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By Alison Henry

Posted: Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009

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Photo by LGray Photography

In "Miles From the Aisle," former CB editor Alison Henry takes you on an irreverent trip down the often rocky road of relationships. She can be reached at alisonghenry@gmail.com.

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I’m about to tell you something you might find a little shocking. Are you sitting down? OK, good. Here it comes: The editor of Carolina Bride is not married. She isn’t engaged. She doesn’t even have a boyfriend.

So WHAT, you may ask, is she doing as the editor of a bridal magazine?!

The truth is, even I had some reservations about taking the reins, but they quickly passed once I saw the opportunity that lay before me. At the heart of every wedding is a marriage: the union of two people who have chosen to spend their lives together, for better or for worse. And behind every successful romantic relationship are the ones that provided us with the nurturing, love and support we needed to get there. Carolina Bride is not just about flowers and cakes and dresses. It’s about relationships – with the women in our lives, our families and ourselves.

My entire life I’ve been a serial monogamist, stringing along boyfriends like some kind of junkie. I’d become consumed with the excitement, addicted to the dopamine rush of young love. When one relationship ended, another began, leaving little time for the cultivation of friendships or the development of my own identity. There was never any traditional dating, just an immediate dive in the deep end with no flotation device in sight – which only leaves you gasping for air, when you don’t know how well you can swim.

When my most recent far-from-success story ended in January, I figured it was about time to work on the one relationship I’ve been ignoring for the last 25 years. While I have always had a freakishly strong aversion to the white-picket-fence-and-2.5-kids ideal, I have unavoidably begun to crave comfort and stability with age. Although I have no intentions of walking down the aisle any time soon, I realized I’m never going to get there at all if I don’t learn about myself first. Because as cliché as it is, the most important relationship you will ever have in your life really is the one you have with yourself.

So far, I know this much to be true about “me”: I am in constant pursuit of balance. I am in love with the idea of being in love. I miss my grandma. I have difficulty being honest with myself. I am learning to see the positive things other people see in me. I always drive with the windows down, no matter the temperature outside and sometimes even when it rains. I read every night before I go to sleep. I am motivated by constant self-improvement. I believe in destiny. I believe that great things happen when your actions are in harmony with the world. I love to sit outside and just be. I relish the feeling of sun on my skin. I am fascinated with England. I tend to jump into things too quickly. I can easily get lost in a single note of a song. I crave a kind of intimate closeness with people that often leaves me disappointed and prone to bouts of loneliness. My desk is cluttered with Post-Its; my purse, bedroom and car are littered with scraps of paper. I think it is inconsiderate when people take a leisurely stroll through a crosswalk. I think that the progression of technology has a paradoxical affect on our culture and is actually leading us toward mass disillusionment and the demise of genuine, meaningful relationships. I want to feel the pages of a book, newspaper or magazine when I read. I want to see your face when you’re excited, hear your voice when you’re angry and touch your tears when you’re sad. I am always most comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt and think dressing up is just adding a pair of heels. I think women should wear as little makeup as possible and let their beauty radiate from inside. And most of all, I can always find happiness in life’s simplicities.

In Miles From the Aisle, I’ll be striking common ground with women of any marital status by sharing this single woman’s journey – an odyssey of sorts – into the depths of the self. I’ll talk about some of my favorite reads, introduce you to some inspiring people, maybe find a new hobby or two, and I’ll even take you along as I try out this thing called “dating.” We’ll take a closer look at the nature of men, what (we think) makes them tick, and why we love them in spite of themselves. Mostly, I want this to be a place where we can laugh and learn, a place where you can be reminded of what it took to get to the end of that aisle, and a place where we can all become stronger women, together.



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