The very moment I knew I was falling for him, I also realized that it wasn’t going to be fun. Not like last time. Last time this moment came around, I didn’t fall; I plummeted and was consumed by the emotional highs. There was no logic in it, and I thought that was the way it was supposed to be. Fireworks. Sweeping displays of affection. Borderline obsession with spending time together. But this wasn’t sustainable, and when things crashed and burned badly three years later, I had no energy left to pick up the pieces. In fact, I had lost who I was entirely.
I was perfectly content leaving my shattered heart on the ground. I settled into a comfort that love maybe wasn’t in the cards for me. Sometimes, all-or-nothing tendencies are nasty little personality habits difficult to change. But as time passed and I was nursed back to health with a whole lot of dedication to mindfulness, my numbness melted, and one day I started thinking how nice it would be to fall in love again. Instead of play victim, I took responsibility for my part of failed relationships and for the first time, re-evaluated my definition of love and what I needed so when it did finally come around, I would be ready for him.
Of course, this love shit preparation proved to be more difficult than I expected. It took a lot of trial and error when it came to dating again, and when something didn’t feel right with someone, I found myself wanting to give up completely. And so shortly after feeling ready, I put myself back in sabbatical mode-even abstinence from sex to be completely sure I wouldn’t fuck anything up or be punished karmically by the casual sex gods.
I accomplished some amazing goals by listening to my gut feeling that I needed more time to sort some feelings out, and was motivated by becoming the best version of myself. Instead of trying to win hearts by spontaneity and a willingness to try anything out of my comfort zone just to impress a man, I knew the right one would be more into someone who has done her best to let go of all the emotional baggage we carry around and unintentionally dump on other people, causing a lot of pain and suffering. Someone who still is fun and perhaps a little weird, but gives logic priority over emotions when it comes to relationships this time around. Someone who is no longer an open book with her feelings until trust has been earned. Someone who doesn’t think the trip to crazy town is exciting anymore.
I challenge anyone to take the time after a relationship to do the hard work on YOU, as tempting as the whole notion of temporary distraction is. I don’t believe there is one perfect person for you in this world. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe that you need to be “saved” or in saving someone else. There are a lot of great ideas, I suppose. But so far, I have learned that love is a lot more skill than it is an actual enthusiasm, which makes me feel a lot better about just being me. Everyone says “when you know, you know” and maybe it’s just me, but that is perhaps the most unfortunate advice to receive…because most days I don’t feel I know anything enough to be positively certain.
The exception is one thing: timing. I believe timing finally played in my favor because I was truly ready.
And show up he did, indeed.
Which makes me happy and confident in knowing that falling in love this time around may not be as “fun” in terms of letting all your inhibitions go out the door, but a gentle feeling that this time is different. This time it feels lasting. This time, comfortable and easy makes sense for once.
And that is definitely a love I want to explore.