“You’re too much!” That’s what I’ve been told time and time again. How can you love too much? I’ve never known, truly understood, how my love comes off on others. I show love differently. Honestly, it wasn’t until I turned forty that I learned the truth: I don’t know how to love appropriately.

“If you don’t love yourself, no one else will love you either.” That’s what my mama always used to say. My parents divorced when I was two, and my step-dad moved in shortly after. Let’s just say that two type A’s didn’t work together either. Tempers high with hand-slap raised is how I grew to know love.

“Life’s a toilet bowl. People shit on you every day.” That’s what I learned at a young age. I grew up tough with four brothers. My armor was always up. And that’s how I unknowingly took on life. I would push family away, hardly able to hug, but with boys for love, I’d open my legs up.

“If a tree waved at you, you’d fall in love, especially if it’s a boy with torn jeans and long hair.” That’s what my daddy, who was a truck driver living a town away, used to say. He often followed that with, “Just be thankful you’re cute. Even at seventeen and in a wheelchair, you’ve had more boyfriends than your Aunt Goldie who never had any.”

I never felt lucky in love. Unlucky, in fact, with failure after failure of short relationships that ended because I loved too much or not enough. Regardless love was an addiction of the worst kind. I envied those who had it and wondered why I was so blind.

At thirty, marriage found me, six months into a relationship, when I found out I was pregnant. When I met my husband, I couldn’t breath until he returned to my side. The thought of losing him kept me terrified. That was love to me.

It was my ritual to treat him like a king, ensure he never left me. Then, I learned marriage causes anxiety, eating at the soul like after committing a crime. I found myself with one baby and one little boy who had a bigger mouth, more stuff, and could be a dick, taking me for granted. Moreover, the sex wasn’t good because it was non-existent. Crabby he worked too much, and when he was off, he always had stupid high school friends around.

By year three, escape from marriage ruled my thoughts. However, we decided to move to Colorado insteas, our little family starting fresh in the mountains. He went first. It took two months of being in separate states before I knew I didn’t like life better without my mate. We reunited in Littleton, loving each other like addicts again.

Unfortunately, Colorado didn’t go so well for our nuclear bond. With me being sick too much, him working more to keep earning enough to live there, and my daughter not making friends, resentment at being together alone built for five years and permeated our home. Eventually I knew love can’t always get you through, so I sent them back to our hometown,. Done through and through.

My last year in Colorado, I was turning forty, and my mid-life crisis scrambled my brain. I had no friends, no out-let, and I was always in pain. I spent so much time with my amazing and adorable therapist, who lived life large, that like I was insane I “fell in love” with my dreams. And then I learned the most important thing: I don’t know how to love properly.

After my family left, I began researching  why I have such a compulsion to run from real love. The answer came after researching my psychology. Why don’t I fight; Why do I fly? Because love is scary! That’s why. Love takes years to grow, and both lovers have to foster love to make it strong enough to last through the trials and errors. Or break-up, my worst terror.

I lived 9.8 years of our marriage convinced he should be with someone else. So, I continued looking myself. Wondering if there’s someone who would treat me better, someone with the same interests as me, someone who inspires a larger life than the one I felt stuck in. To my husband I said, “Don’t you know how much easier life could be? Please just divorce me!”

Love equated loss for so long in my life. It took a man who held on and who was willing to take the time to understand the ego and id that battles within me, a complicated woman. It’s amazing how in relationships and marriage the point can get lost in our personal crucibles. Without communication and care over the years, I know I wouldn’t be here. Love to me these days is a new mystery, a uncharted journey! Now that I’ve learned me, maybe we can sail free of misery!

(Dear Readers: Forgive me if I don’t write much about falling in love. For me it was a turbulent journey. I know what love means now though. My husband knows when things are all wrong for me, and I get snippy, it can be solved easily: conversation to ease my mind and sex with a hard ending. And I keep him happy by lovingly treating him like a king. We’re a work in progress, always changing!)