I had one of my close friends call me last night and tell me that her marriage of 18 years is about over. I listened to her reasons and I wasn’t surprised to hear her saying the same things I was saying just a few months before. As I mentioned a little bit in my last post, I haven’t been writing on my blog because I was going through my own “selfish” phase (although at the time I didn’t see it that way, it took stepping back and finding out what was really important to realize that is what it was, me being selfish).
This post is going to be very self-revealing but every one of us has our own trials and weaknesses, so I hope you will stick with me and that someone will benefit from what I have learned (and hopefully not make the same mistake).
Here is my story – a few months ago I got a Facebook note from one of my guy “friends” - It was a guy I haven’t seen since I was 14 (22 years ago). I have a cardinal rule not to chat or e-mail members of the opposite sex (especially if I have ever had a crush on them). I debated writing him back. He had only sent a small note saying that he thought I looked nice in one of my pictures (of course it made me feel good, everyone likes a compliment right?) Well I debated about writing him back for several days, (I knew deep down inside that I shouldn’t) but there was something I had wanted to ask him since the last time I saw him (in 8th grade) so I gave in to temptation, thus breaking my own rule.
We wrote a couple more times (quite innocently at first) and then of course a little more flirtatious. I wasn’t keeping it secret from my husband, I had told him about the first time he wrote me and I even discussed what I wrote to my “friend” but I was still being private. I knew nothing could physically happen between the two of us (he lives in another country) but it felt nice to get showered with attention, especially at a time when my self-esteem was lacking.
Pretty soon I started to notice little things that “bugged” me about my husband, and how “bad” he treated me. I started to question my happiness and everything around me “was I happy just being a mom and wife, was there more for me out there, was I missing out on something, did I need time just for ME?” etc.” I was in the “me” mode, I was only concerned with me (although at the time I didn’t see it that way, I was blaming everyone else for my “unhappiness.”)
I knew I needed to stop writing this guy, but it was almost like an addiction (I needed his attention it seemed). Finally, my husband said to me “you are acting like you did when you left me.” (For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I were separated and ultimately divorced and remarried during the fourth year of our marriage). I was surprised he was so perceptive to how I was feeling; I thought I was acting normal, probably trying to act more “normal” than usual, but he picked up on it.
I finally wrote this guy and told him I couldn’t write him anymore (it was hard to let go, even though I hadn’t even seen him in person and what did he mean to me anyway? NOTHING!)
I am writing about this and exposing my own faults because I have witnessed so many of my peers (women in their thirties, married with children) start feeling like they needed something MORE, needed something else, needed what the world deems as happiness. It may first start with innocent chatting with someone of the opposite sex and pretty soon you “realize” how “unhappy” you are.
“A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence.” Julie B. Beck
So what is the end result of us (women and men) being selfish? Ultimately our children are the ones who suffer. During an especially trying day my son said to me “mom, are you going to run away?” I knew I could never leave my children; I could never hurt them by giving up just because of some selfish reason of me wanting “more.”
After I ended my “relationship” with my friend, I had to find new ways to start loving my husband again, finding even small things that I remembered I used to adore about him. I started focusing my time and energy on him and my children and getting away from the computer. I ultimately quit my job that required me to be on the computer for several hours a day (thus helping suppress my need to go online). The confidence in knowing I have been entrusted with these five beautiful children was enough to help me realize that I didn’t need MORE. I needed to be a MOM.
“It is unfortunately, all too easy to illustrate the confusion and distortion of womanhood in contemporary society. Immodest, immoral, intemperate women jam the airwaves, monopolize magazines and slink across movie screens – all while being celebrated by the world…. I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors.” M. Russell Ballard