I’ve been in many failed relationships. When I look back and think about what I did wrong and what felt wrong about them, it comes down to two simple things. The first, the person was wrong for me and I wasn’t ready to admit it. I was clinging to the person I’d hope they could turn into, not the person they actually were. And the second was a little more complicated—I was lulled into a false sense of passion.
The thing we believe, that while love is a verb, it also is a feeling that starts deep within. We consider it in alignment with intuition. And when you’re young, love often gives way to the ugly side of passion. We take our cues from what we see around us and even the personality of the individual we claim to love.
Relationships take on toxic patterns of theatrics, unnecessary fighting, game-playing, manipulation, and a vicious cycle of trying to one-up each other. I found myself staying guarded behind a wall so as to not get hurt and to not give women I thought I loved too much power over me. Now that I’m older, I can see that in no way was that love. In fact, I didn’t even like them very much. We find ourselves in relationships of convenience because we don’t want to be alone. We purposely make love hard as an excuse, buying time to avoid loneliness.
I have love in my life now. But it’s not the love I’d expected and it hasn’t come in the form that I’d planned for either. Instead, it’s one that has evolved into something that feels less complex and more natural than anything I’ve ever felt before.
Over the first half of Lent, I’ve prayed for clarity in the context of knowing what to let go of and what to fight for. Professionally, a door opened that’ll change my life. For once, there was no fighting or banging my head against the wall. I simply rested, kept my head down, and the opportunity just happened. When it comes to love and relationships, I believe the same to be true. You can’t make love happen. I don’t think you have to fight for it or even proactive. You have to just live your life and be willing to welcome it into your space, regardless what form it may take.
When you listen to people talk about knowing how they knew their significant other was “the one”, their stories tend to sound like a fairytale. It may feel like that can’t happen to you. Or you may think that it doesn’t happen in real life on a regular basis. And you would be correct, it doesn’t.
I recently watched When Harry Met Sally. It’s a love story that took 12 years to find its happy ending. Through fights and awkward kisses and even both of them dating other people, Harry and Sally always had an ease between them. Their love had a smoothness that couldn’t be replicated in any of their failed relationships. I watched this movie and thought about where I am in my life.
I’ve always said love grows in the simple details. It’s noticing when her hair is slightly longer or shorter. It’s eating your favorite meal in total silence and not feeling weird. It’s having a silly argument because they watched an episode of a Netflix series without you. It’s remembering a food allergy when making their favorite meal. It’s being excited to share good news with them. It’s laughing about a hilarious joke on Twitter.
But it’s also texting each other words of encouragement when things are chaotic at the office. It’s being an emotional support system when they can’t stand on their own two feet. It’s being able to discern when to give individual space and when to hold them close. It’s knowing how to communicate and navigate through a disagreement or conflict peacefully. And most importantly, it’s believing that the two of you are on the same page at the same time, all of the time.
Many of us are jaded by the idea of a healthy relationship because we’ve developed unrealistic expectations of what love is supposed to be like. It’s not supposed to be difficult and forceful and dramatic. You’re not supposed to be constantly proving your love or fighting for your love to last. When love is right, the person you’re with should put you at ease and should feel as comfortable as being at home. Because that’s exactly what the person you love becomes—your home.
Earth, Water, Sky: YESSSSSSSS!!!! 3 Men, 3 Adventures, 3 Stories. Now on The Good Men Project
|Sky High and Freefalling||Rock Climbing and the Rush of Falling||The Water Is My Home||The Hardest Part of a Triathlon: The First Step|
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