There are women that have dreamt about their weddings since little girls. Wearing their mother’s old gowns and tucking flowers in their hair as they walk down an imaginary aisle toward their imaginary prince.
There are women that dreamt of owning a home that is filled with the laughter of children. Women that played house as little girls – feeding imaginary bottles to plastic dolls and baking cookies in a toy oven.
There are women that are still walking down imaginary aisles and holding their breath from inside a house of cards.
I am not that woman. I fill my lungs with new air and exhale unapologetically. I rewrote happily ever after.
Relationships are sometimes a colossal power-struggle pissing match. Starting with Eskimo kisses and ending with passive-aggressive silence and hate-sex. My suggestion would be not to put all of your eggs in that basket.
What I have learned most throughout my dysfunctional stabs at monogamy is this:
The more of your identity that is utterly consumed by your relationship, the more of yourself you lose.
If my life were a pie chart, it would be 30% work/career-advancement, 10% gym/fitness, 10% reading/intellectual growth, 10% quality friends, 20% travel, 10% leisure (I cannot go without binge watching House of Cards), and MAYBE 10% relationship, at most.
I fill my time with goals and activities that make me feel alive and provide me with a sense of purpose. I try to ensure that most of my energy goes toward personal growth because that cannot be taken away. If for some reason, I am unable to go to the gym, only 10% of my time and identity is unaccounted for. Conversely, if 90% of your identity is invested into a romantic partnership and the partner leaves, your emotional market could very well collapse.
People that allow their romantic relationships to consume them leave little time for much else. They spend every waking moment making sense of dysfunctional partnerships – trying to cram puzzle pieces together that simply do not fit. These individuals put all of their identity, energy, happiness, and time into something outside of themselves – into something that could wake up tomorrow and leave.
The aforementioned women that spend their adult years shoving their feet into glass slippers waiting for someone to grace them with marriage and children are placing their happiness in the hands of another.
If your happily ever after requires the presence and validation of another person, you may need to rewrite your story. I personally know beautiful, intelligent, glowing women that waste away over someone that will never fulfill them. I am asked what are, in my opinion, rhetorical questions that require no answer:
“Why does he take so long to respond to my texts?”
“Why did he cheat on me?”
“Why can’t he show me that he cares?”
And I always ask “why do you stay?”
I usually find that these women stay because the majority of their identity is tied to their romantic relationships. The need to be married, the need to bear children, the need to buy “live, laugh, love” home decor from Pier 1 Imports, and the need to feel validated outweigh the need to be at peace. Childhood dreams are giving way to adult neuroses.
I encourage women to let go of goals that can only be fulfilled by another person. I encourage women to rewrite happily ever after. Focus your energy on your career, your fitness, your spirituality – focus your energy on something that does not give you constant anxiety and questions your self-worth. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you find yourself filled with doubt and crying more often than not, your body is trying to tell you that you are doing something wrong. Much like when you place your hand on a hot stove, the pain is there to tell you to make a change. If you find yourself in a relationship that puts you in a constant state of worry, you are more than likely engaging in behavior that is inconsistent with your values. Your mind and body are begging the question: “how did we end up here and why do we stay?”
I value independence, confidence, and passion and anytime I am in a situation that is contradictory, I find that I experience terrible anxiety. My heart would race and I would toss and turn all night waiting for the text that said “you’re not crazy! I do love you” to arrive and calm my fears. I did not find peace until I made the decision to leave. I watched my independence and confidence disappear until I made the decision that being at peace was more comforting than the white dress, the prince, or the glass slippers. Most importantly, I learned that I was not crazy. The men that I dated that evoked this feeling did not love me but I stayed. I held out hope long enough to lose all the parts of myself that I valued. I held out hope until they left and there was no need to question any longer. I went from an independent, successful, attractive, ambitious woman to an insecure, dependent little girl asking the hot guy at school to circle “yes, no, or maybe.”
After the relationships ended, there would be a void that seemed impossible to fill but I assure you it is not. At times, love can be similar to an addiction, with the immediate withdrawal seeming unbearable. As with any addiction, the substance use is indicative of an underlying problem or void. I chose to fill my void with what I loved before I lost myself in the “relationship space-filling” abyss. I chose to spend time traveling, reading, exploring spirituality, meeting new people. I chose to live for myself and abandon my Disney-induced little girl dreams. I chose a fairy tale in which the princess dominates her career, travels the world, lives with passion, and has a rear that is nothing short of pure magic.
I chose to rewrite happily ever after.
By Monica Torres / IG: monicamarietorres
*This article was first published on Rebelle Society.
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