by Angie G.
From childhood, we develop a story about love; what it is and what it should look like when it shows up. We look for all of the signs and often, we conjure them up in order to live the experience- the dizzying highs, the butterflies, and the rush of excitement. And with each new relationship, we chase the same high. We are brand new and hopeful. We are almost childlike in our trusting. We are generous and we are free. We are connected to all that is good. We just feel right.
But when something happens to tarnish the fantasy, old memories come crashing back and we begin to see our love through the lens of past relationships and their sorrows. The newness is gone. This place feels strangely familiar, but it does not necessarily feel good. There has been a shift in our thinking and once again, we sign up to play that game that many of us know too well. We shrink back and begin to keep score. We are no longer generous. Instead, what we now give is carefully measured in direct proportion to what we perceive that we are getting.
Now is the time that our partner must show and prove that he is worthy. He must prove to us that we didn’t make a mistake and that our perception of him wasn’t off. And so, we begin to up the ante. We look for signs and we push for confirmation of what was previously accepted on faith. “If he loves me, he will…” becomes part of our spoken and unspoken conversations. It is the beginning of the end; an unraveling of a dream and a spiral into fear that creates negative emotions, judgment and discord. And that fear can sometimes be so strong that we forget those initial feelings of love and promise as we begin to focus instead on self-preservation. In this place, we must ask ourselves who we have become. We are no longer bold and adventurous in the face of love. Where we first created joy and freedom, we have now created fear and insecurity. We are no longer free. But, our partners have not become different. It is how we have chosen to see them that has changed.
Some would say that the honeymoon is over. Others would say that the “real” person has emerged from behind the façade. This can be a period of transformation; where the “should be’s” are transcended and there is complete acceptance of “what is.” The flaws are uncovered, but there is an appreciation of those flaws. It is in this place that true love flourishes; where the desire to give is outweighed by the need to protect ourselves from being taken advantage of or from having our hearts broken or mishandled. Or, it is the time when perhaps another truth is revealed; and that is maybe we have projected our hopes of a relationship onto someone who never signed up to play a part in the fairytale that we created.
While it is true that not every relationship is meant to go the distance or last a lifetime, each is intended to bring us closer to our personal truth. For this reason, let’s choose to be clear about the relationship choices that we make and why we make those choices. And then, let’s choose to love fearlessly. Because ultimately, who we love and how we love is all about the relationship that we have with ourselves.