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The heart wants what it wants…

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Becca Benz blog post about love

The heart is an amazing thing. Medically speaking, it’s nothing short of miraculous. But it’s the other aspect of the heart which fascinates me; the part that loves.

My heart has experienced a depth of love I could never have imagined but has also been battered and broken through the years. There have been times lately when I feel like I’ll never meet anyone and will spend the rest of my life alone. I have given up on dating countless times, only to return because I can’t seem to totally give up on the idea of love.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I write love letters; I enjoy finding that perfect card which expresses exactly how I feel; I love holding hands and soft kisses; cuddling and talking and looking deeply into each other’s eyes; cooking together and sharing a special meal; I love to be goofy and laugh until we cry; to find little things to surprise her with; to feel her body next to mine as our breathing falls into rhythm with each other; I love to see those wonderful smiles which shine through in the eyes; and I love knowing that we both treasure each other and what we have.

I was married for 16 years, but I didn’t love my wife the way she deserved to be loved, or the way I wanted to love, but I didn’t realize it at the time. After my divorce I was blessed to meet Z, who brought out parts of me which I hadn’t realized existed. Before meeting her I wasn’t a romantic person at all, but through our relationship I found I had a very strong romantic side. I wrote her pages and pages of love letters and found all sorts of little ways to show her how much she was loved, and I discovered a voice inside of me which had a passion I’d never felt before. Her love brightened my life in ways I could not have fathomed. It’s like my life went from black and white into glorious technicolor. The feeling of being in love is life altering; it literally changed the way I perceived and experienced life. We were soul-mates and she was the person I wanted to spend my life with and grow old together. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and she married someone else, which broke my heart and took me a long, long time to get over. I struggled with wondering if I’d ever meet anyone who made me feel the way she did, and for many years I was convinced I would not.

Then I transitioned, which added a whole new layer of complexity to the relationship puzzle. I avoided dating for a long time because I felt I wasn’t ready, that I was still trying to figure out who Becca was. Then it was the unemployment and depression, and feeling like I wasn’t worthy of being loved. But I finally realized that if I kept waiting until everything was “okay” that I’d probably die of old age before I ever reached that point.

Having spent most of my life being shy and introverted and lacking self-confidence, I never really dated much, so it’s been a bumpy road the past several years as I tried to grasp all the subtle nuances of dating. At times it’s gotten downright ugly and my already fragile psyche has taken a beating. I tried online dating because it seemed safer, but that was an exercise in futility. But over the past year as I’ve grown comfortable with myself and gained some much needed self-confidence and developed a social life, there have been small steps forward. I feel like I now have the social skills to at least have a decent chance of making a good impression on a date, and more importantly, I feel like I am worthy of being loved.

But with my new-found confidence has come over-eagerness, which has led me to sometimes be impatient and not always see things as they really are. It’s a constant battle to take things slow and not over-think everything. I’ve messed up opportunities which could have potentially developed into something meaningful, but I’d like to believe it’s all part of the learning process.

The past month has been difficult, but it’s been my own fault. I have a friend who I’ve known for about a year, but it’s only been the past couple of months that we’ve really gotten to know each other. She’s an amazing woman who I respect a great deal and she is sharp and witty and challenges me in a good way. And even though she had mentioned numerous times over the past year that she had no interest in dating anyone because of where she’s at in her life, I still let myself develop feelings for her. And instead of keeping those feelings to myself, I was idiot and told her how I felt, which made things really awkward. And then every time I opened my mouth I said something which made the situation worse, so then I just retreated and said nothing. I felt horrible because her friendship means a great deal to me, but thankfully she didn’t give up on me and we’ve been able to get past this with our friendship intact. But it left me feeling like I’m totally hopeless and that I’ll never meet anyone without messing it up. But life has a way of surprising us when we least expect it.

I went out to a club on November 7th and a friend introduced me to a woman he knew, and we had the most fabulous night dancing and laughing and making out. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun and left feeling so happy. Then we went out the following Thursday and had another great time, and again on Saturday night and hung out with friends and talked and held hands and had another enjoyable time together. But even though I know she is only here visiting and leaves to go home in a couple of weeks, she has still managed to capture my heart. The heart wants what it wants, in spite of my brain screaming at it not to go down that path. I know she’s leaving, and I’ve never believed in long-distance relationships, so I’m not sure where we’re headed, but oddly enough I’m okay with that. I’m just living in the moment and enjoying our time together and not stressing about the big picture which is what I normally do. So this is uncharted territory for me in a number of ways. It’s both exciting and scary, and in the back of my mind I’m terrified I’m going to screw this up, even though I’m not quite sure what exactly it is we have. I just know she’s someone special who has made me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time, and that every time I think about her, which is fairly often, I find myself smiling and dreaming of her beautiful smile and the feel of my hand in hers with our fingers intertwined.

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