My boyfriend’s name is Zeus. At least, that’s what I call him. When I first met him at the restaurant where we worked together, I thought he was very attractive but way too attractive for me. The more I found out about him—he was a single father who loved his son more than anything in the world, he kept a job, he had a motorcycle and tattoos, he was an old soul in a young man’s body and a genuinely good-hearted man—the more I liked him.
But I was too afraid to let him know. I didn’t think I deserved a guy like him. I felt like I was damaged goods. My sense of self-worth had been shot from a past of so many bad relationships.
After I quit working at that restaurant, we didn’t talk for a year. When he messaged me out of the blue on Facebook, I was ecstatic. We were friends for awhile and got closer as time went on.
During that time, I started thinking about what I was looking for in a man, and what my standards should be. I also committed to working on myself. I was learning that in order to attract the right kind of guy, I wanted to become the right kind of woman. If I was in a place where I had my stuff together, I’d be more ready for the right relationship when it came along.
The more I got to know Zeus over a period of three years, the more I started thinking that he might be that right relationship I was looking for. We had so much in common—the same dreams, goals, similar family backgrounds, even similar fears about relationships and commitment. And our friendship was not like anything I had ever had before.
Most guys that I’ve dated only wanted me to satisfy their sexual desires and to use me until I had nothing left to give, but Zeus isn’t like that. He understands me more than anyone ever has. He listens to what I have to say and I listen to what he has to say. We discuss our differences and try to find ways to find a solution without getting into a fight. This makes our relationship strong. Honestly, I have never felt more in love or loved as much as I do now.
He also understands the issues that I’ve had in the past with trusting people, and helps to reassure me that he is not my past. He does his best to make sure that I feel secure. I feel so safe when he wraps his arms around me and kisses my forehead, like nothing could ever hurt me there. He feels like home to me. We’ve let our fears be known to each other and reassure each other that we will not cross that line—we will not do anything to play into the others fears. It’s taken awhile to build up that trust and willingness to let each other in and we don’t want to do anything that would disrupt what we have built.
This is all so different than how it was in my past relationships. Many times I settled for what I hoped was love. Turns out it wasn’t. I was just afraid of being alone. I let a lot of things slide that I shouldn’t have and endured many things that weren’t healthy, all out of fear that no one else would ever want me.
But Zeus makes me feel like there is so much more to myself than I ever knew. He opens doors in me that I never knew existed. I am a different person. I am more compassionate, more laidback, and content. My anxiety and depression have diminished.
In the past I felt that boyfriends usually dragged me down—and my friends and family would tell me so. When I was single, I’d be working two jobs and going to school, too. When I was with these guys I’d be tempted to sleep in like they did, quit jobs and school, and let myself get into a downward spiral, which made me feel even less worthy of being with a good guy.
But Zeus makes me want to be a better person. He motivates me to take steps to reach my goals in life, like moving out of public housing and into my own place. Since I started dating him, I got a job and have been working forty plus hours a week, and I’ve been more careful with my money and spending habits. He makes me want to be a better mother. His gentle example with his own son reminds me to be patient with my kids and to not yell at them so much. He makes me want to be a better girlfriend who will love well.
Who you date is a big part of who you will become. It can be tough when you have a low sense of self-worth to believe that a good man could ever love you. But I’ve learned that you are worth the wait. Don’t settle for less than real love.