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Love is a tricky thing; so much so, that we often go through it more than once. In a world full of infinite options, how are we expected to get it right the first time around? I have experienced my fair share of love, always with a boyfriend from the time I could count to ten. I got married at just 22, thinking I knew not only what love was, but that I knew how to be a wife. I thought, at 22, that I knew who my partner was, what he wanted, and that somehow, I could keep him satisfied (despite the fact that he was 12 years older). Seven years into our relationship, I was an entirely different human being. I made mistakes. He made mistakes. And together, with time, we were a completely different couple – a couple where love did not reign supreme.
I am a firm believer in being happy in your relationships; otherwise, what is the point? I made a vow to work it out no matter what, but at the end of the day, we were both miserable and could not live our lives together. I am also a firm believer in the notion that there can be real love at many different times in your life, but that love often shifts and grows, just as we do. Just because it ends does not mean it wasn’t real. More importantly, there are many things love is NOT, which I have alluded to before in previous posts. (Love is not constantly talking down to your partner. Love is not spiteful. Love is not empty. Love is not jealousy.) Perhaps if we instituted a law where all marriages are common law (so as not to get into the sticky legal battles) or there is an age limit on marriage (you can’t even entertain the idea of marriage until you’re 30), then perhaps there might be less devastation when it comes to love in our world?
After a divorce, a sordid affair, and awkward, unsuccessful dating, I finally get what it’s all about. As luck would have it, love struck the second time around; perhaps because I am slightly older, and I know what I want and what I don’t want; perhaps because I am finally ready to share my life with someone, to be mature, to have fun, to appreciate someone for who they are. Perhaps letting go brings more opportunity. Whatever the answer may be, I am learning to take each glorious day as it comes, and I cherish each moment I have with my partner and best friend.
There are so many components to love… it is as intangible as air. I have found, for me, that you and your partner are the only ones who can define what that word means, what it should mean, and how it will serve as the backbone to your own relationship. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s definition. Who cares when you find it, if you are divorced, if you’ve never been in a serious relationship, if you are the interminable player, if you are perpetually single, or a serial monogamist? When you find it, you find it. And as cliche as this phrase is, it’s true: “You know when you know.”
Just don’t let fear get in the way of not going for it when you think it’s something you really want. You can’t protect yourself from getting hurt anymore than you can protect yourself from your own mortality. We are here but for a brief time. Let’s fill that time with love, with laughter, with happiness, with good decisions that breed productive, happy lives.