I met my husband when I was 16. We had mutual friends who set us up and we instantly became inseparable. We spent our teenage years together and shared every waking moment together.
Our friends and family thought we were crazy and that our relationship was too intense. My friends were constantly angry at me for choosing to be with him over them. His friends thought he was “whipped”. We didn’t care. We thought they were all jealous and concentrated on what we thought was important – us!
Against our parents wishes, we decided to go to the same University together. To us it seemed perfectly logical. We were shocked that they even suggested us being apart. It was like no one understood the depth of our love. We were best friends and lovers. Being apart was not an option.
Our relationship continued to thrive through University. We were focused on our studies and each other. We made new friends as a couple. Our lives were so intertwined it was as if we were one person.
People kept warning us that this wasn’t healthy. That relationships like ours don’t last, and that we need to take a break to explore other people.
We would hear nothing of it.
We got engaged right after University and started our family soon after. In our 30’s we would discuss how we defied the odds. That our relationship was still strong despite all the challenges that go with marriage, kids, career and family.
When we hit our mid 40’s things started to change. Our kids were older and moving on with their lives and although we still loved each other we were both bored. We had been together almost 30 years and the reality was that neither of us had really lived and gone through the proper milestones of young adulthood. We had been acting like a married couple since we were 16 and missed all the experiences that shape a young person into becoming an adult.
We decided we needed to take a break. We still loved each other desperately but we both needed to find some independence. We needed to not only have flings and one night stands and be totally irresponsible but also find our own passions. We had been so responsible our whole lives. We both needed to find who we were as individuals.
We separated when I was 46. We said we would take a year apart to explore and find ourselves.
It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I had never been on my own. I didn’t really know what I liked – I only knew what we liked. It was a year of self exploration.
I saw a Life Coach who really helped me uncover who I was and what I liked to do. I discovered I loved to paint and had a passion for travel.
It was an exciting and scary time as everything was new. I spent a lot of time on my own and really loved my new experiences but missed my other half.
As I write this today, we are trying to find a way back to eachother. We are in therapy trying to find a way to maintain our independence but still be a couple. Our therapist has been amazing and has really made us to take a look at our co-dependent relationship. We both now realize that it was not healthy for either of us and we are really trying to figure out how we can make it work.
I am hopeful that we will get back together. But if it doesn’t work, I know that I am now okay to be me!