When I first met Chris in 2009, I had a hole in my heart. It was like it had been taped over with duct tape after so many relationships gone bad. I wasn’t going to let anyone too close again. I knew how much it would hurt if that tape got ripped off.
The truth was, when Chris first started chatting with me that night at a friend’s book launch party, I didn’t feel explosive fireworks. Yes, he made me laugh. Yes, I felt so at ease as he asked me questions and listened intently. But I didn’t believe in instant connections anymore. After eight years of dating off and on as a single mom, I felt sure that love — a deep, healthy, sweet love — wasn’t going to happen for me. (Years earlier, I’d even turned down a friend’s offer to set up with Chris because he’d sounded too good to be true.)
It can feel terrifying to let someone in. Again.
Chris and I had only been dating for a month when my gynecologist found a huge cyst on my ovary during a routine exam.
I was afraid to tell him. Because telling him would’ve made me feel naked and vulnerable. He knew something was up, though, and after gently nudging me, I cracked open. A few days later, he was holding my hand in the waiting room before the ultrasound. He was saying, “I’m here.”
Trust takes time
“I have abandonment issues,” I told him. There I’d said it. I waited for Chris to turn around and walk away. Because what I said was very heavy. As heavy as saying something like, “I’m an alcoholic.”
Instead Chris took one step closer to me and said with a smile, “Let’s make a deal then? You’ll never leave me. And I’ll never leave you. Ok?”
The next day, he showed up with a bundle of sunflowers and violets and thistles, all wrapped in soft tissue paper.
Facing your fears is worth it
Single mom blogger Emma Johnson puts it so well: Your kids need to see someone loving you and treating you well.
It’s worth it, experiencing what your never had before: being in a relationship with a man who wants to be here, a man who comes home when he says he will, with a huge smile on his face as he walks through the door and asks, “How are my girls?”
It’s worth it, making dinner together. Like Taco Night on Tuesdays, as you hug in between the saffron rice and sour cream, then take turns feeding the baby refried beans.
I’d love to know:
Are afraid to open up to love again? Do you feel like you’re holding yourself back?
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