In the four plus years since I’ve been separated and then divorced, I’ve evolved my self-awareness more than any other time I can remember in my life. At first, a lot of it was not necessarily self-affirming. In fact, a lot of my self-awareness came through plights that felt downright ugly. I went through a self-evaluation of my worth as a human, as a mother, as a life partner. Just as the court’s custody evaluator scrutinized every part of my capability as a mother, I scrutinized every part of my capability as a worthy human being.
As I mentioned in Exposing Me, I never questioned my decision to divorce for one moment. It was survival instinct. But once I felt an ounce of safety from my former life, I was haunted by the decisions, the attitudes, and the personal flaws that had landed me in the situation in the first place.
How did I get there? What were the signs? Which ones did I see and ignore? Why did I ignore them? Why did I keep going as long as I did? And then there were the questions of those around me – my family, and the few friends I had left. Their questions haunted me almost as much as my own… …Why didn’t I say something way back when xyz happened? Why did I keep my mouth closed? How did you take it for as long as you did? Why didn’t you ask for help?
Even as I write this, I take great pause after those questions. I’ve figured some of them
out. Not all of them, but a good many. I’m not sure that all of them are
meant to be answered quite yet. It’s all part of my journey. But some of the key
things that were downright ugly at first glance I have come to appreciate in
The one theme that arose from all of these questions and all this introspection was Trust.
As I evolve in a relationship that feels like it has potential to be incredibly fulfilling, this post-divorce trust puzzle feels like it has a million pieces to fit together. As I’ve sifted through the pieces, I’ve discovered four main parts of the puzzle so far.
The first part of the puzzle seems to be about trusting this new found love interest – are his intentions genuine? , are his words honest? , do his commitments of words turn into actions? , is this a person I could trust with my children?
A second section of the puzzle appears to be about trusting my own judgment, my instincts, my feelings – are my instincts accurate? , are my feelings grounded? , am I ignoring any warning signs like I did in the past? , is my judgment clouded by my feelings of attraction?
The third section of the puzzle seems to be dedicated to a theme of whether or not the decision to trust is worth the potential fall-out of being wrong.
And the final part of the puzzle seems to be focused on the idealistic viewpoint – the sappy, romantic believer that says there are people out there with big hearts and big love like my own, that are just waiting to find the same in a woman so they can trust too.
I don’t know if I have all of the pieces for the puzzle yet. It is certainly a challenging one to put together so far. I’ve changed my attitude toward this puzzle, for now at least. Instead of trying to get it all put together right away, I’m going to leave it out on a table and try to put a few pieces together each day. So what if takes a long time to complete?