The Truth About Love Stories

The Truth About Love Stories

I married an older man––nearly 18 years older, in fact. And most of the time, I completely forget about our age difference except when it’s David’s birthday, which it will be, later this month.

While the rest of the year we are laughing, holding hands, and kissing (for at least 6 seconds every time), the week before his birthday I am traditionally quiet. Reserved. Pensive.

After all the work I did to heal my old trauma, I am super skilled at spotting my triggers, and David’s birthday is a huge one for me and my old stories of abandonment.

You see, I spent the first 30 years of my life feeling abandoned. Because of my emotionally absent parents, I falsely believed that I was unworthy of love. That no one would ever really love me. And if I was lucky enough to find someone who did, they’d leave me.

And every year as David gets older (and presumably closer to death) my old fear of abandonment creeps back in. I face the real possibility that I will spend the rest of my life without him.

Granted, there are no guarantees on life, health, or who will go first, but my wounded inner child doesn’t register logic. She only knows how she feels.

And how she feels is scared.

Scared that she’ll lose the only person who’s ever loved her unconditionally.

And boy has David done that.

When I met David I knew I was going to marry him. (I didn’t tell him that, of course, at the risk of sounding crazy.)

When I shook his hand for the first time, the space between us was warm and comfortable but charged with an electricity so intense that I braced myself against a chair.

Our chemistry was so palpable that strangers would approach us and tell us how perfect we were together. And when a mutual friend heard that we got married, she wrote us a note that read

 “If anyone should be married it is the two of you. May your love always steam up the car windows.”

Those steamy car windows got us through years of dating tribulations, such as fending off the naysayers who balked at our age difference. United against the world, our passion fueled us beyond everyday negativity.

As time went on, and dating turned into marriage, we faced life’s challenges as we dealt with a downturned economy, family issues, and personal changes.

We found a deeper, more profound bond called compassion. It was there that we threw in the anchor and waited patiently for each other to feel whole, warm, and happy again.

In loving David, I’ve learned that there are times for passion: fueling your fire and moving forward.

And then there are times for compassion: throwing in the anchor and holding steady. For in this yin and yang dynamic of true love, there cannot be one without the other.

This man has shown up for me while I went through years of therapy.

Encouraged me when I was afraid to finally follow my dream and write a book.

Schlepped all over the country with me while I hugged people like you and spoke about my book.

David gives without resentment or guilt. It’s never tit for tat with him.

He kisses my hands and my forehead as much as he kisses my lips.

There are no gender specific chores in our home. David is the go-to stain master and expert bed maker.

He loves with all of his being and plays with abandon.

And his loving gaze instantly soothes my oft fast-beating heart.

I’ve been planning David’s birthday celebration for over a month now. There’ll be lots of cookies, cakes, and ice cream. (David loves sweets.) They’ll also be lots of friends, fishing, and boat rides with our fur baby Irwin to the sandbar.

I’ve also planned some romantic excursions as well, even though we don’t need them. David brings romance to our marriage every day.

Despite my old triggers, this year I’ve decided to hug my inner child and tell her that we’re safe and loved.

I also decided not to feel so glum about the idea of David getting older, but instead to celebrate how extraordinary he is and how incredibly blessed I am to call him my own.

I encourage you to hug someone you love and celebrate all the love they’ve shown you whether it’s their birthday or not.

With unabashed, untriggered love,


P.S. I recognized my trauma patterns in relationships and found support in my healing by finally finding real love. If you’d like to learn more, I’ll offer you this blog post. I also write extensively about relationships in my deeply vulnerable self-help book Rise Above the Story.

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