Whether you’re currently single, engaged, or married…this one is for you.
Back when I was engaged, part of my experience with anxiety was this plaguing question of “HOW CAN I POSSIBLY KNOW I’M WITH THE ‘RIGHT’ PERSON”?
I was (and still am) with an incredible man. A kind, thoughtful, and emotionally intelligent man. Someone who cared about me; who loved me like everything. Someone I loved deeply.
I guilted myself for even having the question. I resisted it and tried to tell myself it was silly, because, of course – he fit the bill in so many ways, it would be fine.
Everything would work out, forevermore…right?
But the question found me, time and time again, whether I was heading home from a long day of work, or looking through table settings and samples.
How could I know he’s the ONE?
As millennials, we like to know. We value information, facts, and prefer to have immediate access to all of the aforementioned.
I tell people this all the time: becoming a couples therapist and relationship coach saved me in many ways. Had I let my anxiety take the reins, no doubt I probably would have catastrophized my relationship to its demise. Even worse, I probably would have found a way to make it out to have been my partner’s fault, rather than myself. Defensiveness is one of my maladaptive coping skills.
Ouch. The truth hurts sometimes, right?
Thank goodness I didn’t get to that point. Instead, I came to learn what relationships truly are, and what that stirring I felt inside of me was. In retrospect, I was still growing, becoming, and shifting as an individual. What I was feeling on a very real, physiological level was the reality that “the One” doesn’t exist.
There is not just “one” version of my partner.
He was still growing, becoming, and shifting as an individual, too. He still is today. So am I.
The reality is that, who I am now, even compared to myself all those years ago, is a different person.
When we sign up for “forever”, we must realize that we aren’t agreeing to freeze ourselves in time and remain who we are at the time of that proclamation. No, we must realize that we are choosing to take on a huge journey with another person who wants to do the same.
I had no idea that the anxiety I felt was leading me to a deeper understanding of the opportunity ahead of me: the true risk of being in a relationship. The reality that, at some point or another, I will change, and my partner will too.
Can I commit to showing up for him as he does that? Can I commit to showing up for myself and holding space for my needs as I change in this relationship, too?
When you choose to say yes to those questions…everything changes. For the better.
THAT is the ultimate gift of commitment. The safety and security of a relationship to grow, change, and transform within ourselves, together.
I have embraced that I will have more than one relationship and marriage with my husband.
Thinking this way allows me to experience every frustration, conflict, and the growing pains we have as an invitation to level up and grow together.
“Instead of looking for a person who checks all the boxes, focus on a person with whom you can imagine yourself writing a story with that entails edits and revisions.” – Esther Perel