Appropriate for the holiday this weekend, I have been thinking about how my current relationship is a bit scary to me. If I have come to know anything when it comes to love, it is that the best relationships are not all sunshine and daisies. They are a source for personal growth and self-reflection. If you want to find yourself in a true and healthy relationship, you must find the kind of love that is not afraid to confront the skeletons in your closet with a positive and caring demeanor.
My boyfriend (we’ll call him Army from now on) and I have been dating for about two months now. We met –don’t laugh– on a blind date set up by my mother and his grandparents. When I agreed to go on said date it was more to appease my mom than anything else. That, and I had nothing to do that evening, so why not?
When I first started dating again after my emotionally traumatic breakup with X, I was too quick to let the person get close to me. I confided more in our first few dates than I probably should have, laying my heart out due to loneliness, sadness, and feelings of rejection and failure. I was too quick to want someone to reclaim my heart, and I allowed it to be cracked a bit more in the process.
After the first dating failure, I became more hesitant to let anyone get close to me. I saw no point in introducing dates to my parents because I simply wanted to engage in surface-level relations. I didn’t want intimacy. I didn’t want commitment. I simply wanted friendship.
It surprised the hell out of me then that I took to Army so fully just on our first meeting. He wasn’t my usual type. He was sports-minded and egotistical and came from a different world than what I grew up in. So my first self-protective instinct was to run and revert back to my old habits of being an introvert and hiding all the messy parts about my past deep in a cave. I attempted to keep my contact with him to a minimum in case he were to make me feel some scary emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I realized though that these thoughts were just my mind’s sad excuse to stay closed down emotionally. When I finally decided to take the leap and open myself (however small each time), he received it with grace and care. What’s better, he returned being open with me.
Before we even had decided to become “official” (as our families proudly report) we had shared some of our demons with each other. No matter how terrifying such intimacy can be, the concept of dragging your demons to the light of another person is deeply therapeutic.
I mean, here you are showing an intimate part of your soul with someone who accidentally stumbled into your life. He could misinterpret and think you’re a basket-case or he could be shocked out of his feeling for you or he could feel you have way too much baggage for him to deal with… or not.
Maybe, just maybe, when all your demons are out in the sunlight and you feel as if your heart is in his hands, he’ll smile and say, “Everything is going to be okay. The past is the past, the future is now.”
I feel lucky, even only two months in, to have found someone who makes me want to start waving a flashlight in the direction of my demons. Shame and hurt and disappointment from the past cannot continue to exist if you want to develop a close loving relationship with someone else.
I’m lucky to have reached this place in my life (even when I didn’t realize I was at that point yet) where I can see someone who is challenging, confronting, and –yes– scaring me all for the purpose of acting as a positive change in my life. Army has already encouraged me to face things that I tried to suppress for a long time. He’s nudging me out of my comfort zone in the perfection moderation and helping me to push and become a better person. I don’t know what the future holds for us as a couple, but I am grateful that I met Army because him scaring the crap out of me was the push I needed for this positive transformation that I never anticipated.
Giving into my fear might just be the best thing I ever did for myself.