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Loving Safety...

I heard someone say last night that the whole point of love is to make someone feel safe. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, sexually.  And that landed with a crashing thud in my chest.  I know that I have heard this before...but it didn’t land.  It just kind of glanced off previously...as with many things people try to tell me. I am up in my head a lot and so even though I am present, and you are talking, I am, quite frequently not even in the building.  


I am thinking about something I forgot to do at work, what you are going to say next, how I can get you to not say that next, or what I want to say in response to you saying that next.  I think forever it has been how do I get you to what I want you to do and make you think it is your idea...ouch, that hurt to admit.


But last night this person said the whole point of love is to make the other person feel safe.  And it was one of those moments, where just moments before I was not paying close attention.  I was thinking about other things, other people, myself, my kid.  Whatever.  There were many thoughts swirling up there in the vortex of my mind...but when that guy said that, fuck if I wasn’t pulled up straight in my seat and became very fully present.


What happened next is kind of a blur...but it went something like this:  (transcript of the firework thoughts in my head as this whole love and safety thing unfurled....).


“Wow, have you ever felt safe or felt like someone you were dating was attempting to make you feel safe?


No...


Yes...


Fuck, sort of...


I mean once, I think.


Yes, once.  I did feel really safe on all the levels.


Fuck, one time in your whole fucking life?


Romantically, yes. One time.


So you have felt safe and loved in friendships?  Yes.


And with family?  Yes.


But not men? No.


Nope - just the one time.  And when it ended I was undone.  I didn’t see why I was so distraught until now. He was the one man that actually made me feel safe, and then he behaved in a way that made me feel like he was unsafe and then I couldn’t let go of needing him to give me that feeling of safety again. I was quite desperate for it.  So I returned time and again to this new unsafe man thinking that he would turn safe again, like he was in the beginning. (Didn't happen - in case you haven't read this blog for long...).


So the one man that has made you feel safe, then made you feel unsafe?  Yes.  It is more complicated than that but yes.


How about you?  Do you think you made men feel safe when they were with you?


Ummmm, all the men? All the time?


That would be a huge fucking NO!  I think I actually started off dating attempting to make men feel incredibly unsafe.  Like it was a goal...


But that changed...


When?


I mean it started to change when I got sober...but it has taken some time.  But on the whole, I think the men I have dated seriously since my divorce all felt safe in my presence.  I mean I tried to make them feel safe emotionally, spiritually, physically and sexually.  Sometimes they didn’t but I am pretty sure that was more a them thing, than a me thing.


Really?


Yes, really.  Although that last relationship I felt so unsafe and I am sure that my lack of safety and the attendant behaviors developed to help me feel safe, likely made him feel unsafe.  Truth was the whole thing was kind of a mess from the word go.  I can really see how my selfishness was alive and kicking from the outset.


Did you love him?


I tried.  And yes, I did. But safety wasn’t really a part of the whole dynamic so I am not sure what to call it today.  I guess my best, worst effort at loving?  Fuck me, I really can’t say.


So you have been unsafe and the men you pick do not make you feel safe?


Yep, pretty much nailed it.  This is why I haven’t been dating.  I seriously doubt my ability to pick someone different.  I mean all we have to do is glance back into my past, a good hard stare isn’t even needed to see that I pick unsafe people and then spend ENORMOUS amounts of time and energy trying to make them be safe.


Does that work?


FUCK NO!


Then why do you do it?


Because I am not sure I really knew better until last night...”


Last night my entire definition of love was rewritten, scored upon my psyche and heart.  I see now that I was using a ruler to measure miles, a measuring instrument not right for the job.  I had love confused with so very many other things.  So very many other things.  And embarrassingly, safety was not part of any of those discussions. I wasn’t trying to get it, or insist upon it or even have it as a goal.  And I certainly wasn’t working to provide it. 


That makes my heart break into a million little pieces all over my bed this morning.  They are spilling into my coffee and dripping to the floor.  All this life I have lived, all the love that I attempted to give, and attempted to receive...and how far off the mark I have landed. All I think I have ever wanted was safety.  And my whole approach, my whole pathway was completely and totally fucked from the onset.  I can see how very lost I have been.


And just like that in a room full of about 100 people, I changed.  I got a new goal.  How do I approach my life with safety as a preeminent goal?  I become a safe person, and then I only allow other safe people in. And I don’t hold the unsafe fuckers out there at bay, they are going to walk in, sit down and some may even stay awhile.  But I have a new benchmark, a new idea, a new inventory tool, a new yard stick to measure those relational miles. And I can use that to measure and evaluate that which was so hard for me to learn before - the goal of love and loving is to feel safe and do your best to make the other person feel safe in your presence.


Two questions are vital:


Do I feel safe in their presence?

Do they appear to feel safe in mine?


Mic drop.


Life revolutionized.


It has been all about loving safety the whole fucking time...and I was the last to know.


Again.


Still.


This is about the safest place I know...



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