There are so many articles about the three loves we MUST have had in our lives, but those never relate to me. I don't have any missed encounters or loves I regret because they did not work out. I loved these guys. They loved me. It was right to move on and we are all better for the experience.
But if I must, I do think there are three types of love to experience in order to help us recognize when we are ready to find REAL love.
That "Splendor in the Grass” Type Love
If you have ever seen that movie, then you know what I am talking about. That CRAZY first love. That love that you thought you would die without. That love that drove you to insanity. That was me with my first love.
We started dating the first week of school of our freshmen year in college. It was not love at first sight, but he came on strong and I went along for the bumpy ride. He was many first for me.
Sadly, it did not end there. I made him take me to her dorm room. He knocked. She answered the door. He began yelling at her and telling her it was over and pointed to me saying how I'm the girl he wants to be with. Then he ran away...literally. I stood there. She was silent. She turned toward me with her pretty face, fair skin and beautiful bright red hair and calmly said, "I feel sorry for you."
We dated all four years and two more years after college and nothing changed. Except the fact I found even more embarrassing ways to fall deeper into insanity over him. Well, jump to over 20 years later and of course I looked him up on Facebook. Just like Natalie Wood discovered in the movie, our lives took completely different paths. I can say with a heart full of respect and admiration that I’m thankful and grateful to have known him and that he is an important part of my past.
“Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind”-William Wordsworth as quoted by Natalie Wood in the movie Splendor in The Grass.
These are gifts from him that I have saved over the years: A trophy for being the best girlfriend, a necklace with a basketball charm because he was on the basketball team, a heart mug and a love letter.
The Guy You Didn’t Know You Loved Until He Broke Your Heart
I will not go into too much detail because we still communicate and I do not want his ego to inflate after reading this. We were good friends from the start. We were set up on a blind date and hit it off instantly. We danced, drank and laughed all night like we had known each other for years. Our entire relationship was a fun friendship filled with jokes, him teasing me constantly, hours on the phone talking about everything, going to the club together, dancing all night, planning for the future and making plans around them. He lived in another state but he flew to visit me regularly. His friends were friends with my friends, etc. It was one big happy crew.
We didn’t last because I found out he lied to me about something I can’t get over. Even to this day, the thought of it makes me gag. I asked him about it several times during our relationship but he repeatedly lied…convincingly. The moment I confronted him with undeniable evidence, my uncontrollable tears and the sound of my heart shattering told me I was in love. We never said the words, but we loved each other. All that time I was dating someone who was also one of my best friends and I didn’t realize I was in love. It snuck up on me.
I do not love him anymore, but I still think he is a really cool guy and I want nothing but the best for him. When I hear that he is doing well and dating or receive an out of the blue text from him saying hi or that he will be in town and would like to see me and then never contacts me when he arrives in town but sends me a message later when he returns home saying “sorry I didn’t have time to call you while I was there”…I smile.
That Wild Vacation Type of Love That You Measure Others Against
That love that you know may not be real and that may not be good for you, but it feels good to you. That is who he is. He still lives in my heart. He is a chef in Italy where I met him. I was in Southern Italy for a cooking class and he was the instructor. From the moment I arrived at my villa, we were inseparable. A two week cooking experience in Italy turned into three months traveling around Italy with him.
It wasn’t just the mind-blowing sexual connection, or the fun of sneaking off during class for a rendezvous, or him scaling the window ledge outside my villa to get into my room unnoticed, or the fact that he was 16 years younger than me. It was the way he looked into my eyes and told me he loved me, the way he would run ahead of me to pick a wild flower to give to me, the way he held my hand, the way he teased me about my age, the way we both knew I was going back to America and that the romance had to end soon. The way we both cried every day when we realized I was leaving in a week. He once told me “I don’t care about how old you are; When you are old I will gladly push you around in a wheelchair.” My heart melted.
I left him for Paris before returning to the USA and we talked and video chatted every day. He wrote a song for me and sang it to me while playing the guitar. When I returned to America, we remained in touch. That was years ago and we still speak regularly. I think we will stay friends forever or at least for a long time.
It’s not distance that keeps us apart; It’s common sense. I want him to enjoy his 20’s like I did. I want him to get married and have children. I’m not taking that away from him. Now, he is traveling and being a wonderful chef all over Europe while dating pretty girls his own age. I’m happy for him.
Wait a second…I just stopped to send him a kissy face with a heart emoji. Ok, I’m back now.
We stay in touch while living our lives and loving other people and wishing the best for each other. Yes, that is a thing.
I saved these gifts from him: The first bouquet of flowers he gave me, the wild flower he picked for me during our walk and a love letter.
What's the D-I-S-H?
D-DEFINE your DILEMMA
I have to make sure that I’m continually learning from these experiences and not taking any hurts from the past into the present or future.
I-IDENTIFY your INSPIRATION
I am so honored to have had these men in my life. I feel as if I was a student and they taught me so much. To be able to speak endearingly about someone who crushed me emotionally shows my growth. To be able to walk away without regret and not leave a trail of negativity behind me makes me feel like an adult.
S-SHARE your STORY
From my first love, I learned to never go back. During those 6 years, we broke up constantly and always got back together. We each cheated but we were so possessive of one another that we could not walk away permanently. He taught me to walk away and stay away. If a relationship is filled with that much turmoil, why go back? I may not always walk away first, but I never return.
My second love taught me that friendship is important in a relationship. I want to laugh, dance, travel, crack up, pray, joke around and just have fun with the one I love. I want to see him coming and smile and think “there’s my man and my friend”.
I’m still learning from the last. How can you see someone that you love, loving someone else and having the best life without you and still be happy for them? How can you know that staying away is the best way to show someone that you love them? I don’t have the answer to those questions…yet.
H-HEAL your HEART
I’m good actually. I will now say, and I don’t admit this EVER, I’m ready to try this love thing again. I have had other relationships outside of those three, but honestly, I didn’t love them. Not even my husband (I could have saved the money spent on that European wedding). But I can say that I have had fun and I have a lot of exciting experiences that have prepared me for where I am today. Today, I can see myself taking everything that I have learned into a positive worthwhile relationship with a stellar fella. Ha! We will see!