Warning: lots of cheesy “get real” lingo to follow, including but not limited to terms such as “loving myself,” “self-talk” and “co-dependency.” I can’t help these things. I had three years of therapy in college and I know Betty would be proud…
I’ve been mulling some things around in my head for a while and debating whether or not to talk about them here. But I’ve always said that if my story can help just one person, then it’s worth putting myself out there…
I’m in the middle of reading 52 Fights, a book by my new friend, Jennifer at Unplanned Cooking. In the book, she is raw and honest about the reality of her first year of marriage. The stories she shares are hers, but the truths about combining two different lives into a family are universal. It has its challenges. That’s for sure!
I’m not going to lie. For me, on the edge of getting married again, the fear of failure is on the peripheral. When I let myself go to a bad place, I can hear the voice of my ex-husband in my head telling me hurtful things about myself — “You’re selfish. It’s all about Stephanie.” “You are crazy. loco.” “You are such a [insert expletive here.]” and then the stinger – one of those things said in the middle of the divorce, purposely to hurt me – “You know you’ll get divorced again.”
And anyone who has ever been divorced will get this — you let yourself go back there in your head sometimes. You let the negative self-talk take hold. It’s not right. It’s not fair. It sucks. But you do. You must work toward not letting the past control your present and future. And you know this.
I’m not perfect, but anyone who knows me, knows – I’ve worked really, really hard to move past the pain of the divorce, the sense of failure it brought to me and all the lies. Lies. Lies. Lies.
I’ve embraced truth. (Ok, so I lied to get a piece of cake, but you know what I mean.) And I found a guy who is about as truthful as it gets. Sometimes his “tell-it-like-it-is” style makes me giggle. Like when he once told Roomie that a new haircut looked fantastic and much better than the old way she wore her hair. [hand smack on forehead…]
I’m going to be really honest here. I didn’t mean to fall in love again so soon. Every book warned against it. Every expert said, watch out! Old habits will quickly return, patterns will resurface. And sometimes, in my relationship with the fiance, I can smell those old patterns of co-dependency, putting my needs before his, non-communication…and so on.
But I fight it. And I work on myself [almost*] every day. *We all know there are days where you lay around and don’t work on anything but sitting on your butt.
What this comes down to is loving myself, staying true to myself and being ok with some failure. What this comes down to in my relationship is communication, support for the other person, trust, allowing the other person to fully thrive as themself and loving them for who they are, being ok with some failure and a sense of humor.
The other night we had an argument. He gets angry when I go into defeatist mode. It’s his biggest struggle with me. (Some day, I’ll share with you about issues I have with him, but this is about me today.) I get really negative sometimes, like there’s no water in the glass negative.
And in that fight, the fear crept in. The voices swirled in my head. I tried to stay in the moment. What this discussion was about. Focus on communication and resolution.
He told me how he would like us to resolve the issue at hand. (He is such a good communicator, I must say.)
I wondered if he could live with me if we didn’t resolve it.
Like could he still love me, even if I wasn’t perfect. Even if I was selfish and negative and whiney?
I needed to know that he could still love me. Codependency crept in.
I love myself. I need to do this for myself.
We finished our discussion on a good note, but in the back of my head, there were underlying issues, related to the argument that I needed to figure out.
The next day, I made some mental adjustments, took action toward a positive change and resolved some of the conflict that I was bringing into my own life.
This wasn’t about him. This was about me. About my journey. And when I work on myself, our relationship only benefits from that work.
Later that night, I told him about my adjustments and the steps I took to better myself. Because I love myself. And I’m lucky enough to have found someone who loves me too — and yes, just as I am with no changes. (I knew that, but that stupid divorce doubt tried to rear its ugly head.)
And so, while I’m at odds with some nasty national statistics about divorce rates for second marriages, I know the following things are truth:
- I will get married again on February 27 to the love of my life.
- I’m so glad I met him, even if it was “too soon.”
- Marriage can be tough, and you have to work at it. But it’s worth it.
- Not only am I loved, but I have a support network that is outa this world.
- I can only change myself and not him. And I am responsible for loving myself. This love will help me better love the fiance and make our love stronger.
- I trust him with all my heart and do not doubt him. Our mutual trust makes us stronger.
- I am a work in progress and not perfect. Our marriage won’t be perfect, but when it’s not, we will communicate and laugh. Because that’s all you can do sometimes.
- The glass does have some water (or wine) in it. And when it comes to my relationship with the fiance, it’s over flowing.
- I’m kicking my divorce demons in the balls and saying to hell with the lies.
- He doesn’t complete me (because I don’t believe anyone can), but I am sure lucky to have him sharing my life with me.
Those of you who are married, what are some of your secrets to success? Those of you who are divorced, how have you moved past your demons and would you get married again? Single friends, what is your take on marriage and would you do it?