Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Three to Five Years: There Are No Shortcuts...
And ain't THAT the truth.
Still, we think we should get there faster. Whether "there" is getting over our husband's betrayal. Or, perhaps, "there" is no longer caring that he's with the other woman because you're separated. Perhaps "there" is feeling ready to date again. Or maybe "there" is no longer beating yourself up for something that was never your fault in the first place.
But wherever "there" is for you...you're likely not reaching it nearly as quickly as you think you should.
And, I believe, you won't.
It's gonna take a whole lot longer than you expect.
But that's okay. Because, if you take your time... if you really do the hard work necessary to peel back the layers of pain and really turn them all over in your mind and heart, when you do get there, you won't need to keep looking over your shoulder to make sure heartbreak isn't gaining on you.
Three to five years, say the experts. Three to five years!
Yep, I know it sounds like an eternity. I'm with you. For gawd's sake, I could have conceived and given birth to an entire basketball team in that time.
But – and I speak from experience here – I'm finally starting to feel as if I'm wearing my own skin again. And it has been – get ready for it! – two months shy of FOUR YEARS.
When I first heard the three- to five-year timeline – about one month after D-Day – I didn't believe it. Didn't want to. Figured that maybe it takes OTHER people that long. But I'll just fast-track this healing stuff and be back on my feet in a few months.
That was around the time I was face down on my bathroom floor, sobbing into my dog's neck (who, incidentally, was just diagnosed with bone cancer. Honestly, can't I catch a break?? Please??).
It was around the time I had lost 15 pounds without even trying (I'll be honest – the highlight of my day was stepping on the scales...then I'd go back to feeling miserable) and I didn't bother applying any makeup because it was just going to slide down my face by 9:15 a.m.
Still, THREE TO FIVE YEARS??
You could probably reduce that time-frame if, unlike me, you manage to skip the whole self-loathing suicidal period, which lasted close to a year and forced me to face all sorts of childhood abandonment issues I thought I'd successfully drowned in copious amounts of wine when I was 15.
But though it seems like a long time (and it is!), the place you'll end up is really amazing.
Having to reassemble my heart took time and courage, but it also allowed me to step into myself fully – something I'd never done. It offered me a glimpse into how much of my heart was going into relationships (not just my marriage, but with friends, colleagues, hangers-on...) that drained me. I'm far better able to recognize these emotional vampires, and to protect myself. As a result, I'm less blurry around the edges. I know exactly where I end and someone else begins.
So, yeah, three to five years.
But you just might find, as I did, it's worth the trip.