It took me awhile to accept the fact that once my husband and I split up my main mission was to replace him.
Maybe replace isn’t exactly the best choice of words, but the definition of replace fits what I am trying to say perfectly.
1. to assume the former role, position, or function of; substitute for (a person or thing)
2. to provide a substitute or equivalent in the place of: to replace a broken dish
I didn’t know how to live without him. I had no idea what life was like without my husband anymore. I had gone a really long time living my life a certain way. There were certain things I did and certain things I didn’t do. That’s just how it was. I didn’t clean the pool or mow the lawn.
I used to, before Him, but not now…
If my life was going to remain somewhat normal then I needed a man in my life. I needed to have someone there to help make the kids listen and to do all those manly chores. I needed someone to bring me soup when I didn’t feel good and I needed someone to hold me so I could fall asleep at night. Not to mention someone would have to carve the pumpkins and carry the Christmas tree in the house.
There was no way I could ever do that.
I realized that things would be different, I wasn’t completely in denial. I knew that there would be things I had to do for myself that I hadn’t done for myself in years. I had accepted that if my car made a funny noise I would have to take it to someone.
There were phases to accepting those realities, it didn’t happen overnight or even over several nights. I realize now that no matter how often I told myself that I would be alright I really didn’t believe it. I really didn’t think he would ever completely and totally leave my life. I think maybe I thought that because we were so close when it came to so many things that he would always be a part of my life. We had been through so much together that this would be another one of those things. I wanted things to change and the only way they would was with a divorce; I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t able to accept the reality of what that truly meant either…
He would always change my brake pads, right?
There was a long time where I would pick up the phone to call him for help. I never told anyone that I was still doing it though. To all of my friends and co-workers I was OK on my own. Yes, things were different but I was just fine. I could manage and I didn’t need him for anything.
I can be honest about it now and admit that when I ran out of gas on the highway, I called him, he came to bring me gas. He wasn’t happy about it, but he did it. When my garbage disposal stopped working, I called him. He was the only one that would stop what he was doing and come help me, or at least that was what I told myself. Sometimes I called just to see if he would help. A test, to see if he still cared.
Maybe, but it’s the truth.
I couldn’t even begin to imagine a world where there was no S and ____.
I just couldn’t.
Even while it was happening, even when I was trying to move on with someone else, I still couldn’t accept the fact that we were really over.
One day he stopped rescuing me so fast. One day I started picking up the phone and instead of pressing send by his name, I just held my phone and cried. One day it hit me that when I needed someone, it couldn’t be him. That hurts. When you can’t call your best friend for help because he isn’t your best friend anymore. When the reality sets in that you have to depend on yourself now; that there are people you can call, but no one you want to call. Not like you could call him, it could never be the same. When you finally do walk in the door at the end of the day and you know he won’t be there, he won’t be there ever again. There was to much damage done, to much hurt. It was to far gone to ever go back.
That realization is crippling.
I realize now that I was drifting through life. I was just sort of floating from one activity to the next. I laughed and I smiled and I had some really great times but my heart was broken. Broken in a way that it had never been broken before. I had loved deeply and passionately before my husband, I knew what heartbreak was. I had been through break ups and I had even lost people I loved; but my heart had never, ever felt like that before. It felt as though I had lost half of my soul. Half of my organs. Half of everything I needed to survive.
Instead of dealing with that I tried to throw myself into another relationship. A friendship that I forced to become more. I used that friendship to fill in the gaps, all the voids that I was feeling. I thought it was working, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t leave my marriage behind to fully focus on the present. I know now that I couldn’t leave it behind because I wasn’t over it. How could I be when I didn’t even take the time to deal with it? I jumped from feeling sad and lonely to trying to force something to happen quickly so that I could get back to my “normal life” as soon as possible. I wanted to be loved and I wanted to have the parts of my old life that I desperately missed back. I was settling again though, settling for a relationship with someone that didn’t see me as his future wife or significant other. He didn’t even want to get married again and all I had been dreaming about was when he would realize how perfect we were for each other and how he would tell me he realized it and then ultimately propose.
Maybe but it doesn’t really matter anymore.
I went a solid year where every time I saw a man that I thought was cute or that I had a great conversation with, my mind went straight to wondering if he was the one. My mind would drift to imagining him meeting my kids and when I met his. Would my family like him, would my friends? Would we get married? Would he propose one day? Every date that I went on I felt so much pressure, wondering if this would be the one that would change my status. Would I finally find someone?
I was missing something and only a relationship would fix it.
When I finally did start another relationship I don’t know what happened to me. I was scared and I panicked at the first mention of it becoming more.
Wasn’t it to fast? What if I was choosing wrong again… Am I still settling??
There was no pleasing me.
Miserable alone but scared to be with someone.
I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of praying. A lot.
I’m still alone. It’s funny though, I kinda like it. It’s grown on me. I like my space and I like coming and going as I please. I like the bed all to myself and the fact that I can switch sides every single night. I like that I can scream at my kids and I don’t have to worry about someone else being “mean” to them.
I hate dating. The idea of it seems fun at the time but when it’s time to actually get dressed and go on a date, the idea is much less attractive. I don’t stress about dating in itself anymore. I have cancelled so many times that it probably borders on being rude. When I do go I usually have a great time; I think that’s because I don’t expect anything anymore.
I have successfully carved pumpkins and carried Christmas trees into the house. I can sleep just fine without being held and the lawn company does a great job of mowing the grass. Sure there are things that cause my heart to sink for just a second when I think about my marriage. There are memories that give me a lump in my throat and the tears do escape. I just recently found the journals from a marriage retreat we attended years ago and I let myself sit and cry for over an hour while I read through our future plans and the dreams we shared. The bad stuff doesn’t take the good away and it’s OK to remember being happy. It’s OK that I still sometimes mourn the loss of my marriage and of my little family. I do believe that one day I will find someone that will make me laugh so hard my stomach will hurt and I won’t stress or panic about whether it’s right or not. It will just be us. It’ll be what it should be. I will always have my memories; some good and some bad.
I am finally content with myself. I don’t need another human being to complete me. I complete me. They will one day compliment me. There is a huge difference…
I never needed to replace my ex-husband. I needed to deal with the loss. I needed to find myself again. I needed to believe in myself again. If I wouldn’t have taken the time do some major soul-searching, I would have never found happiness. One door needed to be completely closed before I would ever be ready to open the next one. I needed to realize that happiness isn’t something I was supposed to be searching for, it was inside of me all along. My relationship status wasn’t the provider of my happiness.
I was sitting in a meeting on Friday, being myself and doing my job, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that stands out. When I got to work Monday I was asked when I had seen someone that was in the meeting last; it had been well over 5 years since I saw them last. She said, “he made the comment that you look really happy”. I thought back to when I had seen him last… I would have considered myself happy then. Looking back, I know I wasn’t.
I’m happier alone… As broken as I felt when my marriage ended, as awful as I thought life was, as desperately as I wanted to be a part of a relationship again and to an outsider that hasn’t seen me in years, I look really happy.
He’s right too – I am really happy.