The stores are teeming with hearts and teddy bears and flowers and chocolates, all those things that suggest love and affection. With all the buzz of love going around, I have reflected upon the kind of love I have experienced in my life. In some instances, the type of love I thought I was experiencing, turned out not to be the love I thought. Other times, I have had genuine feelings of romantic and friendship love towards others, but those feelings were not returned. At this point in my life, I am aware of what real friendships look like. I have a better understanding of what love between a man and a woman should be. Most importantly, I have learned about Christ’s love, and as a result, I have experienced positive changes in my relationships with others and improved upon loving myself.
One of the things I struggled with before I placed Matthew for adoption was that I did not love him the same way as I do his brothers. Feelings of guilt plagued me. I love Matt, very much. Today, I love him just the same as his brothers. At first, it really was different. During the pregnancy, I told myself that he is not my baby; ergo, I stopped myself from becoming too attached to him. I thought it would be too hard to think of him as my son. As it turns out, there was nothing I could do to turn off those feelings; he is my son. There is nothing I would do for Edward and Matthias that I would not do for Matthew. Now, because I am not raising Matt as my own, I am not able to show him the kind of love I feel for him; I am not able to show him I love him in the same way I show his brothers. I do know that Matt’s parents love him just as I do, and they will let him know that I love him very much.
Different types of love-different ways to express them. I would not show love to my family in the same way I would my spouse (I will eventually have one of those). Romantic (Eros) love stems from a mutual respect for each other. That kind of love should not harbor jealousy nor control. When I do eventually date, I will know whether nor not my date respects me based on how he treats me. With my children, it is different. Their love for me stems from a different place. I have loved and cared for them their whole lives. We are openly affectionate with each other, though they are becoming less affectionate between the two of them.
Going forward, I know what kind of love to expect in lasting relationships, whether they are friendships or a romantic relationship. I know that I have come a long way to experiencing self-love and acceptance, and I still have a long way to go.
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