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22 April 2008 @ 05:29 am
Fear of Being Alone  
The fear of being alone is one of the forces keeping battered women from leaving their husbands. Our society constantly reinforces the notion that we are somehow deficient if we do not have a mate. One would think we were being herded into the Ark. Must pair up, now, and make the ship in time.

I remember being frozen by this fear in my first marriage. I think that attracting a husband allowed me to feel that I had overcome my father's abandonment. Hey, a man wants me! So what if the first man in my life walked away? But if I walked away from him, did it still count? What would it mean if I was alone?

Seeing so many divorces in my family also kept me from wanting to give up too soon. I don't know when I thought was too soon--before I was completely broken and in the hospital?

I am also very stubborn and I wasn't going to give up before I had tried everything I could think of. I wasn't willing to fail at this important endeavor.

So I stuck it out through abuse, through sub-standard housing, through homelessness, poverty, and finally, adultery disguised as "taking a second wife."

I was amazed to find out that when I gave up, admitted this wasn't going to work, and sent the letter that set me free following our separation, that being alone wasn't this scary thing I had made it out to be. Like a lot of things in life, the fear of what might be is worse than the thing itself.

I didn't marry again for another fifteen years. It sounds lonely but my life was full of children, friends, and teachers. I knew that if I wasn't to betray myself again I had to fully develop my own identity and be fulfilled within myself. If I approached another marriage from the point of view that I was empty and needed someone else to fulfill me, it would fail too.

When I was ready, I met the man who truly valued me just as I am. Such a man is not attracted to the desperately lonely woman who wants to take on his life because she lacks her own.

Life with Dave is an adventure where I have learned to accept being nurtured and valued and treasured. These are not things I am used to, and at times I revert to the feeling that I don't deserve to be treated so well. When I do, Dave is here to remind me of all that I bring to him in return.

While my marriage is fulfilling, I remind myself also that no one person can meet all of our needs. I have a full life with friends, my daughter, my grandsons, online communities, and of course the foundation of all, my Goddess.
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aimeefleagirl on April 22nd, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
tapati, i am very much enjoying reading your histories here - even as i want to hug and rescue the 20-year-old you from what i know is coming!

thank you for these posts.
Tapatitapati on April 22nd, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, it's good to know. I realize it can be heavy material at times.

This first run through is just to establish the bare bones of events and help me organize my writing, identify themes, and so on. But if there are things you are particularly hoping to know more about as I flesh it out, let me know. Or questions that occur to you, etc.

Given the odd cultural context of the Hare Krishna years, knowing if there is anything about that scene that I should explain more or clarify is useful to.

I find myself wanting to give my younger self a hug too--but I'm here and safe now. :)
3treekisser: Sunflowers3treekisser on April 22nd, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
+++Life with Dave is an adventure where I have learned to accept being nurtured and valued and treasured. These are not things I am used to, and at times I revert to the feeling that I don't deserve to be treated so well. When I do, Dave is here to remind me of all that I bring to him in return.

While my marriage is fulfilling, I remind myself also that no one person can meet all of our needs. I have a full life with friends, my daughter, my grandsons, online communities, and of course the foundation of all, my Goddess.+++

*sigh* Happy endings...I'm a sucker for them.
Tapatitapati on April 22nd, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Just remember, they're not like in the fairy tales. Real happy endings take ongoing work. Maybe we should call them happy ongoings...
3treekisser: Waterlily3treekisser on April 22nd, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
*jaw drops*

I LOVE that phrase!

And I think it sounds even more hopeful than happy endings, even if it takes constant work.
Tapatitapati on April 23rd, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, that was really off the cuff.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on April 23rd, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Maybe we should call them happy ongoings...

I agree. I don't really believe in "happy endings" or "fairy tale endings" or whatever; never have.
litlebananalitlebanana on April 22nd, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
That is very well said. I had a lot of abandonment issues from my dad and I definitely always judged a lot of my worth on being with a man. There were a couple of guys I was with before my husband that I almost married and I know for sure that would have crashed and burned. It was just dumb luck that my husband is actually a good person who respects me, because I notoriously made really bad choices with men.
Tapatitapati on April 23rd, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
It seems to be a pattern for a lot of us. I wonder if the marriage stats would improve if we could somehow raise our girls to NOT feel like they need to be validated by a man.

I'm really happy you lucked out in the end. :)
litlebananalitlebanana on April 23rd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Part of the problem, I think, is that as women get into their 30s, it is definitely harder to meet good men who want a commitment. Most of the men like that are already taken. And I knew this very well, even at age 20, because I had watched my mother be single in her 30s.
Tapatitapati on April 23rd, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
I found one at age 37 by being willing to disregard an age difference. Creativity and widening one's vision can help a great deal.

And Dave didn't think he wanted a commitment--he wasn't looking for marriage. Then he fell in love with me and that changed everything.

I have a friend who got remarried in her sixties when she really had resigned herself to living alone.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on April 23rd, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
II think that attracting a husband allowed me to feel that I had overcome my father's abandonment. Hey, a man wants me!

As a teen, my grandmother always told me I wasn't attractive, that I wasn't ever good enough, nobody wanted me, nobody ever would want me, I'd never get married, nobody would ever love me - on and on and on. So I married the first man who said "I love you." Big mistake. But I guess we all have to learn somewhere somehow, yes? o.O

{{HUGS}}
Tapatitapati on April 23rd, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
This is typical of what an abusive man will tell his wife so she won't think she can leave him and do better.

I'm so sorry she said those things to you!

{{{HUGS}}} right back!
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on April 23rd, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
It really made an impact in how I directed my life, that's for sure.