Learning to Love Yourself While in a Relationship

When I originally wrote this post I kept reading it over again knowing that in the pit of my soul I could convey this message to my readers in a more heartfelt and articulate way. I got that inspiration from a visit with a close friend of mine last night and decided that the telling of our mutual stories would be the best representation of loving yourself more, at least in my eyes.

I sat down with this friend, watching her fold her laundry as we started catching up on the previous months we hadn’t seen or talked to each other. I could tell from her appearance that she was tired. And by tired, I don’t mean she needed a nap. She needed a change and needed to be reminded of who she was. I recognized that look of complete exhaustion, having a brain that scolded her incessantly about being a bad wife. She had lost herself somewhere among new jobs and running kids to and from practices and games while trying to keep the house running smoothly.

She confessed to me that she thought she broke her husband. They’d been going through a rut of sorts and the normal affectionate and loving man she had come to know over the past five or so years had stopped. She was blaming her behavior and her insecurities for emasculating him and making him stop the effort he always put towards their relationship.

As I sat down and listened to her put herself down and ponder what she needed to do in order to change things, I flashed back to the spring before when Chris took a chance on a new business opportunity. I had been up and down with my depression as a result of giving into the constant pain I have from my Spondylolisthesis. It just became routine to sit all morning and night and be waited on hand and foot by Chris. I let the pain give me an excuse to not push myself and work on making the pain more tolerable. I was no different than a quadruple bypass patient who claims they can’t exercise because of their heart. I lived in fear that I would get further into my depression than I had ever been before and that this time there would be no going back.

Yes, the thought of suicide and walking away from my life as I know it has popped into my head on the rare occasion. When I’m in that moment of deepest despair, these sickening and terrifying images have the ability to snap me back into reality so that I can face the current demon to be slain. Call it a “come to Jesus” moment or an epiphany, I’m allowed by some force of nature, be it God or whatever, to have an awakening of sorts.

One such moment occurred just mere days before Chris was due to drive to Kentucky for training on his new job. He would be gone most of the summer and we were facing a very uncertain future. I kept pushing him to fight for his dream and take a chance, often having arguments that were initiated by fear and denial of his faith in himself. On the Thursday evening before he was supposed to leave we got into a huge fight. His worries had reared their ugly heads again and he was so concerned about leaving me to take care of the house and Nathan, plus 6 animals, while he would be gone. He was so used to being responsible for taking care of everything that he thought he was abandoning Nathan and me.

In the midst of this fight, I snapped. It was like the flood gates were let loose and I couldn’t turn the faucet off no matter how hard I tried. I needed to get this emotion out and finally face the adversary that had me believing I was incapable of ever taking care of myself again. I had laid all of my happiness and securities in my husband and if he wasn’t happy, which he hadn’t been for the past couple of years, I was doomed to live in eternal misery. I longed for the independent woman who lived happily on her own while she found herself. I missed not having to be attached to the hip to my husband, not because he asked me, but because I couldn’t stand to be alone any longer. I was faced with the opportunity to sink or swim while he was starting his new temporary life away from us. I was scared and I knew that it was going to be just like it was when we met, having lived a time-zone apart from one another and only getting to see each other every couple of months or so.

As in all realizations, one leads to another and the desperation for going back to those days where we longed to be with each other every minute of every day came back. When we saw each other there was always the same excited jitters, the same butterflies. Every time was like the first time. And here he was about to back out and not only threaten a better future for his career, but also his marriage. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were being given the opportunity to go back to the way it was in the beginning, even if only for most of the summer. We both went through amazing transformations where we have had to rediscover the people we were on the day we first met, knowing everything that we had learned from each other and about ourselves in the past six and a half years. I felt kind of like the Flash when he went back in time to try and save his Mother from Zoom, but without the terrifying paradoxical consequences.

I came to the conclusion at that time that in order to free ourselves of our insecurities and fears, we had to go back to the way we were before the doubts were put into our heads. We’ve been through so much together that I know that we can face anything and not let each other go.  I always knew that I loved my husband with all of my heart, but it was at that moment that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was my soulmate, and I don’t use that term lightly.

I began to take pride in my appearance, using the thought of my husband coming home and being proud of me as motivation to tackle single Mom life for the first time. I remember exercising again and pushing myself back into taking care of my physical health for the first time since I stopped my physical therapy over a year before.  We’ve both battled insecurities, moved on from some things while beginning to nurture the relationships we had been neglecting for far too long, most importantly ourselves and our son.  And now I felt the need to start sharing my stories with people in the hopes that I could help just one person make a positive change in their lives.

I shared this story with my friend and told her that I would be there whenever she needed me, even if it’s just to send some positive vibes her way.  She had a realization of her own in that moment and I’m hopeful to see her and her husband go back to the young and in-love newlyweds who couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. I also longed to reconnect with my friend on a more personal level, while we continued to discover more about ourselves. I wanted to see her eyes sparkle with life again and her take pride in herself.  I wanted to see that gutsy chick find her strength again, yet with a little balance to keep herself in check.

But most of all, I wanted her marriage to strengthen like my own and develop into the dream we all hoped our marriages would be ever since we were little girls.

It's not easy learning to love yourself, and it's even harder while you're in a relationship. Find out how loving yourself again can help in all areas of your life, including your marriage or relationship.

 

Kathi Rowe
Kathi Rowe is a married step-mom who loves spending time with her two favorite guys, her husband, Chris and son, Nathan. When she’s not working during the week, you can usually find her with yarn and needle in hand crocheting items for her business, The Groovy Chick Boutique. Her lifelong battle with seasonal depression and bipolar disorder has spurred her into action to not only make hers a better, more fulfilled life, but to also help others who have lost their way.
Kathi Rowe

Kathi Rowe

Kathi Rowe is a married step-mom who loves spending time with her two favorite guys, her husband, Chris and son, Nathan. When she’s not working during the week, you can usually find her with yarn and needle in hand crocheting items for her business, The Groovy Chick Boutique. Her lifelong battle with seasonal depression and bipolar disorder has spurred her into action to not only make hers a better, more fulfilled life, but to also help others who have lost their way.

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