To the one who’ll eventually win my heart, I want to tell you a secret. I could probably write six books on love and self-worth. It has taken ten years for me to feel valuable in a relationship. It has taken 10 years of “serious” relationships to get to a point where I no longer rely on the acceptance of my partner to validate my existence.
It is through my depression and therapy and yoga and running and the company of good humans to bring me to a place of peace. I have learned to channel my hypersensitivity into what I call “reading people to the point where I can already tell how this potential relationship will go and I am going to politely thank you for a wonderful evening but you probably won’t hear from me again.” Is this being overly selective? Maybe. Does it make the dating process a whole lot easier? You betcha.
At 27 though, I feel it’s OK for me to be selective. Let me clarify my version of selectivity before you start judging me and telling me I’m no prize either. It takes a certain kind of person to date someone dealing with mental health issues. It takes patience and compassion. It takes endless hours of letting your partner talk in circles about the same topic until we finally get it out of our system. It takes incredible stamina to keep up with us on our most energetic days and even more stamina to get us through our lowest moments. I have to be careful about who I give my heart to.
I can distinguish first date jitters from arrogance from confidence from good natured jokes from outright ignorance. It’s like I can fast forward a year into our hypothetical relationship and see us being toxic for one another–me with my mood swings, you with your wall up pretending this isn’t happening. I’ve dated this type of man before. I’ve watched the situation go from worse to “we are not coming back from this.” Yes, I take responsibility for some of the damage. I cannot sit here and place blame on just my partner and not be accountable for my actions (or inactions), but I was at such a different place back then.
So I’ve spent the last two years working on myself, building a solid foundation for me to stand on and be proud of. I’ve walked straight to the edge, looked down and then up at the horizon to find what it means to exist with just myself. And I like it. A lot.
If you steal my heart and you’re the one I’m meant to spend forever with, please consider this:
I will love you completely because I have learned to love myself first. I will accept your flaws because I have come to accept my own. I will share in your victories, no matter how small or big they are, and I will help you learn from your mistakes if you do the same for me. This is a partnership, one where we each hold a candle to the other and support each other in our endeavors. I hope we travel the world, see the sights, take our journeys home with us and remember there is no better feeling than coming back to where we’ve planted roots. If you steal my heart and I steal yours, I hope you know that while there is no promise of living a life unscathed by pain and trial, we will always get through it together as a team.
If you steal my heart, it is yours for a lifetime and then some.