Sorry, I’m Not Sorry for My Amazing Relationship: Part I
“Love is patient, love is kind.”
“Love takes work.”
“When you know, you know.”
“Crazy little thing called love.”
There are so many adages about love that we’re spoon fed our entire lives. These cliches became deeply ingrained in our psyches and it’s impressive the role they can play in our relationships.
From my Grandma, mom, and multiple aunties, I often heard, “Don’t settle,” “Don’t get married before you’re 27,” “Be picky.” These mantras became my best defenses against getting too close, letting my guard down, and frankly, falling in love.
For many years, I prided myself on being selective with those I dated. I would often brag about how picky I was. Even when I did fall for someone, it was always with a pre-determined exit strategy in mind. Leaving at the end of the summer? Perfect. Taking a leave of absence next semester? Absolutely. Though typically subconcious, looking back I can see a clear pattern that I only let myself date someone when I could see a clear lineage of the relationship.
Until EJB, enter stage left. He came into my life at the precise moment when I was at a crossroads. One month after ending an emotionally taxing relationship, I had vowed to myself to 1) have fun, 2) play the field, and 3) not commit. In fact, on precisely the day we met, I had a Skype heart-to-heart with a friend where I voiced those same vows aloud (she laughed at me, almost as if she realized the universe was going to have other plans).
Regardless of this vow, the spark with EJB was undeniable and I attempted to open myself to him. Low and behold, my subconscious held stubbornly to the limits I had set for myself. I received from the relationship exactly what I was able to put into it, which was: lack of commitment, unclear intentions, and mixed signals.
Wisely, we made a decision that I’m now so grateful for: we called it quits indefinitely. Almost immediately following our decision, I entered a 4-month span of time when I witnessed the collapse of many of the relationships I had looked up to and considered the foundation of my outlook on love. No joke: in one summer, 3 couples that I had once considered strong examples decided to divorce. It shook me to the core.
Rather than holing up in a ball of cynicism and strengthening the walls around my heart, I took it upon myself to become more vulnerable than ever and dig deep inside of me. I had to reexamine all of those long-held beliefs that I’d been clinging to like a security blanket.
Therapy. Meditation. Journaling. Yoga. Reading. Listening. Examining.
It took months of concentrated personal growth to be willing to step up to the plate and admit I wanted a real, high-quality, love story with EJB.
Patience. Openness. Vulnerability. Trust. Courage. Faith.
Once I did, the walls came crashing down, the voices stopped pushing me to look for an exit, and I experienced genuine, unabashed, freely flowing, romantic love.
The trick? Making a choice. I’ve heard it long debated whether true love depends on destiny/fate/etc or if it’s a choice. I’m 100% choice. This love affair has grown stronger, gone deeper, and been more affirming than anything I’ve experienced before. But the reason? We made a choice last October 26th and we’ve continued making that choice every day.
Stay tuned for part II: Releasing the Guilt of Happiness