A year ago, I returned from a week-long retreat that fueled my journey to begin a relationship. Since my divorce, I had cut myself off from the possibility of a relationship, and while I desired a partner, a friend, a lover, I wouldn’t entertain the idea of jumping back into the dating world. It was too much of a risk, and the fear I held outweighed the desire.
This shifted for me during my week in California. It was during that time that I realized living in fear wasn’t living. Allowing fear to run my life wasn’t the life I wanted to live. When I returned, I committed to begin dating, and I spent time getting clear about what I was looking for in a man. They say you can manifest what you desire, and it is absolutely real! The man I was introduced to checked all of the boxes. I am in awe of my power. When I am clear about what I desire and honestly believe I am worthy of that desire, watch out! They say, “be careful what you wish for,” for a reason.
2020 started off with a bang after being introduced to this wonderful man. Dating was full of excitement, anticipation, and butterflies. It was beautiful to be courted and treated like a goddess. Relationships, of course, don’t remain in that place forever, and inevitably there are challenges. During the spring, I realized that I was one of the challenges. After digging deep, I realized I was holding back. If anyone had asked me if I was “All In,” I would have said, “YES!” but the reality is I wasn’t. I was still letting fear hold me back from revealing my inner world. I call this my “messy.” I was still trying to project my polished self and didn’t trust this man to love me if I revealed my messy self. It was a pivotal moment in our relationship. I was faced with the choice to keep living with walls up, pretending to be All In, or lowering those walls and truly being All In. I decided to drop my walls, and it was the best decision I have ever made.
Here is what I have learned so far:
~ It is okay to get a babysitter for my kids so I can go out on a date. Dating and making time to be a woman, not just a mom, doesn’t make me a bad mom. I need to live my life as a mom and a woman.
~ It feels incredible to receive support and care from someone. I am accustomed to taking care of everyone around me, and it was foreign to be open to someone caring for me. I love it when this man opens the car door for me, makes me coffee in the morning, buys a beautiful dinner out for us, or simply hugs me when he can see that is what I need. I don’t have to be a rock.
~ Passion and chemistry are incredible! Enough said.
~ We all have our own baggage. When challenges arise, they are not always about me. The world doesn’t revolve around me, and I don’t need to internalize everything. Sometimes the issue is not my crap, it is his, and he needs time to figure it out.
~ Vulnerability, trust, love, and letting go are scary but have massive payoffs when connecting with another person.
~ Finding the right partner, isn’t about fulfilling a checklist. It is about finding someone you can connect with. Someone who is All In. An imperfect human who is willing to dig into their own crap, reflect on it, and work to be a better version of themselves every day, alongside you and with you. When you can find that, it is pretty amazing.
This decision to trust another person to love me as my polished self and my messy self was scary and invigorating all at the same time. It hasn’t been all tulips and roses, but it has allowed me to develop a deeper relationship with myself and this man. I have surrendered to all the emotions associated with being vulnerable, raw, and human. There are great days and not so great days, but I will tell you that all of these days are better than the days I lived surrounded by walls.
This relationship has taught me that to live, even if I get hurt, is better than not taking chances at all. It is a reminder for me every day to take risks, no matter the outcome. This learning extends beyond this relationship and into all areas of my life. When I find myself holding back, I dig in to figure out why, and I commit to moving forward. This is my one chance at this life, and I don’t want to look back, wishing I had done it differently.