I’ve been giving a lot of thought to relationships lately. It’s been 11 years since my separation, and almost 3 since the divorce was finalized.
There are days, I still wonder if I made the right choice. I did my best to choose a husband who was safe, and I failed. He was not safe, not for our children, and not for me. I missed warning signs because I didn’t know what to look for. I dismissed concerns of others, justifying his behaviours, and accepting responsibility for things that were not mine to be responsible for. Then there are days when we have to have a conversation and I remember all the reasons I choose to walk away from my marriage.
The last 11 years have been spent working on me. Learning about domestic violence, and how to recognize it in relationships. I’ve been learning how my childhood trauma has impacted me. I’ve been recognizing the things in myself that need healing, that need changing. I’m not perfect, I never have been. I have lately realized that I strive for perfection because it helps me hide from honest relationship. I’m working on embracing my faults, letting go of perfect.
I want a new relationship. I want to be ready for love when it comes my way. In light of that, I’ve been doing some soul-searching. What am I looking for? What do I want in a new relationship? How can I be sure it will be last? How can I prepare myself?
I’ve come to some conclusions.
- I want a man who has a relationship with God, a man who knows himself, and is willing and able to take responsibility for his own actions.
- I’ve learned that making plans helps us succeed, so I intend to make a (loose) plan for when troubles arise; for when things look hopeless; and an ongoing ‘maintenance’ plan, to catch problems before they get too large.
- I’m investing in me. I’m participating in peer support groups, I’ve purchased books and workbooks to help me work through continuing struggles.
- I’ve set up accountability with friends. While I’m not in a relationship, and honestly don’t have anyone in my life that has the potential to become a partner, I’ve already talked with friends, and they’ve agreed to be another set of eyes and ears for me. I’ve committed with them (and myself!) that I will listen to their opinions and impressions because love can be blind. When we are too close to the relationship, sometimes we are blinded to the signs that should be deal breakers.
- I’ve opened myself up to the possibility that there is no future relationship. I’ve had to acknowledge the fear that I’m meant to be alone, I’ve had to accept and resolve who I am — whether I’m part of an intimate relationship or not. I have to first be okay with me.
There’s still a lot of work. There’s still a lot of me that is full of wounds and scars. There is still healing to be done. I’m up for the challenge. I frequently get discouraged. Sometimes I feel so lost that I wonder if I can ever truly be found, but then I pick up my Compass and keep moving forward.
I’m growing. I’m learning. I’m setting goals, and making plans. If God has someone out there for me, I’m praying for him, and for me. I pray I’m ready, I pray he’s ready. I pray I recognize him, I pray he recognizes me. I pray I’m willing to be okay if he doesn’t materialize.