146 Days Remaining
Today I wanted to explore a little more one of the Characteristics of Women and Men Who Love Too Much, as I mentioned in my prior post Pushover No More! (if that's okay with you...).
The first three characteristics on the list speak of emotional needs that weren't met as a child, of receiving little nurturing during the growing years. These don't speak to me, as I felt very safe and comfortable in my family of origin, and I knew both my parents loved me very much. The next characteristic on the list, however, is glaringly familiar, and uncomfortable to admit.
"Terrified of abandonment, you will do anything to keep a relationship from dissolving."
So why is this? What is inside me that causes me to be so scared to let go of someone? I think it took me a long time to recognize that I would actually be all right - in fact, in some cases much better off - without that deep attachment to another person. Too much of me saw myself as simply a reflection of whoever I was with at the time. I look at all that "wasted" time (although many would say that any time
that moves you toward a realization or change inside yourself can never
be counted as wasted) and shake my head. Was HB worth all that time,
energy and emotion that I invested in him? I told myself at the
beginning of the relationship that I wasn't going to let that happen.
When he broke up with me the first time, I said I didn't want to be that
person who tries to convince a man that he should be with her, and that
he should make those decisions on his own. And then - almost subconsciously, while telling myself and my friends all along that I was fine with the status quo - I did everything in my power to be the perfect woman for him so that he could have a little help in making that decision. I convinced myself that I would be content to wait for him...as long as I knew I would end up with him at some point down the line. He just needed to wake up and smell the perfume.
Now I look back and realize that was exactly the problem: I left it up to him. Had I not finally given myself a good mental slap and determined that it was time to move forward - indeed, recognized that I had already moved forward - HB would likely have been thoroughly content to just keep stringing me along. Who knows how many more years this could have gone on? I pushed and pushed...I made sure to keep that connection there so that he would eventually realize that I was the one he wanted. Yet he made it clear - even though he was loathe to just out-and-out say it to me - that he was never serious about me. Yes, he wanted me in his life. Yes, he hoped I would be in his future in some way...but he knew that if he just bluntly told me that nothing would ever happen, he would lose that connection that he had to me. And there I was, cooking for him; making him feel special and loved; happy to spend with him whatever little drips and drabs of time that he would give me. I accompanied him to special events dressed to the nines, I sent him little text message filled with hearts and encouraging words, and I told him how great he was and how proud of him I was all every day. Who would want to give that up? Of course, there is the possibility that HB was also having trouble letting go of the relationship, no matter what its form - perhaps he was also afraid of abandonment. But that was not a real relationship and it should have ended much earlier.
Truth is, it isn't only that I'm afraid of abandonment or of being alone. I don't mind being alone as much as I once did...but I like being in a relationship. I like feeling wanted; I like taking care of someone; I like knowing that I "belong" to another person. The problem begins when I begin to be absorbed into whoever that person is. It has taken years for me to see that I don't need a man to make me who I am. In truth, I'm a much more well-rounded individual now, due to taking on the many and varied interests of whoever my inamorato was at the time, but in the past couple of years I`ve really come to understand that I needed to discover what my own interests are, and the things that I am fired up about. That`s why I`m in the nursing program; it`s why I`m going to build houses in Mexico this summer; it`s why I`m taking dance lessons; and it`s why I`ve finally learned to say to myself that it`s okay to do things that I want to do. And it`s okay to want to do them in the first place - I can`t believe I ever had trouble with that.
So as I head into the last few months of this yearlong hiatus, I`m carefully schooling myself to remember who I am now. I want to make sure that I know myself well enough that when and if I get into another relationship, I will still be me, and not allow myself to become just an extension of my man. If he doesn`t love me for who I am, exactly the way I am, then I need to be able to recognize that it`s not the right relationship for me, and I need to stop it from happening. I'm hoping that I've gotten that in my head deep enough that I'll be able to do it when the time comes.
I want to be a woman who loves deeply, but not a "woman who loves too much". I'm pleased and proud to be a woman who is fiercely loyal and throws myself into a relationship; I love with reckless abandon. I just want to make sure that I never again do that at my own expense.