My ex and I had a sense that it was the two of us against the world.
There were several factors that contributed to that mindset: We were teenagers when we started dating and teenagers think everyone is against them. We grew up on opposite sides of town and so from the beginning, our social circles never had too much overlap. We both experienced the death of several friends and mentors towards the end of high school and shortly after, leaving us to lean heavily upon the other. And then, perhaps sealing the deal, we moved halfway across the country to follow his job opportunities, leaving friends and family behind.
After settling in Atlanta, we found new friends. There were singles and couples that we would regularly socialize with. We found families that would “adopt” us for holidays.
But we never found community.
We never had an interconnected group of people to which we both belonged in equal measure.
And to be honest, I didn’t really notice at the time. As an introvert, I tend to prefer to socialize one-on-one or in smaller groups. I frequently would go to Friday “meetings” after work with the other teachers and my husband would often join for at least part of the time. His boss’ family took us in for celebrations and holidays and we blended in with their adult children and grandchildren. Or so I thought before painfully learning otherwise after the abandonment.
But even with this connection, we still ultimately only relied on each other. Opened up to each other.
It was still us vs. the world.
And then he left.
And I realized that I didn’t have to prepare for battle with the world.
I could let it in.
And now in my new marriage, it’s my husband and me in our world.