I’ve been in love with only one woman thus far in my life. She was remarkable: exotically beautiful, adorably intelligent, seductively cultured, and powerfully sympathetic. She came into my life unexpectedly and I’m still convinced we were meant to cross paths. We spent hours a day talking about life, love, and the universe.
I was vulnerable with her in a way I had never been with any other human before. It felt dangerously liberating having my heart so exposed, yet love made everything blissful.
As with many great love stories, however, mine tragically ended. How and why is another tale for another time, yet even in tragedy love is still incredibly powerful and humbling.
Looking back on my relationship, I am more of a man now having loved and lost. While the pain still emerges from time to time, the mark she left on my life and the wisdom I gained is worth an eternity of heartache.
What made my love different than the other girls I’ve dated in the past was that she not only knew about all the joyful occasions in my life, she also knew about all the suffering I’ve been through. More important than knowing, she took the time to deeply understand.
Many people are impatient and they crave love for more self-serving reasons such as a need to feel significant and accepted. I’ve found that profound love takes time to develop and is cultivated after discovering and understanding a person’s darkest tribulations. People connect in their brokenness, and the capacity to understand the depths of someone else’s pain and darkness is a form of true intimacy – one that takes time and patience.
Yet, time and patience cannot be willingly spent without the presence of loyalty. True love cannot thrive without loyalty, and loyalty stems from sheer honesty. Being completely transparent and candid with each other, many times painfully honest with no games or bullshit; this is the only type of honesty that loyalty and love are built on. Love is not vague, love doesn’t play off jealousy and validation, love doesn’t cause you to question each other’s motives. Love is direct and never hides behind the truth.
I’ve learned that true love is unexpected. Those who actively chase it come up empty handed and disappointed. It is an elusive thread weaving its way through the tapestry of our lives, entwining us at random moments. True love is a black swan; it suddenly creeps up on you and your life seems profoundly different in the blink of an eye.
It makes you wonder how you lived before, who you would have been and where you would be had you never met that person. It always astounded me as to how easily people fall in love. I believe people “love” often, but deep love, the kind that forever changes you and leaves a mark on your heart and soul, only comes a few times in one’s life. The times in my life when I was so desperate to be loved were the times when I was the farthest from it. Ironically, I’ve discovered that all sources of true love stem from first loving ourselves – something that can be even more perplexing than loving another person.
Love is a conundrum: it’s incredibly simple yet immaculately complex. It’s the strongest emotion that can be felt by humans. We’ve waged war in the name of love, written epic novels and theatrical masterpieces, and composed powerful music. It gives us euphoric pleasure yet has the capacity to send us spiraling into the depths of sorrow.
I can’t say I have it figured out – it’s one of those things that might take a lifetime. One thing, however, is certain: with all its highs and lows, love truly is what makes being human an exciting privilege.