I truly think that sometimes The Universe tries to tell us things. There are lessons that need to be learned, and dammit, if we don’t learn them, then we end up finding ourselves in the same patterns over and over again in life.
Recently I got thinking about patterns in my own life, specifically my relationship patterns. In my life I’ve had three serious, long-term relationships with three very different men. The first was when I was in University; our relationship lasted 6 years; honestly about 4 years too long. The second was with my ex husband. We were together for a total of 10 years. Some of those years were very good. The last three or so, not so much. The third is CBG. So far we’ve been together for three and a half years, and honestly each year, each week is better than the one before. Hands down the healthiest relationship of all three. We both learned a lot from our failed marriages and are able to put all of those lessons to good use now, together. Together, we are truly magical.
These three men are all very different — in appearance, personality, values, goals…in pretty much all areas. But for some reason I got thinking about one of the things that they all had in common: the fact that they all spent time during the course of our relationships being absent from my life.
My first boyfriend had cancer. It was discovered when our relationship was in its infancy. He was away a lot for the first year of our relationship — recovering from two surgeries, going through chemo. He also lived in a different province than I did and we spent most of our summers apart, since we each went “home” for the summer to work and save money. Even after we reached the stage of being together most of the time I was still left on my own a great deal, since he spent a lot of time working toward his challenging university degree.
I was lonely and miserable.
I met my ex husband online when we were living in different provinces. It took us a while to arrange for him to move to be with me, but we were both young and foolish and there really wasn’t that big of a risk involved. He ended up moving much faster than we originally thought, because of that whole “young and foolish thing” and couldn’t stand being apart. I had never lived alone before and it terrified the pants off me. Shortly after that we moved again — back to his home city (where I still live). Then, even though we were living together, for about a year, early in our relationship, we worked opposite schedules. He had a night job and I worked days…which meant that I spent many an evening alone, pining away.
I was lonely and miserable.
CBG and I have never lived together in the 3 1/2 years we’ve been a couple. I won’t lie — the initial phases of our relationship, the being apart stuff, was tough. As in, so tough that I considered — many, times — calling it off because I couldn’t stand being lonely and miserable. With my girls with their dad half the time and CBG only on the scene a handful of days every month, I struggled with being alone so much. For a good long while, anytime I was alone, I was lonely and miserable.
And then there was a shift. I’m not sure when the shift happened exactly, or even what caused it. But it happened. I made a conscious decision to embrace all aspects of my life, particularly the being alone part. Guess what happened? It got easier. I even learned to love — and deeply value — my independence and my time alone.
CBG is moving here now because we’re ready to share our lives together, not because we can not stand being apart. There is a distinct difference. There is no desperation to have him here to stave off loneliness. We both have a quiet peace about it, because we both know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is the right thing for us at the right time. We’ve paid our dues. We have earned this.
When I think back to what my relationships have in common — being forced into situations where I spent a lot of time alone — it seems to me that The Universe was sending me a message, loud and clear: Embrace independence. Learn to be on your own. Love spending time with just yourself. I didn’t get the message the first two times. All I could do was feel sorry for myself. This time around I got the message loud and clear…and I daresay, have learned the things I needed to learn.
Thank you, Universe. At least I get the message eventually, right?