Time and time again, I thought I finally understood love. My first crush when I was nine, my first kiss when I was 18, my first time when I was 20, my first boyfriend when I was 21. I always thought I was in love. Crazy, stupid love. Looking back, none of that was real love. I don’t blame myself for thinking I was in love when all it was was infatuation and lust and hope. I don’t blame myself for how I thought I felt when I was lonely and yearning. But I did get myself very, very hurt. If there was one thing all my relationships and situationships have taught me, it’s that sometimes it’s better to be alone.
When my first relationship fell apart, I did just that. I stayed single, but I also stayed hopeful. I went on a few dates until I realized I still wasn’t emotionally ready. Nobody felt right. A couple more duds and I started getting cold feet; every time a man made plans with me, I ended up cancelling on them a few days before. I felt really bad about it, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. Every rejection and falling out I had previously gotten myself into had made me question if maybe I was the problem, if maybe I just wasn’t worthy of love. I hated that.
It took me a while before I finally realized I was better off focusing on myself. I repaired some friendships, made new ones, got involved in things I loved, and worked really, really hard. It wasn’t easy, though. All this talk about self-love and self-acceptance, but I knew I was craving another body next to mine. Someone who I could cuddle with while watching bad movies, someone who I could spring little surprises on, someone who I could bare my soul to.
Yet still, I waited. I waited till I finally felt capable of loving myself again. I waited till I had a life fulfilling enough that I didn’t need someone else to complete me. I started going on dates once more, but I kept waiting to find the right person.
And then I met you.
You sweet, beautiful man. You always hold my hand. You call me just to hear my voice. You actually make plans to see me and take me out. You know all of my insecurities and past mistakes, and you’ve accepted me for who I am. You have shown me what real love is and what a healthy relationship feels like. You make me feel safe, secure, and loved. You are a whole new experience for me, and I am so glad I waited for you.
I am also glad I spent my time building a better life for myself. Because now I’m so happy around you, but I can also be happy without you. I don’t need you to be with me all the time, but God, whenever I get to see you again, I melt into your arms. We work well alone, and we work really well together.
You stare at me sometimes, and I ask you, “What?”
You reply, “Nothing, I just love you.”
Guess what? I love you too.