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A Place To Think About Your Life

We had been dating for about six months.  I noticed that the relationship was becoming more tense and that my husband was beginning to call less often and seemed nervous and aloof when we were together.  In my world when someone started to pull away, my natural instinct was to go into pleasing mode.  As I tried to do everything right and make life more comfortable for him, he pulled away more.  The reality of what life could be together was starting to unfold.

Six months seems to be the turning point in a relationship. The excitement is starting to dim and real personalities start to show up.  You can no longer hide stress from your job, kid’s behavior problems, financial worries and goals that are not being met.  I was starting to cling and he was moving in the other direction.

I did not handle this situation very well.  My emotional immaturity was starting to become a problem for him and for me.  I was responsible in every other way in my daily life but in my quest to please I had not developed “Sherry” — I was just who people needed me to be.  I had no goals or dreams for myself and was terrified at the thought of my life without a partner.  Looking back, I missed some growth steps by not slowing down and taking more time alone after my divorce.

For my husband’s part, he was realizing that he would need to be more present and responsible to not only me but my two kids.  When I met him he was working eighteen hour days, seven days a week opening his own restaurant.  This was how he coped with his own divorce emotions. He threw himself into a career that required his entire mind, body and spirit.  He started taking a day off a week once we started dating and I began to do his laundry (oh my – BIG mistake on my part).   If laundry was all that kept us connected, trouble was ahead.

He called one night and told me all of this was too much for him.  I felt my whole body go numb.  As hard as it was going to be, I needed to stop seeing him — at least I was smart enough to not keep going after someone who was running in the other direction.  I had my kids and I had my job.  I needed to make those two things my priority in life.   I needed to really be on my own.   I made two decisions that made me a more independent girl.

I had been living with a cousin and her two teenage kids and I moved into my own apartment.  I had my own furniture and set up a great bedroom for my kids.  I will never forget this apartment, it was the place where I learned to be alone and be okay.  I was co-parenting with my ex-husband and we were starting to develop a routine and have discussions about our kids again.  I made sure there was a pool and activities for the kids.  It was a start to learning what I wanted with my life.   It would become the beginning of knowing that creating a home that was my haven was essential to my spirit.

The second decision was to go back to college.  I found a great program to enhance my career at the local university.  I decided that once I completed this extension program, I was on my way to increasing my income.  It took four long years to complete but I learned to not give up when things got difficult.  Not going to college after high school had been one of my biggest regrets.  I learned it is never too late to go back to school–education would become my individual goal and gave me my confidence.  This was not the only time it would give me my life back. It happened again years later.

Then — the phone rang and he asked me to pick him up at the airport . . .  Next up–did I go?

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