Sunday, September 18, 2016

Falling in Love - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Why do they call it falling in love? My thought is that it's because when it happens there's nothing to grab onto, no safety net, just your emotions taking the plunge - and then you either sink or swim.

I've fallen in love three times in my life. The first time, I sunk, like a rock. Oh, we definitely had some good times in the 4+ years we spent together, and we definitely loved each other. But when you spend more time crying than laughing, it's time to re-evaluate.

And then came object of my affection #2. He was a really, really good guy. He didn't make me cry to often, which was a very welcome change. In fact, we laughed; we laughed a lot. But I'd been damaged in my other relationship and had jumped way too soon. I was very concerned with being hurt again and I ended up hurting him.

The Good

The third person that I fell in love with is the yin to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly, my other half, my soulmate, my husband. We've been together since the end of 1988 - the very, very end: December 31, 1988 at 11:59:56. We shared our first kiss seconds before the New Year rang in, because he "just couldn't wait four more seconds." I knew within just a few weeks that he was "the one" and it completely terrified me. I'd had two failed relationships (more on those to follow) and was determined not to fall in love with this one. But, he wore me down over time. He proposed multiple times before I accepted. I made him work so hard to earn my trust, but he did it smiling.

 We got married in 1992 and I'm happy to say that I fall in love with him again every day. I'm not afraid of it anymore. I welcome that feeling, because I know he'll always be there to catch me.

So, you might be thinking, whatever happened to #1 and #2.

The Bad

As I said previously, I hurt the second person that I fell in love with. I was afraid of my feelings for him and afraid that if I really let him in, that he would hurt me like I'd been hurt in the past. Afterward, we didn't speak or see each other for a long time. There was no social media back then to keep tabs and we just drifted away from each other. But, I always felt bad for my actions and one day, years later, we ran into each other on a street in Manhattan. Yes, right in Penn Plaza amidst hundreds of thousands of people we ran into each other. It ended up we worked right across the street from each other and we started having lunch once a week. We were each involved with other people and it was friendly. I got a chance to apologize and I'm glad I did. We lost touch for more than a decade after that. We each got married and had children and then there was Facebook. And one day, I had a message from him. We're still friends, liking each other's posts, sending birthday wishes, sharing the ups and downs of each other's lives.

The Ugly

First loves really do cut the deepest, don't they? Some things are just not meant to be...not even friendships. Our breakup was devastating to me. It came out of the blue (at least it did at the time, in hindsight, any one of our multiple breaks could have flashed like a warning sign). I even went to a counselor, just to break the habit of him. And I got over him. Then he came back (was there a doubt?) But I didn't fall for it. I didn't fall for the "I'll change", "things will be better", "this time is different." Probably the moment I knew broken up was better than together was when he said "fine, you want a damn ring, I'll get the ring." Yeah - that was the commitment every girl dreams of. 

Years (many, many years) went by and I decided to see if he was on Facebook. He was and quickly accepted my friend request. But we were never meant to be friends. It wasn't in the cards. Maybe we were too young when we fell in love. Maybe we fell too hard and hurt too much. But what began as likes and cute comments took a bad turn. Old, unhealed hurts were resurrected and I think we both learned that some things just aren't meant to last.

Fortunately, all of us are happily married and raising children. So I guess it can all be chocked up to a learning experience.

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