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I've never really been one for inspirational quotes. I don't share them often and I almost never save them. But I'd be lying to you if I didn't admit that this year has been different. And I would never lie to you.

Because this year, I have truly learned their value.

This year, I have felt the truth of them more than ever.

This year, I have understood the comfort that can be found in them.

I know I'm not the first person to realize this. That's why they exist. I'm just saying I never really understood the need to share them until this year. But it has been comforting to know I am not alone. That someone more eloquent than I am has put into words exactly what I've been feeling.

Take this one for example:

A friend shared this on Facebook this weekend. I don't know where the quote originated so I can't give credit where it is due. But it is so true.

I spoke to Daniel nearly every day for 13 years. And then cold turkey. And I mean FROZEN. I still have a difficult time wrapping my brain around that. It still kills me inside that I did not know what was happening. That I was that blind to his feelings - until it was too late. Yes, he definitely gaslighted me because even once I did sense something was off he told me repeatedly that nothing was wrong and that I was being weird for asking. And I know it isn't my fault. And yet... still sort of feels that way.

He made his choices and I do not blame myself for those. But I do think that I shoulder some of the blame. A small portion. But a portion none the less.

Because he obviously wasn't as happy and fulfilled as I was. And while it is not my job to do that for him, I can't help but feel I should have been more in tune with him. How is it that I was so happy and in love but he wasn't? How is it that I could be living my dream life but not see that he wasn't living his?

I feel selfish.

I wonder if all I ever worried about was what would make me happy or what would please me. And while I want to say that is patently untrue, I think the evidence suggests otherwise.

I thought I cared. I thought I did everything I could to ensure his happiness. And to be fair, you can only do so much if the other person doesn't speak up.

I can't help but feel like I played a part. Not in the lying, cheating, betraying...that's all on him. But he gave me my dream life and I did not give him his. That part.

And so here we are, less than a year later, and the man I thought was my forever is a stranger now.

I'm not saying all of this to dwell on the past. That's done. But I am still working on learning from it. Because I desperately want what I thought I had. But I want it to be real. And most importantly, I want it to be mutual.

And in walks Rob. A stranger 6 months ago and already incredibly important to me.

I struggle to find the right words, I don't want to sound too cheesy (and you should know how much I love being cheesy).

Rob - from day one - has been incredibly kind. And patient. Man has he been patient. He listens to me, even when I talk about Daniel, and he does it without judgement. He understood that I wasn't looking for a relationship and was just along for the ride - wherever it took us. He's never pressured me to do anything. He's a good man and he makes me feel heard and appreciated and cared for and loved. He says he is in this for as long as I want him.

And I so desperately want to believe that. And most of the time I do. But there is still this tiny little nagging voice in my head. The one that says you've heard all of that before. The one that says trust no one. The one that says you'll just get hurt again.

I'm trying to make that bitch shut up.

I cannot live the rest of my life in fear. I cannot blame Rob for the damage caused by someone else. I refuse to let anyone turn me into someone bitter, that is afraid of love.

It isn't easy. But I'm working on it. And Rob is patient enough to let me and I cannot thank him enough for that.

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