I left my marriage 3 years ago; it had not been the deep love connection I’d always wanted. This was just one of many safe relationships in my life. I invested less of myself, minimizing the risk of getting hurt. The grief that followed had more to do with the upheaval in my life; losing my home, the life I built, and the crumbling of a dream. Now at 29 years old, I wondered if I would ever find love again.
On the heels of ending my marriage, I met Jason. We shared instant chemistry; he was the first person with whom I felt safe. At last, I could let go. I was no longer alone to hold the world together. In Jason’s arms, I felt safe, small, and beautiful. The world and its’ challenges faded away when he wrapped himself around me. I craved that feeling.
A child of divorce and the oldest female, I played mom to my brother and sister, and then married someone who needed the same. Jason was strong, independent, and financially established. He was tough on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. I’d finally met my equal. It was that feeling. I had found it!
I fell deeper and deeper. I didn’t question the things unspoken; I gave my whole heart. He was shy about his past. I understood, and it was ok with me. We both had scars. Despite our feelings for each other, we were both broken on the inside. Small arguments lead to periods of uncertainty. It hurt, I didn’t understand.
But I wouldn’t push, although I longed to understand so many things. In February, two years ago, something irrelevant blew up, and it would be the end. He closed up and cut me off. In April, he came to talk and tell me he was moving across the country. He said that I deserved a lot more than what he could give, and that he was broken and afraid to cause more pain. He said he cared more for me than anyone.
We embraced; he wiped my tears. He assured me someday there would be an answer, and then left me weeping in my kitchen. The sobs choked the breath out of me; I cried from the depths of my soul. I heard of people dying of a broken heart, but never in my life did I understand how possible it was until then. My heart ached, and I had no answers.
I cried for months as he had cut all ties. I felt punished; I’d done nothing wrong. I reached out months later because I couldn’t believe it was over. Nothing made sense. He told me he missed me and we communicated by email for the next five months.
Finally, I was ready, and I asked the question. The truth would knock the wind right out of me. He’d had a child with someone else; it happened while we had taken some time apart. He found out while we were back together, and that was the beginning of the end for us. He never wanted me to find out, and while he never meant to hurt me, he didn’t want me to let him go either.
I was angry and hurt. I told him I’d never let another person in; I wasn’t going to trust again. In fact, the next person I dated didn’t even live in Canada. I openly labeled myself emotionally unavailable.
Time healed, and armed with answers, I reached out to Jason. The only way to set me free was to forgive him with all of my heart. I was now free to love him forever in my heart, and had a sense of peace and hope that I would find it again.
I did. I was ready. I ended the long distance relationship with a man in DC, and immediately met Chris. Conversation was effortless, deep, captivating. We clicked. He made us promise that we would never punish one another for our own pasts. I obliged, wholeheartedly. I was falling again, and this was different.
I felt comfortable as I gradually opened myself up. After a few weeks, Chris pulled back and slowed things down. I now know that was the moment it all came flooding back: the hurt, the pain, the memories, and the fear. I shut down on him, and it was the first time I attempted to run for safety.
He recognized this, and pushed for answers as my guard went back up. He questioned my behavior and my reasons. I had been telling my story for so many years; I believed it myself. Now, I questioned my own story.
I began searching deeper for answers. He left no stone unturned, sending me on a painful trip through my past. Suddenly, he knew my deepest darkest secrets, in fact, I now knew them too. All the fear stemmed from a painful childhood experience. I had walked away from a parent as a little girl torn between divorcing parents and that parent had never chased me. The wound was deeper than I understood, and now at 31 years old I realized it was affecting my ability to be vulnerable.
It hit me; I’d broken my promise to Chris. I punished him and every intimate relationship in my life with the pain I had known as a little girl. The guard around my heart was titanium for years, and now it had a gaping hole in the presence of a man I’d only recently met. I was angry, yet I think he understood. In fact, he had dealt with his own childhood pain.
The relationship continued to dig up my past. He grew closer, and then pushed me away several times, triggering every fear in me. I was on a new journey into awareness. I was inspired to understand and to heal. I was falling in love again. He was the inspiration I needed to continue to grow as a person. I wanted to let him in, as I felt strong enough now. My amour was now strangling the relationship and me.
Things never materialized with Chris as I had hoped. It hurt. With time and hindsight, however, I am grateful for the experience. Both Jason and Chris came into my life and offered me a precious gift in my journey. Maybe, just maybe, each heartbreak was meant to open my heart up for the deeper love that is to come. They have both left me changed. But I believe, for the better.
“There are two kinds of pain. The pain that hurts you, and the pain that changes you” ~ Anonymous