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February 8, 2007 / missknowitall

Trying To Love Again

Dear Little Miss,I just recently remarried after a very bad marriage.  I am finding it very hard to learn how to love and accept the love my new husband shows me.  I seem to be a stone with no emotions.  I know I want to be with this man and spend the rest of my life with him but I don’t seem to enjoy anything that goes on around me.  Thanks for listening to me,  

–Longing for feelings

Dear Longing For Feelings,

  This may be very cliche and overly used, but I’m going to go with an oldie here and talk about “walls”.  Yes, walls of self defense that we build to prevent anyone from ever hurting us again.  Not only do we humans build walls, but sometimes we get pretty fancy and add things like barbed wire, trap doors, and all sorts of booby traps (if you see a pun in that one that is your fault) so that not only will we keep people out but we will hurt anyone who tries to get in.  I’m willing to bet that after your first “bad marriage” you built yourself some pretty good walls, maybe even a sturdy bomb shelter.  You are safe in your shelter and no one can hurt you.  It gets a bit lonely being that safe, doesn’t it?  OK, now that you know about your walls let’s talk about ways to let this man get through a few of them.  When ever you start to feel yourself going numb you should ask yourself “why?”.  Is it because you are expecting your husband to do what your ex did?  Are you scared that if you feel anything it will make you vulnerable?  Will you be weak if you let yourself depend on your husband for emotional comfort?  Just start asking yourself these questions and try to answer them as honestly as you can.  Now, I am a woman who loves to build walls so I’m not going to ask you to start knocking your walls down or anything scary like that.  Here is what I want you to do: I am going to ask you to experiment with love.  This is not a test, you are not testing your husband here.  You are experimenting with yourself.  I want you to designate a time and day (example: this Saturday from 10am-1pm, or the next time you are on a date with your husband) and I want you to pretend to fully trust your husband.  Let him tell you he loves you and during that time you must believe him.  Let him touch you and allow yourself to enjoy it.  Talk to him and believe that he is listening.  If he says you look nice, you have to believe it and let yourself blush in giddy pleasure.  Don’t allow yourself to think any of your usual cynical or self defensive thoughts.  Once your time is up you can put your walls back up if you want; but think about what happened during the experiment.  Were you able to feel anything?  Did you enjoy that time with your husband?  Did the world come crashing down because you allowed yourself to be vulnerably happy for one small moment?  Repeat this experiment at least 5 times and then let me know what happens =).

After all, it is better to have loved than to… OK, I can only take so many cliches at one time myself. 

Miss Knowitall

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One Comment

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  1. Karen DeBow / Feb 9 2007 11:31 am

    That was such a good answer. Trust is a big thing in a marriage, especially when you’re trying to protect yourself.
    Another thought: You were once a victim of a bad relationship. You may still consider yourself a victim, therefore you are protecting yourself.
    I know there is no “quick fix” to this, because I work on it all the time.
    The best help I’ve had (that doesn’t cost $60 an hour couch fee) is the book “Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves”
    by C. Terry Warner.
    It has taught me how to get out of VICTIM mode in my relationships.

    It has helped me A LOT!!!!

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