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January 26, 2024

I Met my Soulmate at 40 (& the Lessons I Learned about Love).

“When you find your soulmate it’s not a matter of a pros and cons lists. You just know it. You just know deep inside that you want to spend your life with that person and then, if you are lucky, you have the rest of your life to figure out why.” ~ John Gray

 

One year ago, my life coach asked me to make a list of all the traits I wanted in a partner.

She wanted me to emphasize on the feelings I wanted to experience with this person and the values I wanted him to embody, rather than just a checklist of traits.

I resisted at the time and closed off to the possibility that love was still out there. In a span of one year, I had gone through my second divorce followed by another breakup. When it came to the game of love, I was utterly exhausted with battle scars to show for it. So the idea of putting myself back out there again seemed bleak and distant.

But I decided it was to my advantage to start from the beginning, understanding my past wounds and history of choosing the wrong type of men, over and over again.

My past love stories never did have a happy ending. I guess you can say I fell in love with the idea of love itself and focused too much on the illusion rather than the person I chose to spend my life with. That is, until now.

I finally made a decision to not just list those traits I yearned to find in a partner, but to get to know myself first. What were the patterns that made me consciously choose unhealthy partners? Did I really need to be with “someone” to feel happy?

I worked tirelessly in therapy to face the pain of past rejections and release the weight I was carrying of loss, anger, and heartbreak.

And when I finally arrived at a place where I began to place importance on self-love, everything changed. I became particular about who I gave my time to, from everything to a date to a phone call, or text.

I stopped becoming fixated on needing to find my happily ever after, and in addition to my ideal partner list, I made a life list of all the solo things I would like to accomplish and all the places I would love to travel. I planned trips with friends and looked forward to new endeavors.

Little did I know at the time that only a few months later at a rainy Sunday afternoon brunch, I would meet the man I would inevitably fall in love with.

I guess it should come as no surprise that meeting my now boyfriend came with fear, and apprehension, none of which had anything to do with him, but everything to do with my own inner voice screaming “can I really trust myself to do this again”?

It was as if I had my third divorce with love before even allowing myself the chance to be happy again.

But, yet, something about being with him felt safe. I felt seen and heard. He has a calm and peaceful presence. He is sexy, loyal, dependable, intelligent, and funny. He loves to plan our next new adventure and knows how to enjoy life to the fullest. Being with him did not just check off a list of boxes, but rather evoked the exact feelings I hoped to manifest in a partner. “I want a man who is honest, loving, and kind. A man who is passionate about life and passionate about me.”

It has taken several months, up until this writing, to accept my newfound happiness. But more importantly, it took years of working on myself to know that I deserve it.

The joy and light I find daily in my partner feels like a reward for all the previous heartbreaks and love that has been lost.

As a woman who has questioned her choice of a romantic partner many, many times, I can now say beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing I am more certain of than him.

At almost 40, I have learned what it means to give and receive from an unconditional place.

I allow myself to be cared for, and in return, I find joy in being able to show up fully, even in the day-to-day routine that can sometimes seem trivial. He makes it easy to be selfless.

Our love has awakened me to something bigger and to the best version of me. His vulnerability, strength, and commitment coincidently reminds me of the qualities I used to have. That part of me which I thought had died now felt safe to be re-awakened.

But what I learned is that I am still willing (really willing) to learn how to love all over again and to accept love in return—this time in a healthy way.

I broke the patterned thoughts that I am unworthy and that my heart will forever be closed due to past toxic experiences. I chose to wait for someone extraordinary than to settle for someone average.

I found healthy love after so many years of wondering if it would ever happen, and now for the first time I’m learning to trust this life I am actively building with the person I choose to be my partner.

And after dating and going through two divorces and surviving them over the span of two decades, I am reminded that I was once that 30-something girl constantly chasing love. The once exhausted dater, chronicling her failed love stories for the world to read while I suffered silently in anxiety and despair. But yet love was always so engrained into my identity that I guess I never had to work too hard to allow it to flow back into my life.

And while it might feel messy at first because there is always discomfort in the unknown, I allow those moments of fear to be replaced with beauty and joy. And if there is one thing my partner has taught me, it’s that there is no greater feeling than just living in the present moment. I now choose to let go of what was and embrace what is.

But most of all, when that tiny, little voice inside decides to rear its ugly head and say, “I thought you had given up, I thought you couldn’t open your heart,” I simply respond, “Even though your heart has been shattered before, you have reopened it. You have found the missing pieces. This love is a win worth celebrating, and it all happened for my greater good.”

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say.” ~ Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

~

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