How To Love A Woman Who Has Had To Survive On Her Own

She’s a special person, the woman who never had any help.  She is strong, independent, and protective of the life she spent so much effort building.  This means that loving her – and earning her love – is nothing if not a challenge.  It’s not simple, and you will absolutely have to prove yourself before she lets you truly see what’s inside.  Put in the work.  She is worth every bit of effort you devote to her.

You may find her resilience and intelligence incredibly attractive, but please, do not waste her time.  She cannot stand the idea of yet another person letting her down, of having to navigate the emotional wasteland you leave behind when you throw away her heart.  Yes, she expects a lot from you, but that is only because she expects the same from herself.  When she’s in, she’s all in, and she is weary of false promises and men who fill her head with pretty lies about the depth of their love.  

She demands emotional stability, maturity, someone who is willing and able to meet her halfway on all things.  Understand her history.  Understand her past.  Take the time to get to know why she operates the way that she does.  Then you will see the many hurts, the disappointments, the reasons that she blocked herself off and learned to only trust herself.  No, she does not suffer fools, but if you don’t find that appealing she is not for you.  She has been through enough to cut off anyone who squanders her time.  

You must work for her because so many who came before you tricked her into opening herself up, only to leave her high and dry at the first sign of difficulty.  They never took the time to find out who she is deep down and celebrate it.  They did not nurture her, cherish her, or make her feel safe.  When she let down her guard in spite of all that, she learned the hard way that none of them were ever going to change.  

The worst crime you can ever commit against this woman, this strong, graceful being who built herself from the ground up and has never leaned on anyone, is misleading her.  If you are not committed, respect her enough to walk away and make room for the person who will be.  

Once you show her that you are not going anywhere, once she lets herself love you, honor her vulnerability.  Respond in kind.  Show her the parts of your soul that not many get to see.  By demonstrating your trust in her, your steadfast involvement in the relationship, you will in turn earn reciprocity.  Show up for her when she believes no ever will.  Be her partner in all things, and have her back even when she does not need it.  After all, she’s never had someone there to help.  She may be fully capable of standing on her own, but often she gets weary of doing it all alone.  The burden is more than she bargained for, but she’s never had any choice but to carry it by herself.  Be her unexpected relief.  

Earning her trust and her respect takes time.  The only way to make her believe you’ll stick around is to prove you’ll put in the effort in the first place.  Be steady, be secure, and just show up.  Show up every single day.  Stay when she figures that you’ll run.  Talk to her instead of dismissing her fears.  Respect her space, set reasonable boundaries, and listen to what she needs from the relationship.  Communication will set you both free.  

Be patient with her, and you’ll see that what blossoms between you is worth all of your effort.  Nothing truly lovely comes with ease, but that’s okay, because you’ve won the affection and companionship of a very special person.  She may be used to surviving all alone, but that doesn’t mean she prefers it that way.  Be her excitement, her joy, and most of all, her partner in life.  Give her the steady love she’s always wanted.  In return she will give you more happiness than you ever imagined.  

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

 

How Long Am I Going To Still Miss You?

If I knew when it would end, perhaps I could bear the pain I feel every waking moment of the day.

I had no idea that missing you would get worse as time goes on, not easier.  I feel my overarching sadness more keenly with each day that passes, enduring the sting of being twenty-four hours further removed from the happiness and love we shared.  It was you and me against the world, and that gave me a reason to care.  Now I don’t have that.  All I have is the gaping hole in my heart that you left behind.  

I stay in bed as long as I can in the morning, willing my eyes shut, numbing the memories for a few minutes longer.  I know that as soon as I begin to go about my day, my emotions will simmer just below the surface, threatening to erupt at any moment.  It’s exhausting, this gamut that I run through over and over again.  I’m so tired of missing you, but I can’t shut my brain off.  I cannot wish you away, so instead I live like a raw nerve, exposed and vulnerable at all times.

Everything that I do reminds me of you in some way or another.  I cannot even touch myself anymore without crumbling at the knowledge that I’ll never feel the tender electricity of your embrace again.  

This place stifles me with constant reminders of everything we shared and everything we planned to do but never accomplished.  Our town is too oppressively small to contain the amount of sorrow it brings me to stroll its streets without you by my side.   I kept our memories close back when I believed that I would get a lifetime of loving you, but now I’d do anything to completely erase them.  Erase the pain that you left behind when you turned your back and moved on, leaving me here with a broken heart and a shattered future.

Yes, I dared to let myself envision a future with you as my lifelong adventure partner, sharing my laughter, my curiosity, and my heart.  What a fool I am.

Now I spend each day just trying to make it to the next, one after the other, until I finally reach the point where everything hurts a little less.  I would give anything to stop missing you.  What can I do?  I loved you, and I did not want you to go, and I lost you despite the adoration I felt for you each and every day that we spent together.  If I’m completely honest, I suppose I’m still in denial that you’re no longer mine to love, to hold, and to grow alongside.  

I would have done anything for you, but it doesn’t matter.  

Please someone tell me when I’ll stop feeling this way so that I can stand it.  Because right now, I don’t know how much longer I can.

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

Sometimes The Only Thing You Can Do Is Let Them Go

There is nothing more painful than looking at the person you love beyond what you thought possible and knowing that you cannot make them stay.

You can hope that they do.  But you can’t force a damn thing, and you can’t make them continue to want you, or to love you.  The way of the world is a fickle one, and it rips happy hearts apart like afterthoughts on a cruel whim.  You can stand there, breath caught in your throat, raggedly exhaling your aching affection, and they could very well turn and leave you in your empty shock.  It is terrifying, and yet we come back to the brink over and over again. 

It’s a process that requires immense vulnerability, throwing yourself into love and hoping for the best, losing despite every desperate effort, only to go there with renewed optimism all over again.  The heart that continues fighting to find the correct love is a resolute, stubborn heart indeed.  

But maybe it’s time to try something different now.  Perhaps instead of fighting, you let it go.  You open up space in your heart for yourself and begin to give all that love to the person who needs it the most.  There is not much that you can control in this life, but you can make the conscious decision to put your energy and emotions into whatever you like.  Your soul and your worth are far too magnificent to keep cooped up in an oppressive prison of heartbreak and regrets.  Breathe away the keen sorrow of your attachment.  Do your best to think of your tender loss not as a finality, but a way to open yourself up to new possibility.

You cannot make them stay, but you can decide to let them go.  The stark reality is that you have absolutely no control over their feelings – if they choose to leave, there is nothing that you can do.  It is out of your grasp … and in a way, that’s incredibly freeing.  You have no responsibility to be anyone other than exactly who you are.  The difficulty of navigating this freedom is in accepting the situation as it is and truly letting go of ego and perceptions.  

Be ever so gentle with your sweet spirit.  It is aching, and you are allowed to sink into the tenderness.  Let the feelings come and go and course through you, even though at times it feels like you cannot bear another moment.  Breathe and know that it is only temporary.  Everything is fleeting, nothing ever remains constant, and you have such a short time to live your unique existence.  

Try your best not to use that time clinging on to people or situations that, despite your deepest genuine efforts, must develop in a different direction than you hoped.  Strive to find the peace that comes with releasing expectations.  When you need to process your pain, do not rush to numb it.  Let it come, let it go.  You are whole entirely on your own, with or without them.  Don’t forget that, and if you do not feel that you are, then turn your energies towards making yourself the joyous, loving, free and completely soul that you absolutely can be.  

Releasing them is not losing.  It’s not failing.  It’s simply a shift of life, which is constantly moving and changing.  Trust that it will all be okay even if it does not always feel that way.  Eventually you will find the home your heart seeks – in yourself.  

(Originally published on Thought Catalog)

 

Women Don’t Want A Fairytale – But We Do Know Our Worth

I am so tired of women being told that we are unreasonable for wanting a good relationship.  Standards have slipped so far that we grasp gratefully at the smallest of courtesies from a partner, and yet we are ridiculed as presumptuous when we ask for what we need.  I am done.  I am done settling for less than what I give. It is not unrealistic to want someone who meets me halfway.

I’ve never asked for much – I’m not at all materialistic.  I don’t care about money or possessions.  I want to know what’s in a person’s heart.  That’s what really counts.  Of course I have my imperfections, and I’m well aware of them.  I’m a human – why are women so often expected to be more than that?  Having imperfections does not disqualify us from deserving a good relationship.  We fight against inequality at every turn and then we are told to accept whatever it is a partner is willing to give us, if they feel like it, when they feel like it.

Relationships are never perfect, and they require much hard work, dedication, and trust.  That’s to be expected.  What I will no longer accept is the idea that I am too demanding for wanting an equal, loving, honest partnership.  If participating in the effort of a relationship is too much for someone, they should not be so selfish as to bring another person into their life romantically.  It seems that many want to have their cake and eat it too.

If we expect anything to change, we have to stand up for ourselves and stop accepting crumbs.  We are only going to get what we demand – we have put up with too much for too long, and now subpar treatment is all anyone is willing to give.  I’m done extending the benefit of the doubt and trying to be the “cool girl”.  That’s a fantasy driven by those who don’t want to put real effort into a relationship, something they can fall back on when they need to blame you for their behavior.  If we needy bitches were only more cool, more chill!  Oh yes, if only.  How nice that would be for all the crappy people in the world who are selfish, inconsiderate, and non-committal.  

If I sound like I’m angry, I am.  We should all be fed up at the societal expectations of us that have dragged on for ages, shifting only in form but not in their function of keeping females down.  Creating a wave of change will not be easy.  Men are accustomed to the patriarchy, and the force of women beginning to assert their equality does not sit well with them.  Many literally do not know how to react, but unfortunately it is often with dismissive and defensive behavior.  

We must remember that this is not our problem.  We need to stop apologizing all the time for our apparent audacity in simply asking to exist on this planet and own our needs, wants and rights.  We are not difficult.  We are not high-maintenance.  We are not too much.  Many of us are conditioned by our upbringing, our surroundings, and the people in our lives to believe that we are.  It takes effort to change this mindset, but we must begin now.  There is no time to waste.  

I do not want a fairytale.  What I do want is a partner who loves, respects, appreciates, and understands me.  I only desire an equal return of the effort I give to those I love.  In my opinion, that’s what most women want – simply someone who is good to us and meets us halfway.  It’s not too much to ask.  Stop trying to gaslight us into believing that it is.  We are sick and tired of the bullshit.  

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

Every Time I Have A Chance At Happiness, Life Drags Me Down

I’m so tired of feeling angry.

It’s not that I want to be this way.  I’m in a constant state of development geared towards letting go of my helpless rage.  I am infinitely aware that it solves nothing … but is it too much to ask life to cut me some slack for once?  It’s as if I’m constantly being tested and quite honestly, I find it incredibly exhausting.

I don’t know what I’ve done so wrong.  I’m continuously attempting to be kind and loving and mindful.  Most of the time, I succeed fairly well, even in my own harshly particular opinion.  Over the past several years I’ve completed so much work on myself.  My life is full of therapy, yoga, journaling, and meditative time spent outdoors.  It seems like no matter what I do, how deeply I search my soul, it’s never quite enough.

So, yes, I’m angry.  I’m angry that I finally have a chance at a healthy, normal love and life just tries to fuck our relationship at every turn.  I get the concept that we need to be able to work through the tough times, but how do we get ahead if all of the difficulties are primarily out of our control?  It makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, beat on something until I’m so tired I collapse.  I know that life is not fair, but I do not understand why, after all these years of heartbreak and sadness, I am not finally allowed something good.

The weight in my chest has returned and this time I fear it’s to stay.

If I lose this one, the man who makes me laugh more than I ever thought possible, the best adventure partner I’ve ever had, the person I look at after all this time and still think is the most handsome guy I know – I don’t think I want to try anymore.

I mean it this time.  I’m sick of having my every fault thrown back in my face in glaring detail simply by virtue of trying to love again.  Romantic interactions only serve to remind me why I keep my distance.  It’s too difficult, and then, when I finally overcome my issues and feel I’m improving, the world responds by taking away what I’ve earned. 

I may not feel love when I’m alone, but at least I don’t cry.

The most difficult reality, the one hardest to accept, is that I can only control my side of the relationship.  I will understand if he wants to walk away, if the problems and hurdles that life keeps using to thwart our happiness are too much for him to handle.  I don’t blame him.  I blame … everything else.  I hate that around every corner lurks another unexpected barrier to our success.  

All my life, I’ve wanted love like this so badly, and now it might disappear despite all the progress I’ve made.  Everything I’ve done to improve my life and myself over these past several heartrending years feels for naught. 

I’m doing my best to keep myself happy and positive, but I could use a break here.  I don’t think I’m asking for much.  All I’ve ever wanted is to find inner peace, a committed equal partner, and the chance to do what I love.  I have no illusions that those are easy goals to achieve, but I keep putting in the work only to get thrown back on my ass over and over again.   It’s difficult to bother trying at this point.  

At least when I’m angry, I feel something.  More often lately, I’m simply weary.  Weariness is dangerous because it contains no energy, no forward motion … no hope.  I don’t want to lose the best love I’ve ever had for no damn good reason.  I’m tired of hurting. 

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

This Is Me Accepting That We’re Over

 

I clung on to my foolish hopes as long as I could. What can I say? I’m an eternal optimist, holding out for the best despite all evidence to the contrary. I did not want to accept the facts staring me right in my despondent face. I took every bit of contact to mean more than it did. Your guilt at my unhappiness and your feeble attempts to make amends looked like shadows of  possibility to my desperately clutching, aching soul.

 

I tried everything I could think of to maintain contact with you. If I had to go out of my way to create an excuse or a situation that necessitated communication, I would. I made up a million ways to get your attention, ignoring the fact that you’d already cut the cord.

 

It took a lot of frustration, confusion and tears to realize that we’d never go back to what we once were. I refused to admit that it was over, despite the fact that I knew deep down it was best for us both. Still in love with you, I was absolutely unwilling to let go of the fantasy that somehow we’d overcome our differences.

 

My doleful, endlessly hopeful sadness gave way to shame and anger when I realized that not only were you completely done with me, you had already moved on.

 

It was the only thing that would motivate me to give up on you and finally look forward to the rest of my life without you, so in the end it was necessary. I know that now. At the time, all I knew was that it hurt like hell.

 

All I’d been to you in those months after our breakup was a placeholder, a way to fill your loneliness until you found someone new. I willfully turned a blind eye to that which I knew to be the awful truth, hoping beyond all hope that you’d come around, that you’d see I’d changed. When you fell for her instead, my heart shattered anew. I’d spent months delaying the healing that I so desperately needed and had to start from the very beginning.

 

Everyone has a breaking point, and that was mine. I never contacted you again, but I kept track of your budding new romance. I tortured myself by spying on how happy you were until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I let the pain and hurt and betrayal fester in the depths of my gut, roiling, churning, perpetuating misery.

 

Enough was enough, and I knew it was finally time to make a change. I’d put myself through unnecessary suffering for far too long. The only person hurting me at that point was me – I couldn’t place blame elsewhere. I had to take responsibility for my own emotions and  begin the healing process. And I did. It wasn’t easy. Actually, it was the most difficult – and valuable – effort of my entire life thus far. It was long, and it was uncomfortable, and it was absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done.

 

So this is me, after an arduous and soul-aligning struggle, standing here in my power and saying that I finally accept the past. I know that our relationship happened for a reason and so did our separation. It all makes sense to me now, now that I’ve crawled through the worst of it and broken back out into the shattered, familiar light.

 

I accept that we’re over. I understand that we were not meant to be forever, and finally, that’s okay. I can look back on what we had and smile, knowing that it was a lovely and necessary growth period in my life. When things were good, they were great, and I’ll always appreciate the love and laughs you gave me. I honestly wish you nothing but the best for your future and am so very thrilled that you found the person you were meant to love for the rest of your life. And I’m finally, honestly okay with the fact that she isn’t me.

(also published on ThoughtCatalog.com)