After being in a committed (at least for me it was committed) long term relationship that spanned over twenty-five years, I’ve taken the opportunity over the last few years to explore different kinds of relationships while getting my legs back under me emotionally. I’ve acquired some new friends, left a small piece of who I am with most, and I am grateful to everyone who I’ve interacted with for helping me further refine what I want and need.
Though I have made it a conscious point of late to engage only with those who I discern are emotionally available and otherwise unencumbered, love seems very elusive for me. It takes time to ferret a lot out and while my list of favorable/desirable qualities are a great foundation, they cannot account for the magic part, the unexplainable reasons we end up caring for and loving someone. Likely those inexplicable reasons are the same things that make it so very difficult to disassemble loving someone, even when it is clear other parts aren’t working.
It amazes me with all the processes that happen that any two people end up loving each other. So many things have to align on both sides. How is it we lose the innocence and purity of first love that was created without any criteria, any agenda, that simply was, and for most of us remains forever pressed into our hearts as true?
I love the idea of being in love. I’d like nothing more than to fall headlong, deliriously in love with total abandon. I feel I am finally ready. As I reflect on those men who have interested and engaged me on a level to seriously explore potential, I question if there is something in me that creates a barrier. Not something wrong with me, but things that are not fully right with me. The many tiny fissures that feel like too much for someone to take on as I cannot even most times process them. Why am I hesitant to acknowledge an inner need for someone who might have the balm to heal them?
While I am quite capable of being vulnerable, am I unable to yield or surrender to it, to let go of my independent self-sufficiency and accept someone else in my life? Love can’t begin and flourish in an en guarde environment. The ability to yield then, to an emotionally healthy partner, is important. A question is posed: can I?
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman. I love this Anais Nin quote, yet I see that her strength did not produce unions that ever truly satisfied her.
I have a very full life. Why, why does it mean so much to me? Clearly to love and be loved is a basic human drive. I saw my parents whose souls were fed by their best friend in their union. Not a perfect marriage, still they merged and grew and between them had something indelible, two separate banks who shared the constancy of the water between them. I want a chance at that, and their balance.
My temptation is to withdraw from the process but my nature is to not remain confined in status quo, any status quo. My melancholy is surely a spiritual issue; a lack of trust in the process, in my journey, in timing. Still it remains, and I wrestle with staying open, feeling I’ve somehow failed at intimate relationships 101. Am I simply afraid of what will be revealed given my marriage? Perhaps I choose partners who I feel safe will not fully engage so I don’t have to. Can I go the distance or, like my writing, are short interludes all I will manage?
“The many tiny fissures that feel like too much for someone to take on as I cannot even most times process them. Why am I hesitant to acknowledge an inner need for someone who might have the balm to heal them?” The process for me includes acknowledging that these needs and assumptions that someone will “take on” my history and soothe it are mine to carry.
My new relationship is not only not part of my past but also not responsible for it. Luckily, he possesses the insight to step back and allow me my process with great empathy but without taking any of it on himself. Through this, he has shown me my freedom in this relationship by not trying to “fix me,” a red flag for another controlling and domineering partner. Rather, whenever stream of consciousness is triggered, he listens respectfully – How could he ever advise on my past traumas? – and touches me gently. I am learning to trust this man and respect the difference between him and the past by not burdening him with my past. The times I do speak of it are rare and only mentioned to illustrate why I do what I do or why I value who he is.
When I am triggered in his presence, I consciously remind myself that I am responsible for this dysfunctional thought process and take a moment to come back to the moment. Living in the present allows us to experience joys that may have been missed because of our (justifiable) fears of the past and the future. While I am far from recovered, my being mindful and “in the moment” works for me and keeps me moving straight ahead. The present is not threatening. The present is safe and respectful.
This touched my heart. I hadn’t come to terms with my boyfriends suicide and it made me question so many things. Tracy Schott hit on something for me during her visit and I know it will become one of my writings. All the while I was partially blaming myself, in denial or seemingly unaware I was in an abusive relationship, she told me he turned the violence on himself but it was aimed at me, it was meant to hurt me. That really set in and I began to cry. She talked about statistics and facts and it continued to set in even more. She said I had been used.to physical abuse in the past so I was unfamiliar with the emotional abuse I experienced with him and made it hard for me to recognize it as abuse. This set in and it made me cry. It made me think. It’s something I will look into.