Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. – Michael Leunig
There are so many times in life when we unintentionally become the most insurmountable obstacles in our own paths, and love is no exception. In fact, over-thinking a relationship can be one of the most effective ways to snuff out any spark that might have been starting to grow into a flame.
I’ve experienced the near-disastrous effects of doubting love due to difficult circumstances, but I was lucky – I found my way back despite my doubts.
I’m sharing my story with you because I hope it will help you avoid doubting love when you’ve been blessed by one of the most beautiful gifts life can give. Even if someone special has stepped into your life because of tragedy or adversity, you can still enjoy love without doubting your feelings.
You may even find that the comfort you’ve received during a hard time in your life was inspired by love, not obligation. I encourage you to give your relationship a chance and stop doubting the power of love.
How I found love in plain sight
When I was 19 and starting my second semester of college just a few weeks before I met my future fiancé, Steven, I learned that my father had terminal cancer. So when I met this wonderful man and felt attracted to him, it was only natural that I suspected myself of desperation and sadness. I didn’t want to start a relationship just because I needed a shoulder to cry on, so I tried to forget that I had ever met him.
Life got harder as my father got sicker and I left school to help my mother care for him. I indulged in email and instant messaging with Steven, which eventually turned into long phone calls. We moved our six-person family halfway across the country to find better oncologists and treatment opportunities, which just happened to land us within twenty minutes of Steven’s apartment, an hour away from my college.
He offered to help us unpack everything from the moving truck and get us settled in, and he didn’t seem visibly upset by my father’s condition. I had expected him to be frightened, repulsed, saddened, and generally put off by the situation, but Steven’s feelings for me were stronger than I realized.
Steven kept visiting, engaging my father in conversation and carefully eliciting stories from him that none of us had ever heard before. He enriched our last few months with my father, but as the cancer spread to my father’s brain, he began to lash out at Steven when he came to visit.
With each new development in my father’s worsening condition, I kept expecting Steven to back out, but he never did. He was there at the funeral during the summer of my junior year and proposed to me on my first day of classes two months later.
I can’t describe the combination of pain and happiness I felt when he proposed. I wanted so badly to say yes, but strong doubts had been nagging at me ever since I met him. How could a relationship built on tragic circumstances really last?
I was afraid that my feelings for him were caused by pain and lonely desperation, but as I tried to read his face, I saw that he wanted a new beginning for me. I was starting my senior year without the weight of my father’s illness and he wanted to be there with me. He wasn’t just trying to save the damsel in distress; he wanted to share my life, for better or for worse.
I said yes.
Steven is finishing his fifth year of studies and we’re planning to get married this summer. I can’t wait to show my family and friends that I know I’m in love with the right man.
I’ve learned that circumstances don’t have to define a relationship and that love grows even in the darkest places. I hope you will be able to see the love in your life for what it is without giving doubts a chance to cast shadows over it.
There’s more love in our lives than we can ever imagine.
More from Alexis Bonari
Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching k-12 scholarships as well as the Kodak scholarship. Whenever she gets some free time, she enjoys watching a funny movie or curling up with a good book.