I was in my weekly therapy appointment last week, going over my latest updates and struggles, but feeling pretty positive about my current life. I’m in a holding pattern right now, waiting for the next step and the next meeting, but trying not to obsess over it. I’m calm, happy, and feeling accomplished most days.
Such a huge change from the rollercoaster feelings I was a dealing with only a couple of months ago.
As always, my therapist is really supportive and validating – something I was incredibly uncomfortable with in the beginning, believe it or not. I try to take responsibility when I can, and sometimes when I really shouldn’t have to honestly, but she usually steers me to a place where it is okay to say “I did my best, and maybe it wasn’t enough for the other person, but that’s okay.”
Then she asked me a question I didn’t expect.
“What have you learned?”
I sat there, eyes blinking while I stared at her. I think I even held my breath for a moment, while I mulled over the question searching for an answer.
What have I learned? I didn’t think I was supposed to be asking myself this yet. Isn’t that the question you ask once the divorce is final, and you can look back at it in the rearview mirror? Maybe even five years down the road?
I didn’t know that there would be a test already!
But surprisingly, to myself, I had an answer. It came to me while watching reality TV the last month or so, odd but true, and I had no idea that it was even a question at the time.
I started watching “Married at First Sight” this season, and now I am completely committed to watching it until the end. It’s a social experiment, where experts match up couples who agree to marry without ever meeting. Married at first sight. Legal and binding. They agree to stay married for at least six weeks, then they have to make a decision to stay together or get divorced.
It’s honestly taught me a lot about relationships and why we struggle to make them work. It comes down to communication. That’s where it all begins and ends. Whether you’ve just met, or been together for twenty years, if you aren’t truly communicating your wants and needs you will struggle, and possibly fail.
The idea is so simple, and yet, most of us are not very good at it. Some of us are afraid to even try, fearing the imagined fallout or breakup because it may not be well received.
So, I have learned that I need to communicate better to have fulfilling relationships. And not only for my love life, but for my everyday with everyone life. I need to communicate my wants and needs, my boundaries and my expectations. Sometimes it will not go well, and that’s okay, I will survive and possibly make better relationship decisions in the end.
Who knew that I would grow from such a dark place in my life? I guess there are always opportunities to learn in every situation, good or bad, you just have to look for it.