He's a great guy ... just not the guy for me.
Divorce, for many people, is ugly and devastating. Divorce has been a devastating loss for me. Sure, it hasn't always been sunshine and kittens, but more often than not thankfully, the experience has been very amicable.
The divorce has given us the chance to become friends again, see the good in each other, and learn how to parent together effectively in a way we couldn't do when we were together.
Losing my marriage helped me gain a new sense of self and forced me to grow faster than I wanted to, but I caught up. The phoenix, indeed, does rise through the ashes.
Sure, the thought of my daughter having a stepmother one day is a tough pill to swallow, but I can say wholeheartedly to the single women out there: You would be lucky to meet (and start dating) my ex. Here's why:
1. He's a father first.
When my friends complain that their husbands stick their kids in front of iPads and televisions, my ex is on the floor building Lego castles and having tea parties with our 3-year old. When moms share that their husbands have no clue how to handle the kids, my ex is the master at redirection.
If my daughter has a fit, he will distract her onto something else. He is not the guy who is too much of a man to play dress up; He is the man who is too much of a man to tell his daughter, "No, I can't wear that necklace."
2. He's hands on.
Most guys I've met are not hands on. They're the last ones to be there in an emergency and the first ones to dodge anything that "smells" of commitment.
But not my ex. If there's a problem, I can count on him to call me back. If I have a work issue or I'm sick, he will be there to help me, his ex-wife.
When we first met, he didn't try to skirt commitment or play head games with me. He was honest and available, and when emergencies came — which they always do — he was there.
Was he 100 percent perfect each time? Did he do everything with a smile? No. He's only human. But in a day in which people would rather avoid getting too serious, he will do the hard work.
3. He's a decent man.
I hear all the time from friends and strangers how God-awful their ex-husbands are. They don't pay child support, they sabotage their ex-wives, they skip town, skip bills, and put the kids last.
On all ends — even when we fought, even when he wasn't peaches and cream to me — he never skipped town, never skipped bills and always put my daughter first. When we had to devise our custody schedule — 60 percent me and 40 percent him — we did it together at our former family kitchen table.
Was it easy-peasy? No, but we did it.
4. He's cute.
I hate to be harsh, but not all guys age like George Clooney and Denzel Washington. The chances of you logging onto Match.com and finding anyone even close to George Clooney's fat cousin's brother is pretty slim if you're looking in the 30 to 40 age bracket.
But my ex? He's very cute. Do looks matter when you're 80? No, but for now at least, you can enjoy a cute face.
5. He's just a regular guy.
Amongst the freaks online asking for foot slaves and sex slaves (yes, I've been asked to be both, and no, I never said yes), my ex is a normal guy who wants to watch football, hit a movie or great restaurant, and go to bed at a decent hour.
For all the ladies complaining about the wackos, here is my solution: my ex.
So, you're probably wondering why I can't make it work with this guy. We struggled through pregnancy issues, family matters, and other common marital woes.
We are each other's opposite, and while it was great at first, we eventually started to be at bat with each other time and again. No matter what we do, he says tomato and I say potato.
Divorce gave me a new beginning, but it has been painful letting go of my first love and my family as I once knew it. I hung out for so long hoping it could be another way. I clung to flimsy hopes.
Another woman will be an adjustment for my daughter and myself, but it is inevitable. I can only hope that he will find someone who will bring out the good in him and love my daughter for all her quirks and strengths.
I hate to say goodbye, but it is unfair to us both to keep spinning our wheels and getting nowhere. We both deserve to be with someone who lets us shine our brightest.
So ladies, submit your application ... but expect to put in the hard work and get ready for the sassiest, almost four-year old on the planet. I just can't have a shabby successor.
This article was originally published at Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.