What My Ex-Husband (and Divorce) Taught Me About Love
I've been thinking about love a lot lately. Ok that’s a lie; the truth is I've been feeling a little lonely lately. It’s weird because I’m not sad and I definitely enjoy solitude but I’ve still been feeling a deep sense of longing for love. If I just wanted to hook up with someone I could totally do that but I haven’t. If it was attention I wanted I could totally get that too but it’s neither one of those things that I want. It’s something different.
It has been a little over two and a half years since my divorce. I look at couples in amazement like “so that relationship thing…people are still doing that huh?” I’ve been afraid of the ‘relationship’ for a really long time. If I really think about it, I’ve been afraid of love since way before I even got married. I’m still afraid but I think it’s time to let go of that fear.
Acknowledging where I am is the first step, now I need to assess where I’ve been and what I’ve learned so I can move forward. When was the last time I felt love? Not that new exciting high kind of love. I mean that deep, no ego, ‘I have nothing else to impress you with but you still love me’ kind of love.
The last time I felt true unconditional love was from my ex-husband. As a thank you to him, in appreciation of our journey and to confronting my fear, here’s what my ex-husband (and divorce) taught me about love:
- Love is selfless. Love is true surrender to the presence of another human being in your life. Surrender to the highest good of that other person regardless of the outcome of the relationship. It’s the ultimate sacrifice and ultimate gift.
- Love can be really messy. Love isn’t always easy. Love gets yucky and hard. The only way to get through the inevitable mud of love is to take your partner’s hand and walk right through it. You will come out on the other side a better partner and overall better human.
- Love Deeply. Guard your heart because not everyones intentions are pure but when you do decide to love, go all in. Don’t do yourself or your partner the disservice of half love or half commitment. I truly believe in the saying that’s “its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Yes I’m divorced but I wouldn’t trade that for the world. There is no greater challenge of self awareness and potential for transformation than from the mirror reflection of you in another human being.
- Find the ‘Happy’ in everyday. Life gets real and things get tough. Make it a point to dig for the things you are grateful for, even the darkest days. Don’t put the burden of maintaining your happiness on your partner’s shoulder. There is no other person that can make you happy. People can only add to the happiness that you already have. You need to find ways to fill yourself up on ‘happy’ and then choose someone to share that with.
- The most loving thing you can do for another person is to love them exactly where they are. Your partner is human. Your partner is imperfect. Your partner is trying to survive and navigate life, just as you are. Be kind. It’s so easy to turn the person who’s supposed to be your safe heaven into your emotional punching bag. And even though you think it’s supposed to come naturally, you need to take deliberate action daily to show your partner love. Make it a priority.
- In my single hood I need to practice self love. It's important to take time to love and date yourself. When you discover who you are and the amazing jewels you have to bring to the table, you will not settle for mediocrity in your relationships. Of all the lessons, this one is the best.
Relationships don’t always last but if one can leave you feeling better for having experienced it , then that is a magical thing.
So am I ready to date? Who knows. What I do know is that I am ready to receive more love into my life. Love can come from parents, siblings, coworkers, friends but most importantly, yourself. Let every relationship teach you love.
I will love in spite of my fear and I will love in spite of my insecurity. I don’t need any other reason to love than love itself. So for now, I'll love.
I love you and I encourage you to sprinkle your life with more love too.