A little over three months ago, I published my thoughts on “true love” during a very difficult time in my life.
When I wrote that post, I was going through a break-up that left me feeling broken and brought up years of my failed relationships, including my painful divorce to the surface. I woke up one morning and realized I was stuck in a pattern, attracting the wrong partners because something deep down inside of me felt like I wasn’t really worthy of love, that I didn’t deserve it. I was chasing people who were emotionally unavailable and tried to convince them to eventually love me, which we all know never works. I am smarter than this, but let my trauma lead my decisions over my brain.
Even though I was heartbroken, I was also proud of myself for getting up and leaving a situation I knew wasn’t healthy. For standing up for the things I need, and for not settling or letting someone else make me feel like my needs and wants were “too much.”
I had an AHA moment.
NO NO NO. I will not be in a relationship that feels like this. Love should not feel like THIS.
I felt empowered for getting up and leaving, but at the same time lost hope of finding my true love. I decided that I would no longer chase it, that I would surrender to the universe. I would focus on living my life and on loving every part of my being. That maybe love wasn’t in the cards for me. Hence that blog post.
I surrendered to the idea that the love of my life should be ME. That no one will ever be able to “complete” me. In order to be happy, I needed to feel and be complete. I dove back into my healing (it’s a journey I’ve been on since my divorce) and really focused on loving myself and accepting parts of me that I was ashamed of.
After one of my weekly therapy sessions, my therapist gave me homework to do. She told me to write a list of what I truly need, want in a partnership, my “must haves.” I thought it was weird at first cause like, I want a man not groceries. She also told me to write a list of “Red flags” – things I will not compromise on ever again in relationships.
I looked at the list and noticed that all the things that I essentially “needed” are things that I also wanted to give to someone else. Affection, kindness, vulnerability, adventure, laughter, support, and friendship, to name a few. I also wrote down attributes that I want in a partner. Someone ambitious, loving, honest, emotionally available, takes care of themselves, close to their family, trustworthy, hard working, empathetic, loyal, respectful. A mensh, as my dad would say.
As I wrote down these attributes, I realized that all these things I want in a partner, I am! I am all these things. I smiled! It was was clear as day and there was no turning back. I would not settle ever. Why the fuck would I? “I am fucking amazing,” I blurted out. A fucking UNICORN. Any man would be LUCKY to have my attention.
AHA- A Self Love Moment.
I closed my journal and put it away. For the next week, I would repeat affirmations to myself in an attempt to heal years of negative self talk. While brushing my teeth, before bed, while waiting for my coffee to heat up in the morning.
“I am worthy of love.”
“I deserve to be loved.”
“Love surrounds me in every way.”
“I love myself, accept myself and respect myself exactly as I am.”
And about a week later, he appeared. My love. My true love. I KNOW. It’s crazy. Like a fucking angel from the sky… that to this day, I continuously touch him to confirm that he is in fact real and not a figment of my imagination. I sincerely believe that he only appeared because I was finally ready to truly love someone else, that I loved myself so much to a point where I could no longer be in relationships that did not serve me.
I picture the person in charge of the universe watching over me and this conversation playing out –
Universe to their assistant: “She’s been through enough. She learned her lesson. send him in.”
Assistant: “Ok boss, but how? He lives in Brooklyn. She lives in Jersey City, and she hasn’t left her apartment in weeks? How do you suggest I make this happen? There’s also a global pandemic going on, ya know.”
Universe: “True true. Good point. Well it’s 2020, I have a lot on my plate. Let’s make this easy for both of us. Let’s get them on those apps. The good one though, I think the slogan is Meant to be deleted.”
Universe: “Yeah, that one.”
Assistant: “Efficient, I am on it.”
Universe: “Great. Can you close her file while you’re at it?”
2 weeks into my healing journey, I had a moment of weakness where I missed a little male attention and decided to re-download Hinge to mindlessly swipe. I actually had no intention to meet anyone, I just wanted to talk to someone cute to feel a little better about myself and move on with my day. While aimlessly looking at profiles and not swiping on anyone, I stopped dead on his page. There was one photo of him wearing a bandana as a mask (I thought, “Perfect, not an anti-masker”) and I just looked at his eyes and felt something there. He had kind eyes.
I commented on one of his prompts and we matched within a few hours. Now here is the thing, I don’t take the apps incredibly seriously. I’ve been on and off them since my divorce. I have met some interesting people and have gone on some great dates, but nothing has ever really come of it. So I take dating apps with a grain of salt, especially at this time.
His name is Tony and he lives in Bushwick (my favorite neighborhood outside of JC, FYI). Tony just downloaded Hinge for the first time in his life. We matched on his second day using app.
When we started talking, I was so tired of dating and men in general that I was 100% authentic, no masks (hard to say this in 2020 without laughing), not trying to impress him. Literally said to him whatever I was thinking and feeling, sort of expecting him to ghost and not pursue but he kept responding, engaging, and listening. Seriously, I broke every rule in the book when it comes to online dating and was totally emotionally slutty. I just didn’t care to impress him. I figured he would be going on a zillion dates, so who fucking cares.
I told him about my past, my hurts, and my trauma. Most men would run, like far. But he didn’t. I was vulnerable and so was he. It was nice. It was like, “Cool, I made a new friend during one of the loneliest times in my life.” Again, no expectations. It was consistent. It was easy. It was gradual. We had deep conversations about life, but we also laughed A LOT. He was my friend. I told him things I haven’t told anyone literally ever and he never judged me. Never made me feel anything but heard.
For the first time in my single life talking to someone new, I wasn’t stressed. It was effortless. No games. No mixed signals. Honesty.
We talked for a week non-stop before meeting in person (he went away on a family vacation the day we matched). We talked so much and to be honest, having someone with whom I could share my days without any pressure while I was dealing with my personal shit made a huge difference in my healing. An actual angel.
After a week of the most fun and honest virtual dating, we made plans to meet for lunch in NYC. He sent me a photo of where he was sitting and across from him a stick figure (if you follow me on social media, you know all about “stick-bae”). It was so cute. I had butterflies in my stomach. I walked over and saw him sitting there waiting for me, and I ran up to him and kissed him right away. It didn’t feel like we just met. It felt like we’ve known each other forever. UGH I KNOW, IT’S SO CLICHE!!
It was a wonderful first date. But still, I had no expectations. I just wanted to really get to know him, and I did. We built this really beautiful friendship and connection. For the first time in my dating life, I wasn’t stressed out. We talked every day, we made plans to see each other whenever we could. It was easy and effortless.
One Friday night, I was at a restaurant in Manhattan waiting for him to join me, and remember feeling the excitement in my stomach that I would see him soon. When he walked into the restaurant, that’s when I knew. This is the guy. All night I couldn’t stop kissing him. It just clicked. The friendship, the attraction, the chemistry. It clicked.
A few days later, I looked at my list again And one by one, every attribute that I wrote down- check, check, check.
I couldn’t fucking believe it-
Did I manifest this person? What is going on?
We both told each other that we liked each other pretty soon and I was honest with him and told him pretty early that I wanted to be in a relationship with him. It didn’t scare him away – he wanted one, too. And exactly a month after we started talking, he asked me to be his girlfriend over dinner and here I am, absolutely head over heels in love with this man.
This love that I have right now is different than any I’ve ever been in. I feel at peace. When he holds me in his arms I feel at home. I can be myself, I can say anything that I think and feel and not have any fear that he will think differently of me. I’ve been able to show parts of myself to him that no one has ever seen before, even parts I’ve never even repeated out loud. Safe. Heard. Seen. I didn’t think it was possible. When I told this story to a friend, she said “OMG LYNN! He sounds TOO good to be true!!” And for a second, I let my old insecure self believe her, and told myself, “He must be too good to be true, I don’t deserve all this. What’s the catch?” But then, recognizing this old pattern, this old negative belief I snapped back and yelled out,
“I AM TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE”.
Yes, that is right! I am 37 years old and I’ve accomplished so much in my life; I am a good mom, community member, friend. I am passionate and kind, funny and energetic. I AM too good to be true. I have SO much love to give, I deserve to be loved and deserve a person that will receive it. And that is that.
All this time, my true love was always me, I was always complete and whole and the moment I truly believed that is the moment I was able to open myself up to receive the love that I always deserved. Love is a wonderful thing, it is THE best thing. Love for ourselves, love for others, love for our planet.I think if we all led with that, the world would be a much better place.
Thank you all for being on this journey with me.
And she lived happily ever after.