I was married once before for ten years. I met him when I was 17. Started dating him when I was 18. Married him when I was 20. I amicably divorced him (all be it with a completely broken heart) at 30 which was twelve years ago now. My first husband was a good man, still is. I love him for who he is and I wish him well in his current life adventures. Today, on this my second wedding anniversary with N, I look at my past relationships and am happy to say I have not one regret.
It may seem strange to begin a post on a wedding anniversary writing about a divorce, but in my on going attempt at striving to be real and share a bit more of my authentic truth here on this blog, I thought it was important to acknowledge what has helped me to see M the clearest. If I answer honestly it has been the pain in my life that has refined me most, that has taught me the most, and that has given me the most clarity into seeing just what is authentically me.
I must confess that leaving my first marriage was the single most painful, emotionally devastating and difficult thing I have personally ever had to do. It was not his fault that our marriage did not work. It was not my fault. To continue to love my first husband I finally realized that I had to leave him. I came to understand that he wanted a partner to be and act and prioritize in ways that were fundamentally at my core not me. Because I loved him I tried to do what he wanted, I tried to “make him happy”, however, I found I was making myself miserable in the end because I was not living and acting authentically. I was not being M. In the end I was beginning to resent and stop loving him because I was not allowing myself to be my true self around him. I was not happy. It became a viscous circle where we both cared deeply about each other, but neither of us was happy. At the end of those days, when the emotional upheavals were taken out, it all boiled down to the fact we had come to a place with different focuses, different things that were important to us and we wanted different experiences in our life trajectories. Where is the blame in that?
It is hard not to be tempted to point fingers when emotional hurts are fresh, or when we find we are not loved and accepted unconditionally just as we currently are. To anyone else out there who is reading this and has had relationships that have pointed out the need for personal growth in new directions than the relationship could support, my heart goes out to you.
REMEMBER anytime you point a finger at someone and wish for their change-understanding-communication-forgiveness etc, there are always-all ways THREE fingers that are also pointing back at yourself. Be true to you. Be true in yourself. Do your best not to blame your partner for the contours of your own emotional landscape, your own lack, your own expectations. No one can make us feel/want anything we do not CHOOSE to feel/want and it is how we THINK about what is going on that creates those emotions/expectations in the first place. 🙂
I once had a wise friend and love in my life tell me that he would ask himself why he though he needed something that HE found lacking in his wife. Why do we think it is someone else who needs to give-show-be-do ____X______ for /with us? It is our responsibility to own that it is US who is the one with expectations. It is the way we think about what is going on that will color the way we feel about it.
In contrast I also had someone upon hearing of my new romance with N ask after this last failed relationship, now how was I going to keep this new man happy and with me? My reply to the question from this person was simple…I told him I had finally learned that it is not my job to make N happy. It is my job to know myself, to know what I want, to make myself happy and then share that happiness with N!
If we go into a relationship looking to fill empty holes inside ourselves with something we hope they will give us, we set ourselves up to fail. If we do not know ourselves well enough or are not honest with ourselves about what we really need, we set ourselves up to fail. We will fail until we learn these lessons the relationship is there to mirror and teach.
The secret to a good relationship is to work to be as whole as we can be in ourselves and then share that. It is to love our partner just as they currently are, and to create an atmosphere where it is safe to look at holes and the pain they create as we keep growing individually and together.
Saint Honore http://www.sainthonorebakery.com/mission.html
So today N and I hit a favorite hangout in our new neighborhood for a quiet and understated celebration with tea for two to mark year two together. And the story continues…
…I married again two years ago at 40. This time around I understand how important my own self awareness is. I understand the power of acting from and as my authentic self. I see more of who M is and is not and I have chosen a partner who can hold the space for me as I make my lingering holes whole. Today I am incandescently happy with and in myself and I am enjoying sharing my glow.
Ns, I am so glad that you put your voice out into the world for me to find archived on the internet on that podcast. I love that deeply self aware and authentic voice you share with me and the world. I am a better woman by knowing you. You make the world a better place by sharing you.
From one to two and back to the one. I love you so. Happy anniversary baby.