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I Wasn’t Ready to Be Loved, But Now I am

I wasn’t ready to be loved

I met my ex boyfriend at the peak of my eating disorder.

I was insecure, self-conscious… any type of word that means I felt bad about myself – you name it, I felt it.

For a long time I channelled my inner Rose from Titanic and thought to myself, “He saved me, in every way a person can be saved.”

Which is true. I genuinely believe my eating disorder would have taken my life had I not met my ex and had him to lean on during the difficult times. And for that, I am eternally grateful. But recently I realised the relationship was probably doomed to fail from the beginning, and the reason why is simple.

My ex didn’t fall in love with me. At least, not the real me. He fell in love with a version of me.

A broken, small, scared version of me.

And that’s not who I am.

I am confident. I am resilient. And I am spontaneous. I am strong. I am playful. And I am silly. The more I let recovery into my life, the more these parts of me tried to shine through.

But the problem was, I felt stuck as the insecure, scared, needy little girl with my ex. Because that was the dynamic that we had established for ourselves for so long. And that dynamic persisted, which really limited my growth. It hindered my self-esteem, diminished my confidence, and held me back from experiencing the kind of happiness I wanted to.

We were together for almost three years, and no matter what he did or said, I could never believe that he loved me. And it wasn’t his fault at all. He was kind, sweet, caring, and thoughtful. But because I was trapped in the feelings of self-doubt that I had started the relationship with, my brain never allowed his loving words or actions to sink in.

And our relationship suffered because of this.

I feel bad. Maybe we met at the wrong time. Maybe we wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I’ll never know for sure.

I wasn’t ready to be loved, but now I am.

So recently, I met someone online. We’ve been talking for two months. And I don’t doubt him when he says, “I like you a lot.”

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I like who I am when I’m with him, and he actually inspires me to be the best version of myself. I don’t feel confined to this narrative of who I once was, and who my eating disorder told me I had to be. And I feel… free.

I’m not saying that you can’t find love if you are in the throes of an eating disorder. Because I truly think you can. I just think that I felt so stuck as the person I was when I met my ex. And I didn’t know how to separate myself from her.

I think I associated my ex with me being a needy, insecure, self-deprecating person. And I didn’t think anyone could love someone like that. Someone like me.

To my ex, I’m sorry.

You didn’t deserve someone who didn’t know how to be loved. I hope you find someone who can take in your love as strongly as you give it.

As for me, I’m hopeful.

I wasn’t ready to be loved, but now I am.

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