Contributed by Tanya S.
I_love_U_-_PETALSAfter a break-up, there is often a period of mourning which sometimes includes a lot of self pity.  There might even be a point when you want to give up on the whole love thing.  I know, I have been there.  I had resigned myself to spending the rest of my life alone. After all, how would I find a partner who will accept my _________. (You can fill in the blanks with your individual worries.)

I am a serial monogamist and I have had many relationships. When my relationships ended, I would be forlorn but then I would bounce back, sometimes finding a rebound man quickly.  Twice I had the hardest time bouncing back and these were after an emotionally abusive relationship when I needed to rebuild my self-esteem. The other time was after a great relationship.  We got along really well, had a lot of the same interests but not the same goals in life.  So it ended. After this relationship, I had the hardest time believing there was someone out there for me. So, for a while, I did nothing to put myself out there. Why?  I felt like I was a failure at love. If I couldn’t make things work with someone I got along with, how could I get along with anyone?  Will I just go from one relationship to another? Will each relationship end after a year? Am I boring? Am I worthless? Am I being too picky? Is no one good enough for me?

I had all of these questions that pointed to me not being good enough.  But there is something inside of me that won’t go away: Hope. It is always there. I have tried to stomp it out with self-pity and self-loathing but it pops right back up when I least expect it.

I thought of my dad and the fact that he didn’t meet my mom until he was in his 40s and they have been happily married now for over 40 years.  If he could do it so can I.  This helped me shift my way of thinking.  I am not a failure at relationships. After each one I learned a little bit more about myself. For example, I need to share my feelings more; when I don’t, I become resentful.

I decided to not give up.  Giving up guarantees failure! Instead, I will keep myself open to love.

How do you keep love alive? We invite you to comment in the box below.