First, an announcement. I’m going to be posting all of my final essays! I thought it might be fun for you all to read and for myself to look back on in a few years… the papers that got Olivia to law school! And it’s finals season this week, so keep an eye out for that. That’s not what I want to talk about tonight, however.
I’m in love! I have a boyfriend and I love him.
I’ve always been known as someone who falls in love easily, but it’s been around three months and I know I really am. It’s been difficult to navigate, though. Let me explain.
We got in our first big argument. Without revealing anything important, one of us had been feeling particularly inadequate over the week preceding, and the other one had been unintentionally perpetuating that feeling.
In previous abusive relationships, arguments meant one of two things, from the other perspective. It either meant a whole bunch of gaslighting and refusal to compromise or admit even a smidge- forget about reciprocal- fault, or it meant screaming, self harm and threats of suicide. As you can imagine, I’m terrified of relationship fights.
This went sooo much better than I could ever have imagined! We cried a bit, explained our fears, talked the moment we had a coherent thought, said everything on our minds, and came to a mutually respectful conclusion, each making sure that the other knew that one fight was not a catastrophe, that the fight was about both of our feelings, and that each side mattered equally to the other.
When it was all over I burst into relieved happy tears, knowing that this was the best fight I’d ever had in a relationship.
You always hear the adage that love is work, and I’m certainly no expert, but I can humbly affirm that statement. It can’t just be snatched away the moment a fight crops up or something gets a bit (or a lot) inconvenient. Sure, love is a feeling, but it’s a process, too, a process that becomes much more complicated when there’s a history of abuse in the life of one or both parties.
We’ve talked a perhaps unconventional amount about my exes. He understands why; I have PTSD to do with two of them in particular, so memories and traumatic reactions will crop up at inconvenient times. Just the other day I burst into tears at a difficult moment as I recalled an instance of trauma, and needed a tad bit of comforting. He needs comforting sometimes too, but it’s different and, admittedly, more frequent for me. I consult him often as to whether or not he’s okay with this imbalance, and if he’s telling the truth, he is. The key to the issue is patience, of him with me and of me with myself.
All I can do is believe him. But it’s hard! And of course it is. When you’ve been so thoroughly gaslit and lied to as I have, the simple act of believing your partner can be herculean. I’m doing it, though. This is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in, I’m happy to report.
Alright, enough blubbering! Keep a lookout for a six page chonker about The Descent of Alette.