We write love ballads about the moment our eyes connect with theirs for the very first time. We line shelves with novels about the”best parts” of love. We consider the first rush of hormones that we associate with the honeymoon phase as romance. Romantic comedies are rarely ever about going beyond the surface: the true best part about love.
What comes after the butterflies fluttering away and the rose-tinted glasses cracking is more often than not written off as unromantic, because that is when reality settles in.
The uncomfortable business of delving deep into a person’s soul and wading through the murky waters of their past. Holding a torch to their buried demons and seeing parts of them we weren’t sure we wanted to know. Serial daters will leave the relationship as soon as they sense reality descending on them like fog rolling in and coming to settle. Because the reality never leaves, once those whimsical lenses crack, they know there is no going back. So, they move on to find a quick fix of those addictive hormones.
What they don’t know, what most people don’t know- is that what comes after those mesmerizing butterflies take flight, is that a different type of magic rolls in with the fog.
There is something so powerful and utterly beautiful, in knowing that your person is in your life because they saw all that there is to see about you and chose to love you. It is a much stronger type of magic to have someone wake up every morning and look at you, thinking “no matter what comes next, I know that this is the person I want to share my days with”.
And yes, the fights are uncomfortable. Saying goodbye to the constant dressing up and makeup is not easy for most, saying goodbye to the layers we put on every morning when we are not ready to be vulnerable with others.
Romance is performative. Those early days of wooing and whimsical lenses- it is the creation of a fairy tale. It is the days before we delve deep and open our souls for examination. It is the time before we truly get to know these people we are pursuing and sometimes we are not sure if we want to know who they are at the very core of their beings.
Sticking around after those rose-tinted glasses crack, is saying yes to vulnerability. It is saying yes to allowing someone else to see you on some of your darkest days and handing over your long-kept secrets for analysis and hopefully acceptance.
It is scary, and not as sexy as performative romance. There are literal tears, fighting, messy hair days, acne, red noses, and flu seasons. But it is also the time of having someone else to wipe away your tears. Someone to take you into their arms after a fight. Someone to laugh at your mane before taking a brush to your hair. Someone to tell you that your acne doesn’t make you any less beautiful. Someone to tell you that you make an adorable Rudolph and someone to make you soup when you are sick.
Vulnerability is scary, but the rewards you reap are deeply worth it. I was a serial dater until I met the person who made me fall in love with vulnerability. The person I found safety with, despite my raw vulnerability.
And no, I do not miss that quick fix.