My brother came to visit this weekend. It was lovely to hang out and not have anything else going on (for once). To get to sit down, chit chat about everything and nothing, watch a flick, eat some good food… it was needed. 🙂
One of the topics that came up – quite often, actually – was marriage. His in particular, but also the concept in general. Would I ever get married again? I think I’d resigned myself to stop giving advice in regards to marriage about 4-5 years ago. I think it was the moment my second marriage ended that it dawned on me that perhaps I shouldn’t be giving out advice. That maybe marriage wasn’t meant for me 😀 But that’s ultimately, selling myself short.
My first marriage – I was young. I’d been with the man for 6 years and felt that I was making a sound decision. And – in the scheme of things – had I not married him, I’d not have had my daughter. So – I can’t say it was all bad. And how could I have possibly known that marriage would turn the man into someone else? We were only married for two years – so in general – I don’t typically count it for much.
My second marriage lasted 12 years. I came into my own. Grew up. Really learned what it meant to become a wife… and a mother. I was good at it. All of it. I packed lunches with love notes, I kept a tidy house, always had everyone’s favorite food and beverages stocked on hand… Anything that was asked of me – was handled. I am naturally quite affectionate and always up for anything – be it adventuring somewhere, or snuggles on a couch. I was always loyal and never strayed. Did my best to never do anything that would disrespect myself or my relationship. It was this relationship that taught me the true meaning behind being a partner. What it meant to stay … even when everything tumbled around you. Perhaps I’m an odd duck – I don’t look back at my marriage as a failure at all. I look back and see it as a stepping stone for me becoming who I am today. A strong, independent, caring, giving, funny woman. Someone who always tries to see the good in others or in a situation. And in many ways – I was always her… but time has helped me in many ways. I’m more patient now. I listen better. I speak up more and try and compromise more. I’ve also learned that all of those expectations that I had of myself in my marriage … were both not enough – and too much. You see… I could have never known that we’d have a son. I’d have never been able to see into the future and see how losing that son would break us all. What’s interesting tho… we’re not broken anymore.
My ex and I manage to co-parent pretty well. Of course there are times when we frustrate each other… but don’t we all? That is the joy of being human. We work together as a team to provide for our kids in the best way that we can. And for the most part… I consider myself lucky to have him in my life. I know that my children will never wonder, as I did, why their dad doesn’t want to be in their life. He wants it. He tells them regularly how much he loves them and I’m sure he wishes he had the ability to provide more. I respect him for that. And what’s interesting – he makes a point to let me know just how much he respects me for all that I did. I know his fiance gets uncomfortable when she hears him say how amazing of a wife I was… I wish she understood that him sharing that doesn’t in any way undermine his love and devotion for her. And it’s not him comparing her and I in any way. She’s amazing – and we’re all incredibly grateful that she’s in our lives.
Would I marry again? Yes. And that’s a resounding YES. But with lots of caveats and me saying “however and but”. When it was brought up this weekend, my response was leaning more towards a NO. It surprised my brother to hear it. He saw me when I was married. He knows what kind of partner I am to someone. My NO wasn’t because I’m scared of it. I would love to find myself in a situation in the future where I had a partner. A true partner. Someone to laugh with and grow old with. To cook for and travel with. Someone who actually understands me (as I’m not convinced either of my ex husbands ever really did). Someone who lets me into the deeper darker regions of their heart – someone who trusts that I would never intentionally hurt them and would lay my life on the line to keep them safe and happy. Ultimately – someone who feels as I do. But the thing is… I’d have to be absolutely sure that they reciprocated those thoughts and feelings with me. I’d have to feel safe again. Safe enough to allow myself to be vulnerable again. It’s possible… and ultimately, I know the right man is out there for me. So who knows… maybe some day.
I think the other thing that doesn’t sit well with me – is what’s the damn rush? LOL. I mean – yea – i’m the girl who likes to know where she stands in a relationship. In fact, I’d say for women like me ,it’s why we ask to put labels on our relationships to begin with – so we understand what’s expected of us. What role are we to play in this relationship? Once we know … we get to what I like to call “the coasting stage”. This stage is bliss. Where you can spend many years happily coasting along with someone. To me – this is the zone to aim for. If things progress from there – cool beans – but if they don’t – i’m ok with that too! Because at that point – you’re happy in the coasting stage so it doesn’t really matter.
I really AM an odd duck. Between my buddy M, my brother, and a few other male friends, I’ve had the privilege of seeing what it’s like to date women. And can I just say – for the record – Women can be NUTS. Seriously … nuts. Yea – men can be crazy too – don’t even GET me started on some of the horrendous dates I’ve been on. But some of the stories I’ve heard – some of the behavior I’ve witness from my fellow ladies… DAMN. And if that’s what men have been dealing with – then I’d wager that dating me would come as a bit of a shock to the system. As I’m VERY different. But then again – they’d probably be more likely to assume I’m just like every other woman out there – and not likely get the chance to show them that I’m not.
So … brother dear… when I don’t give you advice on your new marriage… it’s not because I don’t care, nor is it because I lack advice to actually GIVE. Marriages… hell – relationships are all about growth and learning. These tests you face – are yours, and I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines – but I won’t necessarily share with you. And who knows – maybe someday – i’ll join you in the journey again. I’m pretty damn happy and content where things are right now, and that’s certainly enough for me.