My Ex Husband Made Me Feel I Wasn’t Good Enough, But…

I grew up believing that being single was an ailment and that everyone should have a partner. But life has taught me otherwise.

The greatest myth perpetuated by our society, media, and family alike is that finding a romantic partner from the opposite sex is the greatest source of pleasure and happiness. Heteronormativity and heterosexuality are in-built into the way girls and boys are raised in families. What is not taught to most of us is how to feel complete in ourselves. How to live alone and happy. The central focus on marriage does not allow us to discover ourselves as we seek happiness in another person. 

I know a few “happy” couples, but the fact is that they are a rarity. The bulk of heterosexual couples that I have seen have drifted apart emotionally, are not happy with each other, or are having communication issues. In short, they have not lived up to each other’s expectations. 

Research has proven that heterosexual couples tend to drift apart after they have children. They can have very different opinions and styles of parenting and may have to constantly negotiate child-rearing. Marital relationships entail a lot of work, especially when a couple cannot agree on key matters in their lives. 

Is being single such a hard thing?

Given this fact, a lot of young women and men prefer to stay single especially after having seen their parents suffer the perils of marriage and family rearing. But is being single such a hard thing after all? I too grew up believing that being single was an ailment and that everyone should have a partner. But life has taught me otherwise.

Having seen so many mismatched couples and divorces including my own, I have come to the conclusion that being single is much better than being with the wrong one. 

I separated from my spouse in the year 2011 and it was a heartbreaking experience. I was not sure if I would ever recover from this setback. But after 12 years I can confidently claim that a supportive community of parents, friends, and colleagues has helped me to live a happy life as a single woman. Over the last decade, I have developed strong friendships and bonds that keep me grounded as a socially connected person. My love for reading and writing has prevented me from feeling lonely. I have cultivated new hobbies like learning to cook regional cuisines and dancing. I have dived deeper into myself to understand my strengths and weaknesses which I was not doing while I was coupled. 

I was made to believe that I was not good enough, I was overthinking issues and making up things. I was seeing myself through the eyes of my partner who was far from perfect himself. Post my divorce I felt handicapped since a part of my life went missing. However, there were people in my life who helped me overcome this feeling of incompleteness. The best advice came from my mentors Harsh and Anu. 

Taking back my life into my own hands

Harsh saw my plight and suggested that I “drown” myself in work to find a sense of purpose in life. I think this is invaluable advice that can help people to recover from personal adversities.  

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Taking his advice, I did make work a priority but continued to feel a sense of emptiness within. I started searching for love online. The online method of finding a soulmate was not a great idea since I had some weird experiences which I have written about in my previous article here.

The second precious piece of advice came from Anu who said that love is a state of being and you don’t have to chase it to find it. To find or build a loving community that will accept you “as you are” is a path to happiness. With this advice, I stopped chasing marriage as an end goal in life and am focusing my energies on nurturing my friendships and my relationship with my students who are a great source of joy in my life. 

Apart from my super-supportive mentors and friends, reading inspirational quotes on social media has helped me overcome feelings of emptiness/incompleteness. I share some of those quotes here:

“Those who fly solo have the strongest wings” 

“You cannot pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first” 

“As you walk, the way will emerge” 

“If you lost someone but found yourself, you have won” 

There are several other quotes that have motivated me to go on positively with my life. In the end, I can only say that being single has given me the opportunity to know myself better. I am more aware of my own likes and dislikes, tolerance and intolerance, and strengths and weaknesses. I wake up each morning feeling thankful for the life I live, which enables me to celebrate myself in many different ways.

Editor’s Note: It’s the season of love, and especially romantic love. But what if you are not in a romantic relationship right now? We asked our readers to send in their #HappySolentine stories. 

Image source: a still from short film Sloshed 

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