Google “I hate married people” and the first thing that comes up is this post.

My heart does break at the comments I get from folks who Google this phrase, so acute is their loneliness and resentment at the wedded. (I am so sorry to those to whom I have not responded. I am an irresponsible blogger sometimes. Please know that I have read your comments, and I have nodded deeply in sympathetic understanding). Some have asked me what I think now.

To answer your question: a year and a half later, I can’t say the same thing holds true. Not one bit.

Perhaps it is because the sting of my ex marrying another woman two months after our divorce has lessened. In fact, I see it for the sad, desperate move that it probably was. Or maybe for them, destiny–and who wants to mess with that?

The Married to me are no longer evil invaders from another planet. They do not exist merely to torturously remind me of my single status. I am not sure how or when that happened. Now they are just people, who happen to have found one another –online or at a party or at school or in a bar or through a friend at work or bumping into one another at a restaurant/coffee shop/sporting event/Bar Mitzvah/church function/fill in the blank here with the Story of How You Met.

The Married may be more miserable than I can ever imagine, or they may be more in love than I can ever imagine. The reality is probably, for most, somewhere between these extremes. We all have days filled with light and misery, an ever-swirling mix that changes with the ever-shifting sands of inner and outer conditions. This is true whether we are single, separated, divorced, widowed, childless or not.

A married friend called me recently to lament a recent torturous dynamic that has been unfolding between him and his wife.  ”Marriage is hard work,” was pretty much all I had to offer in response. I must admit I suddenly felt lucky to be single.

Lucky!?! To be single?

Now that I am dating again…I think about Planet Marriage as this vague destination where the hamster wheel journey is all supposed to be heading. I guess.

I was chatting with this 32 year-old young whipper snapper yesterday and he asked me: What are you looking for?

Hmmm. That is a tough question. I told him that I feel more comfortable with saying what I am not looking for.

Random hookups.
Superficial relationships.
Too much, too soon.
Men who treat me in any way badly.
Men who treat me in any way badly.
Did I mention men who treat me in any way badly?
Daddies.
Boy toys.
Smother boyfriends.

That actually does help me clarify what it is that I am looking for these days. They happen to be 3 S’s.
Sweet,
Stable, and
Sane.

Does that sound boring, or what? So-called boring is now, to me, very attractive. I can say with fair confidence that I am done with artsy anguished types or alcoholics and/or the super intense, ultra-charismatic dudes I used to gravitate to like a moth to a flame. And oh, did I get burned.

My friend said something to me that was just brilliant: The slower you go, the quicker you know.

So…is marriage on the table? Is it the be-all, end-all, the pot of gold at the end of the dating rainbow? I admit to recently checking out a book from the library called Find a Husband after 35. Some 15 step process to getting a ring on your finger in 18 months or less. Have I read it? No.

After a year of intentionally not dating, I have kind of gotten enamored of my independence. I go where I want (more or less) when I can. I choose my own meals, and don’t have to worry about what anyone else wants (besides my kid, and he’s so picky it comes down to 3-5 things total). Time - minus kid time, minus work hours, those few precious hours that are left - is all mine to waste, to savor, to do with as I please.

Marriage no longer purely equals comfort and safety. These things I have found on my own. What a splendid thing to be even able to write those words and truly mean them.

Marriage equals facing life together. And I do like that. Life is so cool, so crazy, so wild, so sacred - it would be nice to be on that roller coaster with another adult person.

I read some book about dating by the “Mars and Venus” guy. I expected drivel but it was surprisingly good. Something he said that struck me is how we women try to deceive ourselves that we don’t need a partner. Well technically yes, for many of us, that is true. We don’t need one to survive anymore in the harsh world. We may not even need one emotionally - I for example, get pretty emotionally filled up from the love of my child and my friends. But deep down, we do need to be loved, cherished, and cared for, just as we have the need to love, cherish, and care for someone — in the romantic sense of the word. It is a human need. I almost cried as I contemplated this.

Yes, I do need a man, but not in a needy way. Does that make sense?

My need does not cause me to do stupid s–t today. I acknowledge that it is there, rather than let it drive everything.

There is something liberating in being vulnerable enough to admit this need, to be open to it, to see it as part of my humanness and not as some fatal flaw.

So…back to Planet Marriage. It is a place I’d consider landing on some day again. And I guess no longer hating the inhabitants of that planet is a good start. They’d be more likely to welcome me in that case, wouldn’t they? In the meantime, I gaze out at the horizon, at Planet Marriage, just one spinning ball in a universe vaster than I can ever conceive of.