How to Love Her: A Personal Narrative


Privacy was easy; it was what we founded our relationship on. We didn’t need social media displays of affection, or to yell that we were dating from the mountaintop. We wanted simplicity. And that came in the form of keeping our relationship business, ours. Our privacy, however, looked different. Mine was to maintain the sanctity of our relationship, his was to lighten the blow of having recently ended a long-term relationship, and to avoid the backlash he’d receive because of it. He disguised it as privacy. Disguised it as protection.

I let him do so. Believing that since we both agreed that we should keep things private to make our relationship easier – to sustain it a little longer – then it’d work for me. It didn’t work for me.

The foundation you build your relationship on shapes every obstacle that is to come. The honeymoon stage is important. As much as we wanted to believe our foundation was sturdy – as it was built on genuine connection and intimacy, and rooted in privacy (thus, less gossip) – it was just as shaky as the one that preceded it. Though created on the grounds of friendship and understanding, it was being built on the premise of hiding our truth. Masking what we wanted so bad, and restricting ourselves from displaying that desire. We hid others from our truth so long, that our truth started hiding from us. "Privacy, we need privacy," I’d tell myself, as I’d spend holidays with my family, as opposed to each others. "Privacy, we need privacy," I’d repeat as I’d watch his friends coddle his ex, but still be unaware about me. I’d know their lives, know their stories, know who they are, but I wasn’t even sure if they’d be able to spot me in a room of five people. That wasn’t privacy. That wasn’t protection.

While I always attempted to understand his reasoning – partly because he was constantly in the public eye and partly because I just didn’t want to be bothered – I always felt he had something to hide. I felt I was inadequate. I felt I wasn’t enough. (Hence my uplifting affirmation: I am more than enough!)

Our relationship, that was built on the guise of privacy, became quickly corrupted by the feelings of insecurity and low-worth. It was watered down by the ex-girlfriend drama and my failing desire to want to fight for it. (Not physically. Never physically.) The privacy affected our certainty, or lack thereof, and our uncertainty affected our effort. We didn’t want to give too much for fear of losing it all, but we knew giving too little would be pointless. We built a fence up to our collarbones, high enough to protect our bodies from the bruising, but low enough to stare into each others souls. We didn’t want real love, we wanted safe love. We wanted it to feel good and to hurt less. We wanted to be in it up to our necks, but not over our heads. That uncertainty sprouted from the constant masquerade that there was nothing going on between us. It was shaped from going to events and pretending to not have ridden in the same car. It was hugging as if the night before we hadn’t just cuddled. Everything, all of it, surrounding our foundation – the notion that all that we are together, shouldn’t come to life.

The foundation we built wasn’t sturdy at all. No matter how we tried to hide that reality – attempting to patch things up without digging deep enough to capture the true problem – they came out over and over again. It’s why I felt half wanted in the relationship; why I felt like he was being only half transparent with me, while he felt he told me everything; why being out at events (a little more openly toward the end) still didn't feel like enough; why I felt confined to our respective apartments and a few wine nights out with his mom, and nothing more – even though there was honestly nothing more I’d want to be part of (at least that’s what I told myself). It's why the thoughts of meeting his judgmental friends stopped being a priority of mine, though deep down inside affecting how I interpreted my role in his life.

Despite what it appears, we were in a good place – often. I knew the truth of our love and how far it was willing to stretch. But the uneven foundation we built those years ago, played a huge role in the struggles we faced throughout our time together. They played a role in the insecurities we both felt and our responses to them. So when I’m prompted to write about how to love ‘her’ – how to love me – I really just want to say “from the foundation up”. Don’t start loving me when you realize you love me, love me from the start. Love me from the minute you lay that first brick. Love me from the very first butterfly, to your very last breath.

Love me openly. Without ceasing. Love me publicly and privately. In the face of others, with no regard to how uncomfortable it makes them feel. Love me unashamedly and unapologetically. 

Love me honestly. With your intent worn on your sleeve. With a mouth full of promises you intend to keep. Love me enough to see a future. To proclaim that future. To not be teetering on the edge, but to know, with no doubt, what you’re in it for. Love me enough to not be ashamed to tell anyone or show anyone. Let your honest love stem beyond our four walls, but into the walls of others lives.

Love me in a way I’ve never been loved. With intention, certainty, promise and purpose. Love me in the way God told you to; and give me nothing less than that.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like