I discovered this week that I've been holding something back from a lot of my clients and readers.
I've been holding back expressing all the ways that my relationship with Hemal (my husband) is the kind of love you see in those cheesy romantic comedies.
I was almost afraid to share how happy we are. But I want you to have an example of how a relationship can be a place of true freedom, true connection, true passion -- because in your experiences with love thus far, it's easy to question if this kind of love is possible.
And I want you to know that it is.
Now, this level of love -- this daily playful passionate experience I have with Hemal -- wasn't possible for years because I had a huge wall up, or a block to love.
Like many strong, independent women, I was committed to not losing myself in a relationship.
Translation: less than 5 years ago, I was terrified to let Hemal into my heart.
After some digging, I realized that my commitment to freedom was making me feel really alone -- even when I was married.
I was still operating as if I was single. As if I had to do it all by myself. So here I was, with a partner ready to give me what I wanted -- and I wouldn't let him.
Subconsciously, I was terrified that if I started to rely on Hemal for anything that would mean I was dependent (which meant I could get hurt).
I watched my mom within my parents' relationship and I translated that she had lost herself and her freedom.
So, picture a little 10 year-old me saying to myself, "I don't want to be dependent on a man like my mom."
And growing up, I kept finding evidence to prove that when you depend on someone, specifically a man, you get screwed.
Since then, I've completely shifted the way I see my mom in her marriage with my dad. I see how she feels empowered in many ways that I completely missed.
I realize now that she's a women strong enough to let someone take care of her. She's strong enough to receive support and not feel guilty.
Once I saw my mom's "dependence" differently, my own relationship shifted. It shifted because that wall that had been up for years and years, suddenly came crashing down because that little 10 year old made a decision that was no longer true.
I stopped using the excuse that I don't want to lose myself as a reason I had to "do it all on my own."
Now, every morning I wake up next to Hemal, look over at him and smile ear to ear. He wraps his big bear paws around me and gives me a huge hug.
I feel so loved and safe in that moment. Every. Single. Day.
Your situation with how you saw your parents relationship may be different than mine -- but the wall that's keeping the man you want out still exists.
Here's how you can start to bring your own wall down and let a man into your life:
1. Identify this wall and where it came from.
If you watched one of your parents lose themselves or felt like one parent sacrificed a lot for the other, you too, at a young age, maybe said, "I'm not going to depend on a man."
Or maybe you simply don't like your parents relationship because it felt like one or both were trapped in some way.
You may even admire your parent's relationship, but still noticed one parent was more dominant over the other. Did you always hear "You'll have to make sure that's okay with mom first" or "We can't buy that because dad will get mad" in your home?
Do a little digging and identify the wall for yourself, no matter what your scenario. This wall can be what's keeping you single (just as much as this wall had me on the brink of divorce).
2. Commit to trying to let a man take care of you, even in a small ways.
When you let men take care of you -- from opening the salsa jar, to opening doors for you, to letting him pay for dinner -- your experiences with men will change.
Yes, you know you can do these things yourself -- you're a strong, independent woman after all. But asking for support even in small ways helps tame the knee jerk reaction to shut a man out, and instead opens you up to letting him in.
When you let the right kinds of men support you, it gives that man PURPOSE in your life. A place where he fits, can contribute, and love you up the way you want to be loved.
That's what helps men notice you, has them ask you out, and keeps them coming back for more.
So give it a shot.
And let me know in the comments, are you afraid of losing yourself in a relationship? Why?