For those following me on my journey, this may seem like an obvious question: What’s next? What is life like after 24 years of marriage, separation, and divorce? I’m struggling to figure this out, and I know I’m not the only person out there asking the same question.
So, like death, you need to grieve the person who is no longer in your life, and for me, until the hurt stops, I have to be strong and not look back. This is in NO way a pity party; I am moving forward to better things and trying to figure out my next chapter. You can drive yourself crazy, trying to analyze “what went wrong?”
However, looking back at my wedding photos, not only were we both mere children, but what were the expectations? Now, in my 50s, I’m a different person (yes, and I look older too). We both changed, but at what point did the love change? Isn’t happily ever after supposed to be unconditional?
Hilary Clinton recently wrote a book titled “What Happened,” revealing what she thought and felt during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. I get it, Hilary! There’s nothing like having the rug pulled out from underneath you. I am not comparing myself to Hilary by any stretch of the imagination, but here’s a strong woman devastated by the outcome. I, too, share that exact moment, getting kicked in the heart not once but twice, only to find myself back in the same place again; my book would be titled “What (the F) just happened?”
As you do, I picked myself up again, brushed myself off, and ensured my happily ever after partner was tucked into his new home, safe and sound, because you do this unconditionally. Right? I can’t remember what was said or how I felt; it was like an out-of-body experience. As I left his new home, with the door closing behind me, I wondered, was he sad that I was on the other side of it?
One door closes, and another opens; now what? Do I succumb to the plethora of dating websites “Tinder,” “Bumble,” or “Plenty of Fish”? To my son’s horror, “Mom, those are hook-up sites,” to which I responded with, “Then where do I meet my tall, dark and handsome?” I’m not ready to be put out to pasture. I have many great years to be shared with someone wonderful. To quote Charlotte York, “I’ve been dating since I was fifteen! I’m exhausted! Where is he?” Exactly where is he?
Elizabeth Gilbert travelled the world to find her true love in “Eat, Pray, Love,” even though she found love, the 12-year relationship recently ended. This makes me question whether there is such a thing as happily ever after. Does it exist? Maybe we need several chapters? A few good page-turners are okay; you must keep going forward like a book. I have always been and always will be a hopeless romantic.
Even as Katie swept the hair off Hubble’s forehead in “The Way, We Were,” I still hoped for a different outcome. It’s human nature to want and be loved; finding that special person to share that love with is the challenge.
As for “what’s next?” My next chapter? I hope there will be a handsome leading man, love and happiness, and lots of steamy bits, and yes, I want the part where they ride off into the sunset. But is that really too much to ask?