Other than a few squabbles about bulk buying at Costco, the transition to married life has been pretty smooth. It’s new, but not weird. It’s an adjustment, but not a tough one. It’s a life change, but one that I welcomed, and probably needed.
After living alone and being on my own for so long, you’d think that marriage would be a total culture shock – and it is – but it’s really not that shocking. Or crazy. It’s kind of normal actually, like I’ve been a wife all my life. Weird.
No, the crazy part of transitioning into marriage was transitioning out of dating– a way of life for me for nearly 50 years.
I was a career dater. I dated all the time, at all times of the day. Breakfast dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, drink dates, even a driving date to the mechanic to pick up my car.
I’ve had blind dates, online dates, chance meetings, dates disguised as business meetings, and one Facebook encounter that would lead to the date of all dates (thank you Robby Scharf, for ending the longest single streak on record, next to yours of course).
After a long and illustrious dating career – one filled with strike outs, some base hits, an occasional home run, and lots of times at bat – I finally and gladly retired. I happily hung up the jersey, emptied out my locker, and said goodbye to the game. I’m using a lot of baseball metaphors here, but you get the point.
In other words, I left the business.
I didn’t realize how much work went into being single until I got married. And let’s face it, dating is like having a second job. I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, dating is work. Looking good, spending money, getting out there, going to parties, going to the gym, being charming, being social, being “on,” making an effort, making eye contact, strategizing, chatting, flirting, schmoozing, is all very time consuming, not to mention exhausting.
Online dating alone is like a second job. You spend hours managing your sites, swiping through prospects, messaging, texting, flirting, winking, whatever. You have to sort through profiles, respond to inquiries, distinguish between suitors and posers, coordinate schedules and make plans. Just weeding out the riff-raff is work.
So you can imagine when you’re used to doing it 24/7 and all of a sudden, it stops. It’s like quitting a job you’ve had all your life. This is why the transition has been so peculiar – I mean, one minute I’m hanging out at happy hour with my gal pals, the next minute I’m making my husband a meatloaf, and actually enjoying it.
Hold on. I have to repeat that. “Husband and meatloaf,” two words I never thought I’d say in the same sentence.
Some feminists might gag at this, but I have also discovered that I love doing his laundry, underwear included. Every time I fold a pair of his boxers, I think: Wow, look at me! I’m a wife! And the fact that Robby hasn’t thrown up yet from my cooking must mean I’m holding my own in the kitchen.
Dating might have felt like a second job at times, but I always did it with a good attitude. The key for me (and for any single person out there) is to not take it too seriously, to have fun, and to always keep your sense of humor. That way, it won’t feel like a job. A prison sentence, yes, but not a job.
And here’s the great news when you’re ready to retire: instead of getting an office party and gold watch, you might just get a diamond ring and a wedding.