At the risk of being repetitive, a LOT changed for me when my mother died. I changed eating-style, lifestyle, relationship-style, and even hairstyle. (I doubt the hair thing is connected, I’ve always done that).
When mom died, I realized that I had been in a holding pattern of dating and relationships. I dated nice enough men, but they were not “forever partners”. I looked hard at my parents and at a few friends who have lasting relationships based on respect, love, kindness, and friendship, and determined to make some changes in my attitudes and actions.
I have had two long-term relationships (9 months and 6 months respectively) since mom died. Both of these relationships have been filled with pain, alcohol, and drugs (not me…him) emotional abuse, and horrible communication. Both relationships ended in a spectacular fashion, huge dramatic blow-ups and breakups. Both ended with THEM leaving ME.
And, even with all of the pain and abuse, I would have never left.
One thing I learned from my parents’ 58-year marriage is that there are bumps. And you don’t leave, you fight through. You don’t quit.
I felt extreme shame and guilt over being the one to end my marriage after 17 years, and am JUST now beginning to find self-forgiveness and peace. Both Jake (ex-husband) and I are happier, healthier, and more self-actualized than we ever would have become had we stayed together. We were broken, and I now think divorce was the only answer.
However, I went into these past two relationships with a do or die attitude. And I nearly died. In the age of online dating, it is far to easy to click or swipe right once there is any discomfort in a relationship. And there WILL be discomfort. I failed to recognize and respect the vast difference between work and struggle in my relationships, and ended up bruised, abused, and tossed aside as a result.
I looked at the common denominator in both of these relationships, and of course, I looked right in the mirror. I lost who I am, and attempted to become what I thought these men wanted me to be. I had no boundaries, and as a result, allowed behavior that was and is incredibly damaging and hurtful. And once again, I felt shame and embarrassment, but for an entirely different reason.
I am fierce, smart, financially independent, debt-free, educated, HILARIOUS, and loving. How could I let this happen? TWICE?
Apparently, the universe figured I needed some explosive lessons to get through my stubborn head. I am attempting not to view my choices as failures, but rather as lessons. Lessons that will put me on a healthier and happier path. Lessons that will lead me where I am meant to be.
In teaching, we ask if a student has learned a particular concept to MASTERY, and we have rubrics and assessments to determine what mastery looks like. For me, mastery will look like setting boundaries, working and loving hard, and accepting only respect, kindness, and love in return. I have always loved a good rubric, time to get creating.
Light and Love,