I recently had a conversation with 3 of my recently divorced friends (They now outnumber us single gals, go figure!). Most of the conversation was a shade throwing, dish serving, tea-spilling afternoon geared at their now INSIGNIFICANT other non-co-habitants.
I listened and nodded my head in agreement with their plight, stayed quiet on issues that I found petty, and found myself sympathetic to their attempts to “get back out there”, and yet utterly disgusted, or rather disappointed, at their reasoning behind finding love again. Ya know, the usual answers of “I don’t want to be alone anymore”(do you live in a deep dark cave somewhere?), “I’m un-happy”(yep, I know guys who totally want to date an un-happy person), “God didn’t put us on earth to be alone” (please don’t try and put a Christian twist on you being horny…..so disrespectful, ugh!!) or my favorite: “I am better with someone in my life”(that’s what you said before you got married, how’d that work out for you?)
Where did we go wrong? Who didn’t prepare us for divorce? Who didn’t prepare us for being single? Which heroine in our life is to blame for the fairy-tale my new divorcees wished for? Was I smarter than they were, because I chose not to be married? Was I now the standard bearer of all single women? Do I stand as a straight talking guide navigating and narrating this new dating world for my generation of divorced millennials? How did they go from radiant bride to dull, desperate, sobbing and searching?
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, only my take on the subject. Since the beginning of time, women are taught that if we placate the men we date, mollify our shine, cater to them, be his trophy, then we will find ourselves in the auspicious place of being the future Mrs._____; A title most are taught to revere and, at times, known to kill for (um…future blog post). On the other hand, we are told that if we outshine our men, are secure and comfortable in our own skin, are comfortable being sexual, play coquettish, know our worth, have criteria, want something of our own then we will never get that band of gold. But for women like me, the ring attached to a promissory note to love, honor, and obey is not exactly a prize, nor at present moment, on my to-do list. I don’t feel validated if my bed has two occupants; the title of Mrs. _____ does not confirm me being a woman. The brass ring does not authenticate, verify, or prove that I am more of a woman because I now have the title of “Wife”. So why do we give the institution of marriage so much power over our lives? We give it so much power that when it dissolves we feel lesser, inadequate, and of course, responsible.
This is not a tirade on why marriage sucks because it doesn’t. It can be beautiful and fulfilling when approached for all the right reasons. Cultivation of relationships takes time; it takes more than an deep overnight conversation after the second date. Takes more than having lots of things in common. Cultivation and preservation of relationships is about YOU! Have you cultivated yourself enough to sustain a blow of rejection? Are you aware of your self-worth? What kind of energy from people do you allow in your space? What are you really looking for? Do you have an oneness with a spiritual element?
Teaching girls who will grow into women the idea that being strong is not a dirty word should be the new “Sex talk”. Independence does not intimidate in a man who holds the same value in himself as he would a future mate. Confidence is the best outfit you can wear and costs you nothing. Being sexy does not toe the line of being slutty. Stop categorizing and objectifying women with silly notions of glass slippers, fading rose petals, ice castles, Pumpkin carriages, yellow brick roads, sword-drawing princes and magic wands. Stop telling them that men want a lady in the street and a freak in the bedroom. None of that matters when choosing the right mate for your wants and your needs. ENOUGH!
Living your life on a calendar of graduating from college, then getting married, then having children, then house hunting, then retirement, then death is a sure fire way to miss out on living it up and the great things that have been put here for your enjoyment (like a frozen sangria Popsicle, just saying). I am in no way saying that having a marriage and children are terrible things, but being complacent and being stationary by choosing the same kind of men and desperately searching for love, limits your ability to find true happiness. Don’t be afraid to admit out loud that you may regret the choice you made in a spouse, that in itself becomes a first step in healing yourself and allows room for the right person to enter your life.
Tell the fairy-tale to fuck off! Let’s encourage the reality that educated, independent, self-reliant, free thinking individuals with high self-esteem far outweigh some silly chick in a gown, who dances with a pampered punk who only noticed her because she was all dolled up and left a party (she wasn’t even invited to) at midnight.
Relationships break down not because of compatibility (although that plays a part) but because of the space you stand in by yourself, and the value you allow people to place on your being. Often time bad spouses/lovers have red flags that go off way before you walk down the aisle. Red flag #1: “I don’t have many friends, I keep to myself”. Why would you build a relationship with someone who can’t sustain platonic friendships?