Michelle is an empath with a big heart who struggled with an anxious attachment style making it hard to navigate healthy relationships.
Right person; wrong time?
We met eight years ago. We were both in unhealthy relationships and battling our own inner demons. Depression, anxiety, lack of self-love, and self-confidence were the core of our struggles. I met him upon starting a new job, a job my boyfriend didn't want me to have, but it was this or get consumed by my mental illnesses. We didn't talk right away but the connection was undeniable. No words needed. Things started slow seeing as we were both attached to other people. A coffee here, a coffee there. Then it became a break here and a lunch there. I don't think we were both ready for the emotions that ensued. We were different. I was the dreamer with her heart on her sleeve willing to take risks without thought of what might come out of it. He was more logical ridden with suspicion and fear. Eventually, I left my boyfriend and got my own apartment with my two girls. He was there for me but never left the relationship. "You'll get sick of me in a month and then where will I go?".
What do you believe in?
Opposing attachment styles and personalities
Over the years, I did some research. Love is black and white right, whether you love someone or you don't. Whether you choose me or you don't. Sometimes, it's not that simple.
I had an anxious attachment style for a long time. This means I was clingy, I was jealous, I was possessive, I would rush and push things and settle just to not be alone. This attachment style stemmed from the fear of abandonment, fear of not being loved, and fear of rejection as this defined my worth. I didn't love myself and needed someone else to love me to validate my value.
He had an avoidant attachment style. This means he avoided feelings, emotions, and people who made him feel vulnerable. This stemmed out of fear of abandonment, fear of getting heartbroken, and fear of not being enough. He didn't love himself therefore how could someone else?
Our differences were also an obstacle. He's old school and traditional and I am an old soul and free-spirited. We also brought sides of ourselves that didn't come out with other people which was frightening and things that bothered us about other people, we accepted in each other without knowing why at all.
Magnetically pulled or stupid?
Within the eight years, we went our separate ways and came back three times.
The first time, I got fed up with "waiting" and got into another relationship. A year and a half later, he reached out. I was engaged. I left the relationship due to abusive behaviors but he still left. This makes the second time. He had a new girlfriend and went back to her. We didn't end things on a positive note. We never do. It's always intense between us. The third time, I left again.
He had reached out to me after 4 years of silence. We were both single. Well, I left a relationship I shouldn't have been in. We both had decided to start focusing on ourselves and our lives. We decided that we'd never settle again. I thought, "this is our time." No. We were still far from ready. He pushed me away while I tried to reel him in. We both triggered each other until it imploded. I wasn't going to get what I wanted. The only explanation was that I meant nothing to him and it was time I find someone who will choose me.
Will there be a fourth time? We are talking again. I reached out after a year and a half of silence.
It feels different this time...
Not bad different, just different. I am not imploding my life because he's back. I am not sitting around all day getting mad that he's not texting me. He's not at the front of the line anymore. In the last year, I focused on loving myself. I focused on my small business. I focused on healing. I tried to date but I still love him so I decided I would just stay single until I'm ready to commit. The more I love my life alone the less I am willing to jump into a relationship, even with him. I used to stress so much over the fact that if we didn't get together right away, it may never happen. Or if I didn't make him commit to me, I may lose him altogether. I don't stress anymore. My healing has taught me that if things are meant to be, they will happen no matter what. He seems different too. He still struggles with mental illness as I do, but he's not chasing meaningless relationships anymore. He's focusing on building his life one day at a time. He's healing his heart and not ready to commit. Seems like we're finally on the same page. Not ready, but the same page nonetheless.
We've been chatting here and there. Nothing crazy.
Fun fact: I had been dreaming about running off to a cabin in the middle of the woods to escape and I just found out, he bought that cabin last summer. He might bring me up there to focus on my reading and writing. Even our interactions have changed. I'm not chasing and he's not running.
All I know is that I know my worth now and I know that I don't need to chase anyone to be happy or feel loved. Maybe all that will come out of this, in the end, is a friendship, and for the first time, I am okay with that. I know there is love here. I don't need a relationship or a commitment to prove that. I just feel like this story isn't over.
What about you
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Michelle Brady