A friend of mine heard (and I’m paraphrasing here) recently that you can’t avoid getting hurt but you do get to choose who hurts you. It really resonated with me. It explained more articulately what I had been trying to say about love, or more specifically my love.
My friends from Austin really don’t know me outside of my relationship. I started dating my beau about a month after I moved to Austin. They saw all my phases: courtship (refusal to call him my boyfriend), brief period of separation (four month break-up that first summer he was back in Alaska), the rebuilding (where I was absolutely convinced that it would not work out), and eventually the faith in forever. What they may not know is that the first three phases pretty accurately describes the way I had always interacted with men- skepticism, fear and avoidance. Faith in someone or something is not the norm for me (except for faith in the healing powers of a good meal and a hot bath).
Two things happened to change me. The first and most obvious one is Tyler. He called me out on my bad behavior (re: skepticism, fear and avoidance) and remained constant regardless. In the past four years the biggest lessons I’ve learned have been about trust and communication. It was surprising to me how much I needed to learn these things.
Then the epiphany. It came eating frozen yogurt with a group of women getting together during their 40th high school reunion. I drove up to Oklahoma to visit my mom while she was at her reunion and tagged along with her and her friends. They were catching up, talking about their relationships. Only one was still married to her first husband. One was single after two marriages.Another was her second of two long term relationships and another two were in their third marriage. All complained, all teased, all joked about their current standings in love and all seemed happy (good frozen yogurt is a truth serum I’m told). How could they have known where they would end up? It may seem very simple to you but I was overwhelmed sitting around these women, joyously sharing about their loves, with the knowledge that I could be happy even if it all went wrong. But more importantly there was really no way to know.
You just have to decide if it’s worth it. That’s when I knew that I would stay in this relationship for the long haul. I no longer needed assurances that issues would work themselves out (like where to live!), that everything should be a fairy tale. I knew two things: First, I was willing to work at this because second, I was willing to get hurt over this. This relationship has made me a better person and brought me more joys than I could have ever anticipated. Relationships and marriage are the scariest things in the world, the biggest leaps of faith, and as someone who has seen the hurt of divorces I know that the potential for pain here is high.
I can’t imagine a situation more worth the risk.
Happy four years together to my beau (someone who is convinced our dating anniversary is in April)!