I waited a really long time after my divorce to even begin considering dating again. At first it was anger, and betrayal and a whole lot of other mixed in emotions. But over the years I came to understand that I was in fact responsible for what attracted the personality type of my ex-husband. And if I wasn’t going to do that again…well then the only course was to fix me.
I was hugely co-dependant and afraid…and I think I had some course corrections of what I imagined I could contribute and what I wanted to receive from any potential relationship.
So I watched. I analyzed. I prayed. I searched. And I intensely observed the interactions of the good marriages that I saw.
It took me nearly a decade to realize that I chose him (my ex) to teach me the very things I needed to learn. They weren’t easy lessons. Some of them were downright painful. But over the course of the experience, I went from someone who was afraid to return an item to the store to handling some of the toughest problems in a community, standing up for myself with an employer who was seeking to take advantage of me and becoming an advocate for helping others empower themselves to overcome their challenges.
Somewhere along the journey, I became a grounded, strong individual. I became responsible for my own feelings and choices. And somewhere along the way the anger and betrayal began to walk in tandem with the awareness that my difficult ex had served an important role. Pretty soon, the gratitude and acceptance began to outpace the anger and betrayal and it was at that point that life began to change and become peaceful and joyous.
It was at that point that I finally felt ready to open myself up again to the possibility of finding love and another relationship again. I’m hopeful that it can happen. But I’m not desperate. I’ve watched too many women…and men…jump right back into relationships and repeat the difficulty over and over. Probably because they didn’t fix the part of the equation they were responsible for bringing to the marriage.
Self-excavation is never easy. It’s not for the weak at heart but I’m reminded of scripture in Ether 12:27. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” And this LDS Single woman needed to become strong.
Makes me wonder what I get to fix next! Becoming strong, self-reliant, inter-dependent, self-aware and hopeful is a good thing. I think we make better decisions about where we are headed from that space.
In a future post, I’ll have to write about testing myself to see if I really had learned the lesson.
I’m interested in your self-excavations.
What did you learn? Leave a comment and tell me your story.