I was sharing a soda with my friend, Fred, a few days ago and we were talking about relationships and dating again. Unexpectedly he asked, “Do you really want to remarry?”
“Of course,” I answered without hesitating. “I believe in love and…” and I stopped. Did I?
During this long pause, Fred had a follow-up: “Because you’re such a free spirit.”
Me? A free spirit? I suppose I am, whatever that means. And having just exited a long-term relationship, I realize that, yet again, I’m really good at this whole “moving on” thing. If I can walk away from a boyfriend as painlessly as I just did, it begs the question: Am I able to feel that amazing, passionate, undying love that I feel I must have before I remarry?
After I gathered my thoughts together, I responded a little more eloquently. “I believe in finding love and The One. Of course I aspire to finding that connection and marriage makes it permanent. But I’d far rather be single and free and calling my own shots than in a bad marriage again.”
I actually loved being married. I mean, I hated my marriage. It was truly one of those horrific marriages that addiction brings. But I loved being in a partnership. I loved having a family. I loved my children having their dad in the same home. I loved having a home, throwing dinner parties, and, well, being a wife. I would like that again. But only if all the components are right.
Fred and I moved on to another topic. But since that conversation, I’ve been thinking a lot. Do I really want to remarry? And how important is getting married again to me?
My close friend, Kat, has a friend who is visiting her from the East coast. This woman is beautiful, fascinating, smart, independent and a trailblazer in many respects. I could listen to her talk for hours. She’s been married twice and has two grown children. If I ended up like her, is that enough?
As I ponder all of this, deep thinker that I am, my daughters and I went to see Maleficent last night (a terrific movie). I thought it interesting that Sleeping Beauty’s “true love’s kiss” that saved her from an eternity of slumber came not from her Knight in Shining Armor, but from Maleficent. True love came after developing respect, demonstrating kindness, and growing a friendship—all critical foundations from which pure love can then flourish. From there, of course, at least for me, I need incredible passion and a connection from a guy that gives me butterflies. When that perfect combination exists, that’s when I will find the kind of love that would make me want to take the plunge and marry again. Because, really, I rather like my single life these days.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in January 2012 and left my husband, I desperately wanted to find love and remarry. Since it was a real possibility that I might not survive my intense treatments, I felt that clock ticking to remarry before I die, because, dammit, I did not want to die alone. Seriously, I thought, what if I got sick again and my parents were unable to care for me and my children? I was sometimes in a near panic at just the thought of it. No, I needed a husband to fill that role and I needed to find him fast.
But then some amazing things happened.
My daughters and I went on a road trip and spent a week at my friend Emmy’s home in Denver. When we left, I felt such overpowering love and support.
A month later, my daughters and I spent nearly three weeks at my best friends Julie and Shane’s home in Long Beach, California. We were surrounded by people who are part of my extended family. And, once again, I felt that amazing love and support. When we left, I cried.
Just weeks later, my lifelong friend, Beth, and I went on a road trip to our home town. Yes, real love.
And every single day at home, I was around my own family. My parents, who are the most loving and selfless people on the planet; my brothers and cousins, aunts and uncles, and of course, my beautiful daughters. Love.
I knew that, husband or not, I had love and support. I was surrounded by it. Was it the romantic kind of love that came with sex? No. But it was pure and real and came with no strings attached. I didn’t need to have a husband to find support or kindness. It was staring at me all along.
So back to the question: Do I want to get married again, free spirit and all? The answer is absolutely yes. I love passion, excitement, butterflies, and committed mind-blowing sex. I love sharing lives, bank accounts, vacations, and future plans. I love feeling part of a team and having each other’s backs. I love family– the image and the reality that a marriage entails. I know that there are functioning happy marriages out there because I see them. And I know it is possible for me to find that connection. I know that I am an excellent partner (my last relationship reminded me of that).
And then onto my next question: Am I capable of falling in love again? I believe that I am. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been madly and passionately in love with someone new. I did not love my ex-husband. I felt “lovingly” towards him at times, but I never loved him (actually, most of the time I loathed him). I never loved my ex-boyfriend either, despite the fact that visually we had it all. We looked great together, never argued, and shared many of the same likes and wants. But once I exited the relationship, it was too easy and I felt (and feel) nothing. As it turns out, our relationship lacked a soul. But before I met my boyfriend, I dated one man and I felt that turn towards love and passion. Our relationship wasn’t meant to be but I felt it. I knew it was there and it was awesome and exciting. I still love my ex-ex-boyfriend, Tom, the one who got away. As I look back, I’ve felt that amazing screaming burning love several times in my life. It is scary because when that love doesn’t work out, it is devastating. Putting myself out there is one big giant leap of faith. Am I willing to go there again? Yes. Since getting sick, I am fearless and I am ready. I’m open and hopeful.
But I also realize that I have it all right now. I have love.
Remarry again? Dang I hope so. But if it doesn’t happen, I think I’m one very lucky girl anyway.