Are you married to the ghost of your partner?

When you fall in love, everything changes. Suddenly, you don’t need as much sleep (or so you think), your brain is hijacked with thoughts of that person 24/7, and you become an addict, longing to the next tex/snap/dm. Let’s face it; you’re strung out on love. I’ve been lucky enough to feel this sensation twice in my life. The first was with my Mulligan Marriage, and the second was when I met my husband. It’s intoxicating and an easy way to lose yourself. 

Looking back, the two times I fell in love possessed a few similar qualities, but upon closer inspection, they were completely different. 

Why? I was different.

When I fell in love with my ex, I was 24. A little over two years out of college and into my teaching career, I thought I was ready. I can’t lie to you; I’ve always been a fan of being in a relationship. I love building a life with someone and sharing ideas. My ex seemed utterly different and more mature than my college relationships; I was in the big leagues now. Outwardly, he was motivated, a big-picture thinker, and made life exciting. I still have memories of momentarily falling asleep at the wheel on the commute back from work and avoiding a guard rail by a few centimeters; our adventures kept me buzzing. 

As years passed and our relationship grew out of the honeymoon phase, I noticed various changes. His sales pitch was changing. He was changing. Or maybe, my idea of him was changing. Suddenly, a year into our marriage, life wasn’t the same at all. Don’t get me wrong; I went into marriage thinking it would take work. Relationships can have periods where you feel like you are running through heavy sand and others where you are gliding down silk. It turns out; mine was like constantly moving through quicksand. 

In my first marriage, I fell in love with an idea of a person vs. his authentic self.

I think he did the same. I was married to the ‘ghost’ of my partner from the very beginning of our relationship. Although we shared good moments in our marriage, the magic of our first encounters never returned. As we both grew, the relationship stayed stagnant. Ask yourself, who are you in love with; your spouse/partner now or the person they were before?

If you hear yourself saying, well, if they just _________ (insert change), the relationship would improve, it might be a sign that you are dating/married to a ghost. I’m not saying that you can’t mourn for a time where the focus was just on the two of you. The start of a relationship should be incredible, and if it wasn’t, you’ve done yourself a disservice. You deserve the magic. 

As relationships age, so do we. My experience of falling in love in my 20’s is so different from falling in love with my current spouse because I am different. Although my recent marriage began with the same longing and buzz, it grew into a partnership and a much deeper connection. As I’ve surveyed friends in committed relationships or marriages that outwardly seem to work, there is a constant. Although the relationships have ups and downs, there is ease, respect, and deep love. Think of a tree with shallow roots compared to one with an intricate system of deep, tangled roots. With weathers the storm with ease? The same challenges (aka storms) will come to both sets of relationships, but the one with an intricate foundation will weather the storm gracefully. If your relationship doesn’t have deep roots, it may be time to dig up the tree. 

Sending love and roots,