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It’s been a little over a year since my girlfriend rang me up and told me to get a glass of wine and settle in for her advice on finding someone—sooner rather than later.
She told me it wasn’t just about getting older, it was more about getting more set in my ways the longer I was single.
I promised her I would make the effort, which started to feel like a full-time job—yuck!
I’ve been divorced since 2010, and I’ve had a couple of two-year relationships since then. I realized I was compromising a lot to be in those relationships and, ultimately, they all failed. Communication, background differences, different life goals, and compatibility over time were the common denominators.
And if I’m completely honest here, after the last relationship ended, I pretty much gave up on finding someone. I settled in to just being comfortable being alone, doing things on my own, and resigning myself to the fact it would be like this for the rest of my life.
One particularly hard evening when I was feeling alone and lonely, it occurred to me that maybe I had made a rash decision.
Isn’t life better when shared with another person? Don’t others enhance our experiences in life? Are we intended to be alone, or are we intended to be in relationships with others—both friendships and romances—because it creates a bond, a connection, and a feeling of belonging?
Healthy, loving, balanced relationships increase our quality of life, right?
I woke up the next morning with the realization that my needs weren’t being met. And then, the next thought was that I didn’t even know what my needs were. Wow!
For the next few days, I wrote down all of my needs. There were physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, friendship, family, and even romantic needs that I identified. I was amazed at how many things I came up with.
As I reviewed the list, I began to realize that some of my needs could only be met by a man in a romantic relationship. Additionally, I realized that I would very much like to get married again—another thing I had talked myself out of. Not as a do-over, but because one of my romantic needs is tangible evidence of commitment and love. To me, that is what marriage signifies, and that need is important.
After the whirlwind of dating experiences I’ve had, finally identifying my needs, and then loving myself unconditionally, I’m ready to love again and risk having my heart broken.
3 reasons why I’m willing to risk a broken heart to experience love:
1. I want to be completely, 100 percent vulnerable with my partner, allowing him to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve learned that one of the ways to be in a relationship, whether it’s a friendship or romance, is to trust myself enough to disclose painful events of my life and to show up as myself, at all times. I know being vulnerable allows us to have the deep, loving, trusting relationship that will fill a need for me. I also know it is a risk being vulnerable as it’s been used against me in the past; however, I have to live for today and need a partner who will accept me for who I am. And, in allowing him to be vulnerable, I accept him for who he is.
2. I cannot experience the good without the bad. Polarity is necessary in life to be able to feel the joy and the pain, the highs and the lows, the darkness and the light. The yin and yang symbol is the perfect example of polarity: complementary, interconnected, and still independent. There is such immense joy in being in relationship—sharing experiences, creating memories, and enhancing each other’s lives. I’m willing to risk the bad, the pain, the lows, and the darkness to walk in the light, feel good, reach the highs, and receive joy from being in a relationship.
3. I’ve had my heart broken by several life circumstances (divorce, family trauma, and temporarily having to leave my children) which I’ve been dealing with for the last 10 years. Broken heart syndrome is a real thing and I can tell you I’ve had it. It’s one of the things my acupuncturist has been treating recently, and I’ve concluded that one of the ways to heal it is to allow myself to be in a healthy, loving relationship. I have to risk having it broken again in order to heal it.
Navigating with my heart has to be my guide from now on. My over-thinking brain has been put in the backseat. I’m also noticing a lot of breadcrumbs that the universe is leaving for me. The signs are everywhere: common goals, similar life experiences, crossing paths, and, most importantly, the feeling of familiarity, comfort, and ease.
I feel like I can finally breathe.
I think I’ve been holding my breath for a long time, maybe my entire life. I’m finally able to fill my lungs, my heart, my essence, and my being with the life force of love—and that is worth the risk of a broken heart.