I've been one of those relationship people. I always have been. It is what it is. I am a relationship person. I have managed in the last fourteen years, to be in a relationship for thirteen of those (with two people) I have looked back in time and sometimes wished I had had more 'me' time. I have looked back and thought, 'Ooo maybe more first dates would be fun?' Although, you've had a few first dates and they were all a bit, well, awkward. Yes, but you haven't, as a single friend likes to remind me, had 'Bridget Jones' moments, singing 'All by myself with a bottle of wine, in your flat, alone, with the cat licking your fa.......... ce. FACE!!. Apparently you do not know your full strength until this has happened. As someone who has been a serial girlfriend, you are sometimes made to feel slightly less, normal? I admit I feel hard done by that I haven't had those moments (yet). Those moments shape you. They are those movie moments that you tell your grandkids about and you look back on fondly, wisely, knowingly 'I remember when I faced all that loneliness, sadness, emptiness and I got through it. I now know myself. You can't know yourself until you have had to sit with yourself and your sorrow and your cat. I am grateful for those moments' and somehow you do get left feeling slightly worried. Can I be alone? Could I get through A Bridget Jones moment, and does that mean I am not as well rounded as someone who might have been? But then you remember you have been through your own journey and you have learnt about yourself and it's OK. I have had plenty of those 'moments' singing to myself loudly in front of the mirror watching my face crumble and contort whilst Evanescence 'My Immortal' played on repeat.
I always thought, in all my relationship years that, I wouldn't get cheated on. Not because I'm so bloody marvelous, but because I was sure as hell sure I would know. I would sense it, work it out. When I would figure out such betrayal I would stick a cactus up said cheaters bottom. The other thing I was sure of, was the more grilling (nagging) and mentioning of said cactus if they ever did cheat, meant that my partner/boyfriend/meant to be soul mate, would not dare do something so absurd as to act so disrespectfully.
In hindsight, I spent years choosing people I would feel 'safe' with. People I would be sure were 'non cheaters' People I assumed would never hurt me, but I was still always prepared for war. Dressed in my armor of cynicism. Well, it was never going to work anyway was it? Relationships don't last forever. People lie. Break up. In the end, you break up. Breaking up was the easy bit. People fall out of love. All of the time. People grow up. People change. People move on... and as it turns out, people cheat. You think how awful a person you could be to be so purposefully hurt. How little you meant to have such a disrespectful action go on behind your back, how worthless you really must have been, how shitty a girlfriend you were... and on the flip side, the feelings of self righteousness. How dare he. How dare you get cheated on, I 'deserve' better. What a little cock bucket to take such an advantage. You lose sleep over both sides of the fence. Your torn between feeling worthless and worth too much.
But you don't split up because you didn't want to talk about football and he didn't want to talk about the universe or better yet KUWTK, he doesn't cheat because you don't play computer games in your underwear. We had no idea how to love one another. We both needed so much from one another. We were co dependent. Needing the other to make the other feel better, feel loved, feel nurtured, feel attended to, feel whole. In the end neither of us were willing to bare our souls to one another out of spite, fear, resentment. How could I show love to someone who by my standards didn't love me enough. Perhaps we misconstrue what love really is. What it means to love someone. Maybe we confuse need for want and want for lust and lust for love. We have this huge innate habit to belong, needing to belong, to feel wanted. Needing to need someone. None of that is love. In turn I wasn't the girlfriend I wanted to be, thought I had to be, and he wasn't the boyfriend I had hoped I would fall in love with enough to feel OK that I wasn't that girlfriend. I was always pushing and fighting for more. More love and respect. Creating more subconscious tests for them to pass. More barriers for them to get over. Prove how much you love me and show me my worth. Prove how much you need me and make me feel whole. I was always concerned about who he was, how he treated me, what love he was giving me, and never much concerned with what love I gave him or perhaps what we could cultivate together.
"In desperate love, we always invest the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place"-Eat Pray Love
In all the things that can play with your head, with your insecurities, your ego, of all the things to eat you up and make you second guess your own self, your values, your trust, your love... It would be betrayal. The biggest question I found myself asking was, what if it happens again? Will I be hurt again? How can I protect myself from it happening again? How do you get over being betrayed? How do you not retort to blame. Blaming him, blaming yourself, blaming the circumstances. How do you trust someone again? Will you ever feel 'safe' letting someone in again, showing them your most vulnerable self? Could you stand there naked, bare your soul, reveal your deepest darkest secrets, share your ugly thoughts, all sides of you, from top to bottom from inside to out? Will you be able to give someone else all of you and trust that he won't break you into a thousand little pieces. Can you find someone who will be kind to you and you to them? Can you bare to let someone in. And close your eyes and hope for the best?
Eventually, the pieces you thought were broken, don't seem as shattered as they had done. Some switch, a light bulb goes on. Every test that has been thrown your way, you decide you don't want to participate in any more. Every sad song that you sing along to in the montagesoundtrack to the scene where you find out you were cheated on, those memories of the last time things were good. And it dawns on you. as you wipe the massive trail of snot from your face with your onsie sleeve (or your cat does the job for you) You're too young to talk it through, work it out. Too uninterested, exhausted, bored to try to make it work. There are seven billion people in the world. You are too curious to fight for something that your instinct tells you is not good for you...
"Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” -Brene Brown
In all the things you could have asked what I was looking for in a boy (I can't say man it sounds creepy) I never knew how important it was to find someone who was willing to dance naked with you for no good reason. The fear of screaming from the rooftops and being unheard or taken advantage of is suffocating. It's scary. After standing on guard in all my armour for years, you hope to find someone to help you out of it. Someone to hold your hand whilst you fill the void yourself. Someone that says 'Me too, I'm scared too.' Someone that isn't putting on armour himself ready for battle. Someone that's wants to jump in head first and take the risk because its actually easier, more fun, to jump in than to stand on the side of the pool in a wetsuit wondering if you can handle how cold or deep it might be.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves-Brene Brown
In no way do I know what love is as such, nor do I know how to be loved. I am definitely not down with 'How to's' It's just from my perspective the only way to be happy is to express joy/love. I can't be happy only receiving love. It's nice, it feels nice, but I'm not sure it brings an overwhelming sense of joy consistently. There is often shame in expressing love. No one wants a self righteous show of PDA all over the internet. I rejoice in the fact that love is not always rainbows and candy floss farts. There can be throwing bacon and squirting washing up liquid everywhere when arguing about the washing up/hovering behind the door/throwing Tupperware lids. There will be nights someone sleeps on the sofa, or tells you your a fuck wit. If we can just, through all of that, trust that we still love each other. That these things aren't personal, that we can still grow and nurture a connection. How did I expect anyone else to express love towards me when I wasn't showing love to myself. You cannot guarantee that the person you love won't stop loving you, that they won't hurt you, cheat on you, leave you. You cannot guarantee that you will not do the same to them. But I still want to be enthusiastic and gleefully optimistic anyway, because it's boring otherwise. All I hope is that we keep choosing to be kind to each other. That something in us runs deeper, and we chose to be open, vulnerable, honest and embrace each other. Armour off. Naked. Dancing in the lounge at 3am.
"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. a true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake"-Eat Pray Love