"Do you love me?"

It's late. We're curled up in bed, ready to go to sleep. I roll over, tap him on the shoulder.

"So, do you love me?"

He sighs, looks me in the eyes. "Of course I do. I moved in with you. I'm going to marry you. I wouldn't do that with someone I didn't love."

And that makes sense, right? That's goddamn Logic-101, right there. Yeah, duh. Of course he loves me. Why would he be with me if he didn't love me, right? It's not like we've got 6 children and huge mortgage payments and a cute dog that I've trained to do cute tricks and who will snuggle with me while I'm watching cowboy romance movies (yet). We own a couch together. That's it. That's the only tangible obligation he has to me....and he told me he'd give me the couch if we ever broke up.

But, regardless, I still prod. I still pick.

"Are you sure?" I ask.

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Even though I ran over glass while riding your bike and popped the tires on your bicycle today?"


"Even though I was grumpy yesterday and demanded we go to 7-11 and buy chocolate bars?"


"Even though I gasped when you were driving because I thought you were going to drive into that parked car?"

"....ugh...yes, Cass. I still love you. But stop gasping all the time! I've never been in a car accident!"

And then the topic would switch to the probability of us dying in a horrific car accident and I'd forget about our conversation....until the next day, where I would rinse, repeat.

Here's the thing.

I CONSTANTLY DID THIS. It was to the point where I hated myself for bringing it up. And I knew the answer every. single. time. I knew how it was going to play out and I knew all of our lines. And yet, I couldn't stop it. Unfortunately, it was to the point where C was like, "I don't know how to make you believe me!" I don't blame him. It's disrespectful. It came across like I didn't believe him when he told me he loved me - like he was repeatedly lying to me - which he clearly wasn't.

Last Sunday, I was in a particularly gloomy mood...

(Quick segue - Fuck Sundays. I've always hated Sundays. It's like a weekday pretending to be a weekend. Stupid. Fridays, on the other hand, are weekdays acting like weekends. Fridays know what's going on.)

...and this same conversation came up. And I kept questioning him, until it was honestly just pathetic on my end. We were talking in circles until we were getting to the point where I was actively trying to talk him out of loving me.

And then it occurred to me that....this is my issue. This isn't his issue. He could have gone to war for me, tattooed my name on his forehead, or given me every last cent to his name, and I still would be asking, "Do you love me?"

So why? Why did I keep asking this fucking question?

Because I have issues.

I mean, that's it. Perhaps that too simple and encompassing, but that's really the easiest way to answer that question. The issues aren't with him or the relationship. I trust him 110%, I know our relationship is pretty damn stable. But I have issues, and they're with myself.

That's kinda hard to admit, but maybe that's the first step.

If you feel bad about yourself, then someone can list off hundreds of things they like/love/admire about you and you'll never believe it. There's always an excuse for why it's impossible to believe said comments. "Wow, I love that dress on you!" "It used to look better but I gained weight...." - "You're really good at sdfsdkjhfsd!" "Oh, Sarah from Accounting is so much better than I am." Women are notorious for taking compliments and turning them into little knives they stab into their own backs. And it's hard to believe, "Yes, I love you!" when you don't really love yourself. If you only see your negative qualities, then you don't really understand why someone would want to be with you.

Where am I trying to go with all of this?

After this realization, I've really started to work on building myself back up (all of.... a week! BUT ITS A START!) I'm trying to be kinder to myself in small, bite-sized steps. It starts in the morning. I don't silently criticize myself while looking in the mirror. I try not to dwell on my job on the Skytrain ("Why am I still doing this? God, you need a new job already, Cass!") and I try to tell myself that my work is helpful and valuable. I don't judge myself harshly when I eat a piece of chocolate or skip the gym to stay home and watch aforementioned cowboy romances. I don't beat myself up mentally half as much as I used to. And now that I've consciously realized just how mean I was to myself, I'm finding it pretty appalling I've had such an asshole living in my head for the past 27 years.

Am I perfect? Hell no. Not even close. I've got a long way to go. But, I'm making an effort and I'm trying. Mostly, I'm learning. I'm learning how to be nice to myself, how to trust myself, how to take a step back and just give myself a fucking break. I've always been so hard on myself, it's been feeling like a little vacation in my head.

And most importantly, I've stopped asking, "Do you love me?" entirely. When I get the urge to ask him, I pause. I take a big breath. And then....I dismiss the question. It's a stupid question that I know the answer to already. The more important question I need answered is, "Do I love me?" And eventually, I'll probably end up with "Hell yes, I love you so much CASS YOURE FABULOUS!"

But damn, self-esteem is kind of a one step forward-2 steps back game. It's elusive, as there's no real marker to tell you when you're finally "Full of self-esteem, like woah!" It's hard to know when you've got it and when you haven't. And unfortunately, it seems like bad habits can kind of sneak up....because bad thoughts are insidious. They seem to climb in like little asshole spies, just to whisper mean things in your ear. I guess part of getting better is just listening to those spy assholes and then kindly telling them to go play in traffic. Notice and dismiss. And to that end, I'm improving. I take all those mean comments and tell them to shove it. I'm rebuilding myself, and it feels good. It feels nice. It feels a lot nicer than me pulling, "Yes, I love you," from my poor boyfriends mouth a thousand and one times.

Anyways, I wasn't sure if I should put all of this in the love or life category, because this issue seems to straddle both in equal measures. Love yourself to love your partner. It's such a cliche, but damn...sometimes cliches are cliches because they're true.

So tell me.....do you ever get insecure? Do you ever ask your partner redundant questions? If you've got an awesome self-esteem, how did you get it? Share, share, share! I'd love to hear your experiences or advice!

And, as always, have a fabulous Sunday (...if you can. It is a Sunday after all.)

Cass HarveyComment