THE BOLD NEW CHAPTER
It has been a while. Where do I begin?
Aaron and I are separated and have been for some time now. I debated sharing for many reasons really. Social media has been a key part of my life in so many ways from a point of passion to career. When our relationship ended, a part of my internalized understanding of what my platform meant changed immediately. I had worn the honor of being married at such a young age on top of a fairly successful transition into the real world on my sleeve. At first a part of me felt as though I had failed at the intersection of being a wife and a woman combined with the intensity of how much I did not want to become like my parents marriage. I had a self earned shelf of trophies and I was losing one in the cruelest manner. I thought the end of my relationship represented me.
We are constantly sold this idea of what love looks like that it is easily mistaken for a healthy relationship. My marriage was based on the typical good morning texts that won me over in the beginning all the way up to the idealized conversations of “forever”. I thought love looked like years and years of knowing me and remaining there by my side despite my faults. I felt as though I was defined by my childhood and the fact that we lived under one roof with my family during the pandemic meant that he knew me like no one else could. I thought my checklist required this understanding of my personhood as a must.
“What I have learned is love is not enough. Love is not enough for a long-term committed, healthy relationship to fully work. And I think we’ve been taught our whole life love is all you need and it’s just, for me, not true.”
There were endless everyday signs that happened behind closed doors, and of course, the ultimate big mistakes that ended our relationship. Until divorce was laid on the table, it had not clicked in my head that there were issues and I was unhappy. No one talks about the loneliness that can exist in a relationship that passes as healthy. Nearly four years in and date nights were filled with awkward silence to the drop in the stomach feeling from ranting about work and hearing nothing in return. One of the worst feelings was realizing how much my personality and love for conversations was an annoyance. It turns out support is often confused as a warm bed at night. When you are 17 the checklist of what you need in a partner drastically changes and takes on a life of its own at 21. While my childhood has defined and shaped me fundamentally, I had also outgrown and embodied the harshness of those lessons. I had ultimately outgrown the reason I had married him and he did not grow with me.
Traditionally so many of our parents view mistakes as simple bumps in the road in a marriage. More plainly, we’re taught to hold tight to what is comforting rather than the scary thought of growth from what comes next. Although my parents mean well and worry for what comes next, staying would have been much worse. The reality is marriage requires work and communication every single day.
“It took me a while to realize that the difference in a healthy love is when you want someone in your life, not when you need them.”
A good and loving relationship is more than their everyday presence. It is the genuine conversations about everything and nothing, it is the feeling of butterflies when you see them, it is acknowledgement in all the little ways that are unsaid, it is alignment in goals and values, it is individuality, it is action over words. I had carried us through high school and into adulthood. I was and I am an amazing person, and for a second there, I nearly lost myself. While marriage is work, I had outgrown this relationship beyond the point of a conversation worth having.
We met in October and became official in November as well. It’s funny how things come full circle. Divorce is simply the end of this chapter for better things to come next.
I had a choice to choose between settling and the bold new chapter that comes next.
Thank you to my close circle for supporting me and reminding me of who I am.
Most of all thank you to my mom. We still don’t say ‘I love you’ but I have never understood you more than now.