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I was married for 11 years.
And then one day, I wasn’t.
I spent roughly 4,000 days as a wife, and then it was over after 15 minutes in front of a judge. A surreal experience, to say the least.
I’ve always been more of a relationship person as opposed to a serial dater. After a few long-term relationships, getting married seemed like the next logical step. I didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t think that that someday it would be over.
Looking back on it now, I realize I was in love with the idea of being in love. I wasn’t actually in love. I was the mom of a toddler with a baby on the way. I told myself that those “in love” feelings would come after time. But, they didn’t.
At 29 years old, I had no idea what kind of person I was or what kind of life I wanted. It made sense to do what everyone else was doing and settle down and get married and have some kids.
At 40, I was newly divorced and the mom of two teenage girls. This is when I finally looked at myself and asked, “What do you want?”
I had seemingly never asked myself this question before.
What I wanted was pretty simple: a partnership. A relationship where both people put in work, every single day, to make it work. A relationship where one person leans on the other in times of need, and the other gladly shoulders that responsibility for as long as it takes. A best friend. A travel buddy. A lover. A confidante. Someone to share every life experience with. Someone to love with my whole heart for the rest of my life.
After a failed marriage, I shut down. I was scared to put myself out there. I was scared of being hurt again. I thought that being single would be easier than meeting someone and getting my heart broken again. I didn’t want to go through that pain again.
During the pandemic, I did a lot of soul-searching. I finally learned to love myself and enjoy my own company. It was during those quiet moments at home that I remembered we’re not meant to walk through this life alone. We are meant to have someone next to us along the way.
I decided to live with an open heart and an open soul. Whatever would come to me, could come. Whatever was meant to leave, could leave. I wouldn’t fight to keep something that wasn’t mine.
Living with such openness and honesty left me insanely vulnerable. But also left me in a better position to meet someone fantastic—to meet someone good for my heart, soul, and mind.
Keeping my heart open has brought an amazing man into my life. Someone who listens to me, encourages me, and supports me. Someone who knows everything about me and still accepts me. Someone who wants to be my partner and equal in every way possible. Someone who believes in me and inspires me to believe in myself.
I don’t know what the future holds. I can’t look into a crystal ball and see where this new chapter takes me. But what I finally do know is who I am and what I want.
I realize now that I am worthy of love. I am worthy of a happy life filled with laughter and joy. I don’t mind that it took me 42 years to get here; I’m just glad to finally be here.