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Sunday, August 16, 2015

On Finding Love

I was very broken when my first marriage ended. I invested everything I had in that relationship, and somehow it was still not enough. In the end I felt like a shell of my former self, empty and lifeless. It took several long months before I could appreciate my giving nature enough to realize that I deserved to receive as well. At that point I began looking for a relationship that was more worthy of me. It took over ten years to find it.

I made some interesting discoveries along the way. While I met and went out with a lot of people, there were only two besides my current husband that I really had any sort of relationship with. It took about two months with each of them before I realized they were not what I was looking for.

With my first husband, I felt like I knew him from the very first date (at this point I definitely believe I did know him before). We meshed from the beginning, and I felt extremely comfortable with him. At the time I thought being comfortable was a good thing--like that meant we were supposed to be together. What I now understand is that we were vibrating at a similar frequency, but that wasn't necessarily a good frequency for either one of us to be in or aspire to.

The first brief relationship I encountered during my days as a single mom began really well. He was intelligent and very handsome, successful and ambitious. He believed in working hard and playing hard. He had the money to treat me to dinner at nice restaurants and concerts, and we had fun together. This man had many of the characteristics I believed I wanted in a relationship. He was also proud and perfectionistic with very little sense of humor, and expected to be doted on. I never got around to introducing him to my kids because on some level I really didn't think he could handle them. It dawned on me after spending two months with him that he treated me much like my ex-husband had. When I realized that, I broke off the relationship.

The second relationship seemed a little more promising initially. He asked for my input, had a wonderful sense of humor and even was a good father to his own son. After a while though, I began catching him hiding important details (also something that had happened with my ex). Again, I realized the relationship was not where I needed it to be, so I broke things off.

I appreciate both men and the opportunities I had to explore these relationships. Even though they did not work out in the long run, both taught me things about myself I needed to know. Both taught me things I needed to look for in a healthy relationship. In those respects, these relationships helped heal some of what was broken in me, and I am truly and profoundly grateful.

My relationship with my current husband actually did not begin all that well. Before we began dating, I knew he was a kind and strong person that I admired. What I didn't anticipate was how strange it would feel to be treated well. Because I was not used to it, I initially pushed it away because it made me uncomfortable!!! Fortunately, I was able to analyze my discomfort enough to recognize what was causing it. I forced myself to live through the initial discomfort until I was used to being treated this way.

With everything I've learned, the most important is this: we receive the treatment we believe we deserve. If you find yourself being used and abused by others, understand there are underlying self esteem issues. At that point, it is important to look at yourself with new eyes. Focus on your good qualities and ask yourself if you are receiving back what you give out. When you begin to appreciate and understand your own value, so will everyone else.

Love is always out there for us if we are willing to step out and demand something more!

~CSE

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