Ah, the elusive man falling in love with a woman. The thing everyone wants to know about but no-one can properly communicate.
Falling in love is complex, it’s not straight forward. It’s sticky, it’s unintended, and almost always it just sneaks up on you. I don’t know if most men go through these thoughts and feelings because I am but an island, trying to make sense of my own world, and the world around me. I guess I think if it’s the same for me then it will be true for a lot of other men. One thing that I’ve realised on this earth is that there are many, many shared experiences, and that’s why a lot of people can relate to what I write so well.
As a young man, I remember being petrified of falling in love. You see, my mum had given me strict guidelines on dating women. I was to be a one-woman guy, and only a one woman guy. To be cheating on someone is to be the social outcast of my peer group.
This was hard as a teenager, because with my hormones raging, and finding attractive almost any female that showed even a little flesh, I found it difficult to concentrate on any one female at any given time. Be committed they said, easy for them to say, since they weren’t the ones that wanted to have sex with almost all of them, and preferably at the same time.
But we learn the ropes pretty fast as kids. We can see the pretty hefty social restrictions placed on the men that are a bit more generous with their purity than the rest of us. People talk, women get wise; some, very wise. Us men learn really fast about monogamy and the social benefits it provides us with.
I really don’t think men are wired for monogamy in their teens and early twenties. Almost all of my friends have had some form of extracurricular activities outside of their bog-standard relationships. In their minds, they’ll never get caught — but that hammer falls down pretty hard sooner or later, especially if there are friends in the circle that are interested in snatching her away from him. I’d hazard a guess it’s worse now since there’s a real dwindling sense of trust and loyalty amongst friends these days. Friendships aren’t as tight as they once were. It only takes a second to delete someone from Facebook.
Being young is for trial and error. I don’t think we should be too hard on our youngsters because they are only learning. We learn through our own experiences the best. Simply telling them not to go and do it doesn’t work. It’s always best to let them experience it first-hand and then be there for support afterwards — unless of course, it’s dangerous to their health.
It was after I had endured nearly thirty years of my life, I finally understood love. I have been through a single parent family, an abusive dad, a drinking and drugs problem, 4 stays in a psychiatric facility (one in a secure facility), a severe bout of clinical depression, and afterward a burning desire to improve my lot that I finally found out about love. Here’s what I’ve experienced.
Love is at its core safety
Nothing beats going about your daily business knowing that your partner will fall on her sword to protect you. Women, when they love another, are fiercely protective, and as a man, knowing that you have the protection spell of your partner, forged in the fiery pits of mount doom, makes you feel safe. Men are the physical protectors of the family unit, but we need to feel emotionally connected and safe when we do so.
There are reasons men are closed with their emotions and it’s not because we need to open up more — it’s because we need to meet the right person that we can open up to. When I met Natalie at the beginning, in the first few months of us being together, it was the first time I had felt emotionally safe, ever. She has all my secrets close to her and I feel safe knowing that she won’t harm me with them. Safety is a core element, and I feel it’s underrepresented in the male falling in love cycle.
Love is trust
Considering when I met Natalie for the first time, I couldn’t trust my own mother this was something that we battled through hard to get to. Trust is letting your partner go out with a bunch of male archetypes that really gets her juices flowing and knowing that nothing will happen, and understanding that I’m the one that she’s going to come back to, and she’ll be excited to come back to me. It’s a very empowering feeling. Personally, I think building trust from the get-go really intertwines your relationship together and stands you instead for the long term. When I finally understood that we had deep trust between one another then I knew I was in love.
Love is excitement
I think I knew there was something deeper that I had with Natalie when I was excited to see her, even after three months into our relationship. I personally don’t think this wanes. My son Alex and I went to London for a few days at the beginning of this year and when we traveled back, she was waiting at the train station for us. We were both really excited to see her. Even after talking to her every day on the phone. I can remember getting off the train, and Alex spotting his mum, and off he went – running as fast as his little legs could carry him. I would have done the same were I not carrying all of the luggage. We were only gone for a total of two days, but it’s like I say to people, keep your relationship relevant and you’ll always be missing each other and finding each other again.
Love is unbridled honesty
It really doesn’t pay to lie. I’m not even one for white lies. I’ll find a way to wrap up the truth in something soft and fluffy. I’m at a stage right now where I just don’t want to lie to Natalie because I know that it would harm what we have together. Why would I jeopardize that?
It’s being honest, truthful and in the moment with your partner. I’m honest with her because I know she has my back, and of course vice versa. It’s a strong emotion and one that compels me to tell the truth all the time. Lies only complicate matters and adds an uncomfortableness to the relationship that screws with the safety of it all. Having honesty and knowing that your partner is honest is an amazing feeling.
Love is imperfection.
We don’t have a perfect relationship. If you think that we do, then we don’t. Only just yesterday there were big arguments for waking me up at 5am and the way I reacted to it. Sometimes I can walk around like a bear with a sore head and have my family walk around on eggshells. And similarly, with Natalie, for all her amazing traits, she brings with her a strange mix of bad traits too.
You’d think with her being a teacher she’d have an unlimited amount of patience. Not so. When she wants something done, it has to be NOW.
And yet, with all our imperfections we still love each other all the more for it. We work together to better our faults. I’m trying to be less aggressive in the morning time, and she is trying to have more patience with me. We do these things because we love each other and want the best for each other.
That’s what love is. A partnership when two people support each other and only want the best for each other.