When my marriage started failing several years ago, I began writing and reading romance novels because I craved a world where unconditional love was possible and there was always a happy ending. My ending, you see, wasn’t all that happy. (I got divorced in August 2013 after 18 years of marriage.)
I yearned to escape into these fictional worlds, where people loved each other despite their many flaws. I would spend hours reading my romance novels (or writing my own) while my then-husband watched TV. It ‘worked’ for us. He escaped into TV; I escaped into my books and we could pretend for a while that everything was alright.
But it wasn’t. In the Spring of 2013, I encountered several couples that seemed straight out of a romance novel. Real couples who held hands and gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes after being married for the same length of time my ex-husband and I had been married. Couples who delighted in each other’s company. Couples who actually liked each other and enjoyed spending time together.
I was astounded.
I remember the last ‘vacation’ I took with my then-husband. It was my Spring Break. We went to Portland in a last ditch effort to save our marriage. It didn’t work. It became clear to both of us on that trip that we were through. My aha moment occurred on a tour of the underground tunnels. It wasn’t the tour itself (although that was fun); it was another couple on the tour. They seemed so happy; so in tune with each other; so in love.
I tried to convince myself that they were delusional newlyweds, but it kept happening. More and more couples who seemed to have what I never had but wanted with all my heart. Love. Pure, unadulterated, unconditional love.
And that’s when I knew my marriage was over. I didn’t think I would ever be lucky enough to find someone who loved me unconditionally, but I began to accept that it was possible. That unconditional love might be a real thing – even in romantic relationships. Albeit only for a fortunate few.
It took another year for me to realize not only was unconditional love possible, but it was possible for ME. All I had to do was ask the Universe for it and then be open to receiving it.
But how did I get to this point? What led me to realize that I too could have a partner who loved me unconditionally?
1) I had to learn to love myself. Unconditionally.
2) I had to truly believe I was worthy of being loved unconditionally.
3) I had to put it out there to the Universe that I was ready. And then I had to let go. Wait. Trust. Allow.
In January of 2014 I made a vision board focusing on love – what I wanted to embody in my life this year. I was thinking specifically of self-love at that point, though the words and phrases I chose for my vision board were about love in general. I also made my list of things I wanted to attract to my life in 2014 and started reciting it at the altar in my bedroom almost every night before I went to bed.
At the top of that list was a man that loves, honors, and respects me for who I am. Further down, I requestedhealthy relationships that allow me to be me.
And that’s exactly what I got – after a fashion. The Universe had to test me first to make sure I was serious this time. The healthy relationships with friends came easily. The Universe was quick to send me female friends who allowed me to be me, but I had a harder time being me with the various men the Universe sent my way. You see, I was still in people-pleaser mode when it came to romantic relationships. The Universe, of course, had to point this little problem out to me. There was the creepy guy I met at a wedding in California; the alcoholic guy who wanted me to fix him; the former high school and college friend who wanted me to be his mistress.
I had to turn all of them down; take a stand; realize that I was worth more than that. I had to realize my own value as a person, acknowledge that I was a good ‘catch.’ Most importantly, I had to love myself unconditionally before I could actually get what I asked for. I had to let the Universe know that I wasn’t kidding around this time. That I finally got it.
Not long after I turned down the guy who wanted me to be his mistress, the Universe sent me Rio. River in Spanish. A Passionate Pisces to my Perfectionistic People-Pleasing Virgo/Libra. Water to my Earth. Fire to my Air.
And I was leery. Who wouldn’t be with my track record? But I finally gave in. Went to meet him for tea. Three hours later, we closed the place down.
And I started to think, maybe… But I was still skeptical. Maybe he was putting on a front – I’d been fooled by men before. Maybe it was a fluke. I didn’t want to get my hopes up; didn’t want to trust. So I saw him again – after I was sweaty from belly dance class. And again – when I wore old clothes and did nothing with my hair or make-up (I was testing whether he’d be okay with the real me). And again – when I told him things I usually don’t tell people to see if he’d run away. He didn’t.
We danced because he knew I loved to dance and hadn’t in a long time. We went to the Rose Garden because he knew roses are my favorite flowers. We climbed up a mountain and saw a rattlesnake and too many dragonflies to count and he challenged me to step close to the ledge despite my fear of heights.
And that’s when I decided to dive in. To open up my heart again. To accept the possibility that I was worthy of love. Pure, unadulterated, unconditional love.
And I am. And so is he. And so are you. We all are. We only have to believe and allow. Will you become vulnerable, open your heart, take the challenge to love yourself unconditionally, believe that you are capable and worthy of receiving unconditional love, and trust in the Universe to provide it? Join me? I promise it’s worth the wait.