2015 was full of eye-opening behaviours of mine when it came to love. I found myself here in 2016, wondering why I still felt like I wasn’t quite feeling settled about it. There is something deep-seeded inside of me that has been gnawing away at my subconscious. Admittedly, while having nipped a lot of behaviours in the bud, and changing a lot of my outlooks in life, there is one thing that hasn’t gone away. And it’s a VERY hard thing to admit, especially being the hopeless romantic that I am.
I’ve become brave and courageous. I’ve become more honest. I love myself. I love the life that I’m creating, despite some of the things that have happened. I’m really embracing my life. I love my friends and my family.
But despite that, it seems I’ve had a very deep seeded truth, or belief, sitting like a toad in the shadows. It’s hard to convey into words.
However, the overall feeling is that I will never be enough to keep my true love’s attention. I don’t believe people are capable of being faithful. Does true love really exist?
I’ve analyzed where this starts. But I also have to give you, dear reader, a very BIG dose of honesty about my life. Keep in mind, this is about my experience only. I will not weigh in on the character of the person, nor will I share names. You see, I’m not innocent in this either. You are not allowed to ask me why I stayed. These things are complicated and I’m not submitting this for your judgement. This entry, is selfishly, for me to work this out and finally let this go.
While I’ve alluded to some of the things that happened, it boils down to a major thing. I’ve come from a long line of experience in infidelity. I was with someone for a very long time, who professed to love me, didn’t want to be without me. But in every “friendship”, every female co-worker, every girl they met randomly, having sex with them was always the outcome. It didn’t matter who I was. It didn’t matter how well I kept the house, how much I cooked, how perfect I was. It didn’t matter how much empathy or anger I showed. It didn’t matter what I did to “keep” him. I didn’t matter how much I tried to “spice” things up. It didn’t matter how much we talked about it. Nothing I ever did was enough. He was always looking elsewhere when it suited. This happened for years.
I was never able to rest in the “security” of a relationship. This was the tip of the iceberg in the many issues we faced together. But I think this is the one that really shook me to the core in retrospect. There was always the girl that came along, that struck his fancy. And I was forgotten. Soon the love I felt was never enough.
You see, this wasn’t the first time I had seen this happen. I had seen the behavior repeatedly in my childhood from adult figures in my life. People I loved and looked up to for my education on how to be in a relationship.
I figured the depth of love you felt in a relationship was proportional to how much pain you had to go through to keep it. That men and women are incapable of staying faithful. That life is complicated so I should stop expecting so much.
So I did. The string of relationships to follow my break-up were with single and attached men alike. I’m finally saying this out loud. I have NEVER fully admitted this. I’m not proud of it and maybe it’s the judgement on myself that has kept me from moving forward. But ultimately it’s because I thought that human beings were not capable of anything else anyway so I should stop expecting more. I NEVER committed to them and never expected them to commit to me. I would cease immediately if feelings were ever brought into the picture. I built up a sort of armour around myself to shield me from becoming too emotionally invested.
After a while, I felt even more lonely and isolated because deep down, this was not what I had dreamed about. This was not the way to do it. I’m not a disloyal person. In fact, when my ex was unfaithful all those years, never once did I step out on him. I was faithful the WHOLE TIME.
In the recent year, I found myself jolted. The more that I looked inward, I realized that I have a unique kind of energy. My nature is that of empathy, love and no judgement. For everyone. And in all that time, they never saw ME. They thought they knew me, but if they had paid close enough attention, they didn’t. They knew an idea of me. I realized maybe that’s how I found myself in situations like this. It became more about what the other person needed from me. What was I doing for myself though? Was I applying that same forgiveness to myself? Was I now self-punishing for all of the things I did wrong up to that point? The shame that I felt in things that I did in my previous relationship? The shame for actually feeling something and wanting more than that?
Well shit. How do I change that? Is this something I’m ready to take on?
I figured if I can forgive my ex of ALL of the things that happened between us, that we can move on in peace and wishing each other well, how hard could it be that I could do that with myself too?
I want to believe in love.
I watch all of these romantic movies. Everybody finds their soul mate. I see a myriad of happy relationships around me. I want to believe in being faithful and trustworthy and growing in life with someone that is in love with me and I am in love with him.
But here’s where I trip up, because for as much as hopeless romantic that I am, I admit that deep down inside my heart I think it’s an impossible ideal. What happens after those closing credits? So again, does true love actually exist? According to the Princess Bride it does, but that’s only in the movies and the storybooks. In real life, people betray you. People only do what suits them. Love for as long as it suits them. When it suits them. They get what they want from you and then they leave. There’s no such thing as real love. True love…..doesn’t exist here.
Or does it?
I have no answers right now. I can’t tie this up with a pretty bow. All I know is that for right now, I’m letting all of what I just wrote go. I forgive myself. I embrace my experiences as learning opportunities. I will continue to live in love and empathy and non-judgement. I know who I am. I know what I want in a relationship and what I want to do with my life.
I don’t know love the way I want to. But I suppose the only way to learn that is to keep loving myself and those I surround myself with.
Maybe that’s the only answer.