I used to hope in the “great love story” and believe in its existence.
My parents, they didn’t believe.
They were HORRIBLE examples of love.
Love with them was shown through neutral emotion. They showed plenty of despise, or at least my mother did.
Honestly, I don’t know if my father had many emotions. He dulled them even more with alcohol. He was the type to open a beer as soon as his foot hit the doorstep from work and by 9 am on weekends, it was his drink of choice after finishing his fill of coffee. He is by all intents and purposes a functioning alcoholic…who doesn’t think he has a problem.
My mother on the other hand, emotion was her middle name. Mostly the variety that doesn’t bode well for good feelings. She was preachy and demanding and never really satisfied. She medicated with marijuana, coffee, and cleaning. Her expectations were rarely met with appreciation, encouragement, or praise. EVERYTHING could be done better. Flaws were there for the purpose of pointing out.
My father’s examples of love toward my mom were unspoken and clumsy affection.
I don’t know what my mother’s examples of love toward my dad were…maybe the cards she gave on special occasions? The ones that shared sentiment that I never saw exchanged between them otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents love me. They just haven’t loved each other for as long as I can remember.
Yet I had hope in the “great love story” for my own life. I wanted what I saw lacking in them.
I married as a naive ‘know it all’ when I was a baby of 21 years. I thought I was so mature.
I was scared.
I was insecure.
I wanted to be loved and create the ‘great love story’ for my life, but didn’t know how…you see the example I had to go by…I was treading water in a stormy sea.
I was married for ten years before I fully realized the man I married had his own major ‘love’ issues. We had three kids by then, and I was lonely all the time and he was unavailable. He wanted acclaim in his job…not for his family or the legacy it would leave, but for his own self worth issues.
I always get a twinge of emotion when I see stories of the war hero who left his girl behind to go to war and came back so in love because the thoughts of her kept him fighting so he could come home to her…and now they’re in their 80s still loving each other strong.
I’ve never believed that love was going to be easy. I always believed that if you wanted something bad enough, it would happen. Thanks to the self-esteem push of my younger years…”you can be anything you choose to be” without really touching on the true work that is needed to achieve that “anything”. I believed I needed to work for it, just didn’t know what that work entailed.
Fast forward to hind sight…I worked. I wasn’t afraid to speak up for myself. I didn’t always play clean, but I always thought I was working for the greater cause. I always felt that I was missing something. I often didn’t feel that I was getting reciprocity. Now I question myself regularly that what I was getting was all I should have hoped for…maybe my expectations were too grand.
At this point in my life, I would love to have that relationship in my life. I feel the void. I have never been one who felt that I wanted to be on my own, not ‘needing’ anyone else to ‘complete’ me. I have always wanted a partner and best friend to go through this life with…unfortunately I’m also very selective and my standards are high.’
I often remark that I think the guy I would want is one that’s already married. He’s devoted to his family. He supports his kids and loves his wife and he’s excited about the family he is building.
I worry that I am now destined to be alone for the rest of my life. That I missed my chance for what I wanted in my life. Reinventing what love looks like for me in my life has been difficult.
None of this keeps me from moving forward with other aspects of my life. I still pursue my career aspirations with gusto. I have strong, healthy relationships with many women friends and keep active socially with a few different circles. My kids keep me busy in my role as a mother and I cherish the relationships I have with them. Laughing with them is the most important thing I do on a regular basis. Helping them see that there are possibilities in the world, but that responsibility and relationship are some of the most important aspects of those possibilities, is my most important lesson to teach.
My life is full. Don’t get me wrong. I just have a very acute awareness of the void in the “great love of my life” category.