A few months ago I made a video for a family member for their wedding. I remember saying “but what the fuck do I know about love?” Maybe I still do not know anything. Maybe I fool myself into thinking I do. Since I was younger, I had a fantasy of love in my head. I use to think I would move somewhere and fall head over heels in love. The kind that you see in the movies. The infatuation. The perfection. The “meant to be” type of thing. Then came reality.
I learned that perfection isn’t real. There will not be one person that fulfills everything you need. I think those expectations are unrealistic and damaging. Find the person with the imperfections. The one who knows how to push your buttons sometimes. And you want to be with them anyway. It’s not about agreeing on every small thing. It’s about agreeing on the big things. It’s not about finding the most handsome or witty or smart person you can find. It’s about finding the person you want to wake up to despite everything. It’s finding the one you want to fight for. It’s about finding the one that means something despite all the bullshit of everyday life.
I have anxiety and depression. Early on in my current relationship, it acted up. I was beside myself. I had anxiety attacks. I lashed out. I sat crying on the floor of my apartment not able to move at least two times a week. The catastrophizing thoughts took over. Love with anxiety and depression often don’t mix well. My poor partner took it. He challenged it. He was in no way complacent. He helped. But he stuck it out. When he probably had thoughts in his head that he should break up with me because I was too much, he stayed. Someone told me that they didn’t think I could find a more patient person than the guy I’m dating currently. I believe they are right. I think him staying, despite my actions due to my anxiety and depression mean something. I had people in my past who left due to my problems with anxiety and depression. Some were romantic relationships – others were friends I had for years.
I also believe it is about communicating your wants and needs in the relationship. I don’t believe relationships can be naturally perfect. It takes work. It takes compromise. Always being passive in a relationship, just to not upset the other person isn’t healthy and won’t make the relationship any better. It’s about choosing your battles, but it’s also about having yourself be heard. Some people have a difficult time with that. It’s not necessarily because they are passive or afraid to upset the other person, they may just not like it. It’s uncomfortable. It’s vulnerable. They may not know how to express it. That’s my partner. I, on the other hand, am an over communicator. I told my sister I was having anxiety about something in the relationship. I tell her when these thoughts come up because she is one of the most logical people I know when it comes to relationships. She said that most people have these insecurities, but it’s not based on anything, so they often keep to themselves. That is difficult for me, but I understand how it’s healthier for a relationship. It’s about finding a balance. Not everyone is naturally good at finding the balance. But it’s also about working towards that.
Now my anxiety and depression are improving. I’m no longer a slave to them. I am better at self-soothing. Even though I’m doing so much better, that doesn’t mean the scars from my actions when I was under the influence of anxiety and depression disappear. That’s the crux. Healing those scars and being able to move forward. No longer expecting the worse of him or me. It takes patience and time to let those learned pieces go. He handled me at my worst, and now he deserves me at my best. Here’s the thing though, he’s not perfect either. Everyone has their own stuff they need to work out. No one is perfect. I wouldn’t want him to be either.
What I learned about love, is that it’s never simple. It’s not perfection. It’s not black and white. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Some people look for perfection. I look for honesty. I look for communication. I look for those pieces of the relationship that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Yeah, maybe I can find someone who can tell me all the right things I need to hear. Someone who says more than “so good” in a conversation. But I don’t want to. It’s not because I’m complacent or I don’t want to start over. Honestly, right now would be the perfect time to start over somewhere new. I don’t have a job. I don’t have one lined up. I could do anything I wanted, but I want to be here. I used times in my life similar to this as an excuse for leaving relationships before. I don’t want to use it this time. That means something. Him staying, when he could have left in the beginning, means something. Our connection that I can’t adequately explain is something. Our relationship is something. Our I’m not blind but the tough pieces of our relationship. Love can be hard. Relationships are work. I think it’s about choice. Again, I’m not an expert. But for once, I’m fighting for something that I believe in. That means something.
No one wants to be hurt. It sucks, and it’s the worst. Being with someone and falling in love always comes with the risk of being hurt. No matter what happens, it’s always worth the risk. Love and move forward.