Thank you very much for the information that you shared. I appreciate your vulnerability and openness. It sounds like over the last 3 decades you guys have been through a lot together; you also have experienced contrast from being together or not. You have experienced conflict at times, but conflict can truly be an opportunity to look inward for ways to make changes. It sounded like in the past you were hopeful that he would pursue you because you wanted to know that you were important enough to him to make things work. It sounds like what you were truly seeking was "words of affirmation." I want to share a bit with you about what this means. It is one of the 5 love languages. It means that you need to hear from him that he appreciates and desires you. You want to feel important to him and worthwhile.
My honest suggestion is that you have a truthful conversation-- though to let him know that you want an opportunity to truly be with him and that you recognize all that you guys have together in the form of a relationship. Before you may have been fearful and somewhat self-defeating, but it was because you were afraid. You have a new perspective now.
There could have been benefits to a "break," you can genuinely miss each other, be motivated to take better care of the relationship in the future and have motivation to work on yourselves, and love can become stronger.....reiterate that to him and let him know that was what you discovered. You both came from pasts that did not model faithfulness or security, so you were afraid, but it does not have to define you or your relationship. You CAN and WILL have security. You just have to believe it and feel that you deserve it.
I touched on this earlier, but I want to reiterate it....The other thing that I would encourage you to try is understanding your love language and his. Gary Chapman found that there are 5 patterns of emotional connections and how we demonstrate them. He calls these our "love languages." The Love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. I will explain a bit of these. Words of affirmation are based on demonstrating appreciation, approval, recognizing efforts made by you or your partner- on the flip side if you recognize that you are sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism this can be a sign that your love language may be words of affirmation. Gifts are about little tokens or offerings that suggest that you are thinking of someone. It can be simple or elaborate, but it's the thought that counts. As far as acts of service, a quote comes to mind, ”Actions speak louder than words.” Acts of service may include mowing the yard, helping with laundry, starting the dishes, making the bed, helping load the car or unload the car of groceries. It could even be something that helps someone else in their career— anything that offers support someone through an action. Quality Time is based on providing undivided attention to your partner. Turning off the TV, making eye contact, turning toward them as they communicate with you— it is about focusing on your partner without allowing distractions to occur. Finally, physical touch, there is power in tenderness. This does not have to include sexual touch, but more or less, gentleness. It can be holding hands, a stroke of their hair, a massage, or a simple hug. There is encouragement in touch.....This can help you meet his needs, but also have yours met. Hope that addresses part of your question. Also you can think back on what led to some of your conflict-- this could be signs of what is needed in the relationship to feel more secure.... I think it starts with identifying what you want-- which you have now done, but you have to make this goal known to him and have the conversation about your desires. Come from faith and love, not the emotion of fear.....