A friend and I recently were talking about how, when you are married, even in today’s society, you become known as ‘somebody’s wife.’ I got married in my twenties and in my rose colored, romantic and naive mind, I couldn’t wait to be known as ‘so and so’s wife.’ But, when we separated and eventually divorced, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, ‘You look familiar….aren’t you so and so’s wife?’ My reply was, ‘Not anymore.’ Awkward!!! Then the obligatory ‘I’m sorry,’ comes out. Not all divorces warrant an ‘I’m sorry.’ Some people are meant to be a chapter or a few chapters in your life, not the entire book. So how do you get ‘you’ back after the break up of a romantic relationship? I am so glad you asked!
How Do You Like Your Eggs?
If you saw the movie ‘Runaway Bride,’ the main character, Maggie Carpenter, played by Julia Roberts, had been engaged and took off for the hills on the way down the aisle so many times, that a big-wig NY journalist, Ike Graham, excellently and beautifully played by Richard Gere, tracked her down to write a story on her and why she couldn’t seem to make it to the altar. One of the scenes in the movie showed Maggie seemingly taking on the tastes of her fiancé at the time. However the guy of the hour liked his eggs, well, that’s how she liked hers. She really had no clue how she even liked her eggs…scrambled, over easy, boiled? In all her relationships and engagements, she had lost herself to the point that she had no clue how she even liked to eat her eggs. You may say, ‘That’s ridiculous and overstating things,’ but if you think about it, we, as women, can lose many parts of ourselves in a relationship. How many times has a partner requested things that seemed trivial, but in the scheme of things, chipped away at who you are?
I dated a guy once who was shorter than me. I wore heels on our dates and he had a problem with me being taller. He asked me to start wearing flats, so even after we broke up, I skipped the heels. One guy didn’t like red lipstick, although it’s one of my favorite colors, so I wore muted makeup, disappearing into the background quite often. You have to pick up on the little things you compromise on so you don’t lose your identity in a relationship. Now I wear heels and red lipstick anytime I want!
Try Being a Bit Selfish
To find who you are, you need to take time getting to know the ‘you’ that was lost or set aside during your relationship. Don’t rush into another relationship; take time to reconnect with friends, do those activities that once brought you joy, start a new hobby, get comfortable with being alone. You can be in a relationship and be lonely and you can also be alone and be filled with the joy of being YOU!
Divorce or the ending of a relationship can be a very eye-opening experience for learning who you are and what you enjoy in life. This search can be a journey, because no doubt, the relationship you’re leaving changed you and you’re different now, good or bad. You also have issues to overcome and deal with from that last relationship. In the end, realize that you are worth the effort. Becoming the healthiest version of you should be your priority before anything else, including a new relationship. If you aren’t happy as a person on your own, then you won’t be happy with someone else and will just repeat the patterns of the past. Focus on YOU!