There’s this fairly new song called “Ain’t Easy” where the main chorus sings, “loving you ain’t easy” after singing about the difficulty of “loving” and being with someone who is “fire then rain.” Quite simply, even though it’s a catchy tune, it makes me mad. It aggravates me because I thought of myself that way when I started dating and it was so misinformed. Also because it perpetuates the idea that being difficult to love is an acceptable way to see yourself or by someone you are with when it certainly is not. You are not difficult because of your life experiences. You are not difficult to love at all. You might just have the wrong people or person in your life. Or you might need to adjust your self image.
When I started dating I thought that whoever I dated would find me difficult to date. My rationale was that I did and do have my ups and downs; my fire then rain. My “downs” weren’t as intense as they once were but they also didn’t seem to be going all the way away. I was also very aware that I had a past that someone not yet in their thirties doesn’t usually have and I thought it would be seen as a negative.
In reflection, I am the one who saw myself that way. And then I attracted people who reflected my own views of myself: people who saw me as difficult.
I spent my time trying to convince others that I was not, in fact, difficult to be with. I know now that I was probably more so trying to convince myself. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to date or maybe it was a needed step to gain a clearer perspective of my new self. Regardless, it was not a fun time having to constantly justify and convince others about myself. I had someone who frequently referred to me being widowed as, “my situation” because they just found it so uncomfortable. They often questioned me on how “my situation” would impact different aspects of my or their life and responded with, “really? Are you serious?”. I felt like I was a hardship and that they were putting up with me. To their credit, again, I think I attracted what I put out and then had my own insecurities laid out in front of me. After all, I definitely had a say in who I saw. But I didn’t keep seeing him.
Having my insecurities frequently presented to me in the form of dates started to make me see how ridiculous their (my) perspective really was. I started to get really frustrated. People weren’t seeing me for me. All they could see was me as a widow and it wasn’t in a positive light. They didn’t choose to see my strengths.
The more frustrated I got the more confidence I started to gain in myself and in dating. My widow status didn’t make me more difficult to be around; it had actually made me into the person I was and I thought that person was pretty great. I had become more independent, more adventurous, more active and had a mature, resilient and (mostly) positive perspective on life. I am smart, have a good job, and great friends and family. I know real love, know how I wanted to be treated in a relationship (and how to treat someone) and I’m not jaded or apprehensive because of some ex. Being widowed has made me feel deeply and truly love and care about the things that matter most to me. I think I have a lot going for me. I didn’t care to be around anyone who needed to be convinced of my character anymore. If anything, they would probably need to step it up to keep up with me. They would be lucky to be with someone like me. However, it never worked that way and even when I told guys I wasn’t interested they somehow turned it around to me being a widow with “baggage” or not ready. Fine. Goodbye.
So now fast forward to David. I told him on our third date about Mike and I remember him saying that he had absolutely no issue with that at all. I didn’t really believe him because I had heard that before but he really meant it. He doesn’t make me feel difficult to love at all. In fact, he makes it feel like I’m easy to love and be around. I’m not asking him to live in my past with me but my current and future includes me being a widow and all that entails. It is a part of me but not all of me. He sees and accepts me for who I am; including the widow part. He treats me normally and with care and respect even when I’m expressing my grief, throwing him into a situation or having a conversation that isn’t exactly “normal.” He makes the extra things I ask of him feel like an obvious no big deal. I feel like I can be myself and have fun but also that he’s sensitive to my different needs. He makes it even easier to love him.
I know I am not a burden in a relationship. My past is not a burden either. I started to learn that for myself and then David has helped confirm that for me. I shouldn’t have to settle for anything less. I have a lot to offer. People who think I’m difficult to be with - including myself - are no more. I stay away from people who make me feel like I’m difficult to love.