Isabelle Silbery on the reality of dating after divorce.

For a few weeks afterwards, I did do a few drive-bys after dropping my son off in the same street. I got to understand the likes of Tim’s dating game. Monday, there was a silver VW in his driveway. Tuesday, an Audi Q5. Thursday, I texted him, saying,
‘Hope she enjoys the chocolate mousse.’

I am pretty thick-skinned but, at the same time, these experiences pricked me inside like a small sharp pin. I didn’t want my own mother – who’d been through enough – to go through any disappointments. I didn’t want her to question herself or
her worth, or be taken advantage of, or be faced with the likes of a Crazy Tim with a knife.

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I went on countless dates after that. 

Men who didn’t look like their pics, men who didn’t have much to say, and men who vomited their whole life story to me as though I was their therapist. But the lovely men were the worst. Lovely, interesting and attractive enough men, who I kissed on the
cheek saying goodbye. 

And in the Uber, tipsy from drinking myself into trying to find a spark, I was overcome by a deep sense of emptiness. Pins pricking me right where loneliness lives. Feeling I’m alone in this world. Looking at the lit-up city outside my window, couples
walking hand in hand, tears would flow. I wondered if my driver ever noticed and thought I was a weirdo.

‘Do you mind if we stop by drive-through Maccas? Thanks…’

My life was split between two Isabelles.

One Isabelle was single, carefree, and confident. I took the time to look and feel good. To laugh and stay up all night. To be adventurous, curious, and sometimes stupidly risky. 

But then, there was Isabelle, the mother. I had no time for myself. My priority was making sure Lulu was okay. I rarely washed my hair, was permanently in activewear and in bed by 9pm, after reading many stories and lying with him until he was asleep.
On those nights, dating was the last thing on my mind. Lulu was my primal focus. He was an infantile plant that needed lots of water, sunlight, and care while he was with me. 

I wondered, was I ever going to let anyone see the two sides of me? Would anyone love me, both as the woman I am, and always have been, but also as a mother? When the father of your own child doesn’t, it’s only natural that I questioned it.

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