Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Do You Believe In Love Again...When You're Not Sure You Want To?

Let me just start off by saying that I am not posing this question with the intention to answer it. This is not a DIY, self-help, "how-to" post. I don't have the answers. I'm sharing this as a way to work through my own struggle with this question and see what comes of it.

I've been cynical about love of late. This isn't normal for me. I'm generally a very optimistic, positive thinking person who always believes the next great love of my life is just around the corner and will make every past hurt worth it just because it brings me to this person. When love or heartache gets me down, it isn't long before I'm up again, ready to start all over with an open and ready heart. Lately? Not so much.

It's not that I'm depressed or even unhappy about being single. I LOVE my life and I'm actually really content right now. I think that's what's confusing me. It isn't usual for me to be so content with the fact that I am without a romantic relationship and have little desire to be in one.

At times it's refreshing to be without the nervous excitement that comes with new love or the boredom that comes with ending love. But at other times, it disturbs me. I'm afraid that I've written off romantic love completely, and I'm not sure who I am without the hope I used to have.

You see, a couple months ago, I broke up with a man who wanted to marry me. He had all the qualities that I wanted: dedication, passion, romance, marriage, family, etc, etc, etc. He was so in love with me that I almost couldn't believe it. His love for me was so strong that for months I thought it was my own. After awhile, when left alone with my feelings, I found that mine were lacking where his were overflowing.

So I ended it. Before that, I'd always believed those amazing qualities would be enough. I thought that if I found someone I loved who loved me back and wanted to marry me and love me forever, that I would be set for life. I was wrong. Something was missing and I wasn't willing to settle. And I don't regret it.

I've had my heart broken. Badly. And now I've broken someone else's heart. It really makes me want to forgo participating in this stupid game called love completely.

Yet I know, deep down, I do want to remember how to believe in love. I try to find that old spark that used to reside within me as I look for evidence that true love really exists. But then I am overwhelmed when all I see are issues of divorce, infidelity, fighting, dishonesty, and stale, lifeless marriages. It's even hard for me to look at happy, healthy couples and marriages these days without seeing them as ticking time-bombs just waiting to explode.

I'm sure there's evidence in support of the magic and outlasting power of true love, but it's so hard for me to see it right now. And, with all I've experienced, I know there is definitely at least some truth in my cynicism. Amazing marriages CAN fail. People CAN leave you without warning. You CAN fall out of love with someone you'd once loved dearly and have no interest in making things work. I'm sure there is a flip side to this as well. There HAS to be. But are the risks worth it?

And when I do decide to embrace love gain, do I just accept that love is temporary and fleeting and can leave at any time, yet boldly go forth knowing every love I find could end one way or another? Or do I maintain the hope that there is a lasting, loving relationship just around the corner that can weather any storm? Is there somewhere in the middle to be? Hope for that lasting, breathtaking love, yet peaceful contentment with the idea that it could end?

I like the version of me that believes in love. I like feeling the hope that the next one is "the one." I like the excitement of meeting someone new and wondering if they are my soul mate, instead of seeing them as someone who will either a.) hurt me, or b.) be hurt by me.

I know that the power to change my cynical mindset lies within my very own being. I know I am the only one responsible for turning my doubtful self back into my hopeful self. But, damn, it is so hard to want to put myself out there again. It's so hard to believe it's truly worth it. I know it MUST be though...right?

I'm pretty confident I'll find a way to get back there again. I just have to get past this wall I've built around my heart that keeps me safe yet stuck in cynicism. I just need to get to the point where I actually WANT to break down that wall. I'll get there.

I will believe in love again.

Happy Valentines Day, jerks.
(just kidding, I really do wish you a happy VDay. I'll be spending mine with the love of my life; my daughter)