Starting at a very young age, the idea of finding a soulmate, partner for life, or “eternal companion” (as taught in the Mormon church, which I am no longer a part of), permeated my life experience and produced a sense of urgency to do just that as soon as I was presented with a viable opportunity.
I thought that getting married would heal my past traumas, that finding “the one for me” would change everything. I wouldn’t have to feel sad anymore, I would have my own family and we would be happy.
I was wrong.
My first marriage at best was a learning experience that produced my only child who I love more than I can possibly describe, and at worst immensely expanded my older wounds and created a multitude of new ones.
Thinking about it now I feel the familiar knot in my stomach and welling of tears. I’m a little surprised at how much it’s affecting me even after all these years. I suppose it’s because the experiences I went through during my marriage were some of the most devastating of my life.
Letting myself feel, in this moment, the grief associated with those experiences is leading me to this conclusion:
I was so wrapped up in what one other person on this planet could provide for me, so obsessed with the idea that a unification with such a person would be a fix-all, that when faced with the stinging reality of what actually was, my innocence was lost forever.
Up to that point, I at least had something magical to think about, a “someday” to ponder, but thereafter the naivety was gone.
It’s been 8 years since my divorce was final, and I’ve been working on another marriage for the last 5 years. The differences between the two relationships are stark, not the least of which is my perspective. I do not see my husband as a savior that needs to heal me, though I sometimes wish I could. Our union is much more based in reality, and while we have our struggles, I am taking it a day at a time.
It occurs to me though, that instead of calling someone else my lifetime companion, I should be focusing on the person that has been there for me the most, knows me in and out and has felt all I have felt. Myself – Emily.
There’s no divorcing, separating, or dating other people, and definitely no secret keeping unless it’s in the form of blocked out memories. I can deceive myself, lie, manipulate and take advantage but that comes with the territory in a battle of wills. I have the choice to decide the winner.
The more I think about that, the more anxious I become because there are no scapegoats. Certainly others affect the world around us in ways we cannot control at times, but ultimately I am my own Lifetime Companion and I must take accountability for what I do and the story I write.