Growing up, I was taught many bad things about love by my absent (now-estranged) father: love is busy, love is distant, and love is coming second to his job.
Later on, with this blueprint of love and relationships, I got attached to unavailable, emotionally inept guys and learned worse things about love: love is waiting, love is justifying excuses, love is denying myself, love is violating my boundaries, love is struggling, love is pain, and on and on.
I knew something was seriously wrong when the romantic love I experienced was nothing like the love I had with my close friends and family — it was pushing me to rock bottom. It hit me that I’d come into a relationship with men hoping to find good love but kept getting shitty love and being told it was what it was. I felt like I’d been gaslit my whole life. I was done with it.
But the road to healing wasn’t short or easy. It took me months of therapy, deep self-work, and drastic lifestyle changes to stop expecting only bad things from love and step away when there was a sign that my past toxic relationship patterns were about to repeat.
I had to do many hard things before I met my husband. They helped me rebuild my relationship with myself and learn a new blueprint for love. So, when I met my husband, even though his interest, consistency, and stability were not the most familiar, it felt right and I knew it was what I wanted and needed. In fact, I wouldn’t have settled for anything else.
Here are things I’ve learned from loving my emotionally secure husband:
1. Love is safe and patient
My past relationships brought me so much anxiety that I associated love with danger. I would walk on eggshells and worry if I said or did something wrong, I’d be left alone. Even when I felt anxious, I was ashamed and afraid to show it.
When I met my husband, I’d done enough self-work that I was able to express my anxiety freely, accepting it might drive him away. When it happened though, my husband showed me, again and again, that it was okay to feel what I felt and he gave me even more love and comfort.
I could tell everything he did was to move closer to me, not away from me. Love from my husband is always available and makes me feel the warmest inside. Hugging him is truly the safest place in the world.
2. Love is in the big things and little things
In my past relationships, something was always missing. There were exes who cared about me in my daily life but weren’t able to build a future with me. There were exes who seemed to have their shit together but didn’t know anything real about me.
In contrast, my husband shows me his love and commitment in every way possible. He remembers things I don’t even know about myself and tries to make my life easier and better every day, from cooking me food, setting up my computer, giving me massages to reading all my articles.
He was open to talking about marriage early on, and he proposed to me with the most gorgeous ring. Being with him, it’s clear to me that two are better than one, and it’s not just our life together — he’s there to support my career every step of the way.
3. My needs for intimacy and closeness are valid
I used to think I was clingy and needy, but as it turned out the guys I dated were mostly avoidant. Sure, I was not right for them, but they weren’t enough for me either.
Luckily, I didn’t give up on the right man for me.
My husband loves closeness and connection. He calls me every day from work and we spend most of our time together. He says I love you all the time and he enjoys attention. It’s satisfying!
4. Vulnerability brings my partner closer to me
In the past, my vulnerability was often used against me or I was punished for sharing it — the guy would be quiet the next day or withdraw altogether, and I felt lots of shame and pain.
With my husband, whenever I’m vulnerable, he comes closer to me and encourages me with more attention and love. He’s patient for me to open up to him and accept me as I am.
5. My emotions don’t define me
I’m more healthy doesn’t mean I’m completely void of emotions.
I’m still emotional at times, especially when I’m hungry. My husband doesn’t take it personally nor does he use it to define me.
If I seem irritated, he’d try to find solutions: ask me questions, give me massages or bring me food. If I’m anxious, he’d listen to me and rub my back. If I’m upset, he’d talk through things with me and say sorry for hurting my feelings.
I’m never emotional for long because my husband always knows how to make me feel at ease and laugh. Over time, I’m even more comfortable expressing myself and letting my emotions come and go instead of being afraid of them.
6. I’m loved for who I am
In my relationship with my husband, I can be myself and I feel encouraged to be the best version of myself. My husband sees me but he sees something more even when I can’t see it myself.
Since we met, there have been many things happening in my life outside of our relationship (e.g. career and family), but I never feel I’m any different in my husband’s eyes — if anything, we’ve grown closer. He has a way of making me feel like he loves me for who I am but sees the best in me.
I learn that if anyone makes you want to change something fundamental about yourself, deny any part of yourself, or hide it away, they’re definitely wrong for you. The right people will make you feel empowered to be more you, not less.
7. I have to show up too
This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from loving my husband.
He was raised by two very loving, available parents with caring siblings. He’s very close to his family and he’s the same with me.
But I wasn’t used to this when we first met. I soon realised that if I kept shutting down or pushing him away when I was anxious, no matter how persistent and patient he was, it would eat at our relationship one by one till there was nothing left.
I knew I had to show up too. I had to be emotionally aware and do better. I had to be there with him. When there’s a problem, I can’t just throw in the towel; I have to engage with him and talk through it. I have to show him love and attention too.
My emotionally secure husband has helped me not only change my attachment style from anxious to secure but he has also made me a better partner.