I told my fiance this not too long ago, and I'm not sure he believed me:
I never thought I'd get married.
I say I never thought I'd ever get married because it wasn't in my "plan." And when I say plan, it's with a sense of irony because I didn't really have one at all. It just never occurred to me that it would happen. I wasn't one of those girls who played dress-up and had tea parties with her dolls and dreamed about the day when Prince Charming would sweep me off of my feet and we'd live happily ever after. Even through adolescence, I didn't see boys as something I wanted to set up shop tending to for the rest of my life. No sleepovers spent talking about boys, no begging my parents to let me have a boy-girl party where we'd kiss in the closet.
There have been many times when I've sat quietly through a conversation among my female contemporaries -- "In MY wedding, we'll have green and blue as the central colour theme, with silver as an accent. There will be calla lilies spread throughout the church and my little brother will be an escort..." I'd roll my eyes the moment I could excuse myself from the nattering, and forget about it once I had gone.
If I were to be honest with myself, I would probably say that my past lack of wedding-themed enthusiasm stemmed from the short supply of decent relationships I'd been a part of. Maybe it was a subconscious decision that I made -- if it's not right, I won't go down that road.
About four years ago, I went to see a counsellor. I thought I had relationship issues. I felt like I constantly sabotaged and undermined the relationships I was in. I would either date a guy I was sincerely interested in just a few times and then cut it off and never speak to him again, or I would let myself be in a relationship with someone I was only moderately suited to and somehow always find something wrong with him/me/us/stuff.
Somehow I had convinced myself that it was my problem, not theirs. I had also convinced myself that these were perfectly good specimens for dating and I was just being "fickle." The problem was, I kept saddling myself with men who were insecure, distrustful, jealous, immature and just plain old not right for me. So, where was the problem?
I had figured out that it was definitely my own fault for my relationships not going the way they might have been meant to -- I wouldn't let them. Someway, somehow, I wouldn't let them fruit into something more. What I realize now is that, through my behaviour, I was silently giving myself signals that it wasn't right. A little too subtly it would seem, but definitely there.
Unfortunately for me, all of that stress and drama and confusion and beating myself up directly resulted in a series of bad decisions. Bad, because I stayed with someone I *knew* wasn't right for me for entirely too long. And because each time we broke up and I took him back -- or worse, asked him back -- I got a little more lost along the way.
It's very hard to self-diagnose. It's very, very hard to do so when you're IN the situation. I know now that there was no way I could have just shaken myself out of it and all would have been okay. I had to learn from where I was and what I did. I took my lumps. At one point, I had even become convinced that I didn't want to get married, I didn't want children, and I was completely happy with the status quo. It was hard to remember that when I cried every week because of one thing or another, but I did.
I can't even tell you now what made me "snap out of it," but I did. One day almost a year ago I said "Fuck This." Right out loud. I think I was at work. And then I cried.
I cried for what I had become. I was "that girl," the one I had never before been able to understand how she got into her position -- and I could never understand how she couldn't just walk out of it. I cried for what I had lost. Two and a half years to a bad relationship, friends I had alienated, distance from a family I care for more than anything in the world. I cried because I didn't know how to get out of it, and didn't know what would become of me if I did.
I was terrified that I'd be stalked, or arrested, or suffer more mental abuse by somehow being convinced to once again take him back. And yet somehow, I regrew my spine and walked out. It took a lot of planning, and a lot of effort from a lot of people, but I did. And that very next day I felt something I hadn't felt in a long time. I was happy. I wanted to greet the new day with a smile, and I sang on my way to work.
These days, I feel five million times better than that very first day of "Getting to Understand Maigen," as I call it. I still don't do things to make other people happy. I do things because it makes me happy to do for others. A small difference, almost negligible -- but it is as different as night and day in my view.
Words can't tell you how much I look forward to every day with the man I love with every molecule of my body, to snuggling with him before I sleep, to waking up next to him and knowing it is where I need to be. I never in my life thought I would be looking forward with such pleasure to planning the fun details of my own wedding. I never thought I'd look at the children I nanny with a bit of envy -- hoping my own will be just as charming and delightful.
And I certainly never thought I'd feel this much security and serenity in a relationship.
Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.
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1.19.06 @ 1:34p
I went through quite a bit of what you did and had the same type of "Fuck this" epiphany.
Met my husband a month later. Amazing how when you reach "that point" things just change.
2.10.06 @ 10:49a
I think we've all been there and it's amazing when we can, as Jim Morrison once said, "break on through to the other side." I was disillusioned and burnt out on dating after four years of enthusiastically running into brick wall after brick wall during college. But it was the moment when I let go and decided to focus on God, my writing, my family, etc. that my Princess Charming appeared. That's the advice I give to single people: don't build it and they will come. But they don't listen.
2.10.06 @ 2:07p
It's so incredibly true, though. The minute I stopped trying was the minute it all fell into place. As soon as I stopped chasing this woman I thought I loved, stopped putting up with her moodiness, her intransigence, her unwillingness to meet me halfway...just turned my back on her and got on with my life...that's when the scales must have fallen from her eyes because suddenly she's RIGHT THERE, doing everything she can to win me back.
Married to her over eight years now, and we cherish every day.
2.10.06 @ 3:07p
Same story here...got tired of looking for Mr. Right, or Mr. Right Now. Decided I didn't need a man in my life, and a few months later met my husband. Here we are 21 years later!!
2.10.06 @ 4:18p
I love hearing about you guys who have been married for years and years and years. The divorce rate is so high these days, and it saddens me. I've never wanted anything but the one marriage. I'm sure I'll be saying these same things in 20 years or so, too. that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside...