I had the fairy tale dream. I admit it. I grew up believing in a fairy tale existence as the destination status for my future relationship. I believed in the soul mate, the one true love, and I was looking for that person to show up in my life and complete me. Of course, now that I’ve been married for 11 years, I see so many things differently than I did as a teen mom. I want to share with you something I have become conscious of and I hope you can examine your own ideas and beliefs about relationships. I won’t pretend to be a know-it-all or a perfect example, but I will be real. I believe you can learn from what I’ve been through.
Relationships have always been something of a roller-coaster ride for me, rapidly launching through a range of deep emotion. I am happy to say my love life has slowly become more of a peaceful and steady journey – but it is mostly a battle. A battle to win and a work that requires my strongest resolve. I have to be wiling to give up selfishness. I have to put my relationship before my own desires, and sometimes this is really hard. Sometimes it makes me angry. I have to deal with that anger or let it come out in an explosion of hate heaped upon the people I am supposed to love the most. It is toiling. It is frustrating at times. Of course there is the bliss. The oh so consuming fire of passion and true love. Believing that your relationship is meant to be and this person was created just for you, and you for them. Those times are awesome and real. They are what keeps people staying together long after the storms of life happen. But the euphoria is always mixed with the struggle, it only comes after the work. As a teen I understood so little of the work it takes to keep a family/marriage together. I wanted to be loved so bad. I wanted to have an intimate relationship and experience. It was this out of control hunger.
I know for me this was elevated because of my broken family and lack of close relationships at home. My parents were so busy with their careers and I felt ready to move out as soon as I turned eightteen. It was a lot. I was going to college and I was focused on graduating before marriage. I was just doing the best I could, but I was always looking over my shoulder or around the room. I was waiting for that one guy to show up and whisk me away. That one man who would love me and my son. I had a deep and desperate need in my life. I wasn’t just looking for myself, I had a child to consider.
Relationships consumed my late teens and early twenties. Dating was almost like a career. Relationships dominated gossip among my circles. Who’s with who?! Who’s going? Who’s that? It really can be a great time in life if you keep things in perspective. The feelings of wanting to find a partner and co-parent are normal. Every young person goes through this time. Yet as a teen mom it is different. You are vulnerable if you have a deep need to be loved. You are vulnerable because you have your heart wrapped up in your child. You are not alone in these things, you are very much the same as all mothers. You only lack the experience. You only lack the time and hard work and self-denial required to maintain a healthy, long-term relationship. Just remember that when you admire a marriage or partnership from afar, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Real love requires a real obligation. Real love hurts because it makes us grow out of our own ideas and comfort zones. You will not always agree with your mate. You will disagree and get offended and you will have anger. You will then have to work it all out within your relationship and at times this will be the most challenging part of your waking life. You will have to juggle all these emotions with parenting and money management and your personal work or career, because we all have a purpose and destiny. (Did I mention you will be the main cheerleader for your partner’s life work, too?) It is a role of a lifetime – wife. It will bless you and bring much joy, but it will be more work than fun.
I’m not afraid to tell you the truth. I wish many of the older women in my life could have been a little more real with me instead of putting up a front. I do the same so I get it. We all want to look good in front of others, we want to feel like we have it all together. Each person is a one of a kind original and each marriage/family is the same – no two are alike. Your life may be so different from mine, but remember what I have said about the hard work. Expect relationships to be harder than you anticipated and invest wisely. Know that you will have to juggle many roles and who you chose to love is a big deal. It may be the most controversial decision of your life!
You may ask, do I still believe in fairy tale romance and storybook endings? Yes, I do. I actually have a castle picked out in France and I regularly daydream about living there with my husband. I am a bold dreamer, I know. I haven’t given up on happily ever after. I think the romance and the dreaming are the greatest payoff for the endurance and pain we go through. Relationships! What else can I say? #PleasingAbba #TeenMom
My fairy tale? To be continued…….