I had one goal in life: to find a husband. Almost everything I did was with that intention. I joined the dance team in high school because the cute and popular boys were on the football and basketball teams. I dressed in ways I felt would attract guys, and I judged men by how they stacked up against the vision of a perfect husband in my head. Even how much fun I had parties, outings with my girls, or family functions would all be determined by the number of attractive guys there.
I was always on the prowl.
This goal was an extension of the fact that I grew up as a "Daddy's Girl." My father always gave me what I wanted and supported me in anything. I also grew up with the message that finding a “good husband” (who was preferably always wealthy) was the key to having a happy life. If I could do that, then all of my other problems would be solved. I would magically wake up with good hair, great skin and birds singing outside of my window.
After I graduated from college, I met the man who would become my husband, and we got married two years later. We had a marriage that was filled with amazing times, but it wasn’t an authentic relationship. I wanted him to take the place of my father, and he expected me to take the place of his mother.
Since I spent my teenage and adult life trying to attract a husband, I didn’t spend as much time growing as a person. As a result, I attracted a partner who was in love with the image I portrayed — not my actual self. When we got divorced after five years of marriage, I struggled with my new identity as a person with a “failed” marriage.
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After my divorce, I tried to slip back into that old skin — wearing what I thought men liked, not speaking up, not standing up for myself, and going along with what they wanted. This only led to heartbreak after heartbreak. I had the habit of trying to turn what should have been one date into a long-term relationship and what should have been one phone call into my son’s stepfather. The disappointment became too much to bear as my old ways of relating to and viewing men were no longer true to who I was now. I was acting like a “good girl” but still ending up alone on a Saturday night.
This is the first time in my life that I am not actively looking for "the one." It's a new feeling for me to find out who I am and what I enjoy when I am not living my life to please or attract a man. I wear makeup when I want, and I wear how much of it I want. I sometimes curse like a sailor because only a “fuck” will do. I demand what I want in bed instead of just wanting to please my partner. I have begun to focus on being financially independent because I finally realized that a man is not a financial plan. I stay up late, I drink wine (or vodka) on Tuesday, I travel alone, and I even stopped shaving everything for one whole winter season to see if I really cared about being hairy.
I started to be brutally honest about who I was as a person and examined my faults and my strengths — especially the story I told myself about why I thought that I was incomplete alone and why I kept going after emotionally unavailable men.
Am I done with dating and the search for my partner in life? No! Finding a partner is important. I know what it’s like to have an amazing relationship with another human, to share your goals and fears, to partner up to raise a family, handle finances, share life struggles, and have someone care for me when I’m sick.
What is different now is that I know who I am and what I want. I’m not afraid to be alone. I value my time and my mental/physical/spiritual health, and I am ruthless about who I let into my (and possibly) my son’s life.
I have already found “the one” — it’s me!
From this strength, confidence, and clarity, I realize that today could be the day that I meet an amazing guy. Or today could be a day where I find an amazing new lunch spot. Either way, in the words of Ice Cube, “today was a good day.”