From “We” to “Me” and Back to “We” Again

For the decade or so that my ex husband and I were together, we lived way too much as “we”. We did everything together. We barely had our own individual identities. We made all of our decisions together. We checked in with one another on practically everything. We knew what each other was doing all day, every day, all the stinkin’ time.

It reached a point where I was so desperate for some individuality and a life of my own that I created a bit of a “secret life” of my own that I kept away from him. Btw, I’m not proud of this fact, I’m just telling it like it is. I needed something of my own, that was separate from him, because I’d lost almost every single bit of myself in being a wife and mother.

At first, separating from him was tough. I was so used to having someone to consult on every little thing that I didn’t really know how to make decisions on my own. Codependence is a tough thing to unravel yourself from once you find yourself arse-deep in it. In fact, I wasn’t even arse-deep, I was eye-ball deep at the worst of it. And when you’re eyeball-deep like that, you walk around feeling like you’re suffocating every day of your life.

So I struggled at first, being on my own like that. I fought against my inclination to lean heavily on CBG for help and support. And during the times when I tried to lean on him too much, he held me at arm’s length, praising my ability to do things on my own. At first I felt frustrated with his reaction; part of me wanted rescuing, dammit! But when I realized that it wasn’t coming, I quickly began relying on myself.

And slowly but surely, I became stronger. I learned how to be a strong, independent woman.  Or rather, I found that  who had been lurking in me all along. I learned and grew into the woman that I am today: a woman who can take care of herself. A woman confident in her abilities. A strong, independent woman. A woman who doesn’t have to “check in” with anyone before making major decisions. Having CBG at a physical distance has been one of the best things for me; it has had a very big hand in teaching me all of the lessons that I have needed to learn in the last three and a half years.

In some ways, I almost feel like perhaps I learned that lesson a little too well. As much as I want CBG here and am so excited for this be happening, part of me feels almost reluctant to go back to being a “we”. I’ve spent the last three and half years on my own (despite being in a relationship). I’ve crawled up out of an abysmal financial state. I’ve learned how to thrive on my own. I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy living on my own. I love being able to make decisions without having to constantly “check in” with someone else. I’ve loved being just “me” for the most part these last several years….especially after being weighed down so long by the heavy blanket of “we”.

Some days when my overthinking goes into overdrive, I worry about CBG moving here and going back to being a “we” again. I worry about losing my independence. I wonder if I will feel the need to check in with him over every little thing. I think about that feeling of suffocation that overpowered me during my marriage.

The thing is — CBG is not my ex husband. He’s not like him at all. He encourages my strength and my independence; those are things that I know he loves about me. He has never placed an expectation on me to be a certain person or to act in a certain way. He’s never tried to control me or shape me into his vision of me.

It’s on me to ensure that I keep my boundaries in place and continue to rely on my own strength on a daily basis. I may becoming part of a “we” again, but this “we” will be two “mes” coming together. We will help and support each other, not smother one another. Sure, there will be some bumps along the way as we work this out, but given our track record, I’m confident that we will.

Life is changing my friends. Changes that I’ve been waiting a long time for. I intend to do my best to embrace them in every possible way.

6 Responses

  1. You learned so much after your divorce and even MORE with your relationship with CBG, and even MORE just being by yourself and living alone. I think everyone should live alone at one point in their lives and keep some semblance of that with them as they go into being a ‘we’ again. I think you will find your balance with that, and am so glad you are looking FORWARD to the changes you are encountering!

  2. Living alone has taught me SO much and it’s an experience that I will always be grateful for. I agree completely – it’s something that everyone should do at least once in their lives.

  3. Thanks for opening up this conversation. Transitioning from “me” to “we” – despite finding love – is harder than many of us care to admit. Looking forward to following your journey.

    • I think that it will be a challenge but as I said in my post, we have a pretty good track record for being able to overcome challenges that we’re faced with. 🙂

  4. Yes! I know personally, both GJ and I enjoy our individual lives. I think going back to a “we” state, as you point out here, is something we’re both scared of as well. I believe, however, that there is a happy medium. The two “me’s” that make a pretty powerful WE… and I think you and CBG have what it takes to make it work.

    You’ve both learned too many life lessons to go back to what you were before. Now you know better… and you respect each other’s individualities. (<- Is that a word? It is now!)

    • It’s good to be in a place where you can both enjoy your individual lives while still enjoying your “we” when you are together. And you’re right…we’ve both learned WAY too much to return to the people we were before. Our failed marriages were not in vain; we both took lessons away from those experiences that are going to make our relationship together that much better.

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