"No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." - Marian Robinson
Often in the middle of the night after E has gone to bed, and I'm alone, I ask these questions. Don't get me wrong. I actually enjoy being alone. I am quite happy to have the silence envelope me at night. I am content to go to bed alone in my king size bed. I am satisfied to go to sleep when I want, eat when I want, leave my toothbrush where I want, my dirty clothes on the floor if I want, keep the house organized how I want. Being alone is not the problem.
My sorrow comes from not being alone but from being lonely.
I am grieving for a marriage that is never to be. Certainly, I am extremely grateful for my son. Having him in my life fills my heart with light and love. But at times when I'm feeling sorry for myself, I begin to feel robbed of the false fairy tale of getting married, having two kids, and living happily ever after. And as I think on it further, it's not the loss of the fairy tale I grieve, but the loss of partnership. I grieve for the man I thought I knew. I grieve for the loss of my best friend. I grieve that there is no one to call when I have a bad day. There is no one to call when I have a terrific day. I grieve for the love and trust that I should have had in a true partner. I grieve knowing that I will not grow old with the man I thought I loved and thought loved me. I grieve for the man I fell in love with but never truly existed. My dream, the future I thought I would have, was stolen. And I realize how lonely my life has become. I wonder, "Why me? Do I not deserve happiness?" And this leads me further down the black hole to "What's wrong with me?"
Of course, my feeling of loneliness has not been helped by attempting to date again. First, going out with men after an abusive relationship and divorce is a huge leap of faith. It requires trust in myself to make good choices, and to not be attracted to the same type of man. In addition, it requires trust that not all men are controlling and self-centered. Achieving this level of trust requires courage, hope and faith.
One would think by meeting new men I would feel less lonely. However, the opposite has been true. Dating is similar to going on endless job interviews one after the other; and each one ending with "Well, you are not a fit for this position at this time." Each time I go out, I try to be positive and hope there will be a connection. Each time I am opening myself up a little making myself vulnerable again to rejection. This constant up and down of hope and then disappointment when there is no connection is extremely exhausting. The experience only reinforces the thought of "What's wrong with me?" When the man is apparently not attracted to me I can't help but to think, "What's wrong with me?" Is my nose too big? Do I have too many wrinkles? Am I not skinny enough?
Dating triggers all my underlying insecurities, my old baggage from my marriage and abuse. These feelings of inadequacy, insignificance and unworthiness rise up to my heart and brain with full force. "What's wrong with me?" What is so wrong with me that required you to treat me with such condescension and disdain? What is so awful about me that required you to hit me? What is so horrible about me that your felt it necessary to slam my head onto the tile floor? What is wrong with me?
And the answer is "Absolutely Nothing!"