Learning from Love

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I have been in my fair share of unhealthy relationships, which plays a pretty significant role in my lack of trust for the male species.

I have been debating whether or not to share those individual stories as I do not want to humiliate or cause unnecessary pain as a result of their previous behaviours. 

I decided I will share my experiences, but please note that people do change for the better. They learn and grow from their mistakes (hopefully). They should not be judged currently for their previous behaviours or actions (or lack of).

I noted in a previous post [Letter to my Bully(s)] about my troubled years of dealing with the psychological abuse of being bullied. This is when my lack of trust, and resulting Major Depression really began. I am not really sure how all the rumors began, but I assume it had to be the result of my ex crush telling his friends some made up humiliating story, which ended up spreading like wild flowers around the school. If you read my previous post [Letter to my Bully(s)], you are painted a picture of just how debilitating that time was for me. The common theme during this time was him, a boy. Everything that had happened, everything that I was feeling, resulted from him, that relationship. I learned very quickly to hate myself, and I turned that trust switch down low.

Now lets fast forward to my young adult life.

I had met the man of my dreams, my lover, my soulmate, my best friend – or so I thought. I put every ounce of trust, love, honesty, and respect into that relationship. Strangely enough, a tear just came to my eye. I hadn’t realized this still affected me. Our relationship was far from perfect, like all relationships we had out pit falls. The most important parts of the relationships were certainly lacking. We lacked basic therapeutic communication, intimacy, and common interests. He lacked respect, honesty and loyalty. I still remember that night, when my whole world came crashing down. We had been together for 5 years, and that night was the night I found out about his repeated infidelity (with multiple woman). The interesting part of this story is I suspected it for many years, but was completely blinded by love. I made an endless amount of excuses for him. I should have trusted my instinct.  Furthermore, I probably shouldn’t have given it a second chance, when a second chance wasn’t deserving. This experience only confirmed my desire to withhold trust. I needed to protect myself.

Okay let me stop right here for a moment, as many of you are probably having the most horrible thoughts about this guy right now. People make mistakes. I don’t hate him, in fact a part of me will always love him for the person he is. I forgave him long ago, and we are civil and talk from time to time. We just weren’t meant to be. 

Who’s next?

After him I started serial dating. A horrible idea and it is NOT recommended. I was extremely fragile and easily taken advantage of, and I was. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. 

I craved closeness, and companionship. I couldn’t bare the thought of being alone. . . I turned to online dating (again another horrible idea). I remember falling in love over night with the next guy. We were inseparable. He provided me with all the basic things I never received for so many years. About 4 incredible months, he abruptly sent me a breakup text. Two months later he is engaged, married, and with a baby on the way.

A few dates later, I meet the sexiest man alive, but his arrogance, bad temper, and ego-eccentricness quickly turned him ugly. Nothing more to say about him. 

Then there was the guy with multiple faces. I seriously should have known better with this one. I am still shaking my head over it. There were plenty of warning signs, but again my heart went above my mind, and I was unable to appreciate and recognize those signs. We had dated for 5 months, and after doing some detective work (due to his bizarre behaviour), I discovered he was married with a 2 month year old baby. This man had lied about every. His name, career, his life, and wife!!!!!!!!

A couple of months later, I met the ‘true man’ of my dreams, but just not meant for my dreams. It was an incredible 4 months. I can honestly say I fell in love with this man overnight, but again my heart went above my mind, and I lost all sense of reality and what I truly deserved. I lost myself in this relationship. I tried to live up to his expectation. He wanted to live a high class lifestyle with matching high standards. In the beginning it was fun and exciting, but eventually the conflicting self-identities started to take a negative toll. He expected me to dress a certain way, to have my hair done a certain way, and to present myself in a certain way. It was “unacceptable” to wear track suits; dresses were encouraged. Our relationship lacked communication, and even basic intimate touch. We spent most of our quality time together lying horizontal on the couch. He is a very social being, and he couldn’t fully understand and respect my level of social anxiety. This relationship was toxic for me. It triggered another Major Depressive state. I eventually became disconnected, uninterested, and excessively worried. We surprisingly stayed together for a year, and then the most magical thing happened. He broke up with me! At the time, it was a very emotional battle, but now I see it as an answered prayer. It truly was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Again, I know I highlighted on what seem to be some “unrealistic” expectations, and you may be viewing him in a negative light, but please understand that his expectation are just part of how he views his ‘reality’ and it is what works for him. It was my mistake trying to live up to those. It was my mistake trying to change who I was. There are many women out there that would make a better fit to his type of lifestyle. In the end, we just were not right for each other. His latter lack of involvement and his behaviours were the result of him also not being happy. He deserves happiness, we all do. I wish him all the best in life and in love.

The newest guy. I questioned whether or not to even bring this guy up. I wouldn’t classify him as a ‘relationship’, although we did share some meaningful times together over a short period of time (about a month). It was heading in a positive direction, and a future could have been a potential with further exploration. This guy matched my “ideal guy list” totally. I was prepared to allow myself to open up to him, and when I finally decided that I wanted to…. he decides to go on a 3 month vacation.

But you know what? Great for him! He is just living his life to the fullest. He sees an opportunity and he takes it, without question (maybe a little bit of reasoning). He has an incredible outlook on life.  He is on a mission, and is committed to, and consistently trying to better himself in this world. His work brings him happiness and a sense of fulfillment, which has created a lifestyle that doesn’t feel like “work” him. If you find something you love, it will never feel like work, and that is the way it should be.  In any case, who knows what the future holds, for anyone.

Dating is all about trial and error. It is like an interview process, trying to determine who will make the best fit.

What did I learn from ALL this?  A whole lot!!!!!

I learned to be true to myself, to go after what [I] want, and that I am deserving of the basic necessities of love (trust, honesty, loyalty, communication).

I learned that I require someone who is willing to ride the highs and lows, and will love me for me, through sickness and through health.

I learned that I need someone who is more of an extrovert, someone who can help give me a little push out of my comfort zone, when I am so reluctant to do it myself.

I learned that my primary love languages are Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Quality Time. If you want to learn how to express love to me wholeheartedly, learn those!

I learned that I need to stop chasing love, and to embrace being “alone”. The truth is I am not alone. I am surrounded by an incredible supportive network; my family and friends, and an entire online community. No one is ever alone when they love themselves (a concept I am still learning).

I have learned (learning) to go with the flow, and to let go of my expectation, and to allow life to unfold the way the universe is creating it.

I learned about the power of The Law of Attraction, and practice it and gratitude daily. Positive thoughts bring positive experiences; thoughts become actions. I highly recommend everyone pick up a copy and read ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. It has transformed my life, for the better.

I have learned to accept that I have a Mental Illness, and ways to cope more effectively (I have come back stronger than ever before) and (most importantly) to not be afraid to talk about it. I was so worried about the way my friends, family, and coworkers would respond (especially after my absence). Everyone has been so incredibly supportive. Thank you.

At the time, those relationship life experiences seemed to create so much heartache and revealed no purpose, but with time, it was just life (the universe) guiding me along my path, showing me what I desire and require in order to be happy. I was able to learn from love (and continue to learn), preparing me to connect with my ultimate soulmate – someday.

Please Comment, Feedback, Like, Share….. It is always greatly appreciated. ♥

 

20 thoughts on “Learning from Love

  1. I can relate… I do believe that love exists but it is not for everyone and I can’t say that my past relationships have been solely responsible for the break ups and aftermath either but I can say I did my best. And… I am happy with peace, I can live with that 🙂

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  2. Wow great post. I can totally relate to you! I found out my partner was unfaithful but I’ve decided to stick with him but it was totally gut wrenching. So I know what you mean about wanting to vent about it but not wanting to curse these men either because at some point you shared something special with them. That’s how I see it 😊 I hope you find your happiness, you deserve it!

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  3. Love that you decided to tell your story. Everyone has one and sharing them helps others. NO relationship is perfect. And looking for and expecting to find the perfect one can keep us from seeing the ones who have the best and most workable qualities. If we set our sights on the “perfect” guy we are like a horse with blinders on who misses all the otherness around because he/she is focused ONLY on his/her perception of the only way he/she can and should go. So your mister right could be somewhere in the perifery of your blinded vision and you would never see him. So I would take the blinders off and see what and who happens. I’ve been married for 54 years and I know my husband is the one the Lord wanted and chose for me. But we still have our ups and downs and ways in which we don’t meet the others needs at all or as much as we’d like. But there is enough that is right that we have held it together for this long. Yes there are days when I’m not sure why, but then something will happen that reaffirms him as the right choice for me, maybe not the best choice but the right one. We ALL come into relationships with our brokenness baggage and it is that which causes bumps in the road we travel together. Life is not easy for anyone no matter how much some would have us believe that theirs is perfect. I wish you the best of luck and pray that the Lord sends the right guy across your path very soon!!! Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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  4. I can feel you on the lack of trust. I was married to my best friend. We argued. We had our days, but when the days were good, words could not describe them. In my opinion, some or most of my greatest poems involve her. My favorite was written last year in a poetry workshop I was in. It is entitled “It took Me 25 Minutes to Say I Love You”. I was smitten from the beginning. I thought I had the world by the tail. I truly did. I was young and I wish I knew then all the things I have learned in the 8 years this Valentines Day that she asked me to move out. Yeah talk about trust issues and a pain that is deep….. Well I just didn’t know what I had. I didn’t know how to treat her the way she deserved. And now I know that another man not only treats her that way, but has also help her to have three beautiful daughters, the family she has dreamed of since playing dolls all those years ago. My point in sharing all of this is I get a lot out of your post. I understand. While our situations are different, if you read more of my blog, especially the early days up to a couple of months ago, you will see I have tried to be an open book. I have suffered some very severe depression and also carry a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. In the midst of the storm, nothing, absolutely nothing made sense to me. The hurt, the pain, the anger, the hatred, all the intense emotions I could not handle, I suppressed with alcohol. It is only in the last year of maintaining sobriety that I have seen change. The change is awesome and due to wasting 22 years of my life drowning things with substances, I feel with all my heart I cannot take any credit for my sobriety. My recovery program has taught me to connect with a higher power. My higher power is God. I was raised in church and walked away very angry. I feel I cannot take any credit because those 22 years, I was running the show. I was doing what I wanted. At its worst in February 2016 I was divorced for 6 years by then, I was alone, no car, no job, a lot of my supports had basically given up on me because I had pushed them so far out of my life, and the worst part, I was homeless.

    I share this to tell you keep plugging away. A friend of mine would always say to me as he left, “keep your head up”. A lot of times when I heard that I felt like punching him, honestly. But that is where it is at. If you don’t believe in a higher power of any kind or are not spiritual, just keep doing what you have to do. Get up, suit up, and show up. All these other things will happen. I like what you said about gave up looking. Someone told me to stop searching and she (the one for me) would come into my life. That was 5 years ago. It makes no sense to me where she is or if she even exists. The key is, I am ok with me. I am ok with being me and being single. I show myself compassion and love. I am far from perfect and have so much to learn and work on.

    One more thing. I love studying Impermanence. If you don’t know what it is or have never heard of it, look it up some time. Simply put it means, nothing, good or bad, will ever stay the same.

    I really enjoyed reading this post and as time allows I hope to read some more of your blog. I wish you all the best. You deserve it and so much more!!

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  5. This is a great post and I think a lot of people can learn a lot from it. You kept it very professional yet still personal. Great job 🙂 I love your writing.

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  6. You seem t have experienced the gamut of male types. Since my wife of 29 years passed on, in 2011, I have not really focused on any one relationship. I have made some incredible woman friends, and began to get close to a couple of them. So far, the real chemistry has not been there. It’s okay. In both your situation and mine, there are plenty of good people yet to cross the path.

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  7. Wow! Interestingly a friend of mine had told me a similar story about herself. The best way I could describe it as being the idea of being in love with being in love! The pitfall of that meeting two of the most awful guys you could imagine. I am glad you see you recognise, what you need is really important. To meet someone who sees that and works with you to meet that is great.

    I am far from being perfect! I have told my own lies, for different reasons, thinking I was doing the best for my first girlfriend to try and protect her from being hurt from my own problems and battles in life.

    Why do people feel the need to cheat?I’ve been cheated on and know how much it hurts. I’ve been physically and psychologically abused and I can relate to how it affects your trust in others. This is my major issue that has affected me. Outside of being in a relationship I only have two friends one I have only been friends with for a few months the other I am only in contact with now and again. Family became non existent since my mum died, but being able to trust people has really got in the way.

    Value those relationships you have, they are crucial! Value yourself, you are a survivor, be proud of who you are! x

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  8. Your part about your “true man of your dreams” hit home especially hard for me because I was in a similar situation not too long ago. I thought he was perfect, but my judgement was clouded by infatuation. If anything as the months went by, it really triggered my depression and anxiety and I started to socially isolate from everyone else in my life and just focus on him and doing things FOR him. Deep down (now that I look back on it) I don’t think I was really that happy. I’m still not completely 100% healed from it, but I’m over half way there now and I feel better. I’m starting to see we weren’t meant to be and maybe being with him was supposed to be a life lesson.

    I’m happier and in no rush to “chase love”. As you mentioned, I am embracing “being alone” right now.

    I’m glad that you’ve learned so many valuable life lessons along the way. It’s so difficult to open up to people, especially if you’re not sure if something will last. That’s always been the most difficult part about love for me. I’m sure you will be able to find your soulmate soon. They’re out there. Never give up hope on that 🙂

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  9. Hey Rachel! you are a brave and courageous girl! I can totally empathize with you. sometimes, we just have to dig deeper to understand why do we attract the same kind of people. its a pattern we need to understand and break it. the pattern keeps returning until life has taught us the lesson we need to learn. I found out what was my pattern – it was Fear of being rejected ..and looking for approval and love in somebody else. i am lucky to find a wonderful guy in my husband who is teaching me Self love.. i was so alien to the concept too… and i am so happy that you started painting. i have found this sudden pull to abstract art as well recently. would love to see your work. and yes, please feel free to drop a mail ( amrutasparmar@gmail.com) if you feel low and need someone to talk to 🙂 sometimes talking to someone who doesnt know you at all, makes you feel more liberated. no judgements! just someone who will listen to you 🙂

    have a beautiful day gorgeous ! xoxo

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    1. I really appreciate you reaching out to me and wanting to lend a hand. ♡ although at this point in my life, I am strong. I took one step in front of the other and came out the other end.

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