Over the last few years many amazing people have joined me on what a friend loves to call my “awesome island of one,” and they have started to shift and change my perspective on many areas of my life. When it comes to relationships, my circle of friends provoke each other to think deeper, ask questions we have never been asked before and have never taken a moment to ask ourselves. Like this one: What do you want to feel and experience in a relationship, no matter what? I’m not talking about those lists detailing all the things we want in a man that magazines are always telling women to write. (Think: ‘must grease my scalp and love picnics’) This notion was to go beyond that.
This simple question started a chain of responses from women like me who had never even thought of dating and love as a feeling or experience. I had one of those ‘must grease scalp’ lists, and I knew it well, but how does that man, that love and that experience feel? How did I want it to feel? After taking a moment to think, here was my initial response:
I’ve never been asked, but I know that the main thing I want to feel is SAFE. Not necessarily physically (though you being able to throw hands can’t hurt), but safe emotionally. It’s huge for me. I never open up because I never feel safe because I don’t feel like I can trust with my heart, my happy, my sad, my good, bad and crooked-wig days. Emotional safety is huge for me. To feel like I can fall into someone and I don’t have to carry all the bags alone.
When I stepped back and rethought my response, reading my answer really put a finger on things I always felt were missing in past relationships, but I could never quite seem to articulate. After reading the responses of many of the other women, I definitely wasn’t alone in my need for safety. Now that I knew how I wanted to feel, I had to give a voice to what I wanted the experience of love to be:
“I want to experience FREEDOM and LAUGHTER in a relationship. Protecting your heart is so tiring. I want to let the walls down and know that in and out of his presence, my heart is protected and I’m not alone. I LOVE to laugh, even at myself. I need someone I can be a dork with. I want to experience freedom and dorkiness lol.”
I read and reread my response and took a moment to ask myself how I was ensuring that I felt and experienced the safety, freedom and laughter I was obviously craving when it comes to love. I wasn’t. I clearly know what it is I need in love and how my version of love is supposed to feel to me, but looking back on past relationships, I dated and loved in denial. I starved myself and tolerated loves that went against everything I needed, and the relationships fell apart, in part, because of it. I also stopped to ask myself if I was getting what I wanted to feel and experience in love with my current relationships. I’m not currently in love, but I have been making more of a conscious effort to feed my spirit. I’m experiencing and feeling freedom and laughter, and while I’m still working on the safety part (emotional baggage is a bish), intentionally seeking and allowing the nourishment of my spirit in the other two areas has made a world of difference in my romantic life.
It’s amazing how a simple question can help change your outlook, or how much we know about our needs, but are often unsure or afraid to articulate until a question is asked. My desire to feel and experience safety, freedom and laughter in love wasn’t unknown to me on some level, and I’m sure as my heart grows things will get added or even taken away. However now that I have given these desires a voice and have taken the time to dig deep and be intentional in seeking them, I can’t imagine living another second in love not feeling like the love I have is giving me the world.
Danielle T. Pointdujour is a Brooklynite living the passport life to the fullest. With over 70 countries under her belt, you can always find Danielle traveling the globe in search of new experiences and the hottest luxury hotels. You can follow her writing, musings and global adventures on her blog Hotel Whisperer and on Twitter and Instagram.