This year marks what would have been my 10th wedding anniversary to my second husband and my 30th to my first! There was a time not too long ago when I viewed these as just failures. “I am a failure at love” or “I have 2 failed marriages.” It has only been in the last year or so that I recognized that I was not a failure, the marriages didn’t work because of two of us.
I don’t really know other people with 2 exes. Those that have one ex all seem to have gone on to new relationships that have lasted. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all relationships have ups and downs and marriage is a lot of work. I know there is no perfect relationship. My parents are married 65 years and I watched them fight, bicker and ride the wave of life but worked to stay together. They figured out to rekindle their love, work through issues, liked each other after the love and lust waned, love and accept all of each other. I am one of the few I know who couldn’t find that real relationship either time. I couldn’t find my champion. Someone who loved all of me.
I remember when my aunt was sharing that her granddaughter, my cousin, was marrying for the 3rd time. My aunt said to me, “she’s ridiculous, another marriage, she already had 2!” I think that was the moment I realized that I may have been judged by people who I love for my 2 divorces. I was already judging myself so of course they should judge me. When I said something to my aunt like “I guess I better not come home with a 3rd”, she quickly regrouped. “No, you are different! They were both wrong .“ I laughed. Even I know it takes two to make it and two to break it.
I know my aunt loves me and I do very little wrong in her eyes. I also know she lived through the hurt and devastation with me. She knew my version of the story about each breakup. I also know I am probably a bit closer to her than her granddaughter as I lived 3 doors away for the first 23 years of my life and in the state my entire life. Her granddaughter has never lived here. She wouldn’t find me at fault, ever. But again we know that it takes two, so I needed to be true to me and figure out what my part in all of this was.
So my quest to understand what I really could have done differently began. I started by re-reading journals and tried to understand my state of mind. What was I missing? What did I want? In all I read I saw high highs and low lows. I also saw me picking on little things along the way. It really is true that I found fault with others when they didn’t do things I expected, when I expected or how I expected. I expected mind readers. I expected someone who knew me well enough and loved me enough to give up his way of being . That was so eye opening for me. I had never seen those negative expectations as clearly before.
I also saw my self- loathing. I wrote often about not being good enough, not pretty enough. I assumed my husbands would find someone better because everyone was better.
And I saw my depression. My deep seeded depression that haunted me for many years. It came from the same place as my self- loathing. I knew then that my real part in my marriages not working had to do with my lack of self- love, my inability to forgive me and my harsh judgements of me.
I have learned over the past few years that you must love you first before you can love others. You need to be happy with you in order to be happy with someone else. As you know, this does not come easy to me. I work at this all of the time.
I started some new mantras to help me continue to focus on loving me and accepting me. I thought I would share them with you.
Look in the mirror when you say this one….
Love the soul who waits in your reflection, you are already perfect, you are worthy of your own love
I say this one each night…
I honor my peacefulness, my giving spirit and my loving heart
This one is any time you need it…
I see myself as others see me, I am worthy of my love and affection
As this year continues and I pass dates that at one time meant the world to me I also see the gifts that I have received from these events in my life. Without my first marriage, I never would have met some of my best friends. Without my second marriage, I never would have been given the gift of another family. I have had the privilege of being part of my ex-husbands sons’ lives and that continues to this day. I am lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with them as well as their mom and family.
These gifts only get better as I continue to heal more deeply and evolve into who I was meant to be. And you know what? I like her. I like her a lot.