Atoosa Unedited
Atoosa Unedited
What I Learned About Marriage

What I Learned About Marriage

And wish I knew when I was younger.
I would have never believed love could feel safe and exhilarating at the same time.

I have a theory and if it makes you worked up, I encourage you to sit with it a little longer before you disagree.

If you’ve had trauma of any sort as a child, I believe your first marriage will be based in that trauma. Some version of repeating it so you can either finally break free or remain engaged forever (pun intended) with the trauma that tangled up your childhood. Oh, and those who jump right into a second or third marriage after the first? Same. Same. I don’t think the trauma-based marriage necessarily ends with Spouse Number 1. We’ve all seen people who keep marrying the same person in different bodies thinking each one is vastly different from the last.

You can’t bury the past…but it can bury you.

Of course, there are our friends who’ve had the blessing of a balanced and mostly normal childhood. I’m not talking to you….but honestly, I don’t think anyone like that comes around this particular neck of the Substack woods. 👀

I almost wish we could enter that first marriage with different expectations. Like, “Buckle your seatbelt, Timmy, we got some work to to doooooooooooooo…._as the roller coast takes off🎢 so we can loosen up and learn instead of be in resistance when our “stuff” rubs up against each other. And I wish our friends who didn’t meet “the one” when all their friends were coupling off, would just realize they are perhaps more inclined to do the important, deep and painful work of healing as a solo mission and then be ready for the great love of their life in their late 30s or 40s. And yes. There is the procreating issue. Science seems to have provided a lot of solutions there. But I don’t have all the answers. I just want to reframe first marriage for people have gone through trauma. I have yet to meet someone who had childhood trauma whose first marriage doesn’t mirror that trauma. Who isn’t thrashing like a fish on a hook to make said marriage work and is missing the opportunity folded into the suffering.

I was thrashing like a fish on a hook to make my marriage work for a quarter of a CENTURY. But unlike the thrashing fish who ends up as someone’s dinner, there was some element and magic and mystery at play. I transformed, I grew.

I left my career…and found myself.

I learned how to cook to repent for my sins…and today nourish my family every night.

I completely disregarded my need for sexual connection…and discovered a vibrator and pleasure at 48!

I finally learned how to be ‘“generous.” In other words, make the first effort at reconciliation even if I was not in the wrong instead of fighting to the finish.

I left my marriage an entirely different person than I entered it.

And yet, I didn’t want to leave it. Yes, I grew in so many ways. But our society places so much emphasis on “til death do you part” that you almost had to pry that marriage out of my cold dead hands. Plus, I had only ever known dysfunctional relationships since birth. In fact, I “fell in love” with another dude who I had the same exact issues with. I thought he was “the one,” too! 🤦🏻‍♀️ And yes, they both WERE the one. I would have never grown, learned or become conscious of my patterns unless I had the perfect partners to play this stuff out with. I have no regrets other than my expectations of forever and the great attachment I felt to making it work no matter what. I really put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself.

After my divorce, the renowned therapist, Mark Wolynn, advised me to look for a man who respects this father. Light bulb. Every guy I was ever with seriously had major Daddy issues. I’m sure that’s connected to the loss of my own father when I was a teenager.

Then, I met my current partner. He did not have a traumatic childhood. And yes, he respected his father. His love felt really different. Steady. Warm. At first, I truly didn’t know what to do with him. After all, I needed to fight! I needed to hurt my partner and then beg for forgiveness. I needed to feel the fragility of our relationship or else it didn’t feel real to me. I was still replaying my childhood. I had changed so much about myself - both superficially and on a deeper level. But I was still play acting these dysfunctional patterns with men who were working off the same script. 🤯

It was so clear to me that this guy wasn’t play acting, so I moved at a snail’s pace. When his kindness made me cringe, I knew it was my wiring that was faulty. When his stability felt boring, I remembered I was trying to shift many generations of instability. My natural instincts were leading me astray from the path and journey I am committed to and should not be my compass in relationships. So, I kept asking for space, very slowly dipping my toe in the healthy relationship waters. When all you’ve known is toxicity, healthy can be just as jarring as the opposite to a well-adjusted person. But I was ready. I knew I was ready. I just had to learn the new dance steps and learn to breath the cleaner air without getting dizzy. I’m still learning…and breathing. Tbh, it feels great. 😅

xo, atoosa

Atoosa Unedited
Atoosa Unedited
When your life gets bat sh*t crazy, I can help.
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Atoosa Rubenstein