Love Yourself

I’m struggling in a relationship with a guy who I know loves me, but somehow can’t. I’ve finally realized that it isn’t me, it’s him. He doesn’t love himself. Which made me further realize that for years I didn’t love myself.

Those brutal years before, during, and after the divorce when you’re just trying to survive can cause so much damage. The level of stress that becomes the new norm is so destructive to your mind and body. I honestly don’t know how anyone can get through it, unless of course they have children! Ironically, only a parent can understand the disruption that little bundle of joy brings to your life. I suppose, in a very odd way, a divorce can also bring joy to your life. But you sure do have to work for it!

Leading up to my divorce, I knew something was wrong but the reality of splitting was too difficult to execute. Not enough money, not good for the kids, how would it work. I did everything I could to make life bearable at home. And I turned myself into an anxious bundle of stress and nerves. I was functioning at such a high level of stress that I had no body fat and didn’t need any sleep. I took that as a bonus. But I was too thin and running on adrenaline.

During the divorce, I became aware of the stress I was under. This is due in part to it being more acceptable to talk about because it was now public knowledge. I got support from my friends but I was so wrapped up in details and getting it done I really just ignored the stress and prolonged it to post-divorce. My focus was also more on my heart ache. I had experienced that before so I knew I just had to take the time to let my heart heal. It always does!

Post divorce was a lot of work. So many decisions, so much transition. And there’s no timeline. It took me about three years to do what I expected to have done in three months. It was a lot of really hard work. So many times I broke down. I had put myself under so much pressure and worked too hard. That level of inherent stress had to go. I knew it was all worth it but I was losing faith. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t have a lot to show for it, and I wasn’t my best self.

Then I finally came to my senses and decided that had to change. I needed to learn how to love myself again. To hell with struggling to maintain the lifestyle I was used to. Sadly it wasn’t much but when I let it go I lost everything - house to foreclosure, money, routine. I had to start over in a new town with absolute bare minimum to get by and a loan to get started.

I’m happy to say, I did it. First came the pride of pulling off the transition. Then when I started to have cash flow I was able to pay for help. Then I got a better job. Met new people. Got involved in the community. Paid off my debt. Got my credit score back up. All these wonderful things started to happen.

Now I exercise regularly, meditate daily, seek help when needed, try new things and go to new places, and have essentially upgraded my life. With therapy I’ve forgiven myself for past mistakes. I’m no longer ashamed of how messed up things became. I’m more focused on my children and a better parent. But the biggest thing is that I don’t need anyone to validate me. I can do this life thing on my own. Without realizing it, I had used the men in my life to fill the love void. But because I kept finding men like me with low self esteem and needing someone to play the parenting role they missed in childhood or something like that, I got myself into terrible relationships. After the excitement disappeared and the sex got old there was nothing.

I’m not looking for love. I’m looking for connection. And not through sex. I want people in my life that deserve to be there and aren’t takers. No more taking! That goes for me too! Done with it.

Yeah. So, when your partner starts to lose interest fast and changes into someone you don’t know, that’s the sign they’re using you to fill a void. They’re not ready for a relationship. And if you’re drawn to that, then you’re not ready either. People can’t fix other people. Unless they’re professionals. No fixing. Just accepting and enjoying and supporting and being together. And then, hopefully, really great sex.


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