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Essentials Series: What I Learned From Getting it Wrong

Essentials: that which is absolutely necessary; fundamental elements or characteristics of something.

The Family of Women is about relationship, what works and what doesn’t. At its core, it’s understanding our relationship with ourselves and then creating the relationships we want, whether it’s healing them, resurrecting them, or finding and holding onto them.

Armed with my women and my Essentials, I was ready to find my lobster. Essentials are the list of qualities required for my long term committed partner to have. The simplest way to think of it is as what is unacceptable in a relationship and what would the opposite quality be? Essentials are not about what looks good on paper. You must do the leg work to figure out what it takes to feel loved, cared for, and create the life together that you want.

Research. Date. Interact and find out what you truly want and not just what you think you need. I had done the work. I had learned the things. I had even used a thesaurus and dictionary so that my Essentials didn’t unwittingly draw in an unsuitable partner. Or so I thought….

In 2009 I became engaged to good man. A nice and generous man who adored me and was never going to leave me. He ticked the boxes, and I said yes.

And yet.

Something wasn’t there. It started as a niggle and grew as the wedding plans moved along. When the time came to put down a non-refundable deposit, I knew I couldn’t go through with it. I shared what was going on with a woman, recently married and already filing for divorce. She confirmed that that thing that feels missing only grows. It was embarrassing and scary and I was mad at myself for not seeing signs sooner. For considering settling down with a man that, while lovely, would never make me happy. I was also grateful for her honesty and that I was ending an engagement, not a marriage.

Months later, as I was feeling ready to try again, I spoke with a woman – let’s call her Mandy Mavis – who said to me, “now, if the idea of finding a long-term partner is that we risk and share who we really are and what we actually want so that all the wrong men leave and the right man stays, how were you not being honest such that the wrong man stayed?”


After taking a knee from that truth bomb, I knew that she was right. There was a piece of me that I held back. We had complimentary baggage that kept each other stuck exactly where we were. Short term it was great because I could pretend it wasn’t there, but I knew I would never have the relationship I wanted without owning that part of me.

It wasn’t about being perfect or fully evolved, but it was about being very clear and honest with him and I had not done that. Long-term relationships are not for the faint of heart.

When I met my future husband, I was very transparent, and he was like a moth to a flame.

He stayed.

He knew what I wanted and that he was the man who could provide it.

I had found my lobster.

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