Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone. — Reader comment on space2live
I, too, wondered if I was capable of finding and keeping love. After all, my marriage ended, I can be emotional, I need solitude to recharge and I have three children. Could I maintain a career, raise kids and have the energy to be a loving partner? Could anyone handle me? If so, would I like them? I had my doubts.
As much as I adore my solitary and creative time, I know I do not want to go through life solo. I am too into intimacy and connection. I crave them after stretches of aloneness. I am most alive when alone OR when in deep intimacy. Solitude and intimacy. They are my yin and yang. My polar pulls that guide me to heaven on earth.
Last September, I found myself crying in my mom’s kitchen. I was struggling to decide whether or not to buy the family home from my ex-husband. The kids and I were stressed from the uncertainty of not knowing where we were going to live. My mother was beginning to lose her ability to eat or talk. My heart ached for my mom and her ALS diagnosis.
The man I was seeing at the time could not handle all of this and backed out. I truly wondered if anyone could handle it.
I let myself wallow in pity for a week or so. I considered the ‘baggage’ I was carrying. It was heavy and I felt weak and worn out because of it. I felt broken and undesirable.
It looked like I was going to have to be my own amazing boyfriend. So, I started to do things to make myself happy. I signed up for a ten-day tour in England in May with an introvert group. That gave me something to look forward to.
I made the decision to stay in our home. My former husband and I agreed on a price and it was done. Relief. No moving. No uncertainty. No more confrontational conversations about it. This was a huge weight off of my shoulders. My bank account suffered but my spirit (and my kids’ spirits) soared.
I signed up to do volunteer work delivering and preparing healthy meals for chronically ill people.
Match.com I cannot resist you
I signed up for one month of Match.com. Yes, so much for fierce independence and being my own soulmate. I told myself I have one month, if no one lights my fire, then back to being my own love interest.
Enter my man.
He’d lived all over the world and experienced fascinating and terrifying things in his 22 years in the military.
On our second date he mentioned taking my boys fishing someday.
A few weeks in, I had to have a biopsy done for possible breast cancer. He held me through the night when I was most worried. The results were benign, thank God.
I started to believe this guy did not scare easily.
At a New Year’s Eve party we were asked to write a word that would describe 2015. I wrote steadfast because that is the word that came to mind when I thought of my man and our relationship.
Over the next year…
He told anyone who would listen about space2live. He read my posts and asked me questions.
We spent many hours lingering on the couch or walking around the lake having the most lovely conversations.
We learned each other’s sexual styles and figured out how to blend in the most sensual and satisfying ways.
He met my kids. Took them fishing, made sushi with them and danced with me in the kitchen in front of them.
I took him to meet my mother in her depressed and speechless state. He made her laugh and held me when I broke down in tears after walking out of her room.
He didn’t run. He didn’t make me feel small or broken. In fact, I felt stronger with him.
No matter what your woman says or does, give her love. Press your belly into her. Smile. Scream and then lick her face. Do whatever it takes to crack the shell of her closure, get your love inside that crack, and touch her heart. — David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
Time and time again he showed up. Steadfast. He said that’s what partners do. I was leery.
I had not shown him my full baggage-laden self yet.
In her book, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, Dr. Judith Orloff describes four emotional types: The intellectual, The Empath, The Gusher and The Rock.
Intellectuals have a cerebral approach to emotions. Rational thought is their filter.
Empaths (me) are finely tuned instruments and feel everything. Intuition is their filter.
Gushers (also me?) know their emotions and were born to share them. They wear their emotions on their sleeves with little filtering.
Rocks are practical and emotionally strong for themselves and for others. They internalize emotions thus keeping a boundary between themselves and the world.
Although he has characteristics of the Intellectual, my man is a Rock. My Rock. Exactly what I need.
When you’re reeling from emotions, rocks won’t lose their cool. You can sob, complain, rant. They won’t pull away or judge. They genuinely care about your delight and pain (you can curl up in a rock’s arms anytime) but don’t bear the brunt of these feelings…. Though they prefer life to be on an even keel, they won’t shirk difficulties.— Judith Orloff, Emotional Freedom
Rocks often internalize their own stress. They do not realize that examining their feelings will help. They are wired to keep on keeping on. They need to be encouraged to bring out their feelings. Empaths and Gushers are good for that.
What do you know? I am what my man needs.
The final straw?
Eventually, drama arose with my ex-husband, I was low on solitude and my schedule jammed up. I stressed out, lost sleep, focused on the negative and lashed out at my man.
This time he left.
I pushed him too far. I knew I would.
Give up or fight?
But this guy was worth fighting for.
I couldn’t just cry and let it end. It was my turn to work and be steadfast. I emailed him with explanations for my behavior. I called him to try and earn his love and understanding back. I admitted I was too sensitive about some things. I desperately explained how I interpreted his words and why I was so on edge (over-stimulation). I explained the differences in our way of thinking and communicating. Him, more logical and practical. Me, more feelings and values driven. I wanted him to understand me so badly.
I had to show him how much and why I loved him.
Through several rounds of difficult conversations we made headway. We broke through the gridlock and grew emotionally. I felt heard and better understood. I think he did too. Through it all, we always had each other’s backs. I never wanted to hurt him or win the argument. I just wanted us to know and accept each other.
What I have learned about relationships is that they involve growth, support and appreciation. All of which are earned through challenges. You have to find someone who stands next to you steadfastly through the challenges. If you don’t, then be your own amazing soul mate until you do.
Is your partner a rock? An empath or gusher? Do you know what you bring to the table in a relationship? Do you know what you need?
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Thank you so much,