An Open Letter To The Man Who Taught Me How To Feel Again

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Milan Popovic / Unsplash

First, thank you for continuing to value me even when I make it so damn difficult to see any good in me. Thank you for staying even when I have literally screamed at you to leave. Thank you for accepting me even during the times that I instigate rejection. Above all, thank you for making me feel safe enough to feel again.

When I reference feelings, I do mean all of them: love, anger, happiness, disappointment, excitement, contentment, jealousy, pride… The list goes on. Now, I note the “negative” feelings to not remind us of the bad moments, but rather to display that you have taught me how to feel and still know I am loved. That is a new concept for me in the realm of relationships and it scares the hell out of me. I truly feel that you accept all of my facets and although it is what I said I have always wanted and needed… I don’t always believe I deserve it; but there you are, reminding me that I do deserve to be happy.

Now, I am in no way saying that you are the perfect partner. You have your flaws just as I do and I try my best to accept every piece of you just as you do for me. I think that is why we work. We have both experienced extreme heartbreak. We are both survivors of experiences that altered who we thought we were. Although individually imperfect, together we redefine perfection.

We joke that we know what we each signed up for. Well, I’m sorry if you feel like you got fooled. You thought you knew, up until you got a true glimpse into my internal reality – This skewed view of who I am; inside and out.

My behavior, my thought processes, and my insecurities are all rooted in my past experiences. In every previous relationship, I have been conditioned to believe that I must sacrifice myself to prove my love and dedication to my partner. These sacrifices include but are not limited to my time, my family, my friends, my money, my goals, my health, my grades, my sobriety, my self-esteem, and my sanity. It has been a 12+ year cycle of equating my self-worth to the “love” received from my partner. It is for this reason that I constantly seek reassurance and apologize unnecessarily.

I know you try your best to understand why I react the way I do or why I inadvertently push you away. I can imagine how exhausting it must be to be with someone who is so insecure and in such desperate need for constant approval or validation. Thank you for showing me approval and validation in healthy ways. Another new concept for me so my lack of recognizing those gestures is simply just me not knowing what a healthy relationship is. I am learning though and I am beyond appreciative that you are my teacher. TC mark

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