Am I A Failure at Love?
FROM DECEMBER 19, 2021 (MOVING BLOG TO WEBSITE BLOG)
I had this moment the other day where I literally thought, "how does someone who loves SO big fail at love twice?"
That moment sucked.
It sucked so very much.
I remember this moment years ago where a friend of mine asked, "how do you feel about your ex introducing his girlfriend to the kids?" And to be completely honest, my reaction was "good". By no means did I want my kids subjected to in and out girlfriends who they would get attached to and then "lose". At the same time, I have always felt like the more people who love my kids, the better off they are.
I believe in love so very much. It is incredibly powerful and when my kids are constantly surrounded by love in various forms, I imagine this protective bubble around them that cannot be broken no matter what they go through in life.
So yes, maybe I have failed at 2 relationships on my quest to love as big as my human heart will allow me. What I realized though is that I have not failed at love. In fact it is quite the opposite.
A couple of weeks ago Clarissa mentioned to me that she was hopeful we could have a friendship like what my ex and I have. My understanding is that we could just remove the "romantic" part of our relationship and continue to be great friends.
This will not work for me. And yes, I have told her that.
When my ex and I split, I did not want to be with him. I loved him very much but I was not in love with him and I realize this now. I know I was not in love with him because I didn't truly love myself and it is not possible for us to truly love another person as our life partner if we don't love and value ourselves. This I know because I lived it.
At my lowest point, I remember telling myself on the regular that my kids did not need me. They only needed me for groceries, laundry, school pickup, driving them places and the occasional hug and snuggle. That's all they needed me for. THIS IS HOW LITTLE I VALUED MYSELF. Looking back I am saddened for that version of me because so much of their early years, I do not remember. I was so engrossed in the motions that I didn't see the beauty of how much we needed each other.
For many months after I left the house, I would go early in the mornings to wake them up, to make their lunches, to take them to school, to make dinner, to do laundry, to pick them up - and then I would leave thinking my "duties were done". Oh how much I wish I could go back in time and re-do those years with the perspective I have now.
Yes, I could spend hours and days and weeks and months beating myself up over the time I lost with them. Instead I choose to make the very best of the time I now have with them. Time with my babies as a Mama who truly loves and values herself - this time for me is an absolute gift and it really makes me pick my battles and choose the "lessons" I want to enforce with them very very carefully.
Had I stayed in my marriage, I do not know that I would have found this version of me. I believe my ex provided an environment where I was safe to remain as I was without little room for growth and change on my end. But I no longer wanted that terrible brown colour that was woven in to the fabric of my lawn chair. It needed to come out - slowly, piece by piece - unwoven from that chair so I could truly shine my light. And that is why I cannot entertain just removing the romantic piece from my relationship with Clarissa.
I have worked so incredibly hard on myself and finding my worth and value within our relationship and I have found what my definition of love is. I can't just remove that piece of who I am and have constant reminders of why it didn't work. It is so painful for me. Perhaps down the road as we both heal, we will be able to entertain a friendship outside of our business relationship. Until that happens though, I find it energetically challenging to be around her with these million and a half questions of why my love wasn't enough .... and feeling like I failed at love because she couldn't see how very much she was loved is just too heavy for me to be living. I cannot make sense of having to lose something to finally understand what you had.
So my friends, did I fail at love? Perhaps I could look at this as a failure of 2 relationships rather than a failure at love. The reason I say this is simple - I do not believe I failed at love because through this journey, I have learned to truly love and value me. I do hope that I will trust myself enough to open up to love again - in the meantime though, I will hold on to the fact that if I got anything out of loving someone else so big it is the ability to finally love myself so big.