We are raised with the understanding that one day, we will grow up, get a job, find the woman/man of our dreams, get married, and have a family.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned doesn’t always unfold the way we plan. Once we hit that plateau in life, we realize that what many view as “the dream” can often come with some unexpected, and sometimes, unwanted, surprises.

Recently, a friend reached out and told me she found out that her husband was having an affair.

My natural response was: “Well, how do you plan on dealing with it?”

Apparently, this wasn’t the first time it had happened. He had cheated many times in his past; she was even aware of his current mistress’s identity.

Being one to understand that people make mistakes, I asked her if she planned on talking to him about it, letting him know that she was aware of his infidelities and, again, I asked how she planned to tackle the situation.

The thing was, she didn’t. She didn’t plan on tackling the situation, at all.

This absolutely baffled me. I mean, I understand that people make choices in their lives which are often deserving of redemption. I’ve been forgiven for many mistakes in my own life, so I believe in second chances.

However, she laid it out in a way that led me to believe that her life wouldn’t work without him in it. Meaning, if he wasn’t around, her life would crumble; she needed him.

“You don’t need anyone.” I told her.

“There are basic necessities we all need to survive; food, water, shelter, etc. I believe that love is a vital part of life, however, not in the form of a man who continually disrespects you. You don’t need that to survive, I promise,” I continued.

Sadly, what I’ve learned through this experience is that some people truly believe that in order to make it through life, we must be reliant on someone else. This sentiment usually falls true when it comes to financial stability, however, I’ve learned that isn’t always the case. Some people just have this inherent belief that you need someone in your life, a partner, regardless of the relational dynamics.

I could be a bit off my rocker, but I honestly don’t feel like I need a man by my side to lead a happy life.

I love my husband. He is a man of few words, but the ones that do come out of his mouth leave me in laughing hysterics. There are things that we don’t agree on, like my falling asleep to Netflix each night and my belief that doing so won’t cause our electricity bill to skyrocket, but overall, our relationship is balanced. Our relationship is happy and fun, loving, and most of all, our marriage maintains an equilibrium of respect.

However, I don’t need him. I like to think that the shit I’ve been through in my own life has prepared me to handle life solo if I had to; that the life experiences I’ve endured, both good and bad, have proved to be lessons in tenacity, and resilience. If, God forbid, something were to happen tomorrow and my husband up and left, I would be okay without him. I would be devastated without his presence, but I know in my heart that I would be able to carry on. I would be able to make things work, I would be capable of building my own happiness, and that of our daughter’s. Overall, I know that I would make it. I would survive.

I think that people oftentimes mistake the words “comfort,” “familiarity,” and “financial stability” with “love.” None of these are reliant on one another. You should be able to find your own happiness and your spouse’s/partner’s should only add to it.

In no way should your happiness be dependent on someone else.

It seems some are in “love” with comfort and familiarity, and in the instance with my friend, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle of misery. In that same sentiment, though, I do understand that change is one of the hardest things to accept. We become settled in our life, and for one reason or another, circumstances change, people change, and what we once knew and “loved” is no longer what it was once was. The idea of changing that, putting a plan into motion, and actually following through – it’s scary; I get that.

To my friends who think they need a man, or a woman, in their life to make things “work,” you don’t. You are capable. You are worthy and when I hear these things, I want to whack you upside the head and remind you of all of this. You are worthy of all things good in this world.

As the amazing Bob Marley put it: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”

No person should settle for someone who continually disrespects them because they took an oath to do so. The oath was taken by both parties involved, and if both sides aren’t sticking to those terms, well, it’s time to make some fucking adjustments.

It is not acceptable for your spouse to have a side-gig that you are not okay with. And hey, if you are, no judgement. It is not okay for your husband or partner to put you down because you may not be the sole breadwinner because, let me tell you, that shit can change, and it can change quickly.

It’s about value. How much do you value yourself? This particular friend of mine has two children with this man who has a side “mistress.” I told her that continuing to allow this in her life will never lead to a happy ending. It will be a cycle of disappointment, anger, and ultimately, madness.

If I asked someone to describe me in one word, I’d hope that word would be: “Strong.”

The shit we go through in life, the rollercoaster of ups and downs, provides reminders of what you are capable of. Whether it was graduating with your Master’s degree, giving birth to five children, standing up for a noble cause, or jumping out of a fucking airplane; you are strong.

You may not see it; it may be buried deep beneath your fear of being alone, your fear of the unknown, or fear of change. “Fear” clearly being the central theme.

If you find your life has taken you in a direction that you are not happy with, speak the fuck up!

If you are not the sole breadwinner and are unhappy, that doesn’t matter, speak the fuck up!

If you are scared of what might happen by standing up and calling out your spouse/partner, SPEAK THE FUCK UP!

I guarantee you that a lifetime of this bullshit will surely be a hell of a lot worse than the temporary sadness that speaking the fuck up and getting the HELL out brings.

Ashley Alteman
Author

Ashley Alteman is known for her love of dinosaurs, ponies wearing sweaters, and overuse of commas. She is an editor’s nightmare. She won a spelling bee in the 8th grade for correctly spelling “carrot” and knew from that moment she was destined to be an amazing journalist, or a sarcastic blogger; she went with the latter. Ashley details her laugh-out-loud parenting and personal fails at SmashleyAshley.com. You can also find this hot mess fumbling around on Facebook

8 Comments

  1. Deanna McIntyre Reply

    So many people need to read this and truly hear this message. I hope your friend heard you.

  2. Just want to repeat this paragraph… ‘To my friends who think they need a man, or a woman, in their life to make things “work,” you don’t. You are capable. You are worthy and when I hear these things, I want to whack you upside the head and remind you of all of this. You are worthy of all things good in this world.’ Because it’s PERFECT. Great post.

  3. I agree with this so much. Infidelity is a tough beast but the want versus need is a conversation a lot of people need to have with themselves…and not just about relationships.

  4. Pingback: You Don't Need Anyone

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