Submitted by Delaine
Almost all women at some point in their lives attract a ‘bad man’; some of us marry him. And by ‘bad,’ I’m not simply referring to men who are drug lords, pimps, or wife abusers. No, “bad men” are men who don’ treat us and love us as wonderfully as we deserve. They are, as Sarah Breathnach puts it, “spiritual disgraces sent in disguise to teach us, through torment, to love ourselves.”
It can be hard to identify the spiritual ‘gifts’ our bad men have brought us – especially if they cheated and left us for another woman. When everything first erupts, we’ll call them ‘bad’ and mean it literally, venomously, blamefully.
But as I’ve moved forward on the divorce timeline, I’ve begun to revisit my marriage from a different place – a place that takes responsibility; not for the choices he made, but for the big life lessons I needed a ‘bad man’ to teach me.
The lessons I’ve excavated are so poignant and obvious to me now, I seriously think that our union was divinely orchestrated for my soul’s higher good. Here are some of the ‘biggies’ I learned:
1) I am a pleaser and will bend myself into a pretzel to keep my man and other people happy. My self-posed question post-divorce is : What makes Delaine happy?
2) I am big-time left-field thinker. And I need to be with a man who cherishes that in me, not one who ridicules me for it.
3) I deserve to be loved in ways that are meaningful to me. And though I appreciated my ex buying me gifts and wanting to do things together (which were things he wanted to do, like riding dirt bikes and going to bars), I need love to be expressed through language too. I love words. I love self-expression. And how they are said are as important to me as what is being said.
4) As much as I believed in the beauty of ‘family’ and working as a team with my ex, I was left vulnerable taking on the huge task of stay-at-home mom. And though I am so deeply grateful for all I learned in this role, this is not ALL of who I am – Delaine has dreams…big dreams.
These are but a few of my personal epiphanies. And as time moves forward, I’m sure there will be more. But as Sarah Breathnach said, these ‘bad men’ are meant to teach us to learn to love ourselves. So I’m making the time to learn that, instead of rushing into my next relationship to find a sense of worth or purpose. And because of all my hard inner-work, I trust that the next man I fall in love with will be a Good Man.