Do you remember the movie Jerry McGuire? At the end of the movie, Jerry got it all wrong as he sealed the deal with Dorothy Boyd (Renee's character) when he uttered those cringe-worthy words, "you complete me."
Oh, I know. Most of the women were swooning in the movie theaters (and most of the men were probably gagging). Is this what happily ever after is supposed to look like?
Let's say Dorothy and Jerry got married and now it's ten years later. Dorothy is running around trying to be Jerry's missing puzzle piece. Only whatever it is that isn't quite right with Jerry is a moving target. No matter what Dorothy does it is never enough. Can she or anyone really complete Jerry McGuire?
Isn't that his job anyway?
So what happens? Do they live happily every after? Does Dorothy have an epiphany and realize she can't complete Jerry? Does Jerry realize that no matter what Dorothy does she can't possibly fill whatever is missing inside him?
I'll tell you what happens.
Jerry walks out. And poor Dorothy is left holding the bag, wondering why she isn't good enough, and now she's beating herself up for not being the second coming of Jesus, Buddha, and Winnie-the-Pooh.
Jerry wooed Dorothy with "you complete me." But what he really told her was, "I'm not whole" and "I need you to make me happy." Dorothy spent years trying to fix Jerry, trying to make him whole, and she tried to complete him. Jerry exhausted her by sucking the very essence of her spirit dry. Poor Dorothy had nothing left to give.
Six months later, Jerry and Dorothy's divorce was final. Custody arrangements, parenting plans, and child support for the two children Dorothy had with Jerry. Jerry had already wooed another woman with the same line, "you complete me" and moved on, leaving Dorothy bitter, angry, and resentful.
Over drinks one night with a girlfriend, Dorothy learned one of many lessons she needed to heal, grow, and find her own happily ever after.
"You know," said Dorothy's friend as she squeezed a slice of lemon into her vodka martini, "you gotta fix what's inside you."
"What's wrong with me?" Dorothy asked.
"It's not that I think something's wrong with you," Dorothy's friend said as she mindlessly stirred her drink with her finger, "it's just that if you don't fix whatever it is, you'll end up in another relationship just like your marriage with Jerry."
"Oh. No." Dorothy nearly shouted. "That won't be me! I know exactly what I don't want."
And sure enough, Dorothy started dating again... only to find out she was dating men just like Jerry or worse!
What was Dorothy putting out there that attracted this particular type of man to her? Whatever "it" was, Dorothy decided to reset her frequency, attune her vibe, and adjust her mojo.
1. Dorothy learned how to say "No." As a recovering people pleaser, Dorothy found it difficult to say "no," but when she said "yes" to something she really meant "no" to, she was the one who ended up suffering.
2. Dorothy stopped making herself available to every Tom, Dick, and Jerry. She cultivated other life interests, hobbies, and streams of income. She took up cross-country skiing and started her own cupcake business.
3. Dorothy began taking better care of her "self." She began taking yoga classes, she reconnected with her girlfriends, and she started a daily 10 minute meditation practice to center her "self" every morning.
4. Dorothy began to read personal development books by well known authors such as Marianne Williams, Deepak Chopra, Pema Chodron, Jack Canfield, Lynn Robinson, and many others.
5. Dorothy accepted responsibility for her life, her thoughts, her words, her actions, and her circumstances.
6. Dorothy stopped playing the blame game, she stopped complaining, and she stopped making excuses; this empowered Dorothy!
7. Dorothy began to connect the dots with everything she was learning and unlearning. What Dorothy realized was the secret I want to tell you.
8. In order to find the love of your life, you must first become the love of your life.
When you cultivate and nurture the characteristics that which you desire in your happily ever after, you can't help but to begin to attract people who have those traits which you seek.
What about you? Have you found your happily ever-after post divorce? I'd love to hear from you!
You can connect with Peggy at The Stepmom's Toolbox where she helps women in the stepmom role navigate the complexities of being married to a man with kids and an ex-wife.
This article first appeared in The Post Divorce Chronicles.