Husband #2 asked me this question via email:
Am I the love of your life or are you just holding on for the sake of holding on?
I don’t hold on for the sake of holding on. Ever. I’m not a believer in scarcity.
I married you because I loved you very much and couldn’t see my future without you. I don’t compare you to other men, so I can’t say that you are the love of my life because I don’t think that way. I know that you are the man who I love differently than any other man which is why I agree to see you this year. I picked you because I believed in you and wanted to support you reaching your goals and I thought that you would be the man who believed in me and would help me reach my goals. I love you still because I think there is a better relationship for us now if we both decide to put in the effort to grow up and grow together.
I am Husband #2’s One and Only…at least for now. He’s already told me that he has sworn off any future relationships after me. I guess three divorces will do that to a man.
Me? I’m a little more optimistic.
You see, I don’t believe in One and Only. I believe that you find someone who you see as special and make a commitment to them. If they decide to vacate the job of husband, that doesn’t mean you close down the company. That just means there is an opening for someone new. I don’t have FMLA at DejaVow Corp. Once you leave your position as Husband, it’s time to open the doors of finding someone new to take the job (after a period of cleaning out the emotional office space, of course).
Maybe that’s why we get hung up on first loves, high school sweethearts, and the like. We harken back to a day when love was simpler…purer…more innocent. We think to ourselves, “That was true love…” But we’re fooling ourselves. It wasn’t true love. It was easy love. A time when every day stresses from career, family and aging were absent from our vocabularies. We spoke of college classes, parties, and ultimate Frisbee. Now we look across the table and see someone with wrinkles, arthritis and flaws. And we can’t help but wonder if they see the same when they look at us.
Thanks to Hollywood films and the rabid Hallmark culture in which we live, we have been socialized to believe there is one – and only one – person with whom we truly belong.~Seth Meyers and Katie Gilbert in Psychology Today’s article “The Myth of One True Love Per Lifetime”
Tonight I treated Son #1 and his serious girlfriend to Chinese. As I watched them interact and laugh over simple experiences, I wanted a One and Only experience for the two of them. It’s not fun being on either side of a breakup. Maybe, just maybe, he and she will stay together…high school sweethearts that have only dated a few others and end up growing up together, sharing a combination of memories and experiences that will bond them together more than kids, wedding rings, and a house payment. I want that for him, to spare him the pain of having his heart handed to him on a platter. I want him to be able to say that he and his serious girlfriend grew into their compromises as they grew older.
As an older (somewhat wiser?) person, am I as willing to compromise when it comes to my next life partner? Am I willing to put my dreams on hold in order to support my spouse’s? Maybe life has made me harder, less yielding, more sure of what I want and don’t want.
Finding my next One and Only might be tougher than expected.
Or maybe men are like candy. If the store is all out of string licorice, I’ll just have to go with the jujubes instead.