All I cared about is that she made me happy whenever I was around her, and she helps me help myself feel worthy of that love every day.
I’ve always been a bratty, picky introvert, lamenting about my loneliness while putting myself through self-imposed solitude. I can’t quite explain why. I love being alone yet I hate being lonely. It’s this inexplicable balance that I’ve lived with for the vast majority of my life.
I have a high capacity for love, yet a very low tolerance for stimulus. This means that while I appreciate every moment I get to spend with my friends and family, I was never able to see any one person more than twice a week before I started feeling overwhelmed. I would have to take regular breaks from seeing people.
That was, until I met my current girlfriend.
In 2012, I was going through a journey of self-discovery. That was the year I realized that I had never really been happy. I would smile and laugh occasionally, but the feeling of pure joy eluded me. I started figuring out how to love myself using cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation.
It was around this time that I met Cate. When I first got to know her, I didn’t know that she would be the person I’d want to spend my life with. We always got along made each other laugh, but I was still in the process of finding myself. I still held onto my rule of only seeing my friends twice a week. I kept a wall up, perhaps to protect myself from pain.
But one fateful day, after many months of cognitive therapy, I worked up the nerve to take a risk. For a long time, I had “jokingly” asked her on dates, which always gave her the opportunity to laugh off the situation. But not on this day.
I wanted to drop any pretense that I was joking and told her that I was serious, letting her know that I wanted to get to know her better. We finally set up our first date.
I wasn’t sure what I expected when we went out for the first time. All I wanted to do was have a good time, get to know someone new. I always enjoyed her company and our Facebook chats, and she was the smartest person I knew.