A Search For Love
My story is probably far from unique; in fact, it’s just one more about love, loss, and abandonment. I grew up in a house where I was expected to know I was loved, but it was never stated or felt. I grew up in an older family, two generations removed from my parents and one from my siblings. I was the youngest of five, growing up 50 percent part of a family and 50 percent only child. I was happy despite a hard household, but it was mostly a disguise to cover grief, fear, loneliness, and pain.
I was sexually abused by an extended family member from the ages of 6 to 8 years old. I told no one. I wouldn’t be the cause of trouble because I was the “good girl,” smart, quiet, and happy. I faced it alone like I would do many devastating things in my life.
So I lived my life the best I could, hoping one day to escape and have the life I wanted and to find the one and only thing I ever wanted my whole life: to be loved – truly loved by someone. I was never the girl that the guys wanted to date; I was the friend, the listening ear, the shoulder to cry on, the advice giver, “Mother Teresa” all throughout school. No one ever returned the favor. No one ever saw my suffering or felt my pain. I became the ultimate co-dependent: everyone’s sounding board, everyone’s counselor, and everyone’s problem-solver.
At 20, I found the ultimate needer and, as the ultimate giver, we married and lasted through more external strife than two people should ever face. We did what life expected of us. We got married, had kids, put on the happy family face. All the while, we slowly died under the steady stream of little cuts that finally doomed our relationship after nearly 20 years. I couldn’t give anymore and we couldn’t pretend anymore. I had long forgotten how to love and never believed I could be loved.
The next relationship led me to believe I could be seen as beautiful, sexy, fun, and wanted. I found an illusion of love with a younger guy in a far away country. For two years, I drowned myself in false ideas of the perfect relationship; the damsel in distress found her prince. But the warning signs and red flags were lining this road and I ignored them, so desperate to be loved.
When it ended, I scolded myself and swore to build my wall back up around my heart. I moved into a fake world, with my permanently painted-on smile, reveling in my self-proclaimed status as the “most awesome person ever.” I hid my only need in life, to be truly loved, by moving on to another young guy, but with the determination that it would be strictly “friends with benefits” only. That determination lasted 2-1/2 months before my emotions broke and attacked my wall. I succumbed, but it was his wish to remain as we had agreed. I got angry, first at him, until I realized it was my fault. I thought I could be something I wasn’t. I lied to myself again.
Then in February 2014, I accepted that love would never find me and that it simply was not part of Allah’s (God’s) plan for me. I was cursed to be alone. After all, who the hell would want a 40-year-old single mom?
I was flabbergasted to happen upon an old friend at a local establishment one night soon after. We hugged tight and spent the next hour or so catching up, talking and laughing. He was young. He was amazing. He was unlike anyone else. It didn’t take more than a month for us to realize that we both wanted more. It caught us both by total and complete surprise. And for the next 6 months, it was heaven.
Slowly though, we began to face hard situations and tough times, but for the next eight months we made it through, stronger (I believed) with the bond to get through anything. And most importantly, with 100 percent trust and faith that Allah had bestowed this beautiful gift of true love on us. It’s a belief I still hold onto. But I recently discovered, after being suddenly dumped last weekend, that he obviously doesn’t want to believe the same anymore. He gave up on me and on Allah’s gift to us. My search for love has ended. I can only love myself now.