A prompt on the Hinge dating app asks for two truths and a lie. I could say: I was in a cult as a teenager. I got engaged after only two months of dating. I had a stroke at 44, after ending my 19-year marriage.
The only catch? All three are true.
I joined a cult because I didn’t know myself. Then I rushed into marriage because I still didn’t know myself. The marriage was my first and only long-term relationship. I used to be embarrassed about this. It was a painful marriage, but I don’t like to say that because it feels like a disservice to the beautiful things in it, especially our three children.
At the end of “The Wizard of Oz,” Glinda tells Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power.” I used to hate that line, but now it makes sense. I didn’t understand the power I had. Sure, someone could have told me sooner. I wouldn’t have believed them, though.
Near the end of my marriage, I saw a man across a room and both of us felt an electric sense of recognition. We became friends. With him, I experienced what it was like to feel truly safe. I felt sure nothing could diminish me in his view.
Our friendship was the red thread that finally led me out of the labyrinth. Eventually, though, it became impossible to ignore the elephant — we were attracted to each other, but we were both married and neither of us was willing to have an affair. Reluctantly, we said goodbye. We never touched, but it still managed to upend both of our lives.
After my stroke, I spent a week in the hospital. My hand and arm were blue-black from all the blood drawn. I couldn’t walk easily. I felt hopeless until he texted. We tried to process the situation.