“I love you”

I have a secret. A secret I hate talking about. A secret that makes me sad. I am 35 years old and a man has never told me he loves me. Ever.

Just typing it out brings me shame and sadness. I feel like it’s my fault, though I don’t know why. I’ve had a couple guys get close to saying it, one even talking around it to me, asking me to not ask him to say it. He broke up with me a week later. It was single-handedly one of the worst days of my life. I gave him the space he needed, I never forced him to say it, and instead of being strong and working through his issues to get to that point himself, he just chose to let me go. He broke my heart. He broke me. That was six years ago, and it still haunts me. I don’t miss him specifically, but I still feel the fear and hurt from that situation.

I’ve written before about my dating history. I’ve written about my family history. So, I’m not repeating everything here, but fuck, I’m really tired of waiting. I am so god-damn sick and tired of waiting for some man to realize that I am amazing. That I am worthy of love. Sure, I’m completely loved by my close friends. I’m loved by my mother. The rest of my family? Eh, I’m not sure of. They can say the words, but were any of them there when I was going through chemo? Do any of them ever reach out to me about my life? I am so sick of begging people to love me. I did it with friends in Seattle for years and I am done. I cut parts of my family off years ago, and those friends are now in the list too. But fuck. I am not a horrible person. I am not someone who runs away and just treats people like shit. But yes, I do get hurt. And I get hurt very often by the people who were supposed to be the very people who were supposed to love me unconditionally so I would hope that men understand that my need for love is born out of a natural need to be loved. Is it more than “normal” girls? Sure, I guess. Depending on your definition of normal. I think we all have our weak points, and yes, mine is most likely wanting to be loved. But is that a bad thing? I sure as hell don’t think so.

I just…I’m sad. I just don’t understand why I can’t be loved. I don’t understand what is so wrong with me that allows people to walk away? Why is there not a person who wants to roll out a red carpet and let me walk on it, just to make me feel special? I feel like I will never be the girl who is picked. I will never hear the words and feel the love of a man. My father sure as hell didn’t know how to love, so maybe it’s just a part of my destiny, that I will never know.

The biggest downside with my move to Michigan is that everyone over the age of 30 here is in a relationship, and while I’m not ready to settle, it really, really makes me sad. I am strikingly alone. And it’s never more obvious than during the holidays, which is why I usually leave the country. Reminder to myself for next year, leave town. Leave the country. Forget everything.

I’m just so tired of being sad.

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3 thoughts on ““I love you”

  1. Becca,
    I am a friend of Heather’s I believe we have met though you may not remember me. Alan Gray. I went to Blue Sky at the request of our youngest son Lucas (Luke to some). My wife Alyson and I were unceremoniously ridiculed out of the organization, as is typical of many fundamentalist churches or other organizations. We left about 6 years ago. – Enough background.

    I just read your recent blog post. I have so many thoughts about your words. I have just spent four years deeply involved in a friendship that reflects everything you are saying here. I’m still piecing the experience together. I would like two things. 1. I would like you to know that someone credible and honest read and felt your words. 2. I would like to hear more.

    The topic of being loved, particularly by a man, is deep and rich. It is so riddled with interdependent rational, emotional, and biological need, I have trouble unraveling it all. In addition, the complexity is doubled by the dual nature of love exchanged; pouring out your love for someone, and receiving love from someone. It’s risky and intermittent even in the best of relationships. I’m saying nothing you haven’t already thought though.

    For me, just emotionally speaking ( not biologically or rationally) love is more like the currency exchanged between two people, not the object it is intended to secure. The object, I think, is to lay claim to unconditional acceptance, but more than that, intimacy. To stand naked in front of someone and see in their eyes, calm and enthusiastic acceptance, desire, and affection, emotionally, rationally, and physically: Intimacy. For a woman of course, biologically, it has a great deal to do with having a baby. But on the emotional side, I think being told “I love you” has mixed results. It almost always has some percentage of condition attached to it. Occasionally it is pure, but the only time I have seen it in its purest form, and this could just be me, is when a loved one dies. The survivor loves, nearly without condition. They will put up with anything to have their lover back. But this says something disturbing about the real world nature of love.

    I have a working theory on how love germinates between two people, and how love stays. Love in any stage of its development, is always extremely vulnerable to being limited and conditional.

    There is so much to this… I have loved, I think I have been loved but, for me that is always a hard one to feel. Making love stay for a long time, for a lifetime, is the very tentative exchange between two people of vulnerability, and intimacy. They constantly orbit each other. One only existe inside the other. Being vulnerable invites intimacy, and vice versa. It’s by far, the most fucking scary dance two human beings can ever do. But, it can always be started by practicing being vulnerable with another person. The kiss of death to a potential lover, is to give them the message that you might not actually need them, wanting them won’t do. Despite what they may say, people need to be needed, but it is scary because it starts the negotiation from a point of weakness. But weakness, in the hands and heart of someone who is also aware of their weakness is good soil for love to germinate in.

    I feel and think a lot more about this, ironically, not because I have mastered it, but because I have struggled so long, not mastering it. I’ll stop here however. Thank you for your thoughtful words and honest admissions, this vulnerability you express, opened doors to help me look deeper.

    1. Hi Al! Of course I remember you and Alyson! You’re both so lovely, how could I forget? As for your comments, I so appreciate your thoughts and perspectives! I have to break down a few segments to tackle them all, so bear with me. 🙂

      #1 & 2 – thank you so much. I love knowing that my words have resonated with someone.
      I love your usage of the word “interdependent” as I don’t feel a lot of people understand it, or utilize it. I first heard the term with my therapist and learned the stark difference between independence, dependence, and interdependence. It’s so revolutionizing.
      It’s hard for me to speak on the differences between love from a man, and love from a woman, because I feel I had most needs met when it comes to love from a woman. I had a mom, who, though was flawed, truly loved me and told me so as often as she could. I have never once doubted her love. But I do feel that it is easier (more acceptable?) for a mother to love and express her love for her child than a man. I never had brothers, so men are just very foreign to me. I feel like I am forever trying to understand the true make-up of a man: ie. are we expecting too much because they aren’t as emotional? Does society scratch out all the emotions of men and make them unable to truly feel? Is it age? Is it maturity? nurture vs. nature? Is it all of the above?

      Your last couple of paragraphs are so filled with amazing concepts that it’s hard for me to break them down in order to comment.

      To me, the idea of love as a currency is on point in the sense of people using love to gain acceptance and security. So many people in this world are broken, that there are plenty of people using this idea of love to pull people to them. The downside of this are the people who have done the work on themselves, who have seen therapists, talked to credible friends/family/etc. who have grown mentally/emotionally and don’t rely on others to fulfill their emotional needs. I feel like those people end up at the short end of the stick, mostly because they’re so far beyond everyone else. They either meet people who “need” them too much, or meet people who don’t “need” them at all. Both ends of the emotional growth spectrum are dangerous, but it seems like we never find our equals who are playing in the middle. I don’t say that to seem as though I’m above anyone, but I also won’t discount the work I’ve done on myself, ya know?

      For me the crux of your comment lies in this quote: “Making love stay for a long time, for a lifetime, is the very tentative exchange between two people of vulnerability, and intimacy. They constantly orbit each other. One only exists inside the other. Being vulnerable invites intimacy, and vice versa. It’s by far, the most fucking scary dance two human beings can ever do.” and it is so on point.
      Now, the best I can speak on is from a friendship standpoint. My best friend and I have struggled through our friendship only by giving our vulnerabilities to each other. We definitely have intimacy but it’s vastly different than a romantic relationship. I can only imagine that marriage (or a committed romantic relationship) is so much more because of what else you’re sharing with that other person.

      But, I think to even get to that stage requires a man to be willing. And the men I have met or had in my life have not been willing. That is what hurts. It somehow translates to me not being worthy enough for them to be emotionally available to get to that place. I’m sure that all of this reflects parts of myself that I have to work on and deal with, but I also know how much work I’ve already put into myself and wonder why I can’t just meet someone who is at least the same level instead of men who seem so far beyond but in reality are lacking.

      Ok, those are my thoughts right now. Again, I really appreciate your comments and thoughts. It made me think a lot. 🙂

      1. Becca,
        It is a real pleasure, and a rare one at that, to grind through these vital realities of our human lives. Our minds might just be very fragile, and abusing these topics with neglect can, and most certainly do, threaten the very sanity with which we evaluate them.

        It is far beyond me to quantify this but, it is undeniable that there are personality, psychological, and emotional differences between men and woman. But I would like to assert, for consideration sake, that the bulk of human behavioral characteristics are common to men and women alike. When you throw in the sexual, physiological, reproductive, “survival of the species” stuff, then the boys and girls scramble to opposite sides of the spectrum like a mandatory junior high school dance class. Sex has ramifications so life changing (threatening in some contexts), that prior to birth control, it at least all added up to a mysteriously surreptitious sort of prohibition, that we no longer gain as much guidance from.
        In addition, men are ALL different from each other, just as all women are very different then each other. … All that to say, deep emotional intimacy (excluding sexually based relationships), I think, is just as achievable, often more so, outside of a marriage or committed domestic partnership. Frequently, the mandatory nature of a marriage, implies that deep emotional intimacy must be achieved exclusively between that couple, which can be a real party killer. Not to entirely blow up the mythology of marriage as the the solution to emotional isolation, but it’s no guarantee.

        I think one of the most insidious poisons to emotional intimacy in or outside of a marriage, is the basic pathology of distorted self image. I think that nearly everyone grows up emotionally abused in some way that is over powering, and cannot be effectively opposed or resisted. Depending on the personal nature of this abuse, or the duration of it, the terrorizing of helpless adolescents creates such anger that, being unable to vent it on the perpetrator, the victim will turn it to the only “safe” place (the place he or she won’t suffer immediate retaliation for); themselves. The rage expressed is an essential release. It reconciles, to some degree, the violation endured, but over time, the psychotic pattern of turning anger inward, creates an adult that will frequently withdraw or withhold emotional vulnerability preferring instead, the sick familiarity with self doubt or self deprecation. I think this is a relationship killer that is not only common to both men and women equally, but is common to almost the entirety of all humanity. It’s nearly impossible to break that pattern. It can be managed but, it is always lurking, and will withdraw a tentatively growing trust with lightning speed.

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