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I know commitment because I recovered from codependency.
It’s moments before I click the button to finally get my flight ticket. I hesitated for three long seconds. I know this is different. I have been wrong so many times before. That old wound that once looked dark, infected, and with a million stitches now looks beautiful.
I felt a pinch in my heart, I breathed out the worry, and I purchased my one-way ticket.
My white pumas hit the ground after a long flight. I shake out my stiff legs as I walk through the terminal to collect my luggage. The wait isn’t terrible when my bright, pink bag twirls around the carousel like a carnival ride.
The humid air hits my face as soon as I walk through the doors. I’m most definitely not in San Francisco anymore. The heat on the East coast is no joke. I’m roasting in an oven as I await for my ride.
My lips turn upward when I see his handsome face through the windshield as he quickly stops his car and jumps out. I’m surprised he even had time to put the car in park.
He is my boyfriend. I just moved across the country to be with him. It’s outrageous to just pick up and move, right? I’ve done this before, and it didn’t work out. What makes me think this will work?
I promised myself I would never become attached to someone again after the last guy broke my heart. I swore I would work on my attachment issues and find love in myself first. But this time it’s going to work.
This time is different. I am not attached; I’m committed.
I have kintsugi-ed the hell out of my broken heart. My broken pieces were put together again using love, care, and freedom with gold to mend the pieces. I am stronger now. I am more valuable to myself. I am even more beautiful than I was before. That love, care, and freedom breathes hope.
There is a huge difference between attachment and commitment. Yet, there is a fine line between the two. How do we know the difference when our hearts are so involved? Sometimes the line is a blur and it’s hard to see it all.
In prior relationships where I struggled with attachment, I had a hard time understanding my own emotions. I misunderstood how others felt. I had the habit of assuming everything about how the other person feels without even knowing how he actually felt.
This limited my ability to build or keep a stable relationship. I had a hard time connecting with people. I struggled with intimacy. I felt anxious in the relationship. I tended to show signs of clinginess. I was terrified of the relationship and also the loss of it.
At some point, I was even terrified of simply being me. I was afraid it would never be enough. If I wasn’t enough for me, how would I be enough for someone else?
I found it hard to notice signs of being mistreated or not knowing when my needs were not met. So I overlooked that I wasn’t happy just so I wouldn’t lose him. The attachment took control.
I remember clearly the days when my mind said, “Maybe I should think about it,” while the rest of me screamed, “Let’s make it work. I love him. I will do whatever it takes, and nothing will separate us.”
Now let’s get real. After one, two, three, four, or five—maybe even more endless loves, I could clearly see the difference. I grew up with the understanding that we should give love our everything—to give it our all. Giving our best is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. But when did love turn into saying “yes” to everything, even the things we don’t want or agree with, and putting up with things that are way below our standards?
Time and time again, I believed my love would save him. I excused his demons and helped him realize he was always prince charming—the king of love. He just didn’t know it or maybe he forgot. Or maybe it takes a woman who does it all to transform a man who is a rough diamond. Now I know this concept is sh*t. Every time we meet someone, we are meeting the best version of this person. Our best person is always here, and it is always evolving, so there is no someday.
My self-worth depended on how I was treated in the relationship. I would overreact to any potential threats. I felt anxious and jealous all the time. I would guilt or manipulate him to keep him close. I was controlling. I needed continued reassurance and an insane amount of attention.
Codependency is having to constantly prove how much we want to be with this person with our actions. Like that time when I wasn’t ready to be intimate but he was, and I said “yes” anyway. When he left saying he wasn’t sure when he would come back but he would be in touch, he never called, and I waited. Then, I welcomed him back with open arms, hoping next time would be different.
There was a moment when I basically became his personal assistant and mother so he could see how committed I was to him. I had a hard time trusting or relying on my partner. Yet the relationship took over my life and I was fixated on him. Or those times when we made love and discussed our future, and I decided my dreams could wait or change according to what he wanted from us as a couple. I would have done anything for him.
I felt disrespected, and yet being with him and having him in my life was more important than respecting who I was.
I couldn’t set boundaries within the relationship. I didn’t understand space and would feel panic inside myself that he didn’t want me any longer. Boundaries are not about how far the other person can go but how far we are willing to give in. How far until we say and do something that clearly declares this is enough, or this is right and I feel respected.
There have been so many times where I would choose to spend time with a partner than stay still and simply be with myself, even if it meant sitting next to someone while being ignored. I chose him over sitting in silence with myself every damn time so I wouldn’t have to think about my life and where it was going.
I didn’t know how to be with me or love me, so I would rather be and love someone else. And when I wasn’t in a relationship, I would crave connection with someone, anyone. But when we are attached to someone, we are avoiding at a high cost building commitment toward ourselves. We are seeking from the other person everything we don’t give ourselves. Let’s get genuine and raw. It is easier to say I felt disrespected than to say, “I didn’t do what I needed to respect myself.”
They are monumental differences between making a commitment and attachment. To give our best while respecting each other rather than being willing to do anything to be with someone. It is opening up our precious hearts to let someone else in with the possibilities of extra happiness in our already kickass life.
Love isn’t supposed to make us happy; love is supposed to add to our “already happy.”
When we are committed, there are no feelings of obligation or need to spend time together. It’s not forced or needy. We are both generally interested in the time together to enjoy each other’s company. It is trusting and allowing our souls to intertwine with one another for no other reason than our souls connecting.
There is a magical feeling about standing next to someone who is fighting for his own dreams like we are for ours, and then coming together to create a bigger vision. Now, that is a f*cking unicorn love and commitment.
And we can feel the love between each other. There is no guessing, there are no excuses, there is no denying the love that we feel within the relationship. It’s equal love. It’s shared love. It’s magical love. It’s pure love. That is when we know this is a person worth committing to.
We each stay true to ourselves but have the other person’s interest at heart. It’s not losing ourselves in the relationship, it’s having our heart open to the other person. It is loving who we are when we are alone and also when we are with this person.
When we love who we are and who we are with the other person, then we have freedom. We are committed to who we are so by consequence, we are also committed to letting the other person be who they are. This creates a connection where we don’t need each other—we choose each other.
When we make the relationship public, it’s not to show off or to prove anything. It is because we are both committed to each other and are happy to share with the world that we are together. It is celebrating our connection with the world. It is going all-in, heart, head, and toes to our blissful life.
This includes realizing if something changes along the way. Not every committed relationship lasts. Some do, some don’t. It’s knowing we can decide to pull away at some point if the dynamics change. It’s using our heads when our hearts don’t want to keep up.
We plan a future together not for security reasons or because we need this person in order to feel complete. It is because this is the person who makes our heart happy. It is trusting the process and believing in the relationship.
We can recover from codependency and learn to love ourselves yet still enter into a committed relationship without losing parts of ourselves. Just because we decided that we are now committed, it doesn’t mean we are returning back to codependent tendencies. It is not one or the other. It is healing and moving forward on a new healthy road to love.
Goodbye codependency, hello commitment. Against what is logical, this feels right. This time is different now. I am not attached to a fairy tale or a particular result. I’m lovingly committed to how much we enjoy life together.
This time, I am not chasing after love or him. This time, I am committed to myself and my dreams. I am going all-in for me, for us, and our life together.
F*ck you, codependency. I choose commitment.
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