A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

The Deepening

I want to share my heartfelt gratitude for your responses to my previous Relationship Essay. I truly did not expect that my frank and open conversation about my insecure (self-care?) tendencies in relationships would resonate with so many of you. I am humbled, thank you. Sadly, my Disqus has been down, but I am happy to announce it seems to be working again. Thank you for reaching out to me on social media, text messages, and email, and not letting Disqus get in the way (you are always free to contact me!). It resonates with me to know that I am not alone in this.

“It’s not that I’m afraid of commitment” I hear myself say. If my behavior is self-imposed or self-destructive, I do not wish to bear the full brunt of the responsibility: surely childhood abuses, emotional trauma, my PTSD diagnosis, or any other therapy-session related topic must also share the blame. It must...otherwise it would be too heavy of a burden to take responsibility for my behavior in relationships. Because if I did take full responsibility, it would mean that I’m fucked up, right? That we all are, to some varying degree…(?) If so, I’m not ready for that. Instead, I much prefer to attempt to use “sorry, I would have done _____ but my phone died”. That’s a thing, right?

And yet here I am. My boyfriend has moved out of town. Suddenly the Thursday-Sunday, or sometimes Thursday-Tuesday sleepovers have stopped. He has new responsibilities, and a commute now. He has less time for the cute morning texts, and the little darling nuances I have become accustomed to. Which under normal circumstances I would quietly adjust to on my own. But things are complicated: I am currently experiencing The Deepening.

What is The Deepening? It’s similar to the concept of Dante’s nine levels of hell but instead of varying degrees of torture, it’s a drawing closer to the one you love. For me it’s a glance exchanged at a party that says “it’s time to go”. It’s making eye contact in the most intimate of moments and not shying away. It’s the need and urge to nurture, to draw him into my chest because this is what my body was made for - to hold him. It’s a raw vulnerability that leaves me at a level of insecurity that is scary as hell. Suddenly I no longer feel in control: I’m the submissive.

The Deepening can be a beautiful, emotional roller coaster - and if both partners experience it at the same time, I’d imagine it would be perfect bliss. But that’s not an experience I can speak to. Despite what Hollywood, or even social media might have us believe, I think it’s very rare for two people to fall in love, or deeper in love, at the same rate, at the same time…Just a few weeks prior I had asked for space; I needed to be able to miss him. “My independence is so important to me.” And look, now I have it. One month into the new adjustment, and I’m a mess. Clear communication has become important due to the distance, and it turns out that we're kinda terrible at it.

The toughest part for me is the insecurity and the uncertainty that comes with it. It’s a whirlpool of “what ifs” and the over analysis of every text, and a constant teeter-tottering between elation and devastation, sometimes wavering between the two multiple times per day. It’s draining, and it’s isolating too - because why would I want to explain the mess of thoughts that barely make any sense to me?

I’m used to being in control of my surroundings. Not that I’m a control-freak who needs everything to be done in an exact manner - no. But I have learned over time that it is important to control what I have the power to: such as making sure the bed is made every morning, taking medications on time, responding to emails in a timely manner...you know, general “adulting”. But why - how is it that through my insecurity I am now picking fights, keeping myself awake with imaginary scenarios - and (!) attempting self-sabotage within the relationship? I have found myself in a waiting period: and my imagined expectations are less than kind to myself, my heart, and the relationship as whole. Insecurity brings out the worst in others, and I am no exception.

Something that I struggle with is how everything I feel suddenly feels like it is “too much”: I begin to feel as though I am too needy in wanting reassurance within the relationship. I feel too attached, too insecure, too clingy...too much in love. I begin to doubt all my positive feelings, all my happiness. I become hyper vigilant, looking for signs or warnings that I’m too caught up in my rosy, love-ridden outlook, afraid that I am missing the giant red flag I will inevitably see in hindsight.

I struggle with love. A part of me still holds on to the way I understood love as a child: that it was something that would last forever. When I was younger I imagined that I would fall in love with someone, and then that person and I would go on loving, and being together for, well, always. But “love” gets thrown around so casually these days. Couples could have years of togetherness, break up, and start the dating process with someone else within a matter of weeks - I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. Aside from the obvious pain and emotional impact, it’s also just outright confusing. How does one go from a three year relationship to dating a completely different person a few weeks or months later? Where does the love go? Did it go somewhere? How does this work?

It’s no secret that we all carry baggage. Childhood, past relationships, toxic friendships - they all leave emotional scars of various sizes on our hearts. In The Relationship Essay I told you about Bobby. I loved him, yes. But Bobby was also a POS. He was a rowdy mama’s boy who blew a full ride college scholarship because he lit his dorm on fire out of boredom. He had major infidelity issues, and he smiled so beautifully when he lied. It would be so easy to blame a decent amount of my trust issues on him, and others. Who could blame me?

It’s hard, this relationship thing. It’s hard knowing that the person who’s chest I rest my head on once loved another. Once held another. Once possibly looked forward to the rest of eternity, with another. And it’s equally challenging for me to know that I too, once held that hope and love with someone else. Because it means that all that hope, all that love, all those dreams of future happenings...never happened. It makes me question if what I have now, what I feel now, is it real? And if it is real, how long will it last? Is entering a new relationship the living and breathing definition of “eyes wide shut”? How do I reconcile the relationship in front of me, with the relationships of the past?

Photography: Sosatography

© A•Mused

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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog