No matter how hard we try, emotional baggage always seems to crop up when we least expect it. We think we have dealt with all of our emotional issues, and then suddenly we’re hit round the head like a ton of bricks.
For me, one of the biggest issues I have had to face was learning to trust again. And I think that it’s dealing with these issues that makes the prospect of starting a new relationship appear more frightening. Anyone who has made it to their late twenty’s unscathed by some sort of emotional baggage from a previous relationship is doing pretty darn well in my personal opinion.
But what is it about starting a new relationship that is so scary? We are told that each relationship is different. Just because something has happened to us once isn’t a predictor that it will happen again. And yet many of us are reluctant to start again. Or if we do, we kid ourselves that it isn’t serious, it’s just a bit of fun.
I think that the fear comes from exposing our vulnerabilities to another. As much as we pretend not to have them (we are invincible after all), we all have those tiny fractures within our core that once we get close enough to another person, inevitably start to show. And so it’s easier to keep that distance, to create the walls that will protect us from getting hurt or widening those fractures into cracks that we’re worried we will be unable to repair.
I am the first one to admit that in my more recent relationships, as soon as they appeared to be becoming serious I instantly became cool and distant. This wasn’t because my feelings had changed, but more as a self-preservation technique, to protect my heart from being chipped away at any more than I felt it already had been.
It took some soul-searching, but finally I found the courage to explain to my (now) husband, Michael, what I was doing and the reasons as to why I was doing it. Thankfully, he had the patience to wait it out, until I would let myself get a little closer before pulling back again. This strange dance is still continuing now, and Michael still patiently rides out the rhythm of it with me, waiting for me to feel safe and draw closer to him again. At times I am terrified by how much I love him, because of the power that inevitably gives him over me. Then I remember that I have confidence in him and the way he feels towards me and that means trusting that he will not hurt me.
I think learning to love again is never easy, I think it takes time and patience. But I do believe that when you meet the right person, you will be able to break down the walls with which you’ve surrounded yourself, and expose your fractures and breaks, and finally, with a bit of time and love, you will be able to glue the pieces back together again.