by DeBora M. Ricks
(Baltimore, MD USA)
Finally, I Know What it Feels Like to be Loved!
For so many years I was codependent yet terrified of intimacy. Actually, I was, as I wrote in my book, Love Addicted, addicted to love and men. For years. It was in my marriage where I discovered how afraid I was to love and be loved. I also realized it wasn't just the man's fault that my relationships didn't last. I'd married a good man, a family man, an imperfect man who wanted to build a life with me. It was with this man that I was forced to see me clearly. I had issues. At 28, I was no more ready for mature love than a 9 year old is for the university.
My marriage failed, after two years. I wasn't surprised. I ushered its demise in with my infidelity and controlling behaviors. Sure, my ex did his part because we attract not what we want but who we are. He too was broken.
You see, because my charismatic minister father emotionally abused and abandoned me I careened into womanhood feeling damaged and unlovable. I'd run into a relationship with hopes that the man could make me feel whole and complete. When my marriage ended, I went on a spiritual quest to find myself. I joined a 12-step program for codependents. I prayed. I meditated. I sat in the silence. I got into relationships. I got out of them. I even started hating black men so I dated white men, a couple. Then I woke up. I began to accept full responsibility for me, for my choices, for my healing, for my happiness. I forgave the men I tried to love, who tried to love me and forgave myself. Oh, and I forgave my father too.
At last I have attracted a man who loves me unconditionally. Or as close to unconditional as I've ever experienced. We started off as friends. Then two years later we went out and have been together ever since. We play. (And we are far from being children.) We laugh out loud together. We travel. We make unprintable good love. We talk. We support each other.
I no longer fear being abandoned because before Michael loved me, I learned to love myself, to save myself, to be here for myself. Yes, I found love within and now it's reflected without in my beloved Michael.
DeBora M. Ricks, author of Love Addicted: One Woman's Spiritual Journey Through Emotional Dependency