To talk about love in a way that only recognizes its glowing embers would do a disservice to the people that have been hurt within the quest to receive, conquer, or maintain it. Yes- love can hurt. It is a gamble, a beautiful one, but a gamble nonetheless. In many of my conversations across genders it is evident that people struggle with love that is unrequited. What do you do with all of the genuine & pure feelings you have for someone when they make decisions that take their love off of the table? What’s left for your nourishment. The age old question usually arrives at this simplistic answer: TIME. To push the envelope, what do you do when time does not seem to heal the wound? What happens when the residual damage from a love lost impacts your ability to trust and muster this feeling for someone else. This usual answer “time” seems a little patronizing in these circumstances and actually thwarts the real HEARTwork that we all have to do. After all, it’s not the time itself but actually what you do WITH the time. For me, the answer is found in self exploration. Love awakens something in us, it dances with our vulnerabilities in a way that is unmatched. These vulnerabilities are windows to our insecurities, doubts, fears, hopes, and dreams. So when you commit to love in this way—unrequited love literally leaves you holding the bag with all of these intimacies scattered and no time to self resolve. Our resolve is in picking up these scattered pieces, embracing them, examining them, and figuring out how these fragmented pieces have aided in our functioning and bigger picture (both healthy and maladaptive)- and ultimately putting them back together.
In October of 2015 I started on this journey. I had just separated from my husband and though the reasons were multi-tiered, for the purpose of this blog I will say that one of the reasons was a nagging that I felt. What was interesting about this nagging feeling was that it had always been there. In fact, it had been present in every single relationship for the past decade. I can only describe it as a deep yearning for something robust…something magnetic…something challenging but easy at the same time. It felt like I was wandering. Like I was full and empty at the same time. You get the point. It was a bittersweet misery. When I was forced to look at my timeline—it took me back to unrequited love. Follow me:
When I was 15 I met my first love. We were inseparable in only a way that you can be with your first puppy love. We lost our virginity to each other, we stole every moment with each other, in our young minds THIS WAS IT. This was love and we were going to be married. We were together for 4-5 years. Our adolescent love affair grew as we did and suddenly the teenage dream turned into an adult nightmare when he cheated on me and got another woman (an older woman) pregnant. Without an interest in being too revealing, I can only attempt to sum up this period of my life with this poem:
It was here that I received the messaging that heartbreak is a part of life and as a woman we have to take heartbreak in stride and be OK. But I wasn’t ok. Please don’t misunderstand me, my story is not exceptional. I wasn’t the first nor will I be the last woman to be cheated on, but I’m equally sure that I’m not the first or the last person that has felt ripped a part at the hands of love and needed restoration or true support. No one helps you restore your heart. It’s something that we either navigate…..or we don’t.
Fast forward to my second year of College. I connected to my first real love. One of those heart stopping, chakras aligned, look into your eyes and know all of your past lives kind of connections. Through this love I healed, I was ignited both mentally and creatively, and I was enflamed sexually. Despite the depth and strength of this connection, the other party was honest and truthful in not wanting to be in a relationship. This was acceptable for me because he did not want a relationship with anyone. This shifted into not being ok as time progressed and casual interest in other people increased. In summary I left. I moved states because I could not energetically withstand being in the same zipped and not being with him. Imagine my shock and dismay when he started seriously dating other people and ultimately settled down with someone else shortly after I left. I was shattered. I literally could not breathe when he told me he had a girlfriend. So here I was within my second romance, and again grieving my partner. More specifically left wondering: Why not me?
Have you ever been there? A ‘Why Not Me’ is a heavy thing to carry for a woman. It makes you question everything you are. To other people…..to yourself….it literally wrecks you.
So now a decade later and after a failed marriage—what does this all mean? How does it ebb and flow into the tributaries of my life?
I was walking through life and priding myself on the fact that I was open to love and even still honored and revered men after experiences with unrequited love. Obviously this was evidence that I was functioning positively and not jaded. But now I understand the evidence of true adjustment and functioning does not reside in simply being open to love but also considering what kind of love you are opening yourself up to. Instead of having extreme externalized markers and behaviors I had done something often quite more dangerous…..I had internalized all of these experiences. I internalized them in a way that pushed me to build protective buffers that would do the following:
- Not allow a man close enough to the real core of me to hurt me. I would relate in a low vibration that did not require heavy lifting or layer peeling. If you stay shallow side of the pool, it’s highly unlikely you will drown.
- I attracted men that I could control, manipulate, and build. The idea is that things that you create and control will not hurt you. They will not look outside of you for satisfaction. (But they won’t satisfy you either)
- I focused on the physical aspects of the relationship. I remained in lust and was never in love. The lust bubble is not only safe, but it also provides temporary relief. It hides 1-2.
I was operating in a spirit of rejection. When I discovered this, I really started exploring and identifying the impact that this spirit of rejection and/or abandonment has had on me. I found a helpful article: 10 Surprising Facts About Rejection. These are some of the gems that stood out to me are the following:
Rejection turns into a gaping hole of insensible blame, faulty thinking, and quietly makes us emotionally void and unavailable. It’s not an isolated incident. Our love patterns (especially early love patterns) creep into our spirits. These intense and similar wounds cause a break….a crack. Within these cracks pieces of us deteriorate.
Personally, there are other things that I am sure that I can also identify within this period of exploration that contribute to my concept and practice of love, but I’m using this long narrative to simply behoove you to do your work. Do your HEARTwork! Whisper or yell your truth, whatever you prefer—but do it. What might be my subconscious wrestling with rejection may be your issues with trust, abandonment, attachment, etc. There is no way that you can start this love journey with blocked awareness.
I pray for your peace, light within the darkness of exploration, your strength to continue your journey, and your reunion with love in the end.
**It literally took me three weeks to click publish on this because this admission is still a hard one for me. In my vulnerability (deletions, additions, copies, pastes)— I hope this helps someone.**