I remember my first boyfriend. I had never been in love before and I couldn’t believe that someone actually loved me back. It was incredible. I thought we would get married but he didn’t want to, not to me anyway, which in hindsight was a huge blessing. At the time though, it was devastating. I’d never been in such pain. I was depressed. I tried to date again but couldn’t because somewhere in the back of my mind, a huge realization was dawning.
This - this breakup, rip-your-heart-out business - could happen, again.
My ex arrived half way through 25. In my mind, I’d already spent an awful lot of time waiting, looking, hoping for “the one”. I wasn’t being Pollyanna with regards to our relationship. I deeply believed my dating days were done. Having never been in love before, it just didn’t occur to me that the relationship I’d banked my entire life on, might end.
Plan A was be successful at my career; get married; and have kids, in that order. What was Plan B? Unnecessary, I thought. I had always been goal oriented and driven.
But this could happen, again! Once I’d had that nasty thought, it kept reasserting itself in my mind and the more it did the more I pushed it away.
Stop it, I told myself. You’ll never meet someone with all that negative thinking. You will get married. That’s what you’re supposed to do. But the thought wouldn’t go away. It kept nudging me.
That’s when my friend Rachel’s mother asked me something that blew my mind. I was convulsively wailing in Rachel’s living room about why he couldn’t, what he wanted and what he thought until Rachel’s mom interrupted me, “But what do YOU want?”.
It stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn’t know.
Maybe it was her Irish accent? Maybe it was the fact that she raised her voice? Whatever it was, that question echoed in my ears and reverberated in my heart. That’s when it dawned on me, I was Plan B.
So many of us get so caught up in the hunt for him that the lives we’d really like to live, all of those possibilities become a “wait and see.” I want to buy a house but I want to buy it with someone. I want to go to Paris but it’s too romantic to go alone. I want to study abroad or do my MBA but then I’ll have to break up with the guy who I’ve been dating for the last 4 years and who I’ve put in all this time with, so he will propose.
We twist our needs and desires into anything that our relationships demand because we truly believe that once we get “him”, that will be the end of it. We certainly don’t want to consider the possibility that we might have to start ALL over again.
I’m not suggesting you give up the hunt for him or don’t fall in love or get married. But is it possible that in your rush to get him, you’ve stopped getting yourself? He could die. He could cheat. He could fire your ass as his wife. Now what?
In her book, Loving What Is: Four Questions that Can Change Your Life Byron Katie writes, “The voice within is what I'm married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes or no comes from. That's my true partner. It's always there.”
What’s holding you back from being who you want to be or doing what you want to do? Are you waiting for him? Are your dreams Plan B?