Every Woman Has a Story: Many Voices, Many Lessons, Many Lives
By Daryl Ott Underhill
You want to trust. You want to be in another relationship, but you're afraid. You've been hurt; you've been disappointed. You have trusted and ended up abused, sometimes even physically. Do you dare ever to trust again?
This is where I found myself at the age of forty-five. I was falling in love and I was falling apart because of it. Russ was everything that I wanted, but could I trust him with my heart?
Should I go further with this relationship? Should I get out of it while I could? Questions like this were causing me so much stress, I went to see a counselor. She taught me how to have confidence, to be able to see myself as a woman deserving of love and that I could try again.
"Are you happy with him?" she asked me.
"Well, of course," I answered, not even thinking about it.
"Then don't let fear stand between you and love, honey. Go for happiness."
It was true: Russ and I were happy. Our relationship was positive and free of the abuse of my previous relationships. Russ was a builder, instead of someone who tore down. So we became engaged and moved in together.
Russ had been hurt in the past, so we made a project out of trust. He encouraged me, did and said things to give me confidence, and was gentle with my feelings. I did the same for him. We did fight, but we set limits on it. We cried and apologized. He taught me, and I taught him. We talked, we learned, and we studied nonthreatening ways we could work out our problems, We became like a rosebush in the spring, and we blossomed. Trust in love began to grow and flourish in the atmosphere that we were creating. Our friends and family would comment on how happy we were. They didn't realize how much work, love, and growth we poured on our rosebush. We weren't without problems, but we worked to find the solutions.
After three years, we decided we were strong enough for the big step-marriage. That was high anxiety! It brought back frightening memories for me of my first husband. For Russ, it meant commitment. We had to talk it out. The night before the wedding, we had such tension that we bruised each other in our sleep, tossing and turning.
We were so glad we did it, though. We had been married for five joyous months when Russ died suddenly. I had lost my best friend. Now I am so glad I chose happiness. I am glad I allowed myself to let love grow to its conclusion. The beauty it added to my life was well worth it. The love and confidence gleaned from our love not only left me with sweet memories but has empowered me to go after long-lost dreams. It took everything that I had to fight the fear I had and allow myself to love again, but I have come to believe that the beauty of life is given to the ones who overcome fear.
"I wrote this story because I believe it takes courage to get what you want in life, and to get past the hurts. I've had to do this so often in my life. " Linda is now in her early fifties and is attending college where she studies naturopathy and counseling. Linda is not alone and finds solace with her two children, a stepdaughter, and two grandchildren.