The confident woman standing in front of me posed first to the right and then to the left. I stood with my camera in hand and giggled while I took her pictures and smiled at her ability to laugh once more.
My friend found herself alone in her early fifties with three young children when she thought her life was mapped out in front of her.
Lorna was devastated when her husband upped and left just before Christmas a couple of years ago and she just got on with things.
Although she stayed in Aberdeen, she moved home and slowly began to rebuild her life. I’ve long admired her for her ability to get through the tough times and she’s emerging brighter, better and more confident than I have ever seen her before. There are times that I look at her and I have no idea how she does it all.
Lorna recently decided that she doesn’t want to be alone for the rest of her life and that’s a revelation for her. I never thought I’d hear her saying that she was ready to move on, but where on earth do you start when you are over 50 and up in the North East of Scotland – which is really more like a little village than a big city to the locals?
She’d started going out now and then in the town, but found that she was being propositioned by what she thought were married men just out to see what they could find for the evening. She wasn’t ready for a relationship and was just out once a month to get out of the house. She found herself putting back on her wedding rings so that the men who approached her would think she was a married woman out with her friends for an evening. I’ve not been in town in the evening for well over a decade, and I’ve been married for nearly two, so I’m well out of touch with how the town or dating scene works these days. To be honest, the thought of dating scares me silly nowadays and I’ve enjoyed just sitting back, relaxing and listening to her adventures from a safe place.
I think she found it hard going as having young children and being a single mum is really not something you want to publicise in case it attracts the wrong kind of person, but neither does she want to lie. Some ads in the paper saying things like “single mum of two under fives” are not what she would be comfortable doing, and we think that is just like waving a honey pot at a bee. The hotspots for singles over a certain age are looked at more as a place to go for a laugh than actually find a new partner so that is out of the question.
There have been lots of conversations around what she would do if she finds someone she wants to meet, and she slips the odd sentence in here and there when she is talking to the kids. It’s only something simple like “now if I’m going to meet a new partner, I’m going to have to get my hair, my nails and my face lifted.” They all laugh and are very relaxed about it. I’ve no doubt her kids will find it tough if she does find a new partner, but they’ve accepted her ex-husbands new partner with ease. It’s a big worry for her and she’s trying to slowly get them round to the idea that at some point in their lives, they may meet a new male role model.
The world is different now to when we were younger and single. The Internet that dominates most of my daily life seems to have taken the place of socialising, even up here in Scotland. For me, that would be easy enough, but Lorna is different and as technologically challenged as you can get. Just looking at a computer is enough to set off a hyperventilating attack, but for the sake of her kids’ futures, we’ve been spending some time getting her used to using a computer and not to be scared of one. I also hoped that she would become interested in online dating, as a few of my other friends had mentioned using the site eHarmony.co.uk to find themselves a partner.
We started slowly by just getting e-mail, then moved on to some searches on Google. She’s not there yet, but she is slowly becoming more proficient with her computer and looking for more ways to get her enmeshed in the online world. She’s still frightened of the Internet as she inches forward into the anonymous and challenging world online. She realises that using computers will become a regular part of her daily life as she helps her kids to grow.
She’s begun talking about mixing online with dating which is a new angle for her and one that I am sure she will come too soon. The social media aspect of the Internet is one that I am comfortable with, but she is not. She resists Facebook and Twitter and no amount of persuading her that timelines and chats will be dictated by her has made her comfortable with it. I can see that I am never going to be able to share my blogging or twitter addictions with her, but she’s realised that the online world can open up a world that she would never reach as a single mum bringing up her kids alone. Not only will online dating give her the time she needs to build her confidence, she can tailor her search to meet like-minded people who are also looking for dating in Scotland.
I wish her the best of luck, as she’s doing a fabulous job.
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