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Looking For Love...In All The Wrong Places



I have been on a journey the past three years, a journey of self-discovery, but I've definitely learned the most in the past year.


It hasn't been an easy one.


I've been doing a lot of reflection lately on both my marriages and their failures. I've been reading and listening to journal entries and getting a clearer picture of where I was, and where I am, and how much farther I have to go to heal.


I've accepted I need to allow myself to grieve.


I didn't take the time to grieve the end of my first marriage. I couldn't take the pain. I accepted the "morphine" in the form of another relationship instead. Now that that relationship has also ended and I have accepted the fact that I need to turn around and face my past so I can heal, I'm having to grieve two failed marriages at...the...same...time.


It isn't fun.


As I was reading through journal entries a few really resonated with what I am feeling as I face the past so I can heal for the future, and this one in particular stood out as I have some deeply sad days right now while processing my grief.


I went back and forth on whether or not to share it but then, as usually happens with me, I thought that if it can help someone else out there (who finds it) then I need to--and maybe it's part of my healing process as well. Putting it out there into the Universe for God to do with as He sees fit.


I wrote this right before Christmas last year about one month after I left my husband and days after I served him with divorce papers.


I named this entry after the song that kept playing in my head. A song that didn't necessarily make me feel any better.


"December 20, 2021, Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places...


There’s an old song called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Written in 1980 and sang by country music singer Johnny Lee. I remember it from when I was a kid, and from a Saturday Night Live episode where Eddie Murphy made fun of it…


I don’t know why it popped in my head tonight. I worked from home today and felt sad for the majority of it. I’m in mourning and feeling weak. I made myself a sandwich for dinner and drove up this big hill by my aunt and uncle's house where I'm staying, hoping I could sit in the parking lot of an LDS Temple and bask in the light cast down and maybe, just maybe, find some peace.


I forgot it was Monday.


The temples are closed on Monday—even the parking lots.


I parked out front, but this was no good, I couldn’t see anything but the frozen grounds. But I tried, I tried to do a voice recording, vent out what I was thinking and feeling. But it didn’t work because there’s really only one thing I feel right now.


Sad.


Just that. Sad.


While I know logically I’m doing the right thing and everyone in my life who truly loves and cares about me will tell you, me, and the whole world that, I feel no peace. At moments I don’t even feel that assurance anymore. The assurance I felt when I left. When I fasted and prayed and everything fell into place. When I saw the life waiting for me… It’s gone away now and all I feel is sad.


So, am I like that song? Just looking for love and light in all the wrong places?


The lyrics begin with—Well, I spent a lifetime lookin’ for you


This is definitely how I feel. I feel like I’ve been chasing a dream my whole life of something more than I have ever had. I’ve always felt like something was missing. That there was more…


I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places

Lookin for love in too many faces

Searchin’ their eyes

Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of

Hoping to find a friend and a lover

I’ll bless the day I discover another heart

Lookin’ for love…


Prophetic? Or just creepy accurate? I desperately looked for it with my first husband. But I never felt truly loved by him. I was never enough. But oh how I wanted a friend and a lover. But he despised the real me. I could never really thrive with him…


And I was alone then, no love in sight

And I did everything I could to get me through the night

Don’t know where it started or where it might end

I turned to a stranger just like a friend…


I was lost and broken when my first husband decided to end our marriage—and deep down, relieved. But I had no idea how to be alone. I barely survived that time. I leaned on the first man to show interest in me and while what I really needed was a friend who would be gentle with me, I ended up being just another thing to be desired and placed in a role. A stranger I remained, because while he didn’t try to hold me down, he didn’t care what color my wings were either—as long as he got from me what he wanted. Nothing equal, nothing close to what I was dreaming of—have been dreaming of for as long as I can remember dreaming.


I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places

Lookin for love in too many faces

Searchin’ their eyes

Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of

Hoping to find a friend and a lover

I’ll bless the day I discover another heart

Lookin’ for love…


I lost faith in myself, my ability to receive inspiration from my God and my Savior. I looked for love with men who only saw a pretty face. I hid from the two people, my sons, who truly loved me because I felt unlovable, unwanted, worthless. And there I’ve stayed fighting a new battle. Married again, unhappy, feeling as if the dream I’ve had for so long isn’t ever possible. That it’s unrealistic, and fantastical, and stupid. That the last lines of this song will never, ever be possible for me.


You came knockin’ on my hearts door

You’re everything I’ve been looking for

No more lookin’ for love in all the wrong places…

Now that I found a friend and a lover

I bless the day I discover

You, oh you, lookin’ for love…


“What you focus on you create more of.” It becomes your reality. I do believe this. I also believe that our perceptions shape our reality.


A good friend just sent me a TikTok as I'm writing this (she was inspired) by a woman who was talking about a conversation with her therapist—


“Why do I have to hold on so tight to this situation, this person? Why can’t I just let it go?”


“Number one because you care, and that’s okay. And then number two where are you comfortable?”


“I realized I am most comfortable trying to help someone with their wounds or their traumas before I ever thought that, that’s not my place… I have to help myself first. And the whole sentiment that we can’t grow where we’re comfortable, clicked for me. Because I used to think that just meant trying new things or meeting new people, going outside your comfort zone. When sometimes it means stepping away from who we were, our old selves, our old patterns, and consequently sometimes means we have to lose people that we care about.


But if that means that your healing and your growing into your best self, then you keep going…”


I have been conditioned to be comfortable with being treated less than I deserve. Leaving my comfort zone, leaving my husband is proving to be one of the most confusing instances of growing pains I’ve had since my divorce. Different than any I’ve had yet—and I’ve been through some really painful and difficult shit. Things that would destroy anyone and you’d never look down on them for being irreparably broken. But I lived and held on—I held on to the dream that there had to be better out there for me, that there had to be truth to what I kept being told, that I deserved better, that I’m not a bad person.


This bout of growing pains is shredding that hope that kept me alive through round one. The greatest weapon of strength I had is being attacked and yanked away from me. I had no idea how powerful that hope really was. Because it wasn’t just my hope in my husband and I that died this summer, but my hope for any kind of happy healthy future of being truly loved in the way I’ve dreamed of for so long, is dying right along with it.


And my fear is that whether I sever the toxic leech that is sucking that hope to death or not, it might be too late. Even if I divorce my husband and move in the direction I know is right… Without that hope, that dream I have had for so long driving me forward, keeping me upright and determined, what motivation will I have?


Every purpose and desire I had—motivational speaking, podcast, non-profits, successful career, my own home—this hope was still attached to it in the periphery. He was there. Pure. Kind. Calm. Utterly in love with me and I with him—the healthy kind. That man I have seen so many times in my dreams literal and figurative. I’ve heard his voice, seen his face, felt his touch, knew his kiss. In my dreams...


What happens if he dies. How do I survive without the hope of him? Is there another hope that can be as strong? As motivating? Is there something else I can create to dream about that will take his place if or when that hope dies, or at the very least compensate enough to keep me trying, finding the light, and accepting the true love where I have it as enough in this life? The love of my kids, my family, true friends, and a life of purpose?


I have been looking for love and light in all the wrong places—because its been right in front of me all along and maybe when its “enough” I can find the light and love in the every day moments and stop dreaming about him, because thinking of something that may never be…it doesn’t make me happy and hopeful anymore, it just makes me…


Sad."


I said in my post "Rebind" that it's okay to grieve for love when it ends, even the unhealthy kind. I am allowing myself to grieve the love I have given away and will never get back. I am not pining or wanting them back. Not in the slightest. But I am admitting that while I am on a healthy path of discovery and self-love and never will allow myself to ever be treated as less than I deserve again, I am, amongst all that badassery, allowed to be sad once and awhile. We all are. There will be sad days mixed with the good, and that's okay.


The dream of him, hasn't returned. I don't feel like it died, just transitioned and moved to the back for awhile. I have reached a point where I no longer need a relationship to feel like a whole person. To say I don't still hope he exists in some form would be a lie, but for now I am allowing myself time to grieve, heal, and focus on the love that surrounds me in all the "right" places--my kids, my family, my friends, and most of the time I am happy. Happier than I thought was possible when I wrote that journal entry nearly a year ago.


Maybe someday when I'm healed I'll want to start looking again and maybe, by then, he will be looking for me too and not just in my dreams.


"What you are seeking is also seeking you..." -Unknown
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