Falling in love with my husband feels like it happened just yesterday. I’d had some past relationships. Twelve, to be exact, before meeting him. I started dating when I was twelve years old. I thought I was the expert on men!
However, none of the relationships worked out for me. I made a wish that I would settle down with a good guy before I turned 30. But my 30th birthday came and went, and nothing happened.
I usually hit it off with a guy quickly then broke up with him just as quickly. We had sex before becoming exclusive. And I always had what I called the “fear attack”: fears of being abandoned, being alone and being unable to love again.
These fears made me a controlling person. Not long after dating a new guy, I started organizing his life by cleaning his house, folding his laundry and stocking up healthy food in his fridge. Controlling made me so exhausted. Even though I was the one volunteering to do all these clean ups, I felt taken advantage of. Very soon the resentment kicked in and overwhelmed me. I brought negative energy into the relationship and made it fall apart. After each breakup, I’d meet a new guy and the cycle would begin again.
Like many people out there, I did not have any role model nor mentor to tell me how to create a good relationship. The worst part for me was that I was a nice person, and I just wanted to honor love and integrity. But I wasn’t able to create the kind of relationship I wanted.
The struggle was real. The fear was real. The pain was real. And my fear of being alone forever was very real.
I was no different from any woman. I craved love, a sense of belonging and knowing that I am.
Like many women, I got my dating advice from girlfriends and gossip magazines. But what I heard and read were not so practical. When I started losing hope about my ambition to get married, I even went to see fortune tellers in the hopes of getting some good dating advice. I was desperate!
I wanted to try a different approach. After breaking up with a man who had cheated on me for five straight years, I felt very sad. It took me endless hours of searching inward, reading self-help books and getting coaching from the relationship experts.
I started identifying the fears behind my controlling behaviors.
One pattern that I had identified was I often thought that I had to look for a man who had a similar background as me. He had to be well educated and ambitious. He had to be equally or more successful than I was. He had to fit this certain mold, a mold shaped by my fears and my social and cultural upbringings.
This mold was another way I was controlling. I tried to control not only the types of men I’d go out with but what the dating outcomes should be. For example, I expected to be liked by every man who invited me out. I tried hard to please them and show them what I thought a typical nice girlfriend/wife would be. I couldn’t be my authentic self and worked too hard to become someone I was not.
It took me a long time to allow myself to accept dates that I never would have accepted before. But going out with men outside my mold wasn’t that bad! I always survived. It was fun to meet different types of men and learn about their stories. It was also easy to focus on having a good time with these guys without controlling whether we could get married in the future. One of the biggest benefits was that I didn’t need to clean anyone’s kitchen anymore.
After trying some different strategies like online dating and matchmakers, I attracted the most wonderful man (one I wouldn’t have dated before). He became my husband, and I can finally tell a different love story.
Is my marriage perfect? It’s far from perfect. I still make mistakes here and there. I am a mere mortal and sometimes go back to the old controlling pattern.
For example, I unconsciously tried to protect my husband from getting sick by insisting on making healthy food for him, even though he didn’t like it! I also bought him different supplements and put them by his bathroom sink. Of course, he hadn’t asked for the supplements.
Later, he explained that I worried about him too much. He couldn’t breathe. He felt his lifestyle was controlled by me.
I searched inward again asking What am I afraid of? My fears were having an unhappy, unhealthy and uncontrollable husband. These fears used to look so real to me. Were they realistic? Probably not. Are staying afraid and trying to control him again worth breaking our intimacy and peace? Definitely not. My fears don’t stand a chance now!
If I had never stopped controlling, I would still be complaining about why I was single or why my marriage has screwed up! I always remind myself that my husband is like most other men, who are truly sincere and serious about romantic relationships. I just have to be best self for creating the best marriage.
I hope my story, including the silly things I did and the mistakes I made, empower you to have an intimate and peaceful relationship. It is possible for you too.
I help women to get unstuck so they can have the same kind of intimacy, passion and peace in her relationship.
(As a special thank you to the Harness community, Katherine has offered a free relationship quiz. Additionally, a free chapter of her book. Follow the link for the freebies: http://tinyurl.com/getfreequiz)
Author: Katherine Wong-Velasco
What category best describes your article: Love and Relationships
Author Bio: Our love lives need support. There’s so much to interpret in the relationship world and plenty of clashes to work through when it comes to dating and marriage. Haven’t we all felt misunderstood by others at some point, or found it hard to even understand ourselves? Before she started coaching relationships, Katherine Wong-Velasco was a professional Headhunter, pairing talented executive professionals with multinational corporations. For a long time, she felt she had to find a man of similar background to her — well-educated and ambitious in their career. She was ready to settle down and get married, but it just wasn’t happening. When she started realizing what if there is someone brilliant but just his path didn’t match hers? She surrendered to the fact, that a relationship would make her the happiest would never come, if she tried to force her own goals on it. She let go of her old notions, tried some different strategies, and found the wonderful man that would become her husband. Her past relationships weren’t mistakes; they were a learning ground for the future. Seeking support for your love life is the first step to a healthy, intimate relationship. No man or woman is an island, and problems with intimacy and emotional connection cannot be solved alone. What you may see as an impossible hurdle in your love life, Katherine will show you it is just an adversity to overcome. With your willingness to make a change and Katherine’s positive, compassionate mental attitude and organized, results-oriented approach, you will soon see yourself thriving in the relationship you’ve always wanted.
Link to social media or website: https://www.facebook.com/relationshipcoachkatherine/