I thought I had it all figured out.
I wanted to be independent. Take care of myself. Find the perfect partner. But, truthfully, I didn’t need him yet because I was already so together from my quest to find myself and the new me that I really didn’t need anyone but me.
When we go through a divorce, there comes a moment when we finally feel we’re in control. After the drama, the roller coaster of emotions, the tumult of a move, the renegotiation of our finances, we think we’ve got it all figured out.
Until we don’t.
I mastered it all. The move after 25 years, setting up my own place, weathering the storm of the first year.
I was ready to get out there! All those “rebound” relationships were a thing of the past. This was the new me, the post 26-year relationship me, the never-really-dated-that-much before me.
Then, reality set in.
The first “partner” promised me the moon, the stars, the vacation home, the jet-setting around the world. He got me.
Until he didn’t.
And I curled up into a ball, weeping for two months as I tried to escape his web.
Next, there was the “hot young thing.” Thinking I could engage in a relationship with no depth, only pure lust, was fun.
Until it wasn’t.
What’s wrong with me? Isn’t this the life I thought I’d never lead, the life I hoped to lead post-divorce?
There’s a fantasy that comes with divorce. For some, it’s the fantasy of he/she will take me back. For others, it’s the fantasy of we’ll have control of our life or find unconditional love.
The reality is we can find love, fantasy, and hope post-divorce. But to do that, we must first find love in ourselves. For ourselves.
No matter how much we try to find a partner who will “make us whole” or fulfill us or be our “soulmate,” we’ll never be able to enjoy those relationships if we cannot enjoy them with ourselves.
After a divorce, people ask crazy, inappropriate questions: Will you ever get married again? How do you feel about the opposite sex? Did he/she cheat? What did you do? Who’s fault was it?
They all want a reason to justify this unforeseen “event” when, in reality, it’s a perfectly scripted opportunity we may have never had before, an opportunity to fulfill fantasies and figure out our own realities.
Guess what? Jet set life comes with baggage. “Non-committal” relationships come with strings.
My jet setter had major issues. My young hottie hadn’t lived enough to know what a relationship is. And I wasn’t able to disconnect the physical person from my emotional self.
I cannot be the person who goes with the flow. I need connection. I need emotion. I need kindness and honesty and worldliness and ambition. Not to mention, the things I don’t even know I need yet!
All those years spent trying to understand what was “wrong” with me was really me figuring out I needed to connect and hold onto me. And all the years ahead of me need to be with someone who needs and wants the same for himself.
I want a partner. An equal.
I’m letting go of those fantasy men of mine. They were never “mine’ to begin with. What they were was a much-needed lesson in how to care for myself because that’s what I deserve. Without that understanding, I’m just somebody else’s and I never want to be “just” that.
Never again will I belong to anyone but myself because I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is… me.