Love

I recently was looking for something to blog about. I asked my friends for topics. One stuck out as something I would like to talk about. Why do I love my girlfriend? Simple question on the surface, but it can cover a lot of ground.

What is love?

I used to have a different opinion of what love is. I thought it was subjugation, giving up myself to make someone else happy. Putting someone else’s needs before my own. Sacrifice and surrender. I thought it was all the fairy tale stuff we have been taught. The happy endings in the movies. I tried to live this way in my marriage, but it did not work, it wasn’t real. I thought if I kept acting the part, eventually it would be real. Wrong.

Here is what I have learned. I had to accept myself, as I am, before I could even think about loving someone else. I had to develop a sense of self worth and value. I had to find it in myself, so someone else could see it. This took some work. I had been beaten down, from outside and inside for a long time. I had to let go of this, learn to be myself again. When I got to this point, let me tell you, the world opened up. I opened up. There was a peace to being genuine I did not expect. An ease, to not looking outside for validation. Granted, it took some encouragement from the outside to get me there, but it is self sustaining.

So here I was, getting my self confidence back, feeling pretty good. Now I had to overcome some of societies bad lessons. I had always thought that I could only tell one woman I loved her at a time, because if I said I loved her, I must want to marry her. Like most men, (IMHO) love is equal to sex. This is so far from my reality now. I have learned that the more I love, the move I share it with others, the more I have to give.

The first time I said I love you to a woman, that was not my soon to be ex wife, was amazing. It changed me a little. Here was a woman, who was a dear friend, and now my adopted sister, and I told her I loved her. It did not matter how she felt or if she said it back. It was just important for her to know what she meant to me. The importance I placed on our relationship. It had nothing to do with any sort of male/female relationship. It was so liberating, like I had loosed some shackles. Then there were more, male and female, that I said I love you too. The relationships were all different, but all important. This seemed to go against everything I was taught, everything the world showed to me as an example. I was bursting with love and at peace with myself.

So, why do I love my girlfriend? I could list the usual things: pretty, funny, intelligent, similar interests. Those are all very true. But the main reason is, she feels like home. There is a peace when I am with her. There is no effort to be what I think she wants me to be. I can be 100% myself and not worry about what she might think. There is also no need. I hear so many people talk about needing to be with their partner. There is plenty of want, of desire to be with her, but no need.

I love her because she is exactly who she is and I am me when I am with her.

Doug

P.S. Ask questions.

 

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Divorce and the ugliness inside

Now that my divorce is final, I wanted to say a few things about the process and the some of the things I have witnessed others going through.

My marriage ended after almost 20 years. It needed to, it had run it course. We were very good friends, but terrible spouses. It was time to move on and for both of us to try to find ourselves and learn to be happy again.

Because we were friends, we were able to do the divorce Pro Se. No lawyers, no fighting, just discussing what was most fair for both of us. We made spread sheets and looked at debt and income, we talked about contingencies, we talked about what was best for our kids. In the end, we came to an agreement, signed the paperwork and gave it to the court after an 18 month separation. On February 28th, the judge signed the papers and it was done. It cost us maybe $200 total and we are still friends.

What I hear about from my friends in my divorce group is startling. The fighting, hatred, anger all of the ugliness inside people coming out to hurt the person they promised to love and honor forever. So much selfishness…  You once loved this person so very much you made them the promise of a life time. Sometimes that doesn’t work out and you have to go your separate ways, but to treat each other with such cruelty completely baffles me.

My ex found a boyfriend before the marriage was over. Of course I was angry. But then I realized she was not doing to hurt me, but to try to find some happiness, the happiness she could not find within our marriage. Once I understood she was doing what she need to do to make herself happy, I was able to let go of the anger.

The best thing for us, and much more importantly our kids, was to be friendly and civil during this process. Anything else would lead down an ugly path.

I am sorry if you are going through through a divorce, it sucks. Try not to feel guilty for doing what it takes to take care of yourself. Self preservation is vital.

Enter and go through the process with compassion and understanding. Nobody expects to get divorced, no one wants to hurt the person they once held so dear, no matter how things look on the surface.

Doug

 

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