It has taken me all of 40 years to understand what it takes to maintain a healthy romantic relationship—and I still don’t get it right all the time.
Looking back, I think I made it much more difficult than it needed to be. I viewed each partner, not as a partner at all, but as someone who I was constantly competing with. It was exhausting.
I was never taught how to be in a relationship and trust me, that is something that should be taught. When you are dealing with another person’s heart, you can’t go in all willy-nilly.
I’ve told my story many times and I don’t feel the need to rehash it here. You all know I’ve been married and divorced twice. First, two a bigamist (RIP) and second to someone who was too young, and I felt like I was raising him along with our kids. I wasn’t the best wife, but I wasn’t the worst either. I tried until I couldn’t anymore. The marriages failed but I am not a failure.
I’m often asked if I want to get married again. I know that I don’t want to get divorced again. I am currently in a good relationship. We respect each other and work hard to give each other what is needed to make the relationship last. We have hit some bumps in the road, but we always find our way back to each other. I know that being with him is far better than not being with him.
No on asked but if I had one piece of advice to give it would be this: just put the needs of the other person ahead of your own. Of course, there are caveats … don’t be a doormat, recognize when you’re being taken advantage of and act accordingly. But for the most part, I’ve learned that if I put his needs first, he’ll do the same and everyone is happy. It sounds simple, but it isn’t always easy. We’re both strong, independent introverts and we are used to doing for ourselves and not asking for help. However, if we continue to communicate openly than we are able to navigate through the more challenging moments.
As I journey 56, I know that the mistakes that I made in past relationships do not dictate the state of my current relationship.