(This is the follow-up to my story “The Single Life Is Grand, But…..”, published last week.)
The questions and emotions in that story were very real to me for many years after my divorce. The first 10 years as a single I truly wanted to find that someone special and have a long-term, happy relationship – far from the hurtful experiences I had in my marriage. As a result I would find myself always on the lookout for that person. Every time I met someone new I’d wonder if he could be “the one”. This resulted in a couple of failed relationships. Both extremely painful, but the second one caused a real change in me. It actually was less painful than the first failure, but caused me to question myself and my ability to make good decisions – something that had always been a strong trait for me.
After that second failure, I pretty much withdrew from life except for my job and going to the gym. Every now and then there would be an outing with a friend, but they really were few and far between. That means I had a huge amount of alone time. It lasted for two years. I needed it.
During that time I learned to truly love myself – wondering if I really ever had before. I learned to be comfortable alone. I learned that I was totally capable of caring for myself regardless of the circumstances. I regained my self-esteem. I regained confidence in making any and all kinds of decisions for my life. In other words, my life improved.
Have I since that time – the last 10 years – still yearned to have that someone special in my life? Of course I have. However, I reestablished my relationship with God, which I had missed more than I recognized. I also made a new circle of friends – and realized more deeply than ever that true friendship is invaluable and can in many ways meet a great number of needs. I have retired from my long-time career and learned to fill my life with as many or as few activities as I want. In other words, my life has improved – even more.
Did I cease making mistakes? Oh my goodness – that would be a big NO! I’ve since had a third failed relationship. You might wonder how that could happen. It’s simple really – because I compromised. Something we should never do when it comes to all important relationship decisions. When we sense red flag moments in a relationship we should pay attention and not rationalize and compromise. It rarely, if ever, ends well.
The difference for me this time was the “new” person I had become after that time of growth. Over time in this relationship as those prior red flags began to show up for real, I recognized that there were things I could never tolerate. No person was going to “own” me – be so possessive that I could only do what he liked. That I could not interact, or even talk with, certain people if he didn’t like “their kind”. That I be made to feel like I was a leech on his life (which I definitely was not!) That I was being used to meet so many of his needs.
I walked away from that with my head held high and none of the pain I had experienced before in prior failed relationships. I stepped back into my happy life and moved on. I’m happy, I’m content, I’m blessed and I do believe that yes…the single life can be grand!
Written by Karran Martin
October 26, 2018