Love and Vulnerability

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I’m a romantic at heart, I’m the typical romantic comedy watching, happily ever after person. However, I live in my head and I overthink stuff and I think that’s partially why I’ve never really been in love.

Now, of course, I’ve said “I love you” when I was a teenager, but my definition of love then and my definition of love now are two completely different things. If we both loved sport, literature, shared the same taste in food and just returned each other’s texts and phone calls to me that was love but I’ve realized that loving someone romantically is more complicated than I thought.

To love means being your own person but at the same time being vulnerable and trusting that your romantic companion will not see your vulnerability as a sign of weakness. To love means committing to loving that person past their flaws, to love means to be secure, to be trusting and to be trusted. To love means learning your object of affection’s love language, to love means loving yourself first. It’s not limited to the things I’ve just listed, but you get the idea.

Whenever someone says “I love you” to me, I brush it off with wit and humour and I’ve done this successfully, I can’t say “I love you” back when I don’t feel that way about you romantically. The worst was when I dated someone for 6 months and never said “I love you” to them, they became frustrated and things just didn’t work out. It’s honestly not that I don’t want to open up myself to love but I’m afraid of being vulnerable with people in that way. I like being in control of my feelings and vulnerability just gets in the way of that.

When you’re vulnerable, you’re placing your heart and emotions on a platter for another human to affect it and that is scary! I’m a sceptic, trust isn’t something that comes easily to me. I’m fearless in life but I’m not as fearless in love, going all in and promising to love someone forever just isn’t me. Maybe I’m making excuses, maybe I’m afraid of commitment, maybe I’m scared of things I don’t understand – love being one of them but I also don’t want to be scared at the same time. I’m just confused right now.

I concede that my definition of vulnerability and its attachment to fear and rejection is a hindrance to finding love. I’m still a sceptic, but at least I’m aware of that and I’m working on fixing it. Being vulnerable isn’t easy and it comes with a lot of emotional baggage but I wonder if it’s better than living with “what ifs”.

 

 

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Sometimes:

  1. Sometimes we hang on to friendships and romantic relationships to prove our loyalty and dedication but all of that is a futile exercise if the person you’re hanging on to is not emotionally available to acknowledge it. It becomes draining in all forms to constantly prove that you’re a great person, that you’re their joy bringer and I think that stems from the way some of us approach relationships. My mother once told me that you can’t befriend someone with the intent to change or fix them. Sometimes people can’t be changed by other people and it doesn’t matter how much you convince them that their actions are toxic they won’t see your point. People change when they’re ready to change.
  2. Sometimes people hang on to toxic relationships because they fear solitude. Society has enabled us to normalise certain situations and scenarios to the extent that it seems almost unnatural for a person to remain single for a long time. It seems as though there’s something wrong with enjoying your own company and using that time to work on yourself, educating yourself and determining what works and doesn’t work for you.
  3. Sometimes, love just isn’t enough. It’s possible for someone to claim to love you but act as though as they hate you. I think the reason for that is because we have different definitions and ideas of what love is and what it should feel like to be in love. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to convince someone that they’re not loved by the person who claims to love them but of course they couldn’t understand where I was coming from because we have different ideas of what love is.
  4. Sometimes scars are not physical. I’ve had to explain this time and time again to my guy friends. When you hurt a woman you claim to love you’re slapping her, kicking her, punching her, stabbing her, shooting her over and over again but you will not see the scars physically because it’s not the body that you’re hurting but it’s the emotions, it’s the heart and that’s deeper because emotional hurt lasts much longer than physical scars.
  5. Sometimes, sometimes it’s all about respect. A man that continues to hurt you has lost respect for you. You’ve enabled him to disrespect you, you opened the doors for him to disrespect you but the same way that you opened the door, you can also close it!!
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