Ex wife new life: life is short, as may be your date

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After my divorce several years ago, it seemed like every midlife couple I knew was jumping on the divorce bandwagon. Once the kids leave the house, couples sit back and take a good look at each other. We look into each others eyes and think, "If I hear you clear your throat one more time I will jab a knife through your neck." We tell ourselves, "Life is short; I should be happier." Before we know it, we're wandering around our new rented condo, telling ourselves, "Now THIS is more like it," as we microwave a Lean Cuisine and watch Chopped marathons. Ahhhh, the good life.

For as much as we enjoy our new independence, it doesn't take long before we miss the companionship of the opposite sex. Here is where the "life is short" mantra comes back into play.

When you begin dating again, don't go out hoping each new date will be "The One." Go on dates with the attitude that you are going on an adventure with a new person. Like all adventures, the more that goes wrong, the better the story you will have to laugh about with friends over drinks. If he has brown teeth, it's ok. Maybe he can make you laugh or he has great advice for launching your new business. At the very least, you can use the date to try that new drink you've been hearing about with raspberry vodka.

I began dating with the attitude, "I hope he's promising. I don't want to waste my time." I would go on these dates, get one look at my date's face and immediately think, "Ugh, I could never marry you." For as judgmental as I was, I knew I couldn't just say, "I'm sorry, but I see you wear short sleeve dress shirts. I just don't think this is going to work out."

It took me some time to realize it wouldn't kill me to get to know my date, even if he did have brown teeth and absolutely no shot at taking me on a second date. Every failed connection taught me more about what I was looking for. Believe it or not, learning the story of how a man came to have dinner with a woman who obviously did not share his interest in bowling helped me gain perspective on myself, dating, men, and how to detect the truth behind a man's online profile.

Guess what happened when I switched my attitude. I had fun! I made friends. I learned a lot about men. One guy told me, "I went out on a date and there was only one problem: She was actually smarter than me." Dude. Seriously? Warning to men: if you're shocked by the fact that a woman you date is smarter than you, you are either A) setting your standards too low or B) not smart enough to attract intelligent women.

Sure I had some wild times, but you will have to wait for my book for the specifics. (My kids read this, but I have never seen any of them actually read a book so it should be fine.) Yes, I even had my heart broken a time or two, and probably caused a little heart break as well. But, if the heart truly is our strongest muscle, tearing it will only make it stronger. It's all part of learning who you are now and what you want in a partner for this next phase of life.

I ask just one thing of you: don't settle. This is our chance to get it right. Go out, have fun, meet all types of people, be safe, but always have an open mind. More importantly, get to know yourself! You have changed and so have the traits you want in a partner. Take the time to learn who you are now.

Girls, don't panic and grab the first penis that comes along. Trust me, they all have them. It's what's attached to their penises that matters. Men, yes I know ... boobs. We all have them, but learn to look above them to find what will truly make you happy.

Yes, life is short, so take the time to savor that Cabernet, lick the Dorito salt off your fingers, and get to know your date as an interesting person, and possible friend, if not something more. And just in case your online date turns out not to even have friend potential, remember this: raspberry vodka with soda and a twist of lime — to die for.

Life is too short to drink bad wine or weak coffee, though I have no problem downing the occasional bag of stale Doritos. The point is, life is short. That was the mantra I repeated to myself each time I prepared for a new Match.com date and my mind started playing the "what if" game. What if he's too short, too tall, has wiry eyebrows, a high pitched voice, wears ironed jeans, chews with his mouth open, stares at my boobs, smells like Marlboros and Pabst, wears a thick gold chain... To combat this ugly swarm of fears, I would reassure myself by saying, "So what. Life is short."

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