Sometimes it takes an extreme situation to see there is love right in front of you.
Have you ever suddenly had a change of health that put a halt to your desire to date? A dramatic unexpected diagnosis can quickly change your dating goals or even obliterate them temporarily. You may need surgery or treatment that will be the focus of your life for a while.
That is what happened to me recently. I experienced an interruption in dating while I focused on my health.
In June of 2014, I was diagnosed with severe squamous dysplasia/carcinoma in SITU of my cervix from an in-office biopsy. I was then scheduled for surgery in July to remove a section of my cervix and take tissues from my uterus for analysis as well. My doctor was preparing me for the possibility of a hysterectomy if needed.
While I was worrying, recovering and healing, I had time to think and re-evaluate my relationship objectives and what really mattered to me when finding a partner. My health issue changed my perspective.
I stopped dating while I was going through the tough few weeks post surgery. Finding and enjoying a relationship had been my top goal for 2014 but then suddenly my priority shifted to regaining my health. I had been engaged in using online dating sites as well as local groups to meet men, and I averaged at least one date a week and sometimes more.
While I waited and healed, I thought a lot about what is most important to me in all areas of my life and I looked at the men I had dated or knew currently. It became clear to me that I would not settle for crumbs or negative guys. I wanted a man who was ready for a relationship and was willing to give to me in a way that was deep and meaningful.
I wanted a guy who lifted me up by just being a man full of life and love. I wanted someone to share the beauty of living well, traveling, dancing, laughing and being there for each other. And I wanted someone to be with me to weather the storms of life, and in this case, a frightening health challenge.
When I thought about all that, I realized I had been friends and dancing partners with a man for about a year who I felt matched those key elements. I had held him at bay with an outstretched arm not really letting him in or encouraging him even though I sensed there was potential of a budding relationship between us.
So a few weeks after surgery, when I returned to our dance lessons, I consciously thought on the drive to the class that I would drop my arm and welcome him. I would surrender and allow us to explore what could be. I felt that we had some attraction for one another as well as a lot in common, but neither of us had taken the initiative to move our friendship to the next level.
I suspect that the potential of a viable relationship right in front of me scared me. I had gotten comfortable with my safe single status (divorced since 1999), even though I claimed to want a relationship. Daring to be brave and to be vulnerable to love someone again was a bigger challenge for me than I had previously realized.
These thoughts were all in my head, but as I thought about it during the lesson, he responded intuitively by keeping his arm around me between dances (something he had never done before). Since there was no verbal communication about my decision to be open to him, he just felt me relax and responded. I realized that my thoughts and my energy are more powerful than words at certain times.
I also discovered how much I had been holding back with dating in general. I think I had a virtual stop sign on my forehead that kept guys from getting too close!
Realizing my mortality during my health scare, I wondered to myself if I wanted to continue to be alone and single. And my answer was that I had love to give and it is almost selfish not to let it flow! I would enjoy loving someone, and he would enjoy receiving it! It was time to be brave and allow the possibility of a relationship in my life again.
Ever since that night when I let my wall down, we are both practicing being open to getting to know each other off the dance floor and things are progressing. We now ask each other to dinner, an activity or spend time at each other’s homes getting to know one another. We talk and text on the phone and share what is happening in our lives. We make plans to go to events and share more and more of what we like to do and how we want to live our futures.
The point of me sharing this story with you is that I am not sure I would have “surrendered” to him if it had not been for my surgery. I had a fabulous man right in front of me that I didn’t let in until I knew more clearly my mortality and that I desired to love again, and I mustered the courage to allow the possibility of love to bud between us.
Perhaps you have experienced a health scare or you are examining your life and priorities for other reasons. If you find yourself holding back on love, consider giving yourself another chance. Discover if you have erected walls prohibiting love in your life. Look at who is in your life now that you may have resisted. Get out and date and explore the possibilities. Look within to release resistance or heal past hurts that prevent you from moving forward. Allowing love into your world again may be the best decision of your life!
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: How Cancer Changed My Love Life.