“We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve”: Why I’m Still Struggling to Realize The Love I’m Worth

Deserve love

In the wonderful world of dating, we 20-something women have been through some shit. It took many failed relationships to finally clear our rose-tinted glasses and figure out what we wanted. We may have fallen for the first guy that paid us any attention, who made us feel lucky and loved, only to realize he showed a few other chicks some attention, as well. We may have dated the cling-on, the sweet guy who bought us roses but called us 25 times a day. We forced love when we didn’t feel it, and broke it for reasons we still can’t quite explain.

We let movies and television teach us the dos and don’ts of relationships, soaking in Carrie Bradshaw’s each and every word. Staying up late reading Cosmo and listening to our girlfriends chatter about relationship drama created memorable, and rather educational, nights. And thus, our ideal relationship constitution was forged. Trial and error, rom-com after rom-com. We experimented, broken hearts, had fun, loved unconditionally and had our hearts wounded in return.

Past the melodrama of teenage dating, I am extremely fortunate to be in my current relationship. I’m with a man who treats me like gold. Never have I felt disrespected or unequal. The love we have for each other is beautifully mutual and valued like no other. Together, we become the best versions of ourselves. We’re a healthy and happy couple, each eternally thankful for the other. I know I’m lucky. It takes some people years to find their person. So, why am I still questioning the authenticity of my relationship?

I can’t shake the sinking feeling that sometimes overwhelms me when I think of him leaving me, moving on, or finding someone better. I’m certain we’ll always be together, while simultaneously feeling that the love is too good to last. Why do I do this to myself? Deep down I know he only wants me. Why am I denying myself complete satisfaction in my relationship?

My mind trips over the fact that if it didn’t work out for anyone else, then why should it work out for me? In the past, I’ve been used. My friends have been cheated on. Carrie’s fiancé left her on their wedding day. Surely, there’s a method behind the madness; some truth to the relationships around me, whether real or fictitious. Helplessness settles in as I wait for the drama Comso foretold to inevitably ensue.

Forcing myself to take a step back, I can examine my mind’s divide. Perhaps I’m just fearful of a future I can’t control; but truly, I believe 20-somethings were doomed from the start. The relationship anxieties and expectations established by peers and media outlets from our past have cluttered our minds to the point where we can’t see the beauty in front of us.

Time to scratch past prospects. I’m not the heartbroken Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook,” or my best friend from high school that spent her nights crying over boys. I’m no longer the 18-year-old who settled for less than she deserved. I am a millennial woman seeking to discover that I am worthy of the love I have been shown. And I’ll be damned if I continue to deprive myself of a faultless relationship.