I thought I could never make it without someone. I was soooo wrong.
By Laura Lifshitz
There are some things in life that you won’t learn until you screw up badly or take a major risk. It’s taking that risk or making those mistakes that he help you become who you are. Without those mistakes and failures, you’d be a fragment of who you are today.
Yes, you read that right! Your failures can really break you, but more importantly, they can make you.
Think about the last time someone gave you advice, especially in matters of the heart. Did you take it? Think about your last breakup. If someone had stopped you right before you committed to this person and said, “It’s going to end, so don’t bother,” would you have listened to him or her, or went ahead and married the wrong person?
You would have done what you wanted to. Had someone tried to stop me from getting married, I would have told them to screw off.
The reality is while I did love my former husband and wanted it to work out, we were not meant for each other. We couldn’t have lasted a lifetime, but without marrying him, I wouldn’t have learned so many things.
By taking the risk and getting married to the wrong person, I gained so much. A beautiful daughter and many life lessons that made me who I am today. Lessons that I could only have learned by marrying the wrong person.
Here are 10 things I learned after I married the wrong person.
1. I can share space with someone else.
Before my marriage, I had never been in a long-term relationship. Every relationship was either brief, casual or not at “commitment level.” I had dated plenty but I hadn’t really shared space or my life with anyone else. To be honest, I didn’t believe it could happen for me, which is why I think I ended up marrying someone who I loved but wasn’t right. I didn’t have any faith in myself.
But being married taught me I am able to share space and time with someone else. I am able to build a life with someone, even if it crumbled.
2. I’m worthy.
One of the things I believe my previous partner capitalized on, unfortunately, was my former belief that I wasn’t worthy. He seemed to touch on my insecurities with every argument.
Had I not married the wrong person, I wouldn’t have to pick up the pieces of my life alongside with a very young child and move on. I wouldn’t have learned that I was worthy because I would have been stuck wondering just how good I was or wasn’t.
When everything is falling all around you and you have no choice but to figure out an exit plan, you learn how worthy and capable you are.
3. I can care for myself.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s always nice to have someone in your corner, rooting for you caring for you. I would love to have a partner who is there for me, but because my marriage failed, I was able to learn that I can care for myself even though it is hard. Even though there are times I want help. Even though there are times I ask for help.
At the end of the day, I am caring for myself and my child, too. Not too shabby.
4. I don’t need anyone.
I thought the world of my ex-husband. But how he frames it now, it’s as if he never thought very much of me.
A part of me wonders if there was a need for each other rather than a want. I can’t speak for him, but the past three years I’ve been challenged and forced to find it within myself to put out fire after fire. At this point, I can truly say that I don’t “need” anyone.
If a guy is rude, weird or inappropriate, I cancel the date. If I meet someone and there is no potential, I move forward. I don’t settle. I am discerning because I should be. I deserve a good person and so does my daughter. I want someone, but I don’t need anyone.
5. I was a late bloomer, and that’s okay.
I have never done anything in “order” — well, at least social order. I have always marched to my own beat from day one, and unlike many of my friends, I was a late bloomer. By that, I mean that while I was precocious and savvy and had experienced a lot, I also took a while to grow up and figure out what I wanted. That’s okay.
I think both my ex and I were worried we weren’t married like many of our friends. I cared too much about the timeline that society imposed on me. Due to my experience with divorce, I care much less about a timeline. I care much less about where I am supposed to be (although I still do from time to time), and I care a lot more about where I want to be and how I envision making that happen.
6. I’m strong enough to be a single parent.
I never thought I could manage being a single parent. I had a neighbor who was a single mom and I thought to myself, “I could never do that.” Well, I’m doing it. I’ve done it for three years. I never thought I would make it in my field.
I never thought I would do so many things, but by marrying the wrong one, I ended up learning that “never” is a very dangerous word. That a lot of the times it’s not that I can’t do something or that something will never happen, but that I have falsely believed it to be impossible. I learned that a big part of my issues was my mindset. That when the going gets tough, I can get going as well.
7. I know what the “right” traits look like.
My divorce taught me that I wasn’t really looking for the right traits in a partner. Chemistry is so much, but so is compatibility, and yes, those are in many ways two distinct beings, although they do intertwine.
You can meet someone you’re physically on fire for, but not see as a life partner. Yet, you can meet someone you find so sexy and also adore and value as a person.
As much as I adored my ex, our compatibility was way off. Our values and worldview were not aligned. I realized that I didn’t search hard enough for someone who shared those things with me. Now, I do. Now it’s one of the most important things I look for in a potential partner, but I had to have a failed marriage to learn so.
8. I need to be more patient.
We all have our downfall. Me? I am not patient. I wish I were more patient, so what can I say? A divorce forced me to learn to be more patient. I’ve gotten much better. I’ve realized that sometimes I push too hard, yet sometimes pushing too hard has been amazingly beneficial.
For me, I’ve learned that sometimes I need to be patient and stop pushing. And sometimes, I need to push. The one thing I struggle with but have improved on is not pushing. I’m a work in progress.
9. I won’t be my best self every day.
I am very hard on myself. I can give you great detail on what I could have done better on a daily basis. However, getting divorced and becoming a single parent taught me that it’s okay to not be my best every single day. In fact, I will downright suck some days, but that’s just another opportunity to learn and improve.
10. I can build a life without a romantic partner.
For a long time, I worried that I would be the only one of my friends who didn’t get married. I worried too much about this ultimate goal. Now, three years after a marriage, I see that I can build a life without a romantic partner and enjoy it.
Now that I have a full and happy life, it’s actually the best time to find a partner… because I am fulfilled already.