I think I’m still equating sex with love

Claire
8 min readOct 22, 2020

but I thought I’d worked through this.

I began my psychotherapist training eight years ago. This coincided (or created) the biggest internal shift(s) so far in my life.

The biggest lesson

You can’t save anyone. Having already trained to be a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine I’d learned that counselling was not about advice giving or fixing people. Within the first four months of my level 2 counselling skills course I had begun to think that my relationship was not benefiting either of us, that it was codependent. However much love I have for a person and however much potential I see in them, and hurt that I want to soothe, I can’t do any of the work for them, so I ended the relationship. That was the last time I was in a relationship.

I intentionally took some time to be single and heal from the loss and focus on me. That intention ended after about 18 months and I started dating again. I have since had seasons of dating of around six months at a time, none of them resulting in anything beyond three or four dates. This has resulted in all sorts of shameful, woeful, ‘what is wrong with me’ cycles, but it has also been educational and revelatory.

Lesson one

I didn’t know how to receive love. Sure, in my last relationship we loved each other deeply, and I felt it, but you are supposed to feel love in romantic relationships. There is probably also something to be said for trauma bonding and the intensity of emotion that comes with it. You are also supposed to feel love in friendships, from family, from your therapist (depending on your modality). I’ve written more here about the first time I really let it in and noticed it as an entity. And not only are you supposed to receive love from those relationships, you’re supposed to feel it for other people, and ideally, be able to transmit it to them. Only in hindsight have I been able to see that I was devoid of a conscious sense of love for anyone until well into my therapy training.

Lesson two

Promiscuity can be a search for affection. I don’t remember how I learned this, I suspect I read it in someone else’s reflection on their life, or it was a case study in a textbook, either way it was a real…

--

--

Claire

Adventurer, word-lover, nature-enthusiast, psychotherapist, creative.