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How to Love Without Losing Yourself

“We love because it is the only true adventure.” ~Nikki Giovanni 

Last night I sat with an old friend who has recently broken up with his girlfriend. He’s sad. She’s sad.

I don’t think it was time for them to give up yet; he’s exhausted and disagrees. He says he thinks that he just loves to love. When you love to love, he says, it’s impossible to separate the act of loving from the person that you’re actually supposed to love.

He thinks that he’s too much in love with the idea of love to actually know what he wants. And so, he argues, giving her another chance would be futile.  

I know what he means, because I love to love, too.

When I met my boyfriend, Chase, I thought I had been in love before. In fact, I was positive of it. I had built a life out of a dating and relationship blog—of course I had been in love before.

There was only one relationship that stood out from the masses of little flings, and for a time, he was my world. We met in college (although he wasn’t in school, a sign of different horizons that would eventually be the pitfall of our short-lived romance). And we developed our own little cocoon which quickly meant everything to me.

I had grown up with a happy home life, two parents that met, fell in love, and then stayed together. I had an (albeit naive) perspective that when you meet the right person, you fall in love, and that’s that.

I never doubted him for a minute; this was what was supposed to happen. I trusted it, the process of companionship, and I let myself settle into having someone.

After only a few short months together, he said he needed to move since he could no longer afford to live Boulder, where I was going to college at the time, so we made the decision to move in together.

Whether he meant that or not I’m unsure. I had more financial resources and was able to subsidize the move—a theme that stretched throughout the majority of our time together.

That decision to move in together felt like every other decision we made—an initial excitement that then was held together by necessity.

I have no other way to describe our time together but fearful. Fear of being alone. Fear I had made a mistake. Fear that if he left it was because I was unlovable, that there was something wrong with me. 

In retrospect, I had an anxiety that was speaking volumes, louder than my voice ever could. I remember sitting in a park alone, crying, before signing the lease. I knew, deep down, that there was nothing solid about our life together, but I didn’t know what else to do.

Truly, I thought this was as good as it was going to get.

Quickly claustrophobic by our limiting world together, he began to rebel against me and our relationship. Within a matter of months, things started to fall apart.

He became angry, and mean, and a lot of true colors started to show. I didn’t know how to process this sudden shift and blamed myself. My life went from my own, to ours, to trying to salvage what was left in any respect.

I was quiet most of the time. My mom describes me during that time as very “proper,” always quiet and trying not to say the wrong thing. As a woman who has built a life on being an outspoken fearless thinker, I was quickly becoming a far cry from the person I once was.

It was a strange time, and although I don’t remember much of the details, I do remember it being extraordinarily painful.

I had let myself and my old hobbies go, and I’d slowly begun rejecting a lot of what was still left of the old me. I became the enemy for both of us, it seems, since I seemed to be the cause of much of his anger.

He told me incessantly that I was impossible to deal with, that I was impossible to love. He made his points clear. But I was lost in the world we’d built and didn’t know of a way out.

Eventually, after too long of sitting in that toxic mess we’d built, I ended it.

I was sad for a long time. I went back to being lonely, in an empty house, and I felt like a failure.

To be fair, I was young. In the beginning, I suppose more than anything I was just excited not to be alone anymore. In many respects, I was taken advantage of. In most respects, I wasn’t strong enough to stand up to my own fears and make good decisions.

Then, three years later, I met my current boyfriend, Chase.

By then I was strong and independent, with a  great job, lots of dreams, friends, and a strong backbone in relationships. I had spent years processing how I had lost myself before, and I was determined to never go through that again.

But then the strangest thing happened: I started to feel these feelings that I had never felt before. Chase, unlike anyone before in my life, loved me. And unlike anything in my life, I loved him.

I didn’t just love the idea of him or the companionship of being together, but I adored the person that he was. He enjoyed the person that I was. And as I fell in love with him, they were feelings that were brand new.

They were feelings of belonging, safety, passion and companionship—and they didn’t have an ounce of underlying fear. 

I realized that for the first time in my entire life, I was really falling in love.

Sometimes, in the beginning, and even still today, I’ll become untrusting and difficult, attacking out of nowhere. The naive trust that I had so long ago got used up and beaten up by the wrong person. But unlike that wrong person, when he used to attack for no reason, Chase protects everything: my happiness, our life together, and my relationship with myself.

So if there’s one thing that I learned the hard way in all of this, it’s this:

There are two experiences that we can define as love: we can fall in love with a person, or we can fall in love with companionship.

When you fall in love with a person, you get to experience their companionship as a byproduct. When you fall in love with companionship, it becomes an arrangement of need, where you become hinged on losing one another. It’s built on fear, necessity, and power. And that isn’t falling in love.

I can promise you this:

When you fall in love with a person, and they fall in love with you, you won’t lose yourself in love, because you will be an important part of that love and what makes it tick.

After a year together, Chase and I are moving in together this summer. It isn’t because we need to. It’s because we’ve slowly become a family already, and a place together is an exciting next step.

For the first time in my decorating-impaired life I’m planning curtains in my mind and begging him to go to Ikea with me. This next step is an exciting leap, and there’s no fear attached.

For the first time, I’m in love—and I haven’t lost myself even a tiny bit.

Photo by epSos.de

Avatar of Jennifer Gargotto

About Jennifer Gargotto

Jennifer Gargotto is an online marketing and SEO professional living in Denver, Colorado. You can follow her adventures online at MsMorphosis.com, where she writes about fearless thinking for modern women, and Blogging Fearlessly, where she teaches people how to grow personally and professionally online.

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  • Titi

    thank you for sharing, I understand

  • Lily

    Beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing! 

  • wafflepower

    Thank you so much for this.  I just got out of a 4 month relationship with someone I didn’t even really like all that much (something I figured out in retrospect).  Yet I was devastated when it ended.  I think you hit the nail on the head–I was attached to the companionship, not the person.  I too became very quiet, and felt like I was losing myself.  I’m in my mid-30s and have never been in love.  

    It makes me feel hope to read your words, “When you fall in love with a person, and they fall in love with you, you won’t lose yourself in love because you will be an important part of that love and what makes it tick.” 

  • http://crazyintrovert.com/ Glori (CrazyIntrovert)

    I can’t help but laugh at myself for reading this. It’s like my preparation for falling in love. (Yup, I have never fallen in love before.)
    Thanks for a great read Jennifer!

  • Teresa Potter

    Thank you. This was exactly what I needed to hear this morning

  • Mainiacbrainiac

    all true, but falling in love with a person and they not falling in love with you really stinks.

  • Trmbnme

    He was a narcissist…the guy who gave you nothing but fear.  That was a wake-up that I’m so glad you heeded. 

  • Aquarius Company

    Thank you, Jennifer and Tiny Buddha … this is, without a doubt, the best piece I’ve ever read on this subject.  (and trust me, I’ve read ALOT on this subject)  It so perfectly and simply sums it all up … it’s either the “idea” or the person – and now, I’m waiting for that “person” feeling.  =)  Really great stuff!

  • Jennchiass

    Thank you. I needed this today, I needed something to make sense right now and this was exactly it.

  • Joyce

    my story is so similar as yours… and I am so happy you found your true love, I cannot wait to find mine. ^_^

  • http://msmorphosis.com/ Jen

    I’m so sorry to hear about the breakup – they’re always devastating. But I’m so glad you’re finding some clarity with it and are realizing that you didn’t lose anything by losing them, you just learned that you are ready for love and it’s time to go out and find that person :) Thank you so much for the sweet comment, and I have total confidence that when the right person comes along, you’ll be ready for them (and they’ll be so lucky to have you!)

  • Tiffany Howard

    Thank you so much for this. 

  • http://msmorphosis.com/ Jen

    It’s amazing how many people haven’t fallen in love – and that’s really a good thing. I mean, it only takes one person, right? So isn’t it better to wait for the RIGHT one person?? :) Thanks for reading, Glori :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Totally. As the love guru Charlie Brown once said, “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.” …. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    This is just the greatest compliment, ever. Thank you so, so much :) Definitely wait for the person feeling – anything else is just an illusion (that, in the long run, doesn’t really pay off). 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Yes, I agree. He wasn’t a very good guy, in retrospect. It’s amazing how we can become so committed to something that is so destructive. I’m grateful I found a way out, and it astounds me that he can still impact my psyche and self-perception, but it’s just a matter of staying honest with myself, moving forward, and allowing myself to trust and love in the present. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    :) thank YOU for reading. I hope it’s a wonderful day :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    It’s worth the wait! My biggest advice – keep making space, and keep your eyes open in unexpected places :) Thank you so much for reading and anyone that put you through the fearful horrible nonsense has no place in your life. xox

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Thank you for reading :) The weirdest part about this stuff is how much it doesn’t make sense. To this day I can’t make sense of the bad relationship – how I got myself into it, how he could be so mean, etc etc… but what I have made sense of is the “make space and move on” part, and that there’s something so much better out there :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Thank you for reading :) xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Sometimes,that’s what we all need to hear. “I understand” are powerful words. Thank you for reading xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Thank you so much for reading <3

  • Tracey

    I can relate to post on so many levels great read thank you

  • Kalypso

    There are couples that get together and fall in love, and their goal to evolve as people and spiritually, These, in my experience, are the couples that really last: those who accept each other, warts and all, and see each other as the teacher karma sent them on their life path.
    I am so blessed to have been in a committed relationship (marriage) for over 14 years and still going very strong and learning from each other. 
    Mostly, I see that there are conventional couple that get together to fulfill all the expectations they have had hammered in their brain from their parents, society, peer pressure and media, novels they read. It seems what happened to the writer was falling in love with the idea of love and re-creating her parents’ marriage. These couple are united by practical arrangements and situations. This is also the reason many people decide to have children, because “it’s what it’s supposed to be”. Way too many of these couples don’t last, or keep existing through the motions.
    I have experienced what it means getting with someone to be like the other girls and not an outcast, or for fear of being alone. It is not the right way to go. I was alone for 6 years in my life and I felt in command of my actions and free from fake illusions of companionship.

  • http://twitter.com/MyPurifiedMind Alana

    This is so beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • ylc

    thanks for writing this and sharing this with us :) It warms my heart and I hope some day I can fall in love with a person too. But I guess for now, just gotta keep working on myself and learn to love myself first.

  • Cschaffn

    I love this however, it brought tears to my eyes, because I see myself in alot of this and I feel foolish. Thank you for sharing.

  • misShiul

    Like it :)
    I love this part:
    “Falling in love with the person NOT with the companionship”
    Great post!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    It’s the ultimate battle, figuring out what’s “real” – thank you so much for all of the positive feedback :) I’m so glad you liked it!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Don’t feel foolish – the more I write about these things, here and in my own book and blog, the more I see how many women (and men!) share these experiences. It’s part of what brings meaning and value to the love that really IS worth it. Thank you so much for reading and I’m so glad it resonated with you. xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    You’re welcome :) Thank you so much for reading. Yeah, it really does “come along when you least expect it.” But if you love yourself, and you’re true to yourself, I really believe that you’ll “attract what you” and attract someone that loves you (the real you) that you can love too. There’s magic in making space and learning who we are :) xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Aw, thank you so much. You’re welcome! Thank YOU for reading!! xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    You’re totally right. Once I found someone that seemed to “fit the gap” I just placed them there, without any concept of a bigger picture or looking for true love that may, or may not, fill any sort of mold. Now in a new relationship, I’m finding that we’re creating our relationship ourselves, rather than trying to fit into each other’s molds. It’s an ongoing process :) Congratulations on your beautiful marriage and thanks for sharing your experience, as well :) xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    :) I’m so happy it resonated. Thank YOU so much for reading. xo

  • fellow traveler

    Beautiful piece and sharing.
    Something very similar happened to me – the first part – and reading your experience confirms that to love a person (instead of companionship or any ideals we might have) must feel natural and fearless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Thank you so much :) And yes – I love that way of describing it – it IS really natural and fearless. Any fear I bring in is from the past, it’s unwarranted by his behavior or internal resistance to the relationship itself. It’s also very, very natural. It just sort of happens, and works – no “justifying” necessary. Thank you so much for reading and I’m sorry you had to go through something similar, but I’m glad that you’re moving forward. I’m confident that those who keep searching, and learning as they go, eventually grow to find what they’re looking for :) xo

  • Narwhaltat

    “They were feelings of belonging, safety, passion and companionship—and they didn’t have an ounce of underlying fear” … I’ve been single for many years, and in that time I’ve been untangling and releasing many of my underlying fears .. I’ve yet to experience the kind of fear-free relationship that you so beautifully describe .. and I feel now that I wasn’t ready in the past .. and now I am .. I’m looking forward to meeting my own Chase :o)

  • http://twitter.com/aganday IamAudrey

    It is an eye opener for me. Thanks for sharing and I hope that everybody who reads it get the same good feeling and hope that one day when you have truly love yourself more, then that right person comes, he will make you feel that kind of feeling that says, this is it :) Then you will truly know it is love and you did not lose yourself in the whole process.

  • Tania

    Jennifer, this is a really great story. What
    amazed me was how intelligently you analyzed what was going on.  WOW! Excellent post.

  • Pinoy Leonardo

    I’m lucky I married the  woman in my first real relationship.  But I guess it’s really important to build a “backbone” in getting into a relationship to make it real work and for someone to handle it in a one-sided way if separation happens.

  • Anthony

    Thank You For sharing Jennifer! =)

  • AlexisZ

    I don’t know that would call it “falling in love with companionship” — at the root, it’s fear, isn’t it? In some cases, fear of being alone (again), fear that if he leaves, it will confirm that you’re unloveable or unworthy of being loved, fear that fill-in-the-blank…

  • Steph

    I have shared this belief for a long time. It has seemed to me that so many people get married because it is the obvious next step, but so few of these people seem truly in love. I’ve been holding out for the last 3 years after getting out of a fear based relationship. At times I let others and conditioning nearly convince me that I should settle. This article really helped get me back on track. It’s ok to hold out for real love.

  • Natasha

    I have never read anything that can apply to my life to a T until I read this post.  Although I am only 24 years old, I am constantly putting pressure on myself (as most of my friends are in serious relationships or getting engaged) to find the one.  A few months ago I started dating someone because he was the first person I had gone on a date with who actually wanted a girlfriend and I jumped at the opportunity to finally have a boyfriend after 3 years of just casual dating.  It was the worst experience ever. I was constantly doubting the entire thing and did not even enjoy the relationship because I was always so worried I would mess things up and end up single again.  Needless to say I did have to end it because I realized my happiness could not depend on someone…especially someone who isn’t ‘the one’.  Although I may not get married and have kids as early as I want to in life, your post really reaffirmed for me that it is important to wait for the right person and NEVER SETTLE.  Thank you for giving me hope!

  • Rudrasundari

    awesome….im glad i came across this article….i hope and wish i fall for  a right guy who protects me and loves me a tonnn…..god bless

  • http://art-fizz.com/ Fizsofi

    You are totally right, thank you so for making such a nice point. I’ve been there, done that and it was painful indeed. Now, even alone, I am much better, despite a certain amount of missing the true love. It will certainly come, no doubt. BE happy.

  • Jac

    Thanks for the post, it was great to read. I had a similar experience with an angry, resentful bf (now ex). While I knew I loved him AND the companionship, I can see now that he loved the companionship (when everything I did and said was ‘wrong’ to him, and I began doubting myself in every respect, it became started to become clear that maybe it wasn’t me that was the problem after all, despite his constant criticism suggesting otherwise). The hurt and pain he caused was excruciating but I haven’t given up on finding love, that will be because the man will love me not just the security and companionship I bring :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=614018283 Sophia Tan Chay Lee

    Your article resonated with me too- I’m in a long-distance relationship and it feels like it’s been a long time since I have been truly happy. He wants a life different from mine but when I ask him what he wants for the both of us, he cannot or refuses to answer me. Instead he keeps telling me to work on my inner self. I have also become fearful and angry because it makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me. Now I read your article and wonder if I am in love with him or just the companionship. Thank you for putting into words what I am unable to express.

  • Eva

    Love what a massive topic, thank you for your honest approach in writing about your experiences with love and now having found peaceful, kind and gentle love.
    I wish for you both a long journey of adventure and exploring in how this will be for you as with every couple it is so different.

    I found my real love in my mature years which meant I went on a few rough roads to no where..did not always enjoy the ride yet came out bouncing and strong enough to give it another go! I am so thankful I did.. now I can be in peace knowing I have loved and been loved with someone who is in for me..Never give up..go for the ride and enjoy the road of love.

  • Colleen

    Your article mirrors my own experience with a boyfriend I moved in with when I was in my 30′s.  Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented 20/20 glasses?  That way we could see what we’re getting ourselves into before we got our hearts broken.

    The words “unrealistic expectations” kept jumping into my mind as I read your story.  When I was dating in my early 20′s, I had no clue what love was.  Looking back, my world view formed from watching sitcoms and after-school specials.

    Once I got into the dating game, I realized I was completely unprepared.  I longed for this “love concept” in all the wrong ways and with (what I realize now) the wrong guys.  I found my self worth becoming wrapped up with changing to please my boyfriend’s perspective while sacrificing my own identity.  Oh, and it happened twice – and I didn’t even realize it.

    I’ve been married for 14 years and I don’t think I could appreciate what I have now without all the knowledge (and pain) I experienced in my previous relationships.

    Good for you for following your heart and drawing on your own experiences.  Chase sounds like one lucky guy and I wish you happiness as you start this new chapter in your lives.

  • http://twitter.com/lcgaitan Luis Gaitan

    Seems like there’s a lot of positive feedback. Congrats, but here’s my message to Chase: http://lcgaitan.tumblr.com/

  • David Heryanto

    Thanks for a very useful post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    You’re welcome, thank you for reading :) I love how you bring up the giving up feeling, and how easy it is to just want to walk away from it all after we’ve been hurt. I love the quote by Maya Angelou, “To those who have given up on love: I say, ‘Trust life a little bit.’”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    :) I’m so happy it resonated with you. Yeah, it’s really hard when you’re trying to “keep up with everyone.” Chase and I are moving in together, and then two other people get engaged. Ay yi yi. It’s like, you just can’t ever feel ahead of the game. Or, you’re ahead in your relationship, but behind in your career. The truth is, we can’t control our timeline, you know? I agree – at the end of the day it’s about not settling and waiting for that perfect match :) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    It happens when it’s ready :) My best advice would be to look in unexpected places, and give people a chance. When I met Chase he was younger than me, had tattoos, and rode a motorcycle. I was actually seeing another guy when we met that was older than me, had a great job, and seemed – on the outside – to be a better “fit.” But the minute I met Chase I knew I had found something amazing. Just follow your instincts and listen to that little inner voice of how a man makes you feel about yourself :) Thank you so much for reading and sharing your story, too :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Well, thanks for your honest feedback. I think you have a tendency here to take my every word a bit too literally, but I appreciate what you have to say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Haha yes, the 20/20 glasses would be ideal! Thank you so much for all of the nice feedback and for sharing your own story :) I’m very excited about this next chapter and am inspired by the longterm love and happiness that you’ve found!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Long distance relationships are really hard. They definitely make it even more confusing whether you’re falling for the actual person or the idea of the person, since you’re living different lives. But, sometimes people DO make it work, and find out they were glad they bridged the distance. If I were you, I would just keep listening to your gut and thinking about how he makes you feel. Luckily with long distance relationships you also have the space to figure out exactly what it is that you need.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    :) It only takes finding one person, right?? And it’s amazing, I think a lot of girls have had these experiences – meeting a guy, seems charming, he gets frustrated and rebels/becomes mean, yada yada yada… then you meet a good match, and the whole thing changes. Definitely don’t give up on finding love :) Thank you so much for reading!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Heartbreak is painful. But yes, we heal and time moves on and we go back to searching :) I agree – being happy is definitely the bottom line :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    You will :) Thank you so much for reading :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    It really is. Thank you so much for reading and I’m glad you’re setting those boundaries and waiting for what it is that you really want. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Yes, that’s definitely the flip side to it. I think you’re right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    You’re welcome! Thank you for reading :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Congratulations :) Yes, the backbone is important. There will always be disagreements/problems, but if you have that foundation you can come back to each other at the end of the day and make things work. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Thank you! I’m doing my best :) Thank you so much for reading and the kind feedback :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Absolutely :) I’m so glad it made an impact and I hope for the same thing!

  • Greg R

    I fellin love with my ex just for what she was.during the couse of our 7 year relationship I loved her unconditionally never expecting anything in return but her promise of forever which she said many times. I went through a rough divorce during this time. Then a month ago this girlfriend tells me she can’t rely on me financially and has decided to date and move on. She never mentioned all the other things she could rely on me for. I gave her quite a bit when I could and that was fine. The well ran dry and that wasn’t fine. I feel used and destroyed.

  • writeraa

    Luis,

     

    There’s an old saying: Never assume.

     

    You’ve assumed a lot about Jennifer in your message to
    Chase. 

     

    For example, you write:  “The majority
    of Men (sic) don’t think this way. We value freedom not the need to love. A
    relationship takes daily effort and by believing this concept, you are setting
    yourself up for future failed relationships. 

     

    What’s your datum for that
    assumption, other than the men whom you know who feel that way?

     

    You also write: “Great, Jen took
    control of her situation and decided to end her failed relationship. I don’t
    buy it. It takes two people to make decisions in a relationship and I’m sure
    he’d reached a similar conclusion.”

                                                        

    Again, your “I’m sure he’d reached….” is
    based on what interpersonal information you have about Jen and her failed
    relationship?  With regard to Jennifer ending her relationship: “It takes two people to make decisions…”  People unilaterally end relationships all the time. I cringe at having to even make this point because it’s so obvious. 

     

    Your most salient assumption is: “Now, I’m not a relationship expert but firmly believe
    that every relationship is unique.”

     

    There you
    go. Hit the nail on the head. 

     

    Never
    Assume to Understand the Uniqueness of Another’s Relationship.           

  • Mezzoenekes

    Amazing post – much of what I needed to read. Thank you!

  • Jus

    This story is simply fantastic, thank you! It uncannily reflects my life at the moment right now. I am lucky enough to have fallen in love – ‘really fallen in love’ as you describe it.  I am incredibly happy and very excited about the future, yet I still couldn’t help worrying that I would be consumed by the whole affair and the other person. This is a lesson I have unfortunately learnt through past experiences and sworn to myself it would never happen again. However your words have reassured me that this worry isn’t completely irrational (!) and given me the confidence to trust in myself. Thank you for sharing your words and wisdom x 

  • Jeka

    A while ago a guy told me that he just loved the idea of falling in love. I never knew what to answer to that. Ironically he had just gotten out of a bad relationship where he lost himself! I thought his comment was dumb, but this just describes everything and helped me understand his point! I guess all of us just focus on the idea of it and the superficial things of love and we dont allow outselves for great and natural things to happen and unfold! Loved the blog!

  • http://twitter.com/lcgaitan Luis Gaitan

    Good points WriterAA. Appreciate the response, had a female friend share similar thoughts
    .

  • Amanda

    Thanks for sharing, that’s almost exactly the experience I went through. Although I frustratingly did it twice. But I finally got it right and I am now with someone that i love & ur right it is different and so much better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10222639 Jennifer Gargotto

    Thank you writeraa, and Luis. I spent some time bummed out yesterday about your post, and then spent some time thinking about it and realized I had nothing to be bummed about. The truth is, you don’t know me. My blog isn’t a “Grass is greener” blog (I’ve been writing about ups and downs forever” and if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s evolution (my name IS MsMorphosis, after all!).

    When I initially wrote this post it was much more third person and conceptual, but Lori asked me to bring my past experiences in (if I had ever lost myself in love) – I went back to that place not because I dwell in the past, but because Lori thought it would mean more to her readers, and if my old bad experiences can make someone else feel less alone then that’s a beautiful thing. To then say that I’m unlovable, or that my boyfriend should leave me because of these things, is really, really cruel.

    I’m really not perfect but I’m so excited to have found someone that makes me so happy, who I seem to make happy in return.That’s not me placing him on a pedestal (if you read my blog you would know that we have had a lot of ups and downs to get to this point), it’s me appreciating such a wonderful person that wants to share their time with me.

    I don’t know if we’ll last forever, but I really am happy and we’re in a great place right now. You should know that your post was incredibly hurtful, but at the end of the day it was founded on a lot of assumptions that I don’t believe to be true. After quite a few tears yesterday, Chase sat me down and explained how mean the internet is, and how much you don’t know us. I feel lucky that I’ve found him, and I’m grateful that for all of the thousands of people who read my writing there have only been one or two like you.

    I hope you find what you’re looking for, and, again, thank you writeraa for the vote of confidence and the show of compassion.

  • Yoodoo

    So, just curious, is this the SAME Chase you met before, then later again, or? :) Or do they just have the same names? :)

  • Lv2terp

    Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing your vulnerability and experiences learned!! :)

  • Loveless

    Jennifer,
    What a great love story and I just wanted to share mine.  I have a problem with falling in love with the companionship instead of the person.  I am terrify of being alone and stick with a relationship that I know is not good for me.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated it. 

  • Cynthia

    Wow, you’re story is amazing , it’s something that i needed to hear, it made me realize things, thank you so much. Keep writing.

  • Tinarose29

    I love this article!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/yun.la La Yun

    Sex and love is 
    entertainment,
    temporary and short(3-5years).

    Marrage is related  values and habits  of both sides.

    Love and marriage are different product.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3JQXAV4YWCJ34VX3VDAON6KHD4 bashar odeh

    this is a great read :)
    thanks a lot

  • Maria P

    Beautiful post ! :)

  • Zoe

    Hi there..Thank you for sharing this. This reading was incredibly painful for me to read. It made me realize a lot of things about my own relationship. It makes me realize what needs to be done. For my own happiness and well being. I am so unhappy that it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up to when I go to bed at night. I feel as though the only reason he keeps me in his life is because he loves the thought of me, he is afraid of being alone because I do all the things for him that he doesn’t want to do for himself. I have a hard time coping with this because I feel it to be true.. I get confused at times because I am one to always stay true to myself and how I am feeling yet when I express these things to him he has nothing to say about any of it. So I doubt my feelings. I feel like I am being too sensitive. He says that if we were to call it quits on our relationship I am just giving up on it. I’ve tried very hard to make things work but when I don’t see the same effort from him it makes things difficult. I want to tell him every day that I forfeit our relationship but it scares me because I feel as if he will turn it around on me and say the same thing he always does. Although I know that I need to be strong, it’s going to be hard no matter what. I would just like to thank you for posting your story, it’s given me a lot of courage to say what I need to say.

  • Shoua

    amazing story, thanks for sharing.

  • Joy

    Thanks so much for this article, Jennifer. It really clarified some
    things that I’ve been battling with for a few years. I’m in my early
    thirties and I’m really struggling to enjoy life without companionship -
    especially as the kind of great compansionship you can have with
    friends in your twenties often changes as they marry and have children
    etc. and their priorities change. This has led me into some mismatched
    and recently even abusive relationships where I’ve certainly fallen in
    love with the idea of love and lost myself, but at least I can recognise
    that now – and thank you for putting these ideas even more clearly! The
    problem I find is: it always feels like there’s a void that a good job,
    good friends and interesting hobbies just can’t quite fill. People
    always say you need to be totally happy with your life before you meet
    someone – so you don’t make them the solution – but no matter how hard I
    try to live a full life on my own, it always feels like something or
    someone is missing…

  • Del Mon

    What if it’s the opposite? I’d fallen in love with my guy for being such a compliment in my life, he was a writer, an artist, loving, caring, respectful, and thoughtful. He would write or draw me something just because… Now he’s a completely different person and it’s frustrating because of how good it was for a couple of years. For it to just go sour… I used to have my own identity and happy and carefree. Now I feel hushed up, my self esteem is poop, and I’m feeling like I’m walking on shells with him. Is it a sign to just bail? Or try to work it out? We’ve talked things out… however he seems to be stuck and I feel I’ve lost myself trying to get him unstuck… tips?

  • nn

    This article tells us ‘when’ we will be able to love without losing ourselves – it doesn’t tell us ‘how’ though. Just as her bad experience with her ex boyfriend, was more likely than not – a case of foolishness of youth and bad judgement, the author’s encounter with Chase (aka the man who has allowed her to love without losing herself) was a stroke of luck, and the fortune of meeting a good man (as opposed to the nasty piece of work that was her ex).

    And so unfortunately, if there was only one message I managed to derive from this piece, it is that ‘loving without losing ourselves’ is not a ‘how to’, but a ‘who you meet’. Very pleased for you, Miss Gargotto, but I personally feel the title and theme of this piece has been a little misleading.

  • natasha

    Hello every body, my name is

    natasha from south africa,and i

    really just want to let you all

    know that having a broken heart

    is not an easy thing, but no

    matter how bad your situation

    may be, i want to let you all

    know that there is a way to get

    your ex chasing you around

    again wanting to be with you,

    because this is exactly what i did

    when my boyfriend left me for

    someone else and i am happy

    today cause he is back.

    drmaculey1@gmail.com was

    were i got the chance to get my

    boyfriend back and i will also

    want you all to give it a try.

  • annonymous

    I want to thank the great man that was able to bring back my lover within 48hours. If you want your lover back contact this great man whose name is Dr.Zabaza on zabazalogan@yahoo.com or call him on +2348182620374 And i promise you that your lover will run back to you asking you for forgiveness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amkaguon Alyssa Aguon

    Reading your story brought tears to my eyes because I too had that naive trust that was taken advantaged of and even destroyed. I hated myself more than the guy I was with because of how I lost myself and allowed for it to go on for so long… Now that I am in a new relationship, I’m afraid that I might revert back and lose myself again.

  • G.N

    Really enjoyed reading this but at the same time swallowed a lump in my throat n became a little teary eyed it made me think alot about my current relationship .. I’ve always just settled as its what I’ve become so comfortable with for the past 3 years.. I think it’s time to speak up n tell this waste of space no means no or he can go

  • Jana

    Many of you are so young, you have the whole world ahead of you yet…

  • Jana

    “their goal to evolve as people and spiritually,” psst…I think you found the true secret to a great relationship! May God bless you both!

  • Jana

    Try almond butter (just kidding) – I’m just thingking – Can you fall in love with someone that doesn’t love you, because falling in love demands you let your guard down and become vulnerable, which you instinctively cannot do if you aren’t “feeling it” from the other person. Just my 2 cents.

  • Marie

    I know this might be a bit late, as I can see from a lot of comments below that this has been up more than a year ago. Yet as I have looked around, I only found this now. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    I am in long term relationship that has been going on for almost 3 years. I have always thought I was in love until recently I started questioning myself. For almost 3 years I have paved my life around him. Making life changing decisions that would in one way or the other benefit him. Then recently he met this other girl from a party.

    Since then I have tried my best to keep us together. Doing everything he wanted me to do and everything else that he doesn’t even ask. Yet he would still get grumpy at me and ignore me for no reason. When he is upset he would go to her for comfort, he would rather spend time with her rather than me during his birthday.

    That is when I started reaching out for help from friends and family. I felt like my world was crushing and my heart was in so much pain…it still is. That is when I’ve realized, I’ve lost myself in this relationship.

    I had no goal in my life but to make him happy. I was in fear of loosing him, loosing this companionship between us. Loosing something I have placed so much effort into. Thus I had no confidence to speak up, for 3 years, there was no sense of belonging, passion or safety. Just me thinking this is the best thing that had ever happened me, I won’t be able to find anyone else and I didn’t want to loose it, so I would do what ever it takes to protect it.

    Now that I have came to this realization, I have learnt that I have to love myself before I can truly love another. I have to have my individuality for that point of difference, to be just that tat bit self-fish. Still on my journey to achieve that. reading your blog was a great encouragement for me to work harder. So thank you. I am so glad everything worked out so well for you, I hope one day that can be me too.

  • Lionel

    Should have read this sooner. Thanks for this great post! I was also caught up in finding companionship that I failed to see that it wasn’t real love. I couldn’t find the reasons.

  • Charity Mae Dorado

    I was so inspired reading your story. :) I hope i’ll find my happy ending too

  • Truls Enstad

    I’m speechless.
    Been feeling a little lonely lately, constantly watching your friends being happy and falling in love, while you were left. Not because you, but you still blamed yourself for it, until you don’t really trust people anymore, not even your friends..
    Reading this made things alot easier for me, and that letting go was for the best..
    After all i was just in love with companionship anyways..
    Thank you :’)

  • Sue

    My story is basically identical to yours, I thought we were in love, we moved in together out of necessity, and he became extremely verbally abusive. After a year of misery, I was sick of hating myself and ended it. Then I met “Chase”. He loved me and I loved him, and it was easy and beautiful and wonderful. But I took a new job, and moved half an hour away into a new environment. I became so overwhelmed trying to balance my “Chase” life with my work/school life, that I broke up with “Chase”. About two months of extreme depression without him, I tried to get him back (realizing I had made the biggest mistake of my entire life), but he had already been dating another girl for over a month. It’s been a year now, and I have a new boyfriend. He is a WONDERFUL person, and he is my best friend, but I cannot fall in love with him, b/c I’m still in love with “Chase”. “Chase” is still dating the same girl, but he and I talk on occasion, and he doesn’t sound very happy. I thought it would be good for me to start dating again, but I realize now that I wasn’t ready. I’m afraid that if I break up with my best friend I’m going to be losing ANOTHER amazing person for no good reason. What would you do if Chase was with another woman, but you were still head over heals in love with him? I made a horrible mistake, and now I’m suffering the consequences. Should I just forget about “Chase” and try to make it work with my best friend? Or is it okay to keep holding on to him, when he is the love of my life?

  • Guy

    I can’t even explain to you what this story just did for me in the minutes I took to read it… thank you so much. I truly can’t express what the line “There are two experiences that we can define as love: we can fall in love with a person, or we can fall in love with companionship.” has done for me. I fell in love with companionship with the wrong girl and I have been relentlessly trying to figure out where I was going wrong in my thoughts for about a year now. I was never in love with who that girl was – only the deranged sense of security she gave me. I need to be the best version of me for me, and someone will fall in love with that. If I change myself for them I won’t be happy either way because it’s not really me… thank you.

  • flatini

    I have just recently found that my boyfriend of 3 years still has feelings for the one girl he had at a young age he just bought it up again he heard a song that reminded him of her and he just told me about it. I am not angry just wish he could sort out his feelings as 3 years into a relationship is a long commitment and to find out certain songs trigger a feeling from long ago really upset as he says he loves me yet he is thinking of another his first true love I wish he could work out his feelings and get on with it she rejected him years ago but he loved her dearly. I don’t want to be second best but from tonight I think I am as he has gone to bed with his thoughts and wont discuss it so therefore am left to wonder.

  • Paige Yurek

    That was beautiful, Jennifer.

  • laine

    Wow….such a similar story to mine. almost word for word. nice to know we’re not alone in our thoughts ;)

    I have a great relationship now….the only time I feel I am losing myself is when I spend more time at his place than mine. I spend so much more time there and I’m constantly uprooting myself, more so than him. yet, now is not the right time to move in together because we live in different countries ( on the border) between Canada and the U.S. (20 min apart) but I still work back home.

    I suddenly realized I was making more of a sacrifice than him ny uprooting myself every week to be at his place…and he is not doing the same, so that has led me to a feeling of “loosing myself”

    Any advice? I don’t know if I’m over-reacting because I don’t ever again want to be the person I was in the past….or if it is a slippery slope.

  • mary

    I am Mary from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband john smith, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Marys, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don’t know what to do until I met my friend miss Lina and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Prophet Abbas who did wonders on her ex and bring him back to her after 3days. Miss Lina ask me to contact Prophet Abbas. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great prophet did for me and my husband, you can contact Prophet Abbas on any problem in this world, he is very nice man, here is his contact prophetabbas@hotmail.com. He is the best doctor, prophet on the internet so far his email prophetabbas@hotmail.com

  • Ray

    jesus. this is me – minus the breakup. I’m not there, yet?

  • Spacecadet80

    I believe you can fall in love without that love being returned. It has happened to me. Of course, you look totally desperate and pathetic by letting your guard down and becoming vulnerable for someone who doesn’t feel the same way. They may love you, but they’re not “in love” with you. It is heartbreaking.

  • Spacecadet80

    I find myself in this same situation. I found a great guy unlike any other I have ever dated. I love him so much and he says he loves me too. He tells me I am the one he wants to grow old with. He says so many loving, romantic things every girl wants to hear.
    He lives in Australia and wants to move to the USA to be with me, but he is leaving all of the immigration stuff to me. I have sacrificed my time and money to go see him and now he wants me to figure out how to move him here. I feel like I am putting forth all the effort.
    He wants me to fly there in July so we can marry, but I am having second thoughts. Neither of us have married before, but I feel like I am losing myself. I don’t know how to know for sure if his love for me is as real as he says it is.
    Am I just getting cold feet or is there cause for concern in doing all the work to make the relationship work?

  • Spacecadet80

    In all honesty, you need to confront your “Chase” about the feelings you still have, but first stop living a lie with the “best friend”. You need to be upfront and honest with both of these guys. The longer you stay in a relationship with someone you aren’t in love with the harder it will be for them to move on. Too many people enter into relationships for the companionship and then pain ensues when the truth comes out. You have created a bad situation that will result in someone getting hurt any way you go.

  • Spacecadet80

    Unfortunately this article doesn’t answer every relationship question. I say worry about yourself and your own happiness first. Only he can “unstick” himself.

  • eng137

    I believe that once you’ve been betrayed you can never love blindly again :/

    you’ll always have that fear. when I first starting dating i was so happy but as time is passing i’m getting depressed more insecure even with myself. and this guy shows me respect i cant complain but the fact I had relationshits before has made me unable to trust and truly love with no fear