After reading Sarah's post** on her military spouse blog, I realized that I needed to say a little something about this topic as well.
Both my mother and my sister are also divorced. And both tend to be very cynical about men. I certainly can't blame them. Both marriages ended up being less than wonderful and my sister's divorce was especially nasty.
I was also very cynical when my parents split up. My father and I never got along. I grew up feeling ignored and never good enough. With my father as my "male role model", I would end up marrying someone who would seemingly leave me feeling the same way. I was angry at my father through most of my life for how he treated my mom - much less how he treated me.
Then as my marriage dissolved I realized it was a deja vu of my parents' marriage. I was angry and felt very victimized. When my father turned to me to offer love and assistance, I grew even more upset with him. How dare he try to support me when he treated my mother the same way!
It was a turning point for me. I am one of those people who believes that a lesson will keep banging you over the head until you get it. This was my lesson.
I had to LOOK AT IT. Look at the pain of my relationship with my father and look at the pain of my relationship with my husband. It was then that I realized:
Neither my father nor my husband ever meant to hurt me (or my mother). They both loved me the only way that they knew how.
Suddenly, I was overcome with a sense of peace, forgiveness and love. Thankfully, I found peace with my father before his death.
I decided that I would not be a cynical, man-hating ex-wife or divorcée. We all do our best in relationships. I don't think we go into a marriage planning on that one day when we will hurt our spouses and feel strong feelings of resentment and hate. Shit happens, you know? Life throws you curve balls and you grow apart. You learn whatever lesson you needed to learn and then its time to move on.
This is the main reason I never promised my soldier I would be here waiting for him upon his return. If I were 20 years old, I could've naively promised him forever. All intentions aside, I now realize that forever may not mean "as his girlfriend" or "as his wife". It may mean I'll be here "as his friend". I will always feel love for him. However, I know nothing of what life has planned for me. Or him. Therefore, I promised him one day at a time.
My parents ended up being great friends. My mother and dad were close up until he passed away last year.
I always joke that my parents gave me a good role model for divorce. The ex and I get along well and I can see a future with us a great friends. We do have a mutual respect for each other. It still gets weird at times and I do still feel resentment on the rare occasion. I know it will take some distance and time but we both know that we wish the best for each other. That statement alone is very healing.
Because of all that I've learned in relationships and in reading lately (Jeff Mac's blog Manslations has been wonderful), I realize that the only way to grow into a mutual loving and respectful relationship with a man is to have love and respect for a man! Not to be cynical and hateful. Not to bash men. We don't like when men bash us or put us all into one category of "bitch" or "nag". Why should we do the same to them? Don't we all deserve equal treatment?
We are different. Yes. I whole-heartedly agree! But viva la difference! Different isn't bad. Different is what makes life more interesting. And underneath that "difference" we are all the same. We all want love. Maybe if we took the time to appreciate the differences and learn to communicate despite the differences, we'd get along much better. That could be said for so many things in life, couldn't it?
**Thanks to Sarah's post: here are some links to a stereotypical man commercial and a sterotypical woman commercial. Let me know how you feel after watching them.