By Cathy Harris, Advice Columnist, DearCathy.com
The title might seem fiction but no this is not a fiction story but my story...I guess you can say "My Love Story." My motto this year is"It's Time To Come Clean in 2015" so this year I will be sharing parts of myself with my waiting audience, hopefully in an effort to help others move forward.
Many women have told me that my love story has aspired them to believe that they too will one day experience true love. There are many women who have given up on love and so did I. However, at age 58, love came knocking at my door and I opened it. I can safely say there has been only two men that I have truly loved in my life.
The first was the father of my two daughters. We only spent 7 years together as husband and wife then we went separate ways. My daughters were only 5 and 6. From that day forward he chose not to be in my daughter's life because I suspected that seeing me would have been too painful for him.
Of course I am not making excuses for him but it was the way it was back them. I tried to pursue him to collect child support but he moved around so I gave up and just put my daughters' needs first.
I landed in a good job so I was in a place where I could give my daughters what they needed so when life hands you lemons -- you make lemonade. Shortly after the departure of my daughter's father, I met a man from the local military base while working on the El Paso, TX border with U.S. Customs.
My arrival in El Paso was one book opening in my life and another one closing. It was full of opportunities and possibilities in my life so one night he came walking out of the blue - unexpected. He looked like a young, black Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He was very quiet and reserved. So he was pretty hard to figure out. However, he was so passionate and sweet that he literally blew my mind. I did not ask him all the important questions that most relationships should because I felt I was just enjoying him for the moment.
With me working for U.S. Customs and him working in the military, either of us could have been transferred elsewhere at any time so again we were just enjoying each other.
He was always there for the simplest things. When I had to go outside and jog - he would watch the girls. I remember him allowing me to take long baths and unwind from a long day at work. I even remember him brushing my hair as I sat on the floor -- just the simplest things in life.
I can't even tell you to this day how long we were together on the border but it seemed like a whole lifetime. Before meeting him I had actually put in for a transfer off the border and eventually the transfer came through.
He also told me that he was due to leave for another port in 30 days so this made my departure much more bearable since he too would be leaving. But on the day that I left, it was still hard for me. All I wanted to do was to put the car in park and run and jump into his arms.
I asked myself over and over again "Was I making a mistake by leaving?" What was so ironic was the day we, my two daughters and I, left the border -- it was snowing for the first time since my entire 18 months there. So like meeting him, the snow was magic.
After arriving in Miami, in a few months I got a call from him. We agreed to have a rendezvous at that time so he traveled to Miami. Those rendezvous turned into several rendezvous over the years.
We never talked about long range plans because -- like me -- he was still moving around but eventually I thought he was a little selfish for trying to avoid the topic.
I was in Miami for 5 years. After moving to Atlanta the rendezvous continued - sometimes years apart. Even though I had a feeling that Atlanta would probably be my home for a while since I was born only 2 hours away and my main reason for returning was for my daughters, then 13 and 14, to be around my family before they went off to college - somehow in the back of my mind, I always knew that one day I would leave.
The last time I met him was about 3 years ago when I flew in from Atlanta to Austin, TX. By then I did crave to have a deeper conversation with him about us, but like always, he avoided the conversations.
Because of his busy schedule working shift work at night and with his hobbies, recovering classic cars and weightlifting, I don't think he could have made room for me in his life so again words were left unsaid.
He had been busy all these years being the father of 4 kids after his divorce, and me, 2 kids after my divorce -- so this brought both of us, joy and happiness and kept us busy.
I was extremely careful not to bring men around my daughters because they grew up during the Ricki Lake (TV Host) era, where many couples chose relationships over their children.
My daughters can never make the statement that "My mom allowed all types of men to come around us." I dated here and there but none of my past relationships could add up to him.
After he retired a few months ago, he emailed me. When I saw the email I was trying not to respond because by then I had left Atlanta and had traveled to 15 states in 2013 in order to live my dreams and I was in search of a new home and new life.
And because I felt that he had been selfish over the years by avoiding talking about building a life together, I avoided his emails. I was very happy after living my dreams and had settled down in a new city, Philadelphia, so I did not want him to taint my new life.
Again it was like one book closing and another book opening which meant my life was now full of opportunities and possibilities not just for my business but for love.
Even though I had resigned to being by myself for the rest of my life, I eventually responded back to his emails and he called me and he said all the right words that a woman wanted to hear especially that he love me and that I was always the woman for him. He also said that he regret never making room for me in his life all those years ago. And that he would do anything to get back those years and to have me in his life for the rest of his life.
I then felt if I had gotten with this man earlier in my life, we would probably be separated today because the timing wasn't right but now somehow it was.
So after not really being satisfied with my move to Philly, I left and went to Austin to be with him and found myself in the arms of my true love. It takes work everyday to build the life that we can truly love but now I know we are committed to doing just that.
I believe there are 4 areas which couples need to build around - Love, Communication, Trust and Respect. There must be love in the first place in order for you to be in someone's life; You must be able tocommunicate everyday of your relationship which means no words should be left unsaid; You must have trust that when the both of you get out of bed everyday, the other person will put the other person's needs first - always; and respect is very important because once couples start losing respect for each other, everything changes - and not for the better.
My relationship with my mate is fairly new but we both know what we want out of the life for the rest of our lives so knowing what you want and what you are willing to do to get it -- will be key to living the type of life that you truly want.
I am really not in a position to advise couples because I have been single for a while but I worked in a mostly male-dominated industry and all my male co-workers had wives and many of these guys would come to me for love advice. They even called me "Dr. Ruth" -- so I am well aware of what goes on in most relationships.
I have been around people all my life and all people are the same. Single people especially women, need to stop saying that they are going to wait until they get married to travel the world or wait until they get married to buy their dream home and other luxuries of life that they truly desire.
If you truly desire to do these things, then don't wait. If you continue to wait for a mate to live your dreams, then you might not never live your dreams. And don't forget the reasons that many people are not living their dreams - is because of their mates.
Many times it's your mate that will hinder you from truly living your dreams -- so again don't wait. What everyone need to understand is that sometimes it is meant for you to travel this world alone without a mate. It does not mean that you are not worthy and that you are not living a worthy life.
The goal is to figure out your true purpose and get out there and live it before you leave this earth. Do the things that you were truly put on this earth to do and have fun doing it.
My biggest reluctance about getting with a mate as I aged was that I had been on my death bed in 2008, housebound and bedridden, basically from eating toxic foods and living in a toxic environment -- and I did not want to end up in a relationship with a mate, where I would have to become a nurse maid to him.
I did not want to get with a mate where his unhealthy habits rubbed off on me especially after my experience in 2008. I have talked to tons of women where this happened to them. Eventually many of these women walked away from these types of relationships and I don't really blame them.
What everyone need to realize even at any age, that no mate is going to make you happy. I truly believe to find true happiness, you have to work on yourself first and live the life that you solely desire - then you can attract the kind of mate that you can be truly happy with.
I am now in the third act of my life. The first 30 years was the first act and the second 30 years was the second act. As I turn 60 next year, this is the last act of my life and I have to get it right. So I am looking forward to all that life has to offer.
The good thing is my mate and I have history, so we have good times that we can build upon. However, we will not focus on the life we could have had together but instead we will focus on the life that we can build together now and be happy.
There are 5 points that I want everyone to walk away with by reading my story:
1. Don't try to commit yourself to a person who is obviously not ready for you to be in their life. When it is time - it will or won't happen.
2. Don't put your dreams on hold waiting for the right person to come into your life. Get out there and lives your dreams.
3. If you are in a relationship where your partner devalues who you are - then move on. For all you women, never forget that "one man's loss is another man's treasure" - so if you are being mistreated...another man will probably treat you like the queen that you are.
4. Guys...when you see that woman and you know she is a diamond -- don't spend an entire lifetime getting with her. Always keep her close...and make her a part of your life -- before you lose her to another man. If you know that she is special -- then other men will know that also.
5. Be grateful for all your life experiences whether you are walking this earth with a mate or alone. Love every minute of your life!
Cathy Harris is an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker. She is an Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com and is the author of 21 non-fiction books and can be reach through her empowerment company, Angels Press, P.O. Box 19282, Austin, TX 78760, website: http://www.angelspress.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She is available for lectures, seminars and workshops atwww.CathyHarrisSpeaks.com.