My Idea of Love, After 26 Years and 3 Relationships Later

This is us at our very first Red Wings Game!

This is us at our very first Red Wings Game!

Love is a funny concept. It is something that is felt, not seen. It comes in different forms. It is powerful enough to  make men feel invincible, give women the strength to lift cars off of children and in the same breath leave you sobbing on your knees in a moment of weakness so strong you don’t think you’ll have the power to get back on your own two feet. It is the most powerful of human emotions, and yet, often times it is dependent upon another human. It is something we all have the ability to produce/provoke within ourselves, but there are the few who do not choose to utilize that power.  This afternoon I am left sitting at my desk thinking to myself about the irony of love and what love really means.

Of course, being involved with social media, television and books I have my own opinion of love. Sure that opinion of love has been hammered into shape not only by my thoughts and beliefs alone, but also with the help of media and how things play out in front of me. I am, however, a free thinking adult that can add my own experiences and growth into my idea of love. I have had (including my current one) 3 serious relationships. I have seen a different face of love in the mirror of each and I am grateful to each relationship for teaching me about the different forms that love can take.

In my first relationship, my ex was in the Air Force. Our relationship was focused around distance.  A lot of distance.  Japan to the US, distance. It was a big deal and we were both young. In this relationship I learned that although love is patient it should never be the vessel of mistrust. He couldn’t trust me from so far away, because of his own insecurities. I couldn’t allow myself to be bullied into feeling guilty for something that wasn’t my misstep. So we ended our journey together after just shy of 2 years.

My second relationship, started not long after the last one. I’m a serial monogamist, by trade.  We were together 4 years, lived together, yadda yadda… Anyone who has read any other post I’ve written may have caught on to the story. He had what I called Peter Pan Syndrome. He was the little boy who was too scared to grow up. I wanted kids and to be married and to own a home. He wanted nothing that would  create responsibilities. Toward the end of this relationship I learned that you can’t love someone for the person they could grow into. I know, he had the potential to be the family man who most men want to become, he was just too scared. I sacrificed a lot of myself because of the way I loved him. So when that relationship came to a screeching halt I did some inner soul-searching with a jaded perspective.

Not long after the second relationship, but long enough to get a better idea of what I wanted, I found my current boyfriend. This is the most genuine love I can imagine. I know it sounds as corny as it feels but he is my person. I didn’t love him from day one. I didn’t spot him on a crowded dance floor and give him my number, bravely like some feminist Rom-Com may depict. We went out. We had fun. We got to know each other. And one day, out of the blue it hit me. This is what love is. It’s hearing his laugh and knowing that the value of hearing that dorky and original laugh is unspoken because no bank account can match that. Knowing he doesn’t judge me when I snort, trip on my own two feet, or judge me for drooling while I sleep. Through this relationship I have learned that love is not the prettiest piece of jewelry in a display case. It’s more like the tarnished gold engagement ring with a small diamond chip in it in the case that reads “Estate Pieces”. Because you know that the ring that has a significantly lower price tag in the back of the store, than the one up front with all the fancy light bulbs shining on it to make it sparkle the way it does, was loved by someone with all their heart and it symbolizes a lifetime. It’s been through its battles and stood the test of time like love should.

I don’t think that there is enough emphasis placed on what love really looks like. People have grown to expect the picture of love that they see in Hollywood. The irony in that is the expectation of something phenomenal and let’s face it… staged  will ultimately be what leaves them alone, keeping them from the one thing they really want: Love. People need to learn and accept that love comes in, most often times, unrecognizable forms. I believe it is that way for a reason. My personal belief is that to enjoy the love that is in front of our faces we have to really work at it. And it is only the people who can see the potential of a relationship or a single person, that are rewarded with the true and undying love that can come from their hard work.

This is the fairy tale I will tell my daughter(s) and sons when I am blessed enough to have some. My tale will be romantic, realistic and organic. I don’t intend to set my daughters up for disappointment or a lifetime of searching for something that doesn’t exist. Instead, my goal is to set them up for finding someone, man or woman, that challenges them intellectually, physically, emotionally. Someone who can be their support beam but is also vulnerable and secure enough to let them be the beam, now and again. And finally someone who makes them laugh by sacrificing themselves on the altar of dignity, even if just for a second. Because to me, that’s what real, true, sincere love is.

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