I Am Phoenix
I was married but I am single now. It is a significant and life changing event especially if one was had gone through all the necessary customs and an official marriage ceremony. Every day I get many people asking me what happened and whose fault it is. Unfortunately, when a marriage comes to an end there are no winners, only losers. Whatever anyone did or didn’t do becomes irrelevant.
There is no bad or good person after such a sad and sometimes traumatizing event. Each person is dealing with something throughout the process. Most people go into marriage innocently and with the right reasons and therefore most break ups are usually not premeditated. In the end blame is shared equally because it’s a two person affair.
Every partner goes through a process of trying to understand and resolve before finally making that tough decision that is characterized by a terrifying fear of uncertainty of the future. After all, we are talking about someone who you willingly gave your life to do with as they please. Some marriages end prematurely while for others, a break up ends up being the best decision to have been made. For both of these instances, only time can validate. It is a sad reality but that is the nature of such an event.
Does one ever move on? Well for that I don’t have a definite answer but I can say with confidence that it is a journey that demands a lot of thought and perhaps patience. There are lots of things to consider including getting back together. I’ve heard of countless instances where two people realized their love for each other by staying apart for some time. In similar measure I have heard of others who knew at the start that it was the beginning of the end. Simply put, each situation is unique and requires to be treated as such.
I will not go into detail about my experience out of respect for my friends, family and most importantly to my former partner. In addition such details are irrelevant and we have chosen to be civil and I have chosen to keep the details of our lives to ourselves. I will however talk about my journey to the place that I currently find myself in. To answer the question on your mind, I am happy. I am happy for many things especially the fact that we are still friends and civil with my former partner. I am also happy that we have had a very supportive community of friends and family who chose not to take sides and instead to act and treat our situation responsibly. Very few breakups get to enjoy such benefits. Our families are great friends and they have made it clear that they haven’t broken up. I find this to be a good thing.
Life after breakup is different and also challenging. It is pointless to attempt to describe it in a simple way so I won’t. I will rather talk about the things I have learned so far.
Back in the game
Funny enough, I have no clue what dating is like these days. Asking someone out feels complicated and foreign so I am yet to be successful. I have lost the game that I had in my dynamic dating years. I have also become very anxious to meet new people or to make commitments of any kind. I have also come to accept that there is a very thin line between friendships and serious relationships with women over 25 years of age. When I was younger, I had a lot of genuine women friends and it felt normal. I could be hanging out in the wrong places but I happen to be coming across women whose main currency is instant commitment. While I quite fully understand the ‘clock is ticking’, I am also amazed at how easy it is to people to compromise their ideals in exchange for an opportunity to settle down.
I have also come across people who treat relationships like product packages. Some want a child but on condition they live separately with the father of the child. There is a man somewhere who will only agree to marry a woman on condition she agrees to him keeping his side girlfriends. The list is endless and it shows that as human beings we are always evolving.
Everyone is changing and we all seem to have a checklist that gets more unrealistic by the day. The result? There are a lot lonelier and secretly desperate people today than there ever have been before. Many people want to settle down but their ‘list’ won’t let them. In the meantime, they experiment in meaningless associations hoping that they will stumble into a perfect situation. It is especially harder for people like me who have been married before because we come with a lot of caution, fear and anxiety hoping that we shall do it right this time. My research on divorce veterans tells me the challenges of one’s next relationship almost always remain the same as the last one. Maybe this points to a more personal approach to future relationships that involves self-actualization and improvement and rather not expecting your future partner to have all the qualities in your list checked to accuracy.
How long is how long?
How long should it take before one is back in the game? How should I know?! I think the better question should be how are you wired? Are you the type that are not wired to be alone for long? Are you likely to be depressed if you are not in a relationship for more than a month? Are you a natural loner who just likes to be alone and are not in a hurry to ‘complicate’ your life again? In my opinion, everyone’s situation is unique and no one should be pressured to move in any direction. We love our family and friends but pressure from these people can lead you down a miserable path. I have no experience to be qualified as a giver of advice to this question but I have a feeling that one should go at their comfortable pace.
This is where I am at now
I have deliberately simplified my life. I get anxious when I am in communication with too many people (friends of family) at once. I struggle to maintain constant contact with friends especially when over dependence is involved. I like hanging out alone most of the time and when I hang out with friends I find myself wanting to keep the interaction short, relevant and sweet. There are a few exceptions of course. My close circle is always a priority and I could live with them for long periods of time without feeling drained. I have also found myself keeping away from negative people and also people with a lot of baggage to offload. I know this sounds mean but in today’s world everyone is dealing with something. The best we can do is encourage and be there for each other but not feel obligated to solve other people’s problems.
Am I dating? I’m not there yet and don’t know how long that might take. I have met very good and interesting people but I am focused on making sure I love and take care of myself before I can do the same for another. I have also come to learn the value of stating my intentions with everyone I meet. I believe everyone deserves the truth of intention when coming into any form of friendship. Sometimes it hurts but it breeds respect.
After my breakup I realized I didn’t know who I was and this has set me on an interesting journey to uncover my interests, hopes and any other aspect that I feel is important to move forward. I have rediscovered some things I used to like doing such as driving out in the cold of a weekend morning to watch the sunrise from a different place every weekend. I love to cook and lately I’ve been learning new life lessons from every new thing I try in the kitchen. Constantly making appointments to meet up with the people who have stood by me all along, I have come to realize one doesn’t need much. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, sincerity gives you genuine freedom and being true to yourself gifts you happiness. Maybe one day I’ll tell you if all the choices I made were right. I have learnt not to expect perfect outcomes but at the same time I have come to appreciate that through difficult times, there is always hope to rise from the ashes to fly again. For now I am having the best view of the city lights.