When you’re the last to fall in love nothing is ever consistent. It’s rare that you ever feel the same about anyone or anything. When you’re the last to fall in love out of your friends, this is when you finally get to find out who you are.
It tends to start out with jealousy and hatred. You are typically the third or fifth wheel in every social outing, and it’s almost unbearable to go out anymore. They usually don’t even notice when they are talking about things in front of you like Valentine’s Day gifts, anniversary planning, or even their weekend spent cuddling up to their partner at the shore. It’s not their fault though—they are talking about things that they are passionate about, and someone who makes them happy—someone who makes them want to get up in the morning no matter how entirely exhausted they are, no matter how hungover they feel, no matter what kind of stupid fight they got into the night before. It’s difficult because you’re still imagining the cracks and breaks in your last relationship when you hear all this “couples talk” and what you could have done to prevent it. You imagine the good times too, when the first thing on your mind when you got up every morning was nesting into their warm chest and waiting for that gentle kiss to be planted on your forehead. You still try to see what they’re up to on social media, whether they have posted pictures or nothing at all. You might even still text their parents because you “don’t want to be rude” and completely betray what you saw as a second family. You know you’re still not over them, but you’ll do whatever you can to try and prevent wearing a broken heart on your sleeve.
Months go by and things feel a little different. The inevitable jealousy has somewhat faded and you actually feel genuinely happy for your friends and who have fell in love. You can tolerate being the third wheel and going out being the only single friend. When you look at it now, things actually aren’t that bad. You’ve moved on from the creepy stalking and asking their friends, “Hey how are they doing?” when all you really wanted to hear was that they were feeling just as broken as you were. Because in the past, the “how are they doing?” question was the worst thing to hear. Hearing that they were moving forward, reaching goals, and achieving success hit every nerve in your body. The jealousy may not have completely vanished, but at least now you are moving forward, too.
At this point, your feelings have evolved again. You’ve gone to the gym, attained a steady schedule, and found happiness in basking in your own silence. You’ve gone on several dates and met a handful of great people, but nothing ever just clicked. There have been the nights where you have stayed in and felt a little lonely, but realized that everyone needs just a little time off. Everyone needs just a little time to absence themselves from the dating scene. But after a while, after several mundane dates and several nights of just watching movies by yourself, things are starting to get a little old. You aren’t searching for love [like people said you shouldn’t] and you’re not letting yourself go off the deep end. You are just doing whatever everyone advised you to do. All you can think of is the clock ticking.
You have now grown utterly confused and somewhat lost. You are in that gray area where you go out a few times a week, but enjoy staying in just as much. You’re in a content place in life with great friends, a great family, and a great career. Isn’t this when people told me I’m supposed to fall in love? Isn’t this when people said to stop searching and just sit back and relax? I’m doing everything right—what is wrong with me.
When we are the last to fall in love we eventually feel hopeless. We feel hopeless because of what everyone told us to expect and what everyone told us to do. We often take whatever advice, tip, or suggestion we get about falling in love because we want it so badly, we will do whatever it takes at this point. Honestly, if someone told me to go to work wearing a leather neon suit and die my hair purple—I’d do it at this point if it meant that I would finally find love. We would put our jobs on the line, damage our physical health, or break our bank account if it meant that someone would be there, lying next to us every morning when we woke up. We want so badly to just find that person that all our friends and family have found already, and now we are the last ones left. We want to finally find that person that brings out the best in us, so we can bring out the best in them, too.
When you are the last one to fall in love, don’t take advice from anyone. Don’t listen to the self-help books or the advice your newly engaged roommate just gave you. Everyone falls in love different and experiences the phases of a relationship at different times. You are going to feel hopeless at times, thinking that you never will find that one person who adores the unfunny jokes you tell or the awkward dimple on your upper left cheek. Love is not timed or monitored. When it comes, it comes, and one day you will be eternally grateful you waited for this time in your life to come rather than check off a list of things people told you to start doing. The strongest moments will arise after a chapter of doing absolutely nothing but getting to know and listen to your own self.