Sorry, I’m Not Sorry for My Amazing Relationship: Part II
Continuing with the theme from last week, I’m exploring what it means to be unapologetically happy in love.
Summer of 2014. Proud of the fact that EJB and I are managing a bi-coastal, long distance relationship from Washington, D.C. to California successfully. Excited and relieved that I’d finally managed to respectfully quiet the mantras that enabled me to be commit phobic for so long. I was feeling great! However, the calm and content within me was short lived.
Though I tend to be an eternal optimist, I do my best not to sugar coat reality. As mentioned previously, during our 4-month break, several of the couples I had admired for their love and commitment ended their relationships. This pattern extended in 2014 when I’ve observed many of the people I’m closest with struggle to to be comfortable, content, joyful, and beautifully in love. Inevitably, this impacted my ability to be fully present in my relationship with EJB.
Enter guilt. An emotion that I’ve struggled to control for a great majority of my life, however, one that I never expected to appear in my love life.
It took me several conversations to identify the feeling, but once I did, it was so obvious. Talking with a girlfriend on Facebook about a tumultuous, on again and off again relationship she’d been involved with for 10 years. Watching the couples I had once admired, now do an awkward avoidance dance at community event. In passing over morning coffee with my roommates. I found myself down playing my relationship and making it less than it was and is. Often being overly empathetic to compensate for the fact that inside, I was over the fence, out of the park, World Series kind of happy.
Though of course nobody said it, inside I was hearing, “Why should you be happy when nobody else is?” This counter productive dialogue limited my ability to be authentic and degraded the quality of my relationship.
Once I recognized it for what it was, I had the freedom to stare it down and then release it. Guilt is a burdensome and unnecessary emotion that is self-generated. Be it ego. Upper limits. An inability to free ourselves to be truly happy. Whatever the cause, we’d all do a bit better to simply say: sorry, I’m not sorry. I’m genuinely happy.