"I’m completely stripping back the layers of who I think I am and looking at who I was and who I want to be. Some of the activities that I was doing no longer were serving me, so I let them go. It just randomly coincided with his arrival into my life."
I’ve now been in the most healthy, functional relationship that I’ve ever been in for twelve months and in that time, I have put on 8kg, quit yoga (which formed the basis of my identity) and feel more supported by another human being than I ever have in my life. I have changed. A relationship is more than two lives together, it is a blending of habits, routines and ways of being with another person. It is an interesting shift from being single to partnered and it challenges us to look at ourselves and the other person with some depth.
Is it normal to put on weight in a new relationship? According to a study by Taheri et al, increase in body mass index was due to less sleep and certainly, my sleep habits have changed, not only sharing a bed but sexual activity has altered my sleeping habits. Certainly, he cooks wonderful food and feeds me much richer foods than I was eating. I was on a fairly routine diet which included sometimes not eating at all in the evenings and I was certainly exercising…well, differently than I was. I do not blame him at all for my weight gain or change in lifestyle, but it has made me wonder what is going on within me to allow this? Is there another reason?
Am I changing who I am for someone or am I protecting myself from being hurt? Am I putting up barriers for his love? In Louise L. Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, extra fat is what we do in order to protect ourselves. But if anything, Kind Man (KM) makes me feel safe, he makes me feel supported and he makes me feel loved. However, I have changed a number of my behaviours and routines, particularly around diet and exercise in my efforts to accommodate this new “normal” in my life.
I have been in relationships where I changed who I was for a man, but this feels different. I don’t feel that he is changing me, per se, but I do feel like I am changing as a result of having him in my life and apart from the weight gain, it is a good change. I’m completely stripping back the layers of who I think I am and looking at who I was and who I want to be. Some of the activities that I was doing no longer were serving me, so I let them go. It just randomly coincided with his arrival into my life.
For most of my adult life I have been seeking a significant other, not having any conscious thought about what I would do when it arrived and now, I have someone who is willing to commit to me and my family for my entire life! I don’t need to seek anymore, yet there is still that space where the “seeking” energy sat. There is a space where much of my thoughts were directed and now, I’m not quite sure what to do with this new space in my head. So, I guess, I eat. I fill my mind up with worries about not being enough or other such nonsense. I create excuses why we shouldn’t be together when there is not ONE single reason why we should break up.
When we are dating, we make ourselves look nice and consciously or not, try to make ourselves more attractive to a potential mate, but I’ve heard the term, “letting go” of things like not shaving regularly, or wearing make-up and not bothering to dress nicely. Have I just let myself go? Have I unconsciously figured that he loves me no matter what so I can be as unattractive as possible as a way to push him away? Or as a test of his love for me?
It is an unresolved space, but it is where I am right now and I accept what is. In the meantime, I am back on the treadmill and building up my exercise routine and being more conscious about the food that I eat and filling my body with nutrition rather than worry about weight. Eight kilograms is not an easy ride, but perhaps what I need to do is just love my new bigger body for teaching me that even at my worst, he will still love me, even if I can’t fit into that fabulous dress anymore!
©Alyssa Curtayne 2017
Share your new relationship stories in the comments below:
 Taheri, Shahrad, et al. "Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index." PLoS Med 1.3 (2004): e62.
"We repeatedly push people who love us away to a point that they either rise above and show us their unconditional love or they don’t."
We are sold this idea that it comes easy; that it should come easily.
But some of us are different.
Some of us put huge barriers around our hearts to protect it from harm.
Some of us don’t let anyone in unless they pass through a series of tests that we unconsciously give them.
And some of us try very hard to push the people who love us most away.
I am one of those people and unconsciously I have taught my daughter to be one of those people.
You can tell me a million times that you love me, but it will take more than a million times until my walls start coming down, until I believe you, until I trust you.
I can’t tell you when I first put these walls up, maybe it was pre-birth, past life or from an early childhood experience. The moment that it started really is irrelevant, what is important is acknowledging that it is there now and that I really own them.
I’ve subconsciously known these walls are there and I have done a blog about how my current partner is helping me to break them down, but it was when I noticed my 17-year-old daughter doing the same thing – pushing her family away – that I realised that it was actually my problem. I have been modelling a defensive heart to her. I have been modelling a testing heart to her.
A testing heart.
It’s an interesting concept but I’ve done it and I can see her doing it too. We repeatedly push people who love us away to a point that they either rise above and show us their unconditional love or they don’t. If it’s the latter, we walk away from that person they haven’t shown us that they are willing to love us no matter what, if it is the former, we welcome them into our tiny circle of trusted loved ones.
We keep those close who love us and rarely do we let others in. If they want into our testing hearts, they will have to prove to us time and time again that they are willing to fight for us.
It’s a defence mechanism that we use to try and weed out those that love us unconditionally and those who have judgement, criticism or love us with conditions that we are avoiding.
Gary Chapman in his popular book, The Five Love Languages, speaks about the five ways we like to show and receive love, but I propose an alternative explanation. As a testing heart, I don’t care how you show your love to me, the method is irrelevant, I just want to know that you really do love me, even if I do something despicable. It’s a very adolescent behaviour and maybe I just haven’t grown out of adolescence, but it’s a behaviour that I have, that I own and that I see in others too.
For now, that’s where I am and I hope that I can model a more open heart to my daughter but until
then, I have deep self-reflection to do with my Chakra Cards.
May you love those who need to be loved most with an open and unconditional heart, because those of us who test you know for sure that we are worth it and are just checking if you are too.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2017
"A man who can see through her walls and testing is in for an extraordinary treat when she finally lets down her guard, but it will take an incredibly strong man to do so."
We all want to be loved, right? But for some of us, it’s not that easy. For some of us, relationships haven’t come easy, they’ve been abusive, they’ve been traumatic, and for some of us, we simply haven’t had the time to devote to somebody else due to careers, children or the busy-ness of life.
When you have been living an independent life for so long, it’s quite a challenge when somebody appears into your world. Many fears and questions arise: how do we fit them in? Will they love me? Will they abuse me? Will they leave me? What if I’m not good enough? Will I lose myself in the relationship?
For the past nine months I’ve been in the fortunate position of being loved by a most amazing man; he’s generous and kind, loving and attentive and as previously written in my blog, he has helped me to open up to being loved. This month I experienced my first Valentine’s Day ever, complete with roses and dinner on the beach at sunset, yet I find myself wanting to run, hide, to avoid him to stop this feeling that is building up inside me.
I’ve started pushing back against his adorations of love and more than anything, I’m scared. I’m scared of making a mistake, I’m scared of his love, I’m scared that he might have made a misjudgement about who I am, I’m scared of being loved and cared for and I’m scared that I am incapable of loving him with the same intensity that he loves me. Ultimately, I think that I’m scared of being happy. Ironically, I’m scared that it’ll be easy and not have the troughs and peaks of previous experiences.
I’ve spent my entire 42 years waiting for someone as amazing as this and yet now that it’s here, I simply don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to be. I don’t know who I am when I am a part of a couple. I don’t know what it means to be someone’s partner; I don’t know how to be, I don’t know how to love him.
So, in an effort to help myself and others in our situation, here are my top tips for loving the woman who has never been loved.
A man who can see through her walls and testing is in for an extraordinary treat when she finally lets down her guard, but it will take an incredibly strong man to do so; a man with heart and resilience, a man who knows when to walk away and when to fight for her. Ultimately, it’s about whether you think she is worth it or not and I assure you, she is.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2017
"I’m 42. I was effectively single for my entire adult life not because there weren’t amazing men out there, there most definitely are, but because I wasn’t willing to let them in. I wasn’t willing to open my heart to being loved."
There is so much advice in this period of the Law of Attraction, particularly when it comes to attracting a mate. We are told to write a list with all of the qualities that we want in a partner, but what that list fails to capture is the feeling that you want to have with a partner. As one of the perpetually single, I never met anyone who could meet me where I was. I mistook instant sexual attraction for a potential mate. So, I made a list; height, eye colour, star sign, likes and interests, education level…but what I forgot was to list the most important things.
If I look back on my interactions with men or relationships, I did it all wrong. I was pursuing men because I liked them, but I never allowed them to pursue me, it scared me when a man was interested in me. I remember even in high school a boy wanted to go out with me and I liked him but looking back I was petrified of having no control of the situation. We went out for a week or two before I called it quits. I think somewhere in my adolescent brain I thought that you had to marry the boy you went out with and that terrified me. I carried that fear throughout my adult life.
So instead of embracing dating and trialling relationships with men to see what I loved about men and let them love me, I admired from afar. The moment that they showed me love or care, I ran. And I ran so much. I ran because I’ve never known what it’s like to be cared for or nurtured by a man until now. I’m 42. I was effectively single for my entire adult life not because there weren’t amazing men out there, there most definitely are, but because I wasn’t willing to let them in. I wasn’t willing to open my heart to being loved.
Instead, I pursued men who didn’t want more than friendship with me because underneath I harboured a deep secret; I didn’t feel worthy, I didn’t feel like I was enough. I figured in some subconscious way that if I showed them all that I was on the outside, how great I was, they would never see the vulnerable little girl inside. I never gave those beautiful men the opportunity to see me because I present as being very strong and capable and like my previous article in Elephant Journal, I don’t need a man, I didn’t need a man. And men pick that up, they want to feel needed. It builds their sense of self-worth. With giving off the strong woman vibes, it showed my strength, but not my vulnerability and its vulnerability where now ironically I feel even more powerful as a woman. I found this Cherokee proverb which sums up how I feel at this time about it:
“A woman’s highest calling is to lead a man to his soul, so as to unite him with the source.
A man’s highest calling is to protect woman, so she is free to walk the Earth unharmed.”
Most strong women can survive quite successfully with some wonderful girlfriends and a vibrator, but there is an enormous amount of strength required to be vulnerable. So a year ago I started dating with the intention of seeing who I was when there was no obligation to them other than a drink at a café. Then I met Kind Man. He was exactly what I needed, without me even knowing. For the past seven months, I have been learning to be loved. It has been emotionally confronting for me and he gently nudges my boundaries every day. He doesn’t force and patiently shows and tells me that he loves me in his words and actions, his care and devotion. Every day my heart cracks open just a little bit more and I can feel my heart growing in love with him. It’s scary, but I feel safe not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.
If there is any advice I can give to the perpetually single strong women out there, these are the top five things that need to come first on your list of qualities that you need in a man far before anything else:
©Alyssa Curtayne 2017