I’m ready for a committed relationship. I’m ready for epic love. As Carrie Bradshaw described it best, “Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t–live–
That’s the lie I’ve been telling myself for many years. But micro romance after micro romance, that “real love” was nowhere to be found. Instead, I found myself constantly in situations where I was pining for more time, attention or commitment from men who weren’t willing or able to give it. This was my norm – dating men who kept an emotional distance was my comfort zone. Living there mirrored my childhood dynamic with my parents, and that little wounded girl who learned at a young age “I am not enough” would go through life overcompensating by proving and over-giving in order to win love.
The primal drive to be seen, accepted and loved resulted in me developing many talents – singing, dancing, writing, achieving, doodling – various avenues to win more of that prize I was seeking. I would even bust out my talents on dates – “see me, love me, choose me…” the little girl hoped.
And each time it didn’t work, that little girl got hurt, and the message from childhood kept getting reconfirmed – you are not enough, try harder, be better, do more. The result was a pattern repeating itself over and over again: different people, different situations – same emotions.
Then, in January of 2011, I met the man I would eventually fall head over heals in love with. He was my first real love, and we planned our life and future together. When that relationship fell apart, I fell apart. The bandage covering up all my childhood trauma was ripped off – and I had to face all those wounds dead on. I felt broken. It took everything I had left in me to piece myself back together, and I admit, there were times when I didn’t have hope I’d make it. But eventually I got up. Years later I became friends with my ex, and even built a business around breakups. I’m healed! Or so I thought.
But if you look at my romantic outcomes, they were the same as before: unavailable men. Note – you can be in a relationship with someone who is unavailable. It’s not about the label, it’s about the energy. It doesn’t mean the person you are with is ill-intended or not an amazing person, it just means that he/she is not fully in. Whether conscious or subconscious, there’s a wall around their heart which keeps an emotional distance for the bond to get past a certain point. Dating unavailable people enabled me to keep pointing the finger at someone else for why a relationship wasn’t working. It wasn’t me, god no. Until about the umpteenth time and I realized the common denominator was, gulp, ME.
After working with an energy healer, she revealed to me that while on a conscious level I healed from my breakup, subconsciously I associated love with pain. She pointed out that since my breakup I have only been attracted to men who would only go so far in their level of vulnerability, because that would allow me to also not risk becoming too vulnerable. He’s safe. I’m safe. Nobody’s going to get hurt here!
The flipside is that nobody risks getting past the superficial stage of connection either.
We’ve heard it before – you need to be vulnerable to love. And while in theory, we may know this and even think that we are being open and vulnerable, if you’re not connecting in the deep, fulfilling way that your soul secretly aches for, maybe you’ve been doing what I was doing: avoiding true intimacy because of fear, recreating situations that mirror the emotional experience of childhood, and choosing partners with an impossible future because the quest distracts you from the truth.
So what now? Armed with this awareness, how does one create change? It doesn’t happen overnight, and this journey of mine has been a work in progress, and probably always will be. I started a few years ago by learning about my attachment style and practicing how to become more secure in the way I relate romantically. Last year I set out to rewire my chemistry – being open to available people who I may not have instant chemistry with. Fast forward to today, I’m embracing how it feels to receive, and how real love feels like – it’s safe, it’s calm, it’s present, and it’s enriching. I know how love doesn’t feel like – up and down, off and on, insecure, angst ridden, confusing and depleting. Now, no amount of chemistry, or “what ifs” will convince me to accept the latter.
My norm – my familiar zone of what love feels like, is shifting. Unavailability is no longer a turn on, it’s a turn off.
Unavailability is no longer a turn on, it’s a turn off.
As I become more available, who I am drawn to, and who is drawn to me, is inevitably changing. What we attract externally is ultimately a reflection of what’s going on internally. And while I probably still have some ways to go, the one thing that I do know is this – when I meet the right partner for me, I won’t need to persuade, chase or impress to earn their love.
Here’s to the journey… both feet in, one step at a time.