Let's talk dating again. And relationships. And divorce. And genuine friendship.
I realize, after an 18 year marriage - which honestly, was MOSTLY good - that I'm addicted to having a best friend by my side day and night. I have friends that never saw this in their marriages, so I really feel blessed to have a point I can look towards in determining my next relationship.
I always considered, especially the first 3 quarters or more of my marriage to be very happy and in fact blissful. She was my best friend for all that time. We did daily walks together. We went on weekly dates. We checked on each other regularly to see how we were doing. It was actually the things that distracted from that which probably led to the failing of the marriage. Quite honestly she and I are building that back again now as friends even though it's clear the marriage can't remain. I hope that continues.
I'm realizing it wasn't even the romantic elements of the marriage - sex, the physical, kisses, holding hands, etc, that are what I miss most (although those were very nice "icing on the cake" that perhaps I focused on too much during the marriage) - that I liked most. It's the genuine friendship and connection, almost 24/7, with an individual that wanted the same with me for almost 18 years. I truly, truly miss that. She'll always have that place in my heart. So I have almost 18 years with an individual I can set as the standard - the bar - that any future mate needs to meet.
I'm currently reading the book, "Codependent No More", which has been fascinating. It talks about the idea of not wanting to control other people in your life in areas you really can't control. Have an alcoholic spouse (I didn't)? Stop trying to control them into overcoming their alcoholism! Married to a porn addict (as most marriages are)? Stop with the control and instead look within on how you can protect YOURSELF and take care of yourself. Is it the porn that's the issue, or some other element within that is preventing the strong connection of your relationship from blooming? Or do you need to detach entirely to protect yourself? You get the point.
I'm realizing this desire for this 24/7 connection with someone again is somewhat an addiction for me. I'm going through withdrawals. Not as much as they used to be, but they come back here and there. I keep seeking friendships - I've recently realized they don't even need to be romantic - but in those I begin to want that connection 24/7 with the friendships with an individual when they may not have the same feelings for me, even as just a friendship. Sometimes it's overwhelming for them. And that's codependency.
So perhaps this is a conversation. Are there other divorcees out there that have experienced a wonderful friendship for most of their marriage and have seen this similar withdrawal? How have you coped? Is desire for 24/7 friendship a good thing (it certainly was for me when I actually experienced it)? Or do we need to stop relying so much on friendships and instead figure out how to get along by ourselves without these close friends by our side?
I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts - please feel free to start a conversation below!