All was fair in Love and…Gambling? My Stint with Addiction

March 1, 2018
Danielle

On occasion, I am asked, how is it that I am able to be so laid back about the possibility of being single for the rest of my life. Considering the stigmatization that accompanies those who fall outside the experience of romantic love, I guess I can understand the apprehension. It’s not that I am closed to the option of meeting someone and doing the relationship thing. If the circumstances are right I am quite fine with it. However, with past relationships acting as a benchmark, my current experience with single life, and through a process of self-discovery, self-awareness and self-love I now have a new perspective on love and a foundation for pursuing it.

 

To give some background, here is a bit of my story.

Danielle

I was already over thirty with a few relationships under my belt when I met Mr X. I knew the difference between infatuation and love, and considered myself pretty level headed concerning relationships. All protocol for intentional dating was followed, including necessary questions, checks on values and future direction. Based on all that was revealed so far Mr X seemed to be okay.

 

We had been unofficially dating for a while with no hiccups. The problems started though when conversations concerning making things official came up. This was the beginning of Mr X’s series of explanations on why he couldn’t yet commit.

 

There were a range of issues covered in his explanations 100 percent of which related to me. It was personality issues, like “you are too introverted, you wait too long contemplating issues before dealing with them” or issues with my lack of effort “I wasn’t expressive sexually”.

 

My thoughts in times like those were usually “what’s wrong with being introverted” “I’m contemplating issues so I wouldn’t respond emotionally but with an understanding of what was actually bothering me” “I’m not more expressive because we aren’t in a committed relationship”. I did express these thoughts but to him it didn’t matter.

The logical response would have been to say “well since I don’t seem good enough I will be on my way.” However, that wasn’t my response. Instead, I brushed off my own concerns and decided to try to address Mr. X’s.


With the assumption that once I addressed his issues the relationship would be able to move forward and in my willingness to try to communicate, understand, adjust and accept (because that’s what relationships are about to no end right? haha) and to build on what was potentially a great relationship, I began an addictive cycle of addressing issues without having any redress of my own.


As I did, things seemed to progress. This progress along with other good moments in between acted as positive feedback. These were the near winnings that motivated me to continue. However, despite these ‘good times’, if I brought up the issue of commitment again, I would then be presented with all the things about me that still were not quite right.


There was always something that wasn’t good enough and I found myself constantly trying to prove myself and my worth. In one breath I would be validated and in the next that validation would be taken away.

Danielle

Sometime during this time I found out that Mr. X was seeing other people as well. Considering that we were not yet officially dating, having a discussion on his interactions with other females was always difficult. When I confronted him on it he either made it out to be nothing or behaved as if he considered my feelings and accepted my terms for our continuation (which of course wasn’t the case). Of course as I was getting a clearer picture of how ‘okay’ Mr X seemed to be, and the affect the situation was having on me I attempted to break things off. But as it usually goes, once you are caught up, a clean break is not easy. Between attempted breakups, apologies and temporary changes, that experience lasted just under 5 years.

 

We all pursue love at different stages in our lives and for different reasons. Depending on these, some of us, as I did, find ourselves vulnerable to situations, behaviours and partners that would have otherwise been considered unsuitable, unhealthy or dysfunctional. Whether it be fears of being single (stigmatization, loneliness, never birthing kids…) and other fears, insecurities or self-esteem issues formed since childhood, until we understand our issues and confront them our decisions in relation to love, life and our relations with others in general, will almost never be in our best interest. My regret concerning that relationship experience isn’t based on the fact that I was mistreated. It is based on the fact that I allowed myself to be mistreated. I became powerless not because I wasn’t smart or knowledgeable enough, but because of my own fears and insecurities. With some distance in between and time spent on my own, time that I now cherish, I have a clearer understanding of myself and what I would like to get out of life and love.

Danielle
Danielle

These are some of my thoughts:


  • The experience of love between two mates and with all that it entails is great. However, it isn’t great enough for me to sacrifice my own well-being, sanity and esteem. That goes from the little things straight up to the complicated things. I know we have been sold a different story. Love has been forever romanticised, along with all the things we should do to secure and keep it. And of course it’s on the list of top five things to do to achieve overall well-being. Not that i’m disagreeing, but if it’s to the detriment of my mental peace, hey it’s okay, I’m good.
  • I am ultimately in control of my life and how it turns out depends on my effort and willingness to be open to new opportunities and ways of spending my life. Everyone’s perspectives and attitudes on life are not the same. We don’t all confront situations in life the same. Thinking that we do will only cause us to operate with fear and anxiety of what’s ahead instead of opening up to other possibilities and experiences that although different may be just as satisfying. As one motivator puts it, I intend to live in the offense not the defense.
  • Comments, opinions and judgements made by others on our lives are usually a reflection of their own path, fears and acceptance of social and cultural expectations and norms. Though we are sometimes inclined to, there is no need to measure or judge ourselves against them. The only check lists, expectations and norms that matter are the ones I create for myself.
  • Regardless of the situation I find myself in, i’m always good enough. I’m always enough. We fall in love with the potential of others all the time, feeling less than and thinking that we would be at a loss if we had to let go of that person. But why so much disbelief in our own potential if we are so quick to believe in others? My prospect for a great life does not depend on anything external to myself. The only dreams I am now interested in buying into are those of my own.


Self-discovery, self -awareness and self-love, is a journey that I will forever be on. For those who are single and have never considered it, there is no better time than the present. For those you who are not single (and happen to be reading) and have never been on it, there is no better time than the present. Lastly, don’t be ashamed of your missteps. I’m definitely not. It’s nothing but a stepping stone for your future place of strength!

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10 responses to “All was fair in Love and…Gambling? My Stint with Addiction”

  1. Nimah says:

    Thanks for sharing Chica… the part about disbelief in our own potential while believing so much on others is really powerful!

  2. Cafian Allen says:

    I read this story feeling oh too many similar resolves. It reminded me that I am not crazy for refusing to gamble with my feelings and sanity the way I would have in the past because of whatever the interaction. This one hit home to me. Your bravery in expression and vulnerability is classic. Thanks for the sobering words

  3. Darlene says:

    This is so real and being able to say it as it is without inhibitions is even more amazing…keep on doing you

  4. Christina says:

    Very real and poignant. Thank you for sharing.

  5. E Charles says:

    Your strengths show, and they are many

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