Does being single for too long make you more selfish? And is that wrong?
Does being in a relationship mean giving up your freedom? And shouldn’t it?
Or are all of these simply mental constructs we have learned over the years in accordance with nostalgic ideologies and values that have no place in today’s world?
I would argue that all these questions can be answered with…yes and no.
In other words, it just depends on those involved.
Before my current relationship, I had not been in a serious relationship in almost ten years.
When we first started dating, I would joke that I didn’t know what to do with him.
But you see, I was only partly joking…
I got so comfortable with being alone or in most cases left behind that the idea of sharing my life with someone was both terrifying and exciting. Not only was I not used to factoring someone else into my decisions, but I didn’t really know what it felt like to have someone else factor me into theirs.
In most cases, in most relationships, if I am being honest with myself, I was always more of an after thought than a priority.
They hardly cared about me, let alone what I said or did. So, I just sort of floated through life with no regard for myself or understanding that it was okay to demand a certain level of respect from others.
Being with someone who genuinely cares for me as much as I do him is a bit of a shock to my programming. I have always felt like I wasn’t good enough; either I didn’t have the looks or perhaps I was just a bit too thick to be anything more than a passing fling. And I know that may sound childish, but one after another, the successive girlfriends of past lovers seemed to validate my insecurities.
And perhaps it didn’t help that my longest and most meaningful relationship prior was not one that most would consider of the ordinary variety.
We met when I was just a teenager. It was his first serious relationship and the first one in which I had ever truly felt loved. We were together for close to 9 years.
Neither one of us had any idea what we were doing, so we learned as we went. Or more accurately, we stumbled as we went really. And even in the end, we tried all we could do to make it work, because all that mattered to us is how much we loved one another.
For those of you who have been following along, you know that the man in question is the one I now fondly refer to as My Gay Husband. Ha, Ha! Clearly, we had one fatal incapability. The only solution to which was to separate and so we did.
But as painful as that was, it was the best thing for us both. We helped one another become the people we are today, confident in ourselves, in what we want and most importantly, how it feels to truly be loved.
Jealously was something, as you can imagine, we had to address very early into our relationship. The inner struggles he was dealing with in coming into himself, led us down a path of shall we say…being open.
Challenging at times, yes, but had I not experienced it, I wouldn’t know that it was something I could never be truly happy with. I learned what my values are and that what I needed from a partner was for them to be all in, full commitment and monogamy. In layman’s terms, I don’t like to share!
At the basis of it all, was that we knew that no matter what either one of us was doing or who they were doing it with, it would never diminish what we had or mean we loved one another any less. Emotionally convoluted at it’s best, it was how we stayed so solid throughout all the turmoil to come. When we came to the realization that staying together was no longer a healthy option for either of us, it was one of the hardest and greatest decisions we ever made. But even than, the above held true.
Parting ways allowed us both to align with who we were meant to be and to find new love with those better aligned with us. The dynamic has changed, but if anything, we are closer now than when we were together. He is and will always be my best friend.
How does all this relate to the questions above?
It is the reason I’ve stayed alone for so long. The basis of why I’ve found it so difficult to be vulnerable with another person.
I think a part of me assumed that no one could ever love me as much as him, not despite my imperfections or the tragic experiences of my past, but because of them.
And as with many things, I was wrong.
It is still hard to believe, but after all that time of painfully waiting, my patience has finally paid off.
It has been a bit of a mind melt for me to say the least. I went from a place of solitude and detachment to a place of security and unconditional love. I had been hurt so many times in the past, it was hard for me accept that there wasn’t something tragic waiting around the corner. I’ve had to learn how to allow myself to be happy, to be loved again.
I made a few attempts at opening up in my long stint of being single, but each time, in there eyes, I wasn’t good enough…for them.
Some of you may remember my post a while back, Let’s Just Be Honest, where I talked about how love can be blinding and the need for it crippling. Which is why it is so important to learn to love yourself above all else before you will ever be able to honestly and wholeheartedly love another.
I shared with you the two very important lessons I had learned in love, in the hopes that the hard truth would save someone else from settling or even worse, wasting their time chasing all the wrong people.
When the last two guys gave me the line about not wanting anything serious, I was too blind at the time to see that what they really meant was they didn’t want anything serious with me.
Something I later realized was the best choice they could have ever made for me and for them! They both found partners better suited for them and I found the love I had been searching for all this time.
As I said in the post, if they were to meet the right person tomorrow there would be nothing stopping them, nor you. I believed it to be true when I first wrote it, but now, I KNOW it to be true.
When we got together, regardless of our fears, we were both all in. There was no question that we wanted to be together and there was no stopping us from making that happen.
And isn’t that what love really is? To give yourself to someone fully and unconditionally, with all your heart. If either party is not in it for the long haul, what’s the point?
If you are not able to talk to your partner openly and honestly about what you are feeling, than it is only a matter of time before things begin to fall apart.
And that is how I know this is different. There is nothing I am not able to tell him, no problem we cannot face, no part of us we have to hide from one another.
We are in this together, all in and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Every day I am more and more thankful for the love, abundance and prosperity in my life. I could have never imagined what was in store for me and I couldn’t be more grateful for how it has all turned out.