My life will have been useless if I am not married with children before 30.
These thoughts consumed my mind in my 20s. My only goal was to find someone who would stay with me.
I love hard. I love without boundaries. Without conditions. I believed that the only force strong enough to change a person was love.
So, I loved until my bones hurt. I loved until I couldn’t breathe without that person by my side.
I excused yelling, cheating, and the extinguishing of my own light so that I could have the dream.
But here’s the thing about that dream:
We have been systematically brainwashed into believing our worth is only important if it has been claimed by another person. We have been taught that we are only valuable if another person agrees we are valuable enough to commit forever to.
We brand women in their 30s who are single as difficult. We assume they have not found the right partner because they are not worthy.
When my partner cheated, the first time, I remember crying on the phone to my brother. I said, “Part of me doesn’t even care. Part of me just thinks things are good enough as is and I should just block it out.”
So I did. I took him back at the expense of my own flame so that I could appear to have it all together. If I left a two-year relationship, I viewed that as a failure. I viewed those years as a giant waste if I chose to leave. So, I stayed.
Listen carefully to what I am about to say. You are not a broken man’s reason for being broken. Your unconditional love cannot glue his broken pieces back together.
If you think he will change, I assure you he will not. If he promises therapy, and promises to never take his phone to the bathroom again, and promises to delete social media, he is merely panicking, and you are merely prolonging the inevitable.
If the man you love is broken, that does not equate to you being broken. If you stay for five years, ten years, or even twenty, you have the right to walk away. Those larger years do not equate to larger failures. They equate to larger victories.
You are strong. You are worthy. You are bright.
I assure you a good man will not drive you over the edge. A good man will not have you checking around the corner. He will not have you feeling the need to express out loud how bad cheating is in hopes he will hear it and agree.
A good man will not have to be taught anything. He will arrive, only to enhance your life—not to become it.
So here we are, ready to love again—but this time not without conditions.