your baggage, you’re bound to repeat. Less rocks = better relationships… and a better shot at love.

  2. Or maybe he just wasn’t the right man for her. I found mine 5 years ago (at 39). We’ve argued once in that 5 years. Good guys are out there. The trick is finding one that shares your everything. Don’t settle for less. Enjoy singledom!

  3. Hey, Wayne. Thanks for the comment. And excellent point. Counseling is a great place to figure all that stuff out. And I’m all for counseling. I’m a completely flawed human being, and I know I’ve got a lot of work to do before I’ll be a great match for another guy. So, that’s what I’m working on, slowly but surely.

    To your point Cat, I just don’t know. I think we got together (and married) too young to know ourselves well enough to make such a major decision. But then again, I know happy couples who married at 20. Time will tell. Thanks for writing in!