How I Grew Up And Grew Together


One 40-something woman on finding footing in her marriage and taking her own steps forward from 20 to 40.


I don’t think you have to believe in the same things. What you believe in may change overtime. But you have to believe in each other and have some common ground as a foundation. Then you continue to grow as a unit together. I don’t think you have to do that together. You can evolve separately but together at the same time. And you have to be honest with each other and support each other’s growth.

I went this questioning period when I hit 40. I thought, “This is it?” Which is not a bad ‘it’. I have a good ‘it’. But I had to take time to reflect and was able to go to my husband and say “I just don’t know if this is all I want but I need to figure it out.”

I needed to find my smile again. I needed to find myself again. I have a partner who is strong enough and confident enough to say “Okay you go do that. You figure it out because I can’t do it for you”. And vice versa, I would do the the same thing for him. As much as I love my husband, if he’s going through some challenges I can’t help him. He’s got to figure that out himself. It’s not my job to prop him up. We’re mutually supportive but not mutually dependent on each other.

If only I’d known that distinction back when I was in my twenties. I depended so much my boyfriend then to build me up. If I was wearing something, I look at him and ask, “What do you think? Do you think I’m good enough? Do you think I’m smart enough? Do you think I’m pretty enough to go out with you right now?” instead of finding that self-confidence within myself. I just didn’t have it back then.

Part of me wants to reach out to him and say look, “I grew up”. Finally. That’s the best thing I got from that relationship. When I was contemplating a transfer to New York he said,  “You still have so much life to live, so many experiences to experience and so many heartbreaks to go through because you’re just not ready to stay in one place. Go! Go young grasshopper to Manhattan. Go and find yourself.” That was really the encouragement I got to jump off and come to New York.

I feel like I owe the relationship I have now to the hearts I broke and the heartbreaks I suffered in my twenties. I really wish I could have known it then…but if I knew everything about life and growing then I’d be Gandhi! You have to go one step at at time.

(married in late 20s to her husband)

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