Sun 28 Aug 2011
Why are relationships so X!JXX!!! hard! I guess I should specify—at my age. Don’t get me wrong, I like my age. I love having life experience and the wisdom and confidence that comes with it. If a genie appeared to me right at this moment and offered me the opportunity to be 25 again…would I do it? Hmmmm…nope. I did have to think about it. But, really, life wasn’t that easy at 25, in fact, it was worse.
What would be so fun about figuring everything out all over again, especially regarding relationships? I got married the first time at 19 years old. Who in the world knows what they are doing at 19 years old? Obviously I didn’t have a clue or I wouldn’t have done something so drastic like get married. I was already a starving college student. What was I thinking? Now we were two starving college students—together. After 9 ½ years of stress, tension and arguing, we finally called it quits. As I look back, I’m not sure I learned much from the experience except to blame him for my unhappiness.
At the end of my first marriage I was still young at 28 years old, but I was beginning to realize that marriage was more than just “being wildly in love”. It was a partnership. I wrote up a list of qualities I was looking for in a man and vowed to not settle. I ran my first marathon, the Wichita Marathon, in 1983. I met Arne at the first marathon training class. Not only did Arne meet the top 3 items on my requirements list, he trained for the marathon with me. If someone can regularly see you looking and smelling like a drowned rat, and still want to date you, it must be love. I asked Arne to marry me after the marathon was over. We had been dating for about 7 months. I guess I needed to seal the deal quickly. Again I ask—what was I thinking? Where was the fire? We were married the following May—I was 30 years old.
My second marriage was even more traumatic than my first one because we went into business together and we had a son. Was it the business that kept us together for 15 years or did it tear us apart? There are ground rules which must be followed when working with a spouse. Unfortunately, I didn’t really figure it out until it was too late. By then the love was gone. When the 2001 recession hit, we split up the business and went our separate ways. It was a messy, painful divorce and my son was in the middle. I was devastated. I did evolve from this relationship but I still blamed Arne for my unhappiness.
Of course I jumped into serious relationship number 3 almost immediately after getting a divorce. Again, it was a short courtship and I moved in with him. At least I didn’t get married. It was shortly thereafter that I realized I re-created my first husband and the issues I had with him. I was in my late forties and I was finally beginning to realize that relationships bring up all of that baggage we picked up earlier in life. We just re-create the pain over and over again. I was in no position to try to deal with the situation so I took what little self-esteem I had left after 6 tumultuous years and moved on.
I finally, finally decided I needed to stay single for a while. The thought of being single used to fill me with dread and make my stomach churn. I wasn’t complete without a man in my life. But the longer I am single, the more I appreciate the freedom and independence I have. I realized that you must love yourself first before you can really love someone else. I also realized I am the only one responsible for my happiness. I am happier than I have ever been and feel more at peace. Could it be because I am single? If I were to stay single the rest of my life, I would still be happy. That is a freeing affirmation.
My running is symbolic of my life. When I became at peace with not beating 4 hours in the marathon and not qualifying for Boston—it came to me and my running dream came true. The constant struggle blocked my ability to receive my good.
But back to relationships—I did meet someone about a year and a half ago. We started out as friends and have slowly just recently progressed to a more serious stage. Please, don’t think I’ve got this relationship stuff figured out. We’ve broken-up at least 20 times but it just doesn’t stick. Working through our baggage has been complicated. Kids, work and ex issues play havoc on one’s ability to think straight. Sometimes I long for the days when we didn’t know better and just jumped into love with total abandon. Whether we move to the next step together or move on, we will always be friends. That’s a big step to finding harmony.
Okay, I’m 57 now but I have all the time in the world. I’m in great shape; I’m healthy, energetic and have big plans for the future—with or without a man. If I can run personal records in the marathon at 56—I can find peace with or without a relationship!