It Isn’t About the Proposal

November of 2012.
That was such a long time ago. It will be three years ago this year.
It feels like an eternity when I stop and think about it.
It is a long time ago.
Thinking about that month, that week, that date, it feels like a lifetime ago.
It feels like I was someone completely different back then.
That’s because I was.
I mean, I’m still the same person, but my outlook on life, the things I want, the things that I hold so close to my heart, the things I cherish and look forward to… Those are all different.
I don’t think I really knew what it meant to be happy in November of 2012. I focused on material things a lot. If we had a nice house and a nice car and a huge Christmas tree – that was happy.
I can’t remember many times that I just sat and looked around me and felt content. I remember a lot of pretending. A lot of excuses for anything that might not look perfect to the rest of the world. A lot of stress to have a perfectly kept house filled with perfectly behaved kids dressed in brand name clothes.
The exterior was the focus.
Always.

My whole life I wanted a husband and kids and a house and two cars and to say I had been married 30 years.
I wanted normal.
I was asked before “what is normal?”
Maybe the husband and kids and corporate job and all of that “stuff” is what’s crazy.
Why did I want that?
Why do we want those things?
Is it because that’s the ideal standard that we all grow up hearing we should want?

I don’t really know the answer to that. I know that when I got married I was very upset that I hadn’t gotten that super sweet proposal that I had dreamed of.
I wanted it.
So badly that I just last night mentioned how I wanted it. I said it in the same breath that I said I didn’t know if I wanted to get married again…
Most people seem to understand when I explain my reasoning behind wanting that proposal one day. Most people smile sympathetically and tell me that one day I will get it. My time is coming. I deserve it

Not last night though.
Last night the response I got was a look like I was the craziest person alive.
Then I got just a one word question “why?”
“Why what? I just told you… Every girl wants that. I never got it and I want it.”
There it was again, “But why?”
I really didn’t have another answer…
I really didn’t know.
My reason was always because I didn’t get it; now sitting there looking into a different pair of eyes being asked why, I realized I had no idea.

My marriage was over; it ended and I have spent a long time getting over it completely. Learning myself inside and out. Truly trying to figure out what I wanted and how I could have it myself, on my own. Determining what was wrong with me, what part did I play in the death of my marriage? How could I fix whatever was wrong with me? It takes two, but I have really tried to learn what the Hell happened on my end.
I wasn’t happy, I don’t need to get into all of that again right now but the point is, it ended.
Why do I care what I got or didn’t get out of it at this point in my journey?
Unless it’s a lesson I am learning about myself or something that can improve the quality of my or my kids lives then who cares? Why am I so sure I want a proposal but not even close to being sure I want to be married again?

I was called out.

I don’t want a proposal. I don’t want a ring because I want a ring. I don’t want to have a story to tell all my friends.
That doesn’t matter. Not really. I know that. I have come a long way in the nearly three years since the nightmare was officially filed to end and I have definitely learned that those things should be way down low on the priority list.
I haven’t been missing a proposal.
Not even close.
I was missing the profession of love from my person.
My person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with, he didn’t take the time to plan out how he was going to tell me I was the most amazing woman ever. He didn’t take the time to find a babysitter and shop for a ring and make sure I knew how much he wanted to spend forever with me…
That’s what I wanted.
Sure, he did that by marrying me I guess.
But really?
Did that end up showing me that he loved me more than anything and thought I was super great?
Not even close.
That experience left me torn, shattered, broken into so many pieces that it has taken me nearly three years to put myself back together and I know I’m still nowhere near done.
So why am I missing something from that period of my life?
I’m not.
I just like pointing out to myself that he sucks.
He sucks and never proposed.
That asshole.
It’s just another way for me to point out that it was doomed from the beginning and that I’m still holding out for that happily ever beginning I never got.
Another reminder of the things I settled on not having.

All of this is running through my mind and I know that the conversation is over. I know that they made their point. They might not even realize what an impact that moment had on me. I think they did though, they recognize the moments that we have that change me from the inside out. This one was huge.

I don’t want a proposal. Especially if I’m not going to get married again. I realize now that the reason that has always been so huge with me is because I felt like I wasn’t loved. I felt like something was missing and it was; it wasn’t the proposal though. It was the feeling of being loved unconditionally. It was the fact that the act of showing me or telling me that I was the only one for him was missing. There are so many things that were wrong with my marriage but some of them just stuck with me. Most were subconsciously there beneath the surface affecting things that I didn’t even realize they were affecting.

There are so many things I brushed off or said weren’t a big deal because there was just so much more to the big picture than that little itty bitty detail. The thing is, that little itty bitty detail was pretty important to me. Somehow, somewhere along the line I managed to find reasons to justify what I was missing to myself. I think I really started to believe a lot of it too. Until one day when I realized I had compromised all of myself. I was gone. Nothing made me smile, nothing made me happy, nothing that mattered to me was ever important to him. All I wanted was to know I was beautiful and amazing and that he loved me more than anything and I couldn’t have it… My job was loving and taking care of him and the kids and it felt like I was doing a terrible job. When did I become this girl that needed constant praise and approval? When did I lose the ability to stick up for myself or to make a decision? Why can’t I be firm and decisive? When did I settle for feeling invisible?
That was all OK though because I had three beautiful children and a nice house and a nice car right?
Maybe for a little while it was, but not forever.
That wasn’t me. That wasn’t what I wanted for my life or my kids’ life. It wasn’t even close…
The day came where I looked in the mirror and I didn’t even recognize who I had become.

The proposal that I was missing was symbolic, I just didn’t realize it.

I really believe that if you aren’t a better person with your partner then you’re with the wrong partner. I don’t mean that when things seem to not be perfect you give up, but when the hurt and the sadness is a lot more frequent than the true happiness; maybe it’s time to make some changes.

I want someone to spend forever with. I want my person. I really do. I don’t know if that includes marriage, but I do know that my person will love me and I won’t ever feel like I need a proposal or a huge announcement written in the sky to feel loved. I will know it, deep in my soul I will know that I am his other half and that will be so much more fulfilling than a proposal. He will calm to my crazy with just a look. He will walk with me, baby steps, until the end.

I was called out. Something that I have harped on and kept at the forefront of my mind all this time was ridiculous. I didn’t miss being proposed to, I missed the feeling that I was a catch. That I was special. Something that started out as a missed act of love turned into years of picking up the pieces. If I would have just stopped for 5 minutes and really thought about what I was missing I could have saved myself a lot of heartache.

Settling isn’t good.
Compromise, yes, we all have to bend some to blend two lives; but when one of us is about to break and the other is still standing tall; there is something very wrong and one sided about that relationship.
Love is not one sided.

-S

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