Learning to Love Again

What can I say? Things have been really good. We’ve made a ton of progress over these last seven months or so. I had a great hypnosis session with which I had a lot of fun finding a creative way to write about. This week, we will see our marriage counsellor for the first time in a while and decide whether we need to do more work with her or just continue on our own.

Carol has been making and following through with plans that show that she clearly sees a future with me as her husband. I’ve been a little hesitant on a few of these commitments but I’ve taken a bit of a leap of faith and said, “Sure, let’s do that.” I don’t see a future without her as my wife. Before it was more like not seeing myself single and dating than clearly seeing Carol as my wife but lately it seems more clear and certain.

The problem is, the more clear it is and the more certain I feel that Carol is the woman for me, the more it scares me. Do you think I like the idea of exposing my heart to anyone, let alone the one who crushed it once already? Hell, no. When you’ve been cheated on, opening up and letting that person back in is a frightening risk. That gut wrenching, soul shattering pain is not something I want to feel anytime soon and loving someone sets me up to potentially feel that pain.

Being guarded and becoming distant, these are often not conscious decisions. They happen at the “I love you’s”, after sharing an intimate moment, after making plans. I’ll tense up and withdraw. I’ll say “I love you” back but I will hear it from a distant place as I crawl back into my head, draw the curtains, and peak out through them suspiciously. It’s a reflexive fear, like my grandmother-in-law tensing up when a cat enters the room because decades ago, a sibling threw a cat at her. Is our cat going to jump at her, clawing up her face? Of course not, but try convincing her of that when her whole body and soul screams, “Cats Are Pain!”

My body and soul says that love will crush me. Crush me. It will make me experience such a unique pain, I will guiltily wish I was mourning the loss of a loved one instead. What a disgusting feeling. And now that I’m trying with her again, the only way I can fully commit to her is to put myself at risk to feel that pain again.

Cue the infomercial character, looking at the camera, exasperated, “There’s got to be a better way!”

Well, there is. At least, I think there is. Hope there is.

Now let me preface with the fact that I’m not running an advice blog here, I’m just trying to figure out my life like anyone else. I’m thinking out loud.

HT has mentioned this a few times throughout my appointments with her. What if I give myself completely to the relationship and know with certainty that this time around, I’m giving it my all and being the best person I can be? What if I give it my all, knowing that it may not work out but that it doesn’t matter unless something happens because I’m living in the moment instead of fearing what may happen?

What if I’m a stronger, happier, far more confident person than ever before, so if tragedy strikes, I know 100% in my mind, soul and body that I was the man I was supposed to be all throughout the time leading up to it, so I can walk away knowing I failed no one, they only failed themselves?

Of course it would still hurt. It would still be an awful experience to adjust to but being at your best, the pain wouldn’t include the doubt and crushed self esteem.

Imagine knowing that you are awesome because you are being a wonderful person and living up to your potential, then you get cheated on. You grieve the relationship, you grieve for your partner, then you move on because you now know that it wasn’t because of you. It was their damage, not yours because you were goddamn awesome.

So maybe, I can keep on this upward curve of being a better man. Maybe, I can unlearn the defence reflex of anticipating betrayal. Maybe, I will not deprive myself of loving fully just because I’ve been hurt before. And maybe, just maybe, I will believe that I am a wonderful person who deserves love and fidelity and that the person who commits infidelity does so because of their own issues only.

Enjoy my life in the present, be the best person I can be, and if something were to go wrong in the future, know that I am strong enough and confident enough to handle it and make the right decisions.

That is my goal. That is my desire. I’m working on the reprogramming of my brain to allow for this.

One thought on “Learning to Love Again

  1. I know exactly how you feel Jack, I wrote about that feeling often in my journal. I love the analogy of peeping out from behind the curtain. But it was 2 things that gave me courage: my sister saying that I could meet someone new and they could do the same and finally realising that there was nothing to fear because the worst had already happened. It’s good to read how well you’re doing. Moisy

    Liked by 1 person

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