And suddenly, she's alone again. I am beginning to realize that I'm truly quite terrible at dating. Not that this realization should shatter anyone's mind. Of course I'm bad at dating! I had never been on a date in my life unless you count the courtship Ryan and I had on my couch in college. So here I am, blindly navigating my way through what can only be compared to a tropical storm - warm and calm at the beginning, destructive in the end. I make mistake after mistake and am only just beginning to realize my errors.
At the beginning of this journey, I carefully crept into a relationship with a man who was just as damaged as I was, but for reasons different than my own. We had formed a friendship based on our duel need to lean on someone. The friendship was (and still is) built on a strong foundation of support and understanding. The relationship unfortunately, was better in thought than reality. He wasn't in a place to give me the attention I wanted and often left me feeling empty and alone. We have since continued to build our friendship, of which I wouldn't trade for the world, but the sting of being ignored still leaves a film of rejection on my soul. The second man was everything the first wasn't. He swept in with attention, romance and butterflies. He put a bounce back into my step that I thought was gone forever. To the world he shouted from rooftops how happy I made him. To me, he whispered love. I floated through this relationship wondering how I could have been lucky enough to find such love twice in my life. I ignored danger signs because this is what it can feel like when you have met a soul mate. I know this from experience and jumped feet first into what I thought was true love. In the very quick end, he just left. No explanation, no apologizes...he just left. Now you see me, now you don't. I was devastated, old wounds were opened deep and my carefully pieced together broken heart was once again shattered into a million tiny pieces.
Some time passed before the third. I went on a few casual dates with nice guys that just weren't the ones. Number three was a complete and utter disaster. He focused his attention on trying to break my calm demeanor. He needed drama and I had none to give. I stuck around for the simple fact that I didn't want to make him sad. I cried myself to sleep trying to accept that this was all I was going to get. I had my true love, he died and now, this was what was left for me. Thankfully, I woke up and remembered that I had choices, it didn't take long to end after that. Number four ambled into my life soon after. Immediately there was something about him that I was drawn to, something that made me feel safe and at ease. Things were normal in the beginning. We spent lots of time together, made plans for the future, gave each other butterflies all day long. Slowly I started to notice signs that were a bit alarming. He never wanted to sleep over, had very little time he was willing to give me. It's not that he was going out or doing something else. He was home, napping, bottling beer, doing laundry. I'll never forget the night I knew deep down it just wouldn't work. I was going through something difficult, it was the first time in our relationship I needed him for more than just fun. I was crying and very, very sad. He stayed and listened until I calmed down and then he left. He didn't need to work in the morning, didn't have anything to do, he essentially just wanted to sleep in his own bed. I asked him to stay and hold me through the night and he wouldn't budge. I should have left then, but loneliness runs deeps and a little attention is better than none. It took a another month, three Friday nights alone and an evening of fun that concluded with him telling me he just didn't love me for it to finally end. He had no reason and honestly, I think I was just too much for him. Like so many times before, I ignored the warning signs that were flashing in my face, I avoided caution and pushed on.
I choose the wrong men, I ignore warning signs and silence my own needs and wants all because I don't want to be alone. The two things I want in life are a family and love, my need magnified by the burning memory of a time when I had both. With each relationship comes a new hope of companionship and love. With each end comes the devastating reality of loss, rejection and abandonment, made even worse the older Marley gets as she also experiences the loss. Thankfully, perseverance prevails and I do not give up hope. I've learned some valuable lessons and am ready to try again. This time I will not settle, I will not ignore warning signs and I'll accept nothing but love. I knew a man once who would see his wife from across a room and think her the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. When you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be. When you love someone, they are all you need, just as they are. I want to be that someone again, just as I am.