I'm learning how to love a new person right now, and even though I love her deeply, she is not the person I spent 12 years of my life with. There are different mannerisms, needs, and habits that I have to learn how to fit into. This is not to say that it's a bad thing; just that it's a learning experience just like so much of life is.
I spent a lot of time recently, thinking about how different I am now than when I was 22. I had all of the patience in the world then, because I felt I had my whole life ahead of me. I'm now 34. I have a stable, well-paying career. I have an 8 year old daughter. I'd been married, for almost a decade. There are many times when I look at those facts, and think that my whole life has pretty much been fulfilled.
Marriage, or any relationship really, is not a rose garden or fairy tale. I refuse to put Megan and I's relationship on a pedestal and not acknowledge that it took a lot of work sometimes. We had "rough patches", just as any couple will do, and we worked it out and started over with fresh perspectives and goals. We loved each other, and we were able to weather these storms.
There was a process to this. Megan would pull back and become quiet. I would generally perceive an issue or stress of some sort, and do my best to analyze and resolve the dilemma, oftentimes having to pry it out of her. Before she began the process of rejection, we had begun "dating" again as an agreed upon solution to a funk we had been in as a couple. Things were going well. We had talked everything over, and I was happy with the direction we were going. While it certainly wasn't easy mentally, to have had the stress in the first place, it was nice to have a common goal and solution to work on. Ultimately though, she died before we could hit an equilibrium where it wasn't just work, and it haunts me to have never fully resolved that phase.
So now, I am starting over with a completely new woman. I knew Megan's process and mannerisms. I knew how to "play her game" and work with her. This is something I have to learn again though. I have to learn that when my new woman gets quiet or needs time to herself, that it's NOT because she is mad or has an issue with me or us. That is the hardest thing for me to grasp right now, because it was Megan's "tell". Something was ALWAYS wrong when she got quiet. That's not the case with the new woman. I love her deeply and truly, and I need to disassociate the love I had for Megan from the love I have for her. This is not to say I should forget or love Megan less; that will never happen, but I need to see them as living in two different, albeit equally sized, chambers of my heart.
I guess what I'm taking away from all of this is that I need to sometimes reset my own perspectives. While there may be similar mannerisms or behaviors, they can be, and likely are for very different reasons. The way I live my new life, while greatly influenced by Megan and the life I had with her, cannot be BASED solely on her. It's not fair to myself, or my new love to compare what I had with what I have.
I am learning that I need to archive the chamber of my heart that Megan lives in. I need to always use it as reference material, and sometimes take the lessons I learned with her and move them to the new chamber. The key is to make sure that Megan is not the only author in the library moving forward.