Throughout my childhood I would often fantasize of meeting the one, of riding off into the sunset with my love, my savior. I recall once I started dating someone and quickly and easily imagining the rest of our lives together. This started for me at a very young age and continued even after my divorce. In my last post I mentioned that I met my husband shortly after ending my relationship with my high school sweetheart and having a baby. I met him exactly nine months later. I was 19, he was 22 and I was in heaven. He had a girlfriend but that didn’t matter to me. He was giving me everything I needed. Time, attention, sex, and the big one… love.
Clearly, I didn’t have the best example of love or relationships growing up. So, I wasn’t that hard to please, I didn’t require that much. All I needed was a body who loved me and would be willing to jump through the hurdles I would intricately set up for them to prove it. God bless their souls.
I was going to write here about my marriage, but I wrote about that in my first blog post. It was beautiful at times and incredibly sad other times. The important thing is that the entire time I knew something wasn’t right, I knew there was something missing for both of us. The thing is I didn’t listen to that voice. Instead I was so desperate to be loved, so desperate to be chosen and to have someone I can call my own and rely on, no matter what the cost. At the time I had all the time in the world, the rest of my life was not even a thought in my mind, until I didn’t. After my separation, I realized the gift of being alone. Of course, I had to fight all the voices and fears that came up around it. It was an intense training and reprogramming.
Again, the addiction is real. Though it may look different for all of us, at its core it’s the same. Inside this brilliantly crafted patriarchal structure, we are conditioned as women to believe we need a man from very young. Marriage, kids the whole shebang, without it, what purpose do we serve? This is the narrative given to us from very young. So, in hindsight, it wasn’t a surprise that I was completely complicit to settle in a marriage that in the deepest sense left me bereft and blind to other parts of me that wanted to come alive and my authentic-self wanted to grow and nurture.
Point being I was completely willing to sacrifice my life, my life’s purpose and everything that called to my deepest self, to have someone I can always have in my corner. To avoid having to deal with the fear of being alone, I was willing to give up on myself and everything my spirit was calling for. After I left, I realized this was the deepest level of addiction I had ever faced in my life. There is nothing wrong with loving someone and being in a relationship, but when being in that relationship costs you your life, your true calling and God knows what else, that cost is way too high. We’ve got this life, and we owe it to ourselves to live it fully and not betray ourselves, even for the fear of being alone or not hurting anyone. Life is simply too short, and I know we all have plenty examples of that.
After this I began the journey of learning to love myself, independent of another. Again, I have not arrived anywhere, it is a continuous process. I still struggle with staying with myself when in a relationship and for that reason I’m hesitant to get involved as I know there are still many things for me to learn about myself and about being with others, especially intimately. Though be it as it may, we often can’t help the things and people who come into our lives and we’ve got to take it in and do the best that we can.
I recently met the most amazing man and unfortunately the timing wasn’t right. I had to struggle to not make this about me or my abandonment issues. I loved him deeply and it took a lot to make it not mean it was about me or that there was something wrong with me. A place I know we all usually go to as women. It is a continuous process, just like getting up every day and facing the days challenges. We are who we are alone or with another. First, we must be free to be ourselves, releasing the fear of not being accepted. Not playing into the games the patriarchal system has ingrained in us. What we bring to a relationship isn’t our worth, but our very being and that must have an alignment with our partner. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but there has to a sense of equality, freedom, nurturing, partnership and collaboration with one another. There are no concrete steps to a healthy relationship, but the first step is to work on having that healthy relationship with yourself and inside of that, you will know exactly what it is you want and not NEED.