Those that go searching for love, only manifest their own loveless ness. And the loveless never find love, only the loving find love. And they never have to seek for it. – D.H. Lawrence
Around the time I posted my sisters Guest Blog post I had a discussion with my boyfriend Rich about his experiences, thoughts, feelings as someone who is in love with a first mother (that would be me). I know that my ex husband struggled greatly with this aspect of my life. I also know that my ex husbands struggles were rooted both in my own behavior/reactions to my status as well as his own.
I entered my eleven year marriage very much in the closet of birth mother shame. I was wearing a mask that I thought I had to wear to be considered socially acceptable. I was working and living for the â€œright thingsâ€ that I thought would make me acceptable to others, remove the scarlet letter from my ample chest (you can imagine how big that letter was) AND make me appealing to my daughter if I ever found her. Internally, secretly, I was allowing myself to be my true self and was heavily involved on the Net with adoption. I kept this aspect of my life completely separate from my husband as that is what I was conditioned to do. I had to be split if I wanted to be accepted. Love was conditional.
As I approached reunion, the glue on my social mask began to weaken and I began to change. Not surprisingly, my marriage also began to crumble. The adoption trauma added to other marital issues we had and our marriage fell apart. I was no longer the woman my husband married. I no longer wanted the things he wanted. We were worlds apart.
Since my divorce, I have worked hard at improving my relationship and communication skills. I know many of the things I did wrong with my ex and I donâ€™t want to repeat them. Two years post divorce and I find an amazing man who embraces all aspects of my personality â€“ because I allow him to see them. I let him in. I let his love in (and I might add this is NOT easy for when all around you abandon you it is incredibly hard to trust again).
Boy am I glad I did.
His post is below. I feel a little embarrassed to post this. It seems a bit gushy but in keeping with my personal practice, I have not edited. I am posting his words verbatim.
Years ago I was quite convinced no man would ever love me due to what I had â€œdoneâ€ and the type of girl I was. I was actually told this by a family member. "Men dont marry whores." "No man will every marry a woman who already gave birth to another mans child"
I have been proven wrong.
As with my sisters post, the title is his.
Iâ€™ll Stand By You
Hello all, when Suz asked me to submit a guest blog on how adoption has impacted our relationship I was equally humbled and honoredâ€¦
It was deep into our second date when Suz said to me , â€˜OK, I have something very important to tell you as it relates to me and my past & itâ€™s a big part of me, my life and who I am as a personâ€™â€¦
I thought the wildest things, was this the part I found out where she was really a serial killer or maybe perhaps in the FBI witness protection program, LOLâ€¦
Then she proceeded to tell me about her daughter, the adoption that took place, etc..
Now having never been in a relationship with someone who had anything at all to do with the adoption process I was a â€˜blank slateâ€™ on this topicâ€¦
I will jump ahead a bit and tell you I was at the time and continue to be absolutely horrified beyond words at some of the injustices that were done to her, how she was manipulated by the system & how this was all allowed to happen!!!
Back to our second date, I thought to myself, â€˜OKâ€™ when she told me about her daughter, what had occurred & how she was very prevalent & very active in the adoption fieldâ€¦
We had discussed Oriah Mountain Dreamerâ€™s â€˜The Invitationâ€™ and one of the passages is:
â€œI want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it
or fade it or fix itâ€.
While men tend to be big â€˜fixersâ€™ in a lot of aspects concerning lifeâ€™s items that need fixing, this is not one of those items you â€˜fixâ€™â€¦
I recognize & understand thatâ€¦
Ultimately, I simply try to be there for her, sometimes I just listen, other times I offer insights, thereâ€™s no â€˜guideâ€™ on how you deal with this in a relationship, I will offer this however, isnâ€™t the whole concept of someone being a â€˜partnerâ€™ to another entail that youâ€™re there for him or her in every sense of the word, you offer love, support, comfort, compassion, right??
To quote the song by the Pretenders: â€œIâ€™ll stand by youâ€, encapsulates what I am driving at hereâ€¦â€™nothing you confess, could make me love you lessâ€™ Suzâ€¦
I was also deeply honored when she asked me to go with her to Philadelphia to meet her friends and ultimately prep for the adoption conference in Cleveland in Aprilâ€¦
I knew down to the roots of my soul that this would be & was a tremendously emotional weekend in Philly for her & I was very much humbled that she asked me to go, as I knew how critically important it was to her. I can tell you as I carried â€˜the boxâ€™ through the streets of Philly, the feeling I experienced was that no force on Earth would make me let go of that box.
When Suz and her friends talked on that Saturday afternoon about their shared experiences from different sides of the adoption experience I can tell you Iâ€™ve never been more horrified, moved, appalled, empathetic in my life, such a multitude of emotions flooded through me the likes of which I have never experienced beforeâ€¦
To hear their stories recounted I tried my best to put myself in their shoes and it was hard, so very, very hard to even imagine what Suz went through.
I can tell you in all honesty my love for her grew exponentially that day, as Thirdmom put it to me, â€˜Suz has been to hell and backâ€™â€¦
I can personally attest that sheâ€™s still full of vim and vigor, to have endured what she has & to be the person she is today speaks volumes about her character, integrity, class & pure old fashioned guts!!
Thirdmom paid me a huge compliment when she told me she was amazed how â€œI have embraced the presence of adoption in Suzâ€™s lifeâ€â€¦thank you again for that compliment Margie.
I repeat myself here, â€˜isnâ€™t that what a partner doesâ€™ is the question that runs through my mindâ€¦
I recognize this is an important part of her life and has in a sense shaped her to be the person she is todayâ€¦I love her for who she is, I love her for her past, for her present with me & for our shared future togetherâ€¦
In summary, this has opened my eyes to the adoption experience in so many different ways, yes itâ€™s part of our relationship but it doesnâ€™t define our relationship.
Thank you again Suz for asking me to share my thoughtsâ€¦
I love you, Rich
Iâ€™ll leave you all with this love poem from Captain Corelliâ€™s Mandolin as it exemplifies what I believe true love should be about:
One tree, not two:
Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being "in love" which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.