My Experience with Love… Wanting, Looking and Waiting

I am amazed at the number of people who try to censor or correct my feelings about love.

love

Am I not like you, entitled to have my own emotions about love?  Is it wrong for me to want to be loved?  Is it terrible for me to look for love instead of sitting back and waiting for love to find me?  Is it bad for me to wait for love, why rush it?

I am sure each of you can answer yes to one of more of those questions but the truth is, I have been through all of those phases in my quest for love.

In my teens, I wanted to be loved…

Like many teens I had an idea of what love should be.  I remember being so carefree and believing almost every single word that came from a guy’s mouth, especially if he said that he loved me.  Wow! That made me feel special, until I realized that his idea of love and my idea of love were not the same thing.  Most of their ideas about love seemed to involve some physical interaction.  Sadly, it took me a while to figure out the disconnect.  Do I regret the experiences?  Not at all, most of them have been repressed into the recesses of my mind and are only conjured up by the occasional run in with someone who gives me that smile before asking, “Do you remember me?”  Ugghhhh…

Looking for love in my twenties…

Like many young ladies in my generation, I thought I would be married by my mid twenties with at least one kid by thirty.  I figured that I would finish college, Mr Right would come to sweep me off my feet and we would settle down in the suburbs working our corporate jobs and raising our kids .  Needless to say, that provided for many interesting adventures.  By this point in my life, I knew that there was more to love than just sex.  Guess what I added to the equation – money! Yes, I thought that if he had the resources and desire to fulfill the fantasy then he must love me.  Well, you can imagine that didn’t work out very well.  I enjoyed eating at some of the finest restaurants,  went on lots of trips, still have a few carats of diamonds but no love.  I realized that guys who used money to express their idea of love were not willing to connect with me on a deeper level.  Don’t get me wrong, guys with money are capable of love but if that is the only or primary way of them expressing their love, for me – it wasn’t satisfying.  This was so confusing for me when I was going through it because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  It was like, I have all of this stuff but I’m not happy.  Ironically, this led to my spiritual awakening that love isn’t about stuff or sex.

Now I’m waiting for love in my thirties…

I’m still not sure that I know how to love.  After so many failed relationships, that you will never know about thanks to my ‘no public relationships’ rule, I know that I am the common denominator.  I thank God for blessing me with my son and I don’t want any more kids so I don’t have to worry about my pesky ticking biological clock, I have officially turned it off.  As for financial stability, I have learned to be content in any situation, whether I have plenty or none.  But love… oh love… so many people use your name in vain.  I am waiting for that unconditional love, the love that I am willing to fight for and not fight with, the love that sees me on my worse days and lifts me up, the love that wants to soar with me and not bring me down.  Some days, I don’t think it exists, it feels like a figment of my imagination or something that only happens to other people.  Other days, someone comes into my life and restores my hope that it is possible.

The past twenty or so years of experiencing various forms of love have taught me that love really is patient.  You don’t have to rush it.  You don’t have to plan for it.  When it’s time, it happens.  I’ve learned that love is kind.  Love doesn’t speak to you harshly, it doesn’t put you down, it doesn’t constantly point out your flaws, it doesn’t track how many times you’ve been wrong and it has been right.  Love makes you feel good even when things aren’t going just right. Love protects you, it sees the dangers of the world around you and wants to be your safe place, it allows you to be totally honest without judgement.

Yeah, I have an idealized vision of love and the truth is that love in the real world is complicated.  It gets messy, it gets angry, it gets hurt.  Sometimes it causes you to walk away feeling like a fool for believing it in and other times you feel so broken that you don’t think you will ever believe again.  As the years progress it becomes more and more difficult to check your baggage at the door.  We all hear the saying that you have to let go of your past hurts to move forward but many of those experiences can’t be forgotten.  I’m showing my humanness by admitting that because what I am supposed to say is that once the relationship is over, I let go and move on.  Sounds easy until you start hearing the same things that you heard before or seeing the same things that you have seen before and you say to yourself, I have seen this love and no, thank you.

At this mid-point in my thirties and closing out another calendar year, I am still hopeful.  I still look at engagement rings and imagine one on my finger one day.  I love wedding dresses with a fitted bodice and lace sleeves.  But I am not willing to settle.  I don’t mind compromising but I can’t settle.  I believe I know what love is, do I know exactly how to express it, maybe not but I’m willing to try with the right person.

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