Find Your Passion (Apart from Your Relationship)
Going out with your friends more is great, but it’s also important to feel like you have a purpose apart from your relationship. If you live for your husband and children, for example, you might be just fine, or you might eventually start to wonder what your purpose is and even get depressed. This is very common with wives of rich men who don’t have to work and end up not doing very much, or with anyone who doesn’t have to have a career or a purpose and isn’t particularly driven toward any one direction. They lose themselves because they don’t go out and seek something just for themselves that drives them and that they feel passionate about. Why do you think all those 1950s housewives were on Valium? They were expected to be fulfilled by housework and parenting, but it’s the twenty-first century now. We have options.
However, some women still feel like it’s selfish to do things for themselves. This is not true at all. Having a purpose and something you love to do, whether it’s a job or a hobby or a volunteer situation, makes you a happier and more interesting person. Everybody always talks about how men need to have a career to be fulfilled. I don’t believe anybody can be truly happy if they don’t have something for themselves. It’s not a gender issue. Everybody needs to have a sense of self-worth and accomplishment, not just men. Whatever that thing is doesn’t matter. It could be your career, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if it’s going to the gym or running or doing yoga or learning Italian or training for a marathon or painting or volunteering or doing some kind of charity work or blogging or travel or your book club, if you are passionate about it, it will feed your soul. Only then will you be able to stop demanding (out loud or just in your head) an unreasonable amount of time, attention, and validation from your partner. (Just to be clear: You absolutely should get time, attention, and validation from your partner, but it can’t be his whole reason for living. He has to have a life, too.)
The secret is to be passionate about something. Find it, and go and do that thing. If you don’t know what it is at first, experiment. Try lots of things and see what sparks your interest. Get more invested in your career, or take up a hobby, or do something social. If your guy is maintaining his guy connections and you’re sitting at home all the time waiting for him to get back from his guys’ night out, ask yourself why you aren’t doing something with your life. You are not a product of someone else’s love. Being a doormat with no personality (or a suppressed personality) is one of the least attractive qualities a person can have. You are your own person, so think back and remember who that is, and get out and be that person. You will have a much better life, whether you are in a relationship or not.
This is an excerpt from I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules for Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After by Bethenny Frankel, available at Amazon.com.