I read an article a year or two ago that said, we only fall in love with three people in our lifetime. The first love is the young love usually referred to as puppy love. Our second love is the hard love. This is where we learn who we are and grow the most. The third love is the love we never see coming. I can agree with this but I don’t think they have to be three different people.
Numerous of women have asked me how I got over my ex after being together for so long, how I met my husband and how I knew I was ready to get married. Of course I gave them all individual answers that I thought were true but those answers now seem trivial, as I’ve been able to recap on my love life and see where my growth has stemmed from.
In regards to my ex, I allowed my self to love him and forgive him for any and all the mistakes he made a long the way. He was my “puppy love.” I had boyfriends before him but he was the first one I fell in love with and I didn’t fight it. Even after getting continuous phone calls, Facebook messages and even catching him up cheating, I forgave him and loved him. I wasn’t hurt by his actions, but each new encounter with another girl showed me he didn’t mind hurting me. In my loving him, I knew I loved myself and deserved more. I knew my value as a young woman who had a lot going for herself. I saw how much effort I put into him and realized I could give that same love and effort to someone else more deserving, or at least ready for it.
I stayed with him so long because I was comfortable with him. I mean he was the one I gave my virginity to. After spending all of my vowing “I wouldn’t have sex until I was married”; I for sure thought he was the one. I saw his potential. But I wasn’t willing to wait for him to be ready anymore. Then I met my husband.
My husband came out of nowhere. I heard about him a few times, we were Facebook friends and followed each other on Twitter. I even let him invite me out to a club once and it was horrible. I knew for sure we would never be anything because he was boring, didn’t dance and was too popular.
A year later, there I was, still in a dying relationship and looking for a way out. At a college party my husband finally made his move, thee BOLDEST move, and asked me, “When you gone break up with your boyfriend for me?” This man had just finished strolling, bringing all this attention to himself and came up to me and asked this crazy question! And I was shook. I can’t remember what I said. I think it was something like, “What did you just ask me?!” He just smirked, walked away, came back and danced with me. I had never felt more wanted in my life. So, I had to explore it. My best friend ran interference for me and warned me he was a serious guy. I told her I was serious too. I had been trying to get married since I was 10 years old!
The relationship took off so fast you wouldn’t believe it! I broke up with my boyfriend five days after my husband approached me and we were exclusive that same day. I wasn’t expecting to like him so fast but just like before, I allowed myself to feel whatever it was my heart wanted to feel with him. He even showed me effort I showed my ex. He stayed on the phone with me for an hour to be the first to tell me Happy Birthday at midnight, surprised me for Valentine’s Day 2 weeks after “talking” and spent the weekend with me. I knew he would be different because he showed me he was different. He told me he was in love with me and let me know I didn’t have to say it back if I didn’t mean it yet- and I didn’t. When I did fall in love with him though, I fell so hard...I doubted if I ever loved my ex. There was no way I could have loved my ex because I didn’t love him how I loved my husband (which is probably why he’s my husband lol).
However, I’ve experienced the most hurt being with my husband because I love him so much. I hurt when he hurts. When he hurts himself or when I hurt him, I’m hurting too. This is the relationship where I learned who I am. I learned what my flaws were and what makes me special. I never had anyone teach me anything. I was always the one teaching someone else how to be better. I fell more in love just because of that.
Any hurt or hardships I experience with my husband only make me fall more in love with him. Unlike my ex, our hardships made me stray away. This is how I knew I was ready to get married. If I could experience the worst hurt with one man and fall more in love with him after, then why would I want anyone else. My husband also fell more in love with me through our hardships. We had broken up many of times and for a longtime at one point. When we finally saw each other again, we couldn’t control the love we had for each other.
We don’t have to fall in love with three different people in our lifetime, but we will fall in love 3 or more times in our lifetime and still learn the same lessons. If there’s nothing else you can take from this article, let it be this...learn to let yourself love. Often we become guarded and try to protect ourselves from hurt, but we don’t need to. Falling in love is one of the most beautiful experiences of your life- even if it turns out bad. I cherish the moments I’ve been able to grow close with someone and love them because I’m not usually interested for long. I feel like my husband is the sh*t because he’s kept me interested for seven years! I continue to fall in love with him because I’m not afraid or guarded by past hurt with him or anyone else. This has been my biggest tool to being able to leave one relationship, find my husband and realize he was the one for me. I hope at some point, you, whoever you are, will be able to love without fear and be resilient after heartbreak. There’s someone out there for all of us, we just have to be ready to love him or her when they come.
Bomb Wife Bomb Mom,
I often reminiscence on the innocence of teenage love. When we would stay up all night and talk on the phone, despite having to wake up for school the next day. The times when we would spend the whole week looking forward to the weekend so we could see each other. When our dates consisted of meeting up at the mall with our groups of friends. Back when we would write each other’s initials in notebooks with a heart around it. And “I love you”’ was said one month into the relationship, and we knew we really meant it. When we would smile all night after a simple kiss on the lips. When we would "take" their last name and name "our" kids. When we were completely smitten and thought this person would be in our life forever....Remember?
The older we get, innocence becomes a thing of the past and responsibility takes over. We have to be mindful of the roles we play (and those others play) in our lives. People have been hurt time and time again and carry that baggage along with them. We remain skeptical and are less willing to give of ourselves to others. The image we once had of our “ideal” lover slowly fades away and practicality sets in. We are on a perpetual audition, looking for the best addition to our lives. Our time is more sacred, so we have to be positive others are worthy of it before giving it up.
Dating is full of ups and downs and can go really good or realllllllllly bad, rarely with any in-between. We are often faced with back and forth, contradicting emotions such as discouragement, excitement, confusion, and contentment. There are often gaps in our lives where our love life is either non-existent, right-person but wrong-time, or just overwhelming. We often consider any and everything before making committed decisions involving our love lives such as location, children, family dynamics, etc. Compromise becoming the core of each relationship.
I’m not sure which era of love is better. I miss the innocence of high school love, but I remember its naivety. I welcomed everybody making myself more susceptible to heartbreak. But what that type of openness taught me was the importance of standards and understanding my worth. Yet, it's exhausting feeling like though I know what I want, I'm always searching for love. I wish it was just as easy as going to the mall or a basketball game and leaving with multiple numbers from potential boyfriends. I don't know where and I don't how to find it, but I think the lessons I learned, whether desirable or not, during this era of innocent love has prepared me for the era of responsible love. Neither one of them has to be better. And though that era of love was reflecting where I was personally, as I continue to grow, my era of love will grow wholly.