I haven’t written a blog post for more than 5 months. I haven’t recorded a podcast in nearly a year. In all honesty I wouldn’t be writing this post if it weren’t for a school assignment that involves creating a blog and writing a post, or writing and sharing a post if you already have a blog. Thank goodness for school—I’d forgotten how therapeutic this is.
I’ve had a blog for over 10 years. The old blog, the one from a site with a different name and a different lifetime has been taken down for the past two years. A few months after my divorce I started posting again on my new site as a way to process my grief and what I was going through and learning. I stopped again when life became too much and I got lost for awhile.
My last post was a snippet of my then reality. My not-so-fairytale tale. I had married the man I first dated after my divorce after two years of an on-again off-again relationship. 5 months later we are now separated and each day it leans more and more toward us becoming part of that statistic I talked about in my last post.
I can nail down a few specifics of why we’re not working out, but there are also a lot of things I don’t understand and can’t help but wish could be different. But the reality is there are some things that cannot be changed and can only be accepted. Whatever happens, I am grateful for the time we've had together. If we part, we will do so without any hatred, and I have no regrets other than the pain our issues have caused our children.
In the past few months (well years actually) I've done a lot of soul searching. I have discovered that this is common—people who have been married for a long time (23 years in my case) and divorce have a high likelihood of remarrying quickly. Sadly though, their statistic for the quick second marriage ending in divorce are higher than the already high average.
I am also discovering some of the reasons why this was the case for me.
I am codependent. I grew up with a need to people-please and all of my validation came from the outside. I became dependent on others for my sense of self-worth and value. That left me prey to a long-term relationship that was extremely unhealthy. The end of it could be viewed as a mercy from God despite the fact that it shattered me and hurt my children in the process.
But from the broken pieces I began to see just how unhealthy I was and how my state of being had led to my ending up in unhealthy relationships throughout my life. It was only a few short weeks after my divorce when I was still in that very broken state, and I met my now husband. In a sense my glasses of sensibility were clouded. I was incredibly lonely and afraid of being alone, and in extreme need of validation of worth, value, and being wanted.
My husband is not a bad man, nor is he solely responsible for the state of our marriage. That responsibility lies on both our shoulders. See, the thing is, when we met, he was broken too and when two people are so broken sometimes the pieces get mixed up and you take some of their pieces thinking it will fill the holes in you, but they won’t fit. Even if you are part of the same puzzle, the you in that puzzle still has very specific pieces. You can’t repair yourself with the pieces of someone else, any more than you can try to force two of the wrong puzzle pieces together. Besides, if you take a piece of them, you leave them with a hole—they need their pieces to fix themselves.
You have to pick up your own pieces and decide which ones can be repaired and still fit, or replace the pieces (with ones you have built yourself, not borrowed or taken from someone else) and fix yourself.
We thought the other one could fix us, but the truth is all we could do was share the glue.
I am discovering that it is when, and only when, you become whole yourself that you can truly love--and allow yourself to be loved by--someone else. It’s only then that you can experience love as it is meant to be experienced.
My husband and I have had to discover the hard way that we don’t work on ourselves as we should when we are “together”. The traumas and challenges of our past relationships get in the way and our self-healing comes to a screeching halt as we fall into patterns of codependence and trying to use the other's pieces to fix ourselves.
In the light of the last few months I struggle to find hope that this is something we can overcome. The odds against us are staggering. This dragon may have to be left alone.
The reality of my tale is still in the messy middle and I don’t know what it’s going to look like at the resolution, I still have a lot of other dragons to slay. But in this moment, on this day, I do have hope for my husband, the hero of his story, that he will find the way to slay his dragons and heal himself.
I have hope that I too, the heroine of my story, will find a way to do the same and we will both be happy and whole individuals who get to experience loving, healthy, and happy relationships ever after—even if it is not us "together" at the story's end…