After enough failed relationships to make even Carrie Bradshaw blush, I finally found the man of my dreams. He had everything to win my jaded heart over: he was sweet, kind, caring and patient and even thought my neuroticism was cute. And the sex, my god the sex! I thought to myself: “This is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for!” But, despite my longings for easy, carefree love, that remaining jaded part of my mind just couldn’t resist drumming up previous disappointment.
Was it too good to be true? Was Mr. Right really Mr. Wrong in disguise? We’ve all been there: after years of heartbreak stumbling into that perfect relationship seems dream-like. Meanwhile, you’re left wondering when you’ll wake up and find your lover for the monster they really are. It’s natural: defense is the strongest protection from another bout with disappointment. For me, the idea of a good relationship only intensified the worry that I would be let down yet again.
As soon as I let this shred of doubt in, my happy fantasies of a simple yet elegant wedding was missing its key component: the groom. Everything else, from the location right down to the floral arrangements for the reception remained perfectly clear. He, on the other hand, was not. It was the first wave of my Paranoia Prima: my perfect lover was no longer as perfect as I imagined.
Doubt’s flood gates opened. I suddenly found myself checking his phone when he stepped out, determined to find evidence of his infidelity. I began noticing that he was much nicer to women I thought prettier and thinner than I. Even the most gentlemanly of gestures became suspect.
Then, the dreams began. I was plagued by nightly visions of him leaving me for another woman, and in every one, he was stoic and uncaring. I found myself waking in tears, convinced that these were portents of our relationship’s certain doom.
On my way home from poker night with the girls, I caught my reflection. That woman was not me — I could not have gone that far. The sad truth was, I had. Two months of fighting and 10 pounds of worry-weight had silenced the sassy diva I once was. I became the monster I feverishly sought out in him.
Many will tell you that love is a losing game, and to a degree it’s true. Relationships, no matter how great, are a gamble with each side risking just as much as the other. But, when faced with gambling what I hold most dear, I placed all bets on a sure thing: myself. I would never disappoint myself, never cheat myself, and never leave myself. And, if I had to bet my happiness on anything, it was going to be something I would never lose sight of again. I cannot promise that this revival of self will save your relationship with your lover. But, I can say with total confidence that it will save the most important relationship you will ever have: the relationship with yourself.