November 13, 2014

Why I Married Myself.

Photo: Dennis Skley

“Jessica, you may be addicted to love.”

My therapist said this on a gloomy San Francisco afternoon, interrupting my sobbing over yet another heartbreak.

“Wait, you mean with that Florence and The Machine song?” I laughed nervously, staring at the knockoff Persian carpet, looking to escape in its dense garden. My therapist gently assured me:

You are seeking the love you are not giving yourself by getting attached to every man who gives you attention. The way to recover is learning to source this love from within.

Three months earlier, lying in bed on a Saturday evening, Tinder matched me up with a curly-haired man who loved “entrepreneurship, spirituality and kickboxing.”

He instantly messaged me asking for my number; my heart promptly started racing for what was to come. I knew I was not going to see him for at least a month since he was on the other coast, so we resolved to strip our souls through writing.

Within a week, he said “I love you.” We made plans to travel together to India and revealed to one other our deepest secrets.

A month later, when he got back to San Francisco, we met in person. Things had changed. He was not the intense, enamored Prince Charming I awaited. He was cold and distant. After dinner and a glass of wine for one, I ended up alone in my bed, staring at the ceiling, pondering why I was rejected again.

I was turning 30. My Instagram stream of cute babies and glamorous getaway weddings was growing exponentially, and so was my dating life: a series of intense beginnings and bitter endings.

I knew that something about me needed to change.

Instead of continuing the search for a man to save me, buy me a diamond ring and shower me with love, I followed my therapist’s advice and took three months of romance-abstinence to explore and nurture self-love and acceptance.

I asked myself out on dates.

I watched an Egyptian documentary, tried out the new vegan spot in my neighborhood, went on endless walks and, at times, just stayed in and cooked dinner for one.

And just like that, I began falling in love…with me.

Six months later at Burning Man, I felt ready to pop the question. I asked myself for my own hand in marriage during sunrise. After saying yes, I repeated my vows:

Jessica, I promise to encourage your spontaneity because that is what makes you unique and wonderful.

I promise to honor your dreams because through them the world will shine brighter.

I promise to embrace adventures and new beginnings together and support you to grow and become your better, wiser self.

I promise to be there throughout your challenges and to forgive you again and again.

Lastly, I promise you unconditional love and boundless trust, for there is no one in the world I would rather be with.

I celebrated surrounded by strangers who blessed my wedding over bubbles and music. Here is why I married myself, and why it is important that you marry yourself, too:

1. Accountability.

No matter how many people are in our lives and how amazing our partners are, we are the sole owners of our happiness. As the writer and poet Gebran Khalil Gebran put it: “Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.”

To me, marrying myself was my way of taking responsibility for my wellbeing and happiness—to steer away from blaming others and playing the victim.

2. Practice.

Long-term relationships, let alone marriages, are, in big part, work that needs to be done on both sides.

Committing to my vows every day, forgiving myself, being compassionate and supporting the pursuit of my dreams has prepared me for an amazing relationship to come.

Marrying yourself can help you practice skills that are essential to a long-term partnership.

3. Commitment.

Why do people marry if they can just be together? Public commitment makes it less likely for you to back down. In this case, telling the world I am committed to loving myself is my way to strengthen this promise and serve as an inspiration to others in my community.

What will you do?

A friend once told me: “I don’t trust people who can’t be single.”

My one and a half years of being single have taught me that only now can I trust my decisions, that when I choose to be with a man it is out of partnership rather than dependency, not because I need him to exist, not because I need to be seen.

And that is why everyone should marry himself or herself. If you cannot commit to yourself, you won’t truly ever commit to anyone else.

If you cannot forgive yourself, you will live in a life full of blame. And if these arguments don’t sell you, think about it this way:

Who’s a better person to spend the rest of your life with than your truly beautiful, wild, radiant and awesomely human self?

If you feel inspired, organize a small ceremony with your friends, or simply take 30 minutes and write your own vows. And if you live in San Francisco, join our #imarrymyself party on January 10.

If you end up getting married to yourself, be sure to have a big party because it is the best thing you could do for the world.



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Author: Jessica Semaan

Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Dennis Skley via Flickr


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