As you all know (all 7 of you who read this blog), I'm in an amazing relationship. We talked about love in texts yesterday, and it got me thinking.
Love is pretty fickle, isn't it? We're so sure we've felt love at some point in our lives, but when it happens for real, we realize all those times before were probably not love. Let me explain my point.
My first real relationship, I believed I loved the man (boy, really) completely. He was charming and receptive, but didn't give love....rather, we had a screwed up kind of brother/sister relationship. Gross, right? He treated me like a sister; he was protective and affectionate, but that is where it ended. I was so hopelessly in love with him, but I never got back what I gave. We did end up having a deeper relationship later, but I discovered things about him that made me uncomfortable and made me question the depth of his caring....so it ended.
I went through a string of really effed up relationships between 18 and 21. Readers of my old blog know I was beaten severely by a "boyfriend" and left, bleeding and in serious condition, miles out on the sand dunes of North Bend. Thankfully, I was rescued by kind men who raced back to the staging area to call for help. If it hadn't been for them, I shudder to think how long I might have lain out there. Not long after that, I met my now ex-husband. Normally, I would never (and I mean NEVER) have found him appealing, but he was seemingly normal, and seemed to adore me....not to mention I wanted desperately to be married and put the bad relationships behind me. He proposed to me on Christmas of 1994, and I said yes immediately. We were married in August of 1995, and I realized only a few weeks into the marriage that I had made a horrible, horrible mistake. The ink was hardly dry on the marriage certificate when he became the total opposite of the man I married. He gave up on being loving and became lazy....putting no effort into our relationship and spending all his free time with his friends. I was planning to leave him just 8 months after our wedding when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter...wanting to give her a life with two parents, I hung in for 4 years before I realized it was never going to work and left him.
After moving to Grants Pass and starting over, I stayed single for a looooong time. I even made a vow of celibacy and forced myself to stop the cycle of one-night stands and "friends with benefits" relationships. Enter MRE (most recent ex). It was just a friendship at first....hot flirting, long nights of talking, movie dates....but no sex. Once it did turn to sex, we made a mutual decision that it wouldn't be more than the friendship + sex. And the sex....well, it was amazing. Enough so that I ignored the warning signs, even though they nagged at me constantly. We had a solid year of constant phone calls, texts, and nearly daily sex....but no other relationship-based interactions. During a tough moment in his life, he told me he wanted me to be more than just a booty call, and asked me to be patient while he worked his issues out...and of course, I fell for it. Shortly after that, the phone calls dwindled to nearly non-existent and our interactions became fewer and fewer each month; plus the sex became more about his pleasure than mutual satisfaction. I put up with it for 4 1/2 more years, trying to ignore my suspicions and trying not to throw jealous fits. When I did confront him, he made it seem that I was "imagining things" and being ridiculous. It wasn't until I caught him out one night with a co-worker that I realized my suspicions were true...I was not the only person in his life. I cut it off, but he made overtures to come back into my life. I caught him once again at the coastal town Faith and I so dearly love and cut the relationship off totally. I refused his phone calls, texts, and emails, and he finally went away. Mutual friends told me that he had not just one, but several women in his life at a time. It's sad....he's obviously looking for something that is missing, and hurting a lot of people along the way.
After the long process of healing, I lost hope that I would find anyone. In fact, I embraced it and made it my new friend. I set up a 5-year plan of celibacy and focused on getting my girl through high school and into college before I would focus on my personal life. I also committed to remodeling myself....finally getting back into therapy and fixing the issues that had accumulated over the last couple of years. I went through a major illness, fought it, recovered from it, and started addressing the wreck it made of my body. In my fledgling stage of the remodeling, life threw me a curveball. I met the love of my life. I knew pretty much instantly that I loved him, that the love was very real, and that I would spend the rest of my life with him. The trouble with that is how to change my 5-year plan to incorporate this new relationship. I struggled with the decision....but I didn't need to. When it's right, the decision makes itself. I've never in my life been so comfortable, so loved in a relationship. Everything feels like it's just falling into place. I'm ready for a new life with someone I love deeply. I'm ready to give my daughter a good, strong male influence to guide her towards her adult life. I have no reservations about change, which is so NOT my usual reaction. I'm just....happy. Even when my life outside of him seems so bleak and hopeless, I know that he is there, being supportive and loving....and suddenly it's all okay.
I hate to be cliché, but when you stop looking for love, it finds you. I had completely given up, and that's when I met my Richard. I am so thankful that fate gave me the love of my lifetime. My soul is complete.