It’s a funny thing, love. It can make you feel amazing or it can rip you to pieces, all in a breath of time! I’ve been through the good and the bad, and it’s taught me so much!
I never understood love until my nephew was born. I was 13, and when I held him for the first time, I understood what love felt like. I understood how overwhelming and wonderful it can feel. My parents said they loved me and I said it back, but I never felt it. Not from them or for them. I felt it for my siblings, but not like with my nephew. It was my first taste of what a mother’s love would feel like 6 years later (to the day, I might add). That, in my opinion, is the strongest love there is.
It wouldn’t be until later that I realized how it felt to love somebody in a romantic sense. When you can’t wait to talk to them, and the mere mention of their name makes your heart flutter, puppy love is a great feeling! Then he cheated on me and I was treated to the down side of love. The pain that can’t be eased, not being able to eat because your stomach is in knots, not being able to sleep until you’ve cried every last tear. Love is cruel when it is driven to be.
Right around this time, I stopped saying “I love you” automatically. Even now, I can’t say the words unless they blurt out. My parents were the hardest. It just will not come out. I don’t hate them, but there’s no love there. I pretty much only told the baby (my nephew) that I loved him. Then I got into my first real relationship. See, my first love was my “boyfriend” but we were too young to have an actual relationship beyond talking on the phone and sneaking kisses at school. With my first real boyfriend, it was intense. So intense, that he’s the only boy I dated throughout my entire highschool career. Even when we were off, I was on.
(I forgot to mention that I’ve had two best friends up to this point, so the love for and from a friend had been introduced, but I never told my friends that I loved them until I was an adult)
He hurt me so bad that I still get angry when I really think about it. He’s now married to the girl who I was told was the side chick and she was told that I was. She’s a great girl, I hated her when all I knew was that the guy I loved was giving her attention. Now I’ve had an opportunity to get to know her, he’s still a jerk, but she’s a good woman and he’s lucky. When his and my relationship came to a final end, it was an ugly one. I started dating somebody else and he refused to talk to me on the grounds that my boyfriend was 9 years older than me and I was only 17.
Now this is when love starts to get complicated. My first husband was head over heels with me right away, I’d been hit on about twice in my life and was not used to getting doted on like that. So when I’m 17 and have this 26 year old guy texting me and telling me how beautiful I am, I was smitten! He wasn’t cute, but he was cool. We had a lot in common and my family approved of him. I moved in with him and my friend three weeks before my 18th birthday. I was pregnant six months in, married two months later.
I can’t say that I never loved him, but I don’t know if I was ever truly in love with him. When he cheated on me, I was angry, but I felt disrespected. Not the heart wrenching pain I’d experienced from my first love. Not the madness of imagining him with somebody else like my second love. Just “ugh, how could you?” I was 18, unemployed, pregnant, and two weeks away from our wedding. It was rough. I forgave him out of necessity and we moved on. Our marriage would last almost seven years. We had two beautiful children together and that was when I learned about a mother’s love.
When my first child was born, I was overwhelmed with adoration. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than my children, and I don’t think I will again until I have grand children. They are my everything. I feel choked up now, just trying to describe how full my heart is when I think of my children. I’ve always had a recurring dream of my first husband dying in a car crash. Since I’ve met him, this dream has haunted me. I still have it, and I wake up crying when I have to tell my kids. I can’t stand their pain. Seeing them grow up in love and without the struggles I experienced, well, that’s the best healing I’ve found! Love is really truly pure when it’s for your children. I can’t speak for everybody, and know that not everybody has these feelings, but for me… It’s the best love.
Falling out of love was hard to realize at first. It took three years, in fact, to figure out that it was gone. Maybe it was never really there. I don’t know. I had feelings for my ex husband, and truly loved his family. His mother was a great woman who taught me a lot about life. I respected him to a point and had a familiarity with him that felt comfortable. I wasn’t in love though. There was no spark, no passion, no fire. So I left.
I spent a year single and learned how to love myself. I left behind more of my life than just him, I left behind most of my family right around the same time. Learning to love myself meant letting go of those who would rather hurt me. I started seeing this guy that I’d known for a long time, and we hit it off right away. After almost five years without so much as a blip on the radar, I got pregnant! I was almost done with the baby years, my youngest was just about to start kindergarten! I was so depressed… My relationship went haywire and I was already in “Fuck it, bye” mode so I pushed him as far away as I could. Fortunately, he’s stubborn and I’m apparently amazing, so he didn’t give up on me. When our son was born, he refused to leave my side, and I love him more everyday because of it. He’s taught me what the phrase from my favorite movie means
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return” -Moulin Rouge
When two people love each other and decide that it’s the core of their relationship, I’m telling you, you can move mountains!
My thoughts on love are that it’s ever changing and you’ll never know everything. You should know to love yourself, you should experience the pure love that exists for a child, and you should feel the love of another so strongly that it’s undeniable. You’ll still never understand it all, but at least you’ll feel it.