It is kind of scary how old anxieties and fears can lurk in your mind, even when you don’t have any reason for them. I’m seeing a wonderful woman now. Her name is Lorraine. She is everything I’ve ever wanted, imagined, and hoped for in a partner. She is so much like me in her experiences and outlook on life; we both have been neglected and emotionally abused; we have both been cheated on and betrayed; we both are looking for the exact same things from a partner; we are both honest and open, thoughtful and kind, caring and attentive; we both love letting the other know how much they mean to us and making them happy. Add to this our common likes in food, music, TV, movies, and other activities and it is just amazingly wonderful.
Still, I find myself being uneasy. It isn’t anything she does or says, or doesn’t do, at least not directly. Let me give an example to try to explain.
The other day she was quiet. I asked her why and she said that she was just tired. She also said that she’s been alone so long that she’s become quieter than she used to be. I can completely understand this. My problem is that when either of my ex-wives got quiet it always meant that they were upset about something, but wouldn’t tell me what it was, or even admit that there was anything wrong. They would keep quiet about it, even when I specifically asked if something was wrong; even when I told them I knew something was wrong. After a while, sometimes days, sometimes weeks, they would finally explode into either a rage, or engage in passive/aggressive behavior, always directed at me, and always making the cause to be my fault.
I can tell that Lorraine is being honest with me. On the occasions that she has been upset, she has immediately told me why. But, when you’ve been conditioned to know that quiet means something bad from over 20 years of experience; when that’s all you’ve ever known in a relationship, your first instinct is to assume the worse.
Lorraine is different, so different. I understand this, but it is learning to accept this emotionally that is going to be the difficult part. She is so completely unlike any woman I’ve been involved with, so open and honest, that I just am not used to it, even though this is what I’ve always wanted and hoped for. It is going to take time to learn to accept that someone can really be just what they seem to be, instead of someone pretending to be someone they are not. There is so much fear from past rejections, abuses and betrayals that my guard is always up and my knee jerk reaction is to assume the worst.
I guess I need to be reconditioned to learn to accept that Lorraine is just as honest and open as I am. I never thought I’d find that in someone else and it is a beautiful thing. The good thing is that we have all the time in the world. This isn’t a race; we aren’t moving toward any particular end. Sure, ultimately I hope, and have reason to believe, that she may be “the one”. I wouldn’t be perusing this relationship if I didn’t hope that this was the case, because I’m not the type to have casual relationships. Still, I don’t feel that intense desire to be in love, or to make something happen. Things are very comfortable the way they are and nothing seems forced or contrived, and, despite my fears, I don’t feel the need to constantly be reassured that she cares for me. I’ve never felt that before in any relationship I’ve been in. Maybe it is something about her; maybe I’ve just matured; probably it’s a bit of both.
I need to keep reminding myself that Lorraine isn’t Holly or Cindy. In fact, she is as different from them as anyone could be, which is a good thing. I also need to keep reminding myself that my fears and anxieties run 20+ years deep, and it will take plenty of time, plus the love, caring, and attention that Lorraine has been showing to me to put those feelings in the past.