"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
"Unlike previous dates he didn’t turn me off with sexual desperation. He had a presence that I felt calm in. It was like he could see me; the real me, the vulnerable me, the me that put up wall after wall to block his expressions of love that he patiently waited for me to take down."
Single? I’m going to give you some advice, you don’t have to take it, but if I had this advice years ago, my life would have been very different.
I’ve pretty much been single most of my adult life. I’m now 42 and I am in the first stable relationship I’ve ever had.
Previously, I’ve mostly been attracted to men who make my heart race. Who I feel an instant bond with and he feels the same. What then happens is; I pour out my heart and he runs for the hills. For whatever reason, I’ve attracted one-sided relationships where I like him much more than he likes me.
The last one, who I have nicknamed GSM (Gorgeous, sexy man), on previous blogs even said that he saw a great future for us together, felt a very strong attraction and said that it was this connection that made him pull away. It has taken two years, but I’m finally coming to some acceptance that despite this amazing connection, perhaps the universe was giving me a gift, perhaps there was someone better suited to me.
So, I joined online dating and went out with a few men. Mostly they wanted casual sex and as fascinating and temporary as that is, I declined, I’m more than a magnificent vagina and wanted to find someone who could see that and wasn’t afraid to meet me where I am.
Then I met KM (Kind man). I wasn’t instantly attracted to him, but I was interested. He was interesting, deep and aroused my curiosity in a way that I wanted to know more. Like a good blurb on a book, I wanted to open the book to see what was inside. So we went on a few dates, he spoiled me, brought flowers, opened doors and showed genuine care for me. Unlike previous dates he didn’t turn me off with sexual desperation. He had a presence that I felt calm in. It was like he could see me; the real me, the vulnerable me, the me that put up wall after wall to block his expressions of love that he patiently waited for me to take down.
If someone had said to me years ago to not go for the massive charge of electricity, but go for the one who makes you feel like the most important person in the world I wouldn’t have listened, but sometimes you need to experience these things for yourself. We see the instant chemistry on television and think that that is love, but for me, what the instant chemistry has provided massive and painful soul growth. With KM, I feel myself growing, but it’s not painful. His patience is helping me to open up like a flower in the safe space that he creates.
I find myself in this new space of my heart opening up to the possibilities of what may be.
So my advice for you is this: give that “nice” guy a chance. If he has a great relationship with his mum, his sisters or daughters, you’re probably onto a winner because he knows how a woman deserves to be treated. I met KM who treats me wonderfully when I stopped accepting less than I deserve. We’ve created a relationship that is; loving, kind and generous and every day I am so grateful for what it is. He tells me and shows me in his actions that I deserve the best.
I certainly didn’t expect this, and I certainly didn’t expect the chemistry to grow so quickly as a result of my gratitude for his calm, gentle presence and kindness. He surprises me every day with his love and kindness and his ability to say just the right things at the right time.
I don’t know where this relationship is going, but he is allowing me the space to open my scared and vulnerable heart to open up in my own time. Even if it lasts another month, year, a decade or the rest of my life, I am taking it one day at a time and living in the bliss of the moment without expectations of what it might be.
Date that nice guy, I promise, he will be so worth it and so are you.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2016
This article also featured on @ElephantJournal
"...increasingly they don’t need me around and have their own lives that don’t include me, which leaves me in a sort-of unusual position where I’m not quite sure what to do with myself."
I’m a single mother of three girls. I’ve had 100% parental responsibilities for them pretty much the whole time. I’ve put them in childcare so I could support us, I’ve had no rest, no time-outs and the most that I’ve ever been child-free is about three days at the most (and that doesn’t happen much). I’ve never received any money from their father for their needs and he is (relatively) happy for me to take responsibility for them.
But our family dynamic is changing now. It used to be that we did everything together. When I packed us all up in my 1994 Toyota and 1978 “Special” camper to drive around Australia in 2010, apart from a bit of huffing and puffing from my (then) ten-year-old eldest, they accepted the adventure and were more than happy to join the ride. Increasingly, I’m having time on my own or just with Miss nearly Eleven and even she has started to develop somewhat of a social life.
It’s a strange feeling being responsible only to me again. For more than 16 years I have cooked, cleaned, sat with, bathed, told stories with, laughed with and washing…oh, the washing that never ends – I still don’t understand where all those socks go. I have been their primary caregiver, the centre of the family and the hub that holds us together. But increasingly they don’t need me around and have their own lives that don’t include me, which leaves me in a sort-of unusual position where I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.
This past weekend, I got a small taste of what my life may look like post-kids. It was an amazing feeling to have no responsibilities except to myself for two whole days. I spent the weekend doing everything I love and being responsible only to me. I knew where they were of course, but I had this sense that I can start to choose more things that I enjoy now. At Christmas when they fly interstate to visit family, it will be nearly three weeks without them. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do until my free weekend. I know now! Fill my life with things that bring me joy, walk around the house naked, sing as loudly as I can, buy a treat at the shops and not have to share it and best of all, there will be minimal cleaning up after them!
It started about the age of 10 when kids started to do sleepovers. Once they start high school their social lives became much busier and where I started to become nothing much more than a taxi driver to all of their social adventures! But that’s the good bit. I can start to formulate where I want to go and do with the abundance of time that’s starting to open itself up to me. I’m excited. It’s not that I’m in a hurry to get my kids out into the world, but they will go their own way, probably sooner rather than later, but it’s more of a re-embracing of who I am and where I want to go in the next part of my life – post kids (and before grand-kids and caring for elderly parents).
I suppose it’s what coupled people call the “Empty Nest”, but in a couple, they still have each other. Single parents have nobody to adventure with anymore once the kids grow up. I’m increasingly back to being a single woman with limited responsibilities and my life is mine to choose again and that’s sort of like moving out of home again. I get to have my energy and direction back, but also to define new adult-like relationships with my daughters.
Their childhood has flown by so very quickly and as the saying says, “You only get 13 summers with your kids” so really, make it last. That means I have only two years left with my baby. I imagined us being together all the time would last forever, but when they were little I never really had time to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”, so to speak. But I can see that light so clearly now and it’s rushing towards me and I’m desperately clinging onto the precious moments that I have with my daughters as they take off into the world.
I hope that I have given them the right tools to make their way in the world and know how precious that time we had together was. It has been the best adventure of my life however their adolescence is no pleasure trip. It’s a trauma for single parents – there is no respite, there is no back-up, no-one to share the stress. People used to say to me how amazing it was that I raised them on my own, but I don’t know how to co-parent and the only time I wished there was a second parent is now. Adolescence is extremely hard to parent for me; not only are they finding their way in the world without me, but I am too. I am trying to figure out where I fit in and how much they need me in their lives and balancing their decreasing needs while I see a new sort of freedom on the horizon, whatever that may be.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015