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Feeling a bit lost

CW: Emotional abuse

 

So my life has been pretty shitty in the past; I'm not going into detail but TLDR;

 

 

Spoiler

I was emotionally abused and gaslighted into believing it was normal all my teenage years and perhaps even before then by my parents, and it didn't exactly get better after I came out as trans, lesbian, and asexual to them. I ended up having to leave without them knowing because I didn't feel safe, and then the people in the sharehouse I was in for a while turned out to be rather unpleasant and gaslighted me a bit as well. 

 

So in the end...I'm not really sure what love even is.

And not only is this a problem in its own right but...I want to be able to tell my girlfriend I love her, but I can't. If I try to type the words out I just get all choked up and confused because I just...don't know what they mean for me. I feel like I can't even trust myself to know what love is, whether romantic or otherwise.

 

Re: Feeling a bit lost

I think love can be quite a complex feeling for everyone who feels it @Remi ...and i dont want you to be concenred that there is some uncertainty in this regard, expecially if you have experienced emotional abuse in your past... Take your time with this feeling and rest easy knowing that we only need to say these words when we feel confident to say them. HeartHeart

Re: Feeling a bit lost

I can see what you're going through is quite confusing and upsetting, I'm glad you're reaching out and talking about it. I want to let you know that you're not alone, from what I can tell nearly everyone at some point has difficulties with telling people they love them. That's not to say that your own reasons for finding it hard aren't also real and important.

A lot of the time abuse can warp our ideas of what love is, in a variety of ways. I wonder that maybe not knowing what love is might be because what love means to you is changing? Certainly for me, when I started dating my girlfriend love started to mean something different for me, and how the meaning of love changed for me was confusing at times. When I was confused I found that what was really important was patience, from myself, my girlfriend and other people close to me. With a bit of time and careful thought, I've come to understand what was confusing me each time.

I think there's a good chance that you can still have a loving, healthy relationship while you're not ready to say "I love you". You can show love in many many many ways, words are just one of them! For instance I show people I love them by making things for them. I cook for my girlfriend all the time, for mother's day I wrote down one of my recipes for my mum, and sometimes I make art for people. Some other ways are with touch (eg. hugs, holding hands), spending time together, compliments, and more. Oh, and flowers are a reliable classic!

If you're worried that your girlfriend is waiting for you to say "I love you", it might be a good idea to let her know that you aren't ready. Hopefully she'll understand and be patient with you, and you can feel less pressure while you build yourself and your relationship up.

Re: Feeling a bit lost

@squiggly  Abuse warping my ideas of love sounds like a pretty accurate way of describing it, yeah. I did talk to her about it a bit and she was nice and understanding Smiley Happy

Unfortunately we're in different cities, so words are kinda all we've got at the moment. And sure there's compliments and stuff, but it's...it's not just that though, it's...I guess I can't even say it to myself. I can't even define my feelings for her as love even in my own head, because I just...don't know what that means anymore. Maybe I never really did.

Re: Feeling a bit lost

@Remi that sounds really hard...

How would you describe your feelings to her, in your own words?

Re: Feeling a bit lost

Thanks @squiggly for your helpful response... I think you had some really great points that are really poignant to @Remi 's feelings. And @Remi i agree with @squiggly that patience here is key. Its important to allow ourself the time to heal from old wounds and to be patient with what that means for feelings like love. I'm sorry that you are in different cities, but @Remi it sounds to me like your partner is quite understanding with what you are experiencing. They must be a very conscientious person. Heart