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.