For those who have been following me on my journey, this may seem like an obvious question, what’s next? What is life like after 27 years of marriage, followed by separation and divorce? I’m trying to figure this out, and I know I’m not the only person out there asking the same question. 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?” Looking back at my wedding photos, not only were we both mere children, but what were the expectations? Now in my 50’s, 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 was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. I get it, Hilary! Nothing like having the rug pulled out from underneath you. LOL, I am not comparing myself to Hilary by any stretch of the imagination, but here’s a strong woman who was 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, made sure my happily ever after partner was tucked into his new home, safe and sound because you do this unconditionally. Right? I can’t even remember what was said or how I felt; it was as if I were having an out of body experience. I left his new home, 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,” 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 a lot of great years ahead of me 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, is there such a thing as happily ever after? Does it exist? Maybe we need several chapters? A few good page-turners, and that’s okay, like a book, you have to keep going forward. I have always been and always will be a hopeless romantic. Even as Katie swept the hair off of Hubble’s forehead in “The Way, We Were,” I was still hoping for a different outcome. It’s human nature to want love and to 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, lots of steamy bits, and yes, I want the part where they ride off into the sunset. Is that really too much to ask?