On All-Consuming Love

A coffee shop conversation turned into love and our history of it. That love can be simple or complicated or infuriating, all depending on the dynamic of you and the person that you love. Each of us had an fanatical love in our past. The kind in which the person you love can do no wrong. That, in your eyes, everything about them is the best that there is, from the color of their hair to the sound of their voice. I’m not talking possessive love. I’m talking obsessive, all-encompassing, all-consuming love.

I asked her if she would ever even want to love that way again, since I have been strongly of the mind that I would not want that again ever since it ended. And for both of us it ended badly. For both of us it was the type of love that rips you apart when it leaves you. I never wanted to feel that destroyed or that vulnerable again or that out of control. I’ve felt for many years now that that type of love is unsustainable and unhealthy and so, have not wished it upon myself.

I was surprised by her answer since her fanatical love had just ended. Not just because the answer was a concept I had never thought of but because I figured her wounds would be too fresh for a open minded response.

She said yes, that she would want to feel that way again. And her explanation made me change my mind.

Yes, she said. But only if it were reciprocated. The problem with both of our big past loves was that the love that we felt and gave was not returned to us. The relationships were extremely one-sided.

Had this conversation between the two of us occurred any sooner than it did it probably would not have had such an effect on me because I’ve been so sure that that type of love can only be one-sided. That that type of love is never reciprocated. From my life experience and from observing the experiences of those around me I must have, at some point, subconsciously come to the conclusion that someone always loves more… and the more that is is in direct correlation with less the other person cares. It seemed to me that maybe lukewarm mutual love had the best chance to become long-lasting.

How very jaded of me.

I will admit that the relationship I am currently in is still somewhat new. But it is in every way a difference experience than anything I’ve ever had before. The small thing I do to show that I care are reciprocated and appreciated. My feelings are taken into consideration. My needs are acknowledged and often put first. My hugs are returned, genuinely. Everything is different because everything is given back in a selfless and considerate way.

It is a strange feeling to no longer feel like I’m doing too much or being used or being generally under-appreciated. It’s a strange feeling to feel okay with being open and not holding back or playing the game. It’s akin to your very first love, the one you feel with no hesitation or expectation.

I had given up on all of this too early but it came to me when I stopped being fearful and resentful and jaded. It came from the most unexpected angle at the most unexpected time. I guess I do want all-consuming love. I’m ready for it. I want to give freely with no resentment. Not be taken advantage of.

What a novel idea… to care for someone madly, unselfishly, and have them actually care for you back in the same way.

 

 

 

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Navigating Expectations

You’ve seen the quote and pictures on social media: “Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed”.

It often comes in the form of a self-serving & passive aggressive post towards a family member, coworker, or significant other; this has always turned me off and made me discount the sentiment. I am also of the mind that if you hold no expectations of yourself you’re not going to be able to reach many goals in life. Also, If you hold no expectations of the people in your life then you may accept treatment that your otherwise would not.

I think that some expectation is a reasonable product of having respect for yourself. However, after a discussion with a friend recently about some unreasonable expectations we have had in our careers and our love lives I’ve now began to began to wonder…

Just where exactly is the line between reasonable and unreasonable expectations? What is healthy and what is unhealthy? How do you expect enough without expecting too much?

It is possible to spend years beating yourself up about not being where you want to be career-wise or family-wise, or in your education. I know I’m definitely my own worst enemy when it comes to this. Despite the goals I’ve reached I never feel like I’m far enough; I feel like I could be doing better than I am. I don’t take the time to pat myself on the back and realize that I’ve done some very cool shit in my life. I have some pretty bad ass friends that have as well; amazing, strong beautiful women that have excelled in owning their own businesses, becoming doctors. They feel the same as I do. That they could and should be doing more, rather than just basking in the glory of their awesomeness.

My tendency to expect too much of myself bleeds over into my interpersonal relationships as well. I know I have expected too much from friends, family and relationships. I have at times expected people to give at the same level that I do, even when rationally I can understand that that is not their personality type or that their own personal “love language” is one that mine doesn’t so easily recognize. I know that I set myself (and them) up for failure when I think things should be a certain way in my head and when things don’t turn out that way. I have found myself upset in the past solely from expecting too much of someone, no fault of their own really. But again, what is expecting too little? Should someone just be happy with any kindness and ask for nothing else?

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Relationship propaganda, romantic movies and social media lead us to believe that our love should be our soul mate and they should fulfill all of our needs. Glossy magazine covers show us women who are outrageously successful, fit, run their own businesses, solve world hunger and write books on string theory, all while being mothers too! I do know that comparing yourself to these things or expecting these things is extremely unrealistic and detrimental. No one can reach your every expectation at all times, not even you. But I think that if you are realistic and honest enough with yourself and others then you can spend much less time being disappointed or sad and a lot more time just enjoying the ride.

I am making it a point to lessen the unreasonable expectations I’ve had a tendency of setting, of  both myself and of others. Sometimes all you can do is appreciate the now, appreciate your wonderful self, and appreciate people for who they are no matter their actions.

But I will never expect nothing at all.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember Not to Forget

“I forgot how much I loved you” he said after we hadn’t spoke in months.

And for just the most fleeting moment… It made me feel relief… or happiness? Redemption?

And then just confused. Is this bullshit or it is a genuine human realization? Can you forget how much you love someone?

When I was with him I forgot to love myself. I forgot how much I love to read. How much I love spending an entire night watching a horror movie by myself while anxiously (and un-self consciously) shoving popcorn into my face. I love thinking. And making bland food for one because that’s what I like and I’m not trying to please anyone else. I miss walking around the mall for 2 hours and buying nothing or too much and having no one to call to tell where I am and when I’ll be back. I forgot how I do love to work out, just not when I’m forced to go on someone else’s schedule. And that I love drinking wine and playing Lana Del Rey at midnight and feeling sexy on my own terms in no makeup and with no one asking me to come to bed or come watch TV or turn the music down. I forgot that I love doing all these things, all these things that make me happy and make me feel whole. So if you can forget the things that make you happy, what makes people any different?

I read a quote the other day this girl posted on Facebook. It said “People tend to say that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had. You just thought you would never lose it”. I don’t know if it’s original or a cut-and-paste quote, but it did make me think about relationships and appreciation. It’s a pretty common theme. It cuts across the ages. Boy under appreciates girl. Girl gets sad. Girl leaves and/or finds someone else. Boy realizes “what he had” and tries to get her back. Or vice versa, lets not gender stereotype. Well, why do we do this? Why do we take people for granted that we love? The people that we need in our lives? It’s the people we love that keep our lives happy and meaningful, but it’s these very same people that the daily grind of life often causes us to emotionally ignore the most.

I’ve always said it is the little things that count. And it is those little things that you do for someone that you are in love with. Because I believe that to be in love is to find happiness in someone else’s happiness. Not to lose yourself, but to feel energized by their smile because you caused it. If you are in love with someone you bring them their favorite candy bar from the gas station because you saw it and you thought of them. But somewhere along the line these things seem to go away. You get used to that person being around and instead you think about washing your car or your day at work while you look at that candy bar at the gas station, and then you walk away empty handed. It is this, this complacency, that eats away at something good. Eats away at it until it’s no longer recognizable.

Relationships take work. So many people make it to that comfortable stage and forget that another person is there that chose to walk through life with them (emphasis on choice here…), and that’s a shame. Because sometimes, whether you think you’ll never lose someone or you “forget how much” how you love them, they stop caring. And often, no amount of self-realization or renewed appreciation will bring them back to you at that point. Just remember the little things.

 

Starting at Zero or Not Starting at All.

So I’ve been single for awhile now, around 6 months. Entirely single for three (I will admit there was a grey post-breakup time span for a bit) and I’ve had some time to reflect on the silliness that was the last two years. And what I’ve felt is a lot of indignation, some sadness, some indifference, a bit of longing, and fleeting bursts of red hot anger. One of those anger bursts just happened on my way back home from the gym today. I just had a moment of realization that my ex (let’s call him Austin as a token to my joke name for him during our relationship “Austin Tacious”. Yes, even while in love with him I knew he was an ass), not for one second, let himself go enough to ever give this relationship a chance. He’s in his mid-thirties, a reformed (for the most part) playboy, and has had somewhere around five serious relationships in his life. All of which ended in lies and cheating by one partner or the other or both. The last serious relationship he had carried into ours by the way of late night texts, frequent phone calls, and a few “wrongly dated” (as in the date on the picture was wrong…) ass-in-the-mirror selfies (yes he actually thought that was believable). So needless to say, I wasn’t ok with said ex being in our new life together. And this is was the beginning of the end. To make a long story short – he never gave this girl up 100%. Because he was never 100% into us. He wouldn’t allow himself to be in fear of getting hurt again. Any time I would break down a wall after hours of talking and crying and explaining, it would be right back up again in the morning. And I’d be left feeling cheated and exasperated.

But here is my reasoning for this post and for my post-workout anger. If you have the desire to begin a new life with someone, commit to them, spend time with them and invest in a future together… then cut the bullshit. We have all been hurt before. We have all been lied to. We have all cried and wished that things could have gone differently. To use this crap against a new partner (through passive aggression, wall-building, dishonesty, etc.) is to waste someones valuable time. You are now burdening them with “fixing” the damage that someone else entirely has caused you. And maybe you wont ever even let it be fixed and instead you will torture them with it until they give up on you (ooh that sounds fun, right?).

Austin and I were doomed before we started because he was never going to give me his all. He had already given it to others and had none left for me. So what I got instead was two years of wondering why it was that I was never trustworthy (no matter how far I went in attempting to prove this… “Want my passwords? here. My text records? here.” Makes me cringe now…) and why it was that he was never all that affectionate and why it was that I always felt like I was waiting for something (a breakthrough maybe?) but I wasn’t quite sure what that something was. Just a constant lingering feeling that something was off. I wish I had left when I found out about the ex. When I had seen red flags (and I did see them, early on). When he was checking my phone a month into our relationship. When I discovered for the first time that there was another woman in his life who’s presence he valued over mine (I’m talking about a recent ex-girlfriend, not a regular I’ve-never-had-sex-with-you friend or a relation- I’ve known girls that try to get in between those types of a mans relationships and that’s so not cool). And when no matter what I did or how hard I tried I was always “guilty” of something.

But I did learn something very important through all of this. When I do meet someone new that I believe is worth my time I will jump in 100 percent. This does not mean give up my life to them or become dependent on them or get too serious too quickly! This is not what I’m talking about. I’m saying that I will not hold anything against them that someone else has done, and I won’t build walls to avoid getting hurt. I just know now that if you aren’t willing to give it your all you’re shooting your horse before it even leaves the starting gate. And that’s not fair to someone who wanted to let it run and find out where it goes.