Women go through many ups and downs in a lifetime. But no matter what happens, we can never fully prepare for unexpected matters of the heart (like falling in love with someone you can’t have). Finding your true love and then experiencing heartbreak can be devastating. Diane Bruno shares her intimate story about how she finally found her true love, even though he was unavailable. Graciously, Diane gets super vulnerable for RedLily® to help provide moral support for other women going through similar situations. Here’s what she learned about relationships not meant to be—and how she ultimately realized the power of self-love.
“How I Finally Found True Love”
By Diane Bruno
For the first time in my life, I am really in love.
I am no kid, far from it. I have attended more weddings than I can remember. I have sat through countless love/life celebrations; I can recite the “Love is Patient, Love is Kind” Bible Verse by heart. All very beautiful words indeed about finding true love.
No hermit to this incomparable of emotions, I have been “in love” many times throughout my teen and adult life. Each time it was different; each time it was unique in its own way. When I look back, yes, there was affection, it was what I perceived as being in love.
We all have needs. In fact, Abraham Maslow, a noted psychologist compiled a pyramid list called the Hierarchy of Human Needs. Published in the 1940’s it stands the test of time. The largest most fundamental need, Physiological sits at the bottom, ascending upward to Safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization respectively.
Self-actualization can only be achieved once the basic needs have been satisfied.
The reason I mention this decades old pyramid is because I have always hypostasized that being in love, and sustaining it, depended on an even exchange of needing satisfaction. The variety of love interests that came in and out of my life over the years satisfied me in varying ways. Here’s a closer look:
- Physiological – One had enough money to keep me comfortable not only in the most basic ways, but in those extravagant indulgences as well
- Safety – One had muscle to defend me
- Love/Belonging – One was caring and made me feel comfortable
- Esteem – One thought I was the smartest, the prettiest etc.
- Self-actualization (see above)
Here’s where my story begins…
Not too long ago I met a man. Someone who impressed me on many levels. He seemed to be able to see inside of me; able to hear my thoughts and sense my emotions like no man before him.
He saw ME! Of course I was drawn to him, how could I not be?
I yearned to be near him as often as I could, to talk with him about everything and anything under the sun. His ability to give me his undivided attention was something I had never experienced before. He knew how to calm my temperamental self. His advice was heartfelt and mindful. He treated me like gold. He said the kindest things, smiled the sweetest of smiles, and radiated an integrity and honesty in all he conveyed. He spent his professional life in the service of others and I admired that. He was different and I was intrigued.
I know what you’re thinking…he was wooing me. That is a natural conclusion, but nothing could be farther from the truth. This man was off limits and I knew that from day one. Not only because he was sharing his life with a woman he adored, and cherished his children and grandchildren, but because he took vows and promises seriously. He knew not only how to count his blessings, but how to keep them safe and honor them every day.
He was far from perfection—no rose-colored glasses or blinders on me. However, this man was perfect for me!
The longer I spent time with him and the more I observed his ways, the more he lived up to those initial impressions I sensed from the very beginning. At first I felt a bit giddy, what the heck…a crush is always fun. As time marched on I sensed it was more. OK, I love this man, I conceded, that is a beautiful thing, we all need more love in our lives so I welcomed that reality into my being.
Finding my true love
I have been blessed with a keen sense of knowing and my knowing self would not let up. One day I had to admit it to myself that yes, I was in love with this man. The realization that I could never have him in the traditional sense loomed over me, but I could not hide from the truth any longer.
This epiphany (while initially a relief) opened the gates to a slew of questions and uncomfortable emotions. Life is not fair, why did I finally meet the perfect someone and I cannot be with him? I was a little angry (little is the operative word here because I do anger very well). It’s an emotion I am comfortable with and yet it was not unreservedly rearing its ugly head thankfully. It tried, but something held me back.
I was for the most part calm. Calm, but conflicted. Do I end the friendship? Do I just distance myself for a while? Do I no longer speak with him?
I decided that I needed some time to process all of this; it was taking up too much real estate in my brain. I had to be an adult, I was not going to ghost this man, so I decided I was going to explain this all to him. And I did, I told him I was in love with him.
Having the difficult conversation
This was no easy conversation, but he met it with the same dignity, integrity, and compassion he had exhibited from our first hello.
He allowed me my space to talk and explained to me that he would welcome back the friendship when I was ready.
In a few months I was ready—and he has remained my loving friend ever since. I chose to keep him in my life. He is too special to let go of. He gave me a new perspective on being in love, on selflessly connecting with another being. He possesses a quality few beings have. He knows how to love and how to individualize that love based on the needs of the person. I still believe being “in love” carries with it mutual need satisfaction, but I see it much differently now. I am closer to the top on that pyramid. I’ve learned that self-actualization is defined as “the full realization of one’s potential and of one’s true self”.
What does this all mean?
For me, my true self is still evolving, still questioning, and still searching. It’s a lifelong exploration. But now I do know is what this dear man has known all along—love in its truest form is the rarest of blessings and knowing how to express and share that love even rarer. Love is not all we need, but when it shows up in its purest form it satisfies like nothing else.
About the Author: Diane Bruno is a licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer in the states of CT and MA; as well as a Corporate Communications professional specializing in Internal Communications. Diane is also an empath who loves to write on topics that touch the soul. You can reach her on Linkedin.
Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this article about self-love and relationships, you will like our other Personal Stories.