“Prince Charming will make me happy.” That’s what I have told myself. “When I find prince charming, all my dreams will come true. I’ll finally be happy. He will fill the void, fill the lack, the neediness I’m experiencing.”
My first marriage didn’t fill that void. My next relationship didn’t stick. And my newest adventures are still not satisfying. Some say to me, “You just haven’t found the right fit, keep looking.” I don’t believe this anymore. I believe this “lack” or “hole” I’m trying to fill is not going to be filled by any person or thing. I believe it’s a false feeling I’ve carried since birth and has since been supported my culture, society and the fucking Disney Princess movies I grew up watching!
So I ask myself – now what? These ideas are so ingrained in me. I have 33 years of unlearning to do. 33 years of clinging to a mentality that suggests Prince Charming is out there and he’s going to ride up on his white horse and sweep me perfectly off my feet and carry me off into the sunset. 15 of these 33 years I was in what I thought was my “happily ever after” marriage, until it unexpectedly ended in divorce.
Yesterday I was asked, “Do you have any current relationships in which you are neither a parasite nor a host?” My response was immediate. “Yes. My relationship with my ex-husband, Matthew.” We’re the best of friends. We have no expectations on each other, we simply care and are happy to support each other unconditionally. We truly LOVE each other – not in a romantic sense, but that Agape stuff. Now the first question everyone asks here is, “why aren’t you still married then?” I answer by explaining that we just aren’t the right fit intimately, but we genuinely care deeply for each other and would do anything to support one another. We don’t carry around jealousy, we give each other relationship advice daily. I have even hooked him up with my friends! I realized that loving my ex-husband was wanting whatever makes him happy without projecting any judgments onto him. I let it all go, no expectations, no mentality of scarcity, and no conditions. I know that this real love exists and it exists for me with what most people think of as the last person on earth it ought exist with – an ex husband.
So how do I feel that kind of Agape love with everyone? When the next man comes along, can I give unconditional love to him also? These are the questions I grapple with daily. I think the answer is to let ALL expectations of all people go – for me notably romantic interests. I have to realize that I am not going to be any more complete with a man. I need to know that there’s no perfect man; to know that “the one” is just not out there. Prince Charming is not coming. I already have everything I need inside to be whole, I just have to remember that – daily. I know it can be difficult to acknowledge that I am complete when I crawl into my bed alone at night. When I take my kids to family gatherings and all the married couples are caring for their children together. When I wake up in the morning and reach over to an empty space. When I cook dinner for one. These are the things I want to grow to feel content with, and even embrace them daily. How? Some tricks I’m trying are gratitude. I’m trying to switch my thoughts to, “Isn’t it nice I can stretch out and not hear snoring at night!” “Isn’t it nice I get to cook whatever I feel like eating tonight – or not cook at all!” The other trick a friend taught me that’s been helping is whenever I feel “alone”, I snap my fingers and say aloud, “I am whole. I lack nothing and no one.” I have even written post-it mantras around the house, saying “I lack nothing.” “I am whole.” These things are helping but I’d sure love any practical advice you other single ladies are using!
Some say to me, you just haven’t found the right man yet. Well here’s the thing about that – I date really freaking awesome men. My ex boyfriend was incredibly attractive, well dressed, successful, committed, LOVED my children, amazing in bed, romantic, intelligent, fun, open, my family and friends adored him, he even gave up a 6 figure job and moved across the country leaving his family/friends/home to show me just how much he cared – pretty much the guy every girl wants to marry. But I just wasn’t “happy”. My next interest was very similar, romantic, sweet, great lover, deep, spiritual, caring, committed, loves my kids, took me on the most romantic trips and showered me with romance and love letters, wanted to move across the country to be with me (maybe my problem is finding someone local?!?) but again, I felt myself pulling away. I think it’s not so much finding the “one” as it is being perfectly happy how I am – knowing I’m whole – I’m okay without a partner. I think only then will I have any chance at truly loving someone in the context of an intimate relationship. Then I will know that there’s nothing my partner can do or say to take anything from me and there’s nothing they’ll be expected to do. I will simply have love to give with no expectations in return, because I will know that I am whole.