Most of my life I haven’t felt deserving of love. It dawned on me recently about how this probably came to pass. My evil stepmother was not good to my sister and me. She resented us. As time wore on and her true colors came out there were a lot of one-sided fights between her and my dad. Loud, screaming, violent fights. I had to hide out in my room and listen to them.
This manipulative woman was loud, and would scream at my dad calling him all kinds of nasty names and accusing him of various atrocities. She would also call my sister and me nasty names. I had to hear that. Feeling totally powerless. Over and over. My dad would capitulate every time. He would rarely ever raise his voice no matter how loud she screamed. If he stood up for me I never heard it.
The result of this was a feeling that people felt I was worthless and not worthy of love. I spent most of my life trying to show my worth. That I am a good and valuable person. Smart, hard working, etc. But nothing could convince me I was deserving of love.
My mother had her own insecurities which enhanced this feeling for me. She would often complain to me how horrible typical men were, and I could not be one of them. I needed to treat women like they were goddesses if they showed any interest in me.
My mother felt as if her son would not be able to attract a good woman, however she defined that. I have no idea why she felt this way. Perhaps because I was odd. I have always been odd. Whenever there was a woman in my life my mom treated it as a most precious thing that I was so lucky to have, and if the relationship failed it was because of a failure of her son. It was always a man’s fault when a relationship failed. That put a lot of weight on an otherwise insecure young me.
When you put all of that together I never really felt deserving of anyone’s love. Never felt I had any reason to ask for it or to seek something special for me. Any kind of exploration would have been a selfish act. That was where my thinking was early in my life. I had no hope of a woman loving me. Especially not an incredible woman who fulfills my every dream.
In walks my future wife. She doesn’t reject me. At least not the parts I let her see. She cares about me. She showed me love. Sure there are things that were missing, but love was there. I had to hold onto her. If she left me it would be my fault. I could not let everyone down, and let them all think I was a failure. I persevered. I won. She became my bride. I was convinced I was happy, and it was great. The major problems were because of me. All relational problems are because of men. That is what I had been told, and subconsciously had coursing through my veins.
During our marriage I had visions of other women. Women I would read about or heard quips about from other people. These women intrigued me, but they seemed too good to be true. Like characters in a movie. They were not real. I was convinced that the best I could possibly hope for was my wife. She was a picture perfect, text book wife. These other thoughts didn’t add up to reality, and I needed to ignore them.
“It’s nice to meet you Meredith.” I said when I met her for the first time. Completely unaware at the time that I would embark on a six month affair with her almost three years later. A period of intense self discovery. It was with Meredith that I learned the truth about me, and about my expectations and upbringing.
She loved me for me. Not for who I projected to be. She loved me when she had no right or need to love me. She loved me even when I actively pushed her away. She loved me when I violated all the rules I assumed one had to do to keep a woman. She loved me because I am worthy of love. Because I am a wonderful man, and can be a gift to the right woman.
She broke the mold for me. Everything I thought about myself in terms of love was wrong. It was tainted by my upbringing and it was wrong. Meredith showed me that there is a woman out there for me who fulfills my desires. That a woman like that can love me. Will love me because of my oddness. Because of my desires. That I don’t need to be somebody else. I am good enough. More than good enough. I am actually a gift to the right woman when I am myself. Not to insert too much of my ego but I am a wonderful man. I just need the right partner.
Meredith will never know how much she changed me. She helped me overcome decades of insecurities. Forever. It would be nice to send her a thank you, but not prudent.
Now my life moves forward with new knowledge that there are women out there who do fulfill me. That I am an attractive person to them, and that I am worthy of love from such a woman. It is not so strange now that I have so quickly stumbled upon another woman. The logjam in my brain is gone. I have changed. I have grown. I am a new man.