“Marriage is so hard.”
That’s the unedited truth I hear from friends and readers, even those who are happy.
Of course it is! We’re human and being tethered to another person for life is the hardest job we’ll have. In marriage, you must consider your mate in every decision you make: their feelings, their thoughts and their future. And, what gets lost (sometimes), is doing what’s best for you, so that you may show up for your partner in the way they need you.
I don’t think there’s one recipe that works for relationships: my yin to my yang; we are one and the same; we have some common interests, but live separate lives.
I think people choose to stay and commit to someone because the other person makes them feel safe; their partner provides shelter from the chaos of life and the unknown. For some, curling up in the safety of another is all they need, and they stay, for life.
My marriage was safe. He arrived in my life at a time when my whole world was crumbling around me. My parents were divorcing; I’d just started college. He saved me.
I was practically born into adulthood. From the time I was 2 years old, I played mom: second mom to my brother who is developmentally and physically disabled. I helped care for him. Not because my parents put those demands on me, because, there was no other choice in my mind. I was stricken with worry for my brother, angry that he was imprisoned in his body and mind. How could I frolic through childhood when he was struggling, and my parents were suffering from the grief of their son’s reality?
At 31 years old, I’d never been alone. Although, I was lonely, so lonely. And, I knew that if I remained in my marriage, I would have destroyed his soul, my soul and our children’s, out of resentment.
I couldn’t have stayed and continued to be an imposter, a shell of a spirit.
There was a calling to myself, to find my wholeness. There was this spark in me that started to burn and seethe.
People often ask me: how did you make the decision? And, knowing what you know now, would you go back to how it was? Do you wish you would have stayed?
Here are my answers: the decision happened slowly and all at once. No, I wouldn’t go back.
Sure, there was a part of me, in the early years after the separation, that I wanted him to fight for us, for our life, but I knew and I knew he knew: why fight for something we both want to lose?
I did not leave my marriage to go on a sexual exploration. The sexual stuff, the romping around, was a clamoring for an adolescence I never had, and a decade of time (the 20-somethings, when most people get all their mistakes out of their system) I was occupied homemaking and childrearing.
The thing about the Journey 360, is that you don’t come back the same. Wasn’t it Da Vinci who stated, a human is incapable of drawing a perfect circle?
You may return to a similar place, but you’re changed: unbound, clear, settled: a well-traveled being, with a different perspective. That’s how I feel.
And, although I regret certain things, I wouldn’t take them back, because, well, I just wouldn’t and I’ll leave it at that.
For 37 years, I searched long and hard for myself in others, for others to see me and validate who I am. I turned up empty handed, because, even the most kindred of spirits are different and on their own journey, preoccupied with being seen and loved themselves.
Ultimately, I found peace in my work, my writing: doing something I fucking love to do, and that has helped me show up with the capacity to love myself, and others.
I’ve made a choice to be celibate for now and dedicate to serving. But, before I could that, I had to try it all, because, one of the worst sins in life is wondering what it would have been like if… ~Rebecca
Thanks, R, for the inspiration. You got me writing this morning. <3