At 39, single mother Jaime Racette reflects on dating, her ‘Cinderella Syndrome’ and starting over

They say the best way to get over a man is to get under one. But is it really? Or does it open up a can of unwanted worms? Is it too late to fall in love again at this stage of my life?

I was fourteen when I lost my virginity. He is the one who still haunts my dreams and holds a piece of my heart. He died when I was seventeen. He was nineteen.

I thought my heart would never repair. My life went into a giant spiral. I had way too many one night stands, trying to fill the void. That was my way of protecting me, or so I thought. I think I did more damage.

Eventually I married (briefly). When I first saw him, I told my friend this was the guy I was going to wed. I was convinced he was my Prince Charming, and that this Cinderella had found her one and only. We laughed and brushed it off as one of my fairy tales. Still, I proposed, ring and all. One year later, I walked away. My now 11-year-old daughter is the only good thing to come from our relationship.

Then came Mr Boomerang, who I dated for 16 years on and off. Even though I knew the relationship was going nowhere I would leave for a while, then come back hoping this time would be better. I always returned to broken promises, dismantled expectations, and a broken heart.

So why did I keep going back? It wasn’t for lack of options. There were others out there I knew were interested, who tried to pursue me, to grab my attention. Was it a comfort thing, a challenge, to know the score but keep trying anyway? I knew he would never change, that our future was based on great sex rather than intimacy. I also knew there was no pressure. The relationship was fulfilling sexually, but not emotionally, so I continued to boomerang, until eventually, the boomerang lost its bounce.

Infidelity, disloyalty, jealousy, and heartache: words that made up the worst relationships of my life, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t let go. Until now. I want a second chance at love.

Fast forward to the last year of my thirties. I don’t even know who this woman is staring back at me from the mirror. Her hair is greying, she looks so tired and so serious.

Starting over, one day my prince will come

They say we have to kiss a lot of frogs to find our prince. Believe me I have. I never had a problem hooking up or dating when I was younger. It just seemed so easy, partly due to liquid confidence. Having to start over now, to put effort into yet another relationship, scares me.

I have to not let the logistics of dating get to me. Look at the positives. Keep in mind it’s supposed to be fun. Dating should be a night out and if you click and it goes somewhere even better. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Sometimes we gain a great friendship that is far better than what a relationship could have been.

Online dating? It seems so impersonal. I preferred the good old days of true conversations rather than staring at our phones. How does this work exactly, this whole chatting/email thing? Basically it’s a want ad. In search of.

What will set me aside from the other ladies on there? I don’t know. I am who I am, take it or leave it.

I am a solo parent. I don’t consider having a child as baggage. I hate that term. I have been doing this parenting thing on my own for a long time. That means I am not looking for help. I got this.

Nor am I damaged goods. I am independent. I am versatile. Employed.

I am a no BS type of girl. I am down to earth, easy to talk to and open to new things. I am honest (sometimes too honest). I am polite, family orientated.

I have my opinions and YES they may differ from yours, that’s life. I don’t sugar coat anything. I am easy going though. I pretty much live in jeans. I also HATE shopping.

I eat healthy. My body may not be perfect but I am perfectly flawed.

I like the real deal with eye contact and facial expressions.

I don’t go to bars and I have never met anyone at a grocery store. (I am too busy reading labels ensuring my daughter doesn’t have an allergic reaction).

And what am I in search of? I’m just looking for someone who will make me forget why it didn’t work with anyone else. Leave my past behind and build a healthy future.

Starting over, one day my prince will come

I have had a lot of time by myself to ponder past relationships, flings, and fiascos. Sometimes you hit it off and then realise this isn’t what you need. Everyone falls in love differently and everyone deals differently. Love and lust work side by side, but sometimes you can feel connected sexually, while emotionally and mentally, you feel empty. Sex is important, but there is more to a relationship–all the little things that keep it going. I have to get my three H’s (Heart, Head, and Hormones) lined up, not let just one rule me.

They say there is someone for everyone. I am a closet romantic who has never been wooed; I want all of the mushy, kissy-kissy stuff that goes along with a relationship. My love life was far from a Harlequin romance; I wasn’t swept off of my feet but I fell hard. I just want to find someone who can stop me from running, who can give me a reason to stick around. I want stability.

I am sure I am not alone in this. Good relationships are made of so many components: trust, love, honesty, understanding, and of course communication, however not every relationship has them, causing heartache and doom from the start.

We can’t be great for everyone we meet. I have spent countless hours of my life blaming the other sex, the men in past relationships. I have decided to own it and accept that despite it all maybe I wasn’t the best person, maybe I was the faulty one.

Through it all, I have become stronger, more aware of my feelings. I know now what I am looking for and for the first time, I will not settle. I will continue to embrace life and take chances, including the chance my so-called prince has been run over by his horse.

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