Fear, Hope & The Pursuit of Love

My heart has been broken many times.  There are different levels of heartache of course, but pain is pain and it all hurts the same.  When my dad died my heart broke in a way I thought I would never recover from, but now it is the part of my broken heart that I pray will never mend.  It is where I remember his voice, his face, his laugh, his love, and his unwavering support and belief in me.  It is an unbearable but comforting pain.

I have an open and accepting heart and my search for love is guided by faith.  My history is a sad one in terms of men, and there are days when I marvel at both how far I have come, and how I have not moved forward at all. I have long been afraid of finding love because on many levels I do not trust myself and my judgment, and also because I am somewhat afraid that my bad decisions will impact my son and his view of me and my choices.

When love breaks your heart the only thing that can mend it is finding new love, and that is sometimes impossible to do.  With every relationship that has ended, regardless of how long it lasted, I am certain I will never love again, and live the rest of my life alone.  I can remember having my heart broken in 7th grade and being quite certain that the world was over and the feeling is not any different when you are a grown up.

After a glass or two of wine I imagine I will not be alone but rather live with 18 cats, waiting for my son to visit with his kids.  I am so fearful of becoming a cat lady that I refer to my second cat as the cat of my cat.  Did you follow that?  I have a cat, and my cat has a cat.  Yes, I refer to the 2nd cat as the 1st cat’s cat so I am not a single woman with 2 cats.  Ridiculous I know, but I simply refuse to be a woman on my way to owning 18 cats.

I have found and lost love 3 times in my life.  The kind of love where I thought I would spend the rest of my life with that person.  One was my husband, and while it did not last, my son was born out of that love and I will be forever grateful.  My heart is wrapped around this child and he is the greatest joy of my life.  I would not change anything about that heartbreak to end up as this mother of this divine human being.

I loved two men after my marriage ended and while I like to think it was real love, I’m not sure it was.  The pain of the loss felt real but I don’t think the love was authentic.  I don’t trust easily and that I was able to trust these men was enough for me to label it love.  Love is a struggle for me because as much as I want to be in love, I am jaded, on guard, and fearful.  It is hard to recognize love through the haze of those things.

I find myself going back and forth between enjoying my new relationship and being terrified of it.  Recently I found myself sitting on the fence with two clear options.  I could surrender to my heart and allow myself fall in love, or I could cave to my fear and walk away.  I was scared, nervous, confused, and exhausted.  I have been at this place before and always chose fear.  Clearly that has not really worked out for me, but change is hard.

I am brave, but cowardly.  I am trusting, but fearful.  I am open, but shut off.  I am hopeful, but jaded.  I am joyous, but bitter.  I am a girl who believes in love, but is unsure I am deserving.  I have been defined by my romantic history, but perhaps it’s time to focus on creating a future rather than reliving a past.  I have relaxed enough to see love, and with time and patience I will relax enough to enjoy it too.

In the past I went into relationships with hope that my heart would not be broken, but things are different now.  I have the hope that I will grow old with a partner to love me and share the second half of my life.  There are no guarantees in love or life, but I have hope and hope is everything.  I can see the possibility of a happily ever after and that is a true blessing.  I am still scared, but love is grand and so I am keeping the faith.