We Tried Dating Each Other After Our Divorce. We Failed.

Photo: Serge Bielanko
Dating Each Other After Divorce Was Harder Than I Thought

We tried. 

No one can ever take that away from you, you know? The trying is always your own, even if you fail. Even if you fall flat on your fat face and your big buck teeth end up in the dirt like an old rake, there is something kind of beautiful about trying.

It's cool that we tried.

Dating each other after our divorce turned out to be tough for my ex-wife Monica and me.

So, it ended almost exactly like it began: In a fairly organic deconstruction of our attempts to be together, even after our divorce.

Of course, most people won't ever give divorced people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this kind of thing. I get that. Heck, we're living proof it ain't easy to reconnect.

Chances are, somebody's going to have issues. And chances are, somebody's going to keep on whipping out old scars.

And when all that starts going down, well, somebody else is going to get sad and tired of the same old crap spinning back around. It doesn't matter much who plays what role.

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What really matters is that, hopefully, people like Monica and me are wise enough/strong enough/tired enough to pack our own Jaws of Life and that we don't wait too long to extricate ourselves from the mangled wreckage of our genuine attempt at trying.

That's it, really.

It's easy to fall back into someone's arms when they're still the only arms you feel safe in. People think divorce means you don't feel that way or that you shouldn't feel that way after you've signed the documents.

Maybe they're right. Who cares anyway?


Bounce-back moves are all the rage anymore. We're living in strange times. 

Still, I feel like lots of people nowadays like to think that they're progressive thinkers with modern outlooks on love and soulmates and sex. More and more, I come across people who seem desperate to carve out some sort of newfangled ideas about what all this happiness stuff ought to really be about.

People are becoming less and less good at heartbreak. They get their hearts broken or, more likely, given this new 21st century push to be overwhelmed with the happiness you supposedly deserve 24/7/365, they break their own hearts.

Then they they turn around and claw at the walls of the spectacularly painful fallout.

Confusion reigns.

And with all the confusion comes this dire need to plug the spewing holes in their own hearts with some sort of alternative happiness, with the plaster and putty of real honest-to-freaking-God fulfillment and satisfaction. Two things which (in case you haven't heard) don't exist, my friend.

See, love is tough/everyone knows that. But what we've lost sight of is that love gives you back what you put into it.

I really believe that — but sometimes even that doesn't work. Just look at me.

Just look at us.

Anyway, what am I trying to tell you?

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I'm not sure. I'm just trying to tell you that I don't want any part of your modern bounce-back moves. I don't want any part of any of this modern, egotistical family-smashing, self-centered confusion.

I lick my wounds, she licks hers, the stars in the sky laugh at us like the flash in the pan we are, like the two lights going out that we've always been.

Life is so quick and people are so dumb. Sure, time will tell me what to do with myself. I know that. I'll bounce back when I'm ready. But this morning, the only thing I want to do is everything I've never done before.

I'm kind of digging just sitting here, staring at the kitchen walls and wondering what the f*ck this love thing is really about. Or if I'll ever really know.


I'm driving down the road with the windows down, the stereo blasting Oasis. (I don't care if you don't like Oasis. They were the best. Well, the first two records anyway.) 

"Wonderwall" comes on and I jostle the knob a little further down the volume line. The old mountains to either side of me wink at me and offer fist-bumps across the slow afternoon fields in the middle of nowhere.

I light a smoke. I'll quit one of these days, but divorce and heartbreak ... dude. Smoke through them if you can. I recommend it. 

My heart thunders in my chest as Liam runs a certain line: "I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now." I ash out the window into the sunshine.

Every 5 or 10 minutes the divorce pummels some part of me. It's a pain in the ass, but in other ways I'm starting to dig it.

Up out of my cellar comes a memory of some gone away day — me and Monica laughing with our kids; me and her kissing in the window of the hotel in Vegas; Christmas mornings/summer evenings/the same old sh*t we all look back on when blue hearts try and tell us that the past was way better than anything we'll ever know again.

Now, though, I let those blues lift me up. The sadness of something as devastating as trying to re-find love with someone you lost it with is odd. Even poets would have a tough time with it.

You're not supposed to really try again. It's not very sexy and it's not too Hollywood, is it? But whatever to all that.

There are ways through.

I learned that the first time around, last year when we broke up our marriage officially. Now, I turn to the music, to the smokes. I'm going to let the little things bring down the big ones.

I've got kids. They wander across every acre of my existence, through every inch of my soul. And I'm an idiot, but I'm not that much of an idiot. I won't ever depend on them to pull me up from any of this.

All of this, my life and my divorce and my failure to re-ignite shit, it's just all going down naturally, the way it was intended to.

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With time and tears and staring at the kitchen walls, I'll find my way.

With Oasis swirling hard up in this late spring air, with the windows down, with the mountains closing in, I'll be alright. Heck, I'll be more than alright.

I just need to get there, man. I just need to get there.

We tried. That's all you can ever do.

Serge Bielanko is a writer and musician whose work has been published on Babble, Huffington Post,, and Yahoo.