New relationships, for all of their excitement, are some of the most nerve-wracking experiences anyone, anywhere can have. For all of the differences that we as humans have, the cultural divides, the religious divides, the political divides, our sexual orientation- whether we are white, black, brown, olive, purple, green, pretty, ugly, sexy, nerdy, or downright weird…I think that it is safe to say that we will all, at some point, have feelings for someone.
These feelings may work out for you on your first try- you marry the kid you grew up with. You marry the guy you fell hard for in high school. You marry the girl you saw at your first college party.
OR these feelings may not work out for you. You may put yourself out there for someone and get completely and totally crushed. While time usually does heal all wounds, you will never find yourself quite the same trusting, carefree relationship person that you were that very first time. Your heart has been pieced back together, but it doesn’t feel quite the same, does it?
When you fall into that second category you often get the clichéd “everything happens for a reason” or “there are more fish in the sea” or “they weren’t right for you anyway” or…or…or. Eventually, you get back out there. My first attempts were disastrous, subconscious efforts to remind myself of exactly why I was not worthy of the attentions I sought. I dated some real tools. Then I went through the whole ordeal where I was trying to reaffirm my goodness- that I was deserving of love and attention- and I dated nice guys. Those relationships were almost as disastrous, but slightly less so. Then I went through my sabbatical. Thank goodness for that.
The truth that I learned is that you can never fully recover from the harm of a past relationship while in a new one. It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Fairly obvious, all things considered- but it wasn’t- at least, not to me until I actually stopped and took the time to think about it.
It’s almost laughable, some of the things that I tried to make myself do in order to become the person I thought someone wanted me to be. It includes (to name the most popular few):
• Social Butterfly
• Go Out Every Weekend all Dolled Up…er
• Mathematically gifted
• Spur of the Moment
• Enjoyer of scary movies
Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I am uncoordinated, quiet, unassuming, hugely creative but lacking any mathematical ability beyond 2+2, and a planner. Can I be fun and do something off the cuff? Sure, but it takes a special individual to get me to do so. The sooner I came to realize these things about myself, the quicker I realized where I had been going wrong. Like I said before, it seems fairly obvious to just be yourself in a relationship, but sometimes, we’re so desperate for love, even if it isn’t really love it’s more of a strong like, we will mold ourselves to be what they need us to be- in an effort to be wanted for exactly what we’re not.
That was the real eye opener for me. I love who I am, I think I’m awesome- most days. Why would I want someone who thinks or says differently? Why would I want someone who thinks “she isn’t social enough” or “she doesn’t make enough money” or “she isn’t very pretty”? I want someone who is nuts about me- who thinks that I am just as amazing as I think THEY are.
I know that not all relationships make it. I know that I might find someone who I think is great and they will think I’m great, but that it still won’t work out- be it now or twenty years down the road and two kids in. Would I be perfectly fine by myself forever? Probably- I know I’d be lonely on occasion, but I know that I am not dependent on a relationship to make me happy. Do I WANT that crazy, can’t live without you feeling? Hell yes, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Do I think I deserve it? Off and on…but I have a hard time I believe I deserve much of anything, so I’m willing to give myself a pass on that. Am I ready for it? That’s the real question, isn’t it? Is my heart in a place where it feels like it can be given to someone, even if it doesn’t fully work out?
The difference lies in the lessons I have learned up to this point. The lessons that point me in the direction of hope instead of heartache. I know that there are still no guarantees, but I feel almost like the new and improved version of my 18-year-old self…and THAT feels like a very good place to be.