It's an expression we all know, but strip it down and what does it actually mean? When someone tells you that they love you, you can believe them, but their actions are always going to speak louder than their words.
It’s not a tangible thing when someone tells you that they love you. They can’t show you, like they can show a freckle on their arm. And for many that’s an real issue. You are going to have times when you doubt their love.
Most of the time that’s nothing that they have done, or maybe it is - but you always have to look within yourself to understand what love is, before you can tackle love with another person.
You see without looking within at what makes us tick, what matters most to us, or looking after our own needs – we are never really going to be truly happy, settled, or comfortable in a relationship.
Any relationship to have a chance of lasting has to have trust, communication and openness.
Many of us have been in relationships that are damaging, but have stayed in them through fear of being alone. The issue with staying in a damaging relationship is the longer that they go on, the greater the damage and more lasting and difficult it becomes to get over it.
I’ve done the same to myself, really I have. I’ve been abused, physically and psychologically, but stayed in those relationships out of fear. Fear of the person, yet also fear of not knowing if I could survive outside of that relationship.
The period of my being single in the first part of my transition, taught me how to love myself. Not in egotistical way – it was more about coming to terms with who and what I am.
It’s taken over 2 years to come to terms with being a female. Life as a female is very different to that of a male. Like it or not, the world does treat us very differently. I campaign for equality for women having seen both sides of this privilege – but that’s another article.
What I’m trying to say is that my body was changing, my mind was changing. Living as a female has made me experience the world in a whole new, different and challenging way. I’ve seen the world through very different eyes. It’s taken me a long time to com to terms with that.
So whilst early on my transition the thought of being in a relationship was a truly wonderful one and something that I wanted badly. Deep down and on reflection I know that it would have been a difficult time for me to be with anyone.
After those first 2 years, I did meet someone who accepted me and my past. Her family and friends did too and things were moving along at a very quick pace. Everything was nice but that’s the thing. It was nice. It wasn’t passionate, inspiring and fulfilling. I wasn’t challenged to better myself. I wasn’t pushed. I knew I was settling for something that was mediocre and the only person I would be cheating would be myself.
I’ve come too far, sacrificed too much and made too many changes to settle for anything in my life. Especially when it comes to love. So I had to end that relationship, it was extremely difficult not knowing how much longer I would be single but one thing that was apparent was that I knew and had discovered what I wasn’t willing to accept in a relationship.
I was single for 6 weeks, then I met someone who gets me as much as I get them. Without knowing this (despite me telling her) she pushes me to the best version of myself I can be – because I want to be the best version of myself for both of us.
She’s made me realise that someone can accept all you are, but also accept all you want to be and want to be a part of that. That to me is love. We have no secrets, she is my best friend and I am hers. In 12 months we’ve been through so much together, stuff that in both of our past relationships would have caused upset, arguments and pain. But we get through it all together, because we are open, we communicate and we share things.
The reason I write this is not to brag. It’s to give hope to not only transgender people but anyone out there who is looking for love.
Start loving yourself, find out who you are, and you will find love when you least suspect it.