WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT GETTING MARRIED
It’s a terrifying thing when love finally works.
When I was single and everyone around me seemed not to be, it was almost impossible to imagine myself ever wanting to walk (correction: RUN) away from a happy, stable relationship.
Yet, that’s how I’ve sometimes felt over the last three months since I got engaged to my beloved Joey Wilderness.
(Not a common admission from a bride to be, I know).
The truth is that there are moments I’m overcome with gratitude, excitement and even a sense of relief that my future is officially hitched to my forever person’s.
And there are other times when I’m fucking terrified.
What if us bringing the government into our bedroom is a bad idea?
What if it isn’t?
Who will I be with you in the years ahead?
Who would I be without you?
‘Til death do us part’ is a pretty hefty commitment. And an uncertain one. Could mean five years. Could mean five minutes. Who knows?
Why does no one ever tell you about the comforting dread of ‘FOREVER’ when it comes to crossing the threshold?
What I do know in my bones is that this dread - this sporadic, fumbling panic that comes in waves - has nothing to do with Joe. And it has nothing to do with our relationship.
I know he’s my one – knew it from the moment our eyes met in that valley rave (at least, my soul knew it; my head was warbled and fuzzy from hella red wine).
I also know that I’d feel this comforting dread with any partner I ended up with, because committing to marriage strips me of the one vital freedom that my entire identity had once been founded upon:
My freedom to seduce any man I felt intrigued by.
(Yes, sometimes even the ones that were ‘off limits’; they – unfortunately – often carried the greatest sense of victory; forbidden fruit is always the most tempting).
You see, picking up men was my thing.
I excelled at it the same way my Ex excelled at making perfect roll ups, or my friend Amy nails a witty comeback during every argument.
It was all a ludicrous turn on to me.
That moment you feel their eyes on you from the other side of the bar.
The thrill and anticipation of what excuse they’ll come up with to spark conversation.
The dizzying high from knowing you hold all the cards (and will do until the moment you give it all up in the hope that love-making will somehow equate to you feeling loved).
I reveled in the fact that it wasn’t down to my looks – or even my sense of humour or talent. I had friends who were prettier, funnier and way more gifted than I was. But, they couldn’t always guarantee a hook-up the way I could.
It’s not that I could get any one, but I could always get ONE.
And one was enough.
It took getting engaged and becoming a Love Coach for me to realise that the simple reason I picked up guys so consistently was because I expected to.
Expectation is a by-product of repeated success (or failure) in one area. And I was repeatedly successful at this game because I had to be. It was my lifeline, the one thing I could grasp on to when everything else felt so frighteningly untethered.
And now I have no need to pick up a man to make me feel worth something.
Now I know my worth, and I also know what a precious treasure I’ve been entrusted with in Joe giving me his heart.
So, maybe the comforting dread is not something we need to fear or feel guilty about.
Maybe – if Moulin Rouge is anything to go by (and it is), the comforting dread of commitment is actually a sign that we’re finally ready for the greatest thing we’ll ever learn:
Just to love, and be loved in return.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever struggled – or succeeded – to ‘pick up’ a romantic partner?
What has it taught you about yourself?
I’d love you to share it with me in the comments below.