I Thought I Was Done With Love. But It Isn’t Done With Me.

 

When I was younger, I would say things like: “I’m never going to get married.” Or “I’ll be fine if I never date anyone; I don’t want to risk it.”

My cynicism about relationships was no joke.

Growing up, my dad was very often angry, and very easily pushed over the edge. I often felt like I was walking on shaky ground, never sure if the next thing I said or did would be the cause of yet another terrible day. And because he was my example of what a man is and how men act, I really didn’t want to risk more uncertainty in my future.

Then I hit the age when dating was not just a hypothetical possibility in the future, but a reality I was being faced with. Boys showed interest in me, and I realized I couldn’t ignore them forever. I came to this fork in the road where I had to choose whether I was going to give love a chance, or continue denying it because of how much I knew it could hurt.

I decided to take a chance on love.

Unfortunately, during the same period  in high school  when I took the plunge and started dating, my eating disorder flared up full force. ED naturally made my self-worth plummet. It also hugely affected the time I spent with my significant other because my struggles meant I found it difficult to give my full attention to anyone or anything else.

I’m a naturally optimistic person, and that served me well in some ways in dating. I simply enjoyed getting to know someone new. And I discovered that when put into practice, my cynicism about dating was largely unfounded. But I also found myself moving to an opposite extreme in my opinion of men.

My optimism  made me blind to some things that were problems and should have been addressed. I so desperately wanted things to work out with someone, anyone, so that I could finally feel  love and affection from a man. But it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I stayed with certain people because they were there—not because we mutually met each other’s needs and truly had what the other was looking for.

Whether I was over correcting and dating someone who was the antithesis of my father, or being closed off from love because of my insecurities, I went through seasons of denying my desires and settling for less than I knew I was looking for.

But the silver lining—that I can now only see after much time, reflection, and experiencing a healthy relationship—is that each mistake, each dating success and failure taught me so much. And despite the things I sometimes regret and wish I could change about my past relationships, at the end of the day I know I learned something important from each one.

Yes, I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve let ED dictate my choices. I’ve been closed off. And I spent a lot of time being afraid of love. But I’m now confident in who I am and what I want. And despite everything, I’ve experienced the joys that come from letting another person in and showing them who I am.

I’ve come to a place where I can open up to someone who has earned my trustBecause the joys of choosing love outweigh my fears.

Morgan

Morgan

Morgan is an outgoing introvert, and one of the few people content living amongst the Midwest cornfields. Born and raised in Springfield, IL, she then moved to Bloomington-Normal and received her B.A. in Publishing at Illinois State University. Sheis an avid scrapbooker, an enthusiastic coffee connoisseur, and completely obsessed with cats. Morgan is part of I Believe In Love because she is learning to love herself again and wants others to as well.
Morgan
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