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Jude's avatar

How do I let myself love again after loss?

Asked by Jude (32112points) October 12th, 2009

Do forgive me, as I’ve had a few too many glasses of red being that it’s the Canadian Thanksgiving and all.

I’ve known this girl that I just started dating for awhile now. Over a year, in fact. I adore her. There’s a strong “connection” (deep seeded love) between us. It’s there for me, deep down inside. When I allow myself to go there, I feel it. The problem with me is, I lost my Mom a few years ago. It shook me up pretty bad. I loved my Mom so much. She was one of my best friends, and after losing her my family fell apart. My Dad couldn’t express his feelings and pulled away. My sister and I did our best to pull our family together, but, the boys (my Dad and brothers) just couldn’t come together. Thus, for me, I felt that I lost my family. My Mom was cog in the wheel, so, to speak and now all it seems lost. Both my sister and I said that we feel orphaned.

Back to my current relationship. I have a difficult time letting go with this girl. Sexually and emotionally. She is deeply in love with me. She can see through all of the outer facade and into my soul. She loves me for me. Truly, deeply. She sees the wonderful things (her words) about me. But, I am having a hard time letting her in. I realized tonight that it has to do with loss. I am afraid to open myself up to her and feel vulnerable. The hurt of losing my Mom was like no pain that I have ever experienced and I am afraid to open up my heart again. I really do want this relationship to work. I am afraid that I won’t be able to give it a chance.

How do I get over this?

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23 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Hard work at understanding yourself, and developing techniques to allow you to trust, and to feel you can cope with loss without losing yourself again. Once you learn that you can handle whatever, it should be easier for you to open up more.

This is the classic kind of thing that therapy is supposed to be for.

trumi's avatar

“How do I get over this?”

You already are. By knowing this and admitting it to yourself, you’re making more headway than most people ever will. This is not to say that you’re done, but you should be proud of your efforts so far.

As far as fixing the problem… That’s very personal. Daloon is right that it’s about trust and techniques; it’s hard work. I guess my follow up question would be: are you just realizing this stuff now, or have you been working on it for several months? If it’s a recent revelation, keep working at it and see what you can do. If it’s an old problem that you’re just now asking Fluther about, therapy (as scary as it sounds) is a viable option.

Anyway, the most important thing to do is trust her WAY more than you’re comfortable with. You have to work up to this, obviously, but I’ve learned through several relationships that I’m never going to grow to trust someone fully unless I take great leaps and bounds of trust – if I slowly let my SO in bit by bit, sticking to my comfort zone, it’d take me more than a lifetime to trust fully.

Anyway, this is the kind of question that usually receives many, many answers, so good luck sifting through for the thoughtful stuff!

Keep on truckin’, you’ll get there.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I would advise you to do your best in talking to this girl about your feelings, both for her and about your mother and family situation. You may not be able to do it all at once, but a series of conversations can both give her insight into your feelings and reasons why you act the way you do and help you work through it as well. Make sure that you emphasize that you’re still working through it, that it will take time, and that you’re having trouble. If she really does love you – as I’m sure she does – she will understand and be helpful. Best of luck.

tinyfaery's avatar

You need a good, deep, long cry. You need to feel. You need to grieve for what you have lost so that you can allow yourself to be happy and feel love (and all kinds of things) again. Remind yourself of what you had, really remember it. Then allow yourself to let it go, because it is already gone, and you are holding on to something that is no longer there. Let it go and grab on to what is right in front of you. You will feel pain again. I guarantee it, but it’s worth it. Numbness is not a satisfying alternative.

You can do this alone or through therapy, but whatever you choose, just keep your girlfriend in the loop. Let her know what you are and are not feeling. If you need time tell her. If you want her help, let her help. She sounds great.

<<warm thoughts>>

aprilsimnel's avatar

The only thing I can add to this wonderful advice is to journal. Get up every morning and write a few pages first thing. Just get it all out there on paper.

And yes, keep telling the young woman you’re with that this is what you’re going through. I’ll bet she has plenty of empathy for your situation. (((((hugs!)))))

Dog's avatar

I know what it is like to build up a fortress around your heart after such a loss and how on one hand you feel like you need to preserve your heart but on the other it hurts to be numb. I was numb for nearly 2 years into the relationship with my now spouse.

The removal of the fortress was not a conscious thing. The best way I can describe it would be to compare it to a winter thaw. It started with a little trickle of warm emotion that was well placed in the trust of my (now) spouse who protected it. Within weeks I felt truly alive again for the first time in years.

It cannot be rushed- to trust enough to open ones self up means to be vulnerable to loss and pain. Be patient with yourself and it will come.

As as side note after a winter thaw the colors are brighter and the sun warmer. After a soul thaw the world is brighter and more beautiful and your heart will soar to the clouds!

whatthefluther's avatar

@jmah….You must open your heart….do not be afraid to get help to get there. You owe it to yourself, to your friend and indeed to your mother’s memory. I did it, @Dog did it and others have done it. I wish you the best dear jmah.
Sending lots of love and lurve….Gary/wtf

Jude's avatar

Thanks, jellies.

She is wonderful. She doesn’t know about Fluther, so, I feel safe in posting this. I just got this from her:

I love you so much. As we were discussing when I left, I feel something with you that I have never felt before. It isn’t safe or easy, but it’s real and I think it could become something safe and easy and of great comfort to us both if we just let it. Maybe the voice of doubt in your head says, “It shouldn’t be this hard. If it was meant to be it would just happen naturally.” But I think that you feel something special too and I think that listening to that voice of doubt is what makes it hard and unnatural. The missing piece between us is the part of you that is willing to give up all control over what will happen and how things will end up and take a chance on something very special. If you are always holding something back because part of you does not believe that this could actually work, then that something you hold back will always be missing. Just let go…....please…...

I love you and I feel that you love me too… I understand why you feel the way that you do and why you hold back, but holding back is no way to live. I believe that you have to decide what you want and what you believe in and commit yourself to it completely for good or bad. It’s the only way that the really worthwhile things ever happen.

I’m not going anywhere….ever. No matter what. I’m sure that you realize that by now. Something tells me that you aren’t either. That something is what keeps pulling me to you and not letting me give you up. Some poeple would say it’s crazy, but I feel it and I know it’s there.

It’s not easy, but, I owe it to myself and her. I want to be happy and let love in. I really do need to let go.

I whipped. Time for a hot bath and some sleep.

Dog's avatar

Quote “I’m not going anywhere….ever. No matter what.”
My soul mate said exactly that too. We have now been together very happily for 13 years.

May this be the beginning of the happiest years of your life!

Jude's avatar

Your post just warmed my heart. Thanks, Dog..

Grisaille's avatar

Good to hear that this thread took an emotional shift. Makes me happy.

@jmah Your mother sounded like a wondrous woman. Strong, and the foundation of your family. When loving another seems dolorous, think to yourself: “I am my mother’s living legacy. Is this the example she provided to me? Would she want me to not love for the rest of my life, instead fated to live mentally shattered? What would she say if she saw how emotionally devoid I was… if she saw me like this?”

Ironically, the most profound answers come from not running from tragedy – but directly into its void and yelling “I am.”

I hope you are feeling better, doll. That love of yours sounds amazing; she deserves your love.

loriruth's avatar

It’s good that you recognize the problem. Grieving is a very individual process and there are no rights or wrongs, no set amount of time. Your relationship with your mother was very special and your memories of her will keep her alive in your heart. I hope fear doesn’t stop you from loving again. There is no greater joy than to love and be loved. Go ahead and take a chance to open your heart to another.

Dog's avatar

@loriruth Welcome to Fluther!

whatthefluther's avatar

@jmah Thank you for sharing your friends note with us. It was beautiful and she is obviously very much in love with you. It made me cry. You are two very special people and very fortunate your paths crossed and you found each other. You deserve each other and the happiness you will share. I’m certain your mother would be ecstatic and very proud of you. And I’m sure she would hope, as I do, that your father and brothers learn from your example, cherish her memory and never forget her, but work through the grief and in time are able to open their hearts, as well. You finding the way to happiness will be contagious, I am certain, and your mother would be extremely proud of both that, and you. Good night sweet jmah. See ya….Gary/wtf (with happy tears hitting my keyboard)

marinelife's avatar

@jmah What a special gift life has given you by bringing this person into your life. It will be hard to move from intellectual understanding for the need to open up to possible hurt to a gut feel that you can.

The potential loss when we become truly intimate with someone is always there. I think you could start by asking yourself would you have rather never known your mother if you were going to lose her? I suspect you will determine having the time with her that you did was worth the pain of her loss.

Then imagine your life without your new friend. I suspect that you would not even want to give her up already.

Control in love, as in life, is an illusion. You deserve happiness. Reach for it.

Take care.

GreenFinch_YellowCanary's avatar

Having this young woman love you was probably meant to happen to help you with the transition of losing your mother. Love is one of the greatest gifts life has to offer. As Lord Tennyson put it when he lost his best friend and found he could not go on he realized, “Tis better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all”

There is always a time to cry and be sad but there is also a time to laugh and love. It is time to move on. Keep your mother in your heart and she will guide you toward whatever it is that is best. She could have led this young woman right to you, to help.

One can never lose the capability to love. It can just be temporarily misplaced.

Love is the greatest treasure. Never lose it and do not let go of someone that special! Many do not find that one special person in their lives and others have and let it go, do not be that person. If she loves you unconditionally you have absolutely nothing to lose and all the more to gain.

Every story has a bit of love inside. :)

tinyfaery's avatar

GA @Green. Welcome to fluther.

princessbuttercup's avatar

I’m very sorry dear for your loss. I wish I could help. I would say if she loves you she will be patient. Just communicate clearly your feelings…and she should understand. Again, if she loves you she will wait until you are ready. I know I would have waited for the guy I loved.

GreenFinch_YellowCanary's avatar

@jmah : You are most welcome :)

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