Can this be love?
There is a magical process of transformation happening every second inside of you whether you choose to realize it or not.
I met Jonathon at the end of a two-year hiatus from dating. During those two years, I dove deep into the depths of Allyson. I read dozens of books, went to therapy, engaged in energy healing sessions, and was hyper-focused on growing my business. It wasn’t unusual for me to see eight to ten clients a day — every day. My daughter constantly begged me to take a break, but I was too busy running Outrageous Freedom and helping my brother start businesses in Florida. Traveling back and forth was not something I thought out fully, and so my hours in Florida meant that I had to make up time I missed with clients when I wasn’t home. I didn’t realize the unfairness of the situation nor did I care.
Signing up on a dating app one day, I thought, “What the hell?” I was ready for love, and even though I knew in my heart I was overly worked, I wanted to share my life with a like-minded soul who was also ready for love. Jonathon fit the bill perfectly.
I broke most of my own rules on our first date. We didn’t go home together, but that was probably only because Jonathon was still married, something he kept from me until we actually met face-to-face. That should have been a deal breaker, I know, but we’d already formed an emotional bond and since he was legally separated, I let it pass.
The very next day we saw each other and that’s when I discovered Jonathon was also a smoker – another deal breaker. To his credit, he quit immediately after I told him that I don’t date smokers, but still, in his dating profile he checked “non-smoker,” and it was red flag number 2. I let it pass.
It’s a fine line, isn’t it? When so many things are going right in a new relationship, yet, you have these small (or big) red flags and it doesn’t seem, at the time, like a big deal. Jonathon was also very good at explaining his actions and was quite convincing with this charismatic charm. Don’t get me wrong, I love him. I always will, and I also have my own bag of shit. The point of this is not to drag Jonathon through the mud. He’s a good man. The point of this IS…WE ALL THINK IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME when we’ve yet to heal that one soul wound. It’s a common wound we all carry until we don’t anymore. The wound is this: “You can fix me.” Which also translates into, “I can fix you.” I don’t know about you, but that seems like a whole lot of responsibility. Jonathon and I both dumped that on one another…repeatedly. We took a perfect love and destroyed it. Both of us.
You see, love IS perfect. Love has no bounds. Love has no prejudice. Love has no opinion. Love has no restraint. It has no agenda . It has no purpose. Love is just love. It heals. It binds. It sets free. It understands. It empowers. It believes. It is honest. It is true. Jonathon and I were deeply in love. Jonathon and I were also deeply in pain. When he was choosing pain, I chose love. When I chose love, he chose pain. It was this beautiful and awful push/pull of love and hurt that I’m not quite sure I believed it would be impossible to be completely over him. For a while after our breakup, I thought of him daily. At first, it was in an obsessive way. I kept asking why. “Why did we even get together for it to just end? Why did it have to end?” It was an endless cycle of questioning, and it was annoying.
Then, one day, while I was meditating, I asked my angels, guides, and masters to answer this question: “Why Jonathon?” The answer floored me. “Because you weren’t ready or capable of love any other way.” My heart sank. I began journaling, and the revelation came to me. I wanted so badly to rescue him from his own pain. That, of course, was simply a reflection of my own sorrow. I was still in pain from unresolved family issues, past relationships, and the most important relationship of all – the one with myself. Jonathon was an absolute manifestation of all my heart desired. I wanted to fix my love story.
Don’t misunderstand. Jonathon brought an incredible amount of love into my life. He’s hilarious. He’s a talented musician. He’s smart. He’s caring. He’s charismatic. He’s active. Jonathon is a good catch. He also just happens to be good looking, and stylish, so that just added to my attraction for him.
In the beginning, we had a lot of fun. Then, I realized one day that we were drinking every day. We weren’t drunk, but every date either started or ended with wine. We also were going out almost daily. But, our relationship was fast becoming one of doing rather than one of being. Since Jonathon was in the middle of an ugly divorce, he was losing friends in rapid succession. No one wanted to take sides, so they sat on the sidelines. Meanwhile, my community of tight-knit friends remained, but Jonathon couldn’t handle being alone or me going out with my friends. The tug-of-war was insidious but present, nevertheless.
Then, to add to an already rapidly declining situation, Jonathon disclosed he was on anti-anxiety medication. He also shared that he was a long sufferer of panic attacks. The secret was a huge trigger for me after having experienced two previous boyfriends keeping similar truths from me. Also, secrets in my family run rampant, and I hate it. Without meaning to, Jonathon opened a huge ugly door for me, and I immediately lost trust in him. After all, he lied about being married, even though he was legally separated and no longer living at home, and he also lied about being a non-smoker. Internally, three strikes for me and a person is usually out. That tends to be my boundary, but we were already so deep in the relationship, I caved.
Shortly after this revelation, Jonathon began accusing me of being too sexy, too friendly, too conversational, and everything else “too.” It was a high-swinging pendulum of extremes. He would act out and then cry with deep emotional remorse. We would go into a honeymoon phase, so to speak, and then just as things would get comfortable, he would lash out again. I, on the other hand, would not let my wall down. I realize now this triggered his anxiety even more. Try as I might, I could not let him into my world. The unfortunate reality is that I couldn’t see it at the time, and therefore, there was no way to fix it. All of my focus was on his behavior instead of my own.
My deep desire was for things to be different. After all, I went into the relationship with my usual story, “It will be different this time.” I approached things differently in the beginning. We abstained from sex until I felt comfortable. I shared a lot of things with him about my past. My world was an open book for questions and exploration. Looking back, I can see how we focused a lot on our old stories of pain and dysfunction. Jonathon’s brother took his own life years before and I focused a lot on that aspect of his pain. My own brother and an ex-friend, who is now my brother’s girlfriend, were both inflicting a lot of pain in my own life. Jonathon helped me sort through that shit storm and if not for him, admittedly, I would have continued to set myself up to be misused in that situation.
I’m thankful for the relationship. I’m also thankful it’s over. I learned a lot during our time together, and I learned even more in hindsight. First and foremost, Jonathon isn’t to blame. I take full responsibility for every single part of my side of the relationship. As you may know, your side is the only side you can control. Second, our time together taught me, on an even deeper level, what I absolutely do not want in a relationship. Third, and most important, love isn’t supposed to feel bad. I thought I’d figured that part out a long time ago, but our healing is a journey, not a destination.
Grab your journal. Answer these 3 questions.
1. Without thinking about any relationship in particular, what is your definition of love?
2. Now, looking at your personal love definition, how are you expressing that toward yourself?
3. Being completely honest with yourself, what are three things you can do in the next week to improve your relationship with yourself?