The Second Time You Fall In Love With Someone
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’re going to feel so relieved. When you get your heart broken for the first time, you can’t imagine loving someone else again or having someone else love you. You worry about your ex finding love before you do, you worry about being damaged goods. And then it happens. Someone else loves you and you can sleep well at night.
The second time you fall in love with someone, it’s going to feel different. The first time felt like a dream almost. You were untouched, untainted by anyone. You accepted love with wide open arms and desperation. “Love me, love me, love me!” So you did. And then it fell apart and left you shocked to the core. You realized that people could be cruel and break your heart. You realized that people could stop meaning the sweet things they said to you just yesterday. So when you go into it again, you’re going to keep in mind everything that you’ve learned. You’re going to say, “Love me, love me, love me…until you don’t. In which case, I would like some advance warning. Thanks!”
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’re going to compare it to your first love. That’s okay. That’s natural. You’re going to be studying the new love with judgement and wariness. “My ex never liked broccoli. Why the hell does this one eat so much broccoli?!” Discovering that you have the ability to love multiple people who are different and feel different is initially very jarring. Loving an unfamiliar body will leave you disoriented and in dire need of a map. That’s okay too. That’s to be expected. Just ask the new love for directions.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’re going to suffer from a bout of amnesia. You’re going to poke and prod at your lover’s body and be like, “Wait, how do I do this again? How do I love you? I think it starts with us having a moment together in some coffee shop, right?” It’s going to feel scary at first. Falling in love is sort of like riding a bike though. You never really forget.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’ll be a more sane person. Your first love is when you get all of your insanity out. You behave like an insane monster because your mind is freaking out about all these new powerful feelings. By the second time, however, you have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. It’s by no means perfect. The insanity will make a cameo at some point. “Peek a boo. I’m here! Hope you didn’t forget about me!” But you can usually shoo it away after awhile.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you will hopefully have better sex. Do not quote me on this.
The second time you fall in love with someone will still be exciting and you might even talk about moving in together or marriage. It will feel more “adult.” You have no idea what adult love actually is but you think it involves making coffee for each other in the morning and maybe even getting a dog. “This is my dog, Xan. I got him with the second person I fell in love with because that’s what you do! The first person I was in love with would’ve killed a dog.”
The second time will not be the first time. The first time is an insane magical life gift that you can never reclaim. But that’s okay. The second time is more real anyway. The second time can involve some amazing love.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.