I’ve loved before…or, at least, I told myself I did.
I can tell my story over and over again of the love I felt for him. I loved him with everything I had.
It all started with a feeling deep inside my soul. And I based my entire relationship on that initial feeling. I held on to that feeling.
But it wasn’t enough.
When our relationship first started, I went in ever so carefully so I wouldn’t get hurt. I tiptoed in to test out this love thing.
As things progressed and it started to feel hard, I held on to my initial feelings and built a wall around my heart. If I stayed strong throughout the relationship, he could never hurt me. Or at least, that was what I told myself.
When things got really tough, I didn’t speak up. I was terrified he’d think I was a nag. When I was disappointed, I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to come off as annoying. When I felt lonely, I kept to myself. I didn’t want to sound needy.
I never truly opened my heart to him.
If I did, he might have felt the pain in my heart.
If I did, he might have heard what my heart was asking for.
If I did, he might have seen the tears my heart had cried.
But he didn’t.
When he didn’t participate in the relationship, I stayed strong. I put up a front that I didn’t care so much. I didn’t let him know how bad it really hurt.
I was f*cking dying every day, yet I stayed strong so he wouldn’t know he was breaking me.
The internet defines love as a set of emotions and behaviors characterized by intimacy, passion, and commitment. It involves care, closeness, protectiveness, attraction, affection, and trust.
We were never those things.
I put blame on him for destroying us, yet I only half-heartedly gave in to our relationship.
And then I realized that because he gave next to nothing in the relationship, I was only following his lead. Yet I still believed that I loved him.
Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing. I loved the man I fell in love with. I was holding on to the idea of love with a man I wanted to be with. Instead of seeing him for who he truly was.
I couldn’t grasp the fact that he wasn’t fully invested in me. Yet he was completely fine with living our life together in this clusterf*ck of nothingness.
I wasn’t able to understand that whatever this was, it wasn’t love. Love should have been so much more.
Love is not just a feeling.
After we fall for someone, we decide this is the person we are going to love. Love is making a commitment. We decide this is the person we commit ourselves to love. Love is about action. We actively work at loving that person.
How did I screw this all up?
We weren’t handed a manual on how to love. We learned how to love from the world around us, from our parents, the way we grew up, and the way love was shown to us.
We learn by example.
My experience showed me that I had no clue how to love my partner. I spent most of my days sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, lonely, devastated, mean, and upset.
I decided it was time to create my own set of rules when it came to loving someone. I gathered all of my failures from matters of the heart and used that to teach myself how to love. How to really love a partner.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever fall in love, but if the right one comes along and wants to be all in as much as I do, this is how I am going to love him:
I will give him my entire heart.
I broke down the wall that kept my heart safe so that I can now commit fully to a relationship. As scary as this feels, I am ready to go all in.
I will fully invest in the relationship.
Deciding to love someone requires time together. I know life gets busy, and I have very little time to myself let alone someone else. But I am willing to invest time in someone who is willing to invest time in me.
I will communicate the love I feel for him.
I won’t hide how I feel. I am no longer afraid of showing my heart. I am no longer afraid to express how I feel. I have put down my armor, and my heart is ready to shine. Walking around like nothing bothered me was no way to live. I was only hurting myself. I wasn’t experiencing love this way.
I will be open to accepting love.
As much as I knew this was the goal, I struggled letting anyone in. As much as I don’t need someone to love me in order to feel whole, it doesn’t take away from accepting love if someone is trying to give it to me. It’s okay to let someone love us.
I will compromise.
I am able to accept change. I am able to be spontaneous in my life and see where it takes me. So, I can experience all that love has to offer.
I will be supportive and not dictate how things should go.
I will support his decisions and stand by his side.
I will be a partner through the good times and the bad.
Not just when things are really good but to fight for it when things are really bad.
I won’t expect perfection.
I will learn to even love his flaws, and love every bit of them. When we decide to love someone, we need to accept them for all that they are and not want to change them.
I will be more open to listen to what he is saying.
I’m not the only one in this relationship. We both have a say.
I will apologize if I am wrong.
I am teaching myself how to say I’m sorry. I screw up all the time. Saying sorry is not a weakness but a strength.
I will show him my fears and vulnerability.
That is the truest form of openness in a relationship.
My relationship may have been half-hearted, but it was the only way I knew how to love. Though it doesn’t mean that I am destined only to love this way. I want more.
So, I am putting down my shield in order to feel love inside my soul. The only way to learn how to love is to experience it. It’s the only way to truly enjoy all that love has to offer.
Love is falling first then deciding this is the person I am choosing to love and then to actually give this person that love.
We should love with our entire heart and soul.
That is how I am going to experience love.