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Is Romance Really What You're Looking For?
People always seem to be hunting for romance, whether the “sweet” kind, where the boy next door turns out to be the answer to all our questions, or the ‘bodice-ripper’ kind, where adventure and passion overwhelm common sense and fulfill our every dream.
Women in particular are almost programmed to expect Prince Charming will eventually be waiting for them, in the form of a harmonious soulmate. Even if we don’t read the novels of Holt, Devereaux and Meier, or watch Pretty Woman or Sleepless in Seattle, we want that click of a good match, someone who fits our needs.
Humans, however, are an impatient race. Sometimes the one true soulmate isn’t in the picture when you’re ready for a partner. (I know this from experience.) So do we hold out for the exact one we’re seeking? Not usually. Far too many throw over the idea of Mr. Right for Mr. Right Now. This isn’t necessarily the end of your life, of course. If you’re truly drawn to someone, he or she has value for you. You just need to be wise about your choice, and what you allow to occur.
In my 22 years as a divorce attorney, I’ve seen many men and women who just need someone. This happens for various reasons. Some men are brought up to believe theirs is the role of financial provider, so they must have a partner to keep the house and raise the children. They may choose someone without examining that partner’s needs and expectations, and find the partner grows bored and restless in a subservient role. Persons of both sexes may believe they need to ‘fix’ someone they love, without realizing that some people choose not to be fixed and resent the effort to do so, causing both pain.
When we settle for the partner who might be in reach instead of waiting for the one who is right, we expose ourselves. If you meet your intended on the Internet, there is a good chance what he or she might have told you is not true. Unlike someone in your hometown, where you can ask questions and do some checking, there isn’t much chance for investigation when you’re 1000 miles away. Yet I’ve had clients who invited a stranger to live in their home—or abandoned their family to join the stranger elsewhere, just to meet that need to have someone. They are almost always disappointed in the long run. Divorce will set them free once again to find…what they need. Though it’s hard for many to believe, what they really seek they will find within themselves.
In A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, 50 writers offer encouragement to women taking that step again, examining ways women can thrive during their rebuilding time. I often encourage clients to do the same. Don’t rush. Take care of yourself. Let the healing come. Do what you love—art, music, writing. Especially writing. Even when the pain is so great that you can’t express it aloud to someone else, letting your words spill out onto paper gives a release.
Those of us who are professional writers use those releases in the characters we create, letting feelings of loss, love or triumph flesh themselves out for new people on the page. You may find it difficult to write about what you’ve never felt; but if you’ve been there, and you let that through into your own work, people will relate.
So whatever you seek, whatever you find, whether love, passion, failure, loneliness, or joy, experience the emotions to fullness and take what lessons they teach to move forward, either in your work or in your daily life.